NOVEMBER 30 - 2016
took a walk around the lake in Staunton Park this
morning with the temperature about 2 degrees above
zero! However, the sun was shining and his luck was in
with a lively Goldcrest flitting around in the
Mike also spotted two
butterflies sunning themselves despite the low
temperatures, a Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood.
Red Admiral is now an
all-year round butterfly and can be seen anytime in
winter in warm sunshine. However, Speckled Wood is not
usually seen this late in the year. It normally
hibernates either as a caterpillar or as a chrysalis,
but this adult is hanging on. Maybe it will start a
trend of hibernating as an adult? I have suggested to
Mike that he sends the Speckled Wood sighting to the
Hants butterfly conservation at . . . http://hantsiow-butterflies.org.uk/news_form.php
NOVEMBER 29 - 2016
laying on Brook Meadow
A cold and
frosty morning with bright sunshine. I went over to
the meadow for the start of the special hedge laying
work session on the Seagull Lane patch led by Mike
Probert (centre). Other volunteers from left to right
were Colin, Maurice, Tony and Rachel from TCV.
The first job was to
cut out the rose bushes from the Jubilee hedge as they
would hinder the hedge laying. Two Field Maple
saplings were also cut down leaving one to grow as a
Once the hedge had been cleared, Mike demonstrated the
art of hedge laying which would be carried out after
lunch and continued on Thursday. Mike, of course, was
also instrumental in laying the Hawthorn hedgerow on
the west side of the main meadow several years ago
which is now well and strong.
This Jubilee hedge on
the Seagull Lane patch was originally planted in March
2012 to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and has grown
magnificently. Here is a reminder of the planting day.
The three Pedunculate Oaks were planted on the same
From the north bridge
I caught sight of one and possibly two wintering
Chiffchaffs flitting around in the Crack
Willows over the river. I did not get a photo, but
here is a shot of one that Malcolm Phillips got at
about this time last winter.
After lunch I
went over to Nore Barn by 2pm to catch the falling
tide. The tide was still well in, though the stream
was emptying. The usual gathering of Wigeon was in the
stream area though nothing else of special interest
apart from the regular Spotted Redshank
snoozing on one leg.
The western harbour
was full of Brent Geese, I would estimate 300-400.
Most exciting, in view of the scarcity of juvenile
Brents this winter, was the presence of a family
with 4 juveniles close to the shore. This was the
best photo I could get of them into the sun. The four
juveniles on the left followed by one of the parents.
had a walk around Nutbourne today and was lucky enough
to see the Avocets as they were disturbed and took
flight. Brian managed to get this splendid shot of
several of them in flight.
He also saw huge
numbers of Brent Geese in flight over Chidham.
NOVEMBER 28 - 2016
I had a walk
through the meadow on a cold but sunny morning.
Entering the Seagull Lane gate I met Maurice Lillie
and Michael Probert who were unloading some sticks in
preparation for the special hedge laying work session
along the west side of the Seagull Lane patch
Out of the chilly wind
the sun was very warm and I was not at all surprised
to see a Red Admiral fluttering by on the main
river path. Red Admirals are now all-year-round
butterflies. This one did not stop for a photo, but
here is one that Malcolm Phillips got at this time
A view of the meadow
in winter sunshine looking north from the main river
There was not much of
interest on the plant front, though I did see plenty
of fresh spikes of Cocksfoot on the north
meadow along with some False Oat-grass and Tall
I had a closer look at
the Polypody growing on the north bridge which John
Norton thinks is Intermediate Polypody
(Polypodium interjectum), which is
strongly triangular frond shape, whereas Common
Polypody (Polypodium vulgare) is usually almost
parallel-sided. Here is a view of the underside of a
frond showing the clusters of sori where the spores
And here is a
microscopic close up (x20) of the sori which appear
yet to ripen.
NOVEMBER 26 - 2016
Milinets-Raby was out early this morning to count the
whole area from Emsworth to Langstone, but discovered
that the tide was already in, so he just checked the
Emsworth end (7:20am to 8:34am - high tide). Not much
about, though the Sandwich Terns were worth getting up
before sunrise for.
Emsworth Harbour: 1 Little Egret, 292 Brent Geese, 69
Canada Geese, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Little Grebe, 10
Shelduck, 6 Red-Breasted Merganser, 1 Turnstone. 5
Sandwich Terns wheeling about and actively fishing
(one was a juvenile, still begging with squeaking
calls for food).
Beacon Square (from
8:04am): 2 Shelduck, 32 Brent Geese, 2 Pied Wagtails,
2 Turnstone, 17 Grey Plover, 55 Dunlin, 1 Jay in the
back gardens, 1 Grey Heron over.
Nore Barn: 112 Wigeon, 10 Teal (where do they go at
high tide?), 3 male and 2 female Pintail, 48 Brent
Geese. 1 Greenshank and 1 Spotted Redshank (both
roosting along the edge of the salt marsh)
NOVEMBER 24 - 2016
reported that an astonishing 18,080 migrant Barnacle
Geese had arrived in the Netherlands yesterday. Here
is a shot of Barnacles on their wintering ground in
Ralph says, "We do not
normally see migrant Barnacles here in southern
England but on 26 Jan 2015 Peter Raby watched a flock
of 75 fly west over Langstone which were almost
certainly migrants and it will be interesting to see
if some of the migrants that have just arrived in the
Netherlands do fly on to England." Here is Peter's
photo of the Barnacle Geese passing over his head in
The only Barnacle
Geese we normally see locally are the feral variety,
ie descendants of captive populations which do not
migrate. There used to be a famous group of 42
Barnacle Geese on Baffins Pond in the 1990s and early
2000s, affectionately referred to as the 'Baffins
Gang' by birders at Titchfield Haven, but they have
long since gone. Here are a few of the Barnacle Geese
at Baffins Pond with a couple of Snow Geese that I
took in 2004.
More recently, there
is a pair that have managed to breed successfully on
Baffins Pond over the past two years, producing one
chick each time. Here is a photo of a family on
Baffins Pond taken by Eric Eddles in 2015.
saw the Water Rail again today on Brook Meadow, this
time it was on the river bank at the back of the old
spotted these Amethyst Deceivers (Lacaria
amethystea), growing beneath the beech tree on
the Nursery Close wayside. He says the recent wet
spell has brought out quite a variety of fungi,
whereas a couple of weeks ago there were none to be
NOVEMBER 23 - 2016
The tide was
already well out by the time I got to Nore Barn this
morning (11.30). The stream was empty, but the usual
gathering of ducks, gulls and waders could be seen in
the low water channel drinking and washing in the
fresh water. What I assume was the regular Spotted
Redshank was among them, deep in the clear water.
Its distinctive profile can be seen on the left of the
photo. The others are Wigeon and Black-tailed Godwits.
A good flock of 56
Black-tailed Godwits was feeding on the
mudflats. I found three colour-ringed birds among
them, all good friends of Emsworth Harbour.
G+WR - ringed
at Farlington Marshes on 10-Sept-08 as ad male. A
regular in Emsworth Harbour. 6th sighting this winter
and 118th in all.
W+WN - ringed 05-Sep-10 Farlington Marshes. A
regular in Emsworth Harbour. 2nd sighting this winter
and 64th in all.
ROL+RLR - ringed on 27-Oct-08 at Kingsnorth
Power Station, Medway Est. Kent as an adult male. A
regular in Emsworth Harbour. 4th sighting this winter
and 90th in all.
I counted 164 Brent
Geese on the mudflats, but no sign of any
was amused to see this tomato plant growing in a
pavement in a car park at the end of November. Just
goes to show how determined some plants are to grow,
despite the conditions.
NOVEMBER 22 - 2016
afternoon, Kate Gillard saw a Guillemot (presumably
blown in on the storm and taking shelter) just next to
the outflow from the millpond right beneath the quay
next to the Slipper Sailing Club. Kate attached what
she described as a "terrible photo" but worth its
weight in gold for its rarity! Well done, Kate!
A Guillemot (probably
not the same one) was also reported in Chichester
Harbour today on the HOS Sightings web site by Andy
Johnson and by S. Smith. They also reported Kittiwake,
Slavonian Grebe and two Great Northern Divers, so the
strong winds have clearly driven quite a few sea birds
into the harbour.
I have only two
previous recorded sightings of a Guillemot in Emsworth
Harbour. The first one was seen swimming near the quay
by Ros Norton on 3 Nov 2001. The second was when I saw
a Guillemot sail past me drifting towards the town as
I was sitting on the marina seawall at high water on
30 Sep 2004. Here is my photo of the bird, not much
better than Kate's!
We only see Guillemots
in the winter (or on passage) on the south coast. They
nest on bare narrow ledges on steep coastal cliffs in
large colonies and spend the winter months on the sea
around the coasts. In Hampshire Guillemot is 'a scarce
but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant'
(Birds of Hampshire) and is mostly seen at the eastern
and western extremities of The Solent. In our area
Black Point and Hayling Bay are the most likely spots.
NOVEMBER 21 - 2016
this millpond this morning I counted 36 Coot.
This is the start of the winter gathering which often
tops the 100 mark and usually overlaps into the
harbour near the quay. One of a pair of Cormorants
caught a wriggly Eel which attracted the attention
of a Great Black-backed Gull that was resting
nearby. I did not wait to see the results of the
encounter, though the Cormorant will need to get it
down fast. Excuse the photo taken on my phone.
says, "Thank goodness for our colourful garden birds
on this dismal day! We certainly have some beautiful
indigenous species which brighten up these dull winter
days. All shots taken this morning in the garden." I
am very envious, Barrie.
NOVEMBER 20 - 2016
Milinets-Raby visited Langstone Mill Pond this
morning, once the strong winds from Storm Angus had
died down (9:31am to 11:10am - low tide).
Off the Pub in the Mill Outflow: 1 juvenile Black
Swan (looking very lost, feeding well, but bullied
by the Mute Swans).
10 Mute Swans, 1
Greenshank (R//G + BRtag//-), 2 Little Egret. A
splendid Rock Pipit flew in and foraged around the
Off Pook Lane: 1 Sandwich Tern, 20 Wigeon, 41 Red
Breasted Merganser (an amazing count - feeding
together), 216 Brent Geese, 25 Shelduck, 36
Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed
Godwit, 2 Common Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 1
Turnstone, 42 Dunlin.
1 winter plumaged Curlew Sandpiper feeding with
the Dunlin. Seen in flight and occasionally walks
around with wings partially drooped revealing a blotch
of white on the rump (distant, so really poor photos).
- The middle one?
Langstone Mill Pond: 5
Teal, 4 Grey Heron, Water Rail (heard),
Extremely Flooded Horse paddock: 99 Teal, 2 Grey
Heron, 1 Little Egret, 1 Moorhen, 4 Wigeon, 1 Grey
Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 12 Mallard.
More about the Black Swan
of four Black Swans in the Langstone area prompted
Ralph Hollins to look into their present status. He
found that they seem to be increasing in number and
quotes the north Kent Reculver website which said -
"The Black Swan population has doubled and breeding
figures tripled in the last few years. In fact it has
increased at such a rate the population may be
considered to be self-sustaining and the species could
be added to the British list in the not too distant
future." That quote was accompanied by a photo of two
Black Swans in flight which shows the extensive white
in their wings which will surprise those who have only
seen them on the water.
Ralph thinks the
reason that there are a lot of recent sightings is
that it is the start of their breeding season and
unmated individuals are cruising widely in search of a
mate. The lone bird at Langstone may be the one that
was in the Lymington area on Nov 7 and the family of
four that was at Langstone on Nov 13 was reported off
Tipner Lake in Portsmouth Harbour on Nov 14. The
species still retains its habit of breeding in the
winter - this year the pair breeding in the
Southampton Riverside Park hatched 6 cygnets on Mar 31
and had 5 cygnets from the previous year forming a
group of 13 there. Ralph says this is the nearest
regular breeding pair to us and the most likely source
of the four seen recently at Langstone. Another local
bird is a female that has been on the Chichester Canal
since 2014 and which built a nest and laid 5 eggs in
it this year without a male (black or white) being
The species was first introduced to England in 1791,
though the earliest record of successful breeding in
the wild was not until 1902. The species, though rare,
now has a wide geographical spread throughout the
British Isles. Up until 2005, fewer than 20 pairs were
reported to be breeding across the UK. However, new
research from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
has found the number of locations at which the birds
are found has more than doubled in the past five
years, while the number of breeding sites has more
in Chichester Harbour
saw these four young first winter male Eider Ducks
'heading out early for a Saturday night on the town in
Chichester Harbour yesterday' during a Chichester
Harbour Conservancy bird watching trip on the Solar
boat. They were just south of Thorney Island. Their
scientific name Somateria mollissima
means 'very soft body wool' (Greek somatos =
body and erion = wool, plus Latin mollis = soft)
relating to the down that females produce to line
their nests and which we humans have in eiderdowns.
John says a
Red-throated Diver was in the same area, but too far
away to photograph, as were two Harbour Seals hauled
out onto the bank of Green Rithe behind the Stakes
Islands. However, as a consolation, he sent a picture
of quite a late Harbour Seal pup with mum on
27th September during the Conservancy's monthly count
of seals. These counts coordinate with counts by the
Langstone Harbour Board at the same time.
Some of the other
birds seen on the Solar boat this morning included
around a dozen Shelduck, a flock of around 60 to 70
Lapwing and good numbers of Dunlin, Cormorant and Grey
NOVEMBER 19 - 2016
I was pleased to attend the formal opening of
Hampshire Farm, which is a new open space in the north
of Emsworth, created as part of the development of the
Redlands Grange housing estate. The site which is now
under the ownership of Havant Borough Council was
formally opened by The Mayor of Havant at a tree
planting ceremony at midday.
The newly formed
Friends of Hampshire Farm were present along with
Greening Westbourne, Havant Borough Tree Wardens, and
members of the Brook Meadow Conservation Group, ie,
Jennifer Rye, Maurice Lillie, Pam Phillips and myself.
It was also good to see Frances Jannaway and husband
Richard there, having travelled down from their new
home in Suffolk.
The official opening
was organised by Michelle Good (HBC Norse) who will be
writing an article for a future issue of the HBC
newsletter 'Serving You' to celebrate the strength of
the volunteer groups within the borough and to
highlight the value that they contribute throughout
the borough for the whole community. Norse (HBC) was
also represented by Jayne Lake who is mainly
responsible for the Havant open spaces. Michelle gave
a short address to the group during the
The new sculpture for
the site, along with its creating artist (in the cap),
is now on display, though still fenced off.
I think I can speak
for all other conservation groups in Emsworth that we
wish the new Friends of Hampshire Farm all the best
for the future. Their site is a new one, large and
somewhat daunting, but with good leadership, vision
and a dedicated group of volunteers, one can see it
becoming a fine asset for the Emsworth community. Fare
Rail at Fishbourne
Roy Hay saw
two Water Rails at Fishbourne Meadows at lunchtime
today. He managed to get a shot of one of them. With
the one reported yesterday on Brook Meadow by Pam
Phillips they are clearly in our the area.
was at Farlington Marshes yesterday and managed to get
another (and better) shot of the resident Dartford
Warbler. He also captured a collection of waders. Grey
Plover and Dunlin?
NOVEMBER 18 - 2016
Rail on Brook Meadow
On her regular
early morning walk through Brook Meadow, Pam Phillips
had the good fortune to see a Water Rail at 7.30am
wading south of the S bend amongst the lush
vegetation. At the same time, the Kingfisher flew by.
What a nice bonus on a dank November morning, indeed.
This was, in fact, the first Water Rail sighting on
Brook Meadow this year, apart from a possible sighting
by Malcolm Phillips had on Sep 7, but without a photo.
On the basis of previous years this Water Rail could
hang around for a few weeks at least, so please keep a
look out. Here is a photo of a Water Rail taken on the
river by Malcolm on Brook Meadow a couple of years
John Norton thinks the Polypody that I photographed on
the north bridge of Brook Meadow on 16th November is
probably not Common Polypody (Polypodium
vulgare), but Intermediate Polypody
John writes, "As you
know Common Polypody is mainly an acid-loving species
found in woodland and on mud-capped dry stone walls in
the West Country, but Intermediate Polypody is a
base-demanding species, and the usual one on old brick
walls and other man-made structures (and occasionally
on base-rich bark). There is some growing in the drain
outside my house, and a few years ago I watched
someone remove a lorry load from the roof of a church
just down the road from me in Gosport! What gives it
away in the photo is the strongly triangular frond
shape. Common Polypody is usually almost parallel
sided. There are various other characters which are
not consistent, but you'll find details in any good
fern book. There is even a remote possibility that it
could be the much rarer Western Polypody
(P. cambrica), which is even more
triangular in shape and likes limestone. If you want
to send me a single pinnule with ripe sporangia on, I
could check it microscopically for you."
reports 12 plus Waxwings over B3342 Botley Road
Snakemoor Lane roundabout towards crematorium at 0830
this morning. So they are coming closer. Here is a
shot of a small flock of Waxwings I got on a tree
outside Havant College in the last local influx I can
recall in December 2010. It does not do justice to the
beauty of the bird's plumage.
NOVEMBER 17 - 2016
On Nov 11
Chris Oakley discovered an unusual white fungus on
Hampshire Farm which both he and Ralph Hollins thought
might be the very rare Bearded Tooth or Tiered Tooth
fungus (Hericium erinacium or Hericium cirratum).
Ralph suggested asking
Dr. Stuart Skeates of the Hampshire fungi group to
take a look. Chris has just contacted me to say that
the fungus has now been identified as Tryomyses
chioneus - commonly known as the white
cheese ploypore. This is a more common form of fungus
and is, as Chris says somewhat philosophically,
"Somewhat disappointing but at least it's ended the
reports that Waxwings have been on the move all week
with new flocks noted on the east coast. Will they
reach us down here in the south I wonder?
Read more migration news on the BTO Migration blog at
. . . http://bto-enews.org/IG4-4LHGI-3RN36S-2DDDCR-0/c.aspx
NOVEMBER 16 - 2016
This morning I
went out for a walk through Brook Meadow where the
Common Polypody on the north bridge continues
to grow luxuriantly.
The large Ash tree
on the railway embankment which I have been
concerned about has lost all its leaves and the seeds
are shrivelled up. However, there is a good crop of
black buds which look heathy so maybe there is hope?
The north path is
looking very picturesque with leaning willows and
luxuriant bushes with the path itself carpeted with
While walking down the
main river path a Hogweed caught my eye with a
bright pink umbel flower head.
Continuing my walk
down to Peter Pond, I found one of the breeding
Mute Swans and a cygnet from last year, plus
the regular collection of Mallard and Black-headed
Gulls, were being fed bread by a family from the seat.
Walking back along the
path behind Lillywhite's Garage I was interested to
see the black berries of Garden Privet (on the
left in the photos) and Japanese Honeysuckle
(on the right) growing in the hedge, not all that
easy to sort out at first. Our native Honeysuckle
would have red berries.
I met Jennifer Rye on
the Lillywhite's path who told me she had been seeing
at least one Kingfisher fairly regularly while
walking her dog around the town millpond. Susan Kelly
has also seen these Kingfishers which occasionally
perch on the walls at the south of the pond. Here is a
shot of a male Kingfisher (with all black mandibles)
taken a few years ago on the millpond wall by Richard
A reminder to people
who have not yet renewed their subscriptions to the
Brook Meadow Conservation Group. Although you are no
longer getting the fortnightly newsletters, your
continued support is vital to the continuing health of
the Brook Meadow Conservation Group. Still only
£3 a year after 16 years! Please contact Pam
Phillips at . .
NOVEMBER 14 - 2016
Milinets-Raby visited Langstone Mill Pond this morning
just as the tide was pushing in (9am to 10:37am).
The highlight was watching the delightful family group
of 4 Black Swans (looking very tired after
their migrational flight from Australia!). The adult
(minus knob on bill) was probably a female with three
fully grown cygnets. They were mesmerising to watch
with their Lernaean Hydra-snake like head/neck
movements as they dipped into the water for food. A
slighter build than the beefy Mute Swan.
The resident Mute Swan
family were chasing them all morning, especially the
very aggressive cob!! The Black Swans eventually
settled down on the water at the end of the Wade Lane
track, giving great arty photographic
See a short video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3GSI8HeM9k
Other birds seen off
shore were: 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Grey Plover, 114
Teal, 49 Wigeon, 189 Brent Geese (only contained 2
juveniles), 29 Shelduck, 24 Lapwing, 3 Sandwich Tern
(resting on the boat by the Pub), 4 Common Gull, 3
Greenshank (G//R + LG//-), 2 Little Egret, Pond
Pintail female, 2 female Red-Breasted Merganser.
Sparrowhawk over flushing everything. Kingfisher off
pond on two occasions to dash around over the salt
In the distance off Conigar Point were 29 Shelduck and
34 Canada Geese.
On the pond: 1 Little Grebe, 14 Teal, 2 Grey Heron, 3
Little Egrets. And, later a pair of Wigeon flew in to
rest out the high tide - Are these the birds from last
NOVEMBER 13 - 2016
on Brook Meadow
Here is Frank's
photo of his garden Jay
saw a Jay in Brook Meadow when he was there on Nov 11.
He says, "I guess it was one of the few which cross
the channel from the continent at this time of year
and then move about in southern England without
settling down in any one site, but maybe you have one
or more resident birds in the Emsworth area?"
In fact, Jays are quite uncommon birds in the Emsworth
area. I have not had one recorded on Brook Meadow this
year (until Ralph's, that is), but we usually get not
more than one or two sightings each year. The only Jay
sighting I have received this year was from Frank
Naylor who had one turn up in his garden in Markway
Close Emsworth on Friday 27 May.
is a shot of some Wigeon taken by Peter a few years
Milinets-Raby only had time for an hour's birdwatching
this morning, walking along the Warblington shore from
Conigar Point to Pook Lane (7:04am to 8:16am - tide
slowly pushing in).
Conigar Point: 236 Brent Geese (with 52 of them
flying off the field from behind the point.), 177
Wigeon - obviously no shooting this morning - my best
count at this section - These large numbers are due to
the inland areas not being flooded yet - just too
39 Teal, A pair of
Pintail, 9 Grey Plover, 1 Greenshank, 349 Dunlin, 1
Great Black-backed Gull,
170+ Bar-tailed Godwit flew west along the channel and
landed in the Pook Lane section for 20 minutes to
rest, then they all flew off towards Thorney Island to
1 Buzzard, 1 Goldcrest in the Tamarisk Hedge.
Off Pook Lane: 273 Brent Geese, 57 Wigeon, 1
Black-tailed Godwit, 26 Shelduck, 25 Teal, female
Pintail, 2 Sandwich Tern flying around feeding, 16
Lapwing, a pair of Red-breasted Merganser, Redshank
with rings (-//B + B//GG - seen once in 2014 and twice
in 2015), Reed Bunting heard, 3+ Meadow Pipits over,
Chiffchaff with 13 Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest in
Southsea Snow Buntings taken by Peter Milinets-Raby on
long-staying pair of Snow Buntings are still in the
Southsea Castle area. They were seen today by M Rolfe
at 08:30 by the bandstand and also sitting on the wall
by the promenade, unconcerned by the joggers and
walkers passing by. K J Ilsley also saw both birds at
11:25 very close together between bandstand and
seafront, west of castle.
NOVEMBER 12 - 2016
Here are two
photos of the bird in slightly differing poses.
Rain, rain and
more rain. Not a day for going out birdwatching, so I
was restricted to peering at the garden through the
raindrops on the window. There were plenty of birds on
the feeders, as always, dominated by 10+ Goldfinches,
along with 2 Greenfinch, 2 House Sparrow, 2 Blue Tit,
2 Chaffinch with the regular flock of 20 or so
Collared Doves mopping up the bits from underneath the
feeders. Then, to my great surprise and joy I spotted
a very small raptor standing on the wall at the end of
It remained on the wall for a good 10 minutes so I was
able to look at it closely and get some photos, albeit
through the window.
It spent the time
looking around, occasionally changing its position
before it shot off to perch in my neighbour's tall
Silver Birch tree. My first thought was that it might
be a Kestrel, which would have been a first for the
garden. But this idea was dashed when closer
inspection showed brown barring on the underparts
which clearly indicated a Sparrowhawk. But, I am not
complaining, a truly magnificent bird to see in one's
back garden. From its small size and brown plumage my
guess is that it is a juvenile male.
wrote to say that he was the "
a long lensed camera at a sensible distance away . . "
in yesterday's blog. John sent me a link to his web
site showing some of the images that he captured on
that day and nice ones they are too. He actually got a
shot of me looking at the two Spotted Redshanks!!
Thanks, John, and sorry I did not recognise you!
Wildlife Group walk at Warsash was cancelled due to
rain. Tony Wootton says "What wimps we all are, fancy
calling off the walk because of a drop of rain. We
should have taken a leaf out of these woodpigeons'
book and had a good shower. Not forgetting the armpits
French saw a pair of Ravens on a pylon just north of
Westbourne yesterday afternoon. She sent this photo of
one of them. What a magnificent beast.
took this Clouded Yellow at Lee on the Solent
yesterday in that glorious sunshine. He said "I
counted 3 separate Clouded Yellows along the Esplanade
at Lee during a pleasant walk. It is a good spot for
Clouded Yellows every year but we have never seen them
so late in the year. Might they be an indigenous
I have always thought
of Clouded Yellow as a migratory butterfly that cannot
survive the British winter, but, with all this climate
warming, you never know.
NOVEMBER 11 - 2016
10:30 - It was
a beautiful morning at Nore Barn, calm sea, sunny and
quite warm. The tide was well in when I arrived, but
the Spotted Redshank was already present feeding in
the flooded stream.
I decided to go for a
little walk while the tide fell along the south path
which was particularly atmospheric with the sun
shining through the trees and bushes, making dark
lines across the path.
I went as far as the
point from where I got excellent views west to
Langstone Bridge and east to Nore Barn.
While I was there,
basking in the sunshine and admiring the views, Susan
Kelly came past on her way to Langstone. She told me
with some excitement about her latest literary
project, funded by a billionaire! Meanwhile, she is
seeking a publisher for her book about the adventures
of Monk Willibaum.
Coming back along the shore I spotted a late male
Common Darter sunbathing on the concrete seawall,
where Golden Samphire was still in flower.
When I got back to the
stream, I found two Spotted Redshanks with a Common
Redshank and several Black-tailed Godwits. They were
being watched by a photographer with a long lensed
camera. But he was at a sensible distance away, on the
seat by the woods. I missed getting a photo as the
Norse litter lorry drove onto the beach just as I was
getting organised and put everything up. But what the
hell! It was a beautiful morning and good to be alive!
French was pleased to hear about the Hedgehog that
Peter Milinets-Raby saw yesterday. However, she says
it is her understanding that any hedgehog out in the
daytime is in trouble - sick, injured or starving -
and should be given special treatment from the staff
at Brent Lodge. Caroline added that she still has two
hedgehogs coming to the garden for food each
On his regular
walk around Hampshire Farm today Chris Oakley found a
couple of interesting fungi. He thinks the yellow one
is Sulphur Tufts, but white one is not so easy.
Chris suggests Creolophus cirrhatus or
Hericium cirrhatum (Tiered Tooth
fungus). He says the spines are not clearly shown in
the photo but they are present. This fungus is said to
be a very rare sight in Britain where it is only found
in Southern England from July to November (see
first-nature.com). So Chris may have hit on a good one
Chris also noted four
Skylarks over their usual territory and a pair of
Buzzards, again, over their normal area. There was a
tree planting ceremony this morning, an apple in
remembrance of a recently deceased gentlemen. It was
NOVEMBER 10 - 2016
The tide was
already well out by the time I got to Nore Barn this
morning at 10.15 and the stream was virtually empty.
The conditions were good, though the bright low sun
off the sea made viewing and photography difficult. I
was pleased to meet up with Malcolm Greenwood whom I
had first met at Nutbourne Bay on Nov 8 when we saw
the Avocets. Malcolm had hoped to see the Spotted
Redshank, but it was not there, but did turn up
later after he had left. Here it is feeding in company
with Wigeon and Teal.
I counted 28
Black-tailed Godwits including three colour-ringed
birds, all recorded this winter.
ROL+RLR - Ringed in Kent in Nov 2009. A regular
wintering bird since then. This was my 89th
WO+LW flag - This bird was ringed as a chick in
Iceland in July 2010 and has been regular in Emsworth
Harbour since then. This was my 58th sighting.
R+LG - This was my 10th sighting in Emsworth since
2013 when it was ringed.
and Avocets at Nutbourne
Today, Anne de
Potier visited Nutbourne and saw some 375
Black-tailed Godwits feeding and bathing in the
bay, along with 21 Avocets. Looking back over
her records since 1994 the godwit flock was the
largest she has ever seen at that site. Wow, I wish
some would come over to Emsworth. That is also the
best count of Avocets at Nutbourne this winter.
Here are a few
Brent Geese juveniles I took a couple of years ago in
in Emsworth Harbour I counted 138 Brent Geese, but
found no juveniles among them. This has been the
pattern of my local sightings which has led me to
believe that the Brents must have had another poor
breeding season. However, at Pagham Lagoon yesterday
Alan Kitson saw 86 Brent Geese of which 7 were
juveniles in broods of one, two and four. Even better
today, when Anne de Potier was at Nutbourne Bay she
saw over 1,000 Brent Geese including 86
Adding up these three recent counts we have 1,224 with
93 juveniles giving a breeding success of 8%. So,
maybe things are not as bad as I thought! If you have
done any Brent counts recently please let me know and
I can add them to the list.
Milinets-Raby had quite a surprise as came home this
afternoon - a Hedgehog ran across the cul-de-sac and
nipped into his neighbours front garden where he took
the following photo. The creature looked small, but
considering he has not seen a LIVE hedgehog this
century, it might have been normal size. Peter was
"Sooooooooo excited to see a live one!!!!!"
went to Farlington today and saw 3 Short-eared
Owls and his first ever Dartford Warbler.
He apologised about the quality of the latter.
Further to the
discussion about bad behaviour of photographers (on
Nov 8), Tom Bickerton refers to Jeff's Blog (The
Financial Birder) who has also been complaining about
photographers approaching too close to birds, and even
'chasing' them to get the so-called 'perfect picture'.
Jeff gave examples from the Snow Buntings at Southsea
and the Shorelark at Hayling.
Here is a link to Jeff Goodridge's interesting
community blog based in Portsmouth . .
modern digital cameras you don't need to get that
close, as most of the images are used/viewed on the
web, so they don't have to be high resolution. If they
were selling or commissioned to take them then I can
understand, but not excuse their actions. Plus, they
should have a better professional approach if they get
paid for them.
At the Nore Barn
stream a few days ago
My set-up, as I explained in my last comment, is
geared towards high-end reproduction, where you can
wait for hours at a time and still don't take a single
shot. I did that recently at Titchfield, but that how
its goes. My view over the last few years is not to
report the whereabouts of these iconic birds, doesn't
go down well, but tough!"
NOVEMBER 9 - 2016
Skua at Funtington
On Sunday Nov
6, Caroline French was carrying out her Sussex Winter
Bird Survey on the BBS square SU7808 at Funtington
which, incidentally, I used to do before Caroline took
it over a few years ago. As she was passing the MOD
research establishment, Caroline spotted an unusual
brown bird sitting on the ground inside the security
fence. It looked like a Pomarine Skua, but what was it
doing there? Caroline sought confirmation of the ID
from Pete Potts before she sent me the report. I shall
let Caroline take up the story in her own words.
bird appeared sick or injured. It was sitting with its
body tilted to the left, suggesting injury or
discomfort to the underside, and a Carrion Crow was
tugging at its tail/wing feathers without reaction
from the Skua. Photos later revealed something red
around the base of the bill. However, its eyes were
bright and it looked reasonably alert.
contacted the MOD to see whether access to the site
might be possible in order to rescue the bird if
necessary, but when I returned about five minutes
later, the bird had gone.
About an hour and a half later, what is almost
certainly the same bird was seen by Pete Potts, John
Arnott, Geoff Osborne and presumably others from the
Chichester Harbour Conservancy solar-powered boat, on
the east side of the entrance to the Bosham Channel.
It was again being harassed by crows. I attach a
flight shot sent to me by John Arnott and one of the
bird on the water, taken by Geoff Osborne.
and Geoff's photos show the bird looking a bit more
lively than when I saw it. Let's hope the bird is
sufficiently healthy to complete its migration to
Africa, and recovers from whatever is ailing it. This
is a scarce record for this species at this time of
year, especially seen inland, so it was fortunate
there were plenty of eyes and cameras around on the
day to record it."
Wow! This was some sighting from Caroline. I have just
taken the 'Birds of Sussex' off my shelf to check it
out. (I shall soon be needing a crane to get this
massive tome down!) The book says that the Pomarine
Skua, which breeds in the Arctic tundra and winters in
the southern oceans, is usually seen on spring passage
in our area; it is very scarce in autumn and rare in
winter. It is usually seen over the sea, but is very
rare inland. In fact, Birds of Sussex has only two
inland records, one in 1865 and one in 1991. Well, now
there are three! Well done Caroline.
NOVEMBER 8 - 2016
Parking at the
end of Farm Lane, I was interested to read a notice on
the gate to the meadow to the effect that the
Chichester Harbour Conservancy has taken on a 10 year
lease of the land (called Nutbourne Farm) which is
part of the Chichester Harbour SSSI. They will be
managing it for wildlife, particularly wading birds
and wildfowl. This is very good news as the meadow has
been badly neglected for many years. It always used to
be particularly good for Snipe and I hope they return.
Today, the meadow was being grazed by four Belted
11:30 - I walked along
the footpath to the shore. The tide was low, but being
a neap there was still plenty of water around. There
were plenty of Wigeon and Teal with a few Pintail. I
counted a dozen Black-tailed Godwits (no rings) and
several Common Redshank. A Greenshank was
feeding in the stream, but not ringed.
Greenshank in the
stream at Nutbourne Bay today
Of course, this is
where we always used to see the famous Nutbourne
Greenshank ringed GY+GY. It was a real regular just
like the Emsworth Spotted Redshank. Greenshank GY+GY
was ringed way back in 2002, but has not been seen in
the past couple of years, so I think we can assume
that it has died.
I met Malcolm
Greenwood who, like me, was on the seawall with his
scope. He was on the look out for Avocets which
had been reported here yesterday. He finally located
15 of them on a mudflat in the far distance, too far
for a photo, but clearly identifiable. They are
regular birds at Nutbourne and the first of the year.
on the Nutbourne shore a few years ago.
12:30 - Back
to Emsworth where I parked at the corner of Thorney
Road and Thornham Lane and walked along the track to
the seawall. On the way I spotted a Buzzard perched
some distance away on one of the overhead cables. I
counted 108 Brent Geese in the main harbour, but no
juveniles. Many of the Brents were in the channel near
the town which is where I expect to see juveniles, but
there were none today. Of the waders, I counted 70
Common Redshank and 6 Black-tailed Godwits (no rings).
Here is one pair
of Pintail digiscoped today at NoreBarn.
13:30 - I went
on to Nore Barn where the tide was still well out. The
usual gathering of Wigeon were in the main channel
along with 7 Pintail, two males and 5 females which is
the same number that Peter Milinets-Raby found here on
last Sunday. I expect Pintail numbers to build up as
winter progresses to 30 or so.
I counted 41 Brent
Geese, but no juveniles. This count confirms my
impression that this has been another poor year for
Brent breeding success following last year's almost
commented on my criticism of photographers getting too
close to birds feeding at Nore Barn. Here is a photo I
Tom says, "On the
photographers I'm not going to defend some of their
actions, but try to balance up the situation for the
readers. The image shown shows a medium sized set-up,
I've got the real super-telephoto rig. It's very heavy
so mobility is limited unless you are Hercules. So
most of the time you are stationary, it's a waiting
game, sometimes, not that often, you get lucky and the
birds feel at ease to come close. It does look
ridiculous with a thumping huge lens and a bird 15ft
away, but you may have waited several hours for this
opportunity. As long as the birds feel you are not a
threat then I'm OK with this type of photographers
What I disagree with is them harassing and chasing the
birds, this was evident a couple of years ago with the
Long-Eared Owl at Farlington, where this bird was not
left alone by bird watchers and photographers. Worse
still was last year's harassment of the Short-Eared
Owls at Farlington, where they trespassed into the Hay
Field to get even closer to these birds. They didn't
need to do this, as the birds hunted the field
margins, so all their images could have been taken
from the paths, its just they couldn't be bothered to
What do others think about this?
On his morning
walk around Hampshire Farm Chris Oakley found the pond
was partly frozen but several Mallard and a Heron were
present along with two young Moorhens.
Chris says last
night's frost put paid to the remaining Ox-eye daisies
but he was pleased to find a few Grass Vetchling
hidden in the undergrowth. He says the new sculpture
is growing on him. At the moment it is missing the
weather vane which he understands has gone away to be
gilded, but thinks it should look quite splendid when
it's all complete.
Peter Milinets-Raby visited briefly Langstone Mill
Pond (-2.6C and a little covering of frost/ice on the
pond in the northern section - tide out 9:05am to
10:12am). But what a lot he packed into that hour!
Off shore - Plenty of stuff, now that the
weather has turned colder. 290 Brent Geese, 2 Sandwich
Tern resting on the mud, 36 Teal, 62 Wigeon, 1
Greenshank (G//R + BRtag//-), 7 Grey Plover, 128
Bar-tailed Godwit - lovely sight, 45 Knot -
great watching them march across the mud flats in a
tight group. 17 Dunlin, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 12
Shelduck, 1 Lapwing, 2 adult and 8 juvenile Mute
The surprise bird of the morning was disturbing a
single Fieldfare drinking from the outflow
stream. It landed on the wreck by the mill for a
minute, then headed off north.
On the pond: 82 Teal, Water Rail heard.
Horse Paddock: 1 male & 2 female Pheasant,
13 Moorhen, 23 Collared Doves, 1 Stock Dove, 2 Pied
Peter had 30 minutes to spare and coincidentally found
himself in the Southsea area, so could not resist a
quick look at the 2 Snow Buntings. Very close
for 4 minutes before a dog scared them off .
On the rocks of the
castle were 3 Rock Pipits and 6 Purple
NOVEMBER 7 - 2016
High water at 16:00 at 4.0 The weather was fine,
though there was a very cold north wind. Fortunately,
one can always shelter from a north wind at Nore Barn.
It was close to high water while I was there, but the
neap tide meant the water did not come right in, so
the birds remained in the stream area all the
Two Spotted Redshanks and the colour-ringed
Greenshank (G+GL) were feeding together in the stream.
This is the third time this year I have seen two
Spotted Redshanks at Nore Barn. Towards the end, all
three came up the stream near the small bridge, so
close, one felt one could almost touch them. A few
people passing by stopped to ask about the birds and I
told them all about our famous Spotted Redshanks and
said they would never get a better view of them
anywhere in Britain!
Full history of the
Emsworth Stotted Redshanks and lots of photos are on
the special web page at . . . Spotted
I was a bit annoyed
with a photographer sitting on a stool on the edge of
the stream with a long lensed camera. The fact that he
did not move much meant he did not disturb the birds,
until he got up to leave that is. He came over to
introduce himself and apologise for putting the birds
up. He also realised he did not need to be so close.
In fact, the birds were too close for his camera at
times. I told him not to worry as the birds were used
to much worse disturbance. I hope he enjoys his
I counted just 22
Brent Geese in the Nore Barn channel, but not
juveniles among them. This looks like another bad
breeding season for the Brents.
NOVEMBER 6 - 2016
grandparental duties, I was an hour late in getting
over to Brook Meadow for the regular first Sunday in
the month work session. It was a chilly morning, but
sunny and I found a good group of volunteers hard at
work finishing off clearing the Lumley area when I
arrived. The Lumley area is the most important area on
the meadow from a botanical view with a good variety
of sedges and rushes as well as an annual flowering of
Ragged Robin and Pepper-saxifrage, so it is important
that it is cut each year and cleared of arisings. The
group did an excellent job this morning, though they
gave the Pepper-saxifrage a miss as it was still in
The workers were
overlooked by one of the magnificent Black Poplar
trees that were planted in November 2004. Only two of
these trees now remain, the third, being planted too
close to the Lumley Stream, died. They have grown to
an astonishing height in just 12 years. The top of the
second Black Poplar can just be seen on the left of
I also noted the
poppies which at this time every year are attached to
the north bridge by the plaque commemorating two
airmen who died in an accident when two planes
collided over Brook Meadow in February 1944.
For a full report of
the work session and more photos go to . . .
Milinets-Raby was out before dawn this morning from
6:54am to cover the shore from Emsworth Harbour to
Langstone Mill Pond - the tide was out throughout and
he finished at 10:04am. Bright sunshine, keen wind and
-0.2C to start.
Emsworth Harbour from 6:54am: 1 Greenshank
(RG//- + BY//-), 8 Grey Plover, 3 Lapwing, 2 Little
Egret, 192 Brent Geese, 33 Black-tailed Godwit, 7
Teal, 4 Shelduck, 9 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 4
Turnstone, 1 Wigeon.
Emsworth Mill Pond: 1 Grey Wagtail with 5 Pied
Wagtail, 1 Kingfisher sitting on the edge of the pond
wall, 3 fishing Cormorants, 20 Coot.
Beacon Square from 7:35am: 94 Brent Geese -
contained just 3 juveniles (3.2%), 89 Teal, 4 Grey
Plover, 1 Wigeon, 1 Greenshank.
Nore Barn from 7:51am: 47 Wigeon, 7 Pintail - 2
males and 5 females, 135 Teal, 25 Black-tailed
Godwits, 11 Brent Geese, 1 Greenshank in one of the
Warblington cemetery from 8:11am: Green
Ibis Field: 3 Moorhen, 4 Skylark over, Water
Rail squealing from stream vegetation, 1 Grey Wagtail
heard, 1 Chiffchaff in hedge.
Conigar Point from 8:29am: 3 Greenshank in the
outlet stream (G//R + GL//-) - Nore Barn bird I
assume! 1 Lapwing, 70 Wigeon, 21 Teal, 78 Brent Geese,
1 Shelduck, 9 Grey Plover, 1 Grey Wagtail on outflow
Off Pook Lane from 8:46am: 256 Brent Geese (A
small flock of 65 close to shore held 3 juveniles
(4.6%), 23 Shelduck, 49 Wigeon, 106 Teal, 5 Pintail -
4 females together and the female "pond" bird feeding
on the mud adjacent to the pub - Not looking like the
female Pintail at all, darker plumage, so I wonder if
this is a runt female. 11 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, 10
Dunlin, 48 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Black-tailed Godwit,
11 Lapwing, 2 Greenshank (G//R + BRtag//-), 6 Sandwich
Tern resting, 3 Little Egrets.
Horse Paddock from 9:16am: 5 Moorhen, 1 Grey
Langstone Mill Pond: 1 Little Grebe, 7 Teal, 1
Castle Farm field: 26 Lapwing, 13 Stock
had a walk around the millpond on a beautiful winter
morning in a cold north wind. He says, "The harbour
had that wonderful clarity that you only see at this
time of the year" He noted that the new raft on the
mill pond is attracting a lot of cormorants and that
there was also two Canada geese cruising up and down
on the Bath Road side for a short while, then they
flew off north. They rarely stay for long on the
Finally, Chris noted
the Honey Fungus growing on the old tree stumps
along Warblington Road. I have seen this fungus in
previous years on the stump of a tree along this road
which I think it must have destroyed.
NOVEMBER 4 - 2016
This new open
space in the north of Emsworth is to be formally
opened by The Mayor of Havant at a tree planting
ceremony at midday on Saturday 19th November 2016. The
newly formed Friends of Hampshire Farm as well as,
Greening Westbourne and Havant Borough Tree Wardens
will be represented. Michelle Good of Norse hopes for
a good turn out of volunteers from other Emsworth
conservation groups to support this new venture.
Michelle hopes to produce an article for a future
issue of the HBC newsletter 'Serving You' to celebrate
the strength of the volunteer groups within the
borough and to highlight the value that they
contribute throughout the borough for the whole
Although the opening ceremony will happen at midday,
there will be some tree planting preparation work from
10.30am - anyone prepared to lend a hand will be very,
points out in his daily blog (Nov 3) that some of the
Blackbirds we see in our gardens and elsewhere at the
moment are likely to be winter visitors. The British
Trust for Ornithology estimates that at least 12% of
Blackbirds present in Britain & Ireland in winter
are from continental Europe. The arrival of many
thousands of Blackbirds during the autumn months from
the continent goes largely unnoticed, primarily
because they look the same as those birds that are
here all year round. The winter visitors are on
average slightly larger than home-grown Blackbirds,
though they can't be reliably told apart.
Information from ringed birds has revealed that our
winter immigrants originate in Finland, Sweden and
Denmark, with others arriving from the Netherlands and
Germany. Some of these birds are only passing through,
and will continue south to winter in Spain, France and
Portugal. See . . . http://bto-enews.org/NXK-4L5KQ-3UEDCR-2CQN27-0/c.aspx
Trust for Ornithology reports that after a journey of
5,000 miles, three of the nine tagged Cuckoos are now
within 50 miles of each other in Angola. You can read
the latest news and follow the progress of the
satellite-tagged birds on the Cuckoo tracking pages at
. . . http://bto-enews.org/NXK-4L5KQ-3UEDCR-2CQN25-0/c.aspx
year, for the first time, Cuckoos have also been
satellite-tagged in China, and one bird has just
crossed the Indian Ocean! Read more about the Beijing
Cuckoo Project here . . . http://bto-enews.org/NXK-4L5KQ-3UEDCR-2CQN26-0/c.aspx
NOVEMBER 3 - 2016
10:15 - 11:00
- Tide rising to high water in about 3 hours. Another
beautiful autumn morning, sunny though with a chill in
the air. Cold enough this morning for our first frost
of the year on the roof.
Going through the crowd of Wigeon at the end of
Warblington Road, I came across my first Pintail of
the winter season, one male and two females. They
are a bit earlier than usual. I tend to see the first
ones in Dec-Jan. Numbers may build up over the winter
to 30-40. Here is the best digiscoped photo I could
get of them with a Wigeon to the right.
Altogether I counted
220 Wigeon in the Nore Barn area, though there
must have been some I missed. There were also 24
Teal which is the best count this winter.
A small flock of 33 Brent Geese were present,
but with no juveniles among them. Although this is
early days, my gut feeling is that this could be
another poor breeding year for the Brent Geese. Last
year there were hardly any Brent juveniles
I counted 48 Black-tailed Godwits feeding in
the shallow water including one very familiar
colour-ringed bird: ROL+RLR.
This bird has been a
regular winter visitor to Emsworth Harbour ever since
it was ringed on 27-Oct-08 at Kingsnorth Power
Station, Medway Est. Kent as an adult male. This was
my 88th sighting in Emsworth. I am thinking that the
bird I saw here on Oct 11 which I read as OYL+RLR was
most likely ROL+RLR.
I noted one lame Black-tailed Godwit with a missing
left foot; it was hobbling, but feeding well with the
The regular Spotted
Redshank was feeding in the stream as usual, but
today was alone, but for a single Black-tailed Godwit.
There was no sign of a second Spotted Redshank or
Greenshank which have been with it recently. The
famous Spotted Redshank continues to attract wildlife
photographers with their massive long-lensed cameras
at the ready. Today, they were a bit close but not too
close to disturb the bird. But with cameras like that,
why approach so close as to risk disturbance?
I took some photos of
the Spotted Redshank with my trusty point-and-shoot
Lumix FZ18 much further away which were not
When I got
back home I found two workers from the Environment
Agency clearing the vegetation from the Westbrook
Stream in Bridge Road car park and in the channel
behind my house right up to the Victoria Road culvert.
When they finished I
congratulated them on a job well done. I asked them
about clearing the River Ems through Brook Meadow
which, I said, was very overgrown and the worst I have
seen it in 20 years. They told me they had not been
asked to clear that stream, but promised to have a
word with their superiors about getting it done. I
emphasised to them the importance of keeping the River
Ems and its banks in good order for the possible
return of Water Voles which had been lost over the
past couple of years.
Milinets-Raby visited Langstone Mill Pond late morning
(10:50am to 12:22pm) just as the tide was finally
pushing in. Birds of note were as follows:
11 resting Sandwich Tern - still hanging on and likely
now to stay the winter - best count in Hampshire at
the moment. 205 Brent Geese - I did not look
thoroughly, but there were no obvious juveniles. I
have only seen a handful so far, though Southsea had
three family groups the other day. 94 Teal, 33 Wigeon,
72 Black-tailed Godwit (G//R + GG///-), 4 Grey Plover,
1 Lapwing, 8 Shelduck, 7 Greenshank, 50+ Bar-tailed
Godwit, 30+ Dunlin, 2 adult Mute Swan with 4
juveniles. The water was as flat as a pancake, making
the Seal head easy to see on each occasion it popped
to the surface to look around!
Skylark over. Kingfisher dashed off pond and flew
around over salt marsh, occasionally hovering.
Langstone Mill Pond: 3 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Heron,
Water Rail heard several times - maybe three birds on
site, 4 Teal, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Wagtail,
Paddock: 10 Moorhen, 2 Stock Dove.
Way in the distance off Conigar Point 200 Brent Geese
and 95 Wigeon
had his first Fieldfare of the winter up at Inkpen
Beacon today. He counted about 40 of them. Winter's
Evans went with the Havant U3A Birdwatching Group to
Blashford Lakes and spotted the Little Auk that had
been previously reported in Ibsley Water. They had
some quite close sightings initially but it then went
to the far side, where the views weren't so good.
Christopher did not get a photo, but attached a Little
Auk from the internet.
Sadly, their visit
ended on a rather sour note. Christopher says, "On
leaving, we were enthusiastically telling a newly
arrived couple about the Little Auk and got the
response - 'They're not rare, we see thousands of them
at Flamborough Head'".
Chris, that ireally was a pathetic example of a
birder's ignorant boasting. They should be firmly told
that Little Auk is a rare bird in Hampshire, seen
usually only after strong northerly gales. In fact,
they are also rare on the NE coast in the numbers
claimed. Although there are occasional large influxes
on the NE coast, such as in 2006 when 18,000 were
recorded, usually numbers are much smaller. I checked
the Flamborough Bird Observatory web site which
recorded just 14 Little Auks on the sea today.
spotted these fungi growing in the flower beds at the
entrance to the Stansted Garden Centre. He said they
are a soft grey fading to white around the outer edge.
Some of the older ones have a shaIIow umbra
depression. Maybe introduced with the wood chippings?
There are hundreds of them scattered among the beds.
Chris thinks they are Clouded FunneI (Clitocybe
NOVEMBER 1 - 2016
I got to Nore
Barn at 10am in time to catch the rising tide. What a
beautiful morning! The sun was shining and the water
calm and a good number of birds were gathering in the
stream. We had two Spotted Redshanks, as yesterday,
plus the regular colour-ringed Greenshank (G+GL) that
was not here yesterday, one Common Redshank, 3
Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Mute Swans and a collection of
whistling Wigeon, but no Teal. There were more Wigeon
further out in amongst which I found a small family of
Brent Geese comprising two adults and two juveniles. I
have yet to see any large Brent flocks at Nore Barn.
Greenshank and Spotted Redshank. Right: Common
Redshank with Black-tailed Godwit
At about 10:30, as I
was chatting to Chris Knight, all the birds suddenly
took off with a whirring of wings, geese, ducks and
waders; all flew towards the saltmarsh islands in the
harbour, leaving just the swans in the stream. Wow!
The show was over and all was peaceful.
and friend Peter went to Hayling Oysterbeds today and
saw the Long-tailed Duck and almost certainly 3
Black-necked Grebes. No photos of them, but Tony did
get a flock of Dunlin in flight.
Colin Vanner sent me a
few more photos from his visits to Farlington Marshes.
A Short-eared Owl in flight.
A fine action shot of
two Kestrels fighting that I have never seen
Both Tony and Colin
looked for the Shore Lark but there has been no
sightings since Sunday, so it has probably moved on.
earlier observations go to . . . October