. . from 2012 to current
JULY 16 - 2015
Malcolm Phillips got some interesting photos on the
meadow. Firstly, an unusual Meadow Brown in
which the eyespots have two pupils. I gather from my
guide that some females do have this feature, though a
single pupilled eyespot is the norm for Meadow Brown.
Gatekeeper always has double-pupilled eyespots.
Here are both taken by Malcolm yesterday for
comparison. Meadow Brown on the left and Gatekeeper on
Malcolm also got a
shot of what I think could be an Essex Skipper.
This is an uncommon butterfly on Brook Meadow and is
not easy to separate from Small Skipper. The main
distinguishing features are the short thin scent mark
in the Essex Skipper, whereas the Small Skipper's
scent line is longer and thicker. Also, in the Essex
Skipper the tip of the antennae are black underneath,
those of the Small Skipper are orange. Here are the
two skippers side by side for comparison. The Essex
Skipper on the left (from yesterday) and a Small
Skipper on the right (taken by Malcolm today).
Finally, Malcolm got
this moth which I am tempted to try to identify as a
Silver Y moth from the Y shaped mark on its
wings. But I might be wrong.
has seen a mystery moth on the Hampshire Farm site. As
shown in the photo it seems to be rolled up like a
tube. It is definitely a moth because Chris saw it fly
away. Does anyone have any idea what it might be?
The Crab spider in the other photo has captured a
large fly which Chris thinks will last it quite a long
he was on Hampshire Farm, Chris was dive bombed by a
Buzzard. He said it took three goes at him but did not
let him get a decent photo. Well, that's gratitude for
Milinets-Raby was out this morning for a walk along
the Warblington shore from Conigar Point to Langstone
Mill Pond and back (6:10am to 8:25am - very low tide).
He said it felt a bit like the start of autumn with
the grim weather and waders beginning to return in
Conigar Point: 1 Swallow , 4 adult Common Gull,
Skylark singing from behind the point, 23
Mediterranean Gulls loafing on the mud (19 adults with
4 freshly fledged young). 1 Sandwich Tern, 4 Common
Tern, Reed Warbler briefly still singing from the mini
reed bed, 4 Redshank.
Off Pook Lane: 4 Bar-tailed Godwit (1 summer, 3
winter), 4 Black-tailed Godwit (3 summer, 1 winter), 4
Greenshank (1 with colour rings, but too distant to
get full details, but one of the yellow ringed birds -
still in summer plumage), Lesser Black-backed Gull, 27
Redshank, 21 Swallow milling about giving an air of
autumn, 1 adult Common Gull, Mute Swan pair out on the
channel shingle bank with 6 cygnets, 1 Whimbrel,
Female type Red Breasted Merganser. Little Owl in the
tree it was seen last time, stood beside a large crack
in the trunk - very difficult to pick up without a
Langstone Mill Pond: Blackcap still singing,
Reed Warbler still singing, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker
(adult with juv), Tufted Duck, probably the same
female as seen on 25th June, with now just two older
ducklings (lost 3).
spotted a Red Kite over Lumley Terrace on
Saturday 11 July. Good sighting though these huge
birds are being seen more frequently in our area.
Mark also saw a Water Vole by torchlight in the
stream by Westbourne Parish Hall on Thursday 9 July. I
wish they would come down to Brook Meadow. He also
says there are lots of bats of varying sizes in the
Westbourne area at the present.
Caroline French reported seeing about 35 Swifts
feeding high above he house in North Emsworth
yesterday along with 100s of gulls in the sky. She
thinks it may have been a 'flying ant day', though I
have not seen any sign of them around my house in
Bridge Road as yet.
Caroline also has had Hedgehog droppings in her
garden these past few days. This is good news as I
have not seen any around my garden this year.
JULY 14 - 2015
I got this
nice shot of the swan family with mum and her five
cygnets on the town millpond in strict formation
behind her. Note the Polish white cygnet at the rear.
All the cygnets are growing well and look healthy.
I went over to
the meadow this morning mainly to up date the three
signcases with new photos and text. While I was there
I heard the regular Song Thrush singing
strongly from the bushes on the west side of the
meadow near the old gasholder. I also heard Blackbird
and Wren singing.
Where there was an avenue of Cow Parsley lining the
edges of the main river path in the spring, we now
have a corresponding avenue of Hogweed.
This very tall plant
with large umbellifer flower heads is not aromatic
like the Cow Parsley, but is far more attractive to
insects, such as, red Soldier Beetles
(Rhagonycha fulva) and Hoverflies
also went round the meadow this morning though we did
not meet. He got a cracking photo of what must be the
same Song Thrush that I heard singing earlier.
Tony also got a shot
of a male Beautiful Demoiselle. I am amazed at
how relatively common these damselflies have become on
Brook Meadow over the past couple of years. In fact,
this year, we have seen more of the Beautiful
Demoiselle than the Banded Demoiselle, which has
previously been the dominant species.
Tony went onto Slipper
Millpond where he got a picture of a Coot
seemingly doing a thrush, though with not the same
effect, I suspect.
took advantage of a sunny spell this afternoon to take
a trip over to the farm. He reports, "If Saturday
turns out sunny as well then the Big Butterfly Count
should be a success. There were Marbled White, Large
White, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell and the
Meadow Brown. Meadow Browns were everywhere, there
must be hundreds around. I spotted twelve on one small
clump of bramble flowers.
The Creeping Thistle are in profusion this year and
attracting hoards of Soldier beetles all doing what
Soldier beetles do best this time of the year. They
appear to congregate in patches and I wondered if it
were pheromone scent that made them group together.
The Teasels are just
beginning to produce flowers and are looking very
The grasses are just
starting to turn gold, and although they are looking
fabulous, it does seem to shorten the
had a walk in Hollybank Woods today and saw two
longhorn beetles mating. These yellow and black
beetles are Strangalia maculata. Malcolm
Phillips found the first of the year on Brook Meadow
on July 11th, but not mating. Brian also got a nice
photo of what I am fairly sure is a Common
Blue, though I think Brian was hoping for
something more special!
Phillips has been in London for the day, so has no
local photos. But he sent me one he took while on
holiday in Cuba - 'just to test you'.
Well, I had a look at
Cuban grasses on the internet and my best guess would
be Pangola grass (Digitaria
eriantha). It is also called common finger
grass and is a tropical grass widespread in many humid
tropical and subtropical regions, used extensively for
grazing, hay and silage. It is often considered to be
one of the higher quality tropical grasses.
For more information see . . . http://www.feedipedia.org/node/461
JULY 13 - 2015
Phillips did not find much to photograph on a wet
morning on the meadow, so he took some snaps of
raindrops on the vegetation.
has the final results of the vote for the naming of
the open space. It will now be known as 'Hampshire
Farm Meadows'. The vote was as follows. For the first
part. Hampshire Farm 66.1%, Redlands 30%, Bournebridge
3.1%, Ffaroes 0.8%. For the suffix. Meadows 49.8%, No
suffix 36.6%, Fields 7%, Park 6.6%. So we got what we
wanted with a slight modification.
of local wildlife news for the past two weeks at
. . .
JULY 12 - 2015
says the moth photographed by Graham Petrie is
and Iping Common
reported on yesterday's walk by the Havant Wildlife
Group: They had a good number of sightings including
this male Silver-washed Fritillary
For the full report go
to . . . http://familyfellows.com/hwg-walk-reports-2015.htm
JULY 11 - 2015
appears that we may well have lost our Brook Meadow
Water Vole population. We have only had 11 sightings
so far in 2015 which is the lowest on record. The last
sightings were at the end of April near the sluice
gate, but nothing at all since then, even though this
is the height of the Water Vole season. We have always
known our population was vulnerable, being small and
with little opportunity for new input or dispersal.
Our worst fears were
confirmed by a 3-hour Water Vole survey of the river
by Jennifer Rye and David Search on July 10th. They
covered most of the river thoroughly, starting at the
south bridge and finishing just beyond the north
bridge. They found no evidence at all of used burrows,
feeding stations or latrines. In fact, not one
dropping was found and that includes rat faeces!
Several places were found which should be perfect for
voles to get into and out of the water where droppings
and perhaps some evidence of feeding in these areas
might have been found. But nothing!
are what could be our last ever photos of a Water Vole
on Brook Meadow
They saw a 2 foot long Pike on the final stretch
before the north bridge. At first, it looked dead with
its head down and the tail on the surface. But when
David tried to pick it up, it slithered out of his
grasp and swam away. David thought it may have been
suffering from the hot weather and river
Ecologist, Andy Rothwell has been commissioned to
carry out a full professional Water Vole survey later
this year, so fingers crossed that he may have some
better news for us.
taken by Malcolm Phillips (who else) on April 23rd
Phillips had only a short time on Brook Meadow today
but managed to get a couple of interesting
He got a photo of our first Strangalia
maculata beetle of the year. We get these
distinctive yellow and black longhorn beetles every
year at about this time. I don't anything about it
apart from what Chinery says; "On flowers 6-8. Larvae
in rotting deciduous tree stumps".
Malcolm also came across a dead Shrew on the
path. It is not easy to judge size from this photo,
but I assume this is a Common Shrew as a Pygmy Shrew
would be really tiny. Shrews are regularly recorded on
the meadow, but are invariably dead when we find them.
I had an
afternoon stroll to Brook Meadow mainly to have a look
at the Great Burnets, the red flower heads of which
are now standing out clearly above the other plants on
the orchid area of the north meadow. This photo shows
the density of the flowers.
I read in my guide
that the flowers of Great Burnet are bisexual and
produce abundant nectar for insect pollination. In
fact, I saw several insects feeding on the, as yet,
barely open flowers today.
herbalists believed in the doctrine of signatures, ie
that plants advertise their medicinal powers by
outwards signs. In the case of Great Burnet the dark
crimson flower heads suggested blood and, for
centuries, the plant was used to staunch wounds and to
control internal bleeding. The plant's blood
staunching reputation is preserved in its botanical
name Sanguisorba which means 'blood-absorbing'.
are the two insects side by side for comparison
(our resident insect consultant) wrote to correct
Ralph Hollins's identification of the mystery insect
(photographed by Malcolm Phillips on Brook Meadow on
June 9th) as a Potter Wasp. He said it cannot be a
wasp as it only has two wings, so has to be a fly. It
is a Conopid fly in the genus Physocephala,
probably P. nigra, though Tony said he
would need to see more of the face to be certain.
Malcolm's fly is on the left and a Potter Wasp (from
the internet) is on the right.
Tony added, "There are
two Physocephala species and the only way to
tell them apart is the shape of the facial markings.
This looks like nigra but I would need to see the
bottom of the face to be sure." Their larvae are
endoparasites of Bumblebees of the genus Bombus.
Physocephala nigra is included in
Chinery's 'Collins Guide to Insects' (p208) and is
marked as being rare in Britain, but Tony adds "I
wouldn't put too much store in the description in
Chinery!" Wow, and that's my insect bible!
related the sad news that the giant Mustard plant on
the Nursery Close wayside has been snapped off,
presumably by someone who did not like its presence
there. Chris says one can quite clearly see the
imprint of a hand on the stem of the plant where the
break is. The fingerprint men will investigate!
wrote to say that in a little over an hour this
morning (Sat 11th) he saw seven species of butterflies
in his garden in North St, Emsworth: Red Admiral,
Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Holly
Blue, Small White. As David says, "For a small
courtyard garden near the centre of town this
constitutes a wildlife spectacular! I hope others are
having as good sightings in this wonderful weather
Speaking for myself, I live not more than half a mile
from David, but all I have seen today is a Gatekeeper,
though I must admit I probably have not been watching
quite as avidly as David. I would be interested to
hear what others have been getting in their gardens.
Maybe, dragonflies or other insects.
JULY 10 - 2015
I was amazed
to see a large collection of 10 to 15 of what I assume
were Brown Trout swimming around in the Lumley
pool immediately north of the Lumley Path footbridge.
This is the place where Malcolm Phillips got photos of
the very large fish recently. Sorry, my camera does
not do fish well, but you can probably see the fish
The shoal included at
least two quite large fish, several smaller ones and
some darker fish. Apparently, Trout vary a lot in
appearance. That one at the top looks like a Grey
is still singing away on the north meadow. I think
there is only one singing male on the meadow this
year. I saw lots of Meadow Browns plus a few
Gatekeepers, a Ringlet, a Small Tortoiseshell and a
There is a fine
display of Perennial Sow-thistle along the east
side of Peter Pond.
During his walk round
Brook Meadow today, Malcolm Phillips got a picture of
a pair of Beautiful Demoiselles mating. This
was the first such photo I have ever had on this web
site, so well done Malcolm yet again.
discussion in this blog on Friday June 26th about the
identity of the huge plants growing on the wayside at
the junction of Redlands Lane and Nursery Close, Chris
Oakley says the pods are now sufficiently developed to
make identification as Black Mustard reasonably
sure. The pods are slender with a seedless beak; Hoary
Mustard, which was also suggested, would have a seed
in the beak. Chris says the tallest of the plants
standing at 10'4" has no pods.
has a possible answer to the mystery insect
photographed by Malcolm Phillips on Brook Meadow on
June 9th. He thinks it might be a species of Potter
Wasp which needs a source of water to build the
'pots' in which it lays its eggs.
Ralph has e-mailed
John Walters, who he used to know a youth living on
Hayling Island, and who now is a Wildlife Consultant
in the Dartmoor area. One of John's interests is
studying the Heath Potter Wasp - see http://johnwalters.co.uk/research/potter-wasps.php
In the course of his
researches Ralph found a fascinating 8 minute long
video of a Potter Wasp (species not named) filling its
pot with caterpillars to feed its young, then sealing
the top of the pot with clay.
See . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWTh7ZEZqTI
Petrie. Any ideas?
JULY 9 - 2015
Phillips was on the meadow again today and came back
with some excellent photos. Here are a couple of birds
that we have not seen for a while, though I do usually
hear the Whitethroat singing when I pass through.
Malcolm also got this
odd-looking insect which I am not tempted to hazard an
identification in view of my abysmal recent attempts.
reports: "On Hampshire Farm umbellifer plants they are
attracting a wide variety of insects. There are a high
number of Common Hawker and Emperor Dragonflies this
year, they can be seen all over the site. The Chasers
are also plentiful but only over the pond water. I use
the name 'Hampshire Farm' but I don't know for how
much longer, tomorrow is the last day of voting for
the sites permanent name. It would be a great pity to
see the original name lost and I can only hope that
local people have voted to keep it."
Chris sends two photos, one of a Bumblebee (Bombus
terrestris) with two tiny black mining bees and
another of a delicate Green Lacewing with a Longhorn
fish are Brown Trout
responded to my request for information about the
identity of the large and small fish taken by Malcolm
Phillips at the north end of Peter Pond. Steve is a
retired Environment Agency employee and a fish keeper
with more than fifty years experience (and a fisherman
for almost as long) and so should know about these
creatures. Here is Malcolm's photo which I sent to
Steve for closer examination.
Steve says, "All of
the fish appear to be natural colour variations of the
Brown Trout, a species often naturally found in
streams and rivers, and also stocked in lakes,
reservoirs, and large ponds. I am sure that they are
not Sea Trout, as (1) when seen well they invariably
show a distinctive vertical black bar at the end of
the tail fin, (2) they have a far more silvery look
overall when freshly arrived from the sea (much like a
small Salmon), and (3) they are very rarely seen in
open water in daylight.
Sea Trout usually
arrive locally sometime in July, with each river
having an annual arrival date of its own. In the river
Meon, for example, the first Sea Trout will usually
arrive on July 16th, with a few more on the 17th, and
good numbers by the 18th. However, as they mostly
arrive after dark, they are far more easily heard than
seen - the smaller fish frequently partly clearing the
water and splashing their tails on the surface for two
or three seconds before dropping back into the water,
giving a very distinctive "Prrrrrrrrrrr, plop" sound.
I presume that this behaviour is to clear any sea-lice
that may still be present, but have never actually
managed to catch one that has been acting in this way
and the sea-lice scars quickly disappear once the fish
has been in fresh water for a few days.
Brown Trout do
occasionally hybridise with Rainbow Trout (most often
at trout farms), and the hybrids will usually show
traces of a pinkish area (which is common to the
Rainbow Trout) along the lateral line as the fish
matures. I cannot see any obvious pinkish line on the
largest fish (although there are a couple of pinkish
spots), but Brown Trout are an extremely variable and
adaptable species and often develop genetic variations
of 'camouflage' characteristics peculiar to the water
in which they breed.
Having said that, two
of the smaller fish (the second and the fourth from
the left) are very distinctive, and look very much
like the naturally occurring wild Brown Trout that
were occasionally seen around the Westbourne area
prior to the drought of 1976. As this particular
variety was presumed to have been wiped out and has
not (to the best of my knowledge) been seen now for
nearly forty years, I would very much like a chance to
see them for myself."
JULY 8 - 2015
I had an
appointment at Westbourne surgery this morning, so I
decided to cycle there and check a few of the local
waysides on the way. I returned via Mill Lane and
On the Washington Road path the Greater Burdock
is in bud, but not in flower, but it should soon be
out. The plants look OK after their severe cutting
Moving to the Christopher Way wayside, I found a few
clumps of Lesser Hawkbit on the west end of the
main wayside. This is a distinctive plant with small
yellow flowers on leafless unbranched stems. Looked at
closely it has forked hairs on the leaves. I noticed
it on several other roadside verges this morning.
Some of the Wild
Clary plants still have small flowers, but most
have now gone to seed. The notice about the presence
of Wild Clary on this verge has been removed from the
post and deposited in the long grass.
Coming back along the
path by the canalised stream at Westbourne I looked
for Water Voles, but did not see any. I was interested
to see some Blue Water-speedwell growing in the
stream near the brick bridge by the gate for 'Mill
Meadows Farm'. The flower spikes looked quite long, so
I assume it is the hybrid - Veronica x
It was good to see
Perforate St John's-wort in full flower along
the edge of the pavement on the bridge over the A27.
It comes up here every year so I am pleased it has not
At the south end of
the bridge there is a good flowering of Agrimony along
with both Jointed Rush and Toad Rush.
Sadly, there was no
sign of the Fox and Cubs that has flowered on
the grass verge at the top of the slope from Lumley
Mill. There was a large skip parked on the area where
the plants normally grow. So, it appears that Church
path is the only local spot for Fox and Cubs this
came to the rescue over the mystery fly photographed
on Brook Meadow yesterday by Malcolm Phillips.
Ralph points out that
the insect is in fact a Soldier Fly and not a Saw-fly.
"Soldier Flies belong to an army in which everyone had
the rank of General - yours is the Banded
General (Stratiomys potamida)" The
Naturespot website has the best summary of the life
style and life cycle - see http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/banded-general
One characteristic of all Sawflies is that they have
no constricted 'waist' between the thorax and the
abdomen so their bodies have a tube-like shape.
See also Chinery's 'Collins Guide to Insects' (p.199)
has informed me that the annual count of Southern
Marsh Orchids on Southmoor Langstone was, this year,
conducted by the HIWWT Beechcroft Monday Team on 29th
June 2015. The count was 7,786. This is well down on
last year's record count of 10,690, but much in line
with the four years prior to that.
JULY 7 - 2015
I had a breezy
walk through the meadow in the late afternoon
sunshine. The only bird song I heard was a cheery
Chiffchaff singing from the Crack Willows north
of the centre meadow.
I was interested to
find a group of quite small Cinnabar
caterpillars feeding on a Hoary Ragwort plant on
the orchid area. These are the first Cinnabars I have
seen this year and the first I recall feeding on the
Hoary Ragwort. Until now, I was under the (mistaken)
impression that they only fed on Common Ragwort.
has now generally set seed which are rattling in the
is now showing its tall flower spikes, often
called 'rat's tails'.
The Lumley area is
covered with the greyish leaves of Common
Fleabane, None is flowering as yet, but it looks
like a good year for this late flowering plant. The
delicate panicles of Creeping Bent grasses are
now prominent on the Lumley area. Sharp-flowered
Rush is just starting to flower. Red
Bartsia is also just flowering on the Lumley area;
there's a lot more to come.
Phillips spent an hour going round Brook Meadow today
with his camera at the ready. He got some pretty good
butterflies, including Comma and Small Tortoiseshell,
probably both the summer broods.
Malcolm also submitted
this black and yellow insect for my inspection. My
best guess is that it is a Sawfly, but my knowledge
goes no further than that. Can anyone help.
Bent - not so rare
sounded a note of caution about the Water Bent
(Polypogon viridis) that I found growing
on the pavement in St James Road - until it was pulled
up, that is!
I noted that The Hants
Flora described it as 'very rare, but as Martin says
20 years can make a big difference - Hants Flora is 20
years old! Water Bent is now widespread in Hampshire
and even common around some of the main built-up
areas. It's spreading in much of the rest of the
country too. I found some on the Isle of Wight during
my recent trip. Martin emphasises it is not a native
plant; it's Mediterranean and sub-tropical.
Martin hints the next
grass to watch out for is Rostraria
cristata, which is just starting to make an
appearance here from the Mediterranean and Middle
East. Here is a snap of this grass from the internet,
just in case you see some around.
thinks the large fish photographed by Malcolm Phillips
was not the Lesser Spotted Dogfish as I suggested.
Dogfish is a Shark species which inhabits the sea
bottom from depths of 6 to 700 feet and is very
unlikely to be seen in fresh water. It does have a
spotted back similar to Malcolm Phillips photo but has
a distinctive shark type tail structure - see . . .
Ralph's guess is that it is a Rainbow Trout that the
smaller fish are younger examples of the same species.
See . . . http://thenaa.net/kids-corner/attachment/activities_rainbow_trout1One
distinctive feature of this species is a pink stripe
along the flank of the fish but Ralph could not see it
in Malcolm's photo.
also has a suggestion for the moth that Brian Lawrence
had on his ceiling. He thinks it might be one of the
Geometers (whose caterpillars are know as Loopers (or
Inchworms in the US).
See . . .
for species which have similar uneven-edged broad bars
across the fore wings (one which should be on the wing
now is the July Belle (second down on the left of the
page). By clicking on the name of the moth you will go
to its page where you can check further details. At
the top of the species page on the left and right of
the species name box are red and green triangular
pointer - by clicking these you will be taken to the
next species page and can thus run through similar
Tony Davis came up with the definitive answer to the
moth the Brian Lawrence had on his ceiling. It was a
OF WIGHT REPORT
Meadow - Thursday July 2nd 2015
is a view of the hybrids on Kittenocks Meadow
My son Peter
took me to have a look at this privately owned meadow
near Havenstreet on the Isle of Wight. The meadow is
very beautiful with low growing grasses and masses of
wild flowers. Most impressive were the orchids,
Common Spotted and Southern Marsh plus
swarms of hybrids (Dactylorhiza x
grandis) which were mostly in the second
the full report and more photos go to . . .
JULY 6 - 2015
Jane Brook and
I went around a couple of the local waysides this
morning, the first time we have managed to get
together to do this for a few weeks. We started at the
Emsworth Recreation Ground and then moved on to the
New Brighton Road Junction. Here is Jane inspecting
insects on the New Brighton Road Junction wayside.
are the two Bents side by side with the purple panicle
of Common Bent on the left
Recreation Ground we spent some time looking at the
grasses on the patch behind the bowling club. I
mentioned to Jane that I had sent a specimen of the
Bent grasses that grow in this small area to Martin
Rand. Martin said it definitely was not Creeping Bent
which is what I thought it was. Nor was it Highland
Bent which Martin thought it might have been. So, it
remains a mystery, though the panicle is purplish and
the ligules are short, both of which point to
Common Bent. I think it might be best to assume
that ID until we hear otherwise.
We found plenty of what was almost certainly
Creeping Bent on the northern verge. Its
ligules were long and rounded and the panicles pale
whitish to green.
and the whitish-green panicle of Creeping Bent on the
introduced me to a grass that I had never heard of
before called Creeping Soft-grass (Holcus
mollis) which she has been looking on Twitter. I
checked the differences between this and the more
common Yorkshire Fog in F.Rose "Grasses,
Sedges, Rushes and Ferns" which are as follows:
1. Creeping Soft-grass has longer ligules,
2. Creeping Soft-grass has almost hairless stems, but
its nodes are conspicuously bearded with white hairs
3. Creeping Soft-grass has a long straight awn that
projects from the glumes and is quite visible.
We looked at a few samples on the area behind the
bowling club and all looked like the standard
Yorkshire Fog, though I shall certainly look out for
any Creeping Soft-grass on my travels. The Hants Flora
says it likes shadier places than Yorkshire Fog, such
as, woods, though it can persist for some time after
pleased to find some Mouse-ear Hawkweed in
flower at the north-east corner of the recreation
ground near the metal gate. This was fairly easy to
identify from its pale lemon flowers and rosettes of
leaves covered with soft white hairs, ie the 'mouse
ears'. This was a first for an Emsworth wayside.
Also, close to the
gate we found what we thought was Wild Oat, but I
think it is almost certainly Cultivated Oat
with hairless lemmas and the absence of awns.
The yellow flowers of
Meadow Vetchling are now showing up well in the
long grasses on the north verge near the fence. We
found the first fully open Common Fleabane flowers of
the year on the New Brighton Road Junction wayside.
Also on this site we found a 6-spot Burnet Moth
having just emerged from its chrysalis.
Skippers were flying on both the sites we visited
this morning. These butterflies have only recently
emerged. Here is one I snapped on the Emsworth
Recreation Ground. From the absence of a scent mark on
the wing, I suspect this is a female.
in the garden
We had a
Little Egret on the end garden wall at about 2pm this
afternoon. This was surprising as they usually come
looking for fish in the winter. Our last sighting was
in January this year. It remained for a few minutes
looking down into the stream that runs at the end of
the garden before dropping down to catch some small
fry that it had spotted there. I managed to get a few
shots of it before it disappeared and here is the best
I was pleased
to discover a nice growth of Lesser Swine-cress
on the main rover path about 20 metres south of the
north bridge. I have asked the conservation group to
avoid cutting this area for the time as this is the
only reliable place where this plant grows on the
Burnet is now flowering well on the orchid area.
Its bright red flower heads can be easily seen at a
distance. I counted 58 plants which is a big increase
on previous years; last year we had just 28 plants.
The pretty pink
flowers of Great Willowherb are now open for
the first time on the meadow.
Phillips got another photo of the large fish in the
channel north of Peter Pond. This one was much clearer
and was certainly not a Sea Trout as I first thought.
From my book It looks more like a Dogfish,
though I have no experience of these animals. Malcolm
thinks the smaller fish are Trout. Or are they small
Dogfish? Can anyone out there solve this ID issue
Malcolm got this shot
of our resident Cetti's Warbler collecting
food, hopefully for nestlings. This is the best
evidence we have had for these rare birds breeding on
the Brook Meadow site which would be a first!
Malcolm also spotted
this Moorhen and one chick in the river by the
Malcolm had our first
Common Darter of the year. Looks like an
immature or a female?
had this moth on his kitchen ceiling. He has not been
able to identify it. Can anyone help?
family had a good time at Baffins Pond where they saw
lots of birds, including this little family of
Barnacle Geese with just one gosling.
4 JULY 2015
Phillips had a good day on the meadow in warm weather.
He had the first Gatekeeper of the year on the
meadow and the first I have heard of locally. Nice
Malcolm also got
several other butterflies and insects including this
rather fine Bumblebee feeding on White Clover. From
the all black body and red tail, plus the yellow band
on front of the thorax and yellow hairs on the face,
my guess is that this is a male Bombus
Malcolm Phillips saw a large Trout about 14ins long at
the top of Peter Pond. He wondered if it was too large
for Brown Trout.
In that location and
with Peter Pond being tidal, my guess is that it is a
Sea Trout. According to my book, Sea Trout have a much
richer diet than Brown Trout and therefore grow much
faster. They can grow up to 55 inches in length; even
Brown Trout in fresh water can grow up to 39 inches.
reports on the first meeting of volunteers on
Hampshire Farm last Wednesday (July 1st) Not a big
turnout but all were very enthusiastic. Rachel Moroney
gave a short talk on the work of the TCV. Then we were
issued with gloves and bags and set to work. The
principal job was to retrieve the plastic plant
protection tubes. We ended up with 15 bags full and
only one bag of litter so that was a
Charlie Carter brought
along a model of his art work. Very abstract but I
liked the thinking behind it. It purports to show the
river from its source in the Downs, beneath Bourne
bridge and on down through the old mills in Emsworth.
The central piece is a representation of the church at
Westbourne topped with a dragonfly weather vane. The
next meeting is on the 18th July and will cover the
'Big Butterfly Count'.
Chris has had plenty of interest in his garden too
with a swarm of bees which had to be removed by a
local beekeeper and this startling Lunar Hornet
Clearwing which settled on a pot of strawberries in
Brian's note: I had
never heard of this insect and was surprised to learn
that it is in fact a moth (Sesia
apiformis). It resembles a large Hornet with a
wingspan of 33-48 mm and yellow banding on the
Milinets-Raby was down Langstone Mill Pond yesterday
morning for an hour (10:15am - ahead of an incoming
tide). The highlights were as follows:
Langstone Mill Pond: Mute Swan family with 6 cygnets
still - getting older with new feathers coming through
and looking tatty.
New Mallard family of 5 tiny 2-3 day old ducklings
(and the partially white female Mallard still with 4
ducklings, surviving the harassment from the swans).
Reed Warbler - 3 birds still singing - 2 seen carrying
food. Reed Bunting male still singing. 6+ Swallow over
pond and family group of four being fed by adults
whilst perched in small trees by the path of the
Blackcap and Chiffchaff still singing. Grey Heron
youngster perched on the flat roof of the mill looking
very lost and a newly fledged House Sparrow was by the
pub looking also very lost (see photo).
Off Pook Lane: 3
Common Tern, 2 Lapwing, 1 Greenshank (un-ringed -
first returning bird), 5 Redshank, 1 Great Crested
Grebe. And in the garden I found an empty, freshly
opened dragonfly case - probably the common Red Darter
species, as this is the only big dragonfly I have seen
visiting my garden pond.
reports on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife
Group around Burton Mill and Chingford Pond. Total of
30 birds included this Woodlark. For the full report
see . . . http://familyfellows.com/hwg-walk-reports-2015.htm
earlier observations go to . . June