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Whatever your problems or mood let wildlife brighten your day (Ralph Hollins)

for August 17-31, 2014
in reverse chronological order

Blog Archives . . . from 2012 to current


Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips was on Brook Meadow today and captured this excellent image of a Long-winged Conehead showing its long antennae and long ovipositor. The first on the meadow since 2009.


Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley was on the Hampshire Farm site today watching three male Common Darters on one of the French drains. They appeared to be warming themselves on the pebbles, wrapping their bodies around each stone rather than just settling.


One was apparently newly emerged as it wasn't fully coloured. As they only live for two or three weeks I assume they emerge throughout the summer rather than just the spring. There was also a Southern Hawker plus several Common Blue Damselflies. There were 3 Swallows over the pond plus a good number of House Martins. 30 plus around the pond and others over the field. 

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby was inspired by Thursday's entry on Ralph Hollins's web site concerning Little Egrets flying into roost on Langstone Mill Pond to see what else comes into roost to Langstone Mill Pond. So, on Saturday 30th evening, he arrived at Langstone Mill Pond at 6:55pm (an hour before sunset).
On the low tide mud were: 41 Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank (G - R/BRtag -), 2 Grey Plover, 1 Ringed Plover.
At 7:10pm there were 46 Little Egrets in the trees with a single Grey Heron. By 7:40pm 16 had flown in. By sun down (7:55pm) another 34 had flown in.
It was at this point that I became slightly distracted by the flock of Swallows that was building up in numbers above my head, at least 400+ (very impressive). They swirled around calling, then slowly, but surely, in little groups of 40+ they dived down into the pond area to roost. No idea where they actually rested, just dropped into the darkness!
Between 7:55pm and 8:34pm I counted a further 99 Little Egrets flying in to roost, giving me a total of 195 (30+ short of Ralph's count, but with distractions, gloomy grey cloud cover - so difficult to pick up an egret in these conditions, I was pleased with my count).
Two blackbird-sized bats seen over the pond along with about 5+ Pipistrelle Bats.
Warblington shore
Peter was out this morning (Sunday 31st) on the Warblington shore (6:50am to 9:25am - very low tide). The highlights were as follows:
16 Yellow Wagtails over this morning all heading south (highest group was 4), 52 Collared Doves in Castle Farm.
Ibis field: Blackcap female, Whitethroat, Green Woodpecker, Male Pheasant, Goldcrest, 2 Sparrowhawk mobbing a Buzzard.
Conigar Point: 2 Greenshank (G - R/GO - ), 5 Grey Plover, 12 Dunlin.
Tamarisk Hedge: Great 20 minutes with the hedge alive with migrants, then 20 minutes later, nothing! Wheatear on hedge, 12+ Willow Warbler, 4+ Chiffchaff, 3+ Blackcap (2 males, 1+ female), 3+ Sedge Warbler (see photo) Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, 6+ Long-tailed Tits, 2+ Blue Tits, Cetti's Warbler heard with one quick burst of song.

Pook Lane: 9 Greenshank (RG -/YYtag - and G - R/BBtag - ), 43 Ringed Plover, 91 Dunlin, 4 Knot, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit (all in washed out summer plumage), 39 Black-tailed Godwits, 17 Little Egrets feeding together in the trickle of water in the channel, 2 Common Terns. And finally circling over the cemetery was a Hobby.


Brook Meadow
Francis Kinsella went for a walk on Brook Meadow this afternoon and got some good photos of dragonflies, including both male and female Common Darters and this cracking mature male Southern Hawker.

Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley discovered an unusual plant on the Hampshire Farm site which he thought, at first, looked like Edelweis. He found it growing in two different places along the eastern hedge-line. Personally, I had never come across Edelweis before in Emsworth.
Ralph Hollins came to the rescue, as always. He said Edelweiss grows above the treeline at an altitude of 1800 to 3000 metres and there is no mention of it occurring in Britain. He agrees it is not easy to identify plants from photos but he thinks Chris Oakley's find is in fact Marsh Cudweed. My only experience of Marsh Cudweed was on the Railway Wayside last year.

Regarding the Alsike Clover that Chris also found on the Hampshire Farm site (Aug 28), Ralph said it was a good find though he thinks it is only likely to be found where it has been sown as a farm crop and does not generally persist after the crop is harvested.

Farlington Marshes
Tony and Hilary Wootton had a windswept walk around Farlington this p.m. They saw amongst other things, a solitary Swift struggling to fly south, a good thousand Starlings, over a hundred Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Fox and a Small Heath lying at an even more acute angle than usual.

Black-tailed Godwit migration
Pete Potts sent me the following link to a fascinating Dutch web site showing the seasonal migrations of Black-tailed Godwits fitted with transmitters.
Most of those shown on the map travel down to West Africa. The web site is a bit tricky to negotiate, but I think the godwit to travel furthest so far is called Nouakchott (colour-ring combination: L3YLLY). It had reached Moyamba near Freetown in Sierra Leone.
Pete Potts clarified the situation. He said the godwits featured on the web site that winter in West Africa are of the nominate Limosa race. Godwits of the Islandica race which we see in Emsworth winter down to southern Spain and a few reach Morocco but they don't go as far as West Africa. These two races do not interract.


Emsworth Harbour
10:00 at the marina seawall. Tide rising to high water at 14:00. Brisk south westerly wind blowing into my face. It did not look very promising at first, but It turned out to be quite an interesting session.
Black-tailed Godwits were well down on yesterday; I counted just 48 with no colour-rings.
There were good numbers of Redshank as usual (50+), but one of them stood out clearly. It was feeding all alone and in a very active fashion which reminded me immediately of Spotted Redshank. Comparing it with the Common Redshanks, this bird had a paler plumage, longer legs and bill and a white fore-supercilium. It was not ringed.

This was my first Spotted Redshank in Emsworth Harbour this autumn, though Peter Milinets-Raby has seen some over at Warblington. This is very likely a bird passing through on its way south.
Another bird of special interest this morning, actually feeding quite close to the Spotted Redshank, was a Common Sandpiper. The last time I recorded Common Sandpiper in Emsworth Harbour was on 31-Jul-2009.

Finally, I also had my first Grey Plover of the year in Emsworth Harbour, looking very handsome in its bright summer plumage. A lone juvenile Shelduck (probably the same one that I saw yesterday) was swimming in the channel.

Brook Meadow
I had a slow walk through Brook Meadow this afternoon where the wild flowers were quite glorious. As always at this time of the year, late summer flowers provide a wonderful splash of colour, yellow carpets of Common Fleabane, flecked here and there with pink flowers of Red Clover, Water Mint and Great Willowherb, while standing above them all are the tall white umbellifers of Wild Angelica and Hogweed.

Oak leaf galls
On a less happy note, the new Oak saplings on the Seagull Lane patch have many leaves affected by the white fungus previously discussed by Ralph Hollins on Aug 26. If this fungus is Erysiphe alphitoides (as Ralph suspects) then it could be serious for the tree. See . . .

Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley paid particular attention to the water in the pond on the Hampshire Farm site today. Chris says, "the pond is very clear and is forming it's own particular eco-system. There are thousands of tiny water snails as well as small brown leeches, Water Boatmen and Pond-skaters. There is an increasing amount of Water-milfoil and Common Duckweed. The plants I took to be Yellow Iris now turn out to be Branched Bur-reed. This grows in abundance in the canal which is only a couple of hundred yards away. There are still Red-eyed Damselflies about but I couldn't see any sign of frogs or newts. I am still astonished that all these things seem to appear from nowhere. The House Martins are still there in numbers but there were only two Swallows.
Chris sent a close up photo of the mystery clover which he asked me about yesterday. He is now confident that it is Alsike Clover, which looks pretty good to me, though it is never easy to identify clovers from photos.


Emsworth Harbour
I positioned myself on the marina seawall at 9:30 - about 4 hours to high water. The conditions were very good with light wind and cloudy sun. I counted 95 Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the mudflats - one better than the count on Aug 18. I went through them carefully, but could only find one colour-ringed bird:
L+LL - This bird has been a regular in Emsworth Harbour for the past 5 winters. First seen here on 06-Nov-09 this was the 42nd record in Emsworth. Photo.

I located three colour-ringed Greenshank in the harbour, but there could be more.
RG+BY tag - Ringed 19-Mar-13. 2nd sighting in Emsworth this autumn.
G+NY tag - Ringed 18-Jan-14. 3rd sighting in Emsworth. Photo.
G+BN tag - First sighting in Emsworth this autumn. Photo.

Other birds recorded in the harbour this morning (apart from gulls): 36 Redshank, 8 Turnstone, 3 Curlew, 5 Little Egrets, 2 Oystercatchers. Mute Swan family with two cygnets - from Slipper Millpond? One juvenile Shelduck all alone on the mudflats - my first sighting here of the year. Photo.

Nutbourne Bay

I drove over to Farm Lane by 10:30 to have a look at the bay at Nutbourne hoping for godwits, Greenshank and possibly Spotted Redshank, but there was virtually nothing in the stream apart from a Redshank and Little Egret.

Nore Barn
Back to Nore Barn by 11:00. Not much there either apart from the semi-resident flock of 15 Mute Swans.

An unringed Greenshank arrived to feed in the stream; it looked very much at home and could be the one that feeds with the Spotted Redshank in the winter months. Swallows were skimming over the surface of the water.

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby (with woolly hat and gloves) went for a long walk from Warblington to the western edge of Nore Barn and back along the shore (6:51am to 8:34am - very low tide).
Ibis Field: Pheasant male, 1+ Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker.
And in the Cemetery extension there was a Herring Gull eating a Wood Pigeon - someone's old kill? (See photo). After about ten minutes the bird took it away towards the shore.

Nore Barn (viewed from west edge): 2 Stock Doves, 5 Shelduck, 30+ Swallows hawking over salt marsh.
Conigar Point: 5 Grey Plover, 66 Dunlin, 17 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Gull, 40+ Swallows hawking low over the mud and salt marsh with 6+ Sand Martins, 30+ Goldfinch in Tamarisk Hedge, Black-tailed Godwit juv..
Pook Lane: 9 Greenshank (G - R/BBtag - and G - R/GO - ), 9 Grey Plover, 26 Ringed Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwits, 60+ Dunlin, juvenile Shelduck.
Yellow Wagtail heard flying over on two occasions (the herd of cattle were in the farm and not in the fields this morning)


Malcolm Phillips managed his first Kingfisher photo of the year as the bird perched briefly on the metal rails of the small footbridge to the north of Peter Pond. Not one of Malcolm's best, but as he said 'It's a start'. The lack of any obvious red on the lower mandible suggests this was a male.

Fungal growth on Oak leaves
Ralph Hollins has been looking at the photo (Aug 16) of the white fungus on the leaves of the Brook Meadow Jubilee Oak Trees and wonders if the following might provide a id for it.
It describes the story of a fungus that was originally associated with Mangos and Rubber Trees in the tropics but now attacking Oaks in Britain as a result of modern world commerce in plants. It is reminiscent of the story behind Ash Dieback disease and is worrying.
Comparing the photo of the Oak leaves in the wikipedia article with the photo I took of the leaves from Brook Meadow, the two look quite different (though this does not necessarily mean they are different!). The white growth on the Brook Meadow leaves is in small patches, whereas on the wikipedia photo (and other photos I have looked at on the internet) of the Erysiphe alphitoides the leaves are smothered with the white mildew.

Erysiphe alphitoides


Greenshank news
Anne de Potier provided the following very useful information about the colour-ringed Greenshanks seen locally this season.
"Between us we have seen 24 birds, including all but 3 of the ones with geolocators. Our observations include notable old faithfuls: YG+GY which was first ringed in 2002, the same year as GY+GY, but this bird stays only for the autumn, and, having its 10th anniversary, LY+LY. There have also been some first sightings of birds ringed last September. There is a downloadable spreadsheet on the website which shows all this
I have looked only at roosts, and the differences between what I see and what those of you looking at mudflats are interesting. Often the roost which most birds go to has been too far away to study, so either the birds are hiding there or roosting elsewhere, particularly on these smallish tides. I don't think anyone has yet looked at mudflats east of Thorney, which contribute birds to the eastern Thorney roost where I see birds nobody sees on the western side (including YG+GY and LY+LY). All this reflects what we found out when we did that radiotracking years ago.
Good news is that RG+YY, a geolocator bird which we noticed limping last year, has been seen several times by Peter and me and seems fine".
Here is a list of the 2014 sightings from the web site reference: G//R+BB G//R+BL G//R+BN G//R+BR G//R+BY G//R+GN G//R+GO G//R+GR G//R+GY G//R+RO G//R+RY G//R+YN GL+YY GN+YY GR+YY LO+YY LY+LY L//R+WY N//R+RY OO+YY RG+BY RG+YY RW+BY YG+GY

Here is a digiscoped photo I got of RG+BY and G+BY in Emsworth Harbour on 13 August 2014

Greenshank migration
Greenshanks are familiar migrants throughout Britain and Ireland, sighted widely along coastal and inland waters in spring and autumn. Several hundred Greenshanks over-winter in the UK, mainly in the West and Ireland, but also here in the Solent region.
Breeding Greenshanks are found in the uplands of north and west Scotland, using the poorly drained, boulder-strewn peat soils of the Highlands where the landscape is more open. 1500 pairs breed in Scotland, some of which winter in the UK and Ireland.
During passage and whilst over-wintering, Greenshank use a wide variety of feeding habitats. Inland these are likely to be lakes, reservoirs and sewage-farms. On the coast, Greenshanks are mostly found on estuaries, but also on saltmarsh, lagoons and muddy shores.
Other Greenshank populations breed throughout much of Scandinavia and east to Siberia. These birds inhabit the taiga and forest zones of the Palearctic, including forest marshes, forest clearings and areas of scrub with lakes and bogs. Eastern Greenshank populations winter further south, through sub-Saharan Africa, southern Asia and even as far as Australia.
From . . .

Hollybank Woods
Ros Norton reported on yesterday's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
Go to . . .


Emsworth Harbour
I went over to the marina seawall at 3pm hoping to catch the Black-tailed Godwits on a falling tide. However, I waited for 30 minutes and only 3 turned up. I have noticed before that later afternoons are not a good time to catch the godwits. They much prefer the mornings. I counted 58 Redshank along with a few Oystercatcher and Curlew. It was great to hear the bubbling song of the Curlews echoing across the mudflats.

Malcolm's news
Yesterday, Malcolm Phillips was on Brook Meadow and got to see a Water Vole by the south bridge. This was sighting number 53 for the year so far.
Not so pleasing was a dead Common Shrew that he found on the grass path opposite the new tool store. Shrews are probably quite numerous on Brook Meadow, but we very rarely see them, except for dead ones. They are active day and night, but spend about 75% of their time underground. This one looks in reasonable condition. I wonder how it died?

Malcolm had two sightings of a Kingfisher, once at the top end of Peter Pond and again on a branch across the river by the north bridge. They must have been different birds.
Today, Malcolm went out on the solar boat from Emsworth. He said there was not a lot to see but he did get to see the Harbour Seals just off Hayling.

Spotted Flycatcher
Malcolm's most exciting sighting yesterday was what looks to me like a Spotted Flycatcher, though I am happy to be contradicted. A number of features support this identification. The faintly streaked crown with a hint of streaking on the breast. The long tail and wings with pale fringes on the wing feathers. Most distinctive are the big dark eye and spiky black bill. It also has short dark legs.

Spotted Flycatcher is a summer visitor and passage migrant in Hampshire, nesting mainly in the New Forest. Malcolm's bird is likely to be a bird moving through through the area from breeding further north on its way to its winter grounds in Tropical Africa.
This is only the second Spotted Flycatcher ever to be seen on Brook Meadow. I got the only other sighting way back on 29-Sep-2000 when I noted in my diary: "While waiting by the gasholder for Water Voles which did not show up, I watched a Spotted Flycatcher perched prominently on the bushes on the far side of the river, occasionally making sallies to catch insects."

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby was out this morning for a walk along the Warblington shore (6:55am to 9:10am - again another slow incoming tide). The highlights were as follows:
Cemetery: 1+ Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler,
Off Conigar Point: Shelduck 1 juvenile, Just 29 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, 6 Grey Plover, Spotted Redshank winter - same as yesterday, 2 Mute Swan, 1 juvenile Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank.
Tamarisk Hedge: 2+ Willow Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler,
Field by Reed Bed: 8 Yellow Wagtails (a few cows had been moved into this field, though the wagtails were very flighty and spent lots of time in the air , calling and flying around in circles), 1 Tree Pipit over south calling, 25+ Goldfinch feeding on thistle heads. 2 Wheatear (see photo).

And bird of the morning (just beating the Tree Pipit) was a juvenile Whinchat perched along the hedge in the field.
Off Pook Lane: Another Shelduck (juvenile), 29 Grey Plover, 17 Knot (2 in summer), 80+ Dunlin, 8 Greenshank (RG - /YY - and G - R/YN - and G - R/BBtag - ), 3 Ringed Plover, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Lapwing.
On Langstone Mill Pond: 47 Little Egrets loitering with intent with 2 Grey Herons.
Inspired by the info on John Goodspeed's web site, this afternoon I went to compartment 5 on Portsdown Hill to try and see Autumn Gentian (which I have never seen before - I have tried several times). I did not find the masses reported, just the one plant (well I hope it is one.


Emsworth Harbour
I went over to the marina seawall at about 2pm to catch the falling tide. When I arrived the only birds I could see in the harbour were Redshank - 86 of them which was the best count by far this season.
Over the next 30 minutes or so several small flocks of Black-tailed Godwits drifted onto the mudflats to feed alongside the Redshank. My final count was 75 godwits.
I went through them several times for colour-rings, but only found one: LO+RO - This is the 11+ year old bird, ringed in Iceland in 2003 as a breeding male. It has wandered far and wide since then. Last seen here on Aug 18 when this photo was taken.

I did not see any juvenile Black-tailed Godwits, though Peter Milinets-Raby had one at Warblington this morning, so they are coming in. Interestingly, we don't get the variety of waders in Emsworth Harbour that Peter Milinets-Raby gets a couple of miles up the coast at Warblington, but the harbour is certainly much preferred by Black-tailed Godwits.

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby had a wander along the Warblington shore this morning ahead of a very slow incoming tide (perfect for waders) 6:42am to 8:51am. The highlights were:
Off Conigar Point: 70 Ringed Plover (where have these birds come from and why have they suddenly appeared? - almost certainly a one off visit to this bit of shore - lucky to get one on a normal day),

Note on Ringed Plover Ralph Hollins checked with the internet and found that some 5,000 pairs breed in Britain and that the population triples to around 36,000 birds in winter. The extras come from Greenland/Canada and several sites have noticed mass arrivals recently (e.g. 172 at Ferrybridge, Weymouth, on Aug 21). Ralph says the ones Peter saw will be still on passage and is unlikely to see more than a dozen on forthcoming visits.

7 Grey Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank (no rings - normal winter plumage, as compared to the pale bird seen earlier), 1 juvenile Black-tailed Godwit (very smart looking bird), 48 Dunlin, 2 Mute Swan, 10 Knot (1 in summer).
Off Pook Lane: A further 62 Ringed Plover! 6 Knot (1 in summer), 31 Grey Plover, 9 Greenshank (RG - /YYtag - and G - R/BRtag and N - R/RO - and G - R/BBtag and G - R/YN - ). 87 Dunlin, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Common Tern, 149+ Redshank, 1 Whimbrel.
The herd of cattle were in the field next to the barn this morning and in amongst them were 10 Yellow Wagtails (14 seen on Wednesday when the herd were down by the shore field) and dashing low amongst the cattle were an impressive count of 60+ Swallows.


Brook Meadow
I went over to the meadow this morning for the regular work session. There was a very big gathering - around 16 volunteers attended. I just took photos! Main tasks were clearing the south eastern corner which had grown a layer of bindweed all over it smothering the grassland, and clearing part of the Seagull Lane patch. The sand bag dam in the north-east corner remains a mystery, but is probably the work of kids. However, it was decided to leave it as it was doing no harm and the bags would be safer in the stream than on the river bank. Here is one of the volunteers tidying up the dam!

I noticed a more Common Orache in the south eastern corner with its distinctive shaped leaves with the lowest lobes pointing forward arrow-like.

Malcolm Phillips had a walk around the meadow snapping insects. Among others he got this rather nice image of a fairly common day flying moth called Pyrausta aurata. P. aurata is locally common in England, Wales and southern Scotland, both larvae and adults occurring in gardens as well as wild habitats with the foodplants, ie the mint family. It is sometimes called the 'mint moth'. It is feeding quite happily on Common Fleabane in Malcolm's photo.

North Thorney
I had a stroll around the North Thorney area this afternoon. There was no sign of the Turtle Dove that Ralph Hollins saw on the overhead electric cables yesterday. I walked through the old Marina Farm stables where I did not see any Swallows. Have they left already? Or maybe they did not nest?
The dominant plant on the rough ground of the stables appeared to be Fat Hen with good quantities of Red Goosefoot mixed in with it. These two plants are quite different in appearance. Fat Hen is a tallish, mealy-grey plant with a long grey flower spike. Red Goosefoot has shiny irregularly toothed leaves.
I walked a little way down Thorney Road where I had an excellent view of a Sparrowhawk sweeping across an open field towards a clump of trees. There was a good variety of wild flowers on the grass verge, including Common Toadflax, Common Knapweed, Oxeye Daisy, Marjoram, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Redshank.

Fox in garden
Chris Oakley had another visit from this friendly fox to his garden this afternoon. It stayed for about ten minutes whilst Chris kept up 'a steady chat' getting him to turn this way or that, posing for the camera. Chris will be leaving food out for him tonight. Maybe, he will bring his mates round for a party?


Nore Barn
The tide was very slow to fall this morning - a low neap tide. I waited from 10-11am and there was still plenty of water in the harbour. Five Black-tailed Godwits turned up, but no others. 22 Mute Swans including a family with 4 cygnets were a surprise. Not sure where the family was from.
I had a wander around the saltmarshes while I waited for the water to recede. I was pleased to find both Common Sea-lavender and Lax-flowered Sea-lavender on the western side of the stream. This photo shows the difference in the arrangement of flowers on these two Sea-lavenders, Lax-flowered on the right.

Other plants in flower included Sea Aster, Golden Samphire, Common Glasswort, Common Cord-grass (Spartina anglica), Annual Seablite, Sea Purslane, Sea Plantain, Sea Beet, Sea Couch, Sea Wormwood. Sea Wormwood is a highly aromatic grey plant which only grows on the edge of the saltmarshes east of the picnic table.

Here is the glasswort
(sometimes called Marsh Samphire by people having it with fish)

and Sea Aster

A Red Admiral and a Hornet were flying on the grassy shore, but I could not get a photo of either.

Brook Meadow
I had a slow walk through the meadow this afternoon. The most interesting sighting was of several clusters of what I think were Roe Deer droppings on the grass path near Beryl's seat on the east side of the north meadow. The clusters of shiny back pellets and looked very fresh. I have had no deer sightings reported to me at all this year from the meadow, though they certainly do pass through from time to time.

There were lots of insects feeding on the flower heads of Wild Angelica as usual. Among them I spotted this striking Long Horn Beetle (Strangalia maculata). This beetle is a regular on Brook Meadow at this time of the year.

The only other observation of interest was of the appearance of a line of black sandbags neatly arranged across the river in the north-east corner creating a small dam in the river behind the bags. This looks like a deliberate action by the Environment Agency?

Thorney Island
Malcolm Phillips walked down Thorney today and got two interesting butterfly photos. One was a Small Heath - a fairly common sight on Thorney, but the first I have recorded this year.

Also, Malcolm captured this unique image of a Clouded Yellow in full flight showing its conspicuous back wing tips and also its curled proboscis. What a shot!

Bee-eater chicks
Four bee-eater chicks have fledged on the National Trust's Wydcombe estate on the Isle of Wight thanks to a joint protection operation by the National Trust, the RSPB and Isle of Wight naturalists. It is the first time the birds, which usually nest in southern Europe, have bred successfully in the UK for 12 years. Three of the chicks fledged last week and the fourth has tried out its wings in the last couple of days. If these survive, this will be the most successful ever bee-eater breeding attempt in the UK.


Emsworth Harbour
I had an excited e-mail this morning from Maggie Geggett to say the Black-tailed Godwits had arrived at Nore Barn. She counted 41 of them, along with a colour-ringed Greenshank, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank and a Lapwing. I rushed over to Nore Barn by 9.30, but was too late as the tide was way out and the waders had moved on.
I guessed they might have gone to the eastern harbour, so I drove over to the marina seawall where I found a very good flock of 94 Black-tailed Godwits feeding together, mostly on the town shore. This is the largest flock I have seen in Emsworth this season. Here are just a few of them feeding.

I found three colour-ringed birds:
G+WR - This is the mega-regular Emsworth godwit since Sept 2008 with 102 sightings in total! 3rd sighting this sason.
O+WL - First seen at Nore Barn on 25-Sep-12. Seen twice last autumn in Emsworth Harbour (east). This was the first sighting this autumn.
LY+RO - This bird was ringed in Iceland (Langhús, Fljót) on territory as breeding male on 11.6.03. I have recorded it a few times each autumn since then. It is a wandering bird, having been seen in many other places locally and in Ireland France and Portugal ( Anne de Potier).

There was also one colour-ringed Greenshank: G+BY geo. Previously seen in Emsworth Harbour on 13-Aug-14.

Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips went round the meadow for an hour this morning and got photos of several common butterflies, many of which were looking rather tatty, towards the end of their season. This one of a female Holly Blue stood out, showing well the dark tips and borders on the upper wings which are characteristic of the second brood of this insect.

I also liked this picture of a Honey Bee scrambling around on a flower head with bulging pollen baskets.

Wax moth larvae
Regarding the Wax Moth Larvae that I found in the Bumblebee nest on Aug 14, Bryan Pinchen says he does not worry too much about their presence in a nest as they are part and parcel of the bumblebees life. The bees are usually successful in rearing new queens and males before the moths get too rampant.
Bryan has far more of a problem with the number of nests that are ripped open and destroyed by badgers - he found 11 such nests on Martin Down recently resulting in none of those nests having produced next years queens.

For earlier observations go to . . Aug 1-16