NOVEMBER 15 - 2014
reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife
"9 met on a changeable morning to start with light
rain, but no wind. Sunshine later in time for coffee
break with a shower & rainbow, all at the same
time. We began by walking in a westerly direction and
as we passed one garden that had a pile of cooking
apples rotting in a heap, it was surrounded with wasps
& other insects taking an interest. As we looked
over east Trout Lake, instead of Trout some of us were
able to discern a huge fish launching out of the lake.
I could only think of a Pike, being long and silver
colour. As we started to survey Copse lake, a Kestrel
looked like it was chasing the Kingfisher who gave us
good views as it skirted the edge of the lake under
the tree cover, only to sit at the end fishing. This
was one of at least 5 views of Kingfisher this morning
and I certainly heard calls from 2 in a dispute, or
more likely a male & female. On this lake there
were the most Greylag that I have seen in recent
A strange duck dived regularly here but we did not
know whether it had interbred and what with. Derek
took pictures for possible I.D.
note: It looks
like a female/juvenile Red-crested Pochard with
distinctive white cheeks and dark head. The white
primaries show well on the first photo.
There were good views
of family Great Crested with the juvenile still with a
striped head pattern. Coots in abundance on every lake
that we surveyed, and Tufted ducks with at least circa
40 Pochard on Ivy lake. To finish our visit we went
north along a rubbish strewn path alongside the
holiday homes. Here we had a very good view of a Tree
Creeper and Goldcrest, with 3 Buzzards soaring
overhead. 45 birds seen/heard."
It was only
yesterday that I was bemoaning the absence of birds in
my garden apart from the regular female Great Spotted
Woodpecker. Well, the situation changed dramatically
this morning when I had a real bonanza of 12 different
species: 4 House Sparrows, 2 Blackbirds, 2
Goldfinches, 2 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits, 2 Long-tailed
Tits, 1 Robin, 1 Dunnock, 1 Woodpigeon and 1 Magpie in
addition to the woodpecker. But the crowning glory was
a bright blue Kingfisher which perched very
briefly (for no more than 20 seconds) on the back wall
where the Westbrook Stream runs down to the town
millpond. This was only my 5th Kingfisher sighting in
the garden; my last one was in Jan 2008. It was too
quick for me to get a photo, but here is a photo I got
a few years ago of a Kingfisher perched on the wall at
the end of the garden overlooking the stream. Not a
patch on Malcolm's from yesterday, but at least you
can see what it is!
Reed Bunting on the reeds on Little
Malcolm had a
walk down the west side of Thorney this afternoon and
got a couple of good images.
swimming in the harbour
had a walk around Brook Meadow this afternoon and
spotted what looks like a late flying Small White
butterfly. I have not heard any reports of these
NOVEMBER 14 - 2014
11:30 - 12:30.
I walked along Western Parade from the Emsworth
Sailing Club building to Nore Barn with the tide
rising to high water in about 4 hours. About 100
Dunlin were feeding along the edges of the
channel near the sailing club.
On the western mudflats were 81 Brent Geese
including four families of 3, 3, 2, 1 juveniles.
Also, 62 Black-tailed Godwits mostly at the end
of Kings Road including three colour-ringed birds. Two
regulars W+WN and ROL+RLR. Also, L+LL which I
last recorded in Emsworth on 27-Aug-14. It has been a
regular in Emsworth Harbour for the past 5 winters
Redshank was in the lower stream area plus
Greenshank G+GL. There were two more Greenshanks one
with rings, probably RG+BY tag though I did not see
the right leg clearly. Also, the obligatory single
Dunlin with the godwits.
Phillips had a good afternoon round the meadow today.
I know Malcolm has been stalking the Kingfisher
for a long time and today he got his best ever shot of
one. And it was brilliant. He first saw the bird about
50 yards up from the south bridge and followed it up
river until it came to rest on the large Ash tree on
the railway embankment which overhangs the north path.
As shown in the photo, it was a female bird, having a
red lower mandible. The male's bill is all dark.
Malcolm also got
photos of a Red Admiral, Robin and Blackbird
eating red berries.
was tempted onto the Hampshire Farm site by the warm
sunshine this afternoon. He reports:
"I was concerned about the water levels after so much
rain. The water in the pond was above the outlet pipe;
the level having risen considerably in the past twenty
four hours. I crossed through the Wren Centre to check
the outfall. The water was certainly rushing out very
fast but well within norm. I was much relieved after
so much trouble last winter. I checked the river Ems
level at the point above the weir, it is standing at 4
feet. Again, about normal, considering there had been
so much rain. There is some work being carried out in
the river above the weir. It seems that one of the
Westbourne houses is having its garden wall
heightened; a flood prevention measure I assume, so
the flow has been diverted to one side. The site is
extremely wet with a lot of surface flooding and the
water in the stream is much higher now but far from
bank-full. The meadows were relatively quiet with just
a few Black-headed Gulls and some Carrion Crows. I did
find one of the Clouded Yellow butterflies
flying around the top hedge. I wonder how long they
will be around?"
was interested to read the commentary on Tuesday's
blog about the white winged Carrion Crow that
he regularly gets in his North Emsworth garden. He
said the crow visits once or twice a day; in fact,
yesterday it came 3 times!! If there are no scraps, it
has taken to eating the fallen sunflower hearts and
fat ball pieces from the feeders. As for it being a
'nervy bird' his wife, Brenda, went into the garden to
throw it a chicken bone and it didn't stir. Well, that
just goes to show, birds are fickle creatures!
This morning lucky Patrick had the following birds in
his garden: Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Green
Woodpecker, Blackbird (M&F), Blue Tit, Great Tit,
Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Goldfinches, Dunnock
and Magpie. The female Great Spotted Woodpecker was
back on the fat ball holder in my garden, but hardly
anything else. And, yes, my bird feeders are full of
NOVEMBER 13 - 2014
along Warblington Road this morning I noticed a patch
of Sweet Violets flowering on the grass verge outside
house number 14 on the south side of the road.
Although Sweet Violets
are usually regarded as spring flowers, it is
certainly not unusual to see them flowering early in
mild winters. I often see them along the verge of
Warblington Road. There is also always a good display
of them in St Faith's churchyard in Havant, though
this year Ralph Hollins regrets they have been totally
eliminated by close mowing, he thinks in preparation
for Remembrance Day.
the female Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the cherry
tree in our garden, nibbling at the fat balls in the
holder. This was the 4th week running that this
normally very rare garden bird for us has been present
in the garden. The only other birds I have seen in the
garden over the past few days have been a Blackbird
and a Woodpigeon.
had a walk around Havant Thicket this morning and
spotted plenty of fungi. Here are a couple of his
The first one he calls Orange Coral though I could not
find this name in the official list of English fungus
names. My guess is that it might be Yellow
Stagshorn (Calocera viscosa). The greasy
look of the fungi in the photo suggests this, unlike
true coral fungi which are dry. But, I wait to be
corrected! It is similar to the Small Stagshorn found
on Hampshire Farm by Chris Oakley on Nov 4.
It always grows on wood, although sometimes the
substrate is not immediately evident if it has become
buried beneath leaf litter or moss on the forest
floor. It is common and widespread throughout Britain
The second one Graham
and I thought was a Common Puffball. But Ralph Hollins
responded to say he had never come across a
'double-decker' Puffball species nor one with such
prominent 'flecking' on its cap. He suggested looking
at . . . https://www.flickr.com/photos/photostefano/5121532724/
which shows an Amanita citrina (False Death Cap) at a
very early stage of its development before the cap has
separated from the volva (the bag at the base of
Amanita species stems). That could well be Graham's
NOVEMBER 12 - 2014
I got down to
Nore Barn at about 11am with the tide rising to high
water at 14:30. I counted 134 Brent Geese in
the main harbour with two families of 4 and 3
juveniles. So far this season I have aged a total of
714 Brent Geese, finding 84 juveniles, giving a
proportion of 11.76%. This looks like a reasonable,
though not outstanding, breeding season for the
Others: 5 Shelduck, Wigeon not counted. 80+ Dunlin.
Spotted Redshank in stream. Greenshank G+GL
snoozing on edge of channel. 32 Black-tailed Godwits -
little change in the swan situation on the town
millpond where the resident Mute Swan pair continue
rule the roost with their one cygnet, keeping all
other swans at bay. However, yesterday, I did notice a
second pair of Mute Swans patrolling the southern
section of the pond, which I thought might be the same
pair that were here last spring and constantly in
conflict with the resident pair. There was no sign of
them today so I presume they had been driven off, but
it will be interesting to see how the situation
develops on the millpond as spring approaches. Golly,
it is hardly winter and I am thinking about
Meanwhile, the Mute Swan family with two cygnets from
the Slipper Millpond nest were swimming around in the
harbour beneath the quay, not allowed on the millpond.
I know this is the Slipper Millpond family as the pen
bird is 'Polish' with pink legs and feet.
Phillips had an early walk to Slipper Pond in the hope
of seeing the Kingfisher. When he got to the kissing
gate to near the Chequers Quay houses he got a nice
shot of a Pied Wagtail which I think is a
resident in this area. Brendan Gibb-Gray used to leave
scraps for it.
As Malcolm looked
round the corner of the wall he spotted a
Kingfisher on one of the ropes of one of the
boats and got the following shot of the bird just as
it was taking off. I think this is the first photo of
a Kingfisher in flight that I have included on the
Malcolm got a much
easier picture of these two exotic ducks perched on
the wall of Peter Pond. They are both male Ringed
Teal (Callonetta leucophrys). I had
one on Peter Pond on Nov 3rd, but have not seen it
since. However, today it was back with its partner.
They are South American birds, east of the Andes, with
confirmed breeding only in Argentina and Paraguay.
There are numerous sites selling Ringed Teal so it is
clearly a popular duck for wildfowl collections. But
where the heck are these ducks coming from? Does
anyone know of a local wildfowl collection nearby?
had a walk in Havant today to have a look for Water
Voles by the wavy railings opposite the big Tesco's
store. He saw two of them and got a nice photo of one
having a meal. That is the place to go to see Water
Voles. Brian spoke to a lady who said she had seen a
ginger cat a while ago catching and killing young
water voles. That is not good news.
also got a photo of a Grey Wagtail in the
Swans' late arrival
The first of
the winter's Bewick's Swans has finally turned up at
Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the
latest arrival since 1969. They arrived on 6 November
- around two weeks later than usual. Normally these
small wild swans, which reliably migrate from Russia
to Slimbridge each winter, make their first appearance
in mid to late October. This year's late mild weather
and unfavourable wind directions delayed their
arrival. Good news was that the first arrivals were a
family because the swans desperately need more cygnets
to bolster the dwindling population.
See . . . http://www.birdwatch.co.uk/channel/newsitem.asp?c=11&cate=__15701
NOVEMBER 11 - 2014
with white in wings
sent me a photo of a Carrion Crow which has been
coming into his North Emsworth garden for the past 7-8
years. It is characterised by the white feathers in
its wings. Patrick says it is a regular visitor to the
garden and amuses them with its actions. On one
occasion they put out some broken biscuits, which the
crow stacked up into a pile so it could pick them up
to fly off to eat in peace.
Patrick is quite lucky
to get a Carrion Crow in his garden since they are
nervy birds and don't readily come into urban gardens
for food. They are around 18th in the BTO garden bird
league. I very rarely get one in my central Emsworth
garden, probably once or twice a year, though I
regularly see them flying around.
As for the white in the wings, this is not an unusual
feature of crows. I often see crows with these
aberrations on Portsdown Hill where they gather in
good numbers in front of the main observation area.
This type of aberration is usually referred to as
leucinism, which is a partial albinism, and occurs in
many species of bird. Here in Emsworth we have a
well-known Blackbird at Lumley with a good deal of
white in its wings. There are lots of images of crows
with white patches on their wings on the internet,
though exactly what causes them does not seem to be
Although the white
wings are usually accepted as some sort of plumage
abberation, I recall Ralph Hollins offering an
alternative explanation several years ago. I have kept
all Ralph's wildlife diaries back to 1998 and
fortunately came across it in the first one I looked -
1998. On Sun 28 Dec, Ralph wrote "'White winged black
crows' is my own name for the increasing number of
Carrion Crows which show more or less white in their
wings in flight. Over the past 10 (or 20?) years these
have become more and more frequently seen in our area,
and I am reminded of them now both by the fact that
one of four which currently visit my garden most
mornings has this characteristic, and by the sighting
of one on the 'Gipsies Plain' this morning which had
so much white that I had difficulty in deciding that
it was not a Magpie. I have heard that this 'variant'
of the standard Carrion Crow plumage started to appear
in the Channel Islands in the 1960s, has become
dominant there, and is rapidly spreading north across
Britain.. Although it looks like a plumage colour
variation the only bird with this feature which I have
handled was one that I found dead at the IBM North
Harbour site a good many years back and which had been
seen alive for some time before its death. The corpse
showed that the feathers were not partially coloured
white, but many of the wing feathers were still
partially enclosed in the 'plastic covering' which
surrounds the barbs of growing feathers and which
normally splits and drops off when the feathers are
ready for use - these had remained as seals, holding
in the barbs and giving the impression of white
feather patches in flight."
On this rainy
day I spent an hour or so browsing through Ralph's
1998 diary and a fascinating read it was. I came
across an entry for Spotted Redshank on the shore to
the west of Emsworth - Sat 6 Dec. This set me
wondering if this could have been a very early
sighting of our familiar Nore Barn Spotted Redshank?
Probably not, but a thought.
In fact, Ralph did have what was probably the first
definite sighting of the long-staying Spotted Redshank
at Nore Barn on 26 Dec 2004. He wrote: "While counting
the Emsworth Western Parade shore I heard a brief
'Chew-it' but could not see the bird and disregarded
it. A little later, just after passing the end of
Kings Road, a pale bird running fast across the mud
caught my eye, and when I put my bins on it I saw it
was a Spotshank - pale, with long legs and bill and
having a prominent pale eye-stripe. It's speedy
progress across the mud reminded me of the cartoon
The first time I personally saw the Spotted Redshank
at Nore Barn was the following winter on 15-Dec-05,
but I normally attribute Ralph's as our first ever
saw this cluster of shellfish down on Hayling beach
and wonders what they are. She said they were soft and
rubbery on black tubes. They look like some sort of
mussel to me, though I am no shellfish expert by a
long shot. Chris Oakley says they are Barnacles. Mike
Wells confirms they are Goose Barnacles. The
shell has five shiny white plates with a blue-grey
sheen. They are attached to debris by a tough stalk.
Although Barnacles resemble molluscs they are in fact
crustaceans. This is the group that includes crabs and
prawns, though barnacles have taken up an immobile
Head wader flocks
was down at East Head yesterday and got some great
shots of masses of swirling Dunlin. Look closely, he
says, for Grey Plover, Turnstone and Curlew. Anything
NOVEMBER 10 - 2014
09:30 - Tide
rising to high water in about 4 hours. Plenty of water
already in the main channel. I was a bit late for most
waders. Birds in harbour seen from the marina seawall:
340 Dunlin, 40+ Redshank, 12 Turnstone, 16 Lapwing, 8
84 Brent Geese in the upper channel near the town, but
only 4 juveniles in families of 3 and 1.
managed to capture godwits B+GO and ROL+RLR feeding
10:00 - 57
Black-tailed Godwits, including 4 colour-ringed
B+GO - I have no previous records of this bird.
Recently colour-ringed maybe?
W+WN - Regular winter in Emsworth since 2010.
4th sighting this season.
WO+LW flag - Ringed in Iceland 2010. Regular
wintering in Emsworth. 5th sighting this season.
ROL+RLR - Ringed in Kent 2009. Regular winter
in Emsworth. 5th sighting this season.
Just 1 Dunlin feeding with the godwits - How often do
I find that?
For the first time
this season we had not one, but two Spotted
Redshanks feeding in the stream, along with the
regular colour-ringed Greenshank G+GL.
first time I saw two Spotted Redshanks in the stream
last winter was on 12-Nov-13 just two days later than
today. More than a coincidence?
is the late Borage showing well the last of its
bright blue petals and dark column of stamens
went round the Hampshire Farm open space site before
the rain set in. Here is his report:
"Twenty Black-headed Gulls were on the pond. The water
is rather muddy at present because of the field
run-off off. The stream is running fast now and you
can hear it some yards away, it's becoming a real
'babbling brook'. The whole area is very wet
underfoot. I saw one lone Peacock butterfly sunning
itself on a post and there was a single Common Darter
over the pond.
All three Buzzards were airborne but didn't seem to be
hunting they were just circling and calling to each
other. One pair of Skylarks has now taken up residence
in the plantation, perhaps they will nest there
instead of out in the open, it would be a lot safer. I
managed to add two more plants to my list today Borage
and Zigzag Clover.
The Stinking Iris
is now clearly visible in the hedge because of its
pods of bright orange seeds.
I was able to spot two
more clumps that I had missed in the summer. There are
not nearly so many flowers around at the moment but
the Ox-eye Daisy has managed to stand up to the heavy
rain and there are some stunted Corn Marigolds. Some
plants like the Spear Thistle, Bristly Ox-tongue and
Ribwort Plantain are forming rosettes of new leaves
close to the ground. The patterns created are
fascinating. It would seem that we are in for twenty
four hours of rain so I doubt if I'll get a chance to
get back over there until mid week."
was back on Farlington Marshes on Sunday where he got
some excellent images. Bearded Tits are fairly
regular at Farlington, but I think this is the first
photo I have ever seen of male and female together in
one shot. I think the pale female at the back maybe a
Caolin also got his
first ever shot of a Cetti's Warbler, an easy
bird to hear singing, but hard to see and even harder
to photograph. A cracking photo. Well done Colin.
NOVEMBER 9 - 2014
Milinets-Raby was out this morning at sunrise and
checked the shore all the way from Emsworth to Pook
Lane (7am to 10:20am) Tide slowly pushing in.
Emsworth Harbour 7am to 7:40am Off Mill Pond
sea wall in channel adjacent to Emsworth town: 167
Brent Geese, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank in
the stream in front of the town, 3 Lapwing, 218
Dunlin, 16 Turnstone, 7 Grey Plover, 2 Little Grebes
in the channel, 3 Little Egrets. Further out along the
channel 1 male Red Breasted Merganser and 52
On the town millpond were 1 male Tufted Duck, 1 Little
Grebe and 1 Kingfisher.
Off Mill Pond outflow (7:40am ): 36 Dunlin, 29
Brent Geese, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 1
Greenshank (G//R+BNtag//-), 1 Grey Plover, 1 Grey
Off Beacon Square (7:45am to 7:55am): 21 Wigeon, 3
Grey Plover, 11 Brent Geese, 8 Teal.
Nore Barn (8am to 8:16am): 48 Black-tailed
Godwit (WO//-+LW//-), Spotted Redshank (not in the
stream, but in one of the deep muddy gullies), 49
Brent Geese, 31 Dunlin, 10 Shelduck, 1 Grey Wagtail.
Difficult to count the duck as in the gullies. At
least 34+ Teal and 15+ Wigeon.
Warblington (8:20am to 10:20am):
Ibis Field: 67 Collared Dove on the wires over the
cressbeds, 2 Mallard, 2 Moorhen, 2 Redwing over with a
Meadow Pipit. Cetti's Warbler singing from stream near
Conigar Point: 27 Brent Geese feeding in the
field behind the point, 1 Little Egret, 4 Black-tailed
Godwit, 2 Greenshank (G//R+BB//-), 26 Dunlin, 8 Grey
Plover, 1 Shelduck, 10 Teal, 10 Wigeon, 18 Bar-tailed
Godwit, 32 Brent Geese.
Pook Lane: 148 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Red
Breasted Merganser (1 male, 1 eclipse male and 4
females), 371 Dunlin, 141 Knot, 13 Shelduck, 312 Brent
Geese (on and off the fields, lots of disturbance from
dogs), 26 Lapwing, 2 Curlew Sandpiper (not seen
together, but two birds in different plumage - clear
juv and a moulting bird into winter), 2 Mistle Thrush
and a Skylark over, 11 Golden Plover, 1 Spotted
Redshank (could not see its legs!), 1 Turnstone, 11
Greenshank (at least 5 had no rings - RG//-+YY//-), 44
Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Grey Plover, 2 Sandwich Tern,
2 Wigeon, 40+ Redshank (-//B+B//RR).
to do the tough stuff, I was satisfied with a stroll
around the local area this morning and what a
beautiful morning it was, only to be followed by a
I noted down the flowering wild plants during the walk
which were: Bristly Ox-tongue, Hoary Ragwort, Creeping
Thistle, Common Knapweed, Red Clover, Yarrow, Smooth
Sow-thistle, Common Mallow, Groundsel, Purple
Loosestrife, Herb-Robert, Michaelmas Daisy, Common
Comfrey, Shepherd's Purse, Common Nettle, Dandelion,
Daisy. Grasses: Cocksfoot, False Oat-grass, Tall
Fescue, Wall Barley.
Other observations: I heard my first Great Tit
song of the winter period in Palmer's Road Copse,
not a full 'tea-cher' song, but instantly
recognisable. A Red Admiral was basking in the
warm sunshine on the river bank on Brook Meadow. It
had a badly damaged wing. Had a bit of a battering in
the storms I suspect.
Phillips sent me a selection of photos he took on a
walk down to Thorney Island this morning. Several were
of Stonechats. But I have picked out a couple of
interesting ones, both fairly common on Thorney, but
not all that easy to see (unlike the Stonechat). The
first is a female Reed Bunting with its well
marked face and streaks along the flanks.
At first glance,
Malcolm's second photo looked like a female Linnet,
more brownish than the Reed Bunting and less marked on
the face, but very pale underparts and well streaked.
Though, on second thoughts, maybe it is another
NOVEMBER 7 - 2014
We had another
garden visit this afternoon from a female Great
Spotted Woodpecker for the third week in four. I
assume it was the same one that has been here
previously as its behaviour was much the same as
before, scuttling behind the trunk and branches of the
flowering cherry tree when it caught sight of me in
the window, in true woodpecker fashion. This time it
clung onto the tree to feed from the fat balls in the
holder hanging from a branch. In fact, this was the
only bird I have seen in the garden all week!
Phillips found Brook Meadow very quiet today, so he
walked along to Nore Barn where he found the Spotted
Redshank was back in the stream after an absence of
near 3 weeks. Phew!
There were plenty of
other birds in the area including the usual Wigeon and
NOVEMBER 6 - 2014
13:45 to 14:15
- About 3 hours after high water. Plenty of water
still in the main harbour, but the stream was emptying
fast. Not good conditions for bird watching with a
very strong SW wind blowing straight into my face. I
hate south westerlies at Nore Barn.
I was hoping to find the Spotted Redshank and
friends which have been missing from the stream for a
couple of weeks, but a single Little Egret was the
only bird feeding there today. We have had no sighting
of the Spotted Redshank since Oct 24, though looking
at last year's records I see it was also absent from
the stream for a period of 2 weeks from Oct 22 to Nov
3, so this looks like a regular behaviour pattern. We
There were plenty of birds in the area when I arrived,
though they gradually dispersed as the tide receded. A
mass of birds were in the lower stream including 9
Mute Swans, 74 Wigeon and 34 Brent Geese including
good numbers of juveniles. Another 68 Wigeon were in
the upper part of the Nore Barn channel south of the
woods along with 2 Teal and a couple of Black-tailed
Godwits. Total Wigeon = 142.
I counted 48 Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the edge
of the far saltmarshes along with 4 Greenshank. They
were really too far away to read rings with any
accuracy, but I am pretty sure I got O+WL.
O+WL - This bird is an occasional visitor to
Emsworth Harbour, only the 9th sighting. Previously
seen this season 18-Aug-14.
Towards the end of my stint a small flock of 8
Black-tailed Godwits came to feed in the lower stream
area including two colour-ringed birds, both mega
W+WN - Ringed Farlington Oct 2010. Regular
winterer in Emsworth. 3rd sighting this season.
ROL+RLR- Ringed Kent Oct 2008. Regular winterer
in Emsworth. 3rd sighting this season.
NOVEMBER 5 - 2014
Phillips went round the meadow this morning. Nothing
much of interest except for a Little Egret fishing in
the river at the S-bend. Malcolm did well to get this
shot as egrets usually see you coming and fly off.
Malcolm had to
go to Havant in the afternoon so went to have a look
at the Water Voles in the pond by the wavy railings
opposite the big Tescos store. He saw four voles in
all, including one with a bad eye - not the one in
got this photo of a female Stonechat on
Hampshire Farm site today. Chris says she was a real
poseur, staying around for several minutes. Looks like
she took a fancy to Chris!
Chris also spotted
these fungi looking just like fried eggs. They look
like Sulphur Tufts to me. If so, they are
definitely not be to had for breakfast!
Milinets-Raby had a walk along past the Langstone Mill
Pond to Pook Lane as the tide fell (1pm to 2:48pm).
The highlights were as follows:
Off Pook Lane: 109 Black-tailed Godwits (just
one close enough for colour ring details R//R+LG//-),
355+ Dunlin, 111 Knot, 15+ Grey Plover, 8 Sandwich
Tern on the mud by the pub, 59 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1
adult winter Med Gull, 60+ Redshank (-//B+B//WL), 1
eclipse male Red Breasted Merganser, 4 Greenshank
((G//R+BRtag//-), 13 Golden Plover, 12 Shelduck, 1
Lapwing, 511 Brent Geese flew off the fields at
Warblington and landed on the shore. As I scanned
through them for rarities, I counted 107 juveniles.
Not a single Brent Goose was in the channel before
Langstone Mill Pond: 69 Teal, all displaying and
chasing the females, 1 female Wigeon, 1 Little Grebe,
2 Grey Herons roosting, 1 Goldcrest in with a tit
flock (6+ Long-tailed Tits, 4+ Blue Tits and 4+ Great
Black-tailed Godwit R+LG - I think this was one of
those ringed by Pete Potts in autumn 2013. It was seen
in Emsworth Harbour last winter and has been recorded
just once this year in Emsworth.
Brent Geese - 107 juveniles in quite a large flock of
511 Brent Geese clearly indicates a very successful
breeding season for them.
NOVEMBER 4 - 2014
reports: "This morning was bright and sunny and
despite the chill in the air the sun still felt warm
on my back; but a sure sign of winter ahead was the
flight of ten Redwing moving west to east.
The ground is heavy with surface water and the stream
is full and running quite fast now. The French drains
are working well with a steady run into the pond as is
the main drainage ditch.
The fungi have all gone after the heavy rain, the only
survivors are some brackets and these tiny yellow ones
called Small Stagshorn (Calocera cornea), which
seem impervious to any weather.
The two Clouded Yellow
butterflies are still on the bank above the pond and
the Heron is now a regular visitor to the east meadow.
There are still two Common Darters, but their
territory now seems limited to the pond. Two of the
deer were in the reserve and well aware of my
presence, choosing to ignore me. I also found 14
rocket sticks - they are always useful in the
Sparrowhawk popped into Patrick Murphy's garden at
lunchtime, but left empty handed. It stayed in the
apple tree for a few minutes preening and waiting to
see if any unsuspecting birds returned to the feeders,
but there were no takers. This male Sparrowhawk with
its distinctive barred rufous neck and underparts, is
a regular in Patrick's North Emsworth garden - lucky
NOVEMBER 3 - 2014
I did a count of the
birds on the three Emsworth millponds this afternoon,
not including gulls.
The resident Mute Swan pair was on the town millpond
with their single cygnet. The only other Mute Swan
allowed anywhere near the pond these days resides on
the grass verge on Bridgefoot Path. All the remaining
flock of 100+ swans, that Emsworth used to be famous
for, have been driven off by the resident pair which
have nested near the road bridge for the past two
Also on the town millpond were 108 Mallard and a white
duck and 9 Coot.
Another 8 Coot
were on Slipper Millpond along with a female Tufted
Duck (the first of the winter season), a Little Grebe,
a Cormorant and a Little Egret.
to Peter Pond where I found another 34 Mallard, 2
Coot, 5 Moorhen.
Also feeding with the Mallards was an unusual Teal,
which I have never seen before, except maybe at
Arundel Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
It was fairly easy to
identify from the books as there are not many Teal
species. It was a male Ringed Teal
(Callonetta leucophrys) which is a
South American bird, east of the Andes with confirmed
breeding only in Argentina and Paraguay. A quick
search on Google revealed numerous sites selling
Ringed Teal so it is clearly a popular duck for
wildfowl collections. This one has probably escaped
from somewhere. Interestingly, I noticed what was
almost certainly the same Ringed Teal featured on
South Today this evening.
Mute Swan 4,
Mallard 142, Tufted Duck 1, white duck 1, Coot 19,
Little Grebe 1, Cormorant 1, Little Egret 1, Ringed
is the family with 4 juveniles
along the millpond seawall towards the town I spotted
a small flock of 15 Brent Geese quite close to the
wall containing two families, one with 4 juveniles and
the other with 3 juveniles. This strengthens my belief
that the Brents have had a pretty good breeding
NOVEMBER 2 - 2014
rain severely curtailed this morning's work session on
Brook Meadow. Only four stalwart volunteers turned up
at the new tool store HQ, Maurice, Jennifer, Nigel and
Pam, plus myself as photographer. Maurice and Nigel
cleared away the hedge cuttings that had been dumped
over the gate at the Seagull Lane entrance. We were
pleased that Pam had brought coffee and biscuits which
we had in the dry interior of the tool store.
I had a short walk
around the meadow where I noted some magnificent
flower heads of Hogweed which continues to
flourish in spite of the weather.
Carpenter visited Nore Barn yesterday and despite an
unpleasant encounter with a uncontrolled dog, got this
excellent photo of the regular Nore Barn colour-ringed
NOVEMBER 1 - 2014
Phillips had a productive early afternoon walk through
Brook Meadow and down to Peter Pond. First he got this
excellent shot of a Jay in flight over the meadow; not
an easy one to get as they are swift fliers. What a
Malcolm also saw the
Water Rail in the river near the S-bend. Our
sightings had tended to dry up while Malcolm was away!
Next he got a snap of
a very late Holly Blue butterfly, one of a late
summer brood. They are usually over by October at the
latest, but this year (like so many recent years) is
Finally, Malcolm got
what must be the best photo of Grey Mullett
that I have ever seen. They were clearly swimming
near the surface on Peter Pond, but what a great shot.
They look as if they are flying.
John Tagg came
across yet more vandalism to the new flood defence
construction in the north-east corner of Brook Meadow.
He found another one of the heavy concrete bags had
been wrenched from the wall and tossed into the river.
John's photo shows two of the iron spikes that were
holding the bag.
John also noted the
presence of a plastic bag which he thought probably
contained drugs of some sort.
told me that a Bottle Nosed Dolphin had been washed up
dead on a Langstone shore. The Dolphin was male and
2.7m in length, first sighted by a local resident at
around 1pm on Wednesday 29th Oct. No obvious cause was
clear as to why it stranded but the Cetacean
Strandings Investigation Programme were contacted to
collect the body in order to perform an autopsy to
determine its cause of death. Here is a link to a
website with a photo of the Dolphin.
See . . . http://www.orcaweb.org.uk/news/bottlenose-dolphin-stranding-in-langstone-harbour
earlier observations go to . . October