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A community web site dedicated to the observation, recording
and protection of the wildlife of the Emsworth area

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

for October 17-31, 2014
in reverse chronological order

Blog Archives . . . from 2012 to current


Emsworth Harbour
14:00 - Eastern harbour: Tide rising to high water in about 3 hours. From the millpond seawall I could see a flock of 40 Black-tailed Godwits clustered closely together on the remaining piece of mudflat.

They all flew west at about 14:10 towards Nore Barn. Also, 34 Brent Geese with one family of 2 juveniles.

14:30 - Nore Barn. The bay was filling up quickly. Plenty of Wigeon and Brent Geese on the water, but I was a bit late to catch the Black-tailed Godwits on the mudflats. They all flew to the edge of the saltmarshes where I counted 76 including two regulars G+WR and ROL+RLR.
The only bird in the stream was a Common Redshank. There has been no sighting of either the Spotted Redshank or the Greenshank G+GL for a whole week!

Thorney Island
Malcolm Phillips went down to Thorney this morning via Peter Pond where he got a nice shot of the raft with Grey Heron and gulls.

Down on Thorney Island Malcolm got a nice image of a Clouded Yellow which apparently are very common during this warm weather.

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby had another quick walk along to the Langstone Mill Pond via Wade Court entrance this afternoon - 1:45pm to 2:55pm.
Off shore from the pond ahead of an incoming tide: 20 Knot, 177 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone (very unusual here), 11 Lapwing, 1 Shelduck, 48 Teal, 46 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Grey Plover, 126 Brent Geese.
127 Black-tailed Godwits (colour ringed birds and different from the other day? O+WY and G+RR and G+BG and L+WL and R+GR),
12 Greenshank (7 with rings - G//R+NY//- and G//R+BB//- and G//R+GB//- {These two birds almost impossible to tell apart} and G//R+BRtag//- and NB//-+YY//- and G//R+GR//- and RG//-+YY//-).

2 Kingfisher dashed off the pond together and flew around the channel before dashing back to the pond, 7 Sandwich Tern (6 resting on the mud by the pub and one flying around), 6 Teal and 1 Wigeon on the pond, 43 Teal and 13 Moorhen in the flooded horse paddock.

Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley reports a Grey Heron by the pond on the Hampshire Farm site. Still quite a few Common Darters, males all red and females duller. The log piles have a 'moving population' of fungi some only lasting a day. He watched a Sparrowhawk hovering over the plantation. Just beyond and above the reserve a Kestrel was being harassed by a couple of Magpies, which eventually saw it off. A Buzzard appeared and circled for a while, one of the Magpies flew toward it but veered off.
Chris got what he thought was a photo of a Clouded Yellow until he saw the image on his computer screen when he realised there were two butterflies joined!


Nore Barn
Malcolm Phillips went down to Nore Barn early this afternoon on a rising tide. He got a number of interesting photos of Black-tailed Godwits.
First here is one of the regular juvenile godwits with a prey it has just caught. Looks like some sort of worm.

Malcolm also got a couple of shots of a godwit stretching its wings. The second one is particularly dramatic with the bird completely disappearing beneath its outstretched wings.

Of particular interest for me was the fact that this godwit had a single metal ring on its lower left leg. This is shown well on Malcolm's second photo. I am very familiar with the regular Black-tailed Godwit colour ringing schemes in which a variety of coloured leg ring combinations are used to identify the birds. But have never come across a bird with just a single metal ring like this one. I shall ask Pete Potts about it.
Finally, Malcolm got a lovely photo of a Wood Mouse with its big eyes and ears crouching among the reeds.

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby had an hour to spare so he popped down to the Warblington shore just ahead of the incoming tide (1:30pm to 2:30pm). The highlights were as follows:
69 Teal, 10 Greenshank (G//R+NY//- and RG//-+YY//- and G//R+BRtag//- and ??//??+YY//- Full details not seen, but different bird), 60+ Dunlin, 97 Black-tailed Godwit, 174 Brent Geese, 4 Grey Plover, 1 Sandwich Tern, 7 Lapwing, 33 Golden Plover, 17 Shelduck, 1 male Pintail, 51 Wigeon.


Emsworth Harbour (east) - from the marina seawall. 09:45 to 10:15. Tide was good for bird watching with 4 hours to high water, but sun was too bright.
Hedgerow Crane's-bill is still flowering on the marina seawall.
Brent Geese 158 mostly along the east shore. Some were in the town channel. Two families; one of 5 juveniles was by the old wooden jetty on the east end of the town shore and a second with 2 juveniles in the town quay channel. As usual the families tend to stay close to the shore.

Brent family with 5 juveniles - the third family of this size I saw in Emsworth today!

Black-tailed Godwits 74 with two colour-ringed birds: WO+LW flag, W+WN - shown in photo,


Greenshank 4 in a tight group in the town channel. All four were colour-ringed, but I only managed to read three of the combinations: OO+YY tag, G+BY tag, RG+YY tag.

Nore Barn 11:00 to 11:30 -
Brent Geese 80 - Families of 5 and 2 juveniles in the upper Nore Barn channel. Another three families of 5, 4 and 3 juveniles near the stream. The 5 brood families were most likely the same as I saw here yesterday. It means the family of 5 juveniles I saw in the eastern harbour earlier was clearly a third one.
Black-tailed Godwits 67 - almost certainly including some from the eastern harbour. There were 3 colour-ringed birds: G+WR, ROL+RLR, W+WN (previously seen in the eastern harbour). One of the unringed godwits was limping with a damaged left foot. I have seen this bird previously this autumn.
The only bird in the stream was a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit. No Spotted Redshank or Greenshank for the second day running. Where the heck have they got to? There were plenty of Wigeon as usual, but no sign of any Pintail as yet.

Brent Geese: 225 with 26 juveniles in broods of 5, 5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 2. It looks like a good breeding season!
Black-tailed Godwits: 141 (overestimate due to movement between two harbours - more likely about 100)
with 4 colour-ringed birds: WO+LW flag, W+WN, G+WR, ROL+RLR. All previously recorded in Emsworth this season.
Greenshank: 4 - with 3 colour-ringed recorded: OO+YY tag, G+BY tag, RG+YY tag

Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley reports from today's visit to the farm
"This morning I took an early trip to the Farm - at dawn. I went to collect a night camera, which I had set up yesterday, I wanted to retrieve it before the early dog-walkers were about. There was just a hint of light when I first got there a little after six o'clock. The Roe deer were feeding on the meadow south of the plantation. In the half light I could see three of them and I must have been within fifty yards before the first one noticed me. She stamped her foot and gave one sharp bark which sent them off towards the reserve. It was then that I realised there were in fact five of them. The last time I saw that many was back in 2011, so I was really thrilled. There was very little else to be seen, although I did disturb some Skylarks. Strangely, there were a large number of Rooks across the meadow. They didn't make any sound, it was very earie.The picture is of the section of fence where I get into the site.


Emsworth Harbour
I started at the millpond seawall at 10:00. From there I went along to Nore Barn. The tide rising to high water at 13:00. Harbour filling rapidly. Bright sunshine with a pretty brisk south westerly wind blowing.

A cluster of 52 Black-tailed Godwits were gathered on one of the remaining green mudflats in the eastern harbour accompanied by a few Turnstone. I found two colour-ringed birds, both having been seen in Emsworth previously this season: G+WR and WO+LW flag.
Another 13 Black-tailed Godwits were at Nore Barn with one colour-ringed bird: ROL+RLR. This is an 'old friend' of ours. Ringed on 27-Oct-08, it has been a regular winter visitor to Emsworth Harbour over the past 5 winters. This was the first sighting of the 2014-15 season and our 73rd sighting in total.

Here is a photo of ROL+RLR taken in 2011

There was a flock of around 180 Brent Geese on the far side of the eastern harbour by the marina seawall, but they were too far away to age reliably. At Nore Barn I found another 78 Brent Geese including two families of 5 juveniles in each. There was no doubt about these brood sizes as the families were close together with their two parents. There was also a what looked like two singleton juveniles.
The only birds in the stream when I left at 11:00 were the two regular juvenile Black-tailed Godwits and a Common Redshank. No sign of the Spotted Redshank or the Greenshank.
A Red Admiral was flying on the shore path to the south of the woods.

Brook Meadow
Brian Lawrence had a walk around the meadow today got a photo of a female Stonechat on reeds near the Lumley pool on the east side of the meadow. Brian said there were two in the reeds near the houses in Lumley Road. Stonechat is a first for the Brook Meadow bird list taking the total to 62 and this year's list to 45.

Mystery bird?
Chris Oakley sent me a photo of a mystery bird that he saw on the Hampshire Farm reserve today. He says it was light brown, pale underneath and had a light eyebrow stripe and a dark line from the corner of the eye. The head was rounded and it had a small pointed beak. The throat was pale, but Chris says the most prominent feature was a distinct brown necklace which ran from the throat and low across the chest. It only stayed a short time moving from the Sloe bushes then onto some dead thistles before flying off.


My first impression on seeing the photo was of a Stonechat - the bill and the pale throat fitted OK, but it did not look anything like the one that Brian Lawrence got on Brook Meadow. Another possibility is Spotted Flycatcher which on jizz seems likely, though the 'necklace' does not fit. Anyone got any other ideas?
Peter Milinets-Raby says always go with first impressions. He agrees it is a Stonechat, almost certainly a young bird. He attaches a photo taken from the following website:

Ralph Hollins also agrees that Chris's bird is a late juvenile Stonechat.


Emsworth to Warblington
Peter Milinets-Raby was up early as the sun rose for a marathon walk from Emsworth to Warblington along the coast. Main observations were.
6:45am to 7:15am Emsworth Harbour off Mill Pond wall: 126 Brent Geese, 80+ Redshank (-//B+B//LW), 19 Turnstone, 8 Grey Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Little Egret, 1 Greenshank (G//R+YR//-), 1 Ringed Plover, 2 Meadow Pipits over south.
Mill Pond stream outlet: 1 Greenshank (G//R+BNtag//-), 1 Little Egret.
Off Beacon Square: (until 7:35am): 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Brent Geese, 46 Teal, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Wigeon, 22 Dunlin, 16 Canada Geese in far channel (one with funny head pattern).
Nore Barn 7:40am to 8am: Peregrine flew over and flushed everything that was on view and the birds all took refuse in the deep gullies. The bird then headed east towards Emsworth. After the dust settled, it was impossible to count Brent, Wigeon and Teal: 16 Black-tailed Godwit noted, 15 Shelduck further out, 1 Greenshank, 1 Kingfisher perched on a white buoy along the channel, In the stream 1 Lapwing and 1 juv Black-tailed Godwit.
Warblington Shore 8:07am to 9:45am: Ibis Field: Male Kestrel, 2 Goldcrest and 1 Chiffchaff in a tit flock.
Conigar Point: Nothing, because as I arrived two shooters were wading ashore with a very frisky retriever dog. I stopped and chatted with them and they had started since 5:30am and had shot 3 female and 1 male Wigeon. Tamarisk Hedge: 1 Chiffchaff calling.
Pook Lane: 60+ Redshank (-//B+B//OW), 51 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Grey Plover, 135 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, 171 Golden Plover resting on the mud. 88 Brent Geese, 5 Wigeon (some left!!!), 3 Greenshank (RG//-+YY//-), 68 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank (W//-+GR//-), 6 Lapwing, 41 Teal, 3 Shelduck.

'Spurting' behaviour
Tony Wootton paid a visit to Nore Barn on Friday afternoon (Oct 24) and captured the Spotted Redshank and a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit feeding together in the stream.

Most interesting from my point of view, the godwit was 'spurting'. This behaviour in which a wading bird apparently spurts water from its bill during feeding has been frequently observed in Emsworth, though it continues to puzzle the experts who have no explanation as to what is going on. See the special 'spurting' web page for more details and photos and a link to an article I wrote for a learned ornithological journal on spurting behaviour in a variety of waders. See . . . Spurting behaviour

Sabre Wasp on Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley had another fascinating insect on Hampshire Farm site today - a type of Ichneumon Fly (Rhyssa persuasoria) commonly called a Sabre Wasp. He found it on one of the plantation posts and it became immediately obvious where it got its name from. On a couple of occasions Chris said it waved its ovipositor around just like a sword, what with that, and its scorpion-like stance it appeared quite fearsome. There were two of them but the other flew off.

Chris also had six Commom Darters around the pond which included two coupled pairs. He says the deer are still in the plantation but with so many dog-walkers about they are keeping their heads down.

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipits are occasionally seen along the Emsworth shoreline at this time of the year and Neill Foster is pretty sure he had our first of the winter in Emsworth between The Fisherman's path steps and the old jetty this mid-afternoon - "Legs and bill very dark, pale eye-ring obvious. Feeding on, behind and in front of the sea wall of the houses behind the foreshore". Pity no photo.


Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips is back from his holiday in Cuba to resume his photographic activities in Emsworth. He got this nice shot of a Grey Wagtail perched on the railway bridge in the north-east corner of Brook Meadow.

No sign of the Water Rail, but Malcolm sent me a photo he took in Cuba of a Clapper Rail, which bears a striking resemblence to our own native Water Rail.

Hampshire Farm
Charlie Annalls finally managed to find the Hampshire Farm site today and was both surprised and excited to find her first ever Clouded Yellow. She says there was also a deer in amongst the "plantation" but was very shy and moved off before she could capture an image.


Nore Barn
09:30 - Tide rising to high water in 3 hours. The regular birds did not settle in the stream this morning due to human disturbance, but they were all in the vicinity, ie Spotted Redshank, Greenshank G+GL, two juvenile Black-tailed Godwits, Little Egret, Lapwing and Common Redshank.
I counted 28 Black-tailed Godwits, including one colour-ringed:
WO+LW flag. This bird was ringed as a male chick in north Iceland by Ruth Croger and Pete on 13th July 2010, which makes it 4 years old. It is easily recognised as it has a tiny 'flag' attached to the white ring on the right leg. It has been a regular early wintering bird (Oct-Dec) in Emsworth Harbour in each year since it was ringed, presumably moving on elsewhere for the rest of the winter. This was my 3rd sighting in Emsworth this season.

I counted 35 Brent Geese in the Nore Barn area; 17 were at the top of the Nore Barn channel including an astonishing 10 juveniles. I have found in previous years that Brent Goose families tend to gather together near the shore. It was not easy to work out the brood sizes as they were all moving around together, but I think they were 4, 3 and 3. There was another flock of 18 Brent Geese in the lower stream with one juvenile. That takes my personal proportion of juveniles to adults to a very healthy 19.85%. However, this is likely to overestimate the actual breeding success as I have not counted any large flocks of Brents where juveniles tend to be much scarcer.

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby went for a short walk to the Langstone Mill Pond just as the tide dropped at 3:30pm. The highlights were:
2 Greenshank (one very close to allow a record photo - coloured ringed bird with tag G//R+BRtag//- (previously seen on 24-Mar-14), 2 Sandwich Tern by the pub, 40+ Brent Geese, 6 Grey Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 42 Dunlin, 40+ Teal, 2 Grey Heron.


Nore Barn
10:00 - I got the bike out for a change this morning and cycled to Nore Barn. I was not expecting to see much as it was only 2 hours to high water. I met Brian Lawrence at the stream which was by now quite full of water.
We were pleasantly surprised to see the colour-ringed Greenshank G+GL, the two juvenile Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Redshank, a Lapwing, a Little Egret and two Teal on the edge of the stream by the saltmarshes along with 6 Mute Swans on the water. A second Little Egret visited briefly but flew west to feed along the shore. Surprisingly, the Spotted Redshank was not present this morning.

Juvenile Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Common Redshank at Nore Barn

A much better shot of the Lapwing at Nore Barn than before

A Jay was calling loudly from the woods to the north of the stream. Brian told me he saw lots of butterflies on the Hayling Billy Line yesterday, mostly Red Admirals and Commas.
I also met Roy Ewing who was clearing the edges of the main path to the north of the woods. He told me this was a regular and important job to keep this path clear for walkers.
Anne de Potier has put up a poster on the Nore Barn Woods notice board with information about and a photo of the newly colour-ringed Greenshank along with links to web sites for more information about colour-ringed Greenshanks and the Greenshank Project in general.

BTO Garden BirdWatch
Seasonal update: After a quiet winter and spring, last quarter (April to June) saw a return to normal garden bird numbers thanks to warmer and drier weather. Some birds seemed to have a particularly good breeding season, with both Great Tit and Blue Tit population numbers peaking earlier than in the previous two years; at the end of May rather than the middle of June. Corvid numbers also increased, but sadly Chaffinch and Greenfinch numbers remained low, potentially due to the effects of disease.
To keep track of which birds are doing well in your area, have a look at the results pages at . . .


Railway Wayside
I had a look at the wayside to the north of Emsworth Railway Station from the ramp. Noted several plants still well in flower, including White Dead-nettle, Bristly Ox-tongue, Creeping Thistle, Yarrow, Smooth Sow-thistle, Hoary Ragwort and some excellent heads of Common Knapweed.

Brook Meadow
The temporary concrete bag wall has been restored to its original condition. The bags that were thrown into the river have been retrieved and placed back on the wall.

I had a very good view of the Water Rail moving up river almost in front of the old gasholder. This was my first sighting of the bird which has been seen several times in this area since Sep 22. I actually managed to get a reasonable shot of it too!

It was very good to see and listen to a small flock of Starlings chattering away in their merry manner in the Ivy covered bushes to the west of the Seagull Lane patch. These are the bushes usually occupied by House Sparrows.

Grasses are flourishing again with Cocksfoot, False Oat-grass, Perennial Ryegrass, Annual Meadow-grass and Tall Fescue all showing spikelets. Drone Flies were on the Hogweed flower heads.

Nore Barn
14:30-15:00 - Tide falling. The Spotted Redshank was in the stream feeding with its regular companions the now colour-ringed Greenshank G+GL and the Little Egret. I was very surprised to find not one, but two juvenile Black-tailed Godwits feeding in the stream for the first time ever. Strangely, there was no sign of any adult Black-tailed Godwits while I was there; we have had only one juvenile in the stream for the past week or so. This must be a very good feeding area. Here is one I caught preening, showing well the pale fringes on its wing scapulars.

Others: 84 Wigeon, 17 Brent Geese including 6 juveniles in two families of 4 and 2. Just as I was leaving Nore Barn most of the birds in the harbour were spooked by an overhead Buzzard, which was chased off by a Carrion Crow.

Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley reports from the farm: "It was a cool afternoon on the Farm with a little sunshine but at least the wind has gone. There were three Buzzards over the east meadow which seems to establish my sighting of a young bird during the summer. I saw a pair of Siskin on one of the young saplings. The birds seem to like these trees as they are out in the open with clear sight lines. A female Pheasant flew up at me as I was walking along the top hedgerow, missing me by a couple of feet. It gave me quite a fright.
The picture shows what I believe to be a Tarnished Plant Bug (Lygus rugulpennis), yet another form of shield bug, feeding on an Ox-eye Daisy. Despite it being late October there are still a good selection of flowers growing in the grass. The Cat's Ears are flowering in profusion which gives a lovely yellow sheen to the meadow."

Grey Wagtail
Peter Milinets-Raby can tell winter is on the way, when he gets Grey Wagtails in his garden. "At lunchtime today a female popped in for five minutes to explore the pond as well as the rest of the garden. Luckily it stood still a couple of times for some crispish photos, otherwise I deleted all the other 50+ photos I took."

Brent Geese
Unfortunately, not local, but Tony Wootton got this great shot of a family of Brents, one adult and five juveniles, in flight during a holiday in Norfolk.


Nore Barn
14:15 - 14:45 - About 4 hours after high water, so the tide was pretty well right out. There was a gale blowing, though fortunately it was north westerly. The worst winds at Nore Barn are southerly and south westerly which blow right in your face. Northerlies are fine as one gets the shelter of the woods and bushes.
The first thing I saw when I got to the end of Warblington Road was a good flock of 68 Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the mudflats, the most I have seen here this season. Great to see them back and hopefully, they should be regular here until at least the end of the year. Despite the sun glinting off the wet mudflats I managed to read four colour-ringed birds, including two 'old friends'.
G+WR - My 5th sighting of this very regular Emsworth wintering bird (104th sighting), but the first time at Nore Barn. This is the same pattern as last year when it started off feeding in Emsworth Harbour (east) before moving to Nore Barn in late October.
W+WN - Another common Emsworth wintering bird, but my first sighting this season. Maybe it has come via Kent as it did last year? Ringed at Farlington in 2010 this was my 54th sighting of it in Emsworth. As noted in previous years the white ring on left leg looks yellow.
O+OL - Photo. This was my second sighting in Emsworth this season. The first was in the eastern harbour in August. Ringed on Thorney Island 26-Jun-05 as a first summer male (juvenile). It has been seen occasionally in Emsworth over the years, but is not a regular winterer. This was only the 8th Emsworth sighting.

R+LG - Photo. This was my 5th sighting of R+LG in Emsworth, though the first this season. I saw it four times in early winter at Nore Barn last year.

The Spotted Redshank and Greenshank G+GL were also feeding in the lower stream channels with the godwits. The juvenile Black-tailed Godwit and a Lapwing were in the low water stream. The Lapwing was my first of the new season at Nore Barn, but it and others should be regular here from now.
As the tide fell a mixed flock of Black-headed Gulls, Wigeon and Black-tailed Godwits gathered in the deep channel at the lower end of the stream, presumably to shelter from the strong wind.


Juvenile Brent
Ralph Hollins went to Nore Barn yesterday (Sun 19 Oct) hoping to see the Spotted Redshank. But he saw something much more unexpected - a single unaccompanied juvenile Brent which had been hiding in the saltings but which headed out into the stream outflow when Ralph disturbed it. Ralph hopes it survives on its own as, while walking back to Langstone along the shore, he found the body of another juvenile Brent washed up dead in the tideline.

Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley paid a windy visit to the farm this afternoon but as usual it was very rewarding. He saw three Roe Deer, one buck and two does, in the plantation area. Chris also saw yet another baby Common Lizard making the most of the weak sunshine. Chris caught a female Common Darter and the Noon fly (Mesembrina meridiana) both basking in the sunshine in what is probably a unique single shot. Well done. Noon flies usually have a distinctive orange-brown patch on the wings where they meet the body.


Godwits in Emsworth
Yesterday Peter Milinets-Raby went along the seawall around Emsworth Harbour with the family for a walk (4:30pm ). He spotted a flock of 86 Black-tailed Godwits resting on the stream entrance in front of the town. He only had binoculars, but could see at least four birds with rings.
I decided to have a look this afternoon with the scope at about 13:30 on a falling tide. I found a flock of 58 Black-tailed Godwits in the same area that Peter had seen them yesterday, feeding on the green weed shore near the town. I went through them all with the scope, but only found one colour-ringed bird, but a very old friend - G+WR.

G+WR has been one of the most frequently recorded colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwits in Emsworth Harbour. In fact, this was our 103rd sighting since the bird was ringed on Farlington Marshes in Sep 2008 as an adult male and our first since 18-Aug-14. It will be at least 7 years old.
O+RO - ran it fairly close with 96 sightings, but again this bird has not been seen here since Jan 2011 and it is probably deceased. It was ringed on Thorney Island in June 2005 as first summer bird ie hatched in 2004.
Also in the harbour were 16 Brent Geese with one juvenile.

W+GO - is the Emsworth record holder with 113 sightings, but I have not seen it since Sep 2012, so I fear the worst. It was ringed at Farlington in Oct 1995 as an adult so it was at least 19 years old when I last saw it in Emsworth! This must be close to a longevity record?
Pete Potts says "The UK longevity record for islandica Black-tailed Godwit is c.23 years old i.e. 23 years between date of ringing and recovery. The Dutch hold the record with a limosa bird I think which is c.30-32 years old! However, we hope to beat the UK record in the next few years as our first birds were marked in the early-mid-1990s with sizeable catches in 1995 and esp. 1998. We made the first catch in Iceland in spring 2000 so again in a few years' time they will start producing new records with luck."

Greater Burdock
I had a look at the rare Greater Burdock plants at the end of the Washington Road path just before the entrance to the Emsworth Recreation Ground. There are not so many of them as in previous years. However, they are covered with burrs which would cling to your clothing if you got too close.

The cluster of burrs at the top of long stalks distinguishes this plant from the more common Lesser Burdock where the burrs are more spread out on shorter stalks.


Blashford Lakes
In the interests of self preservation (high winds and heavy rain forecast for Keyhaven), Tony Wootton took the Havant Wildlife Group to went to Blashford and the safety of hides. They saw lots of fungi and birds, including this nice male Kingfisher.

For the full report go to . . .


Nore Barn
10:00 - Tide falling slowly. The stream still had plenty of water in it. Feeding in the stream were regulars Spotted Redshank, colour-ringed Greenshank (G+GL).

There was also a Common Redshank and a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit - confirmed by Pete Potts this afternoon - see below. Interesting, we also had a solitary juvenile Black-tailed Godwit in the Nore Barn stream at this time last year.

A man passing by reported having seen a small white bird with an upturned bill feeding in the channel south of Nore Barn Woods. The description sounded like an Avocet so I went to have a look. However, all I found was a Greenshank which does have a slight upturn to its bill, so that could have been the mystery bird.
I had a quick look at the pond in the field at the top of Nore Barn channel, where I spotted a Kingfisher perched on a rock, but unfortunately it saw me before I could get my camera out and flew off. This was the second Kingfisher I saw today. The other was on the river on Brook Meadow below the S-bend.
Just 11 Brent Geese were on the western mudflats, but no juveniles.

Later news
I met up with Pete Potts and Anne de Potier at the Nore Barn Woods celebration event this afternoon. Amazingly, the juvenile Black-tailed Godwit was still in the stream area and Pete confirmed it was a juvenile.
Anne told me she had seen the original colour-ringed Spotted Redshank W+GY in the Nutbourne stream. However, the regular colour-ringed Greenshank GY+GY had not yet turned up. This bird has been regular at Nutbourne for the last 10 years.
Interestingly, Pete told me has now got data from the GPS tracking devices that he put on some of the Greenshank. This shows that the birds went to Scotland, Norway and Sweden to breed.

Bird strike
Patrick Murphy was looking at the garden through the dining room window when he saw a Woodpigeon flying straight towards the window. Patrick said there was quite a bang but the bird flew off and appeared to be OK except for a few lost feathers and bruises.

Nore Barn celebration
This afternoon I attended a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the new seawall defence to the south of Nore Barn Woods. A large number of volunteers and other local people assembled on the shore by the new wall. Roy Ewing, Chairman, Mike Thomas Project Coordinator and Maggie Gebbett, Volunteer Fundraiser all gave short speeches thanking all those who had been involved in the project which was successfully completed this autumn.

Finally, the tape was cut by the Chairman of the Friends of Chichester Harbour to a round of applause.

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby popped down to Langstone Mill Pond this afternoon (1pm to 2:45pm): He walked in along the Wade Court road & paddocks. The highlights were as follows:
Horse paddocks: 1 Skylark over heading south, Bumped into a large Tit flock which contained 8+ Long-tailed Tits, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 3+ Great Tit, 5+ Blue Tit, and surprisingly a Green Woodpecker.
Partially flooded Horse paddock north of pond: 11 Moorhen, 32 Teal, 4 Grey Heron, 2 Pied Wagtail.
Langstone Mill Pond: 3 Grey Heron, 17 Teal.
Off shore: 9 Golden Plover, 12 Grey Plover, 63 Bar-tailed Godwit, 28 Dunlin, 5 Greenshank, 8 Knot, 8 Sandwich Tern resting on the mud by the pub, 54 Brent Geese, 94 Black-tailed Godwit (some with colour rings, but too far away, probably the same birds from my last visit), 50+ Redshank (B//-+B//LN and B//-+B//WL), 6 Lapwing.
Late afternoon, the best news of the year was Peter discovering his first Frog in the garden pond (At long last - it has taken five years for them to find it!)

Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley reports: "It was a pleasant afternoon with the sun breaking through making it quite warm. There was a flock of Greenfinches over the meadow. They have been around for couple of weeks now and the number seems to be growing daily, today there were around one hundred.
The variety of fungi is fascinating. On one of the log piles there was a growth of tiny orange 'horns' no more than a millimetre or two long. It is so difficult to identify fungi.
I got a nice picture of a Peacock butterfly, it's in perfect condition so I assume it's newly hatched.
I saw a group of flies basking in the sun on some old fence posts. I gather they are Noon Flies, Mesembrina meridiana, the photograph in Chinery is not very good but there is a better one in the Collins Nature Guide. The Ivy flowers are really heady with perfume at the moment and are attracting all sorts of insects. I even found some blackberries which still tasted good."

For earlier observations go to . . October 1-16