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for September, 2016
(in reverse chronological order)

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Summary of local wildlife news . . . Link to fortnightly summary of wildlife news

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Nore Barn
I went over to Nore Barn at 9.30am to catch the rising tide. I stayed for about an hour, hoping for the Spotted Redshank, but there was no sign of it. Last year it was here by Sep 27, though that was the earliest it had ever been. Five Mute Swans and a Common Redshank were the only birds in the stream. I could just make out a mixed flock of around 100 Wigeon and Teal in the main channel, but they were too far out for a proper count.

While I was there, I spoke to Chris Berners-Price who was also looking out for the Spotted Redshank. I also had a chat with Doug and Sally over their garden fence. I was able to put them right about the ducks in the harbour and asked them to keep an eye out for the Spotted Redshank.

Malcolm's wet news
Malcolm Phillips got very wet on Brook Meadow today, but managed to keep his camera dry to take an interesting selection of photos. A couple of Bluebottles huddled together. What is going on? A yellow shelled snail which I think is a Grove Snail, though I stand to be corrected. A mature female Common Darter. And a perky Robin.

Finally, Malcolm saw yet another Crack Willow live up to its name - this one is on the path through the south meadow.


House Martin survey
Caroline French sends what is a final update on her House Martin survey in Westbourne.
"There was no sign of any House Martins at the nest in Westbourne today, so I waited and spent half an hour scanning the sky. I saw just one House Martin flying high and heading in a southerly direction, so it may have been on migration. It doesn't necessarily mean the birds from the nest have departed though - they may have been feeding elsewhere. Unfortunately, I don't expect we'll ever know the outcome for those chicks. If they did all successfully fledge they'll have quite a challenge ahead of them to reach sub-Saharan Africa. It has been fascinating to watch them this summer and I wish them all well! While I was there I also saw two Swallows feeding overhead, and a Sparrowhawk."

Finally, Caroline adds, "I don't have any new photos but I'm attaching a picture of one of the nests in late August. These chicks had already fledged but were returning to the nest sometimes where they would continue to be fed by adults, and also to roost at night. A large hole appeared in the nest and through it you can see the feathered legs and feet of one of the chicks. This was the second brood in this nest this year."

Thanks Caroline for some fascinating reports and photos. Westbourne is now securely on my map as a House Martin Mecca!

Mandarin Duck
Tony Wootton went down to Peter Pond today where he got a particularly nice photo of the male Mandarin Duck which I first saw on Sep 26. As Tony's photo shows, this bird is not quite in its full splendour, probably just emerging from its eclipse plumage, but nevertheless it looks very good. But where has the female/juvenile got to? This has not been seen or reported since Sep 21 when Malcolm Phillips got a photo of it.

Langstone Mill Pond
Despite the drizzle, Peter Milinets-Raby visited Langstone Mill Pond this morning ahead of the incoming tide 9:15am to 10:10am.

"On the fast covering mud were: 6 Resting Sandwich Tern, 44 Teal (with 23 off Conigar Point), 9 Black-tailed Godwit, Female Pintail - then flew onto the pond later, 1 Lapwing, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Dunlin, 11 Greenshank (these birds flew off towards Langstone Harbour over the Hayling Bridge - see note below), 3 Brent Geese, Kingfisher perched on the seaweed posts by the mill.
On the pond were 6 Teal, an amazing 8 Shoveler, 41 roosting Little Egrets and 2 Grey Heron. Single Grey Wagtail on the paddock.
After the sun came out I visited Beacon Square (from 1:25pm to 2:40pm - tide slowly dropping): At high tide there were 2 Sandwich Tern feeding in Emsworth Harbour and 3 feeding off Beacon Square. A flock of 110+ Brent Geese were flying over Emsworth Harbour. Roosting out the high tide off Beacon Square on the salt marsh were 31 Wigeon, 13 Little Egrets and a Great Black-backed Gull.
Over Thorney Island for 50% of the time I was on site, an Osprey was circling around.
As the tide dropped from the south in flew two huge flocks of Curlew (29 & 43), then, in flew 34 Greenshank (presumably from Thorney) to the salt marsh between Beacon Square and Nore Barn, along with 80+ Redshank and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. It would be interesting to know where these birds go as the tide fully drops. I note that 4 Greenshank were seen off Northney on Going Birding, making the area have a staggering minimum count of 49 Greenshank.
A Greylag Goose flew east and headed over the village of Emsworth. As the tide dropped Nore Barn attracted 23 Wigeon and 5 Teal.
Also, a possible Honey Buzzard was mobbed by crows out of the trees at Nore Barn at 2:15pm and across the channel to North Hayling - poor views, therefore not 100% certain.

Juniper Shieldbug
Joyce Sawyer had this interesting shield bug in her garden yesterday, which she identified (I think correctly) as a Juniper Shieldbug. The pinkish-red curved markings on the corium distinguishes this from other green shieldbugs.

The traditional foodplant of the Juniper Shieldbug is Juniper, with the larvae feeding on berries, but in recent years the bug has started to use Lawson's Cypress. This species is now common across southern and central England probably due to the widespread planting of Lawson's Cypress and is thought to be still expanding its range.

More Chiffchaffs
This is certainly the time of year for seeing Chiffchaffs. In the last few days, Barrie Jay has had 5 or 6 of them around his Waterlooville garden mustering, he thinks, in preparation for migration south. He sends a photo of one on a Sunflower stem.


Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips spent the morning on the meadow. Among several photos he sent to me were excellent shots of a female Blackbird and a Chiffchaff.

Malcolm also got a photo what I thought looked like one of the micro moths, but Ralph Hollins and Tony Davis both replied to say the 'moth' was, in fact, a Caddis Fly. Ralph added that these flies generally appear at this time of year. Tony said there were very few caddis that he can identify from pictures, so we are stuck with a simple Caddis Fly.


Convolvulus Hawk-moth
Chris Oakley had a large moth fluttering at his bathroom window last evening. Being so big it looked like a small bird banging against the glass. It was still there this morning, when Chris got this photo. It's obviously in a very poor condition, but one or two features led Chris to a Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli). It measures 55mm overall, two small patches of white can be seen at the base of the thorax and two eye-like patterns above. The antennae are held back along the body and are markedly segmented. I am inclined to agree with Chris on the ID, though in view of the poor condition of the insect this must be tentative. Here is Chris's photo on the left with one from the internet on the right for comparison.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth is a migrant in Britain, appearing sometimes in fairly good numbers. Although larvae are sometimes found in Britain, usually on bindweed, it does not regularly breed. It is found throughout Britain, especially in England and Wales, though is relatively uncommon. Numbers vary between migration years.


Perforate St John's-wort
I cycled up to the A27 bridge at Lumley this afternoon to have a look at the Perforate St John's-wort which grows really well along the edge of the pavement on the bridge. This is the best site locally that I know for this attractive plant.

The flowers are now all gone, but the plants always produce bright red seed heads which look very attractive in displays. So, I usually come up at this time of the year to collect a few stems which last through the winter.

Mandarin Duck
From the bridge I cycled back down Lumley Road to have a look for the Mandarin Duck on Peter Pond that Malcolm Phillips photographed on Sep 21. When I arrived there it was standing on the edge of the main raft in the centre of the pond. But this was clearly a male Mandarin Duck in partial eclipse plumage. It was quite different from Malcolm's duck which was thought to be a juvenile in eclipse plumage. Here are the two Mandarin Ducks with Malcolm's on the left and today's male on the right.  

 I scanned carefully through all the other ducks on the pond, but they were all Mallards. However, it is clear that we have two Mandarin Ducks on the pond. It would be nice to have a photo of them together.  

Michaelmas Daisies
As I came along the path leading to Gooseberry Cottage on the east side of Peter Pond, I stopped to admire the magnificent swathe of flowering Michaelmas Daisies on the patch of land south of Gooseberry Cottage owned by Lillywhite's Garage.

The flowers were attracting myriads of Bumblebees as well as a Red Admiral. I think this Bumblebee that I captured is Bombus pascuorum which is one of the late flying bees into autumn.

House Martin survey
Caroline French concludes her report of the BTO House Martin survey in Westbourne with a heart-warming story of the survival of some late chicks.
"Of the 13 nests I have been monitoring, I have seen no activity at any of the nests since 23rd September. When I checked again on 25th all was quiet. However, I was aware of another nest nearby which still had chicks in it so I decided to keep an eye on it to see whether the adults continued to feed the young. Sadly, sometimes House Martins will abandon their unfledged young to return to Africa.
Yesterday when I went to check on the nest, all I could hear and see was one chick, which was calling strongly but unfortunately received no feeding visits in the 20 minutes I was at the site. Regarding other House Martins in the area, all I saw was a brief glimpse of one adult. I concluded, with much sadness, that this chick was possibly a bit behind its siblings and had probably been abandoned.
Today I returned just to check whether there was any activity and was delighted to see an adult delivering food to the nest. I stayed around to see four feeding visits in 35 minutes. What's more there turned out to be two chicks and two adults! I think maybe the strong winds yesterday perhaps prevented the adults from finding sufficient food for the chicks. I'm also unsure about whether one (or even both) of the chicks had already fledged as I felt sure that there had been just one chick in the nest yesterday. Chicks do return to the nest for a while fledging, where the adults will continue to feed them, although I think these chicks still look a bit 'babyish' (see photo) and I'm not sure whether they are old enough to have fledged or not. Either way, they looked and sounded strong and healthy today so hopefully have a chance of survival.

I had a check around Westbourne and saw no other House Martins at all, so I think this may be the very last active nest of this season. I'm at work the next three days and won't be able to check again until Thursday. While I was there, a Raven flew over, very low, kronking"

Grass Snake rescued
Paddy Naylor had a large Grass Snake, about four feet six inches long, in her greenhouse in The Rookery. She believed that it had eaten a large percentage of her garden pond fish. Subsequently, it reappeared in her neighbour's garden, stuck in some anti-heron netting. Its head was caught in the netting as it was trying to retract itself with a frog in its mouth, a combination which was too big for the mesh of the net! Paddy was called to help free it which she did and then took it onto Brook Meadow to set it free on the banks of the Lumley Stream. Let's hope it lives well there and finds somewhere safe to hibernate.
The first photo shows an attempt to hook the snake out with a stick. The second photo shows part of the "rescue" team admiring their work. From left to right are Paddy holding the snake, Max and Sam (the neighbour's grandchildren) full of pride. Paddy is quite safe as Grass Snakes are harmless to humans. Quite an exciting day! Thanks to Neil Jepson for the report and Paddy's next door neighbour, Mr Long for the photos.

Unusual bug
Roy Hay found this large bug on his curtains yesterday at Fishbourne. He believes it's a Western Conifer Seed Bug looking for somewhere to hibernate. See . . .


On a beautiful morning with a strong southerly wind blowing Derek and Heather Mills set off to explore the new RSPB Reserve at Medmerry. I think they were due to lead the Havant Wildlife Group but they ended up on their own! Anyway, they enjoyed the walk and saw lots of birds and their full report can be seen on the special Havant Wildlife Group page . . .

One observation of Derek and Heather which caught my attention was of two Bar-headed Geese that came onto the pool at Medmerry with a Greylag Goose. Here is their photo of the birds.

Bar-headed Geese are popular birds in wildfowl collection and escaped or feral birds often turn up in small groups, often associated with other feral birds, like Canada Geese or Greylag Geese. The Medmerry birds are certainly not the wild variety that breed in Central Asia and fly over the Himalayas. They could well be the same birds that Roy Hay saw at the top of Fishbourne Channel on May 1st 2013 which were probably from a small flock that was kept at the Trout Fishing lakes beside the Hambrook Stream on Priors Leaze Lane in Southbourne.
I have occasionally seen Bar-headed Geese in Emsworth - such as on 27 Feb 2007. I used to see a Bar-headed Goose regularly at Baffins Pond in the 1990s and early 2000s where it was part of the famous 'Baffins Gang' (composed mainly of 42 Barnacle Geese and 2 Snow Geese).


Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips went round the meadow today got some butterfly photos that he put together into an attractive montage.

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby visited Langstone Mill Pond this afternoon (1:15pm to 3:22pm - tide slowly pushing in). Several people asked Peter if he was Peter Milinets-Raby, after reading my reports on this blog. The power of the Internet! Peter also bumped into Ralph Hollins and had a good chat.

"The other highlights of the visit were as follows: 2 Ospreys seen very distantly over Emsworth Harbour and drifted even further east over Thorney island - They were just shimmering blobs in the scope: If it wasn't for the 200+ Carrion Crows taking off in one enormous flock over Conigar Point I would have missed them. That was at 2pm.
A single juvenile Curlew Sandpiper appeared at 3pm with 9 Dunlin.

Curlew Sandpiper with Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover and Redshank.

Also on the shore as the tide pushed in were 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Greenshank (G//R + YN//- & B//R + LO//- & RG//- + YY//-), 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 158+ Redshank (-//B + B//YO & -//B + B//NY), a single Lapwing and 15 juvenile Grey Plover.
A Kingfisher dashed across the channel and disappeared onto north Hayling.
Also noted were 10 Sandwich Tern roosting, 8 Common Gull and 8 Little Egrets with 3 Grey Herons on the salt marsh.
On the pond were two female Tufted Duck, the female Pintail (I managed to get fuller details of it's ring today - Black ring with "10 037" , then AGE written across the ring from bottom to top - most peculiar!
Also 27 Teal, 10 roosting Little Egrets, a Grey Heron and 4 Shoveler."

Deer at Nore Barn
While sitting on a bench on the grass area at Nore Barn this afternoon, Roy Ewing was really surprised to see a deer burst out of the north wood and shoot off between walkers, dogs and him to run off westwards. In 24 years in Emsworth this was the first Deer Roy has ever seen at Nore Barn. Roe Deer are occasionally seen moving through Brook Meadow, though usually in early morning, but generally speaking they are pretty mobile beasts and wander fairly widely.

Here is a shot of a wandering Roe Deer in the reeds on Thorney Island taken in 2012.


Water Vole
Malcolm Phillips had to go to Havant today so had a look down the river by Tesco's and saw a Water Vole hidden away in the vegetation. Well spotted, Malcolm.



Mystery duck
I have had three responses to the query about the mystery duck that Malcolm Phillips photographed on Peter Pond yesterday. Ralph Hollins, Tom Bickerton and Peter Milinets-Raby all agreed that it was a Mandarin Duck and not a Wood Duck as I surmised. Peter said the giveaway was the pinkish bill, making it likely to be a young male in eclipse plumage, brownish head. Females look greyer.

As far as I am aware, this is the first Mandarin Duck sighting in Emsworth since a female turned up on Emsworth Millpond in January 2012. Here is a photo I got of that bird along with a Mallard for comparison.

I recall we had a long staying male Mandarin Duck on Peter Pond many years ago, not sure when exactly.

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby popped down to the Langstone Mill Pond this morning between 9:04am to 9:53am - the tide, was so low, he could not even see the shore! He reports .
According to Going Birding, somehow I missed an Osprey this morning perched on a tree in the horse paddocks at the bottom of Wade Lane at 9:30am. But all I could see all morning was a handsome pale juvenile Buzzard (see photo to show pale juvenile edges to the wings).

Other birds of note were, 8 Sandwich Terns roosting, 8 Teal, 5 Common Gull, 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Meadow Pipits over, 9 Swallows over and 3 Grey Wagtails.
The pond held the female Pintail (fast asleep at the back and easily overlooked, except for her rings showing), 11 Teal, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Stock Doves, 1 Little Egret and 2 Grey Heron. And a Moorhen!


Malcolm's news
Malcolm Phillips got an interesting selection of wildlife photos from his walk around Brook Meadow and Peter Pond today. Best of the lot was this one of a Grey Heron struggling with an Eel. My money is on the Heron!

Also, on Peter Pond Malcolm got this unusual duck which I cannot identify. It looks a bit like a Wood Duck, probably in eclipse plumage. Maybe someone can help with this one.

Finally, Malcolm got a couple of butterflies on the meadow: male Small White and Peacock.

Christopher Evans headed over to Nutbourne again this morning but was unable to park in Farm Lane, as there was a work party in progress. He continued east on the A259, then turned down Cot Lane and parked by the first footpath. He then walked west towards the seawall and just as he was approaching it, an Osprey flew overhead, then turned and headed south. It appeared to be holding something in its talons and was being harried by a lone gull. Once on the seawall, Christopher spotted a second Osprey flying over the main channel and occasionally dipping into the water.


Nore Barn
This morning I had a walk along the Western Parade shore path to Nore Barn. Not much on the western mudflats apart from a few Oystercatchers and a Curlew. At Nore Barn there was nothing in the stream, but I had my first Wigeon of the year on the mudflats. I gather there are already hundreds at Nutbourne.

I came back along Warblington Road where I found a swarm of wasps feeding on open Ivy flowers.

Emsworth Harbour
Malcolm Phillips went down the west bank of Thorney today and spotted a Great Crested Grebe in the harbour. Always good to see.

Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank were also in the harbour.

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby popped down to the Langstone Mill Pond this lunchtime (11:02am to 12:58pm - tide pushing in). Here is the report.
Some good birds including 2 stunning looking juvenile Curlew Sandpiper amongst 22 Dunlin, 9 Greenshank (RG//- +YY//-) amongst 196+ Redshank, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit feeding with 24 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover (with a further 4 off Conigar Point).
Resting on the mud were 6 Sandwich Terns, 22 Common Gulls, 10 Teal. Feeding very close to the sea wall was a female Pintail.

As can be seen from the photo, it clearly has rings on both legs, with the one on the left leg having the numbers 037 on a ring that looks like a bevelled edged nut! The number may actually begin with a "7" and could be 7037, but from the 100+ photos I can only guess at. The other ring is curious, as if it is for tethering with a little "eye" and I wonder if the bird is of a captive origin? It flew onto the pond, but vanished when I looked for it!
Also seen were two flocks of Brent Geese heading west into Langstone Harbour (32 & 6).
On the pond were 4 female Shoveler and 1 male in eclipse plumage, along with 10 Teal, 37 Little Egrets, a Chiffchaff, a Stock Dove and a Grey Wagtail.

Flying over were 4 Swallows and 85+ House Martins.


Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips got a couple of interesting photos today on the meadow: a female Dark Bush-cricket with a long curved ovipositor and a snoozing female Blackbird with what looks like a tick attached to its face.

Willow Warbler in garden
Chris Oakley had this little chap in his garden this afternoon. He had to photograph it through a window so there is some reflection, but the image came out quite well.

Chris thinks it might be a Willow Warbler and I am inclined to agree with him. Certainly the yellow colouring and, in particular, the bright yellow supercilium suggest Willow Warbler as opposed to Chiffchaff, which would be much duller overall. One always looks for a longer primary projection (ie longer wings) on a Willow Warbler, though this can't be seen easily in Chris's photo. This bird would be passing through our area on its way south, dropping off in Chris's garden for refreshment.

Mystery wader
Tony Wootton added a few more details about the wader that he saw on the foreshore in front of Southsea Castle yesterday. He says, the photo was taken on a mobile phone and hence not very conducive to being enhanced. It looked Redshank size, with dark legs, a light eye stripe and the hint of marking on the tail not dissimilar to Bar-tailed Godwit.

Both Heather Mills and Peter Milinets-Raby think it is a Knot. Peter says he remembers one a few winters ago on the rocks by the castle. I think my vote would also go for a juvenile Knot though its relatively slim build is unusual for that bird which is usually quite chunky. However, the thick bill, dark legs and light eye stripe certainly indicate Knot.

Other news
Ralph Hollins counted a total of 128 Little Egrets coming into the roost in the trees behind Langstone Mill Pond last night. This was 4 more than he counted on Aug 25 but noticeably less than the 176 counted on Aug 31 by Peter Raby, confirming the end of August as the peak time for the roost and showing that numbers have already started to head down to their winter low of around a dozen birds.
Ralph also reported that a flock of 220 Dark-bellied Brent Geese had arrived in Chichester Harbour yesterday with one Light-bellied juvenile among them. So, they are here!


Nore Barn
10:30am - I spent an hour or so watching the tide come in at Nore Barn this morning. It is still too early for the Spotted Redshank, but the regular colour-ringed Greenshank G+GL was present along with another unringed Greenshank and a small group of a dozen or so Common Redshank. Here is the Greenshank.

Nothing else apart from 4 Mute Swans and the usual collection of Black-headed Gulls. I shall be checking Nore Barn regularly for the Spotted Redshank - if it comes back for its 13th winter running. The first sighting last year was on Sep 27, so there's not long to wait.

Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips had an hour round the meadow this morning. He saw a few birds including a very obliging Chiffchaff of which he managed to get two delightful action photos. Chiffchaffs are regular summer visitors to Brook Meadow and will be leaving fairly soon for their breeding grounds in the Mediterranean Basin. But, saying that, a few do tend to hang around for the winter provided it does not get too cold. Alternately, Malcolm's bird could just be passing through on its way from somewhere up north.

Mystery wader at Southsea
Tony Wootton was down at Southsea Castle today and saw this unusual wader on the concrete foreshore. What is it? One expects to see Purple Sandpipers at this location, but Tony's photo does not look like one of those. The thick bill, slim body and relatively long legs seem to rule out most of the common waders. I have seen Sanderling on this foreshore in the past and Tony's bird could possibly be a juvenile. It is not easy to judge size from the photo. I suppose a Ruff is also a possibility? Does anyone else have any ideas?

Nutbourne Bay
This afternoon, Christopher Evans went over to Nutbourne and walked up to the sea wall from Farm Lane. The tide was just starting to ebb out and there were a considerable number of ducks (200-300 - very much a guesstimate). They were not close enough for Christopher to identify them properly, but he thought they were most likely to be Wigeon. In addition there were 3/4 Crested Grebes and a small flock (10-15) of Ring Necked Plovers, very well camouflaged by sitting perfectly still on the shingle. Nutbourne Bay is one of the best local sites for early migrant ducks, particularly Wigeon and Teal, and it is good to know they are arriving.


Peter Pond
I went over to Peter Pond this afternoon in response to Dan Mortimer's request for volunteers to help with dredging the pond which is seriously silting up. Not that I would be helping with the physical work, of course; I went just to report and take photos. Dan had arranged with Nick Medina for the sluice gate at Slipper Millpond to be left open so that the water in the two ponds could be drained making the work possible. When I arrived at about 3pm, Dan and Phil (from the Brook Meadow volunteers) were working in one of the narrow pond channels clad in chest high waders and equipped with rakes and spades. Dan had hoped for more volunteers.

After a few minutes it was quite clear that the work was beyond them due to the depth of the mud and difficulty in digging it out. So, they called a halt and Dan's wife, Becky, kindly invited us into their house (with the pebbly front garden) for a cup of tea. In the meantime, David Gattrell arrived and lost no time to get out onto the pond where we found him raking up the mud in a very accomplished manner.

David has been managing the pond for as long as I can recall and recently had created, single-handedly, numerous new channels. So he knows the pond well and how best to work on it. It will be interesting to see how the work progresses over the next few months, though it seems to me that mechanical help will be needed to have any serious effect on the amount of silt in the pond.

Tube worms
Low water in the two Hermitage ponds provides a good opportunity to view the numerous coral-like growths left by the tubeworms that live in the ponds.

These creatures are specific to coastal brackish lagoons like Slipper Millpond and Peter Pond and are, as a consequence, ecologically important. The growths on the two ponds are produced by the Bristle Worm (Ficopomatus enigmaticus), which plays a very significant role in the economy of the ponds' eco-systems. The aggregated tubes of the Bristle Worm provide not only an additional habitat for other organisms but their presence is beneficial for the ponds as a whole.

Thorney Deeps
Heather Mills reported on this morning's walk to Thorney Little Deeps. They dipped on the Red-necked Phalarope, but got good views of Whimbrel in the harbour and a Redstart on the bushes.

For the full report go to . . .


Extra long Trout
Today, Malcolm Phillips got a photo of an unusual fish in the pool between the two bridges to the north of Peter Pond, which I usually refer to as the Lumley Pool. The fish had orange spots on its flanks characteristic of a Brown Trout, but it was much longer than any Trout either of us had ever seen before. I gather Trout can vary quite a lot in size and colour, but this seems an exceptionally large one. Can anyone throw any light on this creature?

Knopper galls galore
This autumn Chris Oakley has noticed an enormous increase in Knopper galls on the grass around the two large oaks outside his house. He says, "There are thousands of them, so many it was difficult to find even one uninfected acorn. One of my photos shows the hard egg-like structure which holds the larva. Incidentally these galls are extremely hard to cut into, it feels like compressed wood. The cycle of the gall wasp, Andricus quercuscalicis, is well known but I was surprised to learn that it was only introduced into this country in the 1950's. Whether such an infestation will have any long term affect on the oak tree, it would be difficult to tell."

I have not noticed any increase in Knopper Galls this year. Has anyone else noticed this or is the problem just with Chris's trees?


Waysides News
I got my old bike out this morning to have a tour around some of the local waysides. Unfortunately, much of the the initial drive and enthusiasm has gone out of the Emsworth waysides project, but personally, I still love going round to check on some of my 'old friends' that I got to know well in the early days.
Starting at the Emsworth Recreation Ground I found the nice area of grassland behind the bowling green has been cut, but ominously the Blackthorn scrub continues its relentless march and in a few years will totally cover this attractive area.
What I think are Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisies are still growing by the northern fence in Emsworth Recreation Ground, but not yet in flower. This is one of the many hybrid species of Michaelmas Daisies that were originally introduced from North America. It has whitish flowers and narrow leaves, hence the name.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a good growth of several Wild Clary plants on the council verge in Christopher Way, some with tiny flowers showing. Grid Ref: SU 74888 06917. This plant just keeps going despite being relentlessly mown by the council cutters. Maybe the cutting is good for it, which may account for its disappearance from the official uncut wayside a little further towards New Brighton Road.

Onto the Westbourne Open Space at the top of Westbourne Avenue which is a lovely wilderness of grasses.

There are also and some flowers, including Common Ragwort and Amphibious Bistort (not in flower) the presence of which on this dry inland site is a bit puzzling.

Back to the New Brighton Road Junction where I picked some Stone Parsley for my desk display. Not a pleasant smelling plant, but I love its delicate white flowers. Not good for photography.

Finally, I had a quick look at the Railway Wayside where the plants on the embankment are seeding profusely, particularly the Willowherbs.

There is also a nice show of Canadian Goldenrod which can be viewed from the north entrance to the station.

I climbed through the bars to have a look at an apple tree which is loaded with fruit. I tried one, but the apples are small, hard and not very tasteful. Maybe they will ripen.

Greater Burdock (Articium lappa)
Finally, I cut back to Washington Road to have a look at the Greater Burdock that has had a very good growing season just before the entrance to Emsworth Recreation Ground.

The plants are now covered with their hooked fruits - the burrs - which cling tenaciously to any clothing, or even flesh, as I discovered when I tried to remove some of them for closer study. This is the plant's strategy to disperse seeds, though most of the seeds on the Emsworth plants don't travel far, so the colony is fairly static on the grass verge by the pony field.
When I got home I cut one of the burrs open to reveal a cluster of small oval seeds with a plume of whitish hairs at one end.
Here is a close-up shot of one of the burrs showing the hooked bristles at the end of the bracts (left) and one of the seeds magnified 20 times (right).

I was interested to read that although Lesser Burdock is classified as a native plant in Britain, the status of Greater Burdock is less certain. Greater Burdock is usually classified as an archaeophyte - an ancient introduction before 1500 AD, though Stace and Crawley argue that it is one of the strongest contenders for native status, along with Wild Leek and Wild Turnip. These are 'denizens' or 'would be natives' which have "achieved a good foothold in our flora having entered closed, semi-natural communities so that they often appear to be native". Reference: 'Alien Plants' by Clive Stace and Michael Crawley.

Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips did not have much time on the meadow today, but managed to get this very nice image of a Bumblebee feeding on a Common Fleabane flower. This looks like Bombus pascuorum which is one of the bees that typically fly late into autumn. I also saw a good number of these small ginger Bumblebees during my walk around the waysides today.

Mystery 'fly'
Ralph Hollins consulted an expert about Malcolm's photo of what looked like a fly on Brook Meadow on September 3. Ralph's expert thought the most likely identification is that it is a waterlogged Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum). I found this quite surprising as the insect looks really black and most un-bee-like.

Ralph adds "with Ivy starting to flower in Langstone yesterday there should be a lot more opportunities for photographing insects."


Russian Vine
Russian Vine, sometimes known as 'Mile-a-minute' because of its prodigious growth rate, completely covers the hedge at the bottom of Seagull Lane opposite the entrance gate to Brook Meadow as it does every year. It is a vigorous climbing perennial with vine-like stems from which hang attractive trusses of bright white flowers. Russian Vine is an alien plant introduced into British gardens from Central Asia in about 1894 and first recorded in the wild in 1936 (the year I was born!), but, I gather, has not become fully naturalised away from gardens. This photo does not do the plant justice. It should be seen.

Unlike Japanese Knotweed, with which it is often compared, Russian Vine is not a subterranean-spreading plant but is a climbing woody plant without rhizomes. Apparently, it can hybridise with Japanese Knotweed to produce what is called Fallopia x conollyana (or Conolly's Knotweed). Wow, that must be some plant! Reference: 'Alien Plants' by Clive Stace and Michael Crawley.

I found another Slow-worm under one of the black felt mats that the ecologists have scattered around the meadow as part of their reptile survey. This one was plain and unmarked with no dark stripe which presumably means it is a male. The one Brian Lawrence had a couple of days ago on Brook Meadow was almost certainly a female with a line down its back.

For comparison, Brian's female is on the left and my male is on the right

Ralph Hollins also had one in his Havant garden which prompted him to search out a useful reference to these delightful creatures at . . .

The scientific name Anguis fragilis means 'fragile snake', and refers to the ability of this lizard to shed its tail when seized; the tail may continue to wriggle after being shed, and can distract predators while the slow worm itself escapes. A new tail begins to regenerate after a couple of weeks.
In the United Kingdom, the Slow-worm is protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). Under this act, it is illegal to kill, injure, and sell individuals of this species.

Common Reeds
Common Reeds must be one of the most graceful plants at this time of the year with their purple-tinged nodding spikelets. My favourite place to see them locally is the west side of Peter Pond along the path leading to Gooseberry Cottage where you usually have to push your way through the flowers. Today, I snipped off a few stems for my desk wild flower display where they will last through the winter.

Titchfield Haven
Malcolm Phillips made his first ever visit to Titchfield Haven today. He came away with a batch of photos of which I have selected the following for this blog:
A juvenile Sandwich Tern - waiting for its first ever long migration to West Africa.
A Common Snipe - belly deep in water, probing the muddy floor with its long bill.



Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips got a good selection of photos from today's walk around the meadow.
I found the Crane-fly the most interesting of Malcolm's photos. This insect, often referred to as 'Daddy-long-legs', is a very common sight at this time of the year as it blunders around the vegetation with its seemingly ungainly long legs.

From the wing pattern on Malcolm's photo (brown along the front with brown stigma, but otherwise plain) my guess is that this specimen is Tipula oleracea, described by Chinery as one of the commonest species of Cranefly. The other common insect usually described as a 'Daddy-long-legs' is the Harvestman, though this is more like a spider with 8 legs, though apparently isn't.

Malcolm also got a female Long-winged Conehead which has with long wings and a long ovipositor and a Meadow Grasshopper with very short wings, the only flightless grasshopper in Britain.

Finally, two more very common creatures on Brook Meadow at present. A male Common Darter and a Garden Spider.


Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips only managed half an hour on the meadow today, but got cracking photos of two of our colourful resident birds.

Brian Lawrence was also on the meadow this afternoon. He lifted one or two mats and found some Slow-worms.

Langstone to Thorney Island
Peter Milinets-Raby had a morning free so spent it as he says 'going everywhere' - from Langstone to Thorney Island.
9:16am to 9:50am - Langstone Mill Pond:
3 Shoveler, 33 Teal, 24 Collared Dove, 41+ Swallow heading south east, 2 roosting Little Egrets and 2 roosting Grey Heron.
Off shore on the small clump of salt marsh roosting out the low hide tide (only 3.8 metres) were 113+ Redshank, 10 Greenshank, a Shelduck and 3 Sandwich Tern.
10am to 11:00am - Emsworth Harbour - tide beginning to drop . . . slowly.
12+ Swallows heading south east, 1 Common Tern, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 lonely Brent Goose and 2 Meadow Pipit over. 41 Turnstone roosting on a yacht, 2 Cormorants, 3 Little Egrets, 1 Coot & 2 Mute Swan on Emsworth Pond.
23 Grey Plover, 12 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank 80+ (ringed bird -//O + O//WB), 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Shelduck, 2 Greenshank (G//R + WY//- and B//R +GY//-).
Beacon Square (11:04am to 11:48am):
4 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, Marsh Harrier - female - took off from marsh at 11:10am, circled around, then headed towards Hayling Bridge. 2 Wheatear (see photo).

Redshank 80+ (one with colour rings - -//G + G//BR - This is a new combination, not seen this before - a recent catch?) Greenshank 12 (including a distant one at Nore Barn - So a total of 24 seen today!)

With visa, passport and inoculations in hand I crossed the border and visited the Little Deeps on Thorney Island 11:58am to 1pm (No-one around, had the place to myself which I love!!). Red- necked Phalarope seen with ease along with Chiffchaff 1, 2+ Cetti's Warbler, 4 Little Grebe, 3 Tufted Duck, 27 Teal, 1 Gadwall, Water Rail heard, Kingfisher heard, 10 Yellow Wagtails over.

Pete needed to lie down after all that dashing around, travelling miles to a far off foreign land!

Thanks for the photo Peter

Note on Red-necked Phalarope - It breeds in the Arctic on coastal wet tundra and winters on the Atlantic Ocean off S and W Africa via migration routes in the north Atlantic. In Europe it is a rare migrant but is regularly seen in singles or small groups from Sep-Oct close in shore or on coastal lagoons as on Thorney Deeps.

Farlington Marshes
Mike Wells had a wander around Farlington Marshes this morning hoping to get a shot of an Osprey seen recently. No Osprey, but an abundance of Wheatear, Goldfinches and Starlings by the thousand! Mike attached photos of a Black-tailed Godwit having a 'spruce-up'

Miie also got a photo of Seals on the mudflats, with a selection of colours! They are probably all Harbour Seals which can be brown, tan, or grey,

Mike also saw a number of very poorly rabbits, one being blind and deaf, but still eating.


Japanese Knotweed
While I was walking along the footpath behind Lillywhite's Garage (which incidentally is very overgrown) I noticed a Japanese Knotweed plant in full flower. Its sprays of white flowers are certainly attractive, but the plant has a notorious reputation for spreading vegetatively by underground rhizomes, which are strong enough to push through tarmac and damage built structures (including houses). It is not quite a Trifid, but is often viewed in the same light.

Now for a few facts. All the Japanese Knotweed plants in Britain are female, possibly originating from just a few clones, so seed formation does not occur. This means that removing flowers does not affect the plant or its ability to spread. Also, small sections of roots can quickly grow into plants, so there is no point in just pulling them up, as this will just create more plants. Getting rid of the plants is far more difficult and a whole industry has now developed to tackle this problem.
Actually, the plants on the Lillywhite's path have been there for some years and have not spread and are not really any threat as they are well away from houses. So, maybe we can just enjoy them!
From a wildlife point of view Japanese Knotweed can be said to be an extremely successful alien introduction. It was brought to England from Japan in the early 19th Century as a prized garden plant. It became established in the wild by 1886 and has gone from strength to strength since then!

Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips only did a once round the meadow today, but did see the Pike again just up from the south bridge.

and a couple of birds.

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby popped down to the Warblington shore this morning, hoping that the tide would drop, but it took ages (8:34am to 10:24am).
Hedgerow behind Conigar Point: Very little migration noted this morning except for 55+ Goldfinch, a male Blackcap and a Whitethroat.
Conigar Point: 3 Grey Plover, 2 Mute Swan, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Tern, 3 Little Egret, 4 Greenshank (two colour ringed - G//R + GO//- and GR//- + YY//- ), 6 Yellow Wagtails over (4 seen, 2 heard), 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Sandwich Tern.
Tamarisk Hedge: 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff.
Off Pook Lane: (Photo of sea damage - getting worse from photos taken earlier in the year)

4 Greenshank (NR//- + YY//-), 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Stock Doves, 1 Jay.
Also find attached an interesting coloured horse fly species I saw for ten seconds eating blackberries before it buzzed off. Any ideas?

Rare bird on Thorney
There has been a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope on the Little Deeps, Thorney for several days. Ros Norton saw it this afternoon from the footpath and it was easy to see and looks like a small gull. Can someone get a photo of the bird?
Look out also for Ospreys fishing in the harbour on the eastern side of Thorney Island.


Canary in the garden
For the past three days we have had a small yellow bird in the garden, sometimes feeding with others. It looks very much like a Domestic Canary, which has presumably escaped from someone's aviary. Today, I managed to get a photo of it feeding with a young Robin on the grass.

It clearly has identified our garden as being a good source of food. However, Domestic Canaries are specially bred to live in cages and lack the natural defensive strategies of wild birds. Hence, they generally don't last long in the wild, as they are very vulnerable to predators of all sorts. They derive from the wild Canary which breeds in Madeira and the Canary Islands.


Reptile Survey
On this morning's walk through Brook Meadow I was pleased to meet up with Jack, a member of CSA, the Ecology firm, which is carrying out the reptile survey on Brook Meadow. Jack was checking the black mats that had been scattered around the meadow for any reptiles which might be hiding beneath them.

He said he had already found a good number of Slow-worms under the mats, mainly in the north west sector of the meadow which is a 'hot spot' for them. They included males, females and juveniles. Jack explained how to distinguish between male and female Slow-worms. When Slow-worms are born they all have black flanks which are kept in females as they mature, but not in males, which always have clear flanks. Here is a young/female Slow-worm with dark flanks taken by Maurice Lillie on Brook Meadow in 2010.

Jack said he had not found any Common Lizards, which I was not surprised at as we have had no sightings of them at all this summer, despite seeing lots the previous summer.
CSA, the ecology firm who organised reptile translocation on to the Meadow last summer, are required to re-survey the site a year later to determine how many reptiles have survived. They do this by a sampling method in which black mats are distributed around the site; the mats generate heat underneath which attracts the reptiles. The count reveals the rough percentage of survivors still present. Whether to carry out further relocations will depend on the results of the survey.

Malcolm's news
Malcolm Phillips was only on Brook Meadow for an hour this afternoon, but long enough to get some interesting wildlife images. Malcolm got very excited when he saw this fellow swimming in the river, hoping it might be a Water Vole. However, close inspection of the photo clearly shows the long body, long ears and pointed nose characteristic of a Brown Rat.

Malcolm also got a nice shot of a Blackbird consuming red berries on our Rowan trees on the east side of the north meadow. Please leave some for the Waxwings!

Finally, Malcolm got photos of a splendid Painted Lady (not very common this year) and a Red Admiral (also not as common as usual).

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby popped down to the Langstone Mill Pond late in the morning (11:43am to 12:54pm - low tide). Main observations: Off shore by the pub were a lovely selection of waders and gulls and terns.
6 Ringed Plover, 9 Dunlin, 134+ loafing Redshank, 3 Greenshank (2 distantly on Conigar Point), 7 Common Gull, 1 Knot, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Sandwich Tern resting, 1 Grey Plover.
Then at noon, everything took to the air calling and screeching. About a minute later in drifted an Osprey over my head from the Southmoor direction. It drifted over to Conigar Point where it circled around for five minutes, looking for fish. With no luck, it then gained height and then drifted east to Thorney Island. After this appearance,, there was nothing on the mud!
On the pond were 3 male eclipse Shoveler (see photo) and one female eclipse Shoveler, 21 eclipse Teal.

10 roosting Little Egrets (one juvenile was washing close to the path - see photo)

Yellow Wagtail heard flying over. Nothing in the horse paddock because of Buzzard perched on post - (see photo)


Brook Meadow
It was hot and humid for this morning's walk through Brook Meadow. I met Malcolm Phillips who had already been on the meadow for 2 hours when I arrived. He thought he may have seen a Water Rail in the river near the S-bend, but did not get a photo. This would be a first for the year on the meadow. I too saw something scurrying quickly along the river bank, which I put down as a Moorhen, though I did not see it clearly either.
As usual, Malcolm got some excellent photos of butterflies. His best one was a Clouded Yellow which he also managed to capture in flight. I have yet to see one at all this year.

Malcolm also got female Common Blue (blue form) and Small Copper.

Malcolm photographed what must be a 4-spot spider (Araneus quadratus) with a rounded abdomen like that though the spots are not visible. Here it is with its prey neatly wrapped up. It could be a grasshopper?

Malcolm told me he would be leaving Emsworth for good in about 4-5 weeks time to get his papers sorted out for his permanent move to Cuba. We shall certainly miss him as he has made a significant contribution to wildlife recording over the 5 years he has been visiting Brook Meadow. He has also left me with a fine gallery of wildlife photos.

While walking through the orchid area I saw a small blue butterfly feeding on Common Fleabane which I assumed at first was a Common Blue until I examined it more closely. The black dots on its underwings clearly indicated it was a Holly Blue which I usually associate with Ivy bushes and flying high.

The only other photo I got was of what I think was a female Long-winged Conehead though I did not get a good enough view to confirm the identification. I think the insect has wings, if not it would be a Short-winged Conehead.

Here are much better pics of both Long-winged Conehead (left) and Short-winged Conehead (right)
taken on in previous years. Only females have a long ovipositor.

Christopher Evans was down at the Broadmarsh slipway this afternoon and got a shot of a Black Swan that he also saw last Thursday. It was with the usual gaggle of Mute Swans to be seen in that location - 34, at a quick count. I wonder where this has come from? Meanwhile, the Langstone swan family were on the millpond this afternoon. Christopher didn't manage a group photo but got a shot showing six cygnets and one adult.

Shield Bugs
Eric Eddles saw these bugs yesterday, a mixture of adults and immatures, which he says are Dock Leaf bugs - Coreus marginatus. These shield bugs do gather in large numbers at this time of the year.


Malcolm's news
Malcolm Phillips got a few photos on Brook Meadow today, one of which, he says, was "a bit sad". Malcolm was just about to get a shot of a Small Copper when it flew into a spider's web. There was no escape as he watched it being wrapped up by the spider.

Other than that there were plenty of bumblebees and flies taking advantage of the abundant nectar source provided by the late summer flowers.


Pike returns
Malcolm Phillips was on the meadow for a while this afternoon and spotted a Pike in the river just north of the south bridge which he estimated to be a good 18ins long. Not easy to see even in this photo, so well spotted Malcolm.

This was the first Pike sighting we have had on Brook Meadow this year and, in fact, the first since October 2015. I must admit hoping we had seen the last of these large and fierce predators in the river which we suspect could have contributed to the disappearance of our Water Voles.

Turtle Dove in garden
Leslie Winter was very surprised to have this rather sorry looking, but distinctive, Turtle Dove in his garden this morning.

As we all know, Turtle Doves are on the red data list of endangered birds with numbers having plummeted over the past 30 years or so. This bird which is probably undergoing its moult is no doubt taking a breather on its way back to its wintering grounds in tropical Africa, but its chances of getting there past the shooters of Malta are not good.
Leslie's sighting reminded me of my one and only garden sighting of a Turtle Dove in my own garden in Bridge Road Emsworth in June 2005.


Brook Meadow
Malcolm Phillips sent an interesting set of photos from his walk around the meadow today. A friendly robin waiting patiently. A Speckled Wood butterfly in the shady area. A Garden Spider on its web finishing off a prey. And I am sure it would relish getting its fangs into the unidentified black fly feeding on the Hoary Ragwort.

Finally, Malcolm passed on this shot of one of the wasp warning notices the group had posted on the north path which is now languishing in the river. Oh dear.

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby popped out early this morning for a 2 hour walk along the Warblington shore arriving at the church at 6:40am. His spirits were not lifted when he encountered a wildfowler who informed him that he had seen a few Teal and Shelduck and bagged a Mallard! This did not bode well for the shore at Conigar Point and as expected it was devoid of birds! However, Peter persevered and here are his observations:
Ibis Field: Female Pheasant, 3 Stock Doves, 2+ Chiffchaff (one still singing), Grey Wagtail.
And the best birds of the morning were 3 Green Sandpiper flew off the Cress Beds calling enthusiastically, headed south east and landed probably in the Nore Barn Pond field
Conigar Point: 1 Common Gull, 1 Shelduck, 1 Lapwing and in the Tamarisk Hedge a female Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff.
Off Pook Lane (tide very low): 9 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 14+ Little Egret and 1 Grey Heron feeding in the trickle of water, 1 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel and flying over 2 Teal, 1 Common Tern and several Swallows. Not the most exciting of mornings


Brook Meadow
On this morning's walk through the meadow I decided to take a look under the black mats that have been scattered around the site by the ecologists as part of their reptile survey. I think I must have lifted 50 or so mats, but only found five with Slow-worms beneath them, but no Lizards. Three of the occupied mats were along the path leading north from the north bridge towards the railway embankment and the other two were on the path going south from the north bridge. I was able to replace the mats without disturbing the Slow-worms. Here are photos of two of the occupants.

Yet another concrete bag has been removed from the flood defence wall in the north-east corner of the meadow and thrown into the river. One of the others was also loose. It will not be long before the whole wall is gone.

At long last the Pepper-saxifrage on the east side of the Lumley area is in flower. I was a bit concerned that we may have lost this notable plant as some of them were inadvertently mown during path cutting. Pepper-saxifrage is one of our prized old meadow indicators and grows only in this one spot on the meadow.

There are lots of fresh leaves of Amphibious Bistort with dark blotches on them on the centre meadow where it had the annual cut. This is the terrestrial version of Amphibious Bistort which rarely flowers, though, saying that, I have seen an exceptional number of flowering plants on the meadow this year.

Waysides News
The large Weeping Willow tree that overhangs the Westbrook Stream and part of Bridge Road car park was lopped this morning by tree surgeons. This tree is in a garden and the job is a private one and nothing to do with the council, though I will check to see that the debris does not get into the stream.

Butterfly mating behaviour
I am grateful to Ralph Hollins for providing the correct interpretation of Malcolm Phillips's photo in the blog entry for Aug 31 of two Small White butterflies apparently mating.

Ralph says, "I long understood that the behaviour of the female (flattening her wings and raising her abdomen) in Malcolm's photo was a sign that she had already mated and was rejecting the advances of the male (the reverse of your interpretation). I found some confirmation of the 'rejection' theory (plus a suggestion that the upward pointing abdomen was squirting some anti-aphrodisiac towards the male) in a website at . . .
Ralph says, Skip the first paragraph but read the second paragraph (and note that the third paragraph says that this same behaviour is used by unmated females to encourage the male!!) I know this website is talking about Orange Tip behaviour but I think the rejection process is common to several species."
Fascinating behaviour!


Nore Barn
I nipped over to Nore Barn in the car at about 10am to have a look at the stream. Apart from Black-headed Gulls, the only bird in the stream was our old friend the colour-ringed Greenshank - G+GL.

This bird was ringed on 22-Sep-2014 by Pete Potts and his team on Thorney Island and has been seen regularly in the Nore Barn stream ever since. It is almost certainly the same bird that had been a regular feeding companion to the Spotted Redshank at Nore Barn for several years before its ringing.
As for the Spotted Redshank, this remarkable bird usually arrives by the beginning of October, though its arrival date has been getting earlier over the 12 years that it has been with us. Last year it was present on Sep 27. So, fingers crossed!

I was interested to see the field to the north of the woods, which I assume is designated for housing development, covered in Prickly Sow-thistle going to seed. Quite a spectacle! I had a quick look just in case there were any interesting arable weeds around the edge, but I could see nothing special. The Nore Barn volunteers had been busy cutting back trees along the path to the north of the woods.

Malcolm Phillips was on Brook Meadow as usual this morning and got some interesting images of butterflies.
Firstly, here are two contrasting Green-veined Whites. The summer brood always has heavily marked upper wings. The male on the left is showing its veined under wings and the single spot on the forewing. The female on the right is showing only the upper wings, but each having two spots on the forewings.

For earlier observations go to . . . August 1-31