. . from 2012 to current
NOVEMBER 30 - 2015
Brambling - update
pointed out that the Brambling photo in last night's
blog shows a grey head indicating it is a youngster.
Its very unusual appearance in a garden before the
weather turns cold suggested to Ralph that it has lost
contact with its parents while migrating in the recent
Ralph thinks there are
larger than usual numbers of Brambling in southern
Britain this early in the winter (157 were recorded
passing up the Test valley north of Romsey on Nov 13
and another 75 were at West Dean in Sussex on Nov 24
and 80 were at Wakehurst, also in Sussex, on Nov 25),
but maybe they have not yet decided where to settle,
ie, Portland had counts of 25 and 36 heading south out
to sea on Nov 8 and 12.
Wildlife Group did their walk at Hayling Oysterbeds on
Saturday morning (Nov 28) and were delighted to see a
Grey Phalarope on the water. This is a very rare bird
in our area. From the photo it looks like a first
winter bird, born early this year on the coastal
tundra in the high Arctic.
These birds spend most
of their lives in large flocks far out at sea and
winter mostly off the west coast of Africa. However,
stormy weather often brings small groups or single
birds (like this one) close inshore.
Wootton came across this first winter Grey Phalarope
on the shore at Prinsted
on Sep 16th 2011 and got a cracking photo of the
Note: Grey Phalarope
is called Red Phalarope in some books (e.g. Collins
Guide) as in its breeding plumage it has red
underparts, though, since we never see it like that, I
think the name Grey Phalarope is much better.
Tony tells me that
some birders that they bumped into during the walk on
Hayling Oysterbeds also reported having seen a
Velvet Scoter. This is another rare bird,
probably taking shelter at Hayling Oysterbeds from the
stormy weather. This bird was first reported on Nov
27th on the Hampshire 'Going Birding' web site.
is a photo of a Harbour Seal just surfacing off shore
Lesley South saw a Seal swimming past their house in
Harbour Way about 10 days ago when the tide was very
high. They thought at first it was a dog, but it dived
very quickly and swam underwater down Dolphin Creek
towards the harbour. This is an exceptional sighting
of a creature which is usually seen way out in the
harbour. Personally, I have never seen one this close
taken by Malcolm Phillips Sep
says the tree planting of the Community Orchard on
Hampshire Farm, being part of the Greening of
Westbourne, was started on Saturday. The first eight
of the planned fifty mixed fruit trees, are now
successfully, planted. These were mixed apples, two
each of Bramleys Seedling, Red Devil, Egremont Russet
and Spartan. About fifty people were involved. It was
a foul day but spirits were high and a good time was
had by all. See Chris's web site for more details at .
. . http://hampshire-farm-meadows.simplesite.com/418799085
Chris also came across
this interesting fungus this morning. Ralph Hollins
identified it as a Verdigris Agaric,
of Wight bird news
has discovered a new source of bird news from the Isle
of Wight. There is a link on the Hampshire
Ornithological Society 'Going Birding' at the very top
of the 'Bird News' page allowing one to get equivalent
bird news for any of the other counties, including the
Isle of Wight. See . . . http://www.goingbirding.co.uk/isleofwight/birdnews.asp
NOVEMBER 29 - 2015
sent me this photo of a Brambling (watched over by a
Woodpigeon) that his friend Roger Pratt, who lives in
Beacon Square, took in his garden. Roger says the bird
has been visiting the garden for the last couple of
Brambling is a rare
garden bird, but they are sometimes seen, particularly
in cold weather. This makes the present sighting a bit
unusual. In the BTO Garden BirdWatch list Brambling
stands at number 42 having been seen in only 1.1% of
gardens in the current quarter. I had a look through
my own garden bird records where I found my last
Brambling sightings in my Bridge Road garden were in
the early part of 2013. I also had some in the cold
winter of early 2011.
had a couple of interesting bird sightings in the past
week. She says,
"On Friday I was lucky enough, while walking
southwards on Brook Meadow on the raised causeway
beside the River Ems, to be overtaken by the bright
blue flash of a Kingfisher darting downriver.
As always when I catch sight if one, I felt incredibly
Another lucky sighting was of a Cormorant on
the town millpond, which had caught a longish eel, but
was wrestling with the difficulty of getting it the
right way round to be able to swallow it. For a few
minutes it seemed to be juggling the eel, held firmly
in its beak, diving repeatedly for a few seconds
trying to improve its grip but not quite daring to let
go in case it lost its wriggling prize. At last it
managed to toss the eel up, and catch it by the head,
swallowing it head first with a slight struggle;
evidently the eel made a good mouthful, for the
cormorant kept its neck stretched upwards for about
ten seconds to allow the eel safe passage down to its
stomach. I could almost imagine the cormorant's burp
Milinets-Raby braved the wind to count the birds along
shore from Emsworth to Warblington at low water this
morning from 7:19am to 9:38am. It was really too
windy, but amazingly Peter managed to get some stuff
counted. Waders obviously feeding somewhere else well
Emsworth Harbour (from 7:30am): 4 Gadwall, 27
Coot, 249 Brent Geese, 2 Canada Geese, 14 Black-tailed
Godwit, 14 Turnstone, 8 Lapwing, 4 Teal, 3 Grey
Plover, 22 Dunlin, 3 Shelduck, 1 Knot, 6 Greenshank
together in the stream by the town quay.
Emsworth Mill Pond: 33 Coot, Male Tufted Duck,
3 Cormorants diving, 1 Kingfisher dashed across.
Emsworth Pond outflow (from 8:08am): 9 Dunlin,
3 Little Egret, 126 Brent Geese, 4 Red Breasted
Merganser, 2 Grey Plover. 38 Canada Geese flew off
Thorney and headed west along the channel to
Beacon Square (from 8:12am): 26 Brent Geese, 16
Wigeon, 15 Ringed Plover, 2 Teal, 2 Greenshank, 11
Dunlin, 3 Grey Plover, 5 Shelduck.
Nore Barn (from 8:28am): 1 Little Egret, 58
Brent Geese, 16 Teal, 9 Wigeon, 1 Spotted Redshank, 27
Shelduck, 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Grey Plover.
Pook Lane (from 8:58am): 324 Brent Geese, 38
Shelduck, 3 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 43
Dunlin, 22 Red Breasted Merganser, 1 Great Crested
Grebe, 2 Wigeon.
Conigar Point (from 9:10am): 9 Shelduck, 5 Red
Breasted Merganser, 20+ Wigeon, 57 Brent Geese, 3 Grey
Plover, 31 Dunlin.
Castle Farm: 4 Little Egrets in with
So much happening across the bridge at the
Oysterbeds!!!! The waves were huge and wickedly
windswept. Wind increased the Shelduck numbers, but
not much else.
NOVEMBER 28 - 2015
Milinets-Raby popped down to Langstone Mill Pond
yesterday afternoon (Nov 27) in case the Velvet Scoter
reported from the Oyster beds ventured under the
bridge. Alas it didn't but it did get to
Peter was at the pond from 1pm for an hour on a very
high tide visit. The birds of note on the high tide
waters off Pook Lane were super views of the female
Goosander diving regularly on her own and
occasionally with a female Red breasted Merganser
giving good comparison views. Also saw her flight as
she moved further along the channel.
4 male & 7 female Red breasted Mergansers. 19
Shelduck with 19 more in the distance off Conigar
Point: 1 female Goldeneye, 110+ Brent Geese, 1
Kingfisher dashed across the channel.
On the pond: 4 Grey Heron and 1 Little Egret roosting,
Horse paddock: 10 Little Egret, 3 Grey Heron, 18
Moorhen, 51 Teal.
NOVEMBER 26 - 2015
do wintering Coot come from?
says my assumption in yesterday's blog that the Coots
currently gathering on the local millponds come from
further north in England is not necessarily the whole
story. Ralph consults the BTO who confirm that Coot do
in fact undertake long distance migration - possibly
going from Finland to North Africa. Certainly many
Scandinavian birds come to southern England.
For their official statement and map showing the
migrations of Coot see . . . http://www.bto.org/ai/pdfs/145move.pdf
NOVEMBER 24 - 2015
I had a walk
round the three Emsworth Millponds this morning to see
what was happening.
The regular Mute Swan family of two adults and
three of the original five cygnets was on the town
millpond, the other two cygnets presumably having
flown. Also present was the visiting Mute Swan pair,
closely watched by the resident cob, and the lone swan
that spends its life on the grass verge of Bridgefoot
Path, not being allowed onto the pond.
I counted 27 Coot on the millpond, probably
representing the first sign of the winter gathering of
this species from the lakes further north. There is no
real sign of the usual winter gathering of Coot in the
harbour as yet; I could only see 5 on the high water
this morning. I counted a further 18 Coot in the
channel near the marina entrance. There were another 4
on Slipper Millpond and 2 on Peter Pond making a grand
total of 56 Coot for the millponds and harbour. Here
is one of the Coot taken from the bridge at the quay.
It is a pity the red eye does not show on the photo,
but what a bald pate!
We could be getting
nesting swans back on Slipper Millpond next spring! I
found a pair of Mute Swans preening on the west
bank, the first I have seen there since the
disappearance of the 'Polish' pen last year. My guess
is that one of them is the cob from last year's pair,
that spent many weeks waiting for its mate to return,
which it never did. I think the missing Polish pen was
the swan killed by the resident pair on the town
millpond when it foolishly attempted to take over
their nest by the bridge.
Neither of the two swans had the pink legs of a Polish
variety. Later, I saw them swimming together near the
reedbeds on the east side of the millpond, looking
quite at home. The swans have nested in these
reedbeds, or tried to, over the past two years.
has spent up to 20 hours over the last 2 to 3 weeks
trying to get photos of Short-eared Owls at Farlington
Marshes, but he has had very few sightings though
there are reported to be up to 5 birds around the
reserve. However, on Monday Nov 23 his luck changed.
He bumped into Ros Norton and together they saw 3 and
possibly 4 birds ( sometimes 2 together) over a
wonderful hour or two. Here is a selection of the
photos he sent me.
NOVEMBER 23 - 2015
I went over to
Nore Barn at 12 noon to try out a new 20-40 zoom
eyepiece that I bought on eBay to use with my old Kowa
TSN 601 spotting scope. The old eyepiece was badly
worn and the rubber cracked, though it has had very
good use over the past 20 years or so. I did some
digiscoping with the new eyepiece in place today and
it worked quite nicely, as shown by today's pics.
The Spotted Redshank was feeding in the seaweed
near the shore, quite unconcerned at people and dogs
passing not many yards away.
I did not see the
regular colour-ringed Greenshank and no other birds
were in the stream area. There were plenty of Wigeon
and Teal further out as usual, but only a few Brent
I counted 52
Black-tailed Godwits on the mudflats including
two familiar colour-ringed birds:
R+LG - I first saw this godwit in Emsworth on
23-Oct-13 and there have been 8 sightings since then,
including one this winter on Nov 17.
WO+LW flag - This male bird was ringed a chick
ringed in north Iceland by Ruth Croger and Pete on
13th July 2010. It has been regular in Emsworth
Harbour each winter and this was our 55th sighting.
Milinets-Raby popped to Langstone Mill Pond this
morning between 9am and 10am. The tide was high and
there was little about except for a spectacular sky
and some Chiffchaff. Highlights were as follows: 3
Chiffchaff seen (two together showing very well and
posing for photos.
Others: 1 Teal, 5
roosting Grey Heron. Frozen horse paddock: 20 Moorhen,
1 Curlew. Off shore: 9 Wigeon. 12 Shelduck with a
further 12 off Conigar Point. 2 Great Crested Grebe. 4
Red Breasted Merganser. 30+ Brent Geese.
NOVEMBER 21 - 2015
Milinets-Raby had a walk along Langstone Mill Pond
this morning from 9:35am to 11am. Tide going out
quickly and with a very bitter north wind, but
thankfully the shore was sheltered. Highlights as
Langstone Mill Pond: 24 Teal, 2 Grey Heron
Flooded horse paddock: 2 Little Egrets, 16 Moorhen, 1
Off Pook Lane: 293 Dunlin with 1 Knot amongst them. 26
Lapwing. 161 Brent Geese (60% of them checked and all
adults). 3 Greenshank (G//R+BRtag//-). 9 female and 3
male Red Breasted Merganser. 5 Grey Plover. 2 Shelduck
with 9 off Conigar Point. 1 Sandwich Tern trying to
feed in the wickedly strong wind, gave up and roosted
on the mud. 1 Black-tailed Godwit. 4 Wigeon. 7 Teal.
Not much else, disappointing really. This time last
year there were 571 Brent Geese present!
NOVEMBER 20 - 2015
Milinets-Raby has been fascinated by the 'coral'
growths that are currently visible on both Peter Pond
and Slipper Millpond as the water is drained from the
ponds, presumably to allow work on the gates. Here is
Peter's photo of these interesting organisms from
Here is some
information about them that Peter has discovered on
the internet about these creatures.
enigmaticus (Commonly known as the Australian
Tubeworm) was first noticed in the UK from the London
docks in 1922. The origin of this species is not
clear. It was possibly introduced from Australia, but
this is not conclusive. It is an abundant species of
waters of variable salinity and warm temperatures from
the southern hemisphere.
It has been found in all ports from north
Pembrokeshire to the Thames estuary. Its distribution
is, however, confined to coastal brackish waters with
low saline levels and water temperatures of 18C which
is needed for successful reproduction. In the northern
part of its range in the UK it has colonized waters
heated by power plant discharges.
Ficopomatus enigmaticus builds and lives in white,
calcareous tubes that are about 2 mm in diameter and a
couple of centimetres long. The tubes are somewhat
flared at their open ends, and have conspicuous,
collar-like rings or flanges spaced irregularly along
their lengths. Older tubes are typically stained a
gold-brown or dark brown along much of their length,
with the areas around the flanges and the flared ends
usually remaining white.
feed, Ficopomatus enigmaticus extrudes a crown of
12-20 grey, green or brown branching gill plumes out
of the open end of the tube. Cilia on the plumes move
currents of water upward through them, oxygenating the
blood within. Other cilia capture small food particles
and pass them down to the mouth at the base of the
plumes. When disturbed, the worm pulls the plumes
quickly back into its tube and closes it with a
funnel-shaped stopper, called the operculum, at the
end of one modified gill plume. The top of the
operculum bears numerous, small, black spines. The
worm is usually about 2 cm long, including the
To spawn, eggs and sperm are released into the water
where fertilization occurs. The larvae develop in the
plankton, and after 20-25 days settle on and attach to
an appropriate hard surface. Ficopomatus enigmaticus
grows in the low intertidal zone on rocks, concrete,
wood, shells and other hard surfaces, including
pilings and the sides of floating docks, buoys and
boat hulls. It can occur as single, separate tubes, or
as tangled, agglomerate masses that form incrustations
up to 10 cm or more thick.
Large populations of Ficopomatus enigmaticus remove
suspended particulate matter from the water, reduce
excess nutrient loads and improve oxygen levels in
boat basins or enclosed waters with poor water
quality, which has a very beneficial effect on other
benthic species within enclosed or semi-enclosed
These tubeworms were
studied for many years by Dr Thorp of the University
of Portsmouth. For more information about this work
and other aspects of Slipper Millpond invertebrates
see the bit piece about the History of Slipper
Millpond by Tony Wilkinson at . . . http://familyfellows.com/millpond-slipper.htm
Scroll down to the bottom of the page past the plant
NOVEMBER 19 - 2015
coppicing the Hazels near the north bridge
of heavy rain this morning did not prevent a band of 8
volunteers turning up for the work session. I was
there mainly to take photos. The jobs were allocated
by Maurice Lillie which included coppicing the Hazels
near the north bridge and clearing the arisings
produced from the last session in the centre meadow,
plus the usual litter picking. Although there was
steady rain all morning, it was not too bad for
working and the volunteers had largely completed the
tasks in time for the coffee break.
As arranged, Michelle
Good from Havant Borough Council arrived with her two
colleagues Rosie Ryan and Jayne Lake at 11am, just in
time for coffee and biscuits and to meet the
conservation group volunteers. Rosie and Jayne are
both new to HBC and will be taking over the open space
work of Rob Hill and hence will be working closely
with our group. Gosh, it is so good to see HBC
employing young keen people like this. Jayne actually
lives locally in Emsworth.
Rosie and Jayne
At the end of the work
session, Jennifer Rye and I gave all three HBC
employees a tour of the meadow in the rain and I think
they were very impressed with what we had achieved
over the past 15 years.
For a full report on
the work session and more photos go to . . .
Meadow Conservation Work
The rest of the mown area was dominated by a healthy
growth of native plants, such as Hogweed, Cleavers and
tour of Brook Meadow we went through the experimental
wild seed planting area in the north meadow where we
found some evidence of new growth where seeds were
sown. In particular, the leaves of Common Knapweed
were evident - they are lanceolate and slightly
bristly as shown well in the right side photo.
Walking along the
north path we noted how low the river was running with
very little water coming under the railway tunnel from
This state of river
was much to the liking of a Grey Wagtail which
bounced ahead of us. I tried, but failed to get a
picture of it, but I am sure this delightful bird will
be with us during the winter period. It is a fairly
common winter bird on Brook Meadow. Here is a photo of
a Grey Wagtail (possibly the same one) taken last year
on Brook Meadow by Malcolm Phillips.
Pam Phillips told me
the Pike with the crooked tail is still present
in the river south of the north bridge.
There are several
plants still in flower on the meadow including some
magnificent flower heads of Hogweed and some White
Dead-nettle. We also noted more Winter Heliotrope
flowers coming up along the main river path.
NOVEMBER 18 - 2015
I had a quick
walk round the pond this morning for my regular
constitutional. A strong SW wind was blowing which
made walking an effort. I confirmed the news from
Mandy yesterday that only 3 swan cygnets remain left
out of the original 5; they include the white 'Polish'
one. But, I think they too will be not be here for
much longer. Here is a shot of the pen swan with her
three remaining cygnets dipping for food.
resident cob continues to protect the nesting
territory from the visiting pair of swans which were
preening on the slipway near the end of Nile Street
when I passed by. They are not allowed any further
The best news of the
morning was the appearance of 5 female Tufted
Ducks on the pond - my first of the winter. They
are a bit early, as we usually do not seen them much
Glynis Irons saw a
couple of early females on the millpond on Oct 5 but
they did not stay. Peter Milinets-Raby reports Tufted
Duck regularly on Langstone Mill Pond.
As I was passing the
quay I could not help but take a quick snap of the
Little Egret watching for fish at its favourite
spot at the outfall near in the town channel.
John Clarke of the Hampshire Ornithological Society, I
contacted James Collings-Wells again for more
information about his Little Auk sighting off Hayling
Island on Nov 15. He says "It was a small bird
definitely not big enough for a Razorbill or a
Guillemot. It took me a little while to drag my
attention away from the kite and waves and onto the
bird, which was gone in a couple of secs. Definitely
black head, back and upper side of wings, white
breast, flying fast. Then about 20 mins later I saw
several small birds on the water, maybe five or six,
but only saw them very briefly. I assumed at the time
they were the same species as the first bird, they
looked black uppermost, but beyond that I'm afraid I
can't be more certain." Information sent to John.
Meadow Conservation Group were delighted to receive
news from Michelle Good that Jayne Lake and Rosie Ryan
have joined Havant Borough Council to continue Rob
Hill's very valuable open spaces work. We look forward
to a long and fruitful association. Jayne and Rosie
will be coming along to the Brook Meadow work session
tomorrow at about 11am.
During a busy
week of work, Peter Milinets-Raby was surprised this
morning to get an hour spare to go and do some bird
watching. He visited Langstone Mill Pond at 10:02am.
The tide was out and the tail end of 'Barney' was
still blowing strong. The highlights were as
Langstone Mill Pond: Mobile flock of 85+ Goldfinch,
which on one brief landing revealed a nice
Redpoll amongst them. 1 Chiffchaff still
lingering. 6 Grey Herons roosting with intent (must
have breeding on their minds!!!).
Off Pook Lane: 23 Common Gulls - probably the only
sign that the weather has been windy lately, 1
juvenile Peregrine dashed across the marsh
chasing Starlings and failed, but succeeded in scaring
off any waders that might have been present. After the
dust settled . . . 10 Knot, 24 Lapwing, 9 Dunlin, 6
Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Wigeon, 1
Greenshank (G//R+BRtag//-), 5 Shelduck and 1 off
Conigar Point, 157 Brent Geese (all adults) with 38
off Conigar Point - Where are the large numbers? 4
female and 2 male Red-breasted Merganser.
Flooded horse paddock: 4 Little Egret, 25 Teal, 6
Moorhen, 1 Green Sandpiper. 1 Grey Heron.
NOVEMBER 17 - 2015
I walked along
the shore line of Emsworth Harbour on a rising tide
this morning starting from the millpond seawall at
10am and finishing at Nore Barn at 11.30 when the
forecasted heavy rain started to fall. Otherwise, the
weather was overcast and dull with a strong south
westerly wind blowing into my face for most of the
walk. But I saw some good birds which made up for it.
I think birdwatching in the harbour with the scope is
my favourite wildlife activity, certainly in winter.
I tried to
count the Brent Geese as I went, though those in the
eastern harbour were quite distant and not too easy to
see. I got 156 Brent Geese in the eastern harbour and
another 52 on the western harbour making a grand total
of 208. I went through them carefully but failed to
find a single juvenile. Clearly, this breeding season
has been a total disaster for the Brents. I do not
recall another winter when I saw no youngsters at all
at this stage. The only juvenile I have heard of this
winter was seen (and photographed) by Peter
Milinets-Raby at Langstone on Oct 31 - see photo
below. You can easaily tell the youngsters from the
white bars on their wings.
Juvenile Brent Goose
numbers do go up and down from one season to the next,
probably depending on the availability of Lemmings to
distract the Arctic Foxes from the young chicks. The
proportion of adults to juveniles is calculated each
year by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. They had a
really bad season in 2008/9 when the percentage of
young surveyed was only 1.1%. However, the Brents had
a good breeding season last year when the percentage
of young was 23%, so I suppose they were due for a bad
one. For more figures see . . . http://monitoring.wwt.org.uk/our-work/goose-swan-monitoring-programme/species-accounts/dark-bellied-brent-goose/
A flock of
around 70 Black-tailed Godwits was present in the
eastern harbour, but I did not spend too much time
looking at them as I knew I would see them later at
Nore Barn which was the case. At 11am the godwits came
tumbling down to feed on the mudflats in the creek
south of the Nore Barn Woods. This is an area they
certainly like. I counted 82 in this flock including
three colour-ringed birds:
ROL+RLR - This bird with three rings on each leg was
ringed on 27-Oct-08 at Kingsnorth Power Station,
Medway Est. Kent as an adult male. Since then, it has
been a regular wintering visitor to Emsworth Harbour
and today's sighting was the 86th in total! This was
my 5th sighting this winter.
R+LG - This godwit was first recorded in Emsworth on
23-Oct-13. Since then it has been seen six times,
including today. Peter Milinets-Raby has also seen it
B+GO - I think this godwit was ringed fairly recently
since I saw it for the first time last winter in
Emsworth on 10-Nov-14. This was my first sighting this
Redshank was also present in the stream, but all
alone. Here it is digging deep for food.
While I was on
the millpond seawall looking at the birds in the
harbour, a lady stopped to ask 'Are you Brian Fellows?
She said she was a regular reader of my Emsworth blog
which was nice to hear. Mandy then informed me that
another swan cygnet had flown from the millpond
leaving just 3 from the original brood of 5. The white
Polish cygnet is still present, though it will not be
long before all the cygnets depart, or are chased off
by their parents.
At the lookout
to the west of the Emsworth Sailing Club building I
met a couple of birdwatchers (Michael and friend) who
said they had just seen a Rock Pipit on the shore.
From their description I had no doubt it was a Rock
Pipit for this is a popular spot for this small bird.
We had another look for the bird, but did not see it.
My last sighting of a Rock Pipit in Emsworth was at
Nore Barn on Oct 16 this year.
The Hampshire Bird Report describes Rock Pipit as "A
scarce but increasing resident, scarce passage migrant
and winter visitor." My guess is that the Rock Pipits
we get along the Emsworth shoreline are winter
visitors, as we never seen any at other times of the
Here is a cracking photo of a Rock Pipit on the
Emsworth shore that Romney Turner got on 28 Nov 2011.
French responded positively to my suggestion of a
local Hedgehog watching group. She says, "It would be
good to monitor how our local hedgehogs are faring.
Also, Hedgehogs could be a good way to engage more
people with nature too. Most people like hedgehogs,
although they don't do themselves any favours by being
nocturnal! All sightings -dead or alive - would be
good to collect. Hedgehog Street has lots of resources
too. Let's give it some thought and see what we can
do. Presumably we could use your website to see who is
I fully endorse what Caroline says and am prepared to
offer a page of my web site devoted to a Hedgehog
interest group. I am also happy to gather together
contacts through this blog to get things started.
So if you are interested please get in touch at my
e-mail . . . brianfellows @ tiscali.co.uk (close the
spaces around the @)
Link to Hedgehog Street web site for lots of
information . . . http://www.hedgehogstreet.org
James Collings-Wells gave me a bit more information
about his encounter with a Little Auk while kiting off
Hayling Island on Nov 15. He said: "It was definitely
not big enough for a razorbill/guillemot. It took me a
little while to drag my attention away from the kite
and waves and onto the bird, which was gone in a
couple of secs. Definitely black head, back and upper
side of wings, white breast, flying fast. I will go
out on Wednesday and see if I can find another one!" I
posted the sighting on Hoslist and there has been good
NOVEMBER 16 - 2015
James Collings-Wells' sighting of Little Auks off
Hayling Island in last night's blog, Ralph Hollins
"Although I have seen no reports of Little Auks from
southern English sites Trektellen has reported one off
Emshaven in the Netherlands each day from Nov 12 to
15th and the recent stormy weather is the sort that
brings them south.
Birds of Hampshire shows that November has the highest
total of reports during the period 1950 to 1992 and
while I have no record of dates one of my vivid
memories of the IBM Lake was seeing one on it. I also
recall multiple reports of dead birds being found in
urban gardens and myself once found one in Bells Copse
(Havant Thicket) which had speared itself on a broken
branch while flying (or being blown) through the
trees, probably at night. They certainly look very
different to other Auks and I would give the report
night's item on Hedgehogs, Anne Moodie wrote to say
she saw one in her garden last night. Anne lives in
Oakmeadow Close which is in North Emsworth, but some
way from Caroline French. This was only Anne's third
sighting of a Hedgehog in 32 years she has lived in
Graham Petrie is another enthusiast who looks after
Hedgehogs in his Havant garden. In response to
Caroline French's observations, Graham says, "We think
one of our two hogs disappeared a couple of weeks ago,
the other stopped visiting about 4 days ago (verified
with my outdoor cam). Not seen him/her since. We are
still putting out dried food just to see whether
anything is about. Graham has got some good videos.
See for example . . . https://www.facebook.com/graham.petrie/videos/10207073253694056/
Maybe these, and
other, Hedgehog enthusiasts can get together a local
Hedgehog watching group? It would be good to be able
co-ordinate all the sightings and swap information and
tips on how best to look after them.
also got to see an impressive Dunlin 'murmuration' at
the south end of Farlington Marshes last week. Several
thousand I would say at a rough estimate. Graham says
there were some Turnstone, Grey Plover and Ringed
Plover somewhere in the flock. Can you spot them?
NOVEMBER 15 - 2015
should be getting themselves in condition for
hibernation at this time of the year, so I asked
Caroline French who is our local Hedgehog expert if
she had seen anything of the ones she gets in her
North Emsworth garden. Caroline said she has not seen
a hedgehog for weeks - not since a couple of days
after she took the five young ones to Brent Lodge (Oct
9th). None of her three hedgehog boxes is currently
occupied. She was surprised at how suddenly the
Hedgehogs disappeared since it seems too mild for them
to hibernate, although a work colleague said her
hedgehogs had also gone. Caroline and I would be
interested to hear from anyone who has seen Hedgehogs
over the past few weeks. Here is one of Caroline's
photos of young Hedgehogs earlier this year.
Collings-Wells thinks he saw some Little Auks in the
Solent this morning, while kiting about a mile off
Hayling. James says he has seen Guillemots and
Razorbills after a gale, but the birds he saw today
were much smaller.
Little Auks are small and dumpy black and white
seabirds that would fit snugly into cupped hands. Up
to a million breed in Svalbard and winter at sea
mainly north of Britain. Some get down to the North
Sea in stormy weather, but are rarely seen in the
English Channel. Most sightings occur in November and
December. Personally I have never seen one, but then I
have never been kiting in stormy weather! Well done,
James! I dont have any Little Auk photos in my
collection, but here is one I got off the internet.
NOVEMBER 14 - 2015
French went for a short walk along to Westbourne today
from Emsworth (presumably before the rain set in). She
was very pleased to catch sight of a Kingfisher
as it disappeared up the Ems under a small
Caroline was also pleased (and very lucky) to have a
Grey Wagtail repeatedly visiting her garden in
North Emsworth this week; the first she has seen for
about six years. Interestingly, Caroline's house is
nowhere near running water. The Grey Wagtail has been
finding scraps of mealworms, but this morning,
Caroline says, it looked as though it was taking small
bits of sunflower seed which was suprising.
is a photo of the parents feeding two chicks in May
report in yesterday's blog about the absence of wires,
etc on the rafts on Slipper Millpond, Nick Medina, who
is the chairman of the Slipper Millpond Preservation
Association, confirmed that the wires and frames have
been removed from the rafts on Millpond, thus allowing
Greater Black Backed Gulls as well as many other birds
to have unrestricted access. Nick thinks the Gulls
will probably nest there again, but perhaps co-exist
with normal bird life (fingers very much crossed).
Come what may, they are fine birds and it is a
privilege to have them nesting in our village.
Sadly, both chicks died when they fell from the raft
into the water and drowned.
Nick says the rafts
were discussed in detail at the SMPPA AGM in October
and provided the following note from the meeting:
"During 2014 the three rafts the light supporting
structures to deter the gulls had been re-fitted but
despite these measures the gulls had successfully
nested. The original installation had been kept to the
minimum and by the end of the summer the whole
assembly needed replacement. To prevent nesting it
would be necessary to encase the rafts with wire mesh
cages or equivalent with consequent visual damage. The
alternative of removal of the rafts would in addition
to depriving birds of their use, entail a major
operation as the substantial middle raft would have to
be craned out and disposed of . Following a lively
debate, it was decided on a vote of 15 to 8 that the
unsightly collapsed wiring and framework should be
removed and that the matter be reviewed in two or
three years' time."
NOVEMBER 13 - 2015
I arrived at
Nore Barn at about 9.30am which should have been fine
for catching the Black-tailed Godwits before the
rising tide drove them off. But, it was tipping down
with rain, so I had to sit in the car for a good 15
minutes before I could get out with the scope. I was
further delayed by my friend Chris Berners-Price who
told me about a Raven that he saw and heard flying
over Nore Barn Woods earlier in the week.
Only one Spotted Redshank was feeding in the
rapidly filling stream along with the colour-ringed
Greenshank (G+GL) and the usual assembly of Wigeon.
Here is the Spotshank showing off as usual.
Godwits had all moved into the inlet south of the
woods and were feeding along the shoreline close to
the path. They were far too occupied to be disturbed
by people passing by and so I was able to get a good
look at them and take some photos.
I counted 142 Godwits
which is the best count so far this winter, though it
is not a record for this site which stands at 168 in
Nov 2013. I could only find one colour-ringed godwit -
the regular Kent ringed bird - ROL+RLR, though I was
not able to check all of them since many were up to
their bellies in water.
Black-backed Gull returns
I had a walk
round Slipper Millpond early this afternoon and
noticed a single Great Black-backed Gull perched on
the raft in the centre of the pond - maybe prospecting
its nesting site for next year's breeding?
the centre raft and the north raft appear to have had
the wooden frames and wires removed. These were placed
there a couple of years ago in an attempt to deter the
Great Black-backed Gulls from nesting there. The
measures did not work, and the gulls did breed
successfully each year, though last year both their
chicks were drowned when they fell off the raft. I
know the association were due to discuss this issue at
the AGM - so, maybe they relented and removed the
NOVEMBER 12 - 2015
09:30 - 10:00
- Tide rising to high water in about 2 hours. The
light was very poor for birdwatching and for
photography, made worse by steady drizzle blowing off
the sea. However, I was delighted to find two Spotted
Redshanks in the rapidly filling stream along with the
colour-ringed Greenshank (G+GL) and about 20 Wigeon.
One of the Spotshanks spent most of the time snoozing
alongside the Greenshank on the edge of the
saltmarshes surrounded by Wigeon. The Spotted Redshank
is on the left in the photo and the Greenshank on the
Meanwhile, the other
Spotshank was busily feeding in the stream. Here it is
having caught a marine worm.
I was a bit late for
the Black-tailed Godwits though I could see about 150
of them feeding along on the edge of the distant
saltmarshes. There was no chance of reading any
colour-rings. Brian Lawrence turned up as I was
leaving, so I left him to it.
Milinets-Raby was out early this morning hoping to
have a peaceful bird survey along the Warblington
shore from 6:47am to 8:56am, but his peace was
disturbed by a lone shooter and his black dog on the
This was the fourth
shooting guy Peter has encountered in three weeks! It
is certainly sad to see migrant birds being disturbed
at their feeding grounds. However, I have checked the
law on wild fowling and it seems this chap was not
doing anything illegal. That's the sad part of it. For
more information go to . . . http://basc.org.uk/cop/wildfowling/
Despite this disturbance, Peter carried on and in fact
did a typically brilliant survey.
The bird highlights of the morning were as
Ibis Field: 7 male and 9 female Pheasant, 5
Conigar Point: 4 Meadow Pipit over west, 58 distant
Brent Geese, 11 Grey Plover flew off flushed by the
shooter, 1 Shelduck flushed, 16 Canada Geese flew west
along the channel towards Hayling Bridge.
Off Pook Lane: 84 Dunlin, 6 Grey Plover, 18 Teal (very
low numbers compared to the other week, before the
shooters arrived???), 3 Shelduck, 33 Lapwing, 2 Golden
Plover, 20 Wigeon (all out in the channel, not feeding
- wary - and numbers down from last week), 1 male and
6 female Red Breasted Merganser, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits,
1 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 155 Brent Geese (all
close and not a juv amongst them), 5 Greenshank
(RG//-+YY///-), 11 Common Gull, 7 Skylark over south
west, Siskin heard flying over, Wood Pigeon movement
noted with three flocks heading south west 38, 70+ and
95+. 1 adult winter Mediterranean Gull with 2 Sandwich
Tern (spot the terns in the photo).
Flooded horse paddock:
2 Teal, 12 Moorhen, 2 Pied Wagtail,
Langstone Mill Pond: 2 Grey Heron roosting, 1 Mistle
Thrush (first I have seen since spring!), 34+
Goldfinch flock feeding on catkins with 2 juv Siskin.
was just coming home from Stansted at lunchtime when
she spotted these splendid specimens of Magpie Inkcap
fungi growing on the wide verge by Horndean Road, near
the junction with Southleigh Road in North Emsworth.
Some new trees had been planted a while ago and they
were growing in the mulch surrounding the trees. Jill
says she has found very few at Stansted this year so
to find these growing so close to her home was a
bonus! Just goes to show you can often find wildlife
in the most unexpected places!
NOVEMBER 11 - 2015
This is a good
time of the year to check out trees, many of which
have lost their leaves and so can easily be seen.
On Brook Meadow the Willows are of particular interest
as we have six varieties. Most of the 100 or so Crack
Willows have lost their leaves, but the White
Willows in Palmer's Road Car Park still retain
their leaves as shown in this photo.
The pale undersides of
the White Willow leaves give the tree its whitish hue.
shows darker upper sides on left and paler undersides
Also from Palmer's
Road Car Park one can now clearly see the five
Western Balsam Poplars standing straight and
tall, well above other trees.
Back on the main
meadow, the Osiers on the east side of the
north meadow are full of leaves, though these are
long, dark and thin compared with the other Willow
The Goat and Grey
Willows are also in full leaf. Here they are on
the edge of Lumley copse.
Honeysuckle is in flower by the Lumley gate. I
know it is Japanese from its black berries.
several types of berries along the sheltered path
behind Lillywhite's Garage, which is one of the
official Emsworth waysides. The first two photos show
the black berries of Japanese Honeysuckle and
Wild Privet. They take a bit of sorting out,
but have different leaves and are on different plants.
More berries on the
Lillywhite's path include red Haws on Hawthorn
bushes, purple Sloes on Blackthorn bushes and
red berries of Bittersweet and Holly.
Finally, the apples
on the tree on the Bridge Road Wayside, which was
cut down several years ago, but which has sprouted up
again, are small but sweet. Taste one and see.
I am told the apples
on the A259 embankment outside the Doctor's Surgery
are also good.
NOVEMBER 10 - 2015
Redstart in Havant
saw a Black Redstart on the roof of the Spring Arts
Centre in Havant this morning. He was on his way to
work and so could not stop to admire it, but he says
it was a beauty! He's never seen one in Havant before
and I guess not many people have as it is a fairly
rare bird and probably justifies a record to the
Hampshire Ornithological Society.
It is not unusual to see Black Redstart in towns. The
last one I heard about in Havant was in the garden of
Peter Milinets-Raby in March 2013, though I recall one
used to be seen regularly in a garden near Sandy Point
on Hayling Island. Mary Colbourne also had one in her
garden in Emsworth in November 2010. Here are the two
photos with Peter's on the left and Mary's on the
As can be seen in the
photos, Black Redstart is generally a small, all dark
bird, about the same size and shape as a Robin, but
with a rusty red rump and tail from which it gets its
common name. The red tail is not too clear in these
photos. The tail is constantly quivering as shown in
Mary's photo on the right. I think Mary's bird is a
male with a fairly black face.
Although Black Redstart does very occasionally breed
in our area, it is mainly a scarce passage migrant and
Martin's bird is probably one that stopped on its way
to winter in Southern Europe. They tend to be late
migrants and November is the peak passage month for
the Black Redstart. A few Black Redstarts do stay the
winter in our area, so Martin's bird could possibly be
one of those.
NOVEMBER 9 - 2015
from 10-12 noon I enjoyed the company of 10 members of
the Rowlands Castle U3A Natural History Group
(including my old friend Jim Berry) for a walk around
the meadow. Thanks to Valerie Mitchell for the group
The group had been on
a walk with me in early summer when we found Bee
Orchids, but no chance of that today! However, we did
find a few flowers obligingly with open petals for our
pleasure. A little surprise was Lesser Stitchwort
flowers on the northern cross path on the south meadow
- the second flowering I have seen in the past week.
We also checked the flower spikes of Winter
Heliotrope on the south west corner of Peter Pond.
There were also some coming out on Brook
I explained the
various aspects of conservation work that had taken
place recently on the meadow, such as, the shelving in
the river and the experimental wild flower area in the
north meadow. Apart from a good view of a Grey Heron
flying over Peter Pond, there was little in the way of
Towards the end of the walk we found a couple of fungi
near the gap in line of willows. Jim identified the
nibbled yellow ones as Sulphur Tufts.
He thought the black
and white ones could be Little Japanese
Umbrellas which I had never heard of, but which
are apparently not uncommon in short grassland. The
new official name is Pleated Inkcap
For more details see . . . http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/parasola-plicatilis.php
Milinets-Raby spent an hour at Langstone Mill Pond
this afternoon from 2pm. There was no sign of the
Mallard duckling. But Peter did find a female
Goosander fast asleep, "like a dumpy Walrus on the
pipe at the rear of the pond" (see photo).
This could be the same
bird that spent much of last winter on Langstone Mill
Pond. However, on March 3rd Ralph Hollins reported in
his daily wildlife diary that a female Goosander had
been seen on the harbour just off the pond with the
front half of her lower mandible hanging vertically
down after being somehow broken and thought this could
have been the wintering bird. So, today's Goosander
seems likely to be a different bird?
Also on the pond were 8 Teal and 4 Grey Heron. In the
Flooded horse paddock: 30 Teal, 18 Moorhen.
Off shore off Pook Lane: 4 Teal, 11 Common Gull, 188
Brent Geese, 13 Grey Plover, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1
Lapwing, 2 Knot, 12 Dunlin. Also, 3 Greenshank
including G//R+BRtag//- see photo. Peter asks if
this bird ever re-caught to get the "tag" details?
Anne de Potier should be able to provide the answer.
Off Conigar Point: 16 Red Breasted Mergansers.
NOVEMBER 8 - 2015
Milinets-Raby was out this morning for along the
Warblington shore (from 6:51am to 8:55am - tide nearly
in, so very few waders around).
*Conigar Point:* 176+ Dunlin, 9 Grey Plover, 95 Brent
Geese, 51 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 3 Lapwing, A pair of Red
Breasted Merganser, 75+ Black-tailed Godwit flock flew
out of Emsworth Harbour direction and flew down the
channel and over into Langstone Harbour.
*Off Pook Lane:* The damage to the sea wall along this
stretch of the shore has got a little worse due to the
high tides and windy weather lately. It looks like it
needs a repair soon, otherwise the whole wall may be
breached!! (see photo)
199 Brent Geese, 8
Wigeon, 42 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 1 male Kestrel,
1 winter male Stonechat on hedge, 1 Sandwich Tern
resting on boat (see photo), 21 Lapwing, 8 Shelduck,
Mute Swan family - 2 adults with 5 juvs, 3 female and
1 male Red Breasted Merganser.
*Langstone Mill Pond:*
7 Grey Heron roosting, Alas, again no sign of the
*Flooded Horse paddock:* 30 Teal, 4 Moorhen.
*Pook Lane footpath:* 32 Curlew feeding in the field
adjacent the path, 1 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest together,
then another two seen 100 metres further on 19 Stock
Doves in top field by farm with male Pheasant, 4
Little Egrets feeding in the field by the barn and 15
feeding in the field by the farm house. 1 Sparrowhawk
hawking along the hedgerow, 1 Skylark over.
NOVEMBER 6 - 2015
I had a walk
through Brook Meadow and down to Peter Pond this
morning in light rain. I stayed on the main raised
paths as the grassland is very wet indeed. I am
leading a walk on Monday for a Rowlands Castle Nature
Group, so we too shall need to stay on the main
A few things I noted in passing: Osier leaves
are sprouting from twigs used by the conservation
group to build the river bank fence near the S-bend in
the river. They are darker, longer and thinner than
Crack Willow leaves.
There is a nice random
display of Crack Willow leaves that have fallen
onto the Lumley gate signcase.
relatively uncommon on the Brook Meadow site, but I
noticed some actually in flower on the edge of
Palmer's Road Car Park.
I found my first Winter Heliotrope flower
spikes of the winter on the embankment at the south
west corner of Peter Pond - three flower spikes with
I had a good
selection of birds in the garden today: 2 Blue Tits, 1
Great Tit, 1 Robin, 2 Blackbird, 1 House Sparrow, 1
Chaffinch, 6 Goldfinches, 1 Greenfinch, 2 Magpies, 1
Woodpigeon, 14 Collared Doves in the tree and about 20
Starlings flying around. I also had a Grey Squirrel
constantly gnawing at the sunflower heart feeder and
managing to get quite a lot out. I put some peanuts on
the bird table hoping it might distract him from the
expensive sunflower hearts.
I did my first 2 minute Goldfinch survey for
BTO. I had 6 Goldfinches feeding exclusively on
the sunflower hearts. The survey will run from
November 2015 - February 2016. One can make regular
observations throughout the survey period but not more
than one a week. For more details see . . .
NOVEMBER 4 - 2015
Goldfinch Feeding Survey
Trust for Ornithology have launched a winter Goldfinch
Feeding Survey running between November 2015 and
February 2016. Basically, they want to know why
Goldfinches have increased so dramatically in gardens
over the past 20 years. The survey is by Research
Ecologist Kate Plummer to investigate whether the
increasing use of garden bird foods is the key factor.
Kate has already demonstrated how supplementary
feeding in gardens has affected the migratory
behaviour of wintering Blackcaps in the UK. For the
survey garden birdwatchers are asked to spend two
minutes a week watching the Goldfinches and recording
how many there are and what they are feeding on. All
the details are at . . . http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gbw/about/background/projects/goldfinch-feeding-survey
From my own experience it seems pretty clear that
Goldfinches responded strongly to the introduction of
niger seed feeders in gardens in the 1990s. I did not
have any Goldfinches in my garden until I started
using niger seed. However, over time they have
switched their preference to sunflower hearts with the
result that I gave up putting out niger seed several
years ago. They are perfectly happy with the sunflower
hearts and ignore everything else I put out (as do
most other birds, incidentally!). Here are a couple of
Goldfinches I took only last week on one of the
sunflower heart feeders.
nocturnal bird migration
extraordinary footage, filmed on a research vessel in
the Baltic Sea in October 2015, depicts the mass
migration of thousands of small birds. The birds,
mainly Chaffinches and Bramblings, migrate over the
Baltic at night and are attracted by the vessel's
lights. See . . . http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=5314
International has just announced that another four of
UK's bird species, Puffin, Turtle Dove, Slavonian
Grebe and Pochard, have been added to the IUCN
(International Union for Conservation of Nature and
Natural Resources) Red List of birds considered to be
facing the risk of global extinction. See . . .
The presence of Turtle Dove and Puffin on the list is
not surprising, but I was surprised to see Pochard.
Apparent, this duck has declined significantly in
recent years across the whole of Europe and that this
decline is ongoing. In the past the odd one or two
have turned up on Emsworth Millpond, but they are
pretty rare. Here is a cracking male Pochard I snapped
on the town millpond in Dec 2007.
NOVEMBER 3 - 2015
Milinets-Raby popped down to Langstone Mill Pond this
afternoon (2pm to 3pm - tide nearly in):
Highlights were as follows:
Langstone Mill Pond: Well, I know we had good news of
the duckling on the weekend, but today there was no
sign of it. And, the numerous Mallard, Moorhen and
Coot were fed several times by passer-bys, but the
tiny duckling did not show itself. So the situation is
alas looking very bleak indeed!!
Also on the pond: 2 Teal, 2 Grey Heron and 2 Little
Egret roosting, 8 Moorhen on the flooded paddock.
Off shore: 197 Brent Geese (all close and not one of
them a juvenile!!), 54 Teal, 15 Black-tailed Godwit,
13 Lapwing, 4 Grey Plover, 5 Greenshank (RG//-+YY//-
& G//R+BRtag//-), 1 Sandwich Tern feeding, 60+
Golden Plover flying around before drifting off
towards north Hayling, 5 Red Breasted Merganser (2
male & 3 females), Mute Swan family back together
again with 5 juveniles.
NOVEMBER 2 - 2015
family of two parents and 4 cygnets were present on
the pond when I passed this morning. The visiting pair
were also present, but further south. As for the swan
that I saw for the first time on Saturday on the
eastern side of the pond, today was in front garden of
number 14 Bridgefoot Path, which where the lady lives
who takes a special interest in the swans
Later, I noticed this
swan was back on the side of the pond on Bridgefoot
Path being closely watched by one of the resident
pair. It will not be allowed onto the pond.
The most interesting event was to see all four of
the cygnets flying strongly over the millpond.
Clearly, they are able, if not completely ready as
yet, to move away from their home territory.
I counted a total of 226 Brent Geese in the
eastern harbour, but could not find a single juvenile
I also counted 62 Black-tailed Godwits, but could not
read any colour-rings as they were all in water.
Also present were one Spotted Redshank
(possibly the Nore Barn bird), 2 Lapwing and 2
The tide was rising to high water at about 15:30. I
counted 92 Brent Geese, but again no
The Spotted Redshank turned up just as Ros
Norton arrived on the scene; she was delighted to see
this iconic bird for the first time this winter. We
watched it race up the stream where it was joined for
a while by a Little Egret.
Neither Ros nor I
could stay for any other arrivals, but no doubt the
Greenshank turned up later.
The south facing Ivy
hedge at the end of Warblington Road was full of
flowers attracting masses of buzzing insects. The
hedge was alive with them. They were mostly Honey Bees
with bulging pollen sacs, plus a some Bumblebees,
hoverflies and one Red Admiral. I think the Bumblebee
in the photo is a Bombus terrestris
worker with pollen sacs. I think the hoverfly is
Episyrphus balteatus aka Marmalade Fly.
Oakley saw a Southern Hawker dragonfly on the
Hampshire Farm site along with this rather fine
Long-winged Conehead Bush-cricket with long antennae.
Up to four
Short-eared Owls have been seen quartering over
Farlington Marshes. Colin Vanner got this shot of one
over the weekend.
NOVEMBER 1 - 2015
I went over to
the meadow at 10am for the conservation work session
led by Jennifer Rye. The main task was to cut and
clear the Lumley area which is our prime area for
sedges and rushes and other interesting
The full report on the
work session and more photos is at . . .
The cutting disturbed
several Frogs, but they all seemed to come out
There are still quite
a few flowers in bloom including some excellent heads
of Hogweed and Wild Angelica attracting late flying
insects. Other wild flowers include Red Clover,
Herb-Robert and both white- and purple-flowered Common
Comfrey. During today's work session I spotted a late
flowering Lesser Stitchwort and some Meadow
regular walk along Western Parade this morning, Chris
Oakley noticed a Black-tailed Godwit which had lost
the lower part of its left leg. Chris said it seemed
to be coping well enough but had to flutter rather
than walk. This bird probably got its leg trapped and
in the struggle to get free lost part of its leg.
earlier observations go to . . October