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for 1-15 November 2013

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Water Rail

I had a walk through the meadow this morning, mainly to look for Water Rail following the discovery of a dead one in Lumley Road on Nov 11. I looked at all the places along both the River Ems and the Lumley Stream where Water Rail has been seen in the past, but there was no sign of one. However, when I got home a note was waiting for me from Pam Phillips to say she had seen one from the south bridge on the east bank of the river at 11am this morning. This was our first Water Rail sighting of the winter, about a month earlier than last year's first on 18-Dec-12. I had another look along the river this afternoon, again without luck, though I did meet Pam who told me the full story. I was surprised that she did not know about the dead Water Rail.

Water Rail could be confused with Moorhen, but has longer bill, slate grey face and chest and bold black and white barring on flanks.

Flowering plants

The most common flowering plant on the meadow at present is White Dead-nettle which can be seen in many areas. Several tall Hogweed plants still have full flowering umbels. The only grasses I could see with spikelets were Annual Meadow-grass and False Oat-grass. I found Hedge Woundwort in flower along the main river path. What a fine flower that is.


Nore Barn to Warblington

Peter Milinets-Raby was out this morning for a walk from Nore Barn along the shoreline to Pook Lane, then back via the Warblington Church and the main South Way footpath. He started at 7:30am and returned to the car at 9:47am and saw a very fine nice sunrise.

The birding highlights were as follows: (High tide due at 9:30am)

Nore Barn: Black-tailed Godwits 123 (up to their tummies in water - just two coloured ringed birds noted - W-R/WN and L-R/LL), Greenshank and Spotted Redshank in stream, 7 adult & 1 juv Mute Swan, 2 Knot, 160+ Dunlin, 183 Brent Geese, 157 Wigeon, 86 Teal, 2 Grey Plover.

A huge flock of 850+ Wood Pigeon heading north west at 7:50am (Then later near Warblington Church three other flocks observed: 170+, 210+ and 80+ - all heading north west)

On the point just around the corner from Nore Barn: 3 Reed Bunting, In the stubble field 7 Skylarks and a flock of 60+ Linnets (plus Sparrowhawk chasing them),

Conigar Point; (no mud left) 77 Wigeon, 36 Brent Geese, 15 Lapwing, 10 Black-tailed Godwit,

Off Pook Lane: Chiffchaff , 47 Brent Geese, 14 Wigeon, 48 Curlew in the field here. 2 Fieldfare flying over.

Missing swans?

Chris Oakley thought he may have found the missing swans from Emsworth Millpond. He counted 62 at Cut Mill creek, Chidham this morning.

This is possible, though I know from past counts that there are usually substantial swan flocks in the Bosham and Fishbourne channels. Chris and his wife, Ann, did their good turn for the day in shepherding a swan family with a cygnet from the A259 road, where they were holding up all the traffic, back to the creek.

Chris also sent me this dramatic full frontal of a Coot on Peter Pond - the view another bird might see. 'Don't mess with me' it seems to be saying. What a fearsome fellow! No wonder other birds keep out of its way.



11:30 - 12:30 - Tide falling from high water at 09:00.

At Nore Barn the Spotted Redshank was in the stream with Greenshank. Also, 9 Mute Swans including the Mute Swan family with one cygnet from Peter Pond. About 10 Black-tailed Godwits were feeding on the mudflats in Nore Barn Creek.

I counted 172 Brent Geese with just two juveniles as I walked towards the village along Western Parade. My juvenile proportion is falling rapidly as the flocks build up in the harbour.

I and others were interested to watch a fellow standing on the millpond seawall hand feeding Black-headed Gulls. He told me he often does this and the gulls get to know him.


Following the discovery of a dead Water Rail on Lumley Road, Tony Wootton put in a couple of hours around the meadow this morning looking for one, but had no luck. But they are very secretive creatures and not easy to see, so keep trying! However Tony did enjoy seeing Goldcrest, Blue and Great Tits, Moorhen, 3 Wrens and a Grey Wagtail. Here is Tony's action picture of the Grey Wagtail on the river near the north bend where a Water Rail was seen a couple of years ago.

Malcolm Phillips was on Brook Meadow yesterday when he captured this image of a male Chaffinch on the river, maybe thinking about bathing, or just paddling.


Greenshank GY+GY at Nutbourne

In response to my query about the state of Greenshank ringed GY+GY, which I have not yet to seen this winter in the stream in Nutbourne Bay, Anne de Potier informs me it is well, but has only been seen on the Thorney Deeps: 12-Aug-13, 22-Aug-13, 23-Aug-13, 06-Sep-13, 07-Sep-13, 04-Nov-13. Surprisingly, there have been no sightings so far at Nutbourne where it has been a mega regular for many years. GY+GY was first ringed on 24.8.02 as an adult, and it's been seen every year since then. That makes it at least 12 years old, but not quite a record yet - another 4 years to go!
See . . .

I first saw GY+GY at Nutbourne Bay on 19-Nov-04 and have seen it most years since then. It is a very easy bird to photograph as it usually feeds close to the footpath which goes over the stream. Here is my first ever photo of the bird in December 2006.

Kestrel with prey

With reference the Kestrel in yesterday's blog entry, Brian Lawrence sent me another image showing the bird with the prey in its claws. Something brown and furry. Can anyone go further?

Arundel WWT

Mike Wells got his first ever photo of a Kingfisher from inside the cafeteria overlooking the re-vamped pond at Arundel Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre. What a great way to start! Mike's bird is a male from its all black bill, the female would have red on its lower mandible.

Mike also reports that the Water Voles at Arundel are positively 'brazen' compared to the shy variety at Brook Meadow, and they actually seem to pose for the camera! They clearly are so tame having got used to visitors pointing cameras at them.

Isle of Wight news

Hampshire Wildlife Trust reports that three white park cattle are now grazing on Ningwood Common on the Isle of Wight to help manage the grassland for the very rare Reddish buff moth, the only known site for females. It is hoped that through a combination of micro management techniques and grazing the habitat can develop. See . . .


Nore Barn

10:30 - About 3 hours after high water. A single Spotted Redshank was feeding in the stream; there was no sign of the other one that was here yesterday.

The only other birds in the stream were two Mute Swans and a Black-tailed Godwit. Brian Lawrence was there a bit later and said the Greenshank also arrived in the stream. I decided not to stay any longer as there was quite a bit of disturbance from workers in two large white vans (one Environment Agency), which I think were doing some work on the stream further north. So, I decided to go over to Nutbourne to see what was in that stream - very little as it happened.

Nutbourne Bay

11:00 - Unfortunately, there was very little in the small stream that enters the bay apart from 4 Common Redshanks and a lone Little Egret. No sign of any Spotted Redshank or even of the long staying Greenshank GY+GY. Has it been actually been seen by anyone this year? About 200 Dunlin were busily feeding on the edge of the falling tide along with a few Black-tailed Godwits, which looked as though they were 'spurting' so I took some photos. Sure enough I did capture one bird in the act as shown here.

For more information about this strange behaviour which has puzzled the boffins go to . . . There were another 50 or so Black-tailed Godwits roosting on the shingle spit. There was no sign of the Avocets seen recently by Ralph Hollins. A Cetti's Warbler was singing from the reedbeds where I saw a Red Admiral in flight.

A photographer I met on the seawall spotted this dark juvenile Buzzard sitting in one of the tall trees on the west side of the meadow. It looked so small that at first I thought it must be a Sparrowhawk, but the pale band across the lower breast was the give-away. Here is my digiscoped photo of the bird.

Bosham Channel

12:00 - From Nutbourne I went over to Bosham, but there was nothing of special interest either in Colner Creek or in the main channel. 15 Black-tailed Godwits were on the mudflat to the east of the main village, but no colour-rings. There was just a scattering of Black-tailed Godwits elsewhere. Overall, not a terribly productive day!


First frost

Maurice Lillie enjoyed the first frost of the winter on his walk through Brook Meadow early this morning. What an amazing morning. Amongst lots of other photos Maurice took this one of frost on an ex flower head.

Kestrel with prey

Brian Lawrence got this cracking image of a female Kestrel with a prey, which Brian said looked like some sort of rodent.


Millions of Starlings come to Britain from the Continent in late October and November to take advantage of our milder conditions. We get them down on the Thorney Deeps and at Farlington Marshes, but they very rarely come into my garden like they used to 10 years ago. However, when you can get a view of one they are really splendid birds with glossy iridescent plumage.

This Starling that I took at Nore Barn in early October is probably a resident

The numbers that winter here are not as high as they used to be and the reporting rate continues to fall. However, this is a peak time of the year for seeing Starlings as shown in the following BTO Birdtrack chart.

BTO reported more than flocks of 10,000 Starlings were logged on 3 different dates in late October at Hunstanton, Norfolk, and many of these arrivals already seem to have filtered inland. The Somerset Levels are one of the best places to see the massed flight display as thousands of Starlings go in to roost. The Ham Wall blog reports 50,000 are now in flight and numbers are expected to rise. See . . .



Two Spotted Redshanks

Nore Barn - 09:30 About 3 hours after high water. Two Spotted Redshanks were feeding together in the stream. At times they were very close, giving the impression they were enjoying each other's company. This is the third time I have seen a pair of Spotted Redshanks in the Nore Barn area, though the first time feeding in the stream. We had a a number of sightings of two Spotted Redshanks last winter, so this is not unexpected.

My first Common Gull of the year was sitting alone on the mudflats.

Emsworth Harbour (east and west) - 12:00 Low water.

Four Greenshank were feeding in the low water channel near the town. One was colour-ringed: RG+BY (geo) - This is one of 3 Greenshanks that Pete Potts caught at Thorney and fitted geolocators to the blue rings. This was the 4th sighting of this bird in Emsworth this season. It has also been seen at Warblington by Peter Milinets-Raby.

I counted 324 Brent Geese in the harbour including 19 juveniles in broods of 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1. So far this winter I have aged a total of 696 Brent Geese with 63 juveniles ie 9.05%


There were lots of insects feeding on the large Ivy hedge at the end of Warblington Road. Here are photos of the main characters:
tentatively, from left to right Bluebottle Fly, Common Wasp, Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) and Hoverfly (Syrphus ribeslii).

Horse Chestnut Gall

Jennifer Rye called at my house this afternoon carrying a plastic bag containing a large gnarled lump of wood which she had just found on the ground beneath the large Horse Chestnut tree which leans over the path leading from Kings Road down to Dolphin Creek. It had clearly broken away from the tree. It is roughly round, about 18cm across and weighs about 1kg. It would have given anyone standing beneath it when it fell a nasty injury. To give an impression of its size here is a photo of me holding it.

Neither Jennifer or I had ever seen anything like it before, so she left it with me for identification. Putting Horse Chestnut gall into Google soon came up with an answer from . . . These irregular woody masses are commonly known as Crown galls. They occur on many different plants and generally caused by bacteria. This Horse Chestnut tree has been galled by a common bacteria called Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which galls hundreds of other plants as well as Horse Chestnut. The galls form on the branches and also on the trunk of the tree.


Dead Water Rail

Michael Farley found what he described as 'an immaculate, mature Water Rail' dead on the road between Brook Meadow and Slipper (presumably Lumley Road) this morning at 7.00 a.m. Michael is a taxidermist and says he will mount it this week. Here is a photo of the bird. Michael said it had a small amount of blood on other side of head, probably from a glanching blow by car. He thinks it will look good mounted in a little clump of reeds.

This discovery is a sign that Water Rails are on the move through our area, so we shall need to keep a look out for them on the Brook Meadow waterways. Water Rail is not a common bird, though we usually get one or two turning up. Last winter one was seen on the River Ems on Brook Meadow near the sluice gate on 18-Dec-12 and remained in the area until at least 24-Mar-13, giving good sightings and photo opportunities in the meantime.

Here is a nice shot that Malcolm Phillips got in January this year.

Avocets at Nutbourne

Ralph Hollins reported that 14 Avocets were back in Nutbourne Bay yesterday (Nov 10) - the first at this location of the winter season. See Ralph's diary entry for more details . . .
These attractive birds are regular winter visitors to Nutbourne Bay, but never to Emsworth. Why is that I wonder? Numbers usually build up to between 20 and 30 as the winter develops. They are probably from the breeding colonies in Suffolk, Essex and Kent. I recall well seeing a flock of 14 in Nutbourne Bay on Nov 11 last year. The best place to see them is from the seawall at the end of the footpath from the end of Farm Lane.

Here is a photo of a few of them by Richard Somerscocks in February 2012 at Nutbourne.

Stonechats at Farlington

Colin Vanner was on Farlington Marshes on Sunday with his fine camera and got a number of images of Stonechats. I have picked out this one for the blog which I think is a first winter bird (ie born this summer) showing very nicely its warm brown plumage and chestnut rump.


Maurice Lillie had some interesting observations at Slipper Millpond today. "Gull floats along clearly searching for something. Sees whatever. Launches itself into the air about 75cms and dives into the water.

Disappeared momentarily below the surface and reappears nothing in beak. Repeated several times. If it caught anything, it must have swallowed before resurfacing. What a magical place we live in!"

Malcolm Phillips got a couple of good images during a walk down the Thorney west bank this afternoon.

Goldfinch taking seeds from Lesser Burdock burrs

Female Reed Bunting



Emsworth Millpond

Jennifer Rye reported the presence of two 'very slim and elegant blackish diving birds' on the town millpond yesterday. She did not think they were Cormorants, so my guess is Great Crested Grebes which we do get on the millpond from time to time in the winter. I was hoping they might be there when I passed this morning, but there was no sign of them. However, someone did mention that he saw two Little Grebes on the millpond recently though they are hardly 'very slim and elegant'. We do get both Little and Great Crested Grebe in winter, of course.

Eastern harbour

I took my scope around the harbour this morning from 11:00 to about 12:00. The tide was rising to high water at 14:30. From the millpond seawall, I could just make out 4 Lapwing on the seaweed island in the main channel - my first of the year. About 20 Black-tailed Godwits and 100+ Brent Geese were on the far marina shore.

Nore Barn

Brent Geese - 120 including just 3 juveniles (broods of 2 and 1) were on the western mudflats. 10 Mute Swans were in the Nore Barn stream including what I think is the Peter Pond cygnet.

The Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank and Greenshank were feeding in close proximity in Nore Barn stream along with a few Wigeon. A Little Egret was feeding in the upper stream near the bridge.

I was pleased to meet Katie and David a couple of birdwatchers from Manchester who were staying in Southsea where their daughter lives. They were delighted to see all three 'shanks' in the stream.

Black-tailed Godwits - 88 flew onto the mudflats in Nore Barn Creek where they fed on the near shore before flying over to the far shore by the saltmarshes. Most were in water, so I was only able to check a few of them for colour-rings. I found just two colour-ringed which are regulars here this winter: W+WN and WO+LW flag. I captured a couple of examples of the Godwits apparently 'spurting' water from their bills.

See the following link for more details about this puzzling behaviour. . . . Spurting behaviour

Brook Meadow

Maurice Lillie noticed two things of interest during his walk through Brook Meadow this morning. Firstly, the Rowan plantation on the east side of the north meadow was alive with bird activity, including Blackbird, Great Tits, Goldfinches and possibly Siskins. This is not surprising considering the magnificent crop of berries the trees have this year.

Secondly, he had always understood that Ivy grows up trees for support only and does the tree no harm. Well, today he observed that ivy, having been severed from its roots last year, is still in full leaf and healthy. He thought this must mean it is taking nutrients from the tree in some way or maybe is it living off atmospheric moisture only? I turned to the web site of the Royal Horticultural Scoiety for advice on Maurice's question. The advice was clear: "Ivy is not a parasite; the short, root-like growths which form along climbing stems are for support only. Its own root system below ground supplies it with water and nutrients and is unlikely to be strongly competitive with the trees on which it is growing."

Maurice also reminded us that he and Nigel planted three Alders in the Palmers Road Copse on 29 October. They were good specimens supplied via Havant Borough Council through the tree warden fund administered by Frances Jannaway. These trees are easily seen on the west bank of the river from the main path through the copse and nicely compliment those already gorwing there.


Roger Pendell has heard from Paul James of the SOS who said the 'Red-necked Grebe' that he photographed at Prinsted on Nov 2 was in fact a Little Grebe. Consequently, the sighting has been taken down from the SOS sightings list. Personally, I thought the photo looked OK for a Red-necked Grebe as did Barry Collins, Anne de Potier and Ed Rowsell. However, none of us actually saw the bird and overall size would have been critical as Little Grebe is almost half the size of a Red-necked Grebe. This is always the problem with an identification based purely on a photo. Also, my alarm bells did start to ring when I learned from Roger that he had photographed it in a ditch inside the seawall, not the best habitat for a Red-necked Grebe I would have thought. Peter Milinets-Raby also replied to say he was not convinced the photo was of a Red-necked Grebe and thought it looked more like a Little Grebe.

Here is Roger's photo of the mystery grebe. What do you think?



10:00 - 11:00 - Tide rising to high water at 12:45. The wind was fairly strong, but the rain held off while I was there. It was good to meet up with Richard Hallett again who was making his first visit to Nore Barn of the winter.

Birds in the stream were much the same as yesterday with the Spotted Redshank and a Common Redshank again feeding closely together and seemingly enjoying one another's company, unlike in previous years. It now seems that the Spotted Redshank is getting back to its old feeding routine after a couple of weeks away and should be a reliable sighting 2-3 hours before (and after) high water. Other birds feeding in the stream were Greenshank, three Black-tailed Godwits, the usual Little Egret.

Spotted Redshank flanked by a Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Redshank

For all the Spotted Redshank news and photos go to . . . Spotted Redshanks

I counted 96 Godwits feeding busily on the edge of the rising tide, about 60 less than yesterday's total. As most of them were in water I was only able to check about half of them for colour-rings: The ones I saw were all regulars: G+WR, R+YN, W+WN, WO+LW flag.

Colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit - WO+LW flag - feeding with friends

For all the godwit news and sightings go to . . . Black-tailed Godwits

There were also six Mute Swans, including the family with one cygnet from Peter Pond; the other Emsworth Mute Swan family with one cygnet was on the town millpond when I passed.
I counted 44 Brent Geese on the water including 3 juveniles, I think in broods of 2 and one. There were also about 50 Wigeon milling around.


NOTE: The identity of this bird is in dispute. See the discussion on the following day's entry (Nov 8)

Tony Wootton sent me a photo of what looked like a Red-necked Grebe. It was taken by his friend Roger Pendell on Nov 2 at about 11am at the top of Prinsted channel at Grid Ref: SU 767 048.


I passed the photo on to Barry Collins and Anne de Potier for their view and both thought it looked like a Red-necked Grebe. Anne added that she remembers seeing one off Nore Barn a few years ago, so they are possible up at the tops of channels. Red-necked Grebe is described as "A very scarce winter visitor and passage migrant" in the Sussex Bird Report with only 8 records in the whole of Sussex in Year 2011. Interestingly, one of those was on Nov 11th in Chichester Harbour entrance. BTO Birdtrack shows a substantial jump in sightings of Red-necked Grebe in October this year, so this sighting could be one of many. See . . . 


Ralph Hollins is fairly sure he has cracked the identity of the large black fly with very distinctive orange bases to its wings which I found on Brook Meadow on Oct 27 and which he himself has seen several times recently. It is Mesembrina meridiana or Noon Fly, but Ralph adds you would never have recognized it from Chinery's illustration on his page 214.

For a good photo Ralph also suggested . . .
The book "Insects of the British Cow Dung Community" (a good Christmas present?) says " Adults are most often seen on cow dung, basking in open ground or visiting flowers to feed upon nectar. Eggs are laid in cow dung, the larvae are carnivorous, and feed on other fly larvae within the dung. The female lays up to five eggs in a lifetime, each one in a different pat, at two day intervals"



09:00 - 10:00 - Tide rising to high water at 12 noon. The rain was falling steadily which did not help birdwatching, but the wind had dropped. The harbour was gradually filling up with water while I was there.

Spotted Redshank

Birds in the stream included Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Common Redshank. It was good to see the Spotted Redshank back in the stream after a short absence. Let's hope it now resumes normal activity. I admit I was surprised to see the Spotshank and Redshank feeding so happily together, as the former has usually seen off the latter in previous years.

Also in the stream area were 6 Mute Swans including one cygnet, probably the one from the Peter Pond nest.

Black-tailed Godwits

A large flock of Black-tailed Godwits came swirling down onto the mudflats off Nore Barn at about 09.30, a great sight indeed. I counted 168 which is the largest number here so far this winter, in fact, the largest number since 187 on 29-Oct-11. I found 6 colour-ringed birds among them, though there could have been others as many of the birds were up to their bellies in water. All were regulars this winter: G+BG, G+WR, R+YN, W+WN, WO+LW flag, ROL+RLR.


A Great Black-backed Gull was squatting on the top of the nesting box on the south raft. There were 6 Cormorants on the centre raft.


Eric Eddles had a thrill to see this Guillemot a thrill when this Guillemot surfaced off the end of the Great Salterns jetty on the Eastern Road. Its brown plumage suggests it is a juvenile bird.



I had a walk through Brook Meadow this morning during which I met up with Brian Lawrence. Brian told me about the Spotted Redshank he had seen at Nore Barn yesterday - see note below. We walked down the main river path, looking for insects basking in the sunshine on the nettle leaves. We found a 'Nursery-web spider' (Pisaura mirabilis) with 6 of its legs tucked up and the back two stretched out, a Hoverfly (Syrphus-ribesii) was feeding on a Hogweed flower head and a Yellow Dung-fly - Scathophaga stercoraria

Nursery-web spider' (Pisaura mirabilis) . . . . . . Hoverfly (Syrphus-ribesii

Yellow Dung-fly - Scathophaga stercoraria

I tend to see these attractive gingery flies on the Hogweed flowers at this time of the year, but this one was on nettle leaves. They are mostly predators on smaller insects, but will also feed on pollen. Both males and females are found on dung, hence their name, the males only feeding on other insects that visit dung, such as blow-flies. Females will be there both to feed and oviposit on the dung surface.


Brian and I watched a female Kestrel settle in a Crack Willow tree by the main path after being harassed by a Magpie. After a minute or so searching the area beneath the tree, the bird then dropped to the ground and flew off with a small prey. Brian captured images of the bird in the tree and then as it launched itself to the ground.

A Little Egret feeding on the flooded Lumley area at 11.30 at a high spring tide.


Spotted Redshank

I met Brian Lawrence on Brook Meadow this morning and he told me the good news that the Spotted Redshank was back in the Nore Barn stream yesterday afternoon. This was our first sighting since Oct 22. Hopefully, this signals a more regular appearance from this familiar bird.

Mute Swans at sunset

Juliet Walker took this rather fine atmospheric photo of a flock of swans (including the cygnet) at the seaward end of the town millpond at sunset. Good to see the swans coming back onto the millpond.



Conservation work

I went over to Brook Meadow this morning for the regular Sunday morning conservation work session. It was well attended with 11 volunteers on a bright but chilly morning. The main task for the morning was to use the recently refurbished power scythe to cut the orchid area in the north meadow and to clear the arisings to a sacrificial dumping area.

Harvest Mouse nest

Maurice Lillie showed me what might have been the remains of a Harvest Mouse winter nest that he found while clearing some tall grasses.

The full nest is woven into a spherical ball and suspended in tall grasses. Winter nests, where the animal spends much of the winter, are more loosely woven and bulkier than the breeding nests, presumably to keep out the winter cold. We do occasionally come across these nests during the clearance work at this time of the year. The last one was on 16-Dec-07.

Ralph Hollins comments

During a conservation work session at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Sunday Nov 3 a rough ball of grasses woven together was found in some of the long grass being cleared and was probably the breeding nest of a Harvest Mouse - similar nests have been found here in previous years but as far as I know the mice have never been seen (not surprising as they are small and secretive and are most active around dawn and dusk). They construct two different types of nest, one for breeding in the summer which is likely to be a bit larger than a Tennis Ball and postioned up to a metre off the ground, suspended in long grass (including reed beds) or in a hedgerow, and one for use by single adults in the winter and this is likely to be on or below the ground, probably at the bottom of a hedge though it can be in a building. In a mild winter such as the current one breeding can continue into December. The distinctive features which separate Harvest Mouse nests from those of birds (Wren or Long-tailed Tit) are that they are round (bird nests are more like Rugby Balls than Footballs) and are made of grass blades which have been split into thin strips but remain joined at the base, while the breeding nests do not have an obvious opening (the mother pushes her way through the outer wall which closes up behind her, though when the nest is abandoned at the end of summer there will probably be an obvious hole). The winter nest is smaller (no more than 5cm in diameter), positioned on or near the ground and could be confused with nests of other small mammals. Harvest mice do not hibernate so the winter nests are not designed for long term use.

Red Admirals

I have been seeing Red Admirals everywhere recently, basking in the warm sunshine. The Michaelmas Daisies on Brook Meadow are particularly attractive to them. I saw a real beauty during the work session this morning at the north end of the Bramble path. This fellow showed well both its upper wings and its underwings.

Red Admirals try to hibernate for the winter, though most do not survive; the few that do can often be seen flying on warm days. Thankfully, a fresh wave of adults will teem northwards to us from the Mediterranean in the spring and the whole process starts again.


Peter Milinets-Raby had a visit this morning to Warblington shore (7am to 9am). The highlights were as follows:

Off Pook Lane: 61 Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Black-tailed Godwit (one with coloured rings L-R/WR), 86+ Dunlin, 10 Lapwing, 14 Wigeon, 3 Shelduck, 46 Brent Geese, 12 Grey Plover, Great Crested Grebe.

Off Conigar Point: 67 Brent Geese, 9 Shelduck, 27 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 21 Grey Plover, Single Turnstone, 140+ Dunlin. Cetti's Warbler seen in Tamarisk trees.

Curlew back in Ibis field and 5 Meadow Pipits over was the only migration movement noted.

Note on the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit. L+WR has been seen a few times before in Emsworth Harbour, but not since 31-Mar-12.

Peter also found the following fungi growing at the base of what looks like a Silver Birch tree in Warblington Cemetery. They could be Honey Fungus though I am no expert!

Cemetery fungi

Peter also found the following fungi growing at the base of a tree in Warblington Cemetery. They looked like Honey Fungus to me. However, Ralph Hollins went to look at the fungi photographed by Peter Milinets-Raby. He says, "The site was easy enough to find (just south of the cemetery building) but the tree was not a Silver Birch (my best guess is a Pear tree of sorts). The size and other aspects of the fungi showed them to be Gymnopilus junonius or Spectacular Rustgill - see with two clusters on opposite sides of the tree base. Near the second cluster were some smaller fungi which I cannot name for certain but think they are Psathyrella species by the conical shape of the cap and their hollow stems."



There are three new Alder saplings on the east bank of the river in Palmer's Road Copse, presumably planted by HBC.

The splendid Hogweed flower heads along the main river path are highly attractive to flies. This morning I found another example of the hoverfly with longitudinal stripes on its thorax called Helophilus pendulus.

While up dating the signcases I discovered a cluster of 4 Harlequin Ladybirds on the metal frame of the case near the south gate, all with different patterns of black and red on their wing cases. They should be looking for somewhere to hibernate, though I don't think they will be able to get into the signcase. Here are two of them for comparison.


Heather Mills reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
See . . .
Havant Wildlife Group

For earlier observations go to . . October 1-31