DECEMBER 31 - 2016
I paid a quick
visit to Nore Barn this afternoon to catch the falling
tide. The weather was dull and overcast. The place was
over run with people and dogs, but my day was
brightened by the presence of our ever faithful
Spotted Redshank in the stream.
The full history of
this remarkable bird and lots of photos can be found
on the special web page at . . . http://familyfellows.com/x-spotted-redshank.htm
Peter Milinets-Raby visited the Warblington shore from
8:05am to 10:33am.
It was a foggy start with the tide pushing in,
eventually. Halfway round he bumped into the local
Havant Wildlife Group on their regular Saturday
morning walk and pointed out a few birds to them. For
their own report go to . . . http://familyfellows.com/hwg-walk-reports-2016.htm
Peter also bumped into
the Warblington Farm farmer who told him that the farm
had had over 25 newly born calves in the last two
weeks and the herd were in the fields northeast of the
Farm and cress beds out of harms way and to reduce
disturbance. Many more calves on the way! As a result,
the Egrets were hard to find. Peter saw 5 Little
Egrets and 1 Cattle Egret, but these soon flew off and
hopped over a hedge into one of the fields not
viewable. He thinks these birds will hang around for
the next couple of months and thus could potentially
breed with the Little Egrets. Little Egret numbers in
the area will increase come early February and if the
five Cattle Egrets are still around, you never know!
Peter added that up to 65% of breeding colonies are
mixed with only 10% of Cattle Egrets breeding in their
own colonies. So, there is a good chance, especially
with 40 other birds in the UK at the moment.
Warblington currently holds 11.1% of the UK population
- what an amazing claim to fame!
The highlights of
Peter's visit were as follows:
Ibis Field: 7 Moorhen, Male Pheasant, Singing Song
Thrush, 1 Lonely Brent Goose.
Conigar Point: 33 Wigeon, 41 Teal, 1 Greenshank, 9
Shelduck, 126 Brent Geese, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4
Grey Plover, 94 Dunlin, 1 Male Pintail, 2 Red Breasted
Off Pook Lane: 212 Dunlin, 1 winter plumaged Curlew
Sandpiper, 47 Wigeon, 152 Teal, 10 Grey Plover, 251
Brent Geese, 27 Shelduck, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 51
Lapwing, 1 Greenshank, 8 Red Breasted Merganser, 10
Horse Paddock: Male Kestrel, Jay Heard.
Langstone Mill Pond: 4 Grey Heron - two on nest after
flying around chasing each other like two young
lovers. This is the first sign of any interest in
breeding from the herons. They were on Nest 3: South
of the Holm Oak, obscured and to the rear, in the
lower branches of tall tree: Female Tufted
reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife
Group. Her full report and photos are on the regular
Havant Wildlife Group web page at . . .
Here are the group assembled on the Langstone shore
outside The Ship Inn.
send me a few of his latest beautiful shots Kingfisher
from Arundel Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust plus female
Stonechat and Short-eared Owls from Farlington
Marshes. Stunning images, I think you will agree.
DECEMBER 30 - 2016
delighted to catch a brief glimpse of a Song Thrush in
the garden this afternoon. It was only there for about
30 seconds before being driven off by one of the local
Blackbirds. In fact, this was my first sighting of a
Song Thrush in the garden for two years, the last
being in December 2014. The one today was too quick
for a photo, so I here is the one I took in Dec 2014
in which the thrush perched nicely on the garden wall.
Thrush in my garden Dec 2014
We had a pair
of Robins in the garden this afternoon for the first
time this winter. Although this is not particularly
early, as pairing can take place by the middle of
December, it is about 3 months before the birds
actually nest. (Ref: David Lack. The Life of the
a pair of Robins from the internet.
saw the Water Rail swimming down the river at the back
of the old gas holder at 9.30 am this morning. I have
yet to get a sighting of this bird which Pam has seen
several times this winter in this area of the
taken on Brook Meadow by Malcolm Phillips in October
Anne de Potier saw a Spotted Redshank feeding in the
western end of the channel south of Nore Barn Woods,
not far from the tide flap. It was enjoying the fresh
water and totally ignoring a Labrador trying to pick
up a rock the size of a loaf of bread! That sounds
just like our regular Spotted Redshank that usually
feeds in the stream at the end of Warblington Road,
quite unfazed by big dogs.
taken in early December this year
Anne said the fog
was too thick to see if there were any Cattle Egrets
on Warblington Farm when she was there this afternoon.
However, there was an astonishing report on the HOS
Going Birding web site from A D Tindale of five Cattle
Egrets at 10.30, four in field opposite church and a
fifth in field opposite Pook Lane junction. Only three
had been previously seen! Anne says it's a season of
Cattle Egrets, with some sort of influx going
Cattle Egrets on Warblington Farm by Michael Duffy -
DECEMBER 29 - 2016
catch - one or two?
While he was
at Titchfield Haven, Tony Wootton got an excellent
photo of a Fox running off with what looked like a
Wigeon or a Lapwing in its mouth (see the blog for Dec
22). Tony had watched the Fox steal the prey from a
Buzzard that was feeding on the ground.
It seemed there was
only one animal in the Fox's mouth, but Peter
Milinets-Raby thought he could see two animals, a
Lapwing and a Wigeon. From Tony's photo one can
clearly understand Peter's point of view. The Lapwing
is on the left side of mouth (on the right in the
photo) with its crest visible plus purple/green gloss
to plumage and the duck is on the right side of the
Fox's mouth (left on the photo) showing a webbed foot
(a Lapwing's feet are not webbed).
However, today Tony sent me some more photos that he
recovered from recycle which show the fox from
different angles which clearly indicate that the Fox
has a single male Wigeon in its mouth and no Lapwing.
As Peter admits, this just goes to show that it is
very difficult to ID anything from photos, especially
from just one.
found two Cattle Egrets in the field north of
Warblington farm/church plus a Little Egret. Mike
added that there were no cattle in the field with the
Egrets - "just in case people think that they're
always with cattle, as a passer-by thought".
Milinets-Raby had a spare hour this morning from
9:06am, so visited Langstone Mill Pond as the tide was
pushing in. The highlights were as follows:
68 Dunlin, 13 Shelduck, 5 Grey Plover, 28 Lapwing, 163
Teal - good numbers this winter. 28 Wigeon, 17
Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Red Breasted Merganser, Male
and 3 female Goldeneye, 209 Brent Geese, Grey
On the pond: Female Tufted Duck - still lingering,
Female Wigeon - no sign of the male today, 1 Teal. 3
Grey Heron roosting. They were breeding this time last
year. No sign yet!?
Horse paddock: 6 Moorhen, Fox.
One of the three
Cattle Egret was seen mid morning. The cattle have
been moved to fields to the north of the farm cress
beds out of sight, so the birds are a little harder to
DECEMBER 28 - 2016
There was a
pile of feathers on the grass in the garden this
morning indicating yet another Sparrowhawk attack.
This is the 4th indication of a Sparrowhawk attack we
have had in the past month, all I think Collared Doves
of which there are some dozy young ones about at the
moment. Again, I failed to see the acxtion.
I had a stroll
through Brook Meadow and down to Slipper Millpond
where I found a new north raft had been installed. It
is just a flat platform with no nesting box like the
old one, so the resident Coots will have to take their
chances nesting in the open where they will be
particularly vulnerable to attacks from the nesting
Great Black-backed Gulls.
The centre raft where
the gulls have nested for the past 4 years has been
moved back to its original position in the centre of
the pond, so they should have no problem finding it
for another nesting season.
Walking through Brook
Meadow I was pleased to see a Song Thrush,
which I have not seen for months in my garden, and a
Little Egret in the river.
On the way home I
noticed a Grey Wagtail in the Westbrook Stream
in Bridge Road car park. It would not turn around.
Wild flowers included
Winter Heliotrope in several places, including
Brook Meadow. Sweet Violets are out on the
Lillywhite's path. A couple of days ago, I also
noticed some on the usual grass verge on the north
side of Warblington Road near the junction with
got this excellent photo of a Kestrel diving to take
prey in Havant Thicket.
Cattle Egrets were still on Warblington Farm at
11.15 this morning in the field east of Church Lane
(just south of Pook Lane junction) as reported by
M.Rolfe on GoingBirding.
Mr Rolfe also reported
42 Great Crested Grebe, 48 Red-breasted Merganser, 9
Black-necked Grebe and 2 Long-tailed Ducks on
NEWS CATCH-UP - Dec 20-23
on the River Ems?
the South Downs National Park (SDNP) have reported
concerns from local landowners about the possible
presence of American Mink on the upstream reaches of
the River Ems at Westbourne.
If true, this could
explain the observed loss of Water Voles along the
upper flowing reaches of the Ems near Watersmeet since
they were positively surveyed for the river
restoration works in 2014/15. It might also help to
explain the loss of Water Voles along other parts of
the Ems, including here on Brook Meadow. Mink are
serious predators of Water Voles and have been a major
factor in their decline over the past 30 years.
However, Mink have never actually been sighted on
Brook Meadow throughout the 16 years of management by
the conservation group. In the New Year, the SDNP plan
to put out Mink rafts to help determine if Mink are
present, so watch this space!
Cattle Egrets at Warblington
December 20 -
Ralph Hollins reported there were 3 Cattle Egrets on
Warblington Farm at the north end of the field
immediately west of the cemetery. Previously only two
had been seen. Here is a nice photo of the three
Cattle Egrets taken by Michael Duffy.
Ralph also noted that
the Cornwall Birding website reported 13 Cattle Egrets
at Newquay on Dec 19 - which is the biggest count he
has seen for one area.
December 22 -
Tony Wootton was at Titchfield Haven watching a
Buzzard having a good feed on some prey on the ground,
whilst being harassed by 2 crows. Tony didn't know
whether it had killed it or just found it. Then a Fox
appeared and made off with the prey in its jaws, but
not before Tony got this dramatic photo. Tony thought
the prey was a Lapwing, but wondered if the Buzzard
could have killed a Lapwing. Tony later got a photo of
what was probably the same fox licking its mouth
having enjoyed its meal.
I agree with Tony that
the prey looks like a Lapwing; one can just make out
the crest and partially webbed feet. I also agree that
it is unlikely that a Buzzard would be able to catch a
healthy and alert Lapwing, so the poor Lapwing was
most likely unhealthy or injured.
Tony also got a
female Snow Bunting at Titchfield Haven
garden Blue Tits
for Ornithology Garden BirdWatch results show the
lowest number of Blue Tits using gardens during
November since 2003. See . . . http://bto-enews.org/NXK-4OBV0-3UEDCR-2FDN4O-0/c.aspx
They think this is mainly due to a poor breeding
season and the absence of young birds. Blue Tits have
had their worst breeding season on record leading to
fewer fledged young than normal. It is likely that
this was caused by the wet weather across the south of
the UK, hampering the birds' ability to feed their
chicks. See . . . http://bto-enews.org/NXK-4OBV0-3UEDCR-2FDN4Q-0/c.aspx
For the first
time, BTO Garden Bird Watchers have recorded
Brimstone butterflies on the wing in December. They
overwinter as adults but are usually dormant at this
time of year, hiding in evergreen vegetation. See . .
DECEMBER 17 - 2016
Milinets-Raby walked from Emsworth Harbour to Nore
Barn starting at 7:51am on a very grey, dull day with
low cloud and the tide miles out!
Emsworth Harbour: 2 Greenshank, 5 Teal, 15
Black-tailed Godwits, 402 Brent Geese, 131 Canada
Geese (again left for Thorney Island after 20 minutes
in one big noisy exodus!), 12 Turnstone, 11 Grey
Plover, 3 Little Egret, 7 Lapwing, 24 Shelduck, 45
Dunlin, 178 Knot (It is so amusing to watch them march
across the mud at speed all in one direction). 1
Wigeon, 1 Great Black-backed Gull.
Emsworth Mill Pond: 28 Coot.
Beacon Square from 8:41am: 168 Brent Geese, 13
Wigeon, 17 Teal, 19 Pintail (ten males, 9 females), 7
Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Shelduck.
Nore Barn from 9:01am: 172 Brent Geese, 51
Teal, 186 Wigeon, 74 Black-tailed Godwit (ringed WO+LW
flag & ROL+RLR - both regulars at Nore Barn), 1
lonesome Knot (canutus lonesomeus!), 4 Shelduck, 1
Little Egret, 11 Pintail, 4 males, 7 females - the
Beacon Square flock were flushed by dogs at 9:15am and
flew in to join the Nore Barn flock. A very impressive
Apart from 3 Redshank and about 20 Oystercatchers,
there were no other waders present at Nore Barn. Most
of the Curlew I observed today were passing overhead
Finished at 9:37am. Peter will do the Warblington
Egrets at Warblington
the Emsworth to Langstone WeBS count by bicycle this
lunchtime Anne de Potier found the two Cattle Egrets
with Little Egrets and cattle in the field on the
corner of the A259 and Church Lane at Warblington. Not
the best view, peering through the hedge, but good to
DECEMBER 16 - 2016
The tide was rising to high water at about 12:30 -
just right to visit Nore Barn. It was a misty morning
and one could not see the Hayling Bridge or the
Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth which are usually
visible from here.
Hundreds of Brent
Geese and Wigeon were milling around in the gradually
filling channels. I was pleased to see a small group
of 8 Pintail, 3 males and 5 females. There were also
lots of Black-tailed Godwits though I did not get time
to check them for rings before the incoming tide
covered their legs.
My best sighting of
the morning was two Spotted Redshanks feeding
close together for much of the time in the stream.
Maggie Gebbett arrived as I was watching them and we
both reflected on how lucky we were to get such good
views of these delightful, but scarce, winter birds.
Although we regularly
get one Spotted Redshank in the stream, having two is
not all that unusual. This was the 5th time I have
seen two here this winter, which is about the same as
in previous years.
I managed to get a short video clip of the two birds
using my Lumix FZ18 on full zoom which can be seen on
YouTube at https://youtu.be/k1KRFCK-FEg
more details on the history of the Spotted Redshanks
in Emsworth go to
. . . Spotted
news - Brook Meadow workday
There was an
excellent turn out of 20 volunteers for the last
workday of 2016. The main task was to clear the hedge
cuttings left from the hedge laying on the Seagull
Some of these were
used to build up the hibernacula on the main meadow
and the rest went onto a bonfire. It was lovely to see
a real bonfire and to feel its warmth.
Here is a short video
clip of the fire on YouTube . . . https://youtu.be/zk9AqVkombo
Debi cleared rubbish
from the river and others picked litter and cleaned
the signcases. Phil and his team finished laying the
new steps down onto the meadow.
We finished up with
mulled wine, stollen and mince pies provided by
Maurice. An excellent morning's work. Happy Christmas
detailed report of yesterday's work session plus lots
more photos can be seen on the Brook Meadow web site
at . . . . . . http://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/conservation-news/
DECEMBER 15 - 2016
Ralph Hollins found 25 flower heads of Winter
Heliotrope at the southern end of Wade Lane in Havant.
Ralph says some were in full flower but not yet giving
off the strong vanilla scent which earns this plant
the name Petasites fragrans. Winter
Heliotrope flowers will soon be out generally. There
is a particularly good patch on the roadside
embankment near the doctors' surgery in Emsworth. Here
is a photo of some in full flower I took a few years
Winter Heliotrope was
introduced to Europe from North Africa and is now
common in southern England where it has managed to
spread despite the total absence of female plants. Its
leaves prevent sunlight from reaching the ground and
this has caused it to be named as an undesirable
invasive species. However, it is virtually impossible
to get rid of as its long rhizomes reach very deep
into the soil and small pieces readily regenerate. So
let's just relax and enjoy the flowers and the aroma.
While she was
at Warblington yesterday Caroline French came across a
young couple flying a drone with a camera on it along
the shore. She spoke to them to ask them to be careful
about bird disturbance. Maybe they will, likely they
won't. Caroline also got a photo of a first winter
Pied Wagtail. Such dainty little birds!
queried Chris Oakley's identification of the white
finger-like fungi in Tuesday's blog as
Clavicorona taxophila. One reference
quoted by Ralph says "Habitat on damp rooting twigs,
leaves and other debris of coniferous and deciduous
trees. Season autumn. Rare. Not edible. Found In
Europe." Chris's fungi are clearly on wood, not on a
damp woodland floor and look rather like Candle Snuff
(or Stagshorn) fungus (Xylaria
hypoxylon) which is a common wood-rotting
Egrets are still on Warblington Farm where they were
seen today at 14:15 by Andy Johnson who said they were
with Little Egrets and cows in the field at the
junction of Church Lane and Pook Lane "before being
(deliberately) flushed by the farmer". Reported on
In a previous blog I said the last Cattle Egret at
Warblington in my records was in Dec 2010. However,
after looking through the Hampshire Bird Reports,
Ralph Hollins found that a Cattle Egret was also seen
at Warblington the following year on Dec 18 2011 and
stayed there until Feb 11 2012.
DECEMBER 14 - 2016
Milinets-Raby was at Warblington Farm this afternoon -
2-3pm. Apparently, the Cattle Egrets hit the Rare Bird
news today! Peter saw the two Cattle Egrets very
briefly (very wary as usual) before they flew into the
field beside the cress beds (private land and out of
view). This is where the majority of the herd of
cattle is being grazed at the moment. He also had a
pleasant chat with a local lady who came in search of
the egrets via your website. That lady was Caroline
French. She had a brief view of one before it flew
over the hedge and into the next field.
Caroline walked to Nore Barn where she saw the regular
Spotted Redshank with the regular colour-ringed
Returning to the car
at Warblington she caught sight of an egret in a tree
- it turned out to be one of the Cattle Egrets!
Mike Wells also went
over to Warblington Farm this morning to look for
Cattle Egrets but did not find them. However, he came
close to witnessing a new arrival in one of the
fields. The mother was licking and nudging until the
calf raised its head, all very touching.
to Conigar Point and counted the shore as the tide
dropped - very impressive! 181 Wigeon (amazing sight,
his best count since he started checking this area
since 2013!). It is a shame they might get shot at
this weekend for someone's Christmas Dinner. See the
following website, for what looks like an excellent
Christmas choice: https://theshotgunchef.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/sunrise-supper-wigeon-and-wild-field-mushrooms/
300+ Brent Geese (they soon moved off to the fields
behind the point, so difficult to count accurately).
23 Dunlin, 4 Grey Plover, 7 Shelduck, 5 Red Breasted
In the Ibis Field on the walk back were: 13 Moorhen, 1
Grey Wagtail, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Goldcrest, 1 male
saw the Water Rail again on the River Ems on
Brook Meadow this morning at 7.30am. It was just north
of the gas holder site and Pam said she was only able
to see it with the help of the full moon and red sky.
saw a Black Swan on Thorney Little Deeps today.
Eric Eddles says
Shoveler numbers are building up on Baffins
Pond; there were 6 males and 4 females on the pond
today. They could rise to 50 or more.
DECEMBER 13 - 2016
one shows a Cattle Egret with a Little Egret for
Milinets-Raby had some spare time today and had two
quick trips to the Warblington area in awful weather.
On the morning visit, despite the weather, Peter
managed to see and photograph the two Cattle Egrets
which had been seen yesterday by Ann Catherine. Peter
says the egrets were again wary and flighty and flew
off from their preferred field and headed east to the
field by the cress beds (private land and not truly
viewable). Lots of milking activity and moving cattle
around probably did not help. However, as he was
leaving 3 Little Egrets and 2 Cattle Egrets returned
to the field north of Castle Barn. Peter apologises
for the quality of the photos taken in the drizzle and
through the hedge, but they look perfectly fine to me.
Well done, Peter.
one shows the two Cattle Egrets feeding
Conigar Point at 10:15am to 11:15am - Very high tide
(5 metres). Surprisingly nothing on the water except
for 292 Brent Geese that had just flown off the field
behind Conigar Point (where 23 Brent were still
feeding). Three Meadow Pipits over the fields. 1
Goldcrest in the hedgerow. Peter heard the Green
Sandpiper depart the little puddle where Ann Catherine
saw it yesterday. It flew off to the river further
Later in the afternoon Peter visited Langstone Mill
Pond on a dropping tide (2pm to 3:47pm - weather only
slightly improved). Off shore as the mud exposed were
57 Teal, 7 Wigeon, 11 Black-tailed Godwits, 565 Dunlin
- an impressive number, but too distant to check
thoroughly, 5 Grey Plover, 11 Red Breasted Merganser,
125+ Brent Geese, 84 Shelduck, 2 Greenshank (G//R +
On the Langstone Mill Pond were 26 Teal and the
lingering female Tufted Duck.
writes, "This is a dark, dull time of the year when
the blaze of summer flowers gives way to the browns
and greys of winter. But there is still a lot of
colour to be found if you look for it, particularly in
fungi. These two that have appeared in my North
Emsworth garden certainly add a splash of colour."
Chris identifies them
as Clavicorona taxophila (common name
Yew Club) on the left and Phlebia
merisoides also called Phlebia
radiata (common name Wrinkled Crust) on the
right. Chris adds that he is always open to identity
correction, especially with fungi which are
top left to bottom right: African Golden Oriel,
Red-billed Hornbill, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Spelndid
has recently been on holiday in Gambia and circulated
a selection of splendid photos of the colourful birds
that he saw in that country, as he says, ... "to
brighten up this dull day". The following caught my
eye in particular.
DECEMBER 12 - 2016
who accompanied Peter Milinets-Raby on yesterday's
walk at Warblington when they discovered a Cattle
Egret, sent another shot of the Cattle Egret and an
inquisitive cow taken whilst Peter and he were trying
to look through gaps in the hedge at Warblington
John also sent two
more photos of the moss and the lichen which were not
identified in yesterday's blog. John says the moss is
Syntrichia ruralis, which is the main
one on the corrugated asbestos roof of the lean-to of
the farm at Warblington Church. John's new photo shows
a general shot of it cascading into the gutter. It is
a common species on concrete and other artificial
The lichen was Physconia perisidiosa,
which is fairly common on urban trees, especially Lime
and Ash in Gosport, but here was on the Crack? Willow
at Langstone Mill Pond. John's photo is a general shot
of the lichen mosaic on the trunk, with the round
patch of dark green Physconia in the middle. It
becomes a pale brown colour when dry.
Cattle Egrets at Warblington
was at Warblington today and confirmed that there are
in fact two Cattle Egrets in the Warblington farm
fields as Peter Milinets-Raby suspected in last
night's report. Although initially seen separately in
adjacent fields Ann later saw them both together in
the Ibis field - ie the large field to the east of the
cemetery extension. Ann also saw a Green Sandpiper in
large puddle at field entrance just east of the Ibis
DECEMBER 11 - 2016
Egret at Warblington
Milinets-Raby was joined this morning by ecologist
John Norton for a walk down the Pook Lane track, along
to Langstone Mill Pond and back to Warblington Church
and Castle Farm (10:45am to 1:05pm). Foggy to start,
then the sun pushed out. Tide dropping very slowly.
The highlight was a Cattle Egret in the field
north of the Castle Farm Barn with 9 Little
Peter says, "Poor
visibility first thing with dull misty conditions. The
bird was very wary and soon flew off to another field,
then flew over a hedge into another field! At this
point we left it and went on our walk.
Later (almost two hours later) when we had finished
our walk, we explored the fields again and found the
bird in the same field as earlier on. It again was
very wary and alas flushed and flew east into the
However, about 2 to 3 minutes later we checked the
field further north and found what was probably the
same bird on its own amongst cattle. The bird had a
faint wash of ginger-orange on the arm of the folded
wing on its left side, nothing on the right. There is
a slight possibility that there were two
Pook Lane: 1 Rock Pipit, 3 Meadow Pipit, 26 Teal,
86 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank (G//R + BRtag//-), 6 Grey
Plover, 7 Red Breasted Merganser, 1 Female Goldeneye,
282 Brent Geese, 2 Lapwing, 58 Shelduck, 2
Langstone Mill Pond: 21 Teal, Female Tufted
Duck. 2 Grey Herons loitering with intent - with this
mild weather I am sure they have things on their
minds! John pointed out loads of different mosses and
lichens (see photos).
note: The last Cattle Egret at Warblington on
my records was in December 2010. Prior to that one was
one in January 2006 that stayed for a few weeks from
what I recall. Here is a cracking shot of the 2010
Cattle Egret at Warblington from Richard Ford.
DECEMBER 10 - 2016
makes me very envious of the variety of birds that
visit his garden in Waterlooville. Recently he has
seen both Great and Green Spotted Woodpeckers,
Bullfinch, Song Thrush and Wren.
Here are Barrie's cracking photos of female Great
Spotted Woodpecker and female Green Woodpecker (on
top) and male Bullfinch and Song Thrush (below).
Barrie says Song
Thrushes were once common in his garden but are
becoming increasingly rare. Bullfinches only seem to
visit in transit. A few years ago he had a resident
family of them that visited daily. Lucky Barrie, for I
have not seen either in my garden for some years.
For the first
time in 33 years of living in Emsworth, Juliet Walker
saw a Green Woodpecker in her garden this morning -
very exciting! This one was a male having a
distinctive red whisker on the dark moustache.
was not pecking wood, but mostly jabbing into the
grass with its beak, and stayed doing so for about 40
minutes, getting nearer and nearer to the house. I
managed to open the window without disturbing it
(until I got too confident, and it flew off) and took
In response to
my request for information about the Shovelers at
Baffins Pond, Eric Eddles says they arrived last month
on the 10th but just two pairs. The most he's seen so
far are five. Eric sends a nice shot he got of a
male-female pair feeding in their distinctive circling
manner on the pond earlier in the winter.
DECEMBER 9 - 2016
10:00 - 11:00
- I checked both the western and eastern harbours on a
Starting at Nore Barn, the stream was already fairly
empty, but the Spotted Redshank was present.
This was my first sighting of the bird for almost 2
weeks and I was getting a bit concerned for its
safety, but there was no need to worry as it was
feeding happily in the stream alone. There was no sign
of any Greenshank.
There were plenty of
Wigeon and Teal in the lower reaches of the stream,
more Teal than I have seen previously this winter
(60+) along with 19 Pintail, 8 males and 11
Also, in the area were 42 Black-tailed Godwits
including two colour-ringed birds
W+WN - ringed 05-Sep-10 Farlington Marshes. A
regular in Emsworth Harbour. 4th sighting this
O+GG - that I have not seen here before. Maybe
it is a recently ringed bird? Possibly O+GL?
There were another 25
Black-tailed Godwits in the eastern harbour
with one colour-ringed WO+LW flag - chick
ringed in north Iceland by Ruth Croger and Pete on
13th July 2010. Regular in Emsworth Harbour. 4th
sighting this winter.
I am having to eat my
words about the Brent Geese having had a poor
season. Brent families were everywhere today! I have
not seen this many all winter. Maybe this was the
flock that Anne de Potier saw at Nutbourne on Nov
I aged 332 Brents on the western mudflats including 35
juveniles in families of 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2,
I aged 306 Brent Geese in the eastern harbour with 14
juveniles. This makes a total of 638 aged with 49
juveniles giving a proportion of juveniles to adults
of around 7%. My overall proportion for the winter
stands at 3.77%, so maybe the true figure is somewhere
between these two. Here is a family with 4 juveniles.
While I was on the
millpond seawall a passing lady told me she had a
regular pre roost evening display of Starlings
around her house in Nutbourne.
The Water Rail
was present again feeding with two Moorhens on the
eastern side of Peter Pond along with a Brown Rat.
DECEMBER 8 - 2016
I had another
Sparrowhawk kill in the garden this afternoon and I
missed it. The last one was less than a week ago on
Dec 2 and I missed that one too. The light was fading
fast when I took this photo but the symptoms were
exactly as before - a circular area of plucked white
feathers on the grass - clearly the work of a
Sparrowhawk plucking a Collared Dove.
laying on the Seagull Lane patch of Brook Meadow is
now complete and looks quite splendid. Mike Probert
and his team are to be congratulated on a very fine
piece of work. Here is Mike with the finished work.
Mike's full report
with more photos of the work in progress and completed
is now on the Brook Meadow web site.
Go to . . . http://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/conservation-news/
Milinets-Raby had some time this morning to quickly
visit the Langstone Mill Pond from 8:58am to 9:51am -
tide out. Main sightings:
Off shore: 1 Greenshank (G//R + BRtag//-), 1
Kingfisher feeding from the posts in the mill pond
outflow, 152 Teal, 77 Wigeon, 17 Red Breasted
Merganser with 4 off Conigar Point, 6 Little Egrets,
12 Grey Plover, 71 Dunlin, 8 Black-tailed Godwit,
42 Shelduck with 24 off Conigar Point, 414
Brent Geese, 1 Rock Pipit over, 1 female
Goldeneye, 24 Lapwing
Langstone Mill Pond: 35 Teal, Female Tufted Duck.
In response to
my query in yesterday's blog about the relative
absence of Shoveler on Baffins Pond, Eric Eddles wrote
to say "the Shovelers arrived last month on the 10th
but just two pairs, the most I've seen so far are
five. Of the resident pair of swans sadly three weeks
the cob flew into our next door neighbours telephone
wire bringing down their guttering and facia board and
was killed. The pen now comes and goes and is missing
for days on end.
DECEMBER 7 - 2016
I had to go
down to Portsmouth this morning which gave me the
opportunity to have a look at some of my old
Starting at Canoe
Lake I counted 27 Mute Swans along with the usual
collection of gulls. Good to see the swans back on the
pond, though not in the numbers there were in the late
1990s and early 2000s when there were regularly over
80 in mid winter with a record peak of 94 in January
On to Eastney
Lake where the tide was low. Here I counted 282
Brent Geese with just one juvenile! This is proof that
the breeding season has been poor for the Brents. My
current percentage of juveniles to adults is 1.23%.
Here are a few of the Brents feeding in a fresh water
channel close to the shore. Not a single juvenile to
I walked around
Baffins Pond where Tufted Ducks were fairly
numerous as usual, but I could only find 4 Shoveler
which is surprising at this time of the year. Again,
in the early 2000s I used to count at least 40
Shoveler on the pond, circling around in their
distinctive feeding behaviour. My record count was 83
in Nov 2001.
DECEMBER 6 - 2016
Milinets-Raby sent another photo of the abandoned dead
Wigeon taken on Sunday Dec 4 from the Warblington
shore. This photo captures a bit of the shoreline in
the back ground and one of the boats which might help
to locate the bird on the mudflats.
He says the shooters
usually shoot from the main gully/stream outlet to the
west of Conigar Point, at least 100 metres from the
shore. The dead Wigeon was about 50 metres further
west of their normal shooting position, a bit too far
away for the dog to pick up the scent. Dorian Tennyson
actually witnessed the shooting from the Northney
shore and thought there were about 30 birds killed.
I received the
following reply from the secretary of the Chichester
Wildfowling Association regarding the shooting at
Warblington on Sunday Dec 4.
read with interest the account you have put on your
blog of the shooting that occurred at Emsworth over
the weekend. Whilst wildfowling by our members is a
legitimate activity in this area of the harbour there
are several aspects that we are investigating, in
particular the bird shot but not retrieved you have
In case you are not aware all wildfowling is
controlled by the Chichester Wildfowlers Association,
you can find out more about us by visiting our web
site at . . . http://www.chichesterwildfowlers.org
You will see from the web site that we have clear
standards our members are expected to adhere to and
that new members are only accepted after a
probationary period to prove their competence.
You will also see that we place a high value on the
well-being of the harbour by undertaking many
conservation activities, in particular the maintenance
of the reed beds and associated habitat in
If you or your colleagues notice any other behaviour
that you believe contravenes legitimate wildfowling
activity, we would appreciate you making us aware of
it so that it can be investigated via our web site".
had a walk from Prinsted to Nutbourne yesterday and
got a couple of nice shots of the resident Meadow
Pipits that can usually be seen in bushes along the
DECEMBER 5 - 2016
I had a walk
from home, through Brook Meadow and into Emsworth,
noting any wild flowers I saw out on the pavements,
etc. I found two interesting ones:
(1) There is a good growth of Water Bent
(Polypogon viridis) in the semi-wild
front garden of my neighbour in Victoria Road, usually
expected no later than mid-September. I also found
some growing in the gutter along Bridge Road.
(2) The first flower
buds of Winter Heliotrope are now showing, but
not yet fully open, on the roadside embankment by the
doctor's surgery in the centre of Emsworth.
Other wild plants in
flower: Shepherd's Purse, Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Common
Chickweed, Annual Mercury, Groundsel, White
Dead-nettle, Hogweed, Gorse, Daisy, Common Mallow, Red
Dead-nettle, Ivy, Common Nettle, Knotgrass, Petty
Spurge, Pellitory-of-the-wall, Common Field Speedwell,
Smooth Sow-thistle, Cocksfoot, False Oat-grass, Annual
Mercury and Pellitory-of-the-wall
The best bird of the
morning was a Water Rail that I found feeding
on the east side of Peter Pond where David Gattrell
puts the food for the ducks. This is the first one I
have seen this year, but what a pity it was not on
Barn Owl photographed in flight by Heather Mills at
Farlington Marshes yesterday, Pete Potts agrees it is
a wild bird and could be one they ringed at Northney,
Hayling as a chick in recent years. Of course, they
won't know for certain unless it is retrapped or
picked up dead or injured, but let's hope not the
Milinets-Raby e-mailed Mark Greenhough, Wildfowling
Officer at The British Association for Shooting and
Conservation to ask if the duck shooting at
Warblington on Sunday 4th December was legal. Mr
Greenhough confirmed that it is legal to shoot below
the mean high water mark from 1st September until 20th
February inclusive. He adds that the timing of visits
is to coincide with the movement of birds which mainly
happens pre dawn. So, that is the end of that, I
suspect, apart from getting the law changed!
at Farlington Marshes
and her husband had a walk around Farlington Marshes
this afternoon during which they encountered two men
planning to shoot wildfowl on the reserve and were
naturally rather concerned. Here is Nicola's
joined the footpath on the western side to walk back
to the car park, we stopped for a while to watch a
Short-eared Owl flying very close. There was a large 4
x 4 vehicle parked with two chaps in camouflage gear
who we thought might be wardens. They were very
friendly and started to chat to us and then said they
had permission to be there as they were members of the
local shooting club who leased the land to the west of
They wanted to give us warning that they would be
shooting during the half hour before dusk. A bit taken
aback we walked off. The field had a large number of
Brent Geese that we could see, and a Short-eared Owl
was flying back and forth over it - would they
differentiate that from the birds they were licensed
to shoot we wondered? Also, we found it very strange
that there was an area licensed for people to shoot
between a Wildlife Trusts reserve and RSPB managed
land on North Binness.
When she got home
Nicola Googled 'wildfowling at Farlington' and came
across the following from the Solent reserves
Langstone & District Wildfowlers and Conservation
Association are a long standing local group who have
had an agreement with all the relevant partners in the
harbour for nearly 60 years - longer than the wildlife
trust has managed Farlington. They always provide the
data for what they shoot and the species of what they
shoot is always closely policed by the group or any of
the harbour partners. Also the number of birds they
can shoot is limited (only a small number is ever
annually taken) and the group pride themselves in
eating what they shoot.
The wildfowlers are allowed access across the nature
reserve on the main access tracks. But must not shoot
on the seawall or towards the reserve. This is the
agreement with Portsmouth City Council who own the
whole of Farlington Marshes (we [HIWWT] only
manage it on a lease). This is often when they are
seen and come into contact with the public before they
head out into the harbour. Also the controlled and
licensed shooting activities in the harbour reduces
the likelihood of poaching and helps the RSPB,
Portsmouth City Council and ourselves keep a track of
the groups activities. If this was to become
unsustainable, serious questions would be asked about
the future operations of the group. "
Despite all this
Nicola added that she still found it distasteful! I
wholeheartedly agree, but there is not much we can do
about it - except possibly put pressure on the RSPB to
buy that land?
typically move down the rivers to the harbour in
winter where they fish in the streams and millponds of
Emsworth. Many people have reported seeing them,
always with much pleasure. They have been seen on
Peter Pond and Slipper Millpond on the east of the
town, but the one that frequents the town millpond
obligingly perches on the edge of the pond wall giving
excellent views. On Sunday, Ian Mears walked from
Northney to Emsworth for the first time in a few years
and was rewarded with a sighting of a female
Kingfisher perched on the edge of the town millpond.
And got this excellent shot of the bird. Nice one!
DECEMBER 4 - 2016
Lillie's account of his encounter with a fox in
yesterday's blog, reminded Chris Oakley of an incident
that happened to him last week.
were driving to Petersfield along the B2147 just
before Compton when a Red Kite came down in front of
us. It was trying to retrieve a road kill rabbit,
which itself is an unusual find nowadays. With the sun
behind us it was a spectacular site, the bright russet
body and black and white under wing, coupled with its
yellow extended claws showed just how big these
raptors are. It flew off without its prize. Red Kite
are becoming more frequent along this valley road and
it is probably the best area to get a good look at
them. I will certainly not forget that dramatic
from the Warblington
Milinets-Raby was up early this morning with the
lyric, ". . . . deep, crisp and even" running through
his head as it was another frosty morning with
temperatures below zero. He walked the Warblington
shore from 7:28 am to 10:03am - low tide throughout.
cemetery: 1 Buzzard, 1 Jay, Goldcrest heard. Ibis
Field: 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 female Pheasant, 2
The hedgerow behind Conigar Point and along the stream
has been drastically cut back along its entire length,
getting rid of the low scrub that was good for
migrants. Shame! At least I can see the stream
Point: Absolutely NOTHING. The mud was empty and the
gullies were devoid of birds, very eerie. I was there
at sunrise, but obviously the shooters had been and
gone - I know they had been there because they left
the tell-tale sign of a kill that obviously the dogs
had missed picking up. From the photo (below) the bird
is a young male Pintail. Now this is a real shame, as
this species is uncommon in the area. One less and I
suspect that they probably shot a male as these birds
usually hang around together and when I last spoke to
these guys they so wanted to bag a Pintail! A few
birds did return: 72 Brent Geese, 5 Shelduck, 1 Grey
Plover, 5 Wigeon.
Tennyson's report below for more about the Warblington
Pook Lane: 107 Dunlin, 12 Grey Plover, 337 Brent Geese
(one flock of 192 held 26 juveniles - 13.5%), 139
Teal, Adult winter Curlew Sandpiper (feeding with 34
Dunlin - some good views for once, but difficult to
pick out in the bright sunshine), 11 Red Breasted
Merganser, 68 Shelduck, 40 Wigeon, 16 Lapwing (with an
extra one on the field south of the cemetery), 59
Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Gull, 1 adult winter
Mediterranean Gull, 1 Greenshank (G//R + BRtag//-), 1
Rock Pipit over, female Common Scoter feeding/diving
with 9 mergansers in the trickle of water in the
channel - a new addition to the area for me!
2 Stock Doves, 2 Chiffchaff in the Tamarisk Hedge.
Langstone Mill Pond: 7 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, female
Horse paddock - dry now! 3 Moorhen
about the shooting at Warblington
Tennyson says he has been reading with concern the
reports by Peter Milinets-Raby on this blog detailing
duck shooting at Warblington. Dorian says,
was out this morning walking along the North Hayling
shore and heard and counted some 60 shots being fired
by two individuals. There was also a dog present and
from observing through my binoculars I noticed they
picked up about 30 birds whilst also chasing and other
injured birds with the dog".
Owl at Farlington
Derek Mills had a big surprise during their afternoon
walk at Farlington - a Barn Owl. It was a first for
them, but Heather wonders if it is an escape as she
can see a ring on its leg. Anyone any ideas about
A Barn Owl was also
reported today on the HOS Sightings 'GoingBirding' web
site. It was also reported on 25 Nov so it looks as if
it has been around for a while.
DECEMBER 3 - 2016
had an early morning encounter with a Fox. Here is the
story in his own words:
06.15 this morning, I had just left home, across the
gardens in front of the house and was walking with one
of the dogs up Sadlers Walk. We were only a few metres
away from the house and the dog stopped and growled. I
caught a glimpse of a cat dodge behind a shrub about
25metres away. The dog refused to move and remained
silent. He just stared across the road. A few seconds
later the animal reappeared and it was then that I
realised it was a young fox. The fox took a few paces
in our direction and stood stock still. It remained
thus for a good half minute before turning and
casually crossing to our side of the road about
15metres ahead. It went down a path that runs in front
of our houses and trotted away.
continued our walk down Sadlers Walk to Lumley Road.
Looking left towards the sea there was the fox on the
triangle of grass by the letterbox, seeming to have
found something to eat. It saw us and walked across
the road looking at us the while, towards the wooden
seats that overlook Peter Pond and then walked
casually behind a car where it found the packaging
remains of a takeaway. I perched on a garden wall to
see what would happen. The fox emerged about 4 metres
away from behind the car, with the packaging in its
mouth. As I was stationery and the dog sitting quietly
it dropped the package and ate whatever remains were
it could extract. Shortly, it strolled off up Lumley
Road on its foraging. This is the closest I gave come
to a fox for many years. We sometimes them at night
parents calling to their Cubs and them 'talking' back.
I just love nature.
Maurice did not have
his camera with him, so I have included this cracking
shot taken by Chris Oakley in his garden in 2014 of
what looks like a youngish Fox like the one Maurice
Regarding aging of
Foxes, I gather it is not easy to tell young from
adults after the age of about 6 months. The female fox
typically gives birth in March and April and by now
youngsters will be well developed and fending for
themselves. See the following web site for more
information . . . http://www.thefoxwebsite.net
Milinets-Raby visited the shoreline between Emsworth
and Nore Barn this morning (a puncture to the front
tyre - a nail - forced him to search for a repair
garage and ended his outing). Dull grey start from
7:38am to 9:16am - low tide throughout.
Emsworth Mill Pond: Kingfisher sitting on the wall
side of the pond, 33 Coot, 1 Rock Pipit flew over.
Emsworth Harbour: 3 Little Egret, 129 Canada Geese -
departed in dribs and dabs towards Thorney Island, 355
Brent Geese, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 4 Greenshank,
10 Lapwing, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Grey Plover, 161
Dunlin, 9 Turnstone, 5 Mute Swan, 17 Shelduck, 8 Teal,
33 Knot, 3 Red breasted Merganser, 1 Ringed Plover,
Redshank with coloured rings (-//G + G//YG) off mill
Beacon Square from 8:25am: 17 Ringed Plover (2 with
colour rings: -//- + G//NB & -//- + R//LY), 6
Dunlin, Redshank with coloured rings (-//O + O//GW), 3
Grey Plover, 184 Brent Geese, 9 Teal, 25 Wigeon, 3
Pintail (male & 2 females), 3 Black-tailed Godwit,
Nore Barn from 8:48am: 15 Pintail (6 males & 9
females), 99 Teal, 80 Wigeon - hard to count with most
hiding in the muddy gullies, plus too much disturbance
from runaway dogs, 151 Brent Geese, 38 Black-tailed
Godwit (two with colour rings W//R + WN//- & G//R
+ WR//- both regulars in Emsworth Harbour), 8 Mute
Swan, 2 Grey Plover, 12 Shelduck. No sign of
Greenshank or Spotted Redshank?
Evans went to Nutbourne, where the tide was well in,
and on the edge of the spit near the outfall of the
stream were 30 or so Avocets. He also saw Black Tailed
Godwits, Redshank, Teal and Wigeon both on the spit
and in the water. On the shoreline there were a dozen
or so Turnstones, which were regularly disturbed by
dogs wandering down to the water. A large flock of
Brent Geese flew in and settled noisily on the
Christopher Evans walked from Mill Lane, Langstone
over to Budds Farm. By this time the tide was just
starting to ebb and there was very little in the water
apart from a few Wigeon. Budds Farm was more rewarding
with plenty of Teal, small numbers of Tufted Duck and
Shoveler, a pair of Gadwall, a pair of Pochard and a
had another successful Solar boat trip in Chichester
Harbour this morning. He reports as follows:
Great Northern Diver appeared right next to the
boat. Also a great view of an adult Peregrine on North
Stakes Island but I was too busy trying to get someone
to see it through my telescope and missed the
opportunity of a good photo.
four immature male Eiders were still off Pilsey Island
and there was a female type Common Scoter too. A large
flock of Bar-tailed Godwit roosting on North Stakes
Island on the way back, estimated 500-ish, as well as
some smaller flocks of Knot fidgeting about.
Red-breasted Mergansers were showing well with males
definitely beginning to get frisky now . . . not long
until spring! A large flock of either Knot or Golden
Plover wheeling about very distant and high over
Thorney Island, which I just couldn't make up my mind
about I'm afraid. Luckily nobody asked me about those!
Flocks of several thousand Dunlin each and lots of
Grey Plover everywhere. Oh, and the obligatory Harbour
Seal next to the boat, but again no photo as I was too
busy trying to get everyone to see it.
interesting birds were reported on the HOS Going
Birding web site today from Hayling Oysterbeds:
Long-tailed Duck, , Common Scoter, Great Northern
Diver, Black-necked Grebes and , most interestingly, a
Both the Birds of Hampshire and the Birds of Sussex
describe Smew as 'a very scarce winter visitor'. I
always have associated them with Chichester Gravel
Pits (New Lake), though I have not seen one for many
years. The last local one I know of was a female on
Thorney Deeps in Jan 2011. Here is a shot that Tony
Wootton got of that bird.
DECEMBER 2 - 2016
I spent a
couple of hours at Nore Barn this morning from 10am to
12 on a rising tide. The weather was cold and dull,
but fortunately there was no wind chill so conditions
for birdwatching were very good.
When I arrived the bay was full of birds, mostly
Wigeon, Brent Geese and Black-tailed Godwits, so I had
judged the tide just right. I met my old friend Des
Barker who was going on a walk with the Chichester
Harbour Conservancy though I think he would have
preferred to stay and look at this galaxy of
As the birds appeared to be fairly settled into their
feeding routine, I decided to tackle one species at a
time. I counted a total of 222 Brent Geese in
the bay including 5 juveniles in broods of 2, 2 and 1.
My personal percentage
of juveniles to adults currently stands at 1.58% which
suggests a very poor breeding season for the Brents.
However, I am mindful of the count of 86 juveniles in
a flock of 1,000 Brent Geese by Anne de Potier at
Nutbourne on Nov 10 which means the overall breeding
success might be better than I am seeing. We shall
see. I would appreciate any other Brent age
As for the ducks, I counted 208 Wigeon and 26
Teal - the latter is certainly an
underestimate. There were also 14 Pintail
feeding close to the shore including 5 males and 9
females - my best Pintail count of the winter so far.
I found just one Shelduck.
As the tide came in
the Black-tailed Godwits were driven into the
channel south of the woods where they gathered on the
edge of the saltmarshes.
They were fairly easy
to see and count at this point. I counted 72
Black-tailed Godwits including two colour-ringed
birds, both regulars in Emsworth Harbour for several
years: ROL+RLR and WO+WL flag.
I kept a close
eye on the stream during my visit, but things did not
change much. The only birds in the stream were the
regular colour-ringed Greenshank (G+GL), a
Common Redshank, a Black-tailed Godwit and, at
one point, 4 Pied Wagtails. There was no sign of the
Spotted Redshank! Its absence is very unusual and I
hope is not ominous.
thing I saw when I looked out of the back window this
morning was a pile of white feathers scattered on the
grass. This was clearly the work of a Sparrowhawk
plucking what looked like a Collared Dove. I wish I
had been there to witness the act. This was not
surprising as I saw a male Sparrowhawk on the garden
(without prey) on Nov 12, one of a local hunting pair.
How exciting. Undoubtedly, the best garden bird of
Milinets-Raby spent 30 minutes visiting Langstone Mill
Pond this afternoon (from 2pm - high tide). On the
high tide waters offshore were:
44 Shelduck, 8 Goldeneye - male with seven
females (first of the winter), 46 Wigeon, 5 Red
breasted Merganser, 8 Teal (all left for their evening
roost already?), 28 Brent Geese.
Langstone Mill Pond: Water Rail Heard, Tufted Duck
female (see photo taken on 28th November when the sun
was shining), 1 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret and 2
Grey Heron roosting, 1 Teal on the pond (half frozen
still), 10 Long-tailed Tits.
Horse paddock (not flooded anymore). Nothing, except
the weirdly looking pale plumaged Buzzard (see poor
record shot as it flew off - beware this
DECEMBER 1 - 2016
laying on Brook Meadow
I went over to
the meadow at 10am for the follow-up session of the
hedge laying workshop on the Seagull Lane patch led by
Mike Probert. The weather was fine, though cold and
frosty. Mike was there with Phil and Maurice, joined
later by Jennifer. They continued cutting and laying
the shrubs in the Jubilee hedgerow. It was interesting
to see how each main stem was cut and bent over before
being woven into the stakes that had been driven into
I went over again this
afternoon to record the end of the workshop where
Mike, Jennifer, Phil and Colin were finishing off the
first section of hedgerow. About one third of the
whole length has been completed and the result looks
very good indeed. In addition to laying the main hedge
of Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Hazel, three trees have
been left to grow as standards, two Hawthorns and a
Blackthorn. Mike and the others are to be
congratulated on a fine job.
A more detailed report
from Mike with photos will soon appear on the Brook
Meadow web site.
I had a look on the
river for the Kingfisher that Mike got a good view of
earlier this morning, but I did not see it. However,
this is the ideal time of the year to see these iconic
birds. However, here are a couple of more easily seen
residents on the river.
On this morning's
visit, I had a general stroll around taking a few
picturesque shots of the meadow in the frosty
nettles on the main river path
through the south meadow
down stream towards the sluice
across the north meadow with St James Church tower in
Today on HOS
Going Birding, D Noble reported 53 Avocets at
Farlington, west of the west wall and later roosting
on island SW of marshes. That's the most I have heard
of locally this winter.
Evans reports on the monthly Havant U3A walk today on
the Chidham Peninsula.
in the glorious sunshine and the stillness of the day.
Highlight of the day was a flock of some 40-50 Golden
Plover. These were in the field immediately adjacent
to the small car park at the bottom of Chidham Lane,
where we had parked our cars. At some point they took
off and we were able to admire them wheeling around
but lost sight of them when they headed north.
Happily, they were in the field when we returned.
Other sightings of particular interest were: a male
Kestrel devouring its prey on top of an electricity
pole behind the Activity centre (it too was still
there when we returned); a Kingfisher, which flew
across the harbour from west to east: a female Reed
Bunting and a female Stonechat. In addition, plenty of
the ubiquitous Brent Geese, Teal, Redshank and Dunlin,
as well as smaller numbers of Greenshank, Black Tailed
Godwit, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Grey Heron, Little Egret
On my return, I paid a quick visit to Langstone, where
I saw a fox on the bridge over the tidal section of
the Langbrook Stream (I got a photo but not a
particularly good one) and a very brief flash of blue
near West Mill. Very little of interest on Langstone
Mill pond, which was still partly frozen over. The
Teal were mainly, if not totally, out in the harbour
and I could only see one cygnet from the Swan
earlier observations go to . . . November