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

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

for January 1-16, 2016
(in reverse chronological order)

Send wildlife observations and photos to Brian Fellows at . . . brianfellows at


Brook Meadow
My only news from the meadow today is sadly about vandalism. The rather nice woven hurdle fence that the Environment Agency constructed around the concrete bags in the north-east corner of the meadow has been torn down and thrown in the river. That is really sad. Hopefully, it will be replaced. Both Malcolm Phillips and Brian Lawrence were also on the meadow today and were dismayed to see the damage.

Millpond News
Nothing to report on the millponds today apart from the fact that the town millpond was largely frozen over for the first time this winter. The gulls did not seem to mind.

Malcolm's news
Malcolm Phillips visited Langstone for a change today and got some interesting sightings. First he saw a Water Vole in the Langbrook Stream - the first he has seen for some time. Sadly, there are none left on Brook Meadow. Malcolm also had a wintering Chiffchaff nearby.

Then he went through the waders in the harbour and found two colour-ringed Greenshank and a colour-ringed Redshank.
The Greenshank are G+BR tag which Peter Milinets-Raby also regularly sees at Langstone and G+GL which is the regular feeding companion of the Spotted Redshank at Nore Barn - having a change of scene!

The Redshank looks like B+B//RO though the rings are a bit muddy. This was probably one of those ringed by Pete Potts and his team ringed at Thorney Island on 13/09/2014.

Peter Milinets-Raby had a singing Firecrest high in the big bare tree at the entrance to the Palmer's Road Car Park at 2pm. It then flew across the car park to nip into the scrub along the edge of the copse. It sang a couple of more times before slipping away onto the meadow.
The last Firecrests we had on Brook Meadow was in Jan-Mar 2013 when one and sometimes two (male and female?) were seen feeding on the river bank. We had a total of 38 sightings with lots of photos. Here is one that Malcolm Phillips took at the time.

Garden Brambling
Caroline French was very pleased have what I think was the first local Brambling of the year in her garden today. This is only her second ever garden record, the previous one being December 2010. Males and females look similar in winter plumage.

Bramblings are really rare and prized garden birds, only arriving in cold weather. The last one I had in my Emsworth garden was in a cold spell in Jan-Feb 2011. But clearly they are in the area, so check your Chaffinches very carefully, just in case there is a Brambling among them.

Peter Milinets-Raby e-mailed me to say he had a singing Firecrest high in the big bare tree at the entrance to the Palmer's Road Car Park at 2pm. It then flew across the car park to nip into the scrub along the edge of the copse. It sang a couple of more times before slipping away onto the meadow. Let's hope it stays!
The last Firecrests we had on Brook Meadow was in Jan-Mar 2013 when one and sometimes two (male and female?) were seen feeding on the river bank. We had a total of 38 sightings with lots of photos. Maybe with this cold spell we shall have another couple? Here is a photo taken by Malcolm Phillips at that time showing the distinctive white 'eyebrow' which separates it from the more common Goldcrest.


Emsworth walk
What a glorious winter morning. This morning's constitutional took me through Brook Meadow, past Peter Pond, round Slipper Millpond and back into the village for a warm-up and coffee in the Pastoral Centre before making a circuit of the millpond. I happened to meet Maurice Lillie on the south bridge; he was out taking 6-month fixed-point photos around the meadow.
There were no special observations on Brook Meadow apart from the abundant blossom on the Cherry Plum tree on the causeway. But I was pleased to see the regular female Kingfisher perched on the table at the north end of Peter Pond near the reedbeds. Here is a very distant shot with my 12x Lumix zoom.

Two Little Grebes were fishing near the sluice gates at the southern end of Slipper Millpond. Amazingly, I managed to capture both on the surface at one time.

There were two pairs of Red-breasted Mergansers on the town millpond, diving frequently for fish. Here is one of the pairs that I managed to snap before they went under.

I puzzled for a while over a Black-backed Gull that was sitting on the water in the middle of the pond. It is difficult to judge size when there is only one of them and no other gulls nearby, but my inclination is to go for Great Black-backed Gull based mainly on the blackness of its wings and the large extent of white on the wing tips. But I would love to see the colour of its legs!

The swan situation remains the same with the resident family of two adults and two cygnets plus the visiting pair lurking at the end of Nile Street. There have been no Tufted Ducks this winter, though there is still time.

Nore Barn
Malcolm Phillips was over at Nore Barn for an hour or so this afternoon and got a couple of cracking photos of local wading birds. A Black-tailed Godwit that has not gone to the Avon Valley with its mates and a Curlew in flight.

Garden Blackcap
Patrick Murphy had a male Blackcap paying several visits to his garden this morning. First time this year. Maybe the colder weather will be bringing them down south. Everyone keep a look out and get some sponge cake on the go. They love it.

Pallas's Warbler?
Peter Milinets-Raby put a full hour this lunchtime (12 noon ) walking along the stretch of the Billy Line to the west of the main road virtually opposite the Langstone village looking for the possible Pallas's Warbler that John Chapman thought he saw in his garden yesterday.
Peter reports, "Wandering for 10 minutes to the east side of the road, but back again to the west section. Pass on my thanks for getting me details. I was playing mp3 files to help lure anything out. I had 3 Coal Tit (two noisily singing), 2 Goldcrest (one singing), 6 Long-tailed Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Nothing else I'm afraid. Hope others will have some luck. A nice little spot with some good habitat ideal for either species - my money is on Yellow browed!"

Black Redstart
Barrie Jay asks if I recognise this Robin-like bird with a distinctive red/brown rump that he saw near the I.O.W ferry terminal at Portsmouth this morning. That is a nice one, indeed, Barry. It is a Black Redstart, which is quite a rare bird in our area in winter.

Black Redstarts breed mainly on the Continent and are mainly seen in the South of England as passage migrants in spring and late autumn, though just a few do spend the winter with us. The current Hampshire Bird Atlas says that typically only about 6 birds winter in the whole county, mostly at urban locations along the coast, presumably due to the mild conditions in such localities.
I have three other local Black Redstart sightings in my recent files (with photos): Mary Colbourne had one in her Emsworth garden on 17-Nov-2010 and Peter Milinets-Raby had one in his Havant garden on 01-Nov-2012 and again on 15-Mar-2013.

Godwits in Avon Valley
As I suspected Black-tailed Godwits have abandoned the local harbours in favour of the flooded river valleys which no doubt provide much richer picking of worms and other foodstuffs. Kevin Sayer provided the following link to a short video that the Bournemouth Echo has posted on their Facebook page showing the Godwits currently enjoying the floods in the Avon Valley. See . . .
Gosh, I would not like to have to count those!


Nore Barn
I had a quick look at Nore Barn at 12 noon - about 2 hours to high water. The Spotted Redshank and the colour-ringed Greenshank (G+GL) were feeding together in the stream. Nothing else of interest.

Garden Nuthatches
I have received another two responses regarding the recent discussion about Nuthatches appearing in gardens.
Martin Hampton says ". . . until two years ago, I had never seen one in our current or previous garden (both in south Havant near the Billy Path). But late in the 2013/14 winter, two came occasionally to feed on sunflower hearts, and the same happened last year. Our locality is hardly 'wooded' but I suspect that the largest of the Oaks and Hornbeams in the Wade Court area of large houses, plus the younger Sycamores etc. along the railway path, might constitute just enough habitat. So I have my fingers crossed for this year too..."

Geoff Gilbert says that about five years ago they used to have Nuthatches on their feeders infrequently in the early morning in their Rowlands Castle garden. However, ". . . In recent years since hardly ever. But for the last month, two come every morning - from early till mid morning - feeding on the sunflower hearts, and occasionally trying a fat ball or the peanuts. There are big oak trees in the copse 100m-200m away on the golf course, which I assume is their home territory."

Yesterday, at long last, after a nine year wait, Eric Eddles was delighted to get some shots of a female Kingfisher at Langstone Mill. That's perseverance!

Portscreek defences
On Wednesday, from 10.00am until noon, Mike Wells went to see the progress of the tidal defences between the Eastern Road and the railway bridge at Portscreek. He says . . . "It certainly is a major project, with a simple walking area created on top of the raised defences. Although this will be very effective, I feel that much of the natural area has been lost."
While he was there Mike saw a variety of birds in the harbour including a group of Red-breasted Mergansers (they are everywhere at the moment). Mike also captured this rather nice Meadow Pipit on the beach; it is not a Rock Pipit which one might expect on the shore, that would have been much darker with dark legs.

Pallas's Warbler?
Here is something that might get you twitching! John Chapman thought he may have had a very rare bird in his Havant garden this afternoon. "Sitting by the French windows near the fire in the mid afternoon I was aware of a tiny bird flashing across from the roses to the potted geraniums by the wall. It paused long enough for me to register a very long, narrow, yellowish stripe above the eye, then it vanished among the plants in the pots. I got brief glimpses as it worked its way through them, but it suddenly appeared head-on on one of the geraniums at a distance of less than two yards. The striking feature was a very prominent pale yellow stripe on the crown, as well as the eye-stripes. It was obviously not a Firecrest, and the crown stripe seemed far too prominent for the Yellow-browed Warbler, far more so than I have ever seen. I was left with Pallas's Warbler, as the only likely candidate. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see the rump, and when I went round via the back door it had gone. Worth looking along the Billy Line or Mill Lane (but careful, a Firecrest is often seen there)."

Here is a pic from the internet.
If you see anything like this please get in touch!


Emsworth Harbour
This was a real winter's morning, bright sky, no wind, crisp with a frost on the car windscreen. The first we have had this wet and windy winter. I was feeling well enough to venture out on the bike again for the first time since well before Xmas with the scope in the basket. It was so good to get out on such a lovely morning. Just a pity there were so few birds around.
I started on the millpond seawall, but the tide was already well advanced, so there was not much to see in the eastern harbour. I had a quick look at the Dunlin scuttling around by the sailing club, about 150 of them digging their bills into the mud under the shallow water like tiny sewing machines.

Reaching Nore Barn I could see about 40 Shelduck in the main channels a long way out. Here is a couple that were close enough for a photo.

The usual Spotted Redshank was in the stream with a Little Egret, standing like a sentinel. There was no sign of the Greenshank.

There were no Black-tailed Godwits anywhere - they must be in the flooded valleys of the Avon and elsewhere. Ralph Hollins reports that 1,990 Black-tailed Godwits were counted from a photo in the lower Avon Valley. There have also been large numbers of them at Pulborough Brooks, in the Pagham Harbour area and on the Pevensey levels.

Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips spent the morning in the QA eye department. He has my sympathy, I know that place only too well! Hence, he did not have a lot of time on the meadow, but still managed to get two cracking shots of our common birds both at the north east corner.

Hampshire Farm
Chris Oakley reports from Hampshire Farm where the pond has been at the highest he's seen it for a couple of years, although it is far from being a problem. He says, "There are shingle overflow areas at either end and these have been covered for some days. I checked the outfall into the river and it was flowing quite freely, so the pond is doing what was intended, by holding back excess water and releasing it into the river at an acceptable rate, minimising the effect on the river itself. I also checked the river height gauge at the weir above the Wren Centre and this was at six feet, again not excessive for this time of the year. The photo shows the gauge above the weir."

The whole site is very wet and heavy with mud. A new earth bank was recently built running parallel with the meadow above the Wren Centre, it now is holding back a lot of water. This may prevent the field from flooding but it is causing a problem for the site. It seems as though we are in for a comparatively dry spell so lets hope that the ground can dry out a little."
For Chris's blog go to . . .

Titchfield Haven
Tony Wootton went over to Titchfield Haven to try for the Penduline Tits, but missed them. However, he got some other nice photos including this one of a Black-tailed Godwit trying to find some room in a roost of Oystercatchers.

CORRECTION - A second look at this godwit confirms it as a Bar-tailed - having plain brown wings, long supercilium and barring of the tail.


Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips only managed a short time on Brook Meadow again today, but got a couple of nice pics of resident birds: female Chaffinch and perky Wren.

Nore Barn to Emsworth Millpond
Brian Lawrence walked from Nore Barn to Emsworth this morning just before high tide. The Spotted Redshank was showing off as usual in the Nore Barn stream - what a cracking bird this is and still going strong after 12 winters.

When Brian got to the town millpond he found a female Red-breasted Merganser fishing close to the path. It is good to see these lovely birds back on the millpond, but it would be even better to have some other winter visitors, such as, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe or even Goldeneye. Peter Milinets-Raby had one at Langstone today. Maybe if the cold weather comes we shall?

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby managed a quick visit to Langstone Mill Pond this afternoon between lessons and showers (1:47pm to 3pm - high tide).
On the pond: Female Goosander fast asleep the whole time on the tree at the rear of the pond. Adult Grey Heron sitting upright on Number Six nest - looking for a mate.
Off shore: Fishing Red-necked Grebe along channel (nearer to Hayling side, adjacent to the hotel), but still good views in the scope, "only a mile away, not miles!!", like previously.
5 Red Breasted Merganser, 5 Common Gull, Female Goldeneye, Great Black-backed Gull, 7 Shelduck, 25 Brent Geese, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Kingfisher dashing and chasing each other over the high tide water by the wreck, 2 adult Mute Swan with 4 juveniles keeping their distance - fifth one gone?
Flooded horse paddock: Impressive count of 34 Moorhen (my highest total on this pasture), 11 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Heron, Amazingly 15 Wigeon, 73 Teal, 1 Oystercatcher.

Red-necked Grebe
John Arnott sent me a photo of the Red-necked Grebe that has been attracting a lot of attention recently taken at Northney Marina on 9th Jan. John also got a couple of short video clips which show its surface and diving behaviour well. It definitely dives with more of a Cormorant leap and less like the Great-crested Grebe's lower profile dive. It consistently dived for between 25 and 30 seconds (usually 26 or 27 seconds) with 13 to 14 second recovery periods on the surface (about double this if it engaged in an occasional bout of preening).

Janet Hider and her husband took a walk from Prinsted to Thornham Boat Yard and got a nice shot of Oystercatchers in flight.

Janet also sent me a photo she was not sure about of a duck busily preening. As Janet suspected, the bird is clearly a female Red-breasted Merganser, identifiable from its very shaggy orange crest, red legs and pale underparts.

Funtington birds
Responding to yesterday's report by Robin Pottinger of two Nuthatches in his Southbourne garden, Paul Cooper writes to say they get an occasional Nuthatch in their Funtington garden, the last one about a week ago. Paul used to live in Hollybank Lane (the house right at the top with the Holm Oak in the front garden) and says Nuthatches visited just about every day to feed on peanuts.
Paul reports that it has been an amazing year for Goldfinches in his garden. He counted a charm of 22 a couple of days ago, with all the feeding stations on two niger seed feeders taken, the rest on the ground. He's had to order a sack of niger seeds on-line for them! For the first time today one of them was feeding voraciously on a peanut feeder which he has never seen that before.
Brian's note: It was interesting to hear that Paul's Goldfinches are still keen on niger seeds. Mine gave up on them several years ago as soon as I introduced sunflower hearts for the Greenfinches. I don't buy them anymore.


Millpond News
The town millpond was flat calm this morning for my regular constitutional, just like a millpond in fact, though I have not seen it like this for several weeks. This meant I had a really good view of three Red-breasted Mergansers fishing at the southern end of the pond near the Emsworth Sailing Club; one male and two female/juveniles.

This was the first time I have seen three on the pond this winter, though Susan Kelly whom I met on the seawall said she had seen two pairs on the pond during stormy weather last week.

Garden Nuthatches
Robin Pottinger had a big surprise when he got back from a walk this morning. He walked into his Southbourne house, looked out of the kitchen window, and there was a pair of Nuthatches on the feeders. Astonishing. Robin has never seen any in his garden before. A very lucky piece of timing. I have never seen Nuthatches in my garden and would be interested to hear from anyone else who has seen Nuthatches in their garden in the local area. I would suspect people living near woodlands, like Hollybank Woods would get them.

Here is a photo of one that Graham Petrie had in his garden in Havant on 28-Oct-2012.

In fact, Nuthatch is not a particularly rare garden bird and comes in at number 21 in the BTO Garden BirdWatch list for this time of the year with a reporting rate of 25% - ie 25% of participants report seeing one. It is most likely to be seen in the period from Aug to Feb then drops away to a low in May before rising again.

Garden Blackcap
Joyce Sawyer also had an exciting bird in her garden on Sunday 10th January - a male Blackcap shown here feeding on the fatballs. This is the first garden Blackcap I have heard of this very mild winter. They are ranked 23rd in the BTO Garden BirdWatch list being reported by 16% of participants.

The Blackcaps we see in our gardens in the winter are migrants from the Continent and are not the same population that migrate here from the south in summer to breed. In addition, new research using data from the BTO Garden BirdWatch has revealed that bird food provided in British gardens has prompted Blackcaps evolve this new migration strategy, ie they come here from the Continent for the food! This is the first time that garden bird feeding has been shown to affect large-scale bird distributions. See . . .

Brook Meadow floods
Malcolm Phillips did not have much time to spare today, so just sent a photo of the flooded south meadow on Brook Meadow.

But it is not nearly as bad as a couple of years ago when you would have had to swim to get through.

Here's a reminder what it looked like then!


Millpond News
Jean and I had a walk around the town millpond this millpond. The weather was dull and overcast and we got caught in a sharp hail shower. Is this the first sign of winter coming? The two cob swans were up to their tricks, circling round and round one another with wings raised in threat postures. I have not seen them come to blows as yet, but no doubt it will happen.

The pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were both busily fishing, but well separated; the male at the southern part of the pond and the female close to the slipway at the end of Nile Street.

Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips went round the meadow this morning and found more birds that he has seen for a while. Malcolm got photos of two cracking birds, a male Bullfinch and a Goldcrest with a magnificent crest.

Garden Birds
Les Winter had a nice surprise this morning to see this splendid male Great Spotted Woodpecker (red on the back of head) on the seed holder in his Cumberland Avenue garden.

Patrick Murphy always gets a good selection of birds coming to the feeders in his North Emsworth garden. Today he had a Coal Tit which he says is a regular visitor (I rarely see one in my garden) and a quizzical Robin.

In my garden in Central Emsworth today, there has been a constant flow of birds with up to 12 Goldfinches and 8 Greenfinches on the four sunflower heart feeders, along with the occasional Blue Tit, Great Tit and House Sparrow. One or two Grey Squirrels are also regular visitors and insist on clinging to the feeders, despite my putting peanuts out for them on the bird table! Meanwhile, I had 9 Woodpigeons feeding on the grass at one time with 7 Collared Doves.

The following photo shows the general layout of my back garden with feeders on the tree on the right
and Woodpigeons and Collared Doves feeding on the grass and the bird table.

This photo shows the 4 sunflower heart feeders fully occupied by 8 Goldfinches
there's no more for any more at any one time.


Cormorants on Slipper Millpond
During a walk around Slipper Millpond this morning I was interested to see two Cormorants on the south raft, one of which had a grey head and a white patch on its thigh (called a roundel). The grey head probably indicates this is an aging bird of the nominate race P. carbo though the tree-nesting Continental race P. sinensis also gets a grey head in the spring. The white thigh patch indicates breeding potential and appears in late winter and early spring, but is usually gone by summer.

Spotted Redshanks at Nore Barn
I had a quick look at Nore Barn this afternoon at about 2pm with the tide still fairly high. There was a strong wind blowing off the sea and rain in the air, so I did not stay. However, I was delighted to see two Spotted Redshanks feeding in the stream along with the regular colour-ringed Greenshank (G+GL). This is the first time I have seen this excellent group of waders this year. Photos were difficult in the wind and dull light. I could not get them all in one shot, so here are the two Spotted Redshanks in one and a Spotted Redshank and Greenshank in the other.

Gull with Starfish
Tony Wootton sent me another photo that he got yesterday while at Southsea Castle of an adult herring gull with starfish pursued by a juvenile.

Support Brook Meadow
Ralph Hollins reminds us that the Brook Meadow Conservation Group is one of the charities being supported by Waitrose in Havant. So don't forget to put your green token in the collection slot next time you are there!


Malcolm's news
Malcolm Phillips went round the town millpond early this morning and got a dramatic photo of the sunrise with dark clouds over Thorney Island.

He said there was not much of interest on Brook Meadow, but he did but get a nice shot of a rather shy looking Great Tit

Green Woodpecker
Keith Wileman got this fine shot of a Green Woodpecker that paid a visit to his North Emsworth garden a couple of days ago.

Shag on Canoe Lake
Tony Wootton was attracted to Southsea by recent reports of a Shag at Canoe Lake, resting on a pedalo. Well, he found the bird today along with one of the Black-headed Gulls that are common on the lake. As Tony says, the bird has the steep forehead and yellow lower bill of a juvenile Shag, quite unlike a Cormorant. I used to count the birds on Canoe Lake, Southsea on a weekly basis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but never once saw a Shag there, though one, or sometimes two, could often be seen fishing in the sea off the Castle.

Tony went along to Southsea Castle while he was there and managed to spot 5 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks at high tide in front of the Castle. Most of the time they were nestled down in crevices, so not so easy to find, but Tony did manage this nice shot of two of them being splashed by the surf. This is certainly the best spot locally to see these delightful birds.


Malcolm's news
Malcolm Phillips went round Brook Meadow this morning and found a couple of trees down both by the south bridge. Maurice Lillie says Andrew Skeet will go there tomorrow morning to assess the situation with a view to clearance.

Malcolm got a nice shot of a female Kingfisher (red lower mandible) on the table in near the reedbeds on Peter Pond.

Eric Eddles got a good view of some Avocets while he was parked on Salterns Quay overlooking Langstone Harbour on Jan 5. This one flew in nice and close.


Nore Barn
I have not been able to get over to Nore Barn recently, so I was pleased to hear from Malcolm Phillips who had a walk there this afternoon. Malcolm saw several birds and got a couple of nice shots of two of them, including a rather fine Brent Goose and a Common Redshank. I gather the Brent Geese are already on the move back north towards their breeding grounds due to this remarkably warm winter we are having. Common Redshank is good, but I hope the Spotted Redshank is still around. Anyone seen it recently?

Bird song
David Minns heard two Song Thrushes singing lustily at opposite ends of Brook Meadow this afternoon. What a great song they have. They have been singing now on Brook Meadow for a couple of weeks or more and are likely to be singing right through until the summer. Far more interesting, David also heard what I think is the first Blackbird song of the year.
Dunnock is another bird that thinks it is spring; on Jan 5, Ralph Hollins heard at least 8 individuals singing in Havant and Emsworth. Drat, I am missing out on all these birds as I am still largely housebound by this nasty chest infection.

Garden birds
Fortunately, I can still sit and watch the birds enjoying the food I put out for them in the garden. I addition to the constant flow of Goldfinches and Greenfinches along with the odd Blue Tit and Great Tit on the sunflower heart feeders, Chaffinches, Woodpigeons and Collared Doves feed on the ground for much of the day.
However, I do envy Patrick Murphy the Song Thrush he photographed in his North Emsworth garden today. I have not seen one of these all 'winter'.

Patrick has also been getting two Coal Tits in his garden, though they are not as easy to get decent photos of. He sends his best effort so far whilst feeding on a bird cake taken through the dining room window.


It was such a nice morning, the wind having dropped and a watery sun shining, that I decided to get out for my first venture into the outside world for a couple of weeks. I took it very gently around the town millpond with lots of stops on the way, but even then it was quite a struggle.
Regarding wildlife, there is no change in the swan situation on the millpond The two remaining cygnets with brown in their plumage are still with their parents on the northern part of the pond. The white 'Polish' cygnet has long since gone. The parents are clearly now far more interested in each other than in their offspring. Soon they will be gone too.

Meanwhile the visiting pair of swans are lurking on the southern part of the pond as usual - in the distance in the photo. There may well be trouble ahead!

Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips was out on Brook Meadow this morning said he got quite wet in showers. However, he did manage to get a couple of snaps to share with us of a Robin and a rather sad looking Dunnock.

Langstone Mill Pond

Peter Milinets-Raby had some spare time this afternoon, so he popped down to the Langstone Mill Pond (1:34pm to 3pm - tide largely out, but coming in). The highlights were as follows:
Off shore: 1 Greenshank (G//R + BRtag//-), 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 23 Red Breasted Merganser, 7 Grey Plover, 123 Dunlin, 25 Shelduck, 30+ Brent Geese, 87 Golden Plover, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Wigeon, Red Necked Grebe - on its own off Conigar Point out in the channel (distant scoped views, though drifted away east after 10 minutes, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 2 female & a male Goldeneye, 1 Avocet - hidden in the muddy gullies off Pook Lane and not seen until it flew from one gully to another and promptly out of sight!
Horse Paddock: Loads of birds present. 83 Teal, 14 Mallard, 5 Oystercatcher, 3 Little Egrets, 1 Grey Heron, 1 male and now two female Wigeon, 1 Green Sandpiper, Great Spotted Woodpecker perched on post, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 male Pheasant, 21 Moorhen.

Mistle Thrushes are now quite scarce birds in our area. Peter last had just one at Langstone on Nov 12.
Here is a photo of two that Tony Wootton took in Bridge Road car park on 09-Feb-2012.

Langstone Mill Pond: 2 roosting Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron visible on nest, rest keeping very low, 45+ Goldfinch with 3 males and 1 female Siskin amongst them. A Water Rail at the edge of the reeds by the bridge behind the mill - good views.


Langstone Mill Pond
After the torrential rain, Peter Milinets-Raby popped down to Langstone Mill Pond at 2:43pm until 3:55pm - tide slowly pushing in and water flat and calm! The highlights were:
3 Great Crested Grebes (different from the ones associating with the reported Red-necked Grebe that was miles away from my view point, even with a telescope!!), 8 Golden Plover, 239 Dunlin. After searching through the Dunlin, by chance a small white rumped wader caught my eye as it flew in - A winter plumaged Curlew Sandpiper - not as pale, frosty grey as last winters bird). Not bad views for once, with no wind and sunlight behind. I took 300+ photos and only had this one that was any good!
The Curlew Sandpiper is 4th from the left with the distinct white supercilium. Fortune favours the brave!

15 Wigeon, 2 Greenshank, 200+ Brent Geese, 12 Shelduck, 5 Red breasted Merganser, 1 Sandwich Tern feeding distantly off Conigar Point, then 3 resting on the mud by the pub, 7 Grey Plover, 10 Teal.
Pond: Grey Herons - all four nests occupied, suggesting that they are sitting already!?
Flooded horse paddock: 58 Teal, 12 Moorhen.
Then, just as I was leaving the female Goosander was preening off shore by the wreck, before flying off towards Hayling bridge.


Ros Norton reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group.
"Today an optimistic group of 8 gathered at Langstone at low tide on a showery, overcast and very windy day. The forecast was unpromising but we decided to go. Thanks to Heather for the pic.

Along the stream by the mill was a greenshank, redshank and Wigeon. On the mill pond a pair of swans with five big cygnets, mallards, coots and moorhens were around and a heron flew into trees behind. There were many birds in the field to the east including several little egrets and herons by the back fence and teal, Wigeon, oystercatchers, a pied wagtail, woodpigeons and a flock of starlings in the grass.
Walking inland along Wade Court we came across an early flowering cow parsley. Further along were red berries of butchers broom and flowers of winter heliotrope. A muddy field was providing food for several little egrets. Both song and mistle thrushes seen, blackbirds great tit, blue tit and long tailed tits were along Wade Court. A few celandines were in flower along the road to the Arts Centre where we stopped for a coffee break.
Walking through the car park we came to a new small area planted for wildlife, Grove Copse. We followed the Billy Line back to main road and saw many birds including a grey wagtail, an egret, Goldcrest, blackbirds, a singing robin and a flock of at least 10 long tailed tits. A flowering shrub was thought to be possibly cherry plum.
We ended the walk earlier than planned due to heavy rain and it was considered too windy to go to South Moors and Budds Mound. However we saw a large number of birds in a smaller area without encountering muddy puddles.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year."

Ralph's New Year's Day Birds
Ralph Hollins reports seeing saw 54 bird species between Langstone and Farlington Marshes on Jan 1. Avocet Blackbird Brent Goose Black-headed Gull Blue Tit Cormorant Collared Dove Canada Goose Chaffinch Common Gull Coot Dunnock Dunlin Little Egret Feral Pigeon Gadwall Great Blackback Gull Goldcrest Green Sandpiper Great Crested Grebe Grey Wagtail Great Tit Grey Plover Grey Heron Herring Gull House Sparrow Kestrel Lapwing Little Grebe Long-tailed Tit Mallard Magpie Moorhen Mute Swan Oystercatcher Pheasant Pochard Pintail Pied Wagtail Robin Redshank Red-breasted Merganser Starling Shelduck Shoveler Teal Tufted Duck Wigeon Wood Pigeon Wren Carrion Crow Song Thrush .
Additional birds seen in the Langstone-Emsworth area on Jan 1 by Peter Milinets-Raby (reported in this blog yesterday included Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Knot, Goldeneye, Lesser Blackback Gull, Sandwich Tern, Chiff-chaff and Great Northern Diver. The 14 other species, in addition to Ralph's 54, making up Peter's total of 77 may have been outside our local area.
For more details about Ralph's sightings see his blog at . . .
PS On this page Ralph provides a useful map of Farlington Marshes with labels of the main sites from Bob Chapman

Garden birds
As I have not been able to get out, the only bird sightings I have to contribute to the New Year's Day list are from my own garden in the centre of Emsworth. These were Blue Tit, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Collared Dove, Goldfinch, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker and most surprisingly a Rook.


Brian's note
A brief note to say my health at present is rather poor, so I don't think I shall be able to get out for a while. However, I am always pleased to get reports and photos to keep the community web site running. So, thanks to Malcolm Phillips and Peter Milinets-Raby for today's contributions despite the nasty conditions. When will this awful weather improve?

Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips did his regular walk around Brook Meadow this morning with his camera at the ready before the rain came. Not much to see on the bird front, but for the ever present Robin singing its heart out and Song Thrush looking for a bathe.

However, Malcolm did spot a very early flowering of Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum) in Palmer's Road Copse. My previous earliest flowering date on Brook Meadow for this badly misnamed plant was on 01-Mar-15. Quite remarkable! The white flowers with green at the tip and yellow anthers are unmistakable.

Peter's New Year's Day List
Peter Milinets-Raby says his New Year's Day Bird List was going so well until the wind and the rain came. However, he was pleased to clock up 77 species before being forced to give up at 1pm after being constantly battered by the wickedly strong wind and not seeing a great deal in the last hour. The highlights were as follows;
Grey Wagtail in Bedhampton.
Ringed Plover, Wigeon, Teal and Pintail at Beacon Square Emsworth.
Spotted Redshank, Pintail and Black-tailed Godwit at Nore Barn.
Sandwich Tern, Golden Plover, Greenshank, Knot and Goldeneye off shore at Langstone Mill Pond.
Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Chiffchaff at Budds Farm pools.
Green Sandpiper at Southmoor.
Lesser Black Backed Gull on the grass near the Leigh Park centre.
Great Northern Diver ridiculously close on the stream under the Hart Farm Road bridge (See photo in the gloom) - It was eating crabs and very happy, totally ignoring me.)

For earlier observations go to . December 1-31