DECEMBER 15 - 2014
12:00 - Tide
well out. 82 Black-tailed Godwits were feeding
and generally lounging around on the mudflats and in
the channels. I checked as many as I could for
colour-rings but only found two, both regulars here
this winter: G+WR and WO+LW flag.
The tide was too low for Spotted Redshank in the
stream. Two pairs of Pintail were present as on Dec
11. But newcomers this winter were two pairs of
Gadwall. They were constantly feeding with the
Wigeon in the channels, but here is a shot I managed
to get of the two males. They are roughly in the
centre of the picture.
colour-ring problem resolved
sent me this superb photo of colour-ringed
Black-tailed Godwit B+GB that he took in the Breech
Pool on the North Wall at Pagham today.
Dave is a regular
reader of this blog and recalled the difficulty I had
in reading the rings on what was probably the same
godwit in Emsworth Harbour on Nov 29. At the time, I
consulted Pete Potts who said it could be B+GG or
B+GB, but he preferred B+GB, which I finally recorded
it as. Here is my digiscoped photo of the bird on Nov
Dave's sighting is
very reassuring as Pagham to Emsworth is no distance
for a Black-tailed Godwit to fly so I am fairly
confident that Dave's bird was the same as the one I
saw in Emsworth. So, thanks Dave for that and thanks
also for your great photo. Dave runs his own birding
blog which I would highly recommend for its truly
stunning photos. They put my own paltry efforts very
much to shame. Dave's blog is at . . .
Phillips sent me some interesting photos that he took
while out walking today. I was particularly interested
in this Great Tit singing its heart out as I also
heard one singing it full 'teacher' song in Bridge
Road this morning. This was my first Great Tit of the
winter. I have noticed how birds of a certain species,
but well separated geographically, often to start up
on the same day, as if an alarm suddenly goes off.
Malcolm also confirmed
the continued presence of the female Kingfisher on
Peter Pond. Today Malcolm caught the bird showing off
its brightly coloured wings.
Today at 12.45 Ros
Norton also saw a Kingfisher fly from Emsworth
millpond to the harbour shore near the Quay.
has just got round to processing his photos from the
little pond in Havant where the Dolphin pub used to
be. He sent me this interesting shot of a Water Vole
clambering up a small wall. Water Voles can climb and
have been seen up trees. But when shall we ever see
another one on the river on Brook Meadow?
Milinets-Raby had a quick visit to the Warblington
shore, walking in via the Langstone Mill Pond (12:32pm
to 2:05pm - low tide). The highlights were as
Langstone Mill Pond; 7 roosting Grey Heron, 1
Flooded Horse Paddock: 24 Moorhen, 2 Teal.
Off Pook Lane: 14 Golden Plover, 104 Lapwing, 63
Bar-tailed Godwit, 79 Knot, Greenshank heard, not
seen!!! 12 Grey Plover, 275+ Dunlin, 67 Black-tailed
Godwit (R//R+LG//-), 667 Brent Geese off the Castle
Farm fields and alighting on the muddy shore - very
spectacular sight. 22 Red Breasted Merganser, 30
Note on the
colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit R+LG. Peter saw
this one also at Warblington on 05-Nov-14. Previously
I saw it in Nore Barn on 21-Oct-14. I had four
sightings of it at Nore Barn last winter.
DECEMBER 14 - 2014
Phillips got a photo of a colour-ringed Common
Redshank on the mudflats at the bottom of South Street
this morning. The combination was B+B//OR. Left
leg: blue. Right leg: blue with orange over red below
This was one of about
60 Redshanks that Pete Potts and his team ringed at
Thorney (west deeps) on Saturday 13-Sep-14. All have
combinations as follows: BTO//B+B//xx. BTO refers to a
standard metal ring as issued by the British Trust for
Ornithology which can be seen on the photo. However,
the colour-rings are the important ones for
identification. So the sighting should be reported as
eg, B+B//OR The // is the international convention for
the leg joint and telling tibia from
discovered the first sign of spring today in the form
of a Lesser Celandine flower by the Lymbourne stream
just south of the Havant bypass, equalling the
earliest date that he have ever seen one. A photo of
one from my files.
Cath Mant saw
3 Spoonbills in the freshwater lagoon between Snowhill
Creek and East Head yesterday (Dec 13). These could
well have been the same birds that Barry Collins saw
feeding on the mudflats just off South Stakes Island
on Dec 3.
Ralph Hollins reported that an astonishing 43
Spoonbills were seen at Shipstal Point on the Wytch
channel close to the Arne RSPB centre on 24/11 and
also 32 at Brownsea Island on the same day, though
Ralph suspects these are the same birds.
Here is a photo I took of the only Spoonbill I have
ever seen in Emsworth Harbour in December 2002. This
was taken in the low water channel near the quay. I
recall it even came onto the town millpond. A
Hollins's 'very tentative entry' for the Bird Photo
quiz is Robin. My own guess is Meadow Pipit. Any other
ideas. It was taken by Malcolm Phillips on Thorney
DECEMBER 13 - 2014
Milinets-Raby thinks the Chiffchaff that Malcolm
Phillips photographed by the south bridge on Brook
Meadow on Dec 11 is too grey for a regular Chiffchaff.
Here is Malcolm's photo taken on Dec 11.
Malcolm's photo shows
a very grey, cold cast to the plumage and Peter
considers the bird is potentially a Phylloscopus
collybita tristis - Siberian
Chiffchaff. This is an eastern race of Chiffchaff
which breeds in coniferous taiga forest from the Ural
region eastwards. It winters mainly in India, though
odd birds stray to Western Europe annually in autumn
visiting the following page to get an idea of recently
photographed birds to understand why Malcolm's bird
has potential as a Siberian Chiffchaff . . .
The best ID pointer is the bird's call, described in
the Collins Guide as "a mournful piping, straight (or
negligibly downslurred) 'viip'". Its song is faster
and more varied than the standard Chiffchaff. However,
Malcolm did not hear a call or song.
For other references to the song and call of Siberian
Chiffchaff Peter suggests the following but warns, "be
prepared to have your head messed with!"
I went over to the
meadow this morning to look and listen for Chiffchaff
near the south bridge and elsewhere, but heard nothing
except the sweet song of a Robin and the twittering of
Goldfinches and a Woodpigeon 'coo-cooing' its raunchy
Phillips found Thorney Island more profitable than
Brook Meadow for wildlife photography today. He was
particularly pleased to find both male and female
Bearded Tits showing well at the Little Deeps along
with Reed Buntings and a Kingfisher. Here is Malcolm's
shot of the male Bearded Tit.
Here is another of
Malcolm's photo which is a bit tricky. I will leave it
as a mystery. What do you think?
DECEMBER 12 - 2014
visiting pair of Mute Swans appear to have
settled down on the town millpond despite threatening
displays from the resident pair that nested here in
the spring. The visiting pair usually keep to the
southern part of the pond, though they can often be
seen advancing on the resident pair with wings raised.
They circle around each other, but there has been no
serious conflict as yet so far as I am aware.
Meanwhile, the poor rejected swan sits alone, nibbling
the grass verge on Bridgefoot Path.
There was no sign of the Red-breasted Mergansers on
the millpond this morning, so I suspect they have
moved away. However, it was good to see the first
Tufted Duck of the winter, a lone male. Let's hope
there are more to come. I don't recall seeing any on
the millpond last year.
I counted 34
Coot today, which is a surprisingly large number
for this pond, maybe the first of the winter
gathering. Previously they have always assembled in
the harbour beneath the quay. Four Cormorants
were fishing on the pond which presumably indicates it
is well stocked with fish.
As I walked
round the millpond I could see large skeins of
Brent Geese swirling around in the sky and
coming down into the harbour, probably having just got
back from their visit to the Southbourne fields.
Juvenile Black-tailed Godwits are now a very
regular feature in the channel near the quay; there
were four of them this morning, chasing one another
and chattering away. It is interesting how they keep
clear of the main flock of adults during feeding. Here
is a photo I took of one of them showing well the
white edges to the brown wing scapulars.
When I looked through
my photos at home I found one showing this bird
clearly 'spurting' water from its bill. This fairly
common behaviour continues to baffle the experts as
waders are thought not to be capable of forcibly
ejecting water from their bills.
For more discussion
about spurting and many photos go to . . .
Phillips walked down west Thorney again today. On the
way he took this photo of the coral-like growths on
the now open lock gates of Slipper Millpond.
These are the
calcareous tubes created by a Tube Worm called
Ficopomatus enigmaticus which has been
identified and studied over the years by scientists
from the University of Portsmouth. The corals can be
best seen when the pond is drained as it is at
present; they attach themselves to anything hard.
Looked at closely one can see the hundreds of tubes
that make up the corals. They can, of course, damage
the sluice gates particularly on the hinges.
Malcolm did not get
any Bearded Tits at the Thorney Deeps but he did get
this little fellow doing a fair imitation of one.
reports on today on Hampshire Farm:
"I was accompanied by a blustery west wind for today's
visit and being so open I really felt the cold. There
was a small group of Redwing feeding along the eastern
hedge with a flock of fifty or so Starlings. Even in a
small group like that, the Starlings are fascinating
to watch, their aerobatics never fail to amaze me. A
Grey Heron flew overhead but didn't settle and one of
the Buzzards was having a hard time from two of the
Carrion Crows. I did notice that one of the woodpecker
holes is now being investigated by a pair of
Surprisingly, there are still a few plants in flower.
There are one or two Scentless Mayweed out in the
grass. Around the edges there are some Canadian
Fleabane and a resurgence of Prickly Lettuce.
Strangest of all, the Marsh Cudweed is producing some
more flowers. There is still a lot of ground water and
the stream is now full. The Ems is muddy and running
much faster than a few days ago.. I noticed this
morning that the Lavant is beginning to fill up as
well. Only nineteen days and we all start making new
lists again; birds, flowers, insects, etc., who knows
what we may see."
went over to Blashford Lakes today while his wife
Hilary stayed home and had two Blackcaps in the
garden. This is interesting in view of the one
that Malcolm Phillips got on Brook Meadow yesterday.
So, clearly they have arrived and we need to look out
for them in our gardens.
Tony was hoping for a glut of Kingfishers at
Blashford, but found none! However, he did manage to
snap this handsome Bittern as it flew past.
Tony apologies for the awful photo, but ample
compensation for missing those Blackcaps.
When at Barnes
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust earlier in the week Tony
got a photo of this chappie which will be familiar to
readers of this blog as a male Ringed Teal, two
of which we have had on the local millponds in the
DECEMBER 11 - 2014
10:30 - 11:30
- I cycled down to the millpond seawall and along to
Nore Barn with the tide rising to high water in about
There was no sign of the Red-breasted Mergansers on
the millpond, so it looks as if they have moved on.
Just two Cormorants were fishing there.
Three Dunlin and a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit were
feeding along the edge of the channel near the quay,
quite close to the seawall. These are fairly regular
here at low water. I managed to get quite a nice photo
of one of the Dunlin. This shows well the
slightly downward curving jet black bill, grey
upperparts and white underparts faintly streaked at
the sides of the breast.
A family of Brent
Geese of 2 adults and 4 juveniles were on the near
mudflats. Another 200+ Brent were further out with a
good smattering of juveniles. I counted 28
Black-tailed Godwits feeding in the channel, but no
colour-rings. My impression is that the Brents and the
Godwits have had good breeding seasons. I also counted
52 Lapwing on a rapidly diminishing weedy rock.
At Nore Barn 82 Black-tailed Godwits were feeding on
the mudflats, including two regular colour-ringed
birds: WO+LW flag and ROL+RLR. Two Spotted Redshanks
were in the stream.
I had my first Pintail of the winter, two
male-female pairs. Pintail are regular here in the
winter and I have been expecting them. Numbers could
rise to 20 or 30. Here is one of the pairs.
There was a
bonanza of birds in my garden today, which is a great
relief after such a long period of almost total
absence. The two Great Spotted Woodpeckers
arrived as usual, though not at the same time. They
are now daily visitors. The female came to the fat
balls as usual and has now learned to cling onto the
feeder itself rather than lean across from the tree.
The male is much more adventurous and today had a go
at feeding from the sunflower hearts feeder which I
have not seen before.
Four Greenfinches were
good to see on the sunflower hearts along with the
Goldfinches. I am having to fill the feeders every
day. Best of all were a small flock of 12
Starlings which were feeding on the ground
beneath the fat balls on droppings produced by the
woodpeckers. One of the Starlings actually fed on the
fat balls for a while. Let's hope this is the start of
Phillips spent most of the day going round the meadow
trying to find a Water Vole, but without any success.
If Malcolm cannot find one then that is worrying.
However, he did find both the Water Rail and the
Little Egret in the usual area by the S-bend.
More interesting were photos of two wintering warblers
which Malcolm spotted on the meadow. The
Chiffchaff by the south bridge was not all that
surprising, as we have a regular wintering population
on Brook Meadow, though it was the first I have had
reported this winter.
Blackcap that Malcolm got in the north west corner
of the meadow was more interesting. It is now well
established that the regular wintering population of
Blackcaps in the South of England are birds that have
migrated here from the Continent. They are not the
same population that migrate here in the summer from
Africa. Again, this was the first wintering Blackcap
that I have had reported locally. Female Blackcaps
have a brown crown in contrast to the males whose
crowns are black.
Malcolm also had a
walk round Peter Pond where he found the Kingfisher
sitting on the table as usual when the tide comes in
and a Water Rail near the reeds. Finally he got this
image of a fine Brown Trout in the stream near
offers a couple of possible answers to Chris Oakley's
query about the mystery path across the Hampshire Farm
site reported in yesterday's blog. Ralph says, "For
what it is worth my random guess about the origin of
this line across the field is that it was caused by
faulty agricultural machinery inadvertently laying an
extra strong line of some chemical in the past (maybe
long before the sowing of the grass) and that this has
polluted the soil and so reduced growth of anything
such as the grass to grow along the line of the
I think it is misleading to call it a path but it
could of course be caused by the magical properties of
a 'Ley Line' and in view of this morning's news of
Greenpeace being fined for damage to the ancient Nazca
Lines in Peru I would be wary of damaging this
Emsworth relic of a prehistoric visit created by
litttle green men from space".
DECEMBER 10 - 2014
Phillips went round Brook Meadow this morning found
the Water Rail and Little Egret feeding in the
area of the river which has just been cleared of
fallen trees by the Environment Agency.
Malcolm saw the usual
female Kingfisher perched on the table to the
north of Peter Pond. This bird is so easy to see.
Over on Slipper
Millpond Malcolm found the pair of Mute Swans with
their two cygnets. This is most likely to be the
pair that nested here in the spring producing two
cygnets. Back to check out the nest site? They have
been in the harbour near the quay for much of the
wants help with a mystery path that runs across the
main grassland on the Hampshire Farm site in north
Emsworth. Chris says "It measures about 300 yards
long, is about eight or nine inches across and is
perfectly straight and yet has no end or beginning. It
runs diagonally across the grass planting line, so
it's not that. It's to wide to be a fox path and there
are plenty of those about. There are no hoof prints so
it can't be deer. The baffling thing is that it just
doesn't go anywhere. It's been there for some months
now. It runs NE to SW (or the other way round). Chris
would appreciate any ideas on what this path is.
Milinets-Raby had a walk along the Warblington shore
from Langstone Mill Pond to Pook Lane (10am to 11:40am
- tide pushing in). The following birds were of
Langstone Mill Pond: Juvenile Wigeon, 7 roosting Grey
Peter forgot to mention that on the 4th December he
had the two male Ringed Teal feeding on the low tide
mud off the pond for an hour, before they flew into
the rear of the pond and settled down to preen - not
seen since. They were seen on Emsworth Millpond on Dec
6th, so are clearly moving around the area.
Flooded Horse Paddock north of pond: 18 Moorhen, 8
Off Pook Lane: 20 Shelduck, 22 Red Breasted Merganser,
Female Goldeneye, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Sandwich
Tern loitering on the mud, 77 Black-tailed Godwit (
B//R+WN//- and B//R+GW//- and Y//R+YB//-), 42 Teal,
238 Golden Plover, 43 Lapwing, 107 Bar-tailed Godwit,
15 Wigeon, 9 Greenshank (RG//-+YY//- and G//R+BRtag//-
). Only 164 Dunlin and I could not find the Curlew
DECEMBER 8 - 2014
clearance on Brook Meadow
I had an
e-mail from Maurice Lillie to say the Environment
Agency arrived in force on Brook Meadow soon after 8am
this morning to start work on the removal of willows
that had fallen into and across the River Ems south of
the S-bend. Maurice said they plan to be there for two
days and will carry out other minor cutting north of
the bend and also clearing the channel in the South
east corner of the South meadow. Most of the arisings
up to 15cms diameter will be chipped leaving the chips
handy for the conservation group to distribute around
I went over to take some photos of the work. I asked
one of the workers if they intended going further
upstream where there were more fallen branches, but he
said they had received no instructions to do any
Jennifer Rye saw the
team as they were leaving the site today about 3.30pm
having finished the task already. She said there were
quite a few of the large diameter logs left on the
meadow side of the river, not on the river side of the
raised path; hopefully they are too big and heavy to
be chucked into the river by bored youngsters.
Jennifer says the group now need to think about
management of the river banks, as the Environment
Agency are not doing any clearance as far as she
Phillips had a bumper day for Water Rails. First he
saw the resident Brook Meadow Water Rail near the old
gasholder. Then he saw two more on the Lumley side of
Peter Pond just south of the Kingfisher table. These
Water Rails could well be wintering on Peter Pond, but
not previously recorded. Here is one of the Peter Pond
the female Kingfisher on the table in the reedbeds to
the north of Peter Pond. This bird is clearly very
fond of this perch which can be easily seen from the
path that runs from the main A259 road to Gooseberry
Cottage and is well worth a visit to get a really good
view of a Kingfisher. I too had the pleasure of seeing
this bird on the table today, probably a little later
than Malcolm. Here's my photo taken with a simple 18x
zoom point and shoot.
While on Brook
Meadow Malcolm Phillips got this fine late flying Red
Admiral basking in the sunshine. Red Admiral must
probably now be regarded as an all-year-round
(Chairman, Slipper Mill Pond Preservation Association)
reported that the water level of Slipper Pond is being
allowed to rise and fall with the tide for the next
two weeks. This is to enable work to take place in
Lumley Road to raise the bank of Peter Pond and also
to install new road drains. This should reduce the
flooding in Lumley Road at times of high tide and
The project was initiated by residents of Lumley Road
and has been supported by West Sussex County Council
and Southbourne Parish Council. Funding has been
provided by the WSCC Operation Watershed Active
Communities Fund, which supports local efforts to
alleviate flooding. The work is being carried out by
On another note, Wilson House Limited, the potential
developers of Dolphin Quay, have formally withdrawn
their Appeal against the decision of Havant Borough
Council to refuse their Planning Application for the
development of Dolphin Quay.
Pond exotic duck
reported a recent addition to Baffins Pond today in
the form of a very cute Indian
DECEMBER 6 - 2014
Malcolm Phillips went round the meadow this morning
saw the Water Rail again. Good to know it is
still here. It has been on the meadow for 10 weeks.
Malcolm also got a
very unusual photo of a steam train passing on
the railway line immediately north of the meadow. In
all the years I have been visiting Brook Meadow I do
not recall having seen a steam train go past. Ralph
Hollins informs me that the Steam Locomotive was the
Battle of Britain Class "Tangmere" which was also seen
by a surprised birdwatcher at the Chichester Drayton
Pits on Dec 6. http://selseybirder.blogspot.co.uk/
e-mailed to say he saw the pair of male Ringed
Teal on the town millpond in Emsworth on Friday
(Dec 5). This is very likely to be the same birds that
have previously been seen on Peter Pond and on
Langstone Mill Pond.
There was no sign of them on the millpond this
morning. However, the pair of Red-breasted
Mergansers were showing very well in the southern
part of the pond.
reports that the white winged Carrion Crow visits his
garden 4 or 5 times a day and has been taking food in
increasing quantities. It normally eats a couple of
slices of bread then collects others and flies off to
eat in peace or cache the food as shown in the photo.
is a Little Egret with orange coloured legs.
sent me a batch of photos, some taken at Hayling
Oysterbeds and others at Thorney Deeps. I have
selected a couple of special interest, both taken at
the oysterbeds. Tony says the egret's leg colour is
due to low warm sunlight.
of Goldeneyes taking off - great shot!
DECEMBER 5 - 2014
He's done it
again. Malcolm Phillips was back at Peter Pond again
this afternoon stalking the Kingfisher and found it on
the table near the northern reedbeds as before. This
is clearly a good place to look for the bird. As he
stood and watched, the bird dived into the water and
came out with a small fish and subsequently swallowed
it. Malcolm got photos of the whole sequence.
On my usual
morning constitutional around the millpond I was
entertained (if that is the right word) by what must
be by now a regular confrontation between the two
pairs of Mute Swans that are competing for
ownership of the pond. Today, the two cobs were
engaged in threatening gestures towards each other
with wings raised high and heads down. The pen of the
resident pair was also getting involved. I imagine the
conflict will become more physical, as it did last
year, as spring approaches.
resident pair are on the left in this photo with the
visiting cob on the right
The pair of
Red-breasted Mergansers is still on the pond for
the 4th morning running. Today, they were constantly
diving for food, but I managed to get a quick photo in
I had both
male and female Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the
garden yet again this morning, though not at the same
time. These two birds are becoming daily visitors
which is amazing, as up to now, Great Spotted
Woodpeckers rarely seen in the garden. Today, the male
went onto the bird table which I had just replenished
with a mixture of chopped peanuts and seeds. The
female was here earlier, pecking away at the fat balls
I got over to
Nore Barn at 1:30pm about 3 hours or so after high
water. A good flock of 76 Black-tailed Godwits
was feeding on the mudflats in the lower stream area
close to the shore at the end of Warblington Road
along with a smaller number of Wigeon and 6 Mute
Swans. Another couple of juvenile Black-tailed Godwits
were in the upper part of the stream with the
Spotted Redshank. The colour-ringed
Greenshank G+GL was also in the stream along
with a Grey Plover and, surprisingly, two Little
Egrets, though they did not seem entirely happy with
lost Godwit returns?
three colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwits among the 76
on the mudflats. G+WR and ROL+RLR were regulars this
winter, but G+GO was not so. G+GO was very
interesting as I had not seen it in Emsworth for a
good 7 years. I could not get a photo, but I am pretty
sure of the combination. G+GO was a regular in
Emsworth Harbour in the winters of 2005-06 and 2006-07
with a total of 38 sightings. However, I only saw it
twice in the following winter and not at all since
then. My last sighting of G+GO anywhere was in the
Bosham Channel on 22-Oct-08. I had assumed it was
dead. Now, it turns up again in Emsworth Harbour 7
years after my last sighting. I shall need to check
with Pete Potts that this is not a new ringing using
an old combination.
I walked back
along Western Parade where I spotted what at first
glance looked like a flock of Knot feeding in a
typical close group. However, on closer inspection
they turned out to be Dunlin doing a fair imitation of
Knot feeding behaviour. Knot are much dumpier birds
than Dunlin and feed in a more steady picking fashion
and they never run, unlike Dunlin.
There were a
few birds feeding in the small channel that runs on
the east side of the Emsworth Sailing Club building.
They included 2 Common Redshank, Little Egret and a
Greenshank G+BN tag. The geotag on the blue
ring on the right leg is very easy to see though the
colours of the rings were not at all easy to read in
the dull light.
This bird was one of
the 13 caught and ringed by Pete Potts and his team at
Thorney Deeps on 13 Jan 2014 to provide information on
the migration movements of the bird on its way to and
from its breeding grounds, probably in northern
Scotland or Scandinavia. This was my personal 5th
sighting in Emsworth Harbour.
I took this
photo from our bedroom window at about 5pm looking
across to the houses in Victoria Road. It shows a
superb full moon (yes it really was that size) rising
over the chimney pots. Pity my camera could not pick
up any details from the moon, but I like the picture
DECEMBER 4 - 2014
I had an
unusual visitor to the garden this morning in the form
of a juvenile Black-headed Gull. I often see
gulls flying around, but rarely get any in the garden.
However, I did put some scraps of bread on the bird
table yesterday, which is what brought this bird to
the table. A little later I saw four Black-headed
Gulls flying low over the garden, though by then there
was nothing left on the table.
Even better was to see
both male and female Great Spotted Woodpeckers
at various times during the morning, though never
at the same time. The female woodpecker has been a
regular visitor to the fat balls over the past 5
weeks, but the male (with red on its nape) has been a
rare visitor. But today I saw it on the fat balls for
the first time. Interestingly, the two birds had
different feeding methods. Whereas the female would
cling to the bark of the tree and lean across to the
balls, the male plonked himself firmly on the feeder
and pecked away for a good 5 mins or so. I was lucky
to get a reasonable photo in such murky conditions and
through the window.
found a damaged female Chaffinch in his garden
yesterday. It was clearly having difficulty in flying
so he brought it inside for the night and will
probably take it to Brent Lodge to give it the best
chance. He will keep us updated.
Late news from Graham:
Brent Lodge have her now for a few days, they say the
wings are good but she was probably stunned from a
window strike. They will get her up and running and
then we get her back for release because they are
territorial apparently. Turned out to be a mature
female, not a fledgling.
DECEMBER 3 - 2014
had a quiet morning around Brook Meadow this morning.
He saw Little Egret, Blue Great and Long-tailed Tits,
Wren, Robin, Kestrel, Blackbird, Mallard, Goldfinch,
Magpie and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker. He also
heard a second Great Spotted Woodpecker, probably her
Tony also got a nice photo of a juvenile Moorhen
having a splash and stretching its wings in the
river. We usually have three pairs of breeding
Moorhens on the river, but I am never sure how many of
the youngsters survive, so it's good to see this one.
The juvenile Moorhen is generally much browner than
the adult with buff-white lateral line and undertail,
but, most important, it lacks the bright red frontal
shield and yellow-tipped bill of the adult.
has specialised over the years in caring for wild
Hedgehogs that turn up in his Havant garden and he
provides them with special feeders. You may recall
Graham was looking after a male Hedgehog last winter
which he named 'Hogboy'.
Well, Graham has another Hedgehog coming for food to
his feeder, even though it is getting late in the
year. Graham only puts out dried food with fresh water
at the moment, as it is too damp for anything else. He
managed to pick the hog up today, but is not sure if
it is male or female. From Graham's photo it certainly
looks very healthy.
Graham weighed the hog
which was a good weight for hibernation. After being
handled, the hog went straight back out to the feeder,
clearly not worried at all. It usually feeds at about
10:30pm Graham thinks there is no reason to keep it
inside and hopefully will hibernate when ready.
On Sunday 30
Nov Barry and Margaret Collins had a walk down the
east side of Thorney Island and had an impressive
flock of at least 80 Avocets roosting on the saltings
where Thorney Channel meets up with Nutbourne Channel
at SU771037. It's worth going to Nutbourne Bay to see
They also saw three juvenile Spoonbills feeding
on the mudflats just off South Stakes Island. Wonder
if they will come into Emsworth Harbour?
fitted with a satellite tag by the British Trust for
Ornithology (BTO) four years ago, Chris the Cuckoo,
named after TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham, has
travelled more than 60,000 miles - the equivalent of
flying twice round the world, and he's taken in 22
different countries along the way! This is the fourth
year Chris has been studied and is the only tagged
Cuckoo to provide continuous data for so many years.
For details of the routes taken by all the active
Cuckoos fitted with tags see . . . . . .
DECEMBER 2 - 2014
morning constitutional walk around Emsworth Millpond
produced two nice birds in the form of male and female
Red-breasted Mergansers. Mergansers are fairly regular
winter visitors to the Emsworth millponds, though I
have not seen any for a couple of years. These were
the first I have seen this winter.
I asked Pete
Potts for help with a colour-ringed Black-tailed
Godwit I saw in Emsworth Harbour Nov 29. All the rings
were blue or green (except for the red marker on the
left leg), but it was very difficult to make out which
was which in the bright sun. Pete thought it could be
B+GG or B+GB, but preferred B+GB. I see Peter
Milinets-Raby recorded B+GG on Oct 15 at Warblington
shore and could have had the same problem as me. I
will put it down as B+GB (?).
been an unusually large number of juvenile
Black-tailed Godwits in the harbour this winter, more
than I can recall having seen before - up to 6 have
been in the Nore Barn stream and more in the eastern
harbour. I queried Pete Potts if the Godwits had had a
particularly good breeding season and he said, yes,
they must have had a better breeding season than he
note: By way of illustration here is a photo some
Golden Plover in flight from the archives
Milinets-Raby popped down to Pook Lane via the
Langstone Mill Pond (Noon to 2:10pm - very low tide).
The highlights were as follows:
The waders were very flighty today and were never
settled, often flying off to the distant water's edge
of the channel before little groups would return. The
winter plumaged Curlew Sandpiper was seen on
four occasions and when on view the bird was observed
for about three or four minutes. However, in the grey
monotone light conditions (and the added bonus of the
wind blowing off the land - giving me a wind free view
point by the Pook Lane footpath) the views were very
good. Again, I even had some nice flight views of the
bird showing off it's white rump. A couple of other
birders turned up and alas left without seeing the
bird - it typically flew in five minutes after they
left! The rest of the sightings of note were as
Langstone Mill Pond: The juvenile Wigeon was back on
the pond. 28 Teal, 5 Grey Heron roosting, But no
The flooded horse paddock: 27 Moorhen.
Off Pook Lane: Just 40 Knot, 156 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank
(Both with rings RG//-+YY//- and
G//R+BRtag//-), 17 Wigeon, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12
Grey Plover, 61 Black-tailed Godwit, 57 Teal
(obviously the bunch from the horse paddocks), 23 Red
Breasted Merganser in the channel, 29 Shelduck, 66
Lapwing and 542 Golden Plover (Very flighty -
just managed to count them before they were disturbed.
Only 100+ returned with the others heading to north
by Richard Somerscocks in Emsworth Harbour in Nov
Along the high tide
shoreline hedgerow I bumped into a very excited and
noisy tit flock containing 7 Long-tailed Tits, 2+ Blue
Tits and 3 Chiffchaff together with a fourth calling
No sign of the Little Owl. The Brent Geese were in the
field by Castle Farm Barn, so I didn't bother to walk
around to count them. Judging by the fact that there
were no Brent to be seen on the channel, the fields
probably contained the current flock of 500 to 600+
DECEMBER 1 - 2014
e-mailed to say that she saw a huge flock of Brent
Geese flying inland over her garden just off Lumley
Road on Saturday Nov 29. She also had a smaller flock
yesterday 30th over Queen Street.
This morning at about 9.30am as I was walking along
the High Street in Emsworth, I too witnessed the
spectacle of several hundred Brents flying across the
town in a southerly direction, clearly on their way
back from feeding on the Southbourne fields. No
camera, so no photo alas. I saw them a few minutes
later in the eastern harbour noisily chattering away
This is clearly becoming a daily event, so please keep
a look out and let me know if you see them. This is
what they look like when they go.
Fresh from his
superb photos of the Kingfisher yesterday, Malcolm
Phillips went round Brook Meadow with his camera at
the ready today, but only managed to get fungi. Here
is one of the fungi he snapped, which I think is
Stag's Horn Fungus (Xylaria
hypoxylon). It is a common wood rotting fungus
which has small erect finger-shaped fruit bodies,
often forked at the apex as in Malcolm's photo, giving
it an antler shape. Initially just black at the base,
it gradually becomes all black during the winter.
e-mailed to say that he saw 3 male Ringed Teal on
Langstone Millpond yesterday (Nov 30). He double- and
treble-checked and his eyes did not deceive him. Well,
well, these exotic birds are not only moving around,
but also increasing in number! I saw one on Peter Pond
in Emsworth on Nov 3, then Malcolm Phillips had two
there on Nov 12. Peter Milinets-Raby also had
presumably the same two Ringed Teal on Langstone Mill
Pond on Nov 27 and now, there are three! Some wildfowl
collector must be wondering where all his birds are
disappearing to. Note: to avoid any confusion, Ringed
Teal (Callonetta leucophrys) is a
species of duck native to South America and not a
ringed Teal, ie Teal with rings on their legs! Here is
Malcolm's photo of two of them on Peter Pond.
Martin also said there
were 2 Red Admirals on the wing in Havant
Parakeets are fairly common birds in the London area
and in Surrey and Kent where they are often found in
flocks, numbering hundreds at a roost site, which can
be very noisy. The British population is estimated to
be around 30,000, but there are very few sightings of
this attractive parrot here in the south. However,
Susan Kelly had the honour of seeing one in Westbourne
on Sunday Nov 30. Maybe, this is a sign they may be
spreading south? So, please keep a look out for them
and let me know if you see one. Here is what they look
like as a reminder.
earlier observations go to . . November