JULY 15 - 2014
Daines told me she saw the swan family with two
cygnets on the town millpond return to the nest by the
bridge at 20.30 last night with no further losses.
However, when I passed by at about 10am this morning
the Mute Swan pair had only one cygnet with them on
the water near the end of Nile Street. Clearly, the
missing cygnet had gone overnight and there was no
obvious sign of a corpse, which suggests to me the
work of a fox.
Jackie also told me that the Environment Agency have
now closed the slipper mill drain sluice by hand after
phone calls to them yesterday about the danger of the
cygnets going through the sluice. So there is now also
at least some water in the mill pond.
I had a quick look at
the swan family on the Deckhouses Estate pond
which still has their original compliment of four
cygnets. They were all looking healthy and feeding
well in the nutrient-rich environment of the pond.
This pair knows how to choose the right habitat for
I watched the two
Great Black-backed Gulls on the centre raft on
Slipper Millpond for about 20 minutes as they seemed
to be coaxing a rather reluctant chick to take it
first flight. It flapped it wings a few times, but did
not take off while I was there. But it can't be long
Phillips had a quick look around the meadow. He saw
some butterflies, including Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper,
Large White and Comma. He also got a photo of one of
our Whitethroats. Hope they managed to breed OK this
JULY 14 - 2014
The Mute Swan
family on the town millpond is now down to two
cygnets. This loss of cygnets is not unexpected as
they are particularly vulnerable in their first few
weeks of life. I think they have done remarkably well
so far, though I would not be surprised if there was
another loss or even two, particularly if a local fox
has got scent of the brood.
There was no sign of
any corpse which supports predation most likely by a
fox. Elaine Morgan tells me there is a family of two
very lively adults and 3 fox cubs in Valetta Park at
the moment, which is no distance to the millpond for
an active fox. There must be others in the vicinity
too. This is nature working in the raw! The pair that
nested on Slipper Millpond this year actually lost 5
of their brood of seven, though the remaining two are
now growing well and look secure on Peter Pond.
Slipper Millpond the Great Black-backed Gull chick
was on its own on the raft, except for a
Cormorant. The chick is growing fast and will soon by
taking its first flights.
The Coot family
with four growing chicks were on the north raft on
Slipper Millpond, clearly not predated this year by
the gulls. Shoals
of large Grey Mullett were swimming near the
Hermitage Bridge. Golden Samphire and
Pellitory-of-the-wall are both in full flower on the
I had a brief
view of a Kingfisher perched in a bush overlooking the
Lumley pool close to the bridge with the 'No Fishing'
sign. It flew off before I could determine if it was a
juvenile, but I suspect it was from the information
provided by Ralph Hollins on the previous early
Kingfisher sighting by Pam Phillips on July 4.
Milinets-Raby checked the shore at Warblington this
morning (10:15 am to 11:35 am on an incoming tide).
Here are the main sightings:
Off Pook Lane: 5 Curlew, 88 Redshank, 5 Greenshank
(one with rings, but too distant for details - yellow
was involved so making it different from Conigar Point
bird), 2 Lapwing, 2 juv Grey Herons feeding along the
shoreline, adult Med Gull, Whimbrel.
Off Conigar Point: 2 Greenshank (one with coloured
rings G-R/GO-), 6 Curlew, 4 Common Tern, 2 Sandwich
Tern, 2 ad summer Common Gulls, Great Black-backed
Gull, lots of young Black-headed Gulls, 3 Redshank, 3
Lapwing. In the tamarisk trees were 3 calling
Chiffchaff. It feels like autumn.
JULY 13 - 2014
Daines and her friend Rose sadly confirmed Juliet
Walker's news from yesterday that the Swan family on
the town millpond was down to three cygnets. Jackie
said there was a 'very big gull' on the pond which
might have been one of the Great Black-backed Gulls
from Slipper Millpond, but I have also seen a Lesser
Black-backed Gull hanging around. A gull could be the
culprit, though I would not rule out foxes, or simple
natural causes. The Mute Swan pair were on the pond
when I walked round with the family this afternoon
with their three cygnets, all of which look fine and
healthy. But this is early days as cygnets are
notoriously vulnerable in the first few weeks.
has been in touch with the assistant swanherd at the
Abbotsbury Swannery about what cygnets should eat.
This man currently looks after over 500 cygnets and
feeds them on 'Chick Crumb' three times a day, by the
bucket load! However, he thought even a small amount
of this highly nutritious food would help the Emsworth
cygnets as it contains all the vitamins and protein
they need. Jackie says Pets at Home in Havant have a
5kg bag of Chick Crumb for £6.00. So, go for it,
This is the
tail-end of the Swifts season and they will soon be
leaving on their long journey back to the wintering
quarters in Africa. This is time of the year when we
get the best displays around the Bridge Road, with
family parties screaming around the houses at dusk,
doing some social bonding I gather. From my records we
used to have maxima between 20 and 40 on a regular
basis between the years 1997 and 2004; 2003 was a
bumper year with a maximum of count 60. However,
numbers have dwindled since then and 10-15 has been
the most we see; my best count so far this year is 9.
Ralph Hollins reports a similar decline in Swift
numbers in his area of Havant.
took his heavy camera gear over to the pond on the
Hampshire Farm site this afternoon and got a good
selection of dragonfly shots. The Broad-bodied Chasers
were busy as usual along with dozens of damselflies on
the mats of green algae, but there was only one
Emperor Dragonfly. I think these mating in Chris's
photo are Common Blue Damselflies.
Gulls in garden
had some rare visitors to his garden today - a pair of
Herring Gulls (with Magpie in background). This was
after he had put out some chicken scraps. Well, that
just goes to show. Incidentally, Ralph Hollins also
reported having a visit from Herring Gulls to his
garden in central Havant. He thought they may be local
JULY 12 - 2014
This is a big
day in the year for ants! The ants in my garden were
flying today as they embark on their "nuptial"
flights. This mating ritual happens on roughly the
same day across the country in warm, humid conditions.
Flights are synchronised between nests so that the
flying ants can maximise their chances of meeting ants
from other colonies to mate with. Queens mate with
males during flight, after which the queen will lose
her wings and try to start her own colony by burrowing
into the soil. Males die shortly after mating but
queens can live for up to 15 years. The most common
flying ant is the black garden ant (Lasius niger). The
ants seen scuttling around throughout the year are
As a follow-up
to yesterday's news, Jackie-Michelle Daines confirmed
that every night this week both adult swans and
cygnets have returned to the nest for the night.
Jackie and friend Rose have sat watching the adults
take it in turn to sleep, with one sleeping with the
cygnets and the other on guard. The Mallard family
have also been spending the night at this end of the
pond on their favourite rock. The local cats are
helping to keep the rats away and there's no sign of
Juliet Walker was down at the millpond this afternoon
and could only see three cygnets! Has one been lost?
had a wander through Brook Meadow yesterday where he
saw several Soldier Beetles feeding and mating
on the large flowerheads of Hogweed. These beetles are
really widespread on the meadow at present.
said it was extremely hot on Hampshire Farm this
afternoon but quite rewarding. There were dozens of
Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies darting around the
pond with several couplings. Broad-bodied Chasers were
hawking along the rim some mating in mid-air. The
males with their sky-blue bodies and the females with
their conspicuous blue and yellow spots are very
dramatic. Chris got a photo of a Emperor
Dragonfly which puzzled him as the blue body
indicated a male, but appeared to be laying eggs! It
was clearly not a male! My book say during warm
weather the upper surface of the female's abdomen may
Chris also spotted a
wader close to the pond which from his hazy photo is
very likely to be a Green Sandpiper. I have
often seen Green Sandpipers up the Ems Valley over the
says the photo of the first Blackberry in yesterday's
blog is, in fact, a Dewberry. Some of the distinctive
features are that it has relatively low growing bushes
with pure white flowers which are usually the first to
appear. Its fruits have fewer, but larger, segments
with a dull (not shiny) surface)
reported on today's walk by the Havant Wildlife
Report is at . . . http://familyfellows.com/hwg-walk-reports-2014.htm
JULY 11 - 2014
over the metal railing to have a look at the Railway
Wayside to the north of Emsworth Railway Station which
is now looking particularly colourful with a good
variety of wild flowers, despite the arid area near
the ramp which had been sprayed earlier in the season.
It was good to see
lots of Marsh Woundwort flower spikes coming up
around the site, though they are not as concentrated
in the eastern corner as in previous years due to the
invasion of brambles. Other flowers which can easily
be seen from the ramp without getting over the rails
including Common Knapweed, Great Willowherb, Spear
Thistle, Common Fleabane, Wild Carrot, Creeping
Thistle, Perennial Sow-thistle, Hedge Bedstraw and
Common Centaury - one of my favourites.
The first Cinnabar
caterpillars of the year were busy chewing away on
Common Ragwort. I also found some on Groundsel which
is also in the ragwort family.
the north path towards the railway I discovered the
bramble bushes already had a good number of ripe
Blackberries. I tried one, but as always, the
earliest ones are not really sweet. They will get
better and there's lots more to come. It looks like a
I was also pleased to
see the Great Burnet still standing tall and
with bright red flower heads making it easy to find on
the orchid area (which now has no orchids left).
Daines contacted me to say she walks round the town
millpond most nights and has been interested to watch
progress of the Mute Swan family with four cygnets.
She noticed that the adult swans were breaking up
bread in the water for the cygnets to eat. However,
the cygnets need more than bread to grow properly and
the parents' are sensibly continuing to stir up the
mud on the bottom of the pond to release small items
of natural food (insects) for the youngsters.
Interestingly, Jackie sent me a couple of photos she
took at about 10pm last Monday showing the pen swan
back on the nest with her brood, presumably to spend
the night there. They look quite secure, though I fear
the absence of water around the nest could make the
cygnets vulnerable to attack from foxes. However, so
far so good and the family appear to be thriving, much
against my expectations!
sent me this excellent photo of what looks like the
larva of a Harlequin Ladybird on a Corn Marigold
flower. Jill says these flowers are growing along the
inside of the hedge on the road side of the Horndean
Road recreation ground, probably from seeds sown by
the council when the hedge was planted.
JULY 10 - 2014
reports the latest news from the Hampshire Farm open
space: "The deer have made it to the pond area of
Hampshire Farm at last. I saw this doe feeding along
the edge of the pond where the greenery is lush and
There was a Skylark
resting on the fence with a beak full of insects so
the nest can't be far away. There were also 10 House
Martins and 6 Swallows feeding over the water. I have
heard that both Bellway and Bloor will be off the site
by Christmas, but still no sign of the open space
quest to photograph butterflies this summer Francis
Kinsella went to Havant Thicket yesterday and got a
photo of a female Purple Emperor, which are typically
all brown with no purple. Earlier in the day he got a
male Purple Emperor at Alice Holt. Here are two of
Francis's photos for comparison.
JULY 9 - 2014
interesting news from this morning's walk around the
town millpond was the sight of the first juvenile
Black-headed Gulls. I counted 9 individuals among
about 100 adults. They are almost certainly from the
breeding colony on Hayling Oysterbeds that we have
been hearing about in regular reports from Chris
The Mute Swan
family from the 'litter nest' still have their
four cygnets, which were swimming happily in the low
water channel. This is probably good for the cygnets,
as it enables them to reach small items of vegetation
and insects on the edge of the channel.
A Mallard family of
5 ducklings were snuggled together on a rock at
the northern end of the pond.
I had a short
walk through the woods early this afternoon. Blackcap
and Song Thrush were singing. Prominent along the
edges of the paths Enchanter's Nightshade and Selfheal
were flowering. I made my way to the Lorton Seat on
the eastern bridleway where I sat for 20 minutes or so
hoping for White Admirals, but none turned up. I did
see a single Silver-washed Fritillary, which did not
stop, and a chunky dragonfly - probably a Broad-bodied
Chaser. The area to the north of the old Holly Lodge
clearing is a good place to see Common Bent-grass -
with short blunt ligules. The more common Creeping
Bent-grass has long pointed ligules.
JULY 8 - 2014
out early this morning looking for the Kingfisher on
Dolphin Lake that Pam Phillips saw there recently, but
there was no sign of it. He walked round Slipper Pond
where he got this shot of one of the nesting Great
Black-backed Gulls on the centre raft with the one
remaining chick, now growing well. It should soon be
flexing its wings.
Malcolm went back to
Brook Meadow before the rain where he saw both
Chiffchaff and Blackcap. I could not resist his
excellent image of a female Blackcap. Let's
hope she managed to breed successfully.
correction - Valerian
Hollins and Martin Hampton queried my identification
of the white flowering plant on Portsdown Hill
yesterday as Pignut. Ralph doubted that Pignut would
grow on the chalk down of Portsdown Hill. I must admit
I was not sure about it, but could not think of
anything else it could be. But I was only considering
the umbellifers. Martin came to the rescue with Common
Valerian. He has started growing it this year and said
it looks a lot like my photo. Yes, of course. That is
what it is! I should have known, but I see Common
Valerian so infrequently that it slips my mind (not
difficult at my stage of life). I recall making the
same mistake some years ago when looking for Dropwort
at this place on Portsdown Hill and finding this
mysterious flowering plant. That clump has been there
for some years. Thanks Ralph and Martin.
JULY 7 - 2014
I had an
appointment at QA hospital this morning, so after it
had finished I decided to have a look at the wild
flowers on the hill and I certainly was not to be
disappointed. I parked in the main observation area by
the burger van and walked down the grassy slope, then
over a stile onto the main flower area. There I found
a glorious display of wild flowers of all colours;
with the city of Portsmouth and the Solent and Isle of
Wight in the background this is a spectacular
experience not to be missed!
I was hoping I might
find the rare Dropwort which does come up on this
hillside at this time of the year. I thought I had
found it when I saw a white flowered umbellifer, but
it turned out to be Common Valerian - see
correction in next day's blog.
Some of the other
flowers included Smooth Hawk's-beard, Lesser Hawkbit,
Hemp Agrimony, Agrimony, Greater Knapweed including a
white form, Wild Mignonette, Marjoram, Knapweed
Broomrape, Hedge Bedstraw (abundant), Ladies Bedstraw,
Wild Parsnip, Wild Carrot, Viper's-bugloss, Harebell,
Eyebright, Thrift, Restharrow and Yellow-wort. I could
just make out Salad Burnet which had totally finished.
Dominant grasses were Upright Brome and Smaller
Cat's-tail (a small version of Timothy).
Here are a few photos, but they do not do them full
justice. They must be seen.
Knapweed - white form
JULY 6 - 2014
Meadow work session
I went over to
the meadow this morning for the regular conservation
work session which was attended by 10 volunteers.
Lesley Harris explained the main jobs for the morning
which were mainly clearing the casual paths through
the main meadow by mowing, strimming and shearing and
making a start to laying a path to the new tool shed
which was under the supervision of Maurice Lillie as
shown in the photo.
I did not have
much in the way of wildlife observations. My best find
was the first Black Bent-grass (Agrostis
gigantea) of the year on the west bank of the
Lumley Stream. This is easily distinguished from the
more common Creeping Bent-grass by its large size, its
extra long panicle (25cm) and its long, blunt and
ragged ligules. No photo!
I saw a number
of butterflies during the morning including Meadow
Brown, Gatekeeper, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled
White, Ringlet and Large Skipper, but no Small Skipper
as yet on the meadow.
Malcolm Phillips was on the meadow this afternoon when
he also got a good assortment of butterflies,
including a rather nice Green-veined White
which I have not seen for a while.
I came across
a large fly with a white band across the top of its
abdomen and large dark spots on its wings feeding on
the flower head of a Hogweed. I don't recall having
seen one of these before, but my best guess from
Chinery's Guide to Insects is Volucella
pellucens (Chinery p. 206). It is sometimes
called the Pellucid Hoverfly presumably from the
apparently translucid band across its body. It is one
of the largest flies in Britain. and inhabits
hedgerows, woods and copses where it favours Bramble
flowers and umbellifers. Its larvae live in the nests
of social wasps and bumblebees, eating waste products
and the bee larvae. It is common throughout
had this fine dragonfly in his garden today. It
certainly looks like a Southern Hawker, probably an
immature one from its very pale colouring.
the Deckhouses Estate on my way down to North Thorney
I have noticed a pair of Mute Swans on the pond
to the south of the housing estate and wondered if
they might be nesting. Well, Kim Robinson provided a
definitive answer. Yes, the swan pair did nest and
hatched four cygnets on June 19th. Kim is lucky enough
to have a 'birds eye' view of the pond from her
deckhouse balcony and says all cygnets seem to be
doing very well. I have asked Kim to keep an eye on
the family and to let us know any developments.
Kim asked about feeding and my advice was she should
leave well alone. The parents are well able to look
after their own brood. Bread is certainly not good for
them. The pond is pretty rich from a wildlife point of
view so the cygnets should have plenty of nourishment
that they need to grow from insects etc.
The large Mallard
family on the pond did not fare so well; they
started off with an astonishing 13 ducklings, but Kim
fears they are all lost - probably to Mr Fox. Although
none of the ducklings appear to have made it, I
thought Kim's photo was a fitting tribute to such a
fine family in its prime.
JULY 5 - 2014
apparently very early early Kingfisher that Pam
Phillips saw yesterday flying amongst the boats in
Dolphin Quay, Ralph Hollins offered the following
"The survival strategy of Kingfishers is similar to
that of Water Voles - they produce as many young as
they can each year, driving their young away as soon
as they can in order to start the next brood
. . . see http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/k/kingfisher/nesting.aspx
Kingfishers normally lay seven eggs which hatch in a
dark underground nest where the parents feed the
chicks well but when the young make their way down the
tunnel to get their first experience of daylight, air,
and water I have heard one Kingfisher specialist say
that the adults do not recognize them as their young
but see them as invaders of their fishing territory
and drive them away without so much as a single
fishing lesson to prepare them for survival.
The result is that the very inexperienced juveniles
head off downstream and those that survive the hazards
of drowning or breaking their necks by flying into
things start to reach the coast in early summer. These
young birds can be recognized by two features - they
have a tiny white tip to their bills and have dull
coloured feet - not the bright orange of adults".
reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife
Their best sighting was Dittander, a white
crucifer which is extinct in Hampshire and just
beginning to flower by the harbour.
Full report at . . . http://familyfellows.com/hwg-walk-reports-2014.htm
JULY 4 - 2014
Phillips had some interesting sightings today on Brook
Meadow. One was a tiny mouse clambering through
vegetation. Although Malcolm's photo does not show the
whole animal, my guess is that it was a Harvest
Mouse, ie, blunt nose, brown fur and pale
underparts. This was Malcolm's second sighting of a
Harvest Mouse on Brook Meadow, the previous one was on
June 16. So we could have more than one!
Malcolm also got a
nice photo of a Gatekeeper showing both the
double-pupilled eyespot and the white dots on the
underwing. As an interesting contrast, Malcolm also
got a picture of a very tatty Meadow Brown with
a single-pupilled eyespot and the black dots on the
When he got back to
his flat Malcolm found this fellow on his wall - looks
like a Swallowtailed Moth which I believe
Malcolm has also photographed before.
and his wife went for a walk around the Chichester
Walls this morning, starting at the Cathedral
Restaurant they were entertained by one of the
Peregrines spiralling low overhead.
Chris says the Bishop's Garden is at its best now and
is pleased to see some weeds are allowed to flourish.
I agree. In fact, from what I recall, they have made
quite a feature of the 'wild garden'.
Chris got this photo of a Herring Gull with her
chicks on a chimney stack of a cottage in Orchard
Street which runs parallel with the North Quadrant.
When he got back home
Chris had a visit from this little chap - a
Harlequin Ladybird larva.
saw her first Kingfisher of the year flying amongst
the boats in Dolphin Quay at 7.10 this morning. It
certainly does seem a bit early for them to be leaving
their nesting sites.
JULY 3 - 2014
in Havant Thicket
saw an astonishing variety of butterflies during a
cycle ride in Havant Thicket yesterday:
"I had a cycle ride to various locations in Havant
Thicket via Bell's Copse today from 0930-1345 which
turned out to be a good purple day. I had at least 6
Purple Emperors one of the males which I encountered
flew around me a couple of times probably attracted to
my blue and white tea shirt and then landed on the
footpath only feet from where I was standing, a
magical moment. Other butterflies seen included
Silver-washed Fritillary 15, White Admiral 2,
Brimstone 5, Red Admiral 1, Speckled Wood 2,
Gatekeeper 2 and numerous numbers of the following
species Meadow Brown, Large and Small Skippers,
Ringlets, Marbled Whites and Small White." (as
reported on Hampshire Butterfly Conservation).
JULY 2 - 2014
The Mute Swan
family were swimming serenely on the town millpond
when I went past this morning with the two adults
closely guarding the 4 tiny cygnets. The cygnets were
looking well nourished helped no doubt by the food
they got in the Westbrook Stream. People were tossing
seeds and bread into the water, which were largely
ignored by the cygnets. The adult swans were using
their webbed feet to stir up the mud at the bottom of
the pond to bring up small items of insect food for
the cygnets. There is hope for them yet!
Concerning the missing
cygnet on Peter Pond, I had an e-mail from Pam
Phillips this morning to say it was back! She said the
two cygnets were with their parents on the embankment
on the east side of Peter Pond at 7am. I assume the
missing cygnet got separated from its parents
yesterday, but managed to find its way back! The
family were all back together when I went over later
this morning with the cygnets looking none the worse
for their adventure.
Black-backed Gull chick was having a swim around
the raft on Slipper Millpond when I arrived there at
about 11.30am while the female parent stood on watch
on the raft, constantly calling to her offspring. The
chick made several circuits of the raft while I was
there and looks perfectly healthy.
A Coot and three
growing chicks were on the north raft of Slipper
Millpond, another indication of the lower than usual
predation of chicks by the large gulls this year.
Wild Carrot is
now in full flower on the east side of Peter Pond with
a number of red Soldier Beetles on the flowerhead.
I met a chap
at the Lumley gate who told me he had just seen two
metallic blue butterflies which he did not recognise
fluttering around near the south bridge. I went over
to have a look and, as I suspected, the butterflies
were in fact two male Beautiful Demoiselles. I
watched them chasing one another around for several
minutes, hardly pausing for a second. There is no
doubt they were both males. This was my best photo.
I found my first
Marsh Woundwort of the year on Brook Meadow,
not quite in flower, but pushing its way through the
tangled vegetation at the northern end of the Bramble
path. The first Wild Angelica of the year was
in flower on the Lumley area with a Narrow-bordered
Five-spot Burnet Moth feeding on the flowerhead.
Rush is in flower all over the Lumley area with
its red tinged spikelets showing strongly.
who, lives in North Emsworth has been talking to his
neighbours about the strange behaviour of their local
foxes. In one incident a resident left out a charity
bag full of clothes which the foxes opened and spread
the contents right down the road.
Another case concerns Chris's neighbour who told him
that something was pulling up one of his Petunias in
the flower bed each night, always the same plant. So,
detective Chris set up his camera and caught the
culprit red-handed. It was one of the fox cubs, who
made straight for that particular plant and pulled it
up. The cub doesn't take it away or try to eat it,
just pulls it up. Most peculiar.
JULY 1 - 2014
When I walked
past Peter Pond at about 12 noon the Mute Swan pair
was on the water with only one cygnet. They definitely
had the two when I went past yesterday. So, from seven
at hatching they are down to bare bones.
Later this afternoon I
met Pam Phillips who told me she had seen mum with the
two cygnets at 7.10am swimming down Dolphin Lake.
However, by 8.30am when Pam was passing Peter Pond,
the parents were in their usual spot on the grass
verge on the east side of the pond with just one
So, the other one cygnet must have gone missing in the
hour and a half between these two times. The tide
would have been right out and the cygnets and their
mum would have had quite a climb to get over the
embankment from Dolphin Lake to Slipper Millpond which
is when the loss could have happened. Taken by a Fox?
Or even by one of the Great Black-backed Gulls? Or
just the fact that the youngster was not able to
clamber over the embankment and remained in Dolphin
Lake. Last year, I recall at least two of the Peter
Pond swan's cygnets were lost in the harbour having
fallen over the sluice gate at the south end of
Slipper Millpond. If anyone has any further
information I would like to know.
I had a look
at the town millpond swan nest a couple of times this
morning, but both times the nest was empty but for the
two unhatched eggs. There was no sign of the swans or
cygnets anywhere on the millpond. I had another try in
the afternoon when I finally located them beneath the
new grill over the Westbrook Stream at the corner of
Bridge Road and St James Road. The four cygnets can be
seen in the photo between the two adults.
They clearly were
quite happy and all six were feeding on the algae,
bits of vegetation and small insects that collect in
this area. Swans have often moved through the culvert
in previous years, sometimes even getting into the
Westbrook Stream behind the car park, though this is
no longer possible due to the new grill installed a
couple of years ago by the Environment Agency.
I just hope that no well meaning persons report the
swans to the RSPCA or such body as being in danger,
for they are in no sense trapped and know exactly what
they are doing. They can easily get back to the
millpond and will probably go back there from time to
time. But here in the tunnel they are in a safe
environment away from the attentions of Foxes, in a
cool environment out of the direct sun, and probably
in the only place where the cygnets could possibly get
enough nutritious food to grow and survive.
I noticed a
good flowering of Ladies Bedstraw on the grass
verge on Bridge Road Wayside
Phillips Did not have a lot to report today apart from
some butterflies, notably Small Tortoiseshell and
Marbled White which is says is very prominent on the
Lumley area. He also got this shot of one of Brook
Meadow's most identifiable insects due to its swollen
thighs. I usually refer to it as the 'thigh beetle'
though it proper name is Oedemera
earlier observations go to . . June