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and protection of the wildlife of the Emsworth area

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

for November 2017
(in reverse chronological order)

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

Blog Archives . . . from 2012 to current


Fox in garden
This afternoon, my wife excitedly alerted me to the fact that we had a Red Fox in the back garden. Wow! When I arrived at the window this beautiful animal was walking serenely across the grass. By the time I had got my camera out the Fox had hopped up onto the back wall and then, after a few seconds, disappeared through the hedge into my neighbour's garden. I don't think it found much of interest in the garden, but what a cracking animal.

Although Foxes are certainly not uncommon in urban areas, this was only the second time we have seen one in our garden. The first was on 10 June 2012. I also vividly recall finding a dead Fox on the pavement several years ago, having been struck by a passing vehicle.

Millpond and Harbour birds
I wrapped up warm this afternoon for a walk around the town millpond. I counted 33 Coot which is probably the start of the winter invasion. I wonder if we shall see any Tufted Duck this year. There was no sign of the Goosander.
Looking into the harbour, it was good to see Lapwing and Grey Plover feeding on the edge of the low water channel near the quay in the late afternoon sun.

Finally, this Little Egret is a regular feeder at the southern outlet from the millpond near the Emsworth Sailing Club, and today I watched it for a couple of minutes peering intently into the water, sharp bill at the ready. Or was it simply admiring its own reflection?


Our local seal population
Ralph Hollins sends the following information relating to the population of seals in the local area:

"The local free paper (the Hayling Islander) came through my letter box yesterday and had a short article about a survey the Hampshire Wildlife Trust are doing as part of their new emphasis on Marine Life.
This claimed that they are making an aerial survey of the Solent area each August (when the Harbour Seals are moulting their coats and so spend most of their time hauled out on mudflats and so can be counted from the air) and this gives them an estimated population in the Solent area of 49 Harbour Seals (including 11 pups) plus 7 non-breeding Grey Seals.. The aerial survey has also allowed them to extend the survey area west to Newtown on the IoW and Beaulieu on the mainland.
Yesterday I wrote a blog entry incorporating this new info with the piece I wrote in 2014 when the Portsmouth Canoe Club produced a web page on the subject after hearing a talk on a previous version of this survey using GPS and Depth Measuring collars attached to a few Seals."
- See . . .

Sue Thomas got this photo of a group of Harbour Seals on the sand banks in the Emsworth Channel in August.

Also of possible interest is an email Ralph had today from Tony Gutteridge in Havant saying he had seen a Yellow Flag (Iris) flowering yesterday in Langstone Pond.


Nore Barn
12.30 - Tide far out. A large flock of Black-tailed Godwits was mostly snoozing on the green swards of algae, some separately feeding. I counted 135 in all, which is my best count of the winter so far. Numbers often rise to over 150 in Jan-Feb. Most of the Godwits had their legs hidden, so I could not read any rings.

This is what they look like closer up.

I also spotted the Brent Goose family with 2 juveniles, probably the same family that I saw on Nov 11 and Peter Milinets-Raby saw on Nov 21. That looks as if it is the only Brent Goose family in Emsworth Harbour this year. I did not get a picture of them today, so here is one I took of the family on Nov 11.

It looks as if breeding productivity for the Brents has been almost zero this year. This does happen, some years are down and others are very good, but the jolly Brents carry on regardless. Fortunately they are fairly long-lived birds and can withstand the odd barren year.

Emsworth Harbour 13.00. Tide rising in the main harbour. A small group of 4 Dunlin was feeding in their typical frenzied fashion on the edge of the channel close to the millpond seawall.

This short video clip shows this distinctive behaviour nicely. No other birds feed like that.

Ironbridge Flower Picture
While browsing around the charity shops in Havant this afternoon, I came across a large framed watercolour painting entitled 'Wild Flowers of the Ironbridge Gorge' by Mary Grierson that simply took my breath away. I had to have it - a snip at £10. Mary Grierson was new to me, but a quick Google search revealed she was one of the finest botanical artists in the world and worked at Kew Botanical Gardens as the herbarium's resident artist. Her work is held in museums around the world, but the biggest collection is at Kew which has more than 1,000 of her watercolours and pen and ink drawings. She died in 2012 aged 99 years! I gather the original watercolour, of which mine is a print, is in the Lady Labouchere collection of the National Trust, Dudmaston, Shropshire. This photo does not do it justice, but shows the range of flowers.


It is really a delightful picture and I can just imagine Mary going down the gorge, collecting a bunch of flowers and arranging them in a local tankard. The tankard stands on a tree stump with Many-zoned Polypore fungus growing on it and dead Bracken scattered over it with a single Jay's Alula feather. In the background on the right is the Darby house, Sunniside with trees and a small group of Fallow Deer.
As soon as I got home, I hung it on the wall and set about identifying the flowers in the painting which was great fun. Rosebay Willowherb (in flower), Common Ragwort (flowers), Traveller's Joy (in flower), Bittersweet (with berries), Broad-leaved Dock (dead seed heads), Bramble with berries, Bracken (dead), Dog Rose hips. There is also a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, a Honey Bee (in flight) and a Ladybird (on Dog Rose). I have yet to identify the curly grass on the left.

Barrie's Sparrowhawks
Barrie Jay sends a few more photos of the male Sparrowhawk that regularly visits his garden, well-stocked with juicy morsels (ie Goldfinches). Barrie's name for him is 'Old Beady Eye' and has observed that only Magpies dare to stay around when he is present, in fact, they sometimes chase him away!

Barrie says the wire mesh bird feeders shown in his photos in yesterday's blog were purchased from Mole Country Store in Wickham and are specifically designed for sunflower hearts. I will try to get hold of a couple for my garden, though I have not seen any on sale local to Emsworth.


Emsworth Goosander
John Arnott saw the Goosander on Emsworth Millpond on Friday 24 Nov and managed to get a video clip of the bird having a good wash and brush-up. Here is a link to John's video on YouTube . . .

John wonders whether the bird might be a male in late eclipse plumage rather than a juvenile. He says juveniles should have pale irises (as in the Collins Bird Guide), but the Emsworth bird appears to have dark irises. John points out that the photo of an eclipse male Goosander in Wild Guides Britain's Birds (page 59) looks very similar to 'our' bird.
I have looked through some of my photos of the Emsworth Goosander and the question of the iris colouring is not clear. However, here is one where the irises appear to be quite pale.

Emsworth from the air
John Annett had his first ever flight in a microlight on Nov 26 and got some excellent pictures of Emsworth from the air. Here is a particularly nice one of the Town Millpond also showing the eastern foreshore and the start of Western Parade in the distance.

Goldfinches and Sparrowhawk
Barrie Jay writes to say that he gets masses of Goldfinches in his Waterlooville garden, the number eating at any one time being dictated by the amount of sunflower hearts that are available. The 3 large feeders easily attract 18/20 Goldfinches at a sitting. Barrie sends the following photo by way of proof. Gosh, what a crowd!

Interestingly, I see Barrie uses wire mesh feeders, a bit like the ones we used to use for peanuts until the birds gave up on them. I would like to try them in my garden. Where do you get them from Barrie? I have recently discovered some specially designed sunflower heart feeders with much smaller holes than the standard feeder; the birds like them and they lead to less seed falling to the ground.

Barrie says Goldfinches are the preferred prey of his local male Sparrowhawk which once he has consumed a bird may perch near Barrie's window, seemingly posing for the camera. Barrie, you are a lucky chap in having such regular visits from what is undoubtedly the best garden bird by a mile. I would gladly sacrifice a few of my equally numerous Goldfinches to have such a great bird. And, wow, what a cracking photo. Well done.

Peregrine prey
Bryan Pinchen writes to say that the Peregrine prey photographed by Tom Bickerton (in this blog on Nov 21) looks far more like the head of a Brent Goose than that of a Carrion Crow which it was originally identified as.

Bryan says, ". . . the bill is much too short, stout and thick for Carrion Crow which is more slender and pointed, there appears to be a series of 'teeth' along the base of the upper mandible, which would be absent in Carrion Crow, the tip of the bill is too broad and the extreme tip appears slightly down-turned for grasping or pulling at grasses etc. when grazing, whereas it would be pointed in Carrion Crow, and the nostril is too long and in the wrong place (half way along the upper mandible in the picture), on Carrion Crow it is smaller, closer to the base of the bill and largely hidden by the basal bristles characteristic of many corvids. The head shape is wrong for Carrion Crow too."

Bryan agrees that Peregrine rarely takes Carrion Crows (in his experience) although he has been blessed to have seen a female Goshawk take a Carrion Crow out of the sky once - "a truly memorable experience".


Millpond News
I had a walk around the town millpond, but there was no sign of the juvenile Goosander which Nicola Hammond saw a couple of times earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, a Black Swan was on Slipper Millpond feeding with the local Mute Swan cygnets and Mallard.

It was a bit aggressive to one of the cygnets while I was there.

The last local Black Swan that I heard about was a single with a group of 11 Mute Swans seen by Kate L'Amie on July 18 this year at Nore Barn. Previous to that we had that long-staying group of 6 Black Swans in Emsworth Harbour from Jan 27 until Mar 11.

Garden birds
November has been a pretty good one for birds in my Bridge Road garden with 20 species recorded as follows: Blackbird, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Little Egret, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Robin, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Here are two birds I snapped just this morning feeding on the fat balls, Blue Tit and Coal Tit. I put an extra shot of the Coal Tit showing its very distinctive white nape patch on the back of its head. Goldfinches prefer the sunflower hearts, though they are awfully messy eaters.

Joyce Sawyer had this magnificent Sparrowhawk visit her Emsworth garden today, looks like a female from its size.


Emsworth Goosander
I have not seen the juvenile Goosander that was first seen in Emsworth on Nov 16 for about 5 days and was beginning to wonder if it had moved on. However, I was delighted to hear from Nicola Hammond that she had a very good view of it yesterday (Nov 24) in Emsworth Millpond, swimming and diving just 3-4 metres away from where she was standing in Bath Road. She also saw it on Tuesday (Nov 21). That's brilliant. I would be grateful for any sightings or photos. Nicola did not get a photo, but here is one I got on Nov 19.

Warblington shore
Despite disturbance from a Peregrine and two shooters, Peter Milinets-Raby managed to have a reasonable morning's birding to the Warblington shore (7:35am to 10:15am - very low tide). His report follows . . .

"On reaching Conigar Point, two shooters & "Luna" the dog were leaving. They had only bagged a few Teal and in the process left the area deserted. After 20 minutes, 4 Shelduck returned, pus a Grey Plover and 5 Brent Geese. In the channel were 2 Red Breasted Mergansers and flying west were 3 Sandwich Terns. Skylark and Meadow Pipit heard flying over. Otherwise nothing!!
In the hedge of the SSSI field were 2 Redwings and a Fieldfare.

Off Pook Lane on first glance there were lots of waders to be seen. I had just counted the 33 Bar-tailed Godwits, when everything took to the air in mass panic. The culprit was a juvenile Peregrine that had several failed dives for birds, before 2 Herring Gulls and a Carrion Crow chased it. The Peregrine retaliated by chasing the crow and had several dives at the crow, before the gulls won the day and saw the bird off east towards Thorney Island. The Barwits did not return. After 10 minutes everything settled down and I continued my count.
214 Dunlin, 9 Grey Plover, 259 Brent Geese (some headed inland to north Hayling Island, when the Peregrine attacked), 53 Shelduck (bunched together by the Peregrine), 3 Lapwing (were probably 15+ more before the Peregrine arrived), 126 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Wigeon, 48 Teal, 1 Red Breasted Merganser, 2 Greenshank, 1 Turnstone, 2 Sandwich Tern resting on the mud.

Langstone Mill Pond: 20 Teal, 4 Grey Herons (one perched on the obvious big nest!!), 1 Grey Wagtail, male Shoveler (asleep see photo).

Cemetery: 3 Redwing, 1 Stock Dove.
In various fields around Warblington Farm were 8 Curlew, 13 Little Egrets (9 together in the field by Pook Lane) and 1 Cattle Egret on its own briefly in the second field north of the black barn, before flying over the hedge into its favoured un-viewable field.


Emsworth Harbour
I had a walk around the town millpond this morning, but there was no sign of the juvenile Goosander. In fact, I have not seen it for the past 4 days and I think it may have moved on.
The tide was fairly well advanced in the harbour, but a few Black-tailed Godwits were still feeding on the exposed mudflats below the millpond seawall. They included a very old friend of ours, namely colour-ringed Godwit G+WR. This bird must feel really at home in Emsworth since it has been spending each winter with us since Nov 2008 and today's was my 124th sighting. It must be at least 10 years old, but looks as good as new as the following photo proves.

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby had 40 minutes spare this morning, so he visited the Warblington shore off Pook Lane - From 9am - low tide. He says it was good to see the Bar-tailed Godwits back again, after a fortnight of not seeing them and seeing his first Goldeneye on the winter.
Full details as follows: Male Goldeneye, 10 Red Breasted Merganser, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 57 Bar-tailed Godwit, 216 Dunlin, 11 Wigeon, 328 Brent Geese, 24 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Grey Plover, 39 Shelduck, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Knot, 2 Meadow Pipit flying over.
13 Redwing in the cemetery hedge. And in the field north of the Warblington Farm black barn were 8 Little Egrets and 1 Cattle Egret (not there when I first drove by).

Langstone Mill Pond
In the late afternoon Peter visited Langstone Mill Pond for an hour at 2:44pm - high tide, sea as flat as a pancake and clear visibility - (see photo).

Off shore were 10 Shelduck (with a further 46 of them off Conigar Point). 3 Red Breasted Merganser, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Greenshank roosting on the Sweare Deep island, Kingfisher seen dashing across the water heading towards the mill, 1 Sparrowhawk flying south towards Hayling Island.
On the pond were the lingering pair of Shoveler (first time in five years that this species has lingered beyond its eclipse enforced autumn stay). They are both very camera shy (see photo).

Also 2 Mute Swans and 2 Grey Herons. (In the horse paddock were 10 Moorhen, 1 Grey Wagtail and 1 Oystercatcher).

Swan family
John Jury captured this nice shot of the local swan family with their 5 cygnets in Emsworth Marina. The cygnets looked healthy with puffed up wings. John said the male was out of the picture chasing off another swan.


Emsworth Harbour
Yesterday (Monday Nov 19) Peter Milinets-Raby took the opportunity to have another look at the shore of Nore Barn and along the western shore to Emsworth Millpond from 9:07am to 10:56am. Here is Peter's report:
Nore Barn: 91 Wigeon, 213 Brent Geese, 70 Black-tailed Godwit, 79 Teal, 6 male and 18 female Pintail, 27 Dunlin, 5 Shelduck, 1 Spotted Redshank.

Beacon Square: 91 Black-tailed Godwit, 38 Wigeon, 5 male & 6 female Pintail (combined total of 35, Equals the best maxima of the last five years - Could this be a good season for Pintail? December/January are the usual peak months? Are there more to come? 21 Teal. 87 Brent Geese (containing probably the only 2 juvs in the World!!!), 16 Shelduck, 137 Dunlin.

Emsworth Harbour: Juv Goosander still lazily swimming about near to the sea wall of the Sailing club, 26 Lapwing, 17 Grey Plover, 184 Brent Geese, 83 Dunlin, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Coot, On the Millpond were 34 Coot and a Kingfisher.

Great Northern Diver
Today, Peter had a 15 minute lunch break at 1:45pm at Northney. While there he spotted a Great Northern Diver diving in Texaco Bay (opposite the Texaco Filling Station).

Peregrine kill
Tom Bickerton sent me a photo of a Peregrine Carrion Crow kill he found recently on Thorney footpath opposite Fowley Island. . Tom says it is unusual for Peregrine to take crow, but it is pretty easy bird to catch and needs must.

Dolphin Quay Cypress update
I have just heard from Lesley Harris that Jim Garland has withdrawn his application to Havant Borough Council for the felling of the two Monterey Cypress trees in his garden at 1 Dolphin Quay. Here is an extract from Mr Garland's circulated letter:

"This morning I was introduced to Alex Wardle (the owner of the land either side of the public footpath). We inspected and discussed the trees and the problems they are beginning to cause to my boundary retaining wall. Alex's solution is simple and very generous. She suggested that the retaining boundary wall under threat from the southernmost tree is rebuilt in a slightly altered position so as to allow the tree and new wall to coexist without endangering each other. In practice, Alex has offered to gift to 1 Dolphin Quay the small sliver of land which would make this possible and allow a discrete realignment of the boundary wall so that it is not obvious. I have a meeting with Jamie Gargett (HBC Tree Officer) and Mike Reed (Tree Surgeon) this Thursday when I will discuss the practicalities with them. I will also formally withdraw the notice to fell. A new notice will need to be submitted to allow for pruning and removal of dead wood / split limbs as a matter of ongoing maintenance."

This appears to be a very amicable solution to the problem.


Millpond Goosander
The juvenile Goosander was still present on the town millpond this morning, busily fishing. The light was awful, but I took some photos for the record. Here is one of the Goosander preening.

Combing through my old records, I discoverd number of sightings of a female Goosander in Emsworth over a 6 week period from late December 1999 to early February 2000. Most sightings were on Emsworth Millpond, with a few in the harbour one or two near Slipper Millpond. This was before digital cameras so I have no photographic records.

Mute Swan family
I also visited Slipper Millpond where I found the Mute Swan family with 5 cygnets on the water near Brendan Gibb-Gray's house, back on their home territory, after an excursion to the harbour where I saw them yesterday. This pair nested on Peter Pond this spring and produced 6 cygnets of which 5 survived. They all look in fine fettle.

Monterey Cypress trees
While at Slipper Millpond I took photos of the two Monterey Cypress trees which grow in the garden of number 1 Dolphin Quay and which overhang the Dolphin Creek footpath. The first photo shows a view of the two trees from the now disused Dolphin Quay jetty. They are difficult to see separately from this distance. The tree to the right in the photo is a Yew which is not included in the application to fell.

The second photo was taken from the footpath that runs to the west of Dolphin Creek and shows the two Cypress trees with multiple secondary trunks indicating a lots of earlier cutting.

Lesley Harris alerted me to the fact that these magnificent trees are threatened with felling under a new planning application by the owners. She urges everyone to lodge an objection to the felling, but stresses it is URGENT as objections have to be received by Havant Borough Council by this Friday 24th November. Application number - APP/17/01167.
Here is the link . . .

Lesley kindly sent me her words of objection: "These trees appear in the Emsworth Town Centre Tree Trail booklet published by the Emsworth Tree Warden Group. They overhang Dolphin Creek footpath and surrounding land. This land has been gifted to the people of Emsworth, under the umbrella of Slipper Mill Pond Preservation Association, by the Wardle family of Wharf House. It would be a pity if the splendour of these trees were to disappear and thus diminish the impact of the gift to Emsworth."

Nick Madina also has also got the bit between his teeth and is galvanising the Slipper Millpond Association people to object.

The owner's defence of the planning application is contained in a letter to Havant Borough Council which makes interesting reading. Apparently, the trees are in decline and threatening the public footpath as well as damaging a retaining wall. Here is a link to Mr Jim Garland's letter . . . Jim Garland letter to HBC

The Monterey Cypress was first introduced into this country in 1838 from its native California. It was first used mainly as a windbreak, but in recent times this role has been taken over by its offspring, the notorious Leylandii. It is very salt resistant and on the Monterey peninsula in California the tree grows in a narrow zone between the beach and the sea along with Monterey Pine. Its leaves are small and faintly aromatic. Its cones are roundish with leathery scales and can be seen on the Dolphin Creek trees as shown in the photo that follows.

Invasive algae
David Taylor posted the following message about an invasive alga which appears to be causing problems for wildlife. Keep a look out for it in our area.

"Since 2009, a non-native, red-brown algae, Gracilaria vermiculophylla, has been present in Poole Harbour and in 2015 it appeared in Christchurch Harbour. It is thought the species, which is native to the north-west Pacific, may have been brought to the South Coast as the result of oyster farming at Poole. The species is highly mobile and thrives in water with low salinity levels and, per those who have studied it, may be set to spread further. Once established, it can form a mat over estuarine mud, which effectively prevents short-billed wading birds, such as Dunlin and Ringed Plover, from accessing food. This mat can be several inches thick, as it is in places around Christchurch Harbour, but can be even denser given the correct conditions. High levels of nitrates in the water will almost certainly accelerate its growth.
As a result of this algae, plus higher-than-expected levels of native algae (probably the result of high nitrate levels in rivers), the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group, CHOG, have noted a decline in Dunlin and Ringed Plover using the area during the autumn passage period, when the algae are most prevalent. In addition to affecting the ability of some birds to feed, the algae may give off a very unpleasant smell.

Here is an image of Gracilaria vermiculophylla

With the current spread of gracilaria vermiculophylla being eastward, it is quite possible it may appear within the Solent. CHOG are in dialogue with various organisations, including the Environment Agency and Natural England, about the situation in Christchurch. To complement this, if you think you have seen gracilaria vermiculophylla in the Solent, please pass details, preferably with photographs, to These will then be passed onto the EA and NE."


Emsworth Millpond
I walked round the town millpond twice today, mainly to check on the juvenile Goosander. The first time at about 12 noon this morning the Goosander was showing well on the pond, though there was quite a bit of disturbance from model yachts, so I did not get any good photos. There was also a Great Black-backed Gull on the pond which I did snap. Maybe one of the Slipper Millpond nesting pair?

One of the resident Mute Swan pair was guarding the wall by the Slipper Mill Sailing Club from a Swan family of two adults and 5 juveniles outside in the harbour. This is almost certainly the family from the Peter Pond nest which I thought might have broken up by now, but they are still going strong. However, there could be trouble if they try to invade the town millpond.

I returned to the millpond at about 3.30 this afternoon. The yachts had gone and the low sun created attractive patterns of colour on the surface of the pond. The Goosander was showing very well again and is clearly quite a tame bird, coming close to the wall where many people were walking. It really is a very attractive bird with lovely chestnut brown head and white neck and chest. The loral streak beneath the eye, which is a feature of the juvenile bird, shows up well. It was busy for much of the time diving for fish, though I did manage to get a few photos and videos in the intervals in between. Here are a couple of images showing its main features.

This short video shows the features of the Goosander well as well as the tameness of the bird.
Link to YouTube video . . .

Emsworth Peregrine
I had a nice reply from Caroline Richards following her photo in yesterday's blog of the Peregrine in Emsworth Harbour.
She says, "
We saw the Peregrine falcon In Emsworth channel 2 miles south of Fowley island. I took the photo with my mobile phone from our boat...wobbling around a bit! When I visited Brendan yesterday the Kingfisher landed on his balcony; it is also a regular visitor in the creek now. I love birds & will now follow your site & try & send you some photos in due course. Thank you so much for featuring my photo!"
Caroline's photo was passed on to me by Brendan Gibb-Gray whose home overlooks Slipper Millpond.

Pagham hide closure
Christopher Evans informs me that the Ferry Pool hide at the RSPB Pagham Harbour Reserve and the path leading to it, will be closed from tomorrow until early 2018. A new hide is being constructed, as well as additional remedial work to the nearby Discovery area. Speaking to one of the wardens, he thought that the reopening time might not be until March.


Emsworth Harbour
Peter Milinets-Raby was up before dawn to do some serious Birdin' (with a 'g') - A Radio 2 reference. He visited the Emsworth area from 7:16am to 9am (when the drizzle moved in - yuk!). Here is his report in full . . .

Emsworth Harbour:
The juvenile Goosander was one of the first birds seen fiddling about by the jetty by the sea wall. And, it even swam into my sunrise photo. It then proceeded to 'fish' along the edge of the shore shallows, by sticking it's bill in the water and slowly swimming forward like a Hoover!

A Kingfisher was seen several times dashing over the Emsworth Mill Pond and in the short lived golden flash of the sunrise the iridescent colours of the bird sparkled with a truly magical quality. Amazing views - No Kingfisher in the photo, but it could easily be imagined!! Also on the pond were 23 Coot.

Out in the harbour as the tide pushed in were: 3 Greenshank, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Lapwing, 5 Coot, 343 Brent Geese, 9 Teal, 2 Little Egrets, 5 Grey Plover, 7 Shelduck, 179 Dunlin, 18 Turnstone.

Beacon Square from 8:01am: 171 Brent Geese (this flock contained 3 Juveniles - the first I've seen). 32 Wigeon, 9 Ringed Plover (colour rings ( -//- + R//LY & -//- + N//YW & -//- + G//RO), Colour ringed Redshank (-//G + G//YG), 99 Black-tailed Godwits (R//R + LG//- & ROL//- + RLR//- & O//R + WL//- & R//R + GL//-), 2 Grey Plover, 2 male and 3 female Pintail, 2 Shelduck, 20 Teal, And 7 Skylark flew over heading west.

Nore Barn from 8:36am: 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 male and 13 female Pintail, 99 Wigeon, 87 Teal, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Greenshank (G//R + GL//-) with it's friend the Spotted Redshank in the stream. 61 Dunlin, 8 Shelduck, 199 Brent Geese.

1 Kingfisher fishing from one of the navigation posts, then a dog dashed into the sea to flush most of the birds and two guys in a motorised inflatable dingy wiped everything else out as they travelled south. I've never seen Nore Barn look so empty - even the gulls had vacated!

Note on Peter's colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwits
O+WL - 16th sighting in Emsworth Harbour. First seen on 25-Sep-12 and last seen on 09-Oct-17.
R+LG - 14th sighting in Emsworth Harbour. First seen on 23-Oct-13 and last seen on 01-Nov-17.
R+GL - 38th sighting in Emsworth Harbour. First seen on 10-Sep-10 and last seen on 09-Oct-17.
ROL+RLR - 102nd sighting in Emsworth Harbour. First seen on 23-Oct-09 and last seen on 29-Oct-17. An old friend.

Goosander correction
I can now accept that the 'Red-breasted Merganser' reported in this blog yesterday on the town millpond was in fact the juvenile Goosander seen the previous day (and again today) by Peter Milinets-Raby. Thanks to Peter, Ralph Hollins and John Arnott for pointing out my error. I hang my head in shame.

Here are a few more photos of the millpond bird from yesterday.

Here, for comparison is a small flotilla of female/juvenile Red-breasted Mergansers (or are they?)
Taken on Emsworth Millpond a few years ago

Peregrine in Emsworth
Caroline Richards got this nice shot of a Peregrine perched on a fancy buoy in Emsworth Harbour yesterday (Nov 17).



Emsworth Millpond
I have a walk round the town millpond late this morning. The tide was full in the harbour with no sign of the Goosander that Peter Milinets-Raby saw yesterday. However, I did spot what I am fairly sure is a female Red-breasted Merganser on the millpond - the first of the winter - though I am prepared to be corrected! Female Red-breasted Merganser can be confused with female Goosander, but to me those red eyes in the photo are decisive! While I was watching the Merganser a Kingfisher flew low across the surface of the water.

The resident pair of Mute Swans was doing their regular patrol of the wall separating the millpond from the harbour, making sure strangers do not trespass.


Brook Meadow
There was a record turn out for the work session, no doubt spurred on by Maurice Lillie's 'call to arms' for help in clearing the river bank south of the north bridge.

The river and its banks have deteriorated badly over the past 10 years or so and must be a contributory factor in the loss of Water Voles from the site. Here are two photos taken from the same position near the observation fence to show how the river has changed - now (Nov 2017) - then (Feb 2003)

Andy Skeet from HBC (Norse) was present to cut the larger branches. He was ably assisted by several volunteers who donned waders and plunged into the river to haul out branches and other vegetation. Andy is in orange.

A link to a short video on YouTube of the volunteers at work . . .

Another short video taken a little later with Andy Skeet cutting thick branches . . .

On the wildlife front I noticed how well the Common Polypody Fern on the north bridge has grown over the past few years. It now occupies a about a metre of the bridge and looks like increasing further.

Emsworth Harbour
Peter Milinets-Raby had a couple of visits today. The first was to Nore Barn and a walk along the front to Emsworth Mill Pond 9:03am to 10:17am tide almost in and sea as flat as a pancake - see photo.

Peter's report . . . "Sitting on the buoys were 5 Sandwich Terns. Roosting and asleep by the stream were a Greenshank, Spotted Redshank and a Redshank. 336 Brent Geese, 12 Teal, 44 Wigeon, 5 Shelduck, 1 Little Grebe.
Off Beacon Square: 18 Turnstone roosting on several buoys, 78 Brent Geese, Male Red Breasted Merganser.

Emsworth Harbour: A nice find was a juvenile Goosander that was fiddling about by the pier off the Emsworth Sailing Club. It then swam along the edge of the sailing club building and arrived at the steps by the sea wall, where it then proceeded to swim towards me stood on the sea wall. It alas curved out from the sea wall and passed me at about 25 metres away, before an approaching dog walker spooked the bird and it flew south out into the harbour. I managed to get a passable photo considering it was a very dull overcast and a very grey day at this point.

Also out in the harbour were 416 Brent Geese, 5 more Turnstone roosting on buoys, 6 Little Grebes, 5 Coot and a male Red breasted Merganser. On the pond were 20 Coot."

Langstone Mill Pond
Later in the day Peter visited Langstone Mill Pond as the tide was dropping (1:48pm to 2:47pm) - lovely sunshine.
Peter's report . . . "Off shore: 8 Greenshank (R//G +YY//- & G//R + GR//- & G//R + BR//-), 290 Dunlin, 7 Common Gull, 2 Sandwich Tern, A Kingfisher fishing from one of the yachts near the channel, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Grey Plover, 39 Shelduck, 359 Brent Geese, 8 Red Breasted Merganser, 6 Lapwing, 8 Little Egrets, 1 lonely Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Wigeon.
On the pond: 91 Teal, 2 Mute Swan, Unusually a male Gadwall, A male Shoveler, A Grey Wagtail.

The damaged path by the pond has been repaired with hessian sausage-like barriers, which will over time be reclaimed by vegetation. I see they planted a few reeds and other vegetation to help the process. Looks good, but it will take away some of the access to feed the ducks in time. Any ideas whom has done this? Can I have a Tower hide built in the middle of the northern reed bed to get close views of the breeding Egrets and Herons and to see the small pool that is hidden, please!"


Gaggle of Geese
During a stroll along the coastal path to the west of Emsworth I stopped to listen to the chattering of hundreds of Brent Geese wafting across the mudflats. A wonderfully atmospheric harbour sound in winter. Although most of the birds were scattered around the mudflats, one group was densely packed together in a line parallel to the near shore. There were a few Wigeon mixed in with the Brents. Although I did not count them, there must have been in the region of 100 birds in this one tight group. Although it is usually the custom to refer to a group of wild geese as a flock, I think this one deserves the name 'gaggle'. There were no juveniles that I could see.

They all appeared to be feeding in small pools of water left by the tide, which presumably contained some tasty morsels. This behaviour shows up best in the following short video on YouTube . . .

Greenshank RG+BY
John Jury was at Nore Barn today and got this nice shot of a Little Egret feeding with a colour-ringed Greenshank with the combination - RG+BY - the blue ring can just be seen above the yellow.

This was the second sighting of this bird in Emsworth this winter, though it has been a regular wintering bird over the past 6 years. It was originally ringed on 19-Mar-13 by Pete Potts and his team at Thorney Island. It originally had a geolocator fitted to the blue ring, though this may have been removed in a subsequent catch.

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby has had two recent visits to Langstone Mill Pond
Tuesday Nov 14
At 1:49pm for an hour at low tide. Birds seen were as follows: Off shore on the mud: 33 Shelduck. 13 Common Gulls and 8 Sandwich Terns.

An adult Mediterranean Gull dip-diving along the trickle in the channel. Where do all these birds go come winter time? This is my first sighting for over a month and probably the last one I will see now until mid February. Getting to become a scarcity in the deep winter months.
82 Teal, 1 female Red Breasted Merganser, 317 Brent Geese, 45 Dunlin, 13 Grey Plover, 16 Wigeon, 9 Little Egrets feeding in the trickle of water in the channel, 11 Black-tailed Godwit. In the distance off Conigar Point were 18 Shelduck.
On the pond were 59 Teal, the female pond Pintail, a pair of Shoveler, a Goldcrest, 4 Stock Doves, a single Little Egret, just one obvious Grey Heron and 8 Moorhens on the paddock.

Monday 13th November:
Warblington shore from Noon for an hour - low tide. 3 Redwing in the cemetery and Jay heard. 10 Curlew in the field south of the cemetery with Grey Wagtail.
Off Pook Lane: 18 Lapwing, 1 Red Breasted Merganser, 81 Dunlin, 12 Grey Plover, 351 Brent Geese (all adults - seen well - this is the largest number I have counted with a no juveniles). 30 Shelduck, 10 Wigeon, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Little Egrets, 11 Teal. In the distance off Conigar Point: 43 Brent Geese, 6 Shelduck.

And, when leaving. In the same tree as last time (in field north of the barn) for two minutes were 5 Little Egrets and 1 Cattle Egret (see photo). Again, it flew off very nervously east into the field beyond the big hedge and out of sight!


Emsworth walk
I had a walk through Brook Meadow and down to the harbour this morning. I found some Hemlock Water-dropwort still flowering on the Dolphin Quay path.

As I walked up the path to King Street, the 'town hall' clock above the garages in the garden of Quay House chimed the three-quarter hour - 11.45. A lovely clock.

Walking round the millpond seawall I could see lots of Brent Geese in the low water channel, but too far to age without a scope. However, several Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the green seaweed shore near the seawall were within the range of my camera. Checking the Godwits for rings I found a very old friend - G+WR - back in Emsworth Harbour for the 9th winter running. It was originally ringed at Farlington Marshes on 10-Sept-08 as adult male. Today's sighting was my first of the present winter period and my 123rd in total. This make the bird at least 10 years of age - a good age, but not a record for Black-tailed Godwit? Its rings are still in remarkably good condition considering their age.

Little Grebe late nesting
Tom Bickerton sent this photo he took during a low-tide count at Hayling Island of a male Little Grebe sitting on a nest. It is unusual for these birds to nest so late, but Tom thinks it is connected to an abundance of natural prey items, incredibly warm weather and the opportunity from the lack of fellow breeders.

Tom says this pair has tried 3-4 times to breed, but as a pair they have remained on territory. The early clutches failed probably at egg stage, due to predation either by rats or coot. Their last breeding was a success, which meant both adults retained their breeding plumage. Two juveniles were also close by the nest, which indicated a family unit, but Tom thinks neither of these birds have moulted.
Tom added, Little Grebes start nest building in early April. If we assume two clutches are produced then that'll take us into July for the last fledging. The indications are that at least one these clutches failed, probably both. This would enable another breeding attempt ending in October, which was probably successful, hence the attempt in November as both adults are still sexually active. The oddity is that the other adult grebes have moulted into their winter plumage.
Will they survive? Tom was surprised to see them both on the nest, but chances are slim.


Nore Barn
I had a quick look at Nore Barn from 3.00 to 3.30 on a rising tide. The stream was already filling fast and two Spotted Redshanks were snoozing on the edge of the stream along with 3 Common Redshanks. This was my first sighting of two Spotshanks this year.

I walked along the path south of the woods to check the Brent Geese assembling in the creek. I counted 152 Brents which included one family with 2 juveniles - my first family of the winter. So far this winter I have aged a total of 689 Brents with just 3 juveniles, giving a proportion of 0.44%. It looks as if the geese have had a disastrous breeding season.

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby visited Langstone Mill Pond yesterday (10th November) from 9am to 10am.
The highlight was watching a pair of Grey Herons mating on the nest at the top of the Holm Oak. The male departed and the female snuggled down onto the nest. This is VERY early, compared to the last two breeding seasons. I assume the female will now lay eggs, probably over the next week, giving a possible hatching date of roughly 13th December - truly an early Christmas present!
Other birds seen were: Female Tufted Duck, 46 Teal, Female Pintail - not seen this bird's legs to see if it is ringed and thus confirm that it is last years bird of funny origin. 3 male and 2 female Shoveler, 30+ Goldfinch, 8 Grey Heron loitering, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Sparrowhawk circling over with intent. Kingfisher dashed across the pond. Water Rail flew across the pond and quickly ran along the edge of the reeds before diving for cover.
Off shore on the extremely low tide mud were 9 Sandwich Terns, 6 Common Gulls, 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 46 Shelduck, 37 Dunlin, 20+ Wigeon and 7 Bar-tailed Godwits.


First Brent juvenile
The tide was low when I walked along the millpond seawall this morning against a cold northerly wind with the scope on the back of the bike. I managed to shelter from the wind at the bottom of the slipway by the wooden jetty from where I aged about 200 Brent Geese, less than half the total number in the harbour. I found just one lonesome juvenile - my first of the winter; this little fellow did not appear to be with parents, but I assume they are around. There were about 20 Brents at the top of the channel near the town shore where I usually see families, but all were adults.
I did not get a photo of the juvenile Brent today, but here is one I got a couple of years ago in Emsworth showing the distinctive white bars on its wings.

Millpond interpretation board
On the way to the harbour I stopped to have another go at cleaning the interpretation board on Bridgefoot Path on the east side of millpond. I had a go a couple of weeks ago, but could not get all the muck off.

Today's clean helped a bit, but the window is still looks dirty. While I was there a chap in a dog collar (the new vicar maybe?) stopped to thank me for doing such good community work. I told him I had a stake in the board as I helped to design it.

To fill in some history, the millpond information board and its very attractive metal stand was part of the environmental enhancement works for Bridgefoot Path, undertaken by Havant Borough Council in 1999. As well as the board, these included the raised flower beds and a new one way traffic system which has had a real beneficial effect in reducing the traffic along this quiet road. I was asked to provide information for the board about the birds using the pond. The artwork was done by Dan Powell. Here is a photo of the opening ceremony on Thursday 14 October 1999 when a commemorative plaque was presented by representatives Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council. Mark Wilson, who designed and led the project, is the chap with curly black hair fourth from the right. Mark is no longer at HBC

Peter Milinets-Raby had a good look around the Warblington Farm area yesterday (Nov 9) and failed to bump into any egrets, until literally on his way home, when he had 3 Little Egrets and 1 Cattle Egret perched in the tree in the field north of the Warblington Barn.

Peter said, "They all preened for 5 minutes, then flew off east to land in the non viewable field, which is almost certainly where they were hanging out the entire time I was on site! As the weeks pass, the farmer will move the cows around more and the easier viewable fields will start to churn up. At the movement these fields are looking like rich green bowls lawns, albeit with a few cow packs on them! Give it another week and the sightings will get more frequent, especially as we have more rain forecast for the weekend!"

Yesterday (Nov 9) Peter walked around Warblington from 11:13am to 1:30pm - tide coming in slowly. His report follows:
Off Pook Lane: 138 Black-tailed Godwit (L//R + OG//-), 4 Greenshank, 4 Sandwich Tern, 279 adult Brent Geese, 28 Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Shelduck, 270+ Dunlin, 7 Grey Plover, 29 Lapwing, 5 Wigeon, 17 Teal, 1 Knot, 8 Red Breasted Merganser.
Off Conigar Point: 152 Brent Geese, 69 Wigeon, 3 female Pintail, 3 Teal, 13 Dunlin, 17 Grey Plover, 1 lone Ringed Plover, Skylark heard over. Buzzard in SSSI field. Tamarisk Hedge: Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Goldcrest, 6+ Long-tailed Tits, 5 Meadow Pipits in fields behind the point.
Ibis Field: 2 Jay, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Buzzard, 1 Stock Dove.

Brian's note on Black-tailed Godwit L+OG - this bird was first seen in Emsworth Harbour on 08-Dec-08 and last recorded on 18-Jul-17 at Breydown Water, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, having stopped off there on its way from its breeding grounds in Iceland. Here is a shot I got of the bird in Emsworth Harbour a couple of years ago.


Nore Barn
I drove over to Nore Barn late morning (11.30) to catch the rising tide. The sun was very bright, too bright for easy birdwatching, or photography. I was pleased to see my first Pintail of the year in Emsworth Harbour, one male and three females. They were mixed in with the regular flock of Wigeon.
I counted 56 Black-tailed Godwits on the mudflats by the saltmarshes some distance away.

I could just make out the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit G+GR. This bird has been fairly regular at Emsworth since 2010 at least; this was my second sighting this winter period.
I checked the flock of 53 Brent Geese at the far end of the creek south of the woods, but there was no juveniles.
The Spotted Redshank was feeding in the stream alone. I got a quick digiscoped shot.

Cattle Egrets at Warblington
Peter Milinets-Raby corrected what I said about Cattle Egrets at Warblington not having been here since 2011 - in fact there was a record 8 birds there last year.
He says, "After the events of last winter I was expecting Cattle Egrets to return to the fields around Warblington to see out the winter months of Late November to early March. Last year birds appeared in the Pennington area (just like this year) and after about two weeks of these Pennington reports, Cattle Egrets appeared at Warblington. Then in early December the Pennington birds moved on and as if by coincidence numbers increased around Warblington. With Cattle Egrets breeding this year at several sites in the UK, I am expecting to have more than the Amazing Eight we had last winter. This is a Hampshire count record. I am expecting this to be smashed this winter. Stay tuned!"


Brook Meadow
Mike Wells had a long overdue wander around Brook Meadow on Monday morning. All the usual Tits were present including many Long-tailed Tits and he couldn't resist getting a photo of one dozing! Mike also found a fungus up a Crack Willow tree in Palmers Rd Copse. Identification not clear, but possibly Blushing Bracket (Daedaleopsis confragosa).

Painted Ladies
In response to my query whether anyone has seen Painted Ladies this year, Ralph Hollins reports this month the Hants and Sussex Butterfly sites have had three previous reports of Painted Ladies - One at Yew Hill near Winchester of Nov 1, one at Beachy Head on Nov 2, and one at Mill Hill (Shoreham) on Nov 5. Other butterfly species seen this month in Hants and Sussex have been Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large and Small White, Small Copper, Holly Blue, masses of Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Speckled Wood plus two reports of Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

In addition, Jo Bray tells me has seen five Painted Ladies this year. One in May at Pennington Marshes. One in June at Levin Down and three in her Westbourne garden on 12th August, 22nd Sept, 22nd Oct.

So they are about, but not in great numbers. Just in case you need a reminder of how beautiful they are, here is a shot I got of one on some Michaelmas Daisies on Brook Meadow a few years ago.

Cattle Egret at Warblington
Ralph Hollins alerts me to the first report of a single Cattle Egret feeding among the cows in the field south of Warblington Cemetery seen at 08.15 today by M Emberson (reported on the HOS site). Warblington Farm has been a popular spot for Cattle Egrets over the years. I think the last time was in 2011 when Tony Wootton got this shot of one underneath one of the cows.


Nore Barn
I drove over to Nore Barn this morning in time to catch the rising tide which was a high one (5.0). It was a lovely morning, though the sun too bright for photography. It was good to see 52 Black-tailed Godwits feeding until they got pushed off by the tide. I could not check for rings as all of them were in water. There was a flock of 85 Brent Geese at the top of the channel south of the woods, but still no juveniles among them. I have yet to see one this winter. There was no sign of the Spotted Redshank or any other small waders in the stream.

They were feeding on floating green weed.

I had a slight trip while walking back along the beach; I did not fall but it was scary and a warning to be extra vigilant when walking over uneven ground. I can't afford another fall.

Guernsey Fleabane
During yesterday's work session on Brook Meadow, Maurice Lillie mentioned that he had noticed an unusual plant growing on the area referred to as the 'play area' on the north meadow. I had a close look at it today and I think it is Guernsey Fleabane (Conyza sumatrensis). It was not in flower, though I have come across it many times in the local area, usually growing out of cracks in pavements. It is a recent introduction into this country from S America and has spread widely, especially in urban areas.

As can be seen in the photo, its stem is densely hairy and its leaves long and narrow edged with hooked hairs. This latter feature distinguishes Guernsey Fleabane from its close Conyza relatives, such as Canadian Fleabane. Here is a photo taken though the microscope (x20) showing the hooked hairs on the edge of the leaf.

Butterflies galore
Barry and Margaret Collins had a good look around Thorney Island today in what turned out to be a glorious sunny day and recorded the following species; Clouded Yellow 1, Speckled Wood 2 and 26 Red Admirals. Has anyone seen a Painted Lady this year?

Langstone Mill Pond
Peter Milinets-Raby had a late visit to Langstone Mill Pond this evening (4:03pm to 4:43pm - tide going out, sun going down!)
Off shore were: 7 Teal, 5 Common Gull, 227 Brent Geese (all adults), 4 Lapwing, 11 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 26 Black-tailed Godwit (W//R + WY//- & G//R + WG//- & G//R + GG//-), 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Shelduck, 10 Little Egrets.
On the pond were 21 Teal and a Cetti's Warbler heard briefly.
In the distance off Conigar Point were 20 Brent Geese and 3 Shelduck


Brook Meadow
I was a bit late getting to the work session this morning, but caught up with a large group of volunteers clearing cuttings from the orchid area and from around the Rowan plantation. These areas had been previously cut with the power scythe. Here are some of the volunteers raking the orchid area which has had a second cut for the first time ever. We hope it benefits.

After coffee break they moved down to the south meadow where they also cleared the cutting from the south east corner. The cuttings were used to create a new hibernaculum near the start of the south path.

No special wildlife observations apart from the continuing presence of Red Admirals - somewhat dozy in the chilly weather.

A full report along with more photos is on the web site at . . .

Warblington shore
Peter Milinets-Raby visited the Warblington shore this morning (7:13am to 8:46am - tide coming in). He just walked down through the cemetery and viewed the shore off Pook Lane.
Loads of waders to watch - Really great! 132 Bar-tailed Godwit, 98 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Grey Plover, 251 Dunlin, 8 Knot, 1 Lapwing, 2 Greenshank, 146 Brent Geese, 31 Shelduck, 6 Wigeon, 6 Sandwich Tern, 6 Teal, 2 Great Crested Grebe.

Then, Peter met up with John Norton and they went and twitched the Sea Storksbill plant at Blashford Lake (see photo - leaves were less than one centimetre in size!!).

Otherwise, Peter says, "it was a big dip, with the Lesser Scaup not showing. We did see Ferruginous Duck, the juvenile Pink-footed Goose, Goosander, Redpoll etc. etc. Now that has put me off twitching for another ten years at least. I'll stick to our local patch and see great birds, as above". Good decision Peter. What more could you wish for from birdwatching?


Autumn patrol
I did a patrol around my local patch on this lovely autumn morning with the sun shining and bird song in the air (well, Robin at least). I went through Brook Meadow, down to Peter Pond and Slipper Millpond before coming back through the meadow.
I was pleased to meet up with my old friend Barry Collins who was cycling through Brook Meadow on his way home from bird counting on Thorney Deeps. Barry used to be the Conservation Warden of Thorney Island and certainly knows more about the island and its wildlife than anyone else. He informed me that four pairs of Little Egrets nested at the Deeps this summer, producing 11 youngsters.
Barry commented on the number of Red Admiral butterflies he had seen. I would echo this observation, as they seemed to be everywhere on my walk too - I must have seen at least 10 in total. Here is one that perched for me on some Nettle leaves.

Red Admirals migrate to Britain from the Continent. As the nights get colder, there is some evidence of a return migration, but many (probably most) will hang around, trying (usually unsuccessfully) to find somewhere to hibernate. It is certainly not unusual in our parts to see a Red Admiral flying on a warm day in mid-winter and they are now becoming known as an all-the-year-round butterfly. Maybe, as the climate warms up, they will join Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone as over wintering butterflies.

Walking down Lumley Road past Peter Pond two unusual flowers caught my attention: a plant of Red Clover with exceptionally large flower heads and what is almost certainly an escaped cultivated Flax.

Three of the swan cygnets were on Peter Pond,
all now well-grown and healthy. No sign of the parents.

It was good to see members of the Slipper Millpond Preservation Association hard at work on the east side of the millpond, cutting and clearing a section of the bank to encourage new growth in the spring. This was an impromptu work session brought forward due to forecast rain tomorrow.

Langstone Mill Pond
Yesterday Peter Milinets-Raby had a quick visit to Langstone Mill Pond from 9am to 10:03am - high tide - Not much seen, with no waders around! However, a bright sunny day with some super reflections. Here is a male Teal.

On the pond were 27 Teal, 4 pairs of Shoveler, 5 Grey Herons, 3 Little Egrets, a Kingfisher dashed across the pond and a Cetti's Warbler was heard singing and a Water Rail was also heard squealing.
On the high tide waters were an impressive flock of 18 Red Breasted Merganser (mostly eclipse plumaged females - a couple of clear eclipse plumaged males) and 9 Wigeon.
Flying over still on migration were 5 Skylarks.


Nore Barn
It was a glorious autumn morning - ideal for a bit of birdwatching at my favourite site to the west of Emsworth. I got to Nore Barn at about 11.30 where the tide was falling and the mudflats slowly emerging. The regular Spotted Redshank was already feeding in the stream with a Common Redshank and a couple of Black-tailed Godwits, but there was no sign of its regular feeding companion, the colour-ringed Greenshank.

I walked along the path south of the woods from where I had a cracking view of a flock of 78 Black-tailed Godwits in the creek. I spoke to several passers by who were interested to learn about these interesting birds and where they had come from.

I found three colour-ringed Godwits in the flock:
G+GY - Ringed Farlington 14-Sep-05. Last seen on Oct 29. My 16th sighting.
R+LG - This was my first sighting this winter and my 12th overall. First seen in Emsworth on 23-Oct-13. Seen each winter since then but only in Oct-Nov.
W+WN - This is a welcome return of an old friend. It was ringed on 05-Sep-10 at Farlington Marshes and has been a regular winter visitor to Emsworth Harbour since then. This was my first sighting this winter and my 68th overall.

It was good to meet up with Peter Milinets-Raby whose report follows.

Langstone to Emsworth
Langstone Mill Pond (11:01am to 11:40am - tide starting to drop). On the pond were 2 pairs of Shoveler and 51 Teal.
As the tide dropped in flew 3 Greenshank (G//R +BR//-), 26 Black-tailed Godwit (R//R +GR//- & B//R + WR//- & B//R + LN//- & G//R + BG//-), a single Dunlin, 43 Brent Geese and 19 Wigeon.
Off Conigar Point in the distance were 7 Red Breasted Mergansers, 38 Brent Geese, a female Pintail (Perhaps the pond one??), 18 Wigeon and a single Sandwich Tern flying around feeding.
Nore Barn: Whilst the tide was still falling I quickly popped around to Nore Barn (11:50am to 12:31pm). I counted 7 Grey Plover, 9 Shelduck, 68 Dunlin, 53 Wigeon, a single Bar-tailed Godwit, 112 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Greenshank (RO rings, other leg tucked away), 1 Turnstone, 138 Brent Geese, 9 Teal and the regular Spotted Redshank in the stream being photographed.

Beacon Square had a further 29 Brent Geese and 4 Wigeon. No obvious juvenile Brent seen amongst all that was counted!

As an extra treat Peter sent a Greater Flamingo from Axios Marsh in Greece where he spent a family holiday. Other birds were Dalmatian Pelican and Pygmy Cormorant.

For the previous month go to . . October 1-30