GO TO ... DAILY DIARY HOMEPAGE MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS SPECIES LISTS MAPS ABOUT RALPH HOLLINS

WEEKLY SUMMARY

These Nature Notes are now available from two hosts.
If the one you visit seems out of date try the other. The two addresses are
"http://ralph-hollins.net/"
"http://homepage.ntlworld.com/ralph.hollins/"


Wildlife diary and news for June 25 - July 1 (Week 26 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Black-browed Albatross: There have been at least three recent sightings of an immature bird in the Channel Islands area - on May 15 it was near Guernsey, on June 17 it was near Alderney and on June 22 it was some 20 nautical miles north west of Alderney. This bird is said to be immature (i.e. less than 7 years old) so it is unlikely to be the bird which spent at least 40 years in the north Atlantic (with no mate or company of its own species) between 1967 and 2007 - see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3292859/Albatross-looking-for-love-on-the-rocks.html (written in 2007) for details of this bird which may or may not be still alive. Since then one was seen in July 2009 off Lands End area of Cornwall by the Seawatch SW group and in July 2010 the same group added a new species to the British list with a Yellow-nosed Albatross.

Balearic Shearwater: Numbers increasing in the Channel with 11 reports this week including a single seen off Sandy Point on Hayling on June 29 (when two were seen off Milford at the other end of the Hampshire coastline) and up to 9 off Portland on June 24 (when there were 16 off Brittany on the French coast)

Storm Petrel: A pelagic boat trip around the Scillies recorded 10 birds on June 20 while two were seen off Sandy Point on Hayling on June 24

Little Egret: First juvenile seen out of its nest at Langstone Pond on June 24 and an hour's scan of the nests with Hazel Rouse on June 26 saw 10 juveniles (including 2 out of the nest) and found several nests apparently abandoned (so some families may have already left the area). We also saw a couple of adults with large sticks in their bills as if thinking of making new nests.

White Stork: A group of three were in the Lidsey Sewage Works area between Chichester and Bognor - first spotted from a Chichester to Bognor train at 6pm on June 20 they stayed in the area until June 28 giving many birders a chance to see them (though some get rather wet wading through floods). One birder who saw them was Tony Tindale from Fareham and you can see his photo of two of the Storks in company with Grey Herons, showing the size difference, see - http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2012/06/016trim.jpg The three Lidsey birds may have flown east to the Cuckmere valley near Beachy Head on June 25 and probably flew north over Pulborough Brooks on June 28. Most recent sighting of them was over the Kingley Vale area northwest of Chichester at midday on June 30

Glossy Ibis: At least one of the birds that have been in the fields north of Pagham Harbour was still there on June 30

Mute Swan: A summer moult flock is now building up in the Bitterne Riverside Park on the Itchen in Southampton (37 birds there on June 27) and other flocks can be expected at the Broadmarsh slipway in Havant, in Emsworth Harbour and in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester among other regular sites

Shelduck: Flocks of 350 and 173 at two Netherlands sites suggest that the summer moult flocks are already building there

Kestrel: A couple of dramatic pictures of a female Kestrel caught 'red clawed' taking Black-headed Gull chicks can be seen at http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/6/29/kestrel-v-black-headed-gull.html This is one of the first entries to appear on the new version of the RX (Rye Bay) website which went live this week. I suggest that anyone with an interest in wildlife news from this prolific source takes a note of the new address ( http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/ ) and also of the old address with its mine of info built up over recent years ( http://rxwildlife.org.uk/ - the new website does not seem to have a link back to the old archives though no doubt that will soon be corrected)

Quail: One has been 'singing' from the grassland of the old Daedalus airfield at Lee on the Solent from June 29 to July 1 at least

Spotted Crake: One of the first birds to be reported in the UK this autumn was seen in Cambridgeshire on June 26 (RBA had reported one earlier sighting back on May 3)

Great Bustard: The scheme to re-introduce Bustards to the UK started work in 2006 and the first chicks were hatched in nests on Salisbury Plain within the past couple of years. Each winter one or more of the birds have flown away from Salisbury Plain but so far they have returned there for the spring breeding season. Up to 2011 none of the birds had flown further than the English south coast (mainly Dorset but also Hampshire and I think Somerset) but last autumn one of the birds flew the Channel and spent six months in a French (Normandy) village lucerne field from which it has just returned to Salisbury Plain - see http://greatbustard.org/great-bustards/2012/06/5530/

Lapwing: I have not yet heard of any post breeding birds on the Langstone shore but on June 27 more than 57 (including many juveniles) were at the Pagham Harbour Ferry Pool.

Snipe: Most birders are keen to hear and to report roding Woodcock and churring Nightjars but we get very few mentions of drumming Snipe. I fear this is because there are few breeding Snipe left in southern England but it may just be that it is 'not the done thing' to be enthusiastic about a sound which can best be compared to the brief bleating of a goat. For me this sound (if I ever heard it nowadays) would evoke strong memories of being alone in the New Forest as a teenager in the late 1940s when one of my tasks during summer holidays was to take the goats, which we kept as our wartime milk supply, into the open Forest heathland and chain them out to browse during the day and then bring them in at dusk (if they had not 'slipped their moorings' or managed to hang themselves by their chains - goats will be goats!). On calm summer evenings the drumming of snipe and the bleating of goats blended into a unique 'country music'. The reason for this uncalled for personal reminiscence is that, on June 25, a birder in the Shatterford area of the New Forest (north side of Beaulieu Road station) heard this special combination of Snipe, Nightjar and Woodcock (no Goats but maybe a Marsh Frog or two?)

Black-tailed Godwit: Living in Hampshire I tend to think of the Icelandic race/subspecies (Limosa limosa islandica) of this bird as being the major component of the world population of this species but I am aware that there is also a 'European' race which confusingly breeds in eastern England and this week signs that post breeding birds are returning to Kent (123 at the Oare Marshes on June 27) and may have even reached Pagham Harbour (5 seen at the Sidlesham Ferry Pool on June 27 though these could equally be part of a large mobile non-breeding population which spends the summer on our south coast or even early returnees from Iceland). These speculations about the origin of the currently reported birds spurred me to search for info on the patterns of movement of the two main races and my first port of call (Wikipaedia) seemed to have a more reliable than usual account of the species (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-tailed_Godwit ). This added several new factors to my knowledge of the species ...

There is a third race of the species (L. limosa melanuroides - the Asian Black-tailed Godwit)

Although wintering birds from Mongolia fly south through South-east Asia to Australia and even Tasmania and others from the European population can be found in a broad belt across Africa from Senegal to Somalia (see the world map in the Wikipaedia article) they all breed in the northern hemisphere with one population in Iceland, another in Mongolia, and the majority spread out across northern Europe from Eastern England to central Russia.

Young birds of all races fly south to winter with their parents but do not return to the breeding grounds until two winters have elapsed.

Although the English name of Godwit is supposed to derive from 'Good to eat' nowadays (in Europe) the birds are only shot for the table in France where up to 8,000 birds may be shot annually (not sure if that is still true)

BTO Bird Facts tells us that the species became extinct as a breeding species in Britain in 1885 but breeding resumed in East Anglia in 1952 and by 2009 we had a breeding population of 67 pairs

Green Sandpiper: Autumn passage seems to have started on June 19 when 3 were seen at Pagham (with one at Fleet Pond on June 20) and since June 22 there have been sightings on the Rivers Itchen and Test, Pulborough Brooks, Pagham Harbour, Weir Wood reservoir and the Kent Stour valley

Common Sandpiper: Also now on passage with a 'first of autumn' at the Blashford Lakes on June 23 when one was also seen at Hayle in Cornwall. Since then reports have come from Weir Wood, Fishbourne Channel near Chichester, Christchurch Harbour and Pulborough Brooks.

Red-necked Phalarope: One seen in Gloucestershire on June 26 and one in Belgium on June 19 could mark the start of return passage for the females (seven earlier reports between May 2 and June 6 are thought to be late spring passage)

Grey Phalarope: One in Scotland on June 24 may have been 'returning' (one in the Netherlands on May 12 was probably 'outgoing')

Med Gull: Very few have been seen or heard in the Havant/Hayling area since mid-May when a few were in the Hayling Oysterbeds area but failed to breed and vanished before the end of the month. Also in mid-May 55 pairs were reported at Rye Harbour but there has been little subsequent news of them there (or at Titchfield Haven where 91 present on Mar 31 had dwindled to 10 on May 19). The few recent reports seem to show that the birds have formed wandering flocks (e.g. 33 over Seaford on June 8, 176 over Thorney Island on June 13, 20 over Christchurch Harbour on June 20, 76 over Reculver in north Kent on June 25 and 75+ over the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester on June 27). On June 24 I was surprised to see one among the Black-headed Gulls on the Langstone shore.

Black Tern: These were being reported in ones and twos along our south coast almost daily up to June 14 but this was followed by a gap until June 28 when 2 were seen in the Netherlands and I guess they may be the first of the returnees

White-winged Black Tern: Two have been in the news this week starting with a report on June 25 of one bird in Kent and another in Surrey. On June 27 one was seen in Wiltshire and on June 28 one was in Somerset - the direction suggests these too were failed breeders

Guillemot: At Durlston on June 27 at least one had leapt from the ledge where it hatched to join its parent on the sea. Young were also seen leaving their nest ledges at Portland on that same day

Cuckoo: Several adults still here and calling up to June 28 when one was heard at Pulborough Brooks

Short-eared Owl: One still in north Kent on June 21 and another at Wyke Down near Sixpenny Handley in Dorset on June 22

Yellow-Wagtail: The first southward bound bird seen at Christchurch Harbour on July 1

Nightingale: Still singing at Pulborough Brooks on June 28

Blue-throat: One, maybe two, in the Netherlands on June 28. Of the two reports one was of a Blue-throat, the other of a White-spotted Blue-throat and I took the opportunity to check if these are different species. Birdguides tells me that there is just one species but that ... "The blue throat of a male is, of course, diagnostic. In summer, Scandinavian males have a red patch in the blue throat but in birds from elsewhere in Europe this patch is white. In females, the throat is mostly white, with no blue at all, but enclosed by a dark, blotchy band across the breast."

Mistle Thrush: Up to 30 birds were seen in a field by the A23 west of Haywards Heath on June 26

Wheatear: The first juvenile was seen in the Folkestone area on June 25 but it was uncertain if it was a local bird (hatched in Kent) or the first autumn migrant

Willow Warbler: On June 25 Portland had the first departing migrant of the autumn

Spotted Flycatcher: Also on June 25 Portland reported the first three departing Flycatchers.

Golden Oriole: One reported to have been seen and heard at Bosham on June 27

Starling: On June 28 the first large auutmn flocks were seen in the Netherlands - one of 18671 birds, the other of 8753

Escapees: A colourful Red Bishop was seen at Portland on June 21 - see http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Mm49BanIvhI/T-Y0bvwVLcI/AAAAAAAAAXI/BiwDwbG0kg4/s1600/DSC_0638.JPG and http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uHWkBQnccAQ/T-Y0aJqePNI/AAAAAAAAAXE/ODvseWPB3-E/s1600/DSC_0632.JPG

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Southern Hawker: First of year seen on the IoW on June 25 with another in Suffolk on June 26

Common Darter: A very early specimen had been reported in Devon on May 29 but a general emergence started on June 28 in Norfolk, at Rye Harbour on June 29 and in Suffolk on June 30

Ruddy Darter: First of year seen at Rye Harbour on June 29

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea): This has been on the wing since May 2 in its stronghold areas (one in east Sussex, another in the New Forest and Dorset) but it is not normally seen in the Havant area so the sighting of a female in the Hollybank Woods north of Emsworth on June 30 was a bit of good luck for Richard Somerscocks whose photo can be seen on Brian Fellows website http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm or directly at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-049-downy-emerald-hbw-RS-30.06.12.jpg

Willow Emerald Damselfly (Lestes viridis): See http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/willow-emerald-damselfly for photos and info about this species which only started to appear regularly in the UK in 2009. Until this year it had only been seen in Suffolk, Essex and Kent but on June 20 this year the first to be reported here was a female seen in Glamorgan!

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Gold Ringed Dragonfly, Black Tailed Skimmer, Common Darter, Ruddy Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Downy Emerald, Willow Emerald, Azure Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Essex Skipper: First of year seen in the Brighton area on June 25

Lulworth Skipper: First of year seen on Portland on June 23

Swallowtail: First of the British race seen in Norfolk on June 26

Purple Hairstreak: First report from Pulborough on June 22

Large Blue: Seen at Collard Hill in Somerset on June 23

White Admiral: First seen in Harewood Forest near Andover on June 24

Marbled White: It is not uncommon, at the end of their season (late August) to find wind blown individuals in places where they are not normally resident but I was surprised to see that a couple of fresh specimens had been photographed in the Lumley area of Emsworth (just outside Brook Meadow) where I do not recall hearing of them in past years (though I do expect to see them at a site no more than 1 km to the north). Checking with Jeremy Thomas' RSNC guide to Butterflies I see that he say they like areas of 'tall, unimproved grassland' but will happily breed in one field and ignore another which he thinks is due to the presence (seemingly essential for the caterpillars diet) or absence of Red Fescue in the grass mix.

Ringlet: The first of these had been seen in West Sussex on June 17 and they were seen near Andover on June 22 but this week has brought the first local sightings at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on June 30

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Swallowtail, Wood White, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Purple Hairstreak, White-letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Large Blue, White Admiral, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshshell, Comma, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Marbled White, Meeadow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0171 Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae found in Dorset on JUNE 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=825

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0171.php

0173 The Festoon Apoda limacodes found in Dorset on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=831

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0173.php

0216 Cork Moth Nemapogon cloacella found in Dorset on JUNE 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=593

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0216.php

0412 Argyresthia pygmaeella found in Kent Folkestone on JUNE 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3457

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0412.php

0518 Coleophora mayrella found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=917

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0518.php

964a Cochylis molliculana found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4629

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0964a.php

0970 Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis cerasana found in Dorset on JUNE 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5850

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0970.php

0980 Variegated Golden Tortrix Archips xylosteana found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6254

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0980.php

0994 Clepsis consimilana found in Dorset on JUNE 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=588

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0994.php

1001 Lozotaeniodes formosanus found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4783

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1001.php

1032 Aleimma loeflingiana found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2842

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1032.php

1260 Cydia splendana found in Dorset on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1836

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1260.php

1272 Pammene aurana found in Dorset on JUNE 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5935

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1272.php

1313 Catoptria pinella found in Sussex Rye on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3742

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1313.php

1326 Platytes cerussella found in Dorset on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5866

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1326.php

1338 Dipleurina lacustrata reported as Eudonia lacustrata found in Dorset on JUNE 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5051

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1338.php

1375 European Corn-borer Ostrinia nubilalis found in Dorset on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=605

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1375.php

1376 Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata found in Hants Emsworth Brook Meadow on JUNE 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2760

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1376.php

1417 Meal Moth Pyralis farinalis found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5331

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1417.php

1454 Dioryctria abietella found in Dorset on JUNE 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6376

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1454.php

1669 Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria found in Dorset on JUNE 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=254

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1669.php

1673 Small Emerald Hemistola chrysoprasaria found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=498

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1673.php

1674 Little Emerald Jodis lactearia found in Dorset on JUNE 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=568

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1674.php

1702 Small Fan-footed Wave Idaea biselata found in Dorset on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=125

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1702.php

1910 Lilac Beauty Apeira syringaria found in Dorset on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5350

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1910.php

1922 Swallow-tailed Moth Ourapteryx sambucaria found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6358

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1922.php

1940 Satin Beauty Deileptenia ribeata found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3113

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1940.php

1943 Great Oak Beauty Hypomecis roboraria found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=655

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1943.php

1990 Striped Hawk-moth Hyles livornica found in Dorset Portland on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=884

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1990.php

2039 Red-necked Footman Atolmis rubricollis found in Dorset on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5528

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2039.php

2050 Common Footman Eilema lurideola found in Kent Folkestone on JUNE 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=126

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2050.php

2110 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata found in Dorset on JUNE 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6025

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2110.php

2149 Silvery Arches Polia trimaculosa found in Dorset on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=808

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2149.php

2155 Dot Moth Melanchra persicariae found in Kent Folkestone on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5571

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2155.php

2171 Marbled Coronet Hadena confusa found in Kent Folkestone on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5808

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2171.php

2193 The Clay Mythimna ferrago found in Dorset on JUNE 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4608

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2193.php

2195 The Delicate Mythimna vitellina found in Dorset on JUNE 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1808

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2195.php

2205 Shoulder-striped Wainscot Mythimna comma found in Dorset on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1854

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2205.php

2321 Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha found in Dorset on JUNE 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=52

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2321.php

2322 Light Arches Apamea lithoxylaea found in Dorset on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5843

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2322.php

2343 Common Rustic Mesapamea secalis found in Dorset on JUNE 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1310

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2343.php

2381 The Uncertain Hoplodrina alsines found in Dorset on JUNE 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1948

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2381.php

2403 Bordered Straw Heliothis peltigera found in Dorset on JUNE 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1650

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2403.php

2443 Plain Golden Y Autographa jota found in Dorset on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=70

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2443.php

2465 The Four-spotted Tyta luctuosa found in Dorset Portland on JUNE 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1654

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2465.php

2473 Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula found in Dorset on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=628

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2473.php

2489 The Fan-foot Zanclognatha tarsipennalis found in Dorset on JUNE 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6370

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2489.php

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

A green-eyed solitary bee (Anthophora bimaculata): For Chris Bentley's photo of an unusual bee found at Rye Harbour on June 28 see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/6/28/anthophora-bimaculata.html

Uncommon Beetles: Recent finds at Rye Harbour have included ...

Dibiloa cynoglossi, an endangered Flea Beetle, see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/23/rare-plant-rarer-beetle/

Limobius mixtus, a weevil whose only known location in the UK seems to be Rye Harbour, see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/27/rare-weevil/#more-15772

Scorpion Fly: For an impressive photo of a strange looking insect which is not, I think, a great rarity (I have seen it on the Warblington Farm fields at this time of year in the past) see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/newrxscorpionflyP1010108.jpg

Glow-worm: First report of two glowing females comes on June 23 from Parkhurst Forest on the Isle of Wight - just a simple entry of this fact amongst Derek Hale's Bird News at http://iowbirds.awardspace.com/IOW.htm

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Hairy Buttercup: These can be difficult to distinguish from the very common Bulbous Buttercup without uprooting a specimen to check for a bulbous like swelling of the base of the stem where it enters the ground but this week Brian Fellows did this to a specimen growing in a damp area of the Emsworth Recreation Ground which had slightly paler flowers than those of Bulbous Buttercups. The absence of any swelling of the stem base confirmed that Brian had found a Hairy Buttercup, giving me the first definite report of the species in flower for the year

Perforate St John's Wort: First flowers open on this very common species on June 25

Square-stemmed St John's Wort: This wetland species was flowering at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on June 27

Tufted Vetch: Early flowering specimens had been seen on June 6 at Durlston and June 7 at Chichester but general flowering started this week from June 25

Ribbed Melilot: First flowers seen on June 25

White Melilot: First flowers of this summer were also seen on June 25

Small Melilot (Melilotus indicus or indica!): On June 25 I visited a colony of this plant which John Norton had made me aware of when he photographed it on May 30. My own photos and a description of the site can be seen in my diary page for June 25

Narrow-leaved Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus blaber): Also seen on June 25 with photos on my diary page

Goat's Rue: First flowers also seen on my June 25 trip

Fragrant Agrimony: The established plants at North Common on Hayling had just started to flower on June 26

Hoary Willowherb: First flowering reported by Brian Fellows in Emsworth on June 26

Short-fruited Willowherb: First flowers found by Brian Fellows in the Hollybank Woods north of Emsworth on June 20

Rosebay Willowherb: First flowers found on Portsdown by John Goodspeed on June 19

Wild Celery: First flowers seen in roadside ditches on north Hayling on June 26

Creeping Jenny: Garden escape plants flowering in my garden on June 28 suggests that the wild plants which grow in the Warblington Farm marsh SSSI should now be in flower

Common Centaury: First flowers seen beside the cycleway in the Broadmash-Farlington Marshes area on June 25

Red Bartsia: First flowers reported at Durlston on June 25

Black Horehound: First flowers in Havant on June 25

Wood Sage: First flowers reported at Durlston on June 26

Borage: Flowers found by John Goodspeed 'somewhere between Emsworth and Westbourne' on June 27

Venus Looking Glass: Flowers seen on Portsdown by John Goodspeed on June 19 in the 'top field' which extends west from the hilltop roundabout (probably very close to the point at which you step out of the carpark into the field which is where I saw it last year)

Hedge Bedstraw: First flowers also on Portsdown on June 23

Ladies Bedstraw: First flowers in Warblington cemetery on June 24

Squinancywort: Also no doubt now flowering on Portsdown - first report from Durlston on June 26

Small Scabious: Flowering by the Farlington Marshes approach road - first seen by John Norton on June 19

Bristly Oxtongue: First flowers seen on June 25

Narrow-leaved Water Plantain: Plants flowering in the Westbrook Stream at Emsworth on June 26

Frog Orchid: First reported flower at Martin Down on June 23

 

 

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Snails: On June 24 Durlston reported both Round-mouthed and Wrinkled Snails.

Round-mouthed is one of very few land snails which retains the habit of breathing though gills immersed in water from the days when it was a marine mollusc. Living nowadays in dry, usually chalky, habitat it has to take special precautions to retain an internal water supply - to do this it spends the daylight hours underground to reduce evaporation (burrowing into loose chalky soil) and, more importantly, it has developed a watertight 'bath plug' with which it seals the round mouth of its shell, pulling the plug into place as the final step of retracting its body into its shell. That sounds simple but in fact requires a complicated bodily contortion, unique to this species, which can be seen in a series of photos at http://snailstales.blogspot.co.uk/2006/05/how-pomatias-elegans-comes-out-of-its.html For a better illustration of the species see http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody_pics/556603749/

For pictures and info on the Wrinkled Snail see http://idtools.org/id/mollusc/factsheet.php?name=Candidula%20intersecta

Three Banded Slug: This uncommon slug (Lehmannia valentiana) was a first for Portland when found there on June 27. See http://idtools.org/id/mollusc/factsheet.php?name=Lehmannia valentiana for more detail. For a website which describes the species as 'A very invasive species conquering the world' go to http://www.gardensafari.net/english/snails.htm and scroll down to the section on Slugs where this is the fourth species described

Fungi: Recent rain and warm air should have brought us an outburst of fungi but so far the only species I have noticed have been a couple of large old Horse Mushrooms and, on my lawn, a cluster of Blackening Waxcaps - if you are not familiar with this fairly common summer species see http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/hygrocybe-conica.php

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for June 18 - 24 (Week 25 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Balearic Shearwater: None were reported in the Channel area between early January and mid-April and up to June 9 the birds were only seen in ones and twos. June 9 saw 19 off Britany, increasing to 55 on June 12. This week brought a report of 362 in the Finistere area and 5 off Portland on June 17

Storm Petrel: A few have been in the Channel since Apr 13 with 21 seen from Berry Head in Devon on Apr 30 and small groups have been seen since then (peak of 117 off Pendeen in Cornwall on June 8 and 50 seen from a boat off Selsey on June 11). The only report this week has been on June 20 from Portland where one was tape lured and ringed.

Night Heron: The reclusive bird in the Lymington (Pennington) area has not been reported since June 21

Squacco Heron: A bird seen in the Seaford area on June 21 has not been seen again

Great White Egret: One at Pulborough Brooks on June 19 was a similar one day wonder

White Stork: A group of four seen at Hazelbury Bryan on Dorset on June 17 may have flown east towards the Bognor area where a group of three were first spotted on June 21 at Lidsey from a train going from Chichester to Bognor. They were still in the same wetland area on June 22 but had moved a little over a kilometre east. They were still in the area on the morning of the June 23 but then flew north to be in the area west of the A29 (the report saying that they were 'flying west of the A29' does not tell us the direction of their flight, merely that they were in an area west of the A29!)

Glossy Ibis: The bird at Farlington Marshes has not been reported since June 16 and may have moved to Pagham Harbour where one was seen at the Sidlesham Ferry Pool on June 19

Pochard: Still no summer reports from Hampshire but at least 9 were on New Lake (Chichester) on June 18 when 3 more were on the nearby Drayton pit lake

Goldeneye: An unexpected summer report of one near Abbotsbury in Dorset on June 20

Red-breasted Merganser: It is not unusual for an odd bird to remain in the Solent area during the summer but news of a female flying southwest over Titchfield Haven on June 21 was unusual (presumably it was moving to a place where it felt safe during its imminent flightless eclipse period, but where?). This reminded me of the previous unusual sighting of a pair on the River Hamble (Bunny Meadows area) on May 17 - a late date for passage suggesting a first ever attempt at breeding here (unlikely, but Goosanders regularly breed in the south)

Honey Buzzard: After a report of one flying south over the north Kent coast on June 16 one was seen flying southwest over Dungeness on June 19 suggesting the start of autumn passage.

Osprey: One was fishing in Quarr Pond (just west of Ryde on the north coast of the Isle of Wight) on June 21. This is the first report of one on the IoW that I have picked up this year and maybe also suggests the start of a southward movement (maybe supported by the presence of two more Ospreys at the Weir Wood reservoir in north Sussex on June 20 and 21)

Lapwing: Post breeding flocks are now starting to build up and the birds will soon be re-appearing along the coast. On June 17 there was a flock of 100 at Rye Harbour but a count of just 20 birds at Christchurch Harbour on June 18 was more typical.

Spotted Redshank: One was still present on the north Kent coast at the Oare marshes on June 20 in full summer plumage

Green Sandpiper: These are definitely in 'return passage' mode with a total of 32 birds at two sites in the Netherlands on June 21. Over here three birds were at the Sidlesham Ferry Pool (Pagham Harbour) on June 19 and one turned up at Fleet Pond in north Hampshire on June 20 while one had got to Wadebridge in Cornwall by June 21

Common Sandpiper: One was an unexpected sight at Titchfield Haven on June 21 and the first autumn bird was at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood on June 23

Pomarine Skua: Four of these were even more unexpected at Titchfield Haven on June 21 (though three had been seen at Portland on June 17)

Arctic Skua: On June 16 six were off south Devon and another five off Portland

Great Skua: June 16 also brought single Bonxies to south Devon and Portland

Black-headed Gull: The first juvenile to be seen away from its nest site was one in the Thorney Channel off the east end of the Thorney Great Deeps

Herring Gull: Last year I was told that a pair were nesting on a roof in Brockhampton Lane here in Havant and this year I am told that a pair has two chicks in that area. Although a single nest is not statistically significant it is not the only sign of Herring Gulls taking over the rooftops of Havant and other human habitations all along the south coast - a pair once more demonstrated their right of ownership to the roof of the house over the road from mine during this week and and several times recently I have heard their inimitable chuckling from unseen birds in the area. I wonder how long it will be before cars start crashing into each other in our streets as they swerve to avoid flightless juveniles which have left their nests to take over the streets as they do at this time of year in Old Portsmouth?

Little Tern: More than 20 were still to be seen at the mouth of Pagham Harbour (where some are hopefully nesting on the shingle spit) on June 21 - a similar number have been in that area since May 1

Cuckoo: What are presumably departing adults have been seen at a dozen sites this week, among them two birds were seen at the Brook Meadow site in Emsworth as well as one at a more usual site on Thorney Island

Little Swift: A 'possible' sighting at the Lizard in Cornwall on June 17 would have been the first in southern England this year if the report was correct.

Bee Eater: A group of five were seen near the Sussex coast on June 17 (north of Bexhill) and 18 (in the Seaford area). On June 23 one was seen flying over a field of poppies on the Sussex Downs north of Eastbourne with a bee in its bill (enjoying life more than the mudlarks at the IoW festival?)

Hoopoe: After a flurry of sightings between mid-March and late May there have been no reports until June 19 when one was in a Devon garden near Axminster.

House Martin: There seems to be no great shortage of these birds but many of them seem to have failed to nest this year and the weather (or rather its effect on the birds ability to collect enough insects to support themselves and their young) seems to be the most likely cause. None seem to be nesting around my house in east Havant, none could be found on Stansted House last week, and now Brian Fellows has heard from someone living in Funtington (between Havant and Chichester) that the birds which normally nest there were back as usual and repaired their nests for use but then abandoned them in mid-May. These birds may well now be trying to find enough food to support their own needs in places such as the Budds Farm sewage works in Havant and a report this week of 300 Martins at Slapton in south Devon on June 17 suggests this is a widespread problem.

Mistle Thrush: A loose flock of 14 birds seen in the Findon area north of Worthing on June 17 suggests that they may have had more success with their breeding and are now free to roam with their youngsters

Red-backed Shrike: A 'singing male' was found in Devon on June 12 and another was in Norfolk on June 19

Woodchat Shrike: One was in Suffolk on June 19 and 20

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Yellow Spotted White Faced Darter (Leucorrhinia pectoralis): On June 16 a dragonfly similar to a White Faced Darter but having a prominent yellow spot on segment 8 of the 10 segments forming its abdomen - see photo at http://www.sprott.net/science/biologie/insekten/libellen/bilder/Leucorrhinia_pectoralis2.jpg - was photographed at Dunwich in Suffolk and (since there is no reference to the species in the UK Species listed in http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/uk-species ) I assume it is a first for Britain. Searching for this species I incidentally discovered another species which is listed among the UK species but which I had not previously heard of called the Wandering Glider or Globe Skimmer (Pantala flavescens) which is an occasional migrant to our shores, last seen in Kent in 1989.

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa): First for the year in Cumbria on June 18

Scarce Emerald Damselfly (Lestes dryas): First for the year in Essex on June 18

Species reported this week:

Gold Ringed Dragonfly, Black Tailed Skimmer, Keeled Skimmer, Four Spotted Chaser, Yellow Spotted White Faced Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Emerald Damselfly and Scarce Emerald Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Clouded Yellow: No doubt several have gone unreported at the Southbourne undercliff site in Bournemouth where the species has been resident (i.e. overwintering) since 1998-9 but there have been few reports of migrants so far - Portland on Mar 29, Isle of Wight on Apr 21, Devon on May 1, Portland on May 8, Isle of Wight on May 11, and Portland on May 11-13, May 28-29, and now June 18-19

White Hairstreak: First of year at the IBM Portsmouth site on June 17

White Admiral: First of year at the Park Corner Heath site near Eastbourne on June 20

Painted Lady: I have seen 28 reports of this migrant so far this year, six of them in the past week. On June 17 singles were seen at North Common on Hayling Island, on the Isle of Wight, and three were at Mill Hill at Shoreham. On June 20 singles were at Martin Down and Magdalen Hill Down, both in Hampshire, with two at the Oare Marshes in north Kent

Dark Green Fritillary: The first was reported last week (June 13 at Friston near Eastbourne) and this week saw one in Hampshire (Broughton Down near Stockbridge on June 17, with a possible second on Stockbridge Down on June 20)

Silver Washed Fritillary: First of year at Rewell Wood near Arundel on June 17 (three seen) with one in Hampshire on June 20 at Martin Down

Marbled White: An early first was seen at Brighton on June 9 but this week reports came from Hampshire (Portsdown on June 17 and 19, and Magdalen Hill Down on June 20), Sussex (Friston Forest on June 17) and Dorset (Durlston on June 20)

Ringlet: First on June 17 in the Lancing (Worthing) area

Species reported this week:

Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Haristreak, White Hairstreak, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0014 Ghost Moth Hepialus humuli found in Dorset on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=507

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0014.php

0161 found in Havant Hayling on JUNE 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1347

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0161.php

0246 Tinea semifulvella found in Dorset on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6610

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0246.php

0787 Bryotropha terrella found in HAMPSHIRE on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6536

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0787.php

0969 Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana found in Dorset on JUNE 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=725

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0969.php

1033 Green Oak Tortrix Tortrix viridana found in SUSSEX on JUNE 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=244

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1033.php

1082 Plum Tortrix Hedya pruniana found in Dorset on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2825

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1082.php

1293 Chrysoteuchia culmella found in Dorset on JUNE 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2301

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1293.php

1301 Crambus lathoniellus found in HAMPSHIRE on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1055

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1301.php

1302 Crambus perlella found in HAMPSHIRE on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1539

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1302.php

1344 Eudonia mercurella found in Dorset on JUNE 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=95

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1344.php

1392 Udea olivalis found in Dorset on JUNE 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2123

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1392.php

1424 Endotricha flammealis found in Kent on JUNE 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4555

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1424.php

1474 Ephestia parasitella found in Dorset on JUNE 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2134

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1474.php

1646 Oak Hook-tip Watsonalla binaria found in HAMPSHIRE on JUNE 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=404

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1646.php

1653 Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides found in Dorset on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=93

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1653.php

1738 Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata found in HAMPSHIRE on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=83

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1738.php

1765 Barred Yellow Cidaria fulvata found in Dorset on JUNE 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1858

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1765.php

1817 Foxglove Pug Eupithecia pulchellata found in Kent on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5272

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1817.php

1824 Pauper Pug Eupithecia egenaria found in HAMPSHIRE on JUNE 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2305

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1824.php

1840 Shaded Pug Eupithecia subumbrata found in Kent on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1022

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1840.php

1860 Green Pug Pasiphila rectangulata found in Kent on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=58

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1860.php

1945 Brussels Lace Cleorodes lichenaria found in Dorset on JUNE 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1945.php

1950 Brindled White-spot Parectropis similaria found in Dorset on JUNE 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=847

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1950.php

1951 Grey Birch Aethalura punctulata found in Dorset on JUNE 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=359

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1951.php

1970 Grass Wave Perconia strigillaria found in HAMPSHIRE on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6427

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1970.php

1992 Small Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila porcellus found in HAMPSHIRE on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3162

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1992.php

2040 Four-dotted Footman Cybosia mesomella found in Dorset on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2304

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2040.php

2068 Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula found in Dorset on JUNE 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2195

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2068.php

2122 Purple Clay Diarsia brunnea found in Dorset on JUNE 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=301

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2122.php

2128 Double Square-spot Xestia triangulum found in Dorset on JUNE 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2215

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2128.php

2138 Green Arches Anaplectoides prasina found in Dorset on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4585

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2138.php

2150 Grey Arches Polia nebulosa found in Dorset on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=860

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2150.php

2172 White Spot Hadena albimacula found in Kent on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4811

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2172.php

2280 The Miller Acronicta leporina found in Kent on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5428

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2280.php

2284 Grey Dagger Acronicta psi found in Dorset on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=43

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2284.php

2327 Clouded Brindle Apamea epomidion found in Kent on JUNE 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=710

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2327.php

2330 Dusky Brocade Apamea remissa found in Dorset on JUNE 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5666

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2330.php

2449 Dark Spectacle Abrostola triplasia found in Dorset on JUNE 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=481

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2449.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Long-horned General (Stratiomys longicornis): This rare Soldier Fly was photographed at Rye Harbour on June 20 and you can see the picture and Chris Bentley's account of it at http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/20/when-is-a-bee-not-a-bee/

Beetles: Species in this week's news included

Broscus cephalotes (a 2cm long ground beetle with fierce looking jaws which it uses for mole-like tunnelling in the earth - see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/19/jaws-3/ )

Clanoptilus marginellus (a 9mm long Malachite beetle - see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/21/15759/ - Malachite beetles are so named for the shiny metallic sheen of their distinctively shaped elytra but while malachite is a green mineral the beetles come in various colours including scarlet)

Unspecified Longhorn Beetle - see the entry for June 20 in my Diary at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm for a photo of a beetle which landed on my car windscreen when it was parked at Havant Thicket

Garden Chafer (Phyllopertha horticola): At least 100 of these were seen at Magdalen Hill Down near Winchester on June 17 - see http://www.thewcg.org.uk/scarabaeidae/0409.htm for photo and info

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Slender St John's wort (Hypericum pulchrum): Just starting to flower in Havant Thicket on June 20

Trailing St John's wort (Hypericum humifusum): A single flower of what I have concluded must have been this species stared up at me from the grassland of the Gipsies Plain (south of Havant Thicket) on June 29 - at the time I was puzzled by what the flower might be as I have not come across this species outside woodland in the past

Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria): This lovely flower was just starting to appear on the Sinah Common grassland south of the Hayling Golf Course when I was there on June 18

Nottingham catchfly (Silene nutans): Much less easy to spot but this was also in flower on Sinah Common on June 18

Musk Mallow: First flower seen beside the Hayling Coastal Path on June 18

Dyer's Greenweed: This had first been seen in flower on Thorney Island on June 14 and was out in profusion in the 'field with a pond in it' beside the Hayling Coastal Path a little south of the Oysterbeds on June 18

Common Gorse: I thought this had ceased to flower everywhere a couple of weeks ago but I found two bushes still bearing a few flowers at Havant Thicket on June 20

Tree Lupin: The bright yellow flowers of this, which were not out when I visited Hayling's Sinah Common on May 16, were to be seen on every bush when I was there on June 18

Hare's Foot Clover: Also flowering widely on Sinah Common by June 18

Hairy vetchling (Lathyrus hirsutus): First flowers seen on the Broadmarsh 'mountain' here in Havant on June 21 (though I fear the population of this plant at this, its only Hampshire site, may be threatened by the current use of horses to graze this public open space)

Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil: My first find of this in flower was at Havant Thicket on June 20

Bladder Senna: Flowering at the Kench on June 18

Field Rose: First noticed in flower on June 18 and 20 on Hayling and at Havant Thicket

Burnet Rose: Several bushes flowering at the southern end of the Gipsies Plain 'orchid ditch' at Havant Thicket on June 20

Biting Stonecrop: First flowers seen on Hayling on June 18

Marsh Willowherb: In the past I have had great difficulty in identifying this species and have come to the conclusion that it does not occur in the Havant area but a photo of a plant found by Brian Fellows at Brook Meadow on June 20, together with the results of a detailed exmination of the plant by Brian, all seemed to confirm its identity as Marsh Willowherb but John Norton has raised some questions about it (mainly based on the soil in which it was found) which leave the id unresolved. The Hants Flora (although it shows one site in the east side of Hayling Island) tells us that the species is widely found in Hampshire but only in acid soils (so only common in the New Forest and north east Hampshire) but adds a note that hybrids of Epilobium species have been found in unexpected places.

Rosebay Willowherb: I am not aware of any plants yet in flower but I did see some growing beside the Hayling Coastal Path on June 20 clearly showing the distinctive colour of the flowers through unopen buds so I suspect it will be found in flower before my next weekly summary

Wild Carrot: Starting to flower this week from June 18

Bell Heather: In flower on south Hayling on June 18

Yellow Loosestrife: In full flower on June 20 at a regular site just outside the north east exit from Hammonds Land Coppice in the Staunton Country Park (Havant Thicket)

Sea Bindweed: Plenty of flowers seen in the sandy grassland south of the Hayling Golf Course on June 18

Great Mullein: First flowers open on a self sown plant in central Havant on June 20

Water Figwort: First flowering reported at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on June 21

Buddleia: First flowers on the omnipresent Butterfly Bush seen in Havant on June 18

Sticky Groundsel: First flowers seen on Sinah Common (south Hayling) on June 18 when searching unsuccessfully for remains of the Proliferous Pink plants which should have flowered by this date

Blue Fleabane: First flowers seen on a plant in the Langstone Sailing Club grounds on June 18

Hemp Agrimony: Not yet in flower but colour showing in the buds of plants at Havant Thicket on June 20

Marsh Thistle: First flowers seen at Havant Thicket on June 20

Milk Thistle: At least five plants in flower at the Hayling Oysterbeds on June 18

Perennial or Corn Sowthistle: Flowering beside the A27 at Havant on June 21

Twayblade orchid: First mention of this in flower comes from Durlston on June 17

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Bottle-nosed Dolphin: 25 seen off Jersey in the Channel Islands on June 21

Sika Deer: A reported sighting of one at Soar (near the southern tip of Devon) on June 18 was thought to be very unusual for the area. I am aware of Sika in the New Forest and in Dorset but not in Devon. In searching for info I came across this statement .... "The majority of Sika deer in the UK are found in Scotland and Ireland, however, there are also small numbers in the south of England, such as the New Forest, as well the Lake District and parts of Lancashire. Sika were first introduced from the Far East into Britain in 1860. Several subspecies, including Chinese, Japanese, Formosan and Manchurian were introduced into parks but the only free living form in Britain is the Japanese Sika. It is possible that almost if not all English and Scottish and some Irish living Sika are descendants from only one stag and three hinds introduced to Viscount Powerscourt's deer park at Enniskerry, Eire in 1860." .... I also found the following estimates of deer populations in the UK .... "Red 350,000+; Roe 800,000+; Fallow around 200,000; Muntjac 150,000+; Sika 35,000; Chinese Water Deer >10,000" .... A number of other considerations concerning the impact of deer on the environment and on human health are discussed in http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/uk-deer009.html#cr

Fish: The Durlston Rangers daily diary (accessed by the Durlston Today tab at http://durlston.co.uk/ ) on June 17 listed many fish species now being reported by local fishermen and scuba divers who are seeing Scorpion Fish, Tompot Blenny, Shanny, Dragonet and Goldsinny. The fishermen are now catching Pollack plus Brill, Garfish, Gurnard, Dogfish, Bass, Starry Smoothhound, Plaice, Ballan Wrasse, Corkwing Wrasse, Cuckoo Wrasse, Mackerel and Black Bream. Also present in the sea around Durlston are Undulate Ray and Cuckoo Ray

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for June 11 - 17 (Week 24 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Few sightings this week - just two Red-throated off Yorkshire on June 14 , four Great Northern off Devon on June 9 plus one hanging around the Portland area from June 9 to 14

Red-necked Grebe: One off the Netherlands on June 13 was the first report since May 18 when one (possibly the same 'summering' bird) was also off the Netherlands

Sooty Shearwater: Single birds seen in the Scillies on June 11 and off Brittany on June 12. Plenty of Manx around.

Balearic Shearwater: June 12 brought a report of 55 off Brittany and June 15 saw 3 off Portland and 1 off Christchurch

Wilson's Storm Petrel: First report for the year from the Scillies on June 13

European Storm Petrel: More than 20 in the Scillies on June 4 and 30+ there on June 6. More stormy weather brought sightings of 76+ off Dawlish Warren in Devon on June 9 when around 15 were seen from Christchurch Harbour, 9 from Portland and 1 from Hurst Beach at Lymington. June 10 brought 29 to Prawle Point in south Devon and 20 to the Scillies; June 11 saw an estimated 50 off Selsey Bill and one June 13 there were still 6 off Berry Head in south Devon and 5 in the Scillies

Little Bittern: One spent at least four days (June 10 to 13) at Stockers Lake in Hertfordshire (not the first for the year - one had been in Pembrokeshire on Apr 20). As the name Stockers Lake is strongly associated in my mind with the area of Chichester Harbour between the south of Thorney Island the harbour mouth I thought I would find out where the Stockers Lake of this sighting can be found - it is a large flooded gravel pit in the Colne Valley near Rickmansworth, just east of the M25 about halfway between the M40 and M1

Night Heron: One has been hiding in an oak tree above a fishing pond near Lower Pennington Lane in the Lymington area from June 2 to 16 (with a gap in sightings from June 5 to 11) and the reward for birders who travel to see it is the view to be seen in Tony Tindale's photo at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2012/06/014trim.jpg (note that there is only one spot from which this excellent view can be obtained and you must first oust the birder currently holding that position before you have a chance of seeing the bird that is in the centre of Tony's photo - honest it is!)

Cattle Egret: If you are still looking for the bird that was in the Thorney Island/Warblington area in Jan and Feb this year you may still be in with a chance - RBA report a sighting in Kent on June 12

Great White Egret: One has been in the Brading Marshes area of the Isle of Wight since June 3 but may have been joined by another as one was seen flying west between Chichester and Bognor Regis that day (though there was still only one at Brading on June 16)

Glossy Ibis: The bird which has been at Farlington Marshes since June 5 was still there on June 16

Shelduck: On June 14 all four adults which have been at Budds Farm in Havant since Apr 21 were to be seen as two pairs out on the water but with no ducklings - I guess this means both pairs have failed to breed.

Gadwall: Also at Budds Farm pools on June 14 at least one female Gadwall had a single duckling in tow

Pochard: A few pairs breed in Hampshire (the 2010 HBR shows breeding by 7 pairs at five sites) but the only announcement of successful breeding that I have seen this year is of one pair at the Pett Level pools where Pete Rouse saw new hatched young on June 9 - in reporting this news Cliff Dean remarked that it was surprising that Pochards were only known to breed at two sites in Sussex (Pett and the WWT reserve at Arundel) while around 20 pairs regularly bred at the Dungeness RSPB reserve on the other side of Rye Bay.

Kestrel: John Goodspeed tells us that two broods of young have successfully fledged this week on Portsdown - one at Fort Widley, the other at Fort Nelson.

Red-footed Falcon: RBA indicate that one was killed by a Sparrowhawk in Derbyshire on June 11

Peregrine: John Goodspeed reports that the pair nesting at the Paulsgrove Chalk Pit on Portsdown have three young this year

Greater Sand Plover: RBA tell us that the first to be seen in the UK this year was at the pleasantly named Stinky Bay on Benbecula on June 8. Mention of Sand Plover brings back personal memories of 14 Aug 1997 when Alistair Martin and I were at Church Norton (Pagham Harbour) and may have been the first to see a Lesser Sand plover in Britain - we had good views of this unusual bird but had to beat a hasty retreat to avoid being crushed to death by the crowd of frantic twitchers who descended on the site (and wrongly identified the bird as a Greater Sand Plover - the correct id was only established from photos some time later and elevated the bird to the status of a first for Britain from that of Greater Sand Plover which had been known in Britain since the first was seen, also in West Sussex, back in 1978!)

Curlew: Portland reported the first birds returning from distant breeding areas on June 11

Green Sandpiper: Also maybe a sign of autumn passage starting is a report of 8 Green Sandpipers at a Netherlands site on June 13

Skuas: Spring passage of these is normally over by the end of May but the channel storms of this week have brought all three species to our coasts in small but above average numbers. On June 9 Chesil Cove on Portland had 5 Poms, and on June 15 Portland logged 5 Arctic and 5 Great Skuas and there were smaller numbers elsewhere on other days - I was surprised to see that West Bexington on the Fleet near Abbotsbury had recorded 2 Poms on June 15

Med Gulls: Some time ago it became apparent that Black-headed Gulls had ousted most of the Med Gulls as well as the Terns from the Hayling Oysterbeds and this week a report from Chris Cockburn, the Langstone Harbour RSPB warden, says that unusually high tides have washed out the majority of all seabird nests on the islands and this 'forced homelessness' is no doubt part of the reason for the presence of 176 Med Gulls over Thorney Island (where they neither breed nor feed nowadays) on June 13. Chris Cockburn says that .. "Official (BODC) Portsmouth tide-gauge records from Jan 1991 show that there has not been a similar prolonged period of very high flooding tides during the breeding season (Apr-Jul). There were flooding tides (> 5.0 m ACD) in 1995 & 2002 (mid-May) and 2009 & 2010 (mid-Jul) - but none of these were as high as or prolonged as the current ones and their timing was less damaging for productivity." I am getting the impression that, just as the Black-headed Gulls which once nested on Stakes Island in Chichester Harbour all moved to the Langstone Harbour islands during the period 1994 to 1997, the Med Gulls (whose first nest in the British Isles was at the Beaulieu estuary in Hampshire in 1968 and which have in recent years become a dominant feature of seabird breeding in Langstone Harbour) are now transferring their allegiance to Rye Harbour and points east). For those with shorter memories than mine I have looked up the Sussex Bird Reports for 1994 (when a count on May 12 found 1226 Black-headed nests on Stakes Island but later in the month all but 20 of these nests had been washed out by the tides) and 1997 (when no birds nested on Stakes Island but all had moved to Langstone Harbour) and this surge of nostalgia also led me to root out a more recent publication - the 200th SOS Newsletter for Spring 2012 (celebrating the 50th anniversary of the SOS) in which Anne de Potier recalls the strenuous but in the end vain efforts to build up Stakes Island and preserve it as a breeding colony for Terns - the article includes a photograph of volunteers at work in 1980)

Cuckoo: Four reports this week reflect the fact that, with no need to stay and care for their young, adult Cuckoos have already finished their breeding season in this country and are on their way south. On June 11 the bird which was fitted with a satellite tracking device and given the name 'Chris' (I have often wondered how Chris Packham feels about being thought of as a Cuckoo) turned up in Belgium having already left us. On June 13 one Cuckoo was seen on the shingle spit at the mouth of Pagham Harbour, perhaps having set off on its southward journey but having second thoughts on seeing the winds and stormy seas ahead. On June 14 four Cuckoos were seen together near the shore in Eastbourne and reported with the comment that they were late in leaving us. On June 15 one was still to be seen and heard on Thorney Island

Short-eared Owl: It is not unusual for one or two of these to stay the summer at coastal sites where they have wintered but this summer it seems that this habit is becoming the norm with owls still being seen this week at Farlington Marshes,Thorney Island, Pagham Harbour, Lymington marshes and Tintagel in Cornwall!

Nightjar: These have already settled down to breed at most of their regular sites but June 13 brought a report of a very late arrival when one was seen to fly in off the sea at Thurlestone Bay in south Devon

Bee Eater: Two more arrivals this week - two were seen over the Filsham reedbed near the coast just west of Hastings on June 9 and on June 14 a party of four were on the West Sussex coast at Climping

House Martin: Although there seem to be plenty around in southern England (with a good crowd of them trying to feed over the Budds Farm pools in Havant) I see that when Laurence Holloway made an annual trip on June 15 from Bognor to count the nests on Stansted House near Rowlands Castle he found no nests at all for the first time. Here in Havant, although none nest nowadays on houses close to mine, I usually have what I assume to be local breeders feeding over the trees lining the old rail line at the back of my garden (last year I first saw them on May 20 and they were regular from June 6) - so far this year I have seen none bar a couple of individuals making a bee line for Budds Farm

Robin: On June 16 I nearly ran over a fledgling Robin while cycling and at home I have until this week seen an adult Robin collecting food in my garden from sunrise to sunset but this week I have not seen him but have heard his laid back autumn song indicating that he has done his best to keep the species going and is now taking a well earned rest while still making his presence known in order to maintain his claim to his feeding territory.

Common Redstart: A female trapped at Portland on June 15 was already on her way south but still showed a bare breast (breeding patch) indicating that she was a failed breeder (had she remained to care for her young the feathers would have regrown before she thought of leaving us)

River Warbler: One on Fair Isle on June 11 gave the twitchers a reminder that they will soon get more chances for new ticks as autumn passage gets under way.

Marsh Warbler: No further news of the bird on the River Avon near Ringwood, nor of the one at Yew Hill near Winchester (both last reported on June 9), but I see that one which had been present since the end of May at Folkestone in Kent was still there and singing on June 10 (I have not been able to access bird news from Folkestone for some time as my anti-virus software blocked me, saying that the site was a dangerous one, but it seems that the danger has now been removed!)

Crossbill: These seem to be well into autumn roaming mode with several reports of large flocks on the move - last week RBA remarked that movements were being reported in nine counties and this week a flock of more than 30 passed through Nigel Jones garden near Romsey on their way west.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis): First of the year seen in Norfolk on June 10

Beautiful Demoiselle: On May 23 I was surprised to see my first for the year roosting high on Portsdown Hill at Fareham Common, far from any fast running stream which is their favoured habitat (not garden ponds) and on June 14 another was seen further east on Portsdown above the QA Hospital in Cosham. I can only assume that these both came from the Wallington River at the northern foot of Portsdown and were swept over the hill by northerly winds - I hope they get back!

Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum): First for the year seen on June 9 at the Crockford Stream in the New Forest

Northern Damselfly (Coenagrion hastulatum): First for the year at Speyside in Scotland on June 10

Species reported this week:

Brown Hawker, Emperor, Downy Emerald, Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, Beautiful Demoiselle, Large Red Damselfly, Small Red Damselfly, Northern Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

White-letter Hairstreak: First of the year seen at the Portsmouth IBM site on June 17

Siver Studded Blue: First of the year seen at Iping Common near Midhurst on June 10

Painted Lady: No mass invasion but I have now seen 21 reports from coastal sites since the first appeared in south Devon on Mar 25, nine of them being in June

Dark Green Fritillary: First of the year seen at Friston Forest near Eastbourne on June 13

Marbled White: First of the year seen near Brighton on June 9 with the second seen on Portsdown on June 17

Meadow Brown: The first had been seen last week in Sussex on June 9 (with another near Gosport that day) but no more were seen until June 13

Species reported this week:

Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, White-letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Glanville Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Small Heath

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0171 Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae found in 171 Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae on JUNE 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=825>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0171.php

0420 Cherry Fruit Moth Argyresthia pruniella found in DORSET on JUNE 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6075>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0420.php

0892 Mompha subbistrigella found in KENT on JUNE 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2753>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0892.php

0937 Agapeta hamana found in 937 Agapeta hamana on JUNE 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4454>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0937.php

0952 Commophila aeneana found in SUSSEX on JUNE 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3952>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0952.php

1329 Donacaula forficella found in DORSET on JUNE 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4653>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1329.php

1333 Scoparia pyralella found in KENT on JUNE 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1720>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1333.php

1682 Blood-vein Timandra comae found in DORSET on JUNE 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5736>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1682.php

1714 Portland Ribbon Wave Idaea degeneraria found in DORSET on JUNE 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=612>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1714.php

1794 Sharp-angled Carpet Euphyia unangulata found in DORSET on JUNE 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1651>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1794.php

1954 Bordered White Bupalus piniaria found in KENT on JUNE 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=40>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1954.php

2088 Heart & Club Agrotis clavis found in DORSET on JUNE 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6685>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2088.php

2326 Clouded-bordered Brindle Apamea crenata found in DORSET on JUNE 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5166>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2326.php

2418 Cream-bordered Green Pea Earias clorana found in DORSET on JUNE 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6192>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2418.php

2442 Beautiful Golden Y Autographa pulchrina found in DORSET on JUNE 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=19>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2442.php

2474 Straw Dot Rivula sericealis found in DORSET on JUNE 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=231>

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2474.php

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Crane Flies: Several species are now on the wing but on June 10 Richard Roebuck came across one near Henfield in Sussex which I was not aware of and which puts your average 'Daddy Long Legs' in the shade. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ctenophora_pectinicornis_bl.jpg for an equally impressive photo of the species. For more photos and info see http://www.eakringbirds.com/eakringbirds4/insectinfocusctenophorapectinicornis.htm Although I cannot find a defintive statement I think it likely that the species is new to Britain within the past few years as I can find no pre-2010 records in this country, nevertheless it is now widespread with records from Nottinghamshire and Devon as well as Sussex

Stinking Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus vespillo): See Graeme Lyons blog entry at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/flesh-eating-beetle-mistakes-my-old-bag.html for a photo and an account of his encounter with this species on June 13

Stag Beetle: First of the year was a male seen near Henfield in Sussex on June 15

Oedemera nobilis Flower Beetle: This fairly common bright green flower beetle is generally known as the 'Thigh Beetle' on account of the greatly swollen thighs on its back legs but what is less commonly known is that this characteristic only applies to males - the females, as we would expect, have slender thighs. For Brian Fellows photo of a male (first of this year seen on June 15) see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-060-thigh-beetle-warb-ws-15.06.12.jpg and for a standard photo of a female see http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9nbAoRs4OsA/TiGzjKZCrfI/AAAAAAAASfk/dnCwAmrJRjI/s640/beetle_oedemera_nobilis_female_27.5.2011.jpg

Araneus alsine (the Strawberry Spider): I am familiar with two of the more colourful and relatively common Araneus orb web spiders of late summer (The 'Garden Cross Spider' A. diadematus and its relative A. quadratus which can come in a range of bright colours) but I was not aware of A. alsine until Graeme Lyons found one at Burton Mill Pond near Pulborough on June 14 and featured it in his blog for that day - see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/strawberry-with-fangs.html in which you will see his photo showing the close resemblance between the spider and a ripe strawberry

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Corn Cockle: This was newly in flower on June 16 among the profusion of 'wild flowers' sown by Havant Borough Council at the Warblington Cemetary extension

Thyme-leaved Sandwort: Although by no means a first for the year I have overlooked recording this on previous visits to Portsdown but found it in profusion on June 13 when searching for Bastard Toadflax with which the Sandwort has some vague similarities

Bastard Toadflax: This had been reported from the downs above Brighton on May 27 but was not reported on Portsdown until June 12 (found by John Goodspeed) and then seen by myself on June 13

Dyer's Greenweed: Another first found by John Goodspeed on June 14 at the extreme east end of Thornham Lane on Thorney Island

Fodder Vetch: This has its only known Hampshire site in the Paulsgrove Chalkpit on Portsdown where it was 'discovered' in 2006 and has re-appeared there annually since, being seen by John Goodspeed there this year on June 12. The plant is fairly similar to Tufted Vetch and you can find a good photo of it, taken by Peter Raby in 2006, among a series of his photos to be seen at http://www.surfbirds.com/gallery/search2.php?species=&photographer=&location=&country=Hampshire&start=161 When I visited the site on June 13 I misidentified the plants as Tufted Vetch though I thought at the time that the flower 'spikes' were unusually large.

Meadow Vetchling: First of the year was found on June 8 by the Havant Wildlife Group when they visited Portsdown

Yellow Vetchling (Lathyrus aphaca): I know of more sites for this in the Portsmouth area from which the plant has vanished than the one site where it could be seen up to last year - this site was beside the steep path down into Paulsgrove chalkpit at its west end and I found plants flowering there on June 13 (John Goodspeed beat me to it on June 12) but when I was there I also found two further colonies of the plant spaced out along the floor of the Chalk Pit.

Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea: This was flowering for the first time this year in Havant on June 12

Lucerne: Several clumps were newly in flower at the Paulsgrove chalkpit when I was there on June 13

Sweet Briar: I found my first of year flowers at a new site beside the Hayling Billy trail in Havant on June 12, confirming the id by the smell of apples from the crushed leaves.

Agrimony: First flowers of the year seen on Portsdown on June 13

Common Lime: Many trees dangling their flowers in Havant from June 12 onward

Wild Parsnip: First report of this in flower from Durlston on June 12

Pepper Saxifrage: Also first flowering at Durlston on June 16

Cranberry: First flowers reported by Graeme Lyons at Burton Mill Pond near Pulborough on June 14

Dotted Loosestrife: This garden flower first seen on June 12 in Havant so the wild Yellow Loosestrife may now be flowering on the Gipsies Plain south of Havant Thicket

Field Bindweed: I saw just one flower out on May 29 but it was not until this week that the species started to flower everywhere

Straw Foxglove (Digitalis lutea): First flowers for the year seen at the Nelson Lane site north of the M27 above Portchester on June 13

Lesser Snapdragon/Weasels Snout (Misopates orontium): First flowers for the year were out at the New Lane allotments in Havant on June 12

Field Cow-wheat: The plants on the M27 motorway bank above Portchester had just started to flower on June 13

Eyebright: This too had opened its first flowers on Portsdown on June 13

Self Heal: This common weed started to flower on June 13

Ivy Broomrape: I had seen the established colony of this (in the Red Barn estate south of the M27 at Portchester) back on May 30 but on June 13 I was surprised to see a 'new to me' colony of some 20 spikes looking healthy beside Nelson Lane north of the M27 in the same general area.

Sticky Groundsel: This seems to have been eradicated from several locations in Havant where I have seen it in recent years so I was pleased to find a colony of plants (not yet in flower) around the perimeter of the Bellair Road Bowls Club parking area here in Havant on June 12

Corn Marigold: Just starting to flower on June 16 among the wild flowers sown by Havant Borough Council at the Warblington Cemetery extension

Spear Thistle: First flower for the year seen in Havant on June 12

Musk Thistle: First flower seen on Portsdown on June 13

Greater Knapweed: First flowers seen on Portsdown on June 13

Smooth Hawksbeard: One flower (first of the year) seen in Warblington Cemetery on June 16 nearly two months after Beaked Hawksbeard started to flower on Apr 26

Hawkweed Oxtongue: Another first flower seen in Havant this week on June 12

Black Bryony: First flowers seen on Portsdown on June 13

Heath Spotted Orchid: Flowering in the New Forest on June 9 (minimal proof of this can be seen at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/06/09/heath-spotted-orchid-appreciation-society/ )

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Stoat: Cliff Dean comments in his blog ( http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/ ) for June 13 on his pleasure in seeing a family of these, on his home patch around the Pett levels on the shore of Rye Bay, rushing around so fast that he could not get a decent photo of them - you can see his efforts at http://rxbirdwalks.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/p1050337.jpg and http://rxbirdwalks.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/p1050335.jpg

Minke Whale: One was seen from a boat well out in the English Channel off south Devon on June 13

Muntjac Deer: These are very rarely seen on Portland Island but this week one was seen in the Southwell school grounds on June 13 and later (June 15) left a slot (its footprint) in the Observatory garden

Sunfish: Last week I said that one seen off south Devon on June 7 was the first for the year in our southern waters but this week the Scillies Birding site has been updated and includes a sighting of three of these unusual fish on June 4 with another single sighting on June 11. As I said last week .. "If you are not familiar with this species see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_sunfish and learn to admire a fish which can grow to weigh 1,000 Kilograms on a diet of Jellyfish"

Common Starfish: With recent storms churning up the sea it is not unexpected that there has been a wreck of Starfish on the Rye Harbour shore - see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/10/every-cloud/

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for June 4 - 10 (Week 23 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: All four species that normally get a mention here in winter months were still to be seen this week. Admittedly the only Red-throated was off he Yorkshire coast on June 4 and a single White-billed was in Orkney on June 3 but nevertheless Devon had four Great Northern at Exmouth on June 8 along with a single Black-throated

Shearwaters: Storm force winds brought a good selection into coastal waters this week including three separate Sooty Shearwaters off Portland in Dorset, Berry Head in Devon and Pendeen in Cornwall. Manx Shearwaters are of course present in western waters in large numbers during their breeding season - on June 8 watchers at Pendeen in Cornwall estimated there were more than 10,000 seeking food offshore there but more than 300 had flown into the English Channel to be seen from Portland that day (or night). Balearic Shearwaters are now being seen in increasing numbers with two getting as far east as Splash Point near Beachy Head on June 9 (when 21 were seen across the Channel off Brittany). More exciting than these were two sightings of what were assumed to be North Atlantic Little Shearwaters (aka Barolo or Micronesian Shearwaters) off Berry Head in south Devon on June 7 and Pendeen (north end of the Lands End promontory) on June 8 (if you are not familiar with this species see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barolo_Shearwater )

Storm Petrel: The storm winds inevitably drove many of these from the open Atlantic onto our shores (but made it difficult to spot them!). June 8 brought peak counts of around 30 at Portland, 5 at Exmouth and more than 117 at Pendeen with around 50 off the Welsh coast on June 9 when one was seen at Selsey

Night Heron: One provided a good tick for Hampshire birders when it sat in a tree on the Lymington marshes from June 2 to 4. This species has given me 26 reports so far this year - up to four were in Devon and Cornwall from Mar 12 to Apr 15 after which one was in the Pulborough area from May 17 to 23 (with a farewell appearance at Pagham Harbour on May 23). Whether the Lymington bird was part of the same family party (?) is unknown

Squacco Heron: One of these was in Somerset from May 2 to 11 since when one has been at Dungeness on May 30 before this week's sighting of one at The Lizard in Cornwall on June 9

Great White Egret: In addition to the pair said to be breeding in Somerset a single bird was in the Bembridge area of the Isle of Wight from June 3 to 8 at least

Purple Heron: A first summer bird was seen briefly at the Church Norton Severals (mouth of Pagham Harbour) on June 4, flying off to the east so maybe the bird which was at Dungeness from June 5 to 7

Glossy Ibis: I am not sure how many are currently in the UK (three were in Wales - Pembrokeshire - on June 6) but local interest has focussed on one at Lymington on June 2 and another (maybe the same) in the Farlington Marshes Lake from June 5 to 10 at least. You can see this bird filmed by Peter Raby on June 10 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyZEffvM8Wc&feature=youtu.be

Black Kite: Another seen over the M27 near Ower (just west of Southampton) on June 8. At least 15 sightings have been reported in England this year starting with one over London on Mar 30 and including reports from Hampshire, Cornwall, Kent, Isle of Wight and Dorset

Hen Harrier: A late sighting of one over Martin Down (south of Salisbury) on June 9 (could this have been a Montagu's?)

Peregrine: When Brian Fellows was there on June 7 he was told that two of the four chicks in the Chichester Cathedral nest had started to fly but were still based at the nest

Quail: Reports from four sites in four counties (Hampshire, Sussex, Dorset and Kent) this week with a peak count of 6 birds at Martin Down in Hampshire on June 3

Baillons Crake: The bird which arrived in Anglesey on May 22 was still there on June 4

Black-winged Stilt: Two birds have been at Lymington marshes from June 2 to 9 (at least) At first one was thought to be a juvenile because of speckled markings on its head but this has since been accepted at normal for an adult female

Avocet: Four birds were seen at the Sidlesham Ferry Pool (Pagham Harbour) on June 6 - this is the first news of them in that area but they could well be birds whose nesting attempts elsewhere have failed and which may make a second attempt at Pagham. Some are reported to be doing just that at Rye Harbour. Still no news from Titchfield Haven although the official website for the reserve says that it is a breeding ground for Avocets

Bar-tailed Godwit: When I was at the Hayling Oysterbeds on May 24 I had a distant view of at least 20 medium sized brown plumaged waders on the shingle bar across the mouth of Stoke Lake (immeditately south of the Oysterbeds) but could not be sure of their identity. This week the local RSPB Warden (Chris Cockburn) has put out a bulletin of news about the birds breeding (or attempting to!) in Langstone Harbour in which he mentions that the regular summer flock of Bar-tailed Godwits has taken to spending the high tide period on this shingle bar and this fits with my sighting.

Skuas: As with Shearwaters the gale force winds this week have brought many Skuas closer to our shores than is normal at this time of year. Ten sightings of Pomarine include a peak count of 12 at Chesil Cove (Portland) on June 8; four Arctic were off Berry Head in Devon on June 7 with another four at Portland on June 8; the first Long-tailed to be seen off southern England was off Falmouth on June 7; and 55 Great Skuas were off Pendeen in Cornwall on June 8.

Great Blackback Gull: The pair which have been attracting attention as first time nesters on a raft in the Slipper Mill Pond at Emsworth hatched three chicks on May 29 but sadly one chick died on June 8 (of unknown cause - probably exposure to rain and gale force wind coupled with lack of food during a period when the weather gave the parents difficulty in foraging). See http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/08/a-tad-blowy/ to get an idea of what Black-headed gull chicks had to put up with at Rye Harbour in the same conditions. You can see the two surviving Great Blackback chicks at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-064-great-bb-gull-2-chicks-08.06.12.jpg

Black Tern: In addition to sightings at Dungeness, Reculver (north Kent) and Dawlish Warren in Devon this week one was over the Farlington Marshes Lake early on June 10

Puffin: Tony Tindale (one of the Three Amigos) was on the Farne Islands this week and has some excellent photos of Puffins (including one with its white breast plumage all streaked with mud after it had been doing some burrowing to improve its nest tunnel (see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/06/07/the-farne-islands-1000s-of-puffin-on-staple-island/ ) On the same trip Tony visited Inner Farne island and you can follow his walk to the toilet there while being fiercely attacked by Arctic Terns (see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/06/08/the-farne-islands-100s-of-arctic-tern-on-inner-farne-island/ )

Short-eared Owl: Still present this week at Reculver (north Kent), Lodmoor (Weymouth), and Church Norton (Pagham Habour)

Swift: Hundreds of (presumably) non-breeding birds were still coming in off the sea this week - on June 4 around 900 came in over the Seven Sisters cliffs west of Beachy Head in 45 minutes and an estimated 700 arrived over Splash Point (a few miles further west) in four separate waves. These birds must have been confused to find the stormy weather all over southern England - I was certainly surprised to see two of the birds over my garden on the morning of June 7 flying under the low cloud (normally Swifts use their speed to evade summer storms, flying a hundred miles or more to areas outside the influence of the storm and staying away from their nests until the storm has passed - their chicks have the ability to go into a state of suspended animation and survived for a couple of days without food)

Roller: One has been in Yorkshire fom June 1 to 7 and was seen by Tony Tindale on June 4 (after his visit to the Farne Islands). Tony's photos are not close ups but give you an impression of this colourful bird - see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/06/04/european-roller-at-aldbrough-east-yorkshire/

House Martin: More than 600 were over the Blashford Lakes on June 4 and more than 50 were over the Budds Farm pools in Havant on June 8

Nightingale: These have normally stopped singing before the end of May but this year at least one was still singing at Pulborough Brooks on June 5

Black Redstart: These regularly nest in central London but this year Kris Gillam from the Isle of Wight heard one singing near Tower Bridge (a first for him) as a result of visiting the area to watch the Jubilee Celebrations for the person he calls 'the madge'.

Marsh Warbler: On June 6 RBA reported 6 separate birds present in the UK, one of them being the bird that has been singing in the Harbridge/Ibsley area of the River Avon north of Ringwood from June 5 to 9 (at least). In addition to the six birds reported to the RBA what was probably another was heard by David Thelwell at the Yew Hill butterfly reserve near Winchester on June 9

Great Reed Warbler: After one at Weston-super-Mare on May 19-21 and another at Radipole (Weymouth) from May 22 to 24 this week has brought another to The Lizard in Cornwall from June 3 to 6

Bearded Tit: The first report of fledged young for this year comes from Christchurch Harbour on June 6

Crossbill: These early breeders are already in 'autumn mode' with flocks on the move in nine separate counties according to the RBA news service on June 5

Bullfinch: Throughout this and the preceding year birders have been reporting increased numbers of this species (on 31 Jan 2011 a flock of 12 at Pulborough Brooks was the first report to catch my eye as unusual) and this theme was still active this week with a sighting of a pair in Brian Fellows' Emsworth garden (where he has not seen the species since July 2008). Although the countryside in which Bullfinches could be seen might channel wandering birds down the Ems valley and into the Brook Meadow area they would still be just over 300 metres from Brian's garden and separated from it by many tightly packed houses with little in the way of garden so it is surprising that they were in his garden - my guess is that (a) they had not bred or were failed breeders (hence the early date for them to be wandering) and (b) they were desperately searching for food as a result of the current weather

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles): First of the year seen on June 2

Irish Damselfly (Coenagrion lunulatum): First of the year in Co Antrim on June 4. Dan Powell's Guide to the Dragonflies of Great Britain has a very useful chart comparing the features of all the male blue Damselflies listing the features to be seen in segments 2,3,8 and 9 of each species - as this appears on the facing page to that showing details of the Irish Damselfly (which I normally have no cause to look at!) this weeks news has brought it to my attention for the first time

Species reported this week:

Emperor Dragonfly, Norfolk Hawker, Hairy Dragonfly, Club Tailed Dragonfly, Black Tailed Skimmer, Keeled Skimmer, Broad Bodied Chaser, Four Spotted Chaser, Scarce Chaser, Red Veined Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Beautiful Demoiselle, Red-eyed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Variable Damselfly, Irish Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Large Skipper: First of the year seen at 'The Comp' at the east end of the South Downs north of Eastbourne on June 3. So far the only two other reports have been from the 'High and Over' viewpoint near The Comp on June 6 and from Brook Meadow in Emsworth on June 8.

Species reported this week:

Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Wood White, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Pearl Bordered Fritilllary, Glanville Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Small Heath

Moths:

(Skip to Other Insects)

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0020 Ectoedemia decentella found in Dorset on June 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2111

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0020.php

0148 Nemophora degeerella found in Kent on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6218

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0148.php

0151 Adela croesella found in Kent on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3577

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0151.php

0165 Scarce Forester Jordanita globulariae found in Sussex on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4097

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0165.php

0170 Five-Spot Burnet Zygaena trifolii found in Isle of Wight on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4735

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0170.php

0410 Argyresthia brockeella found in Dorset on June 8 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1828

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0410.php

0417 Argyresthia spinosella found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=910

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0417.php

0440 Paraswammerdamia albicapitella found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=911

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0440.php

0597 Elachista atricomella found in Dorset on June 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5853

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0597.php

0610 Elachista argentella found in Dorset on June 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1144

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0610.php

1002 Lozotaenia forsterana found in Sussex on June 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=489

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1002.php

1007 Capua vulgana found in Dorset on June 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1676

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1007.php

1063 Celypha striana found in Dorset on June 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4597

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1063.php

1097 Endothenia gentianaeana found in Kent on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2952 (this species has had a previous mention on May 21 when larvae were collected from Teazels - today the first moths emerged from these larvae)

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1097.php

1133 Epinotia bilunana found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5852

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1133.php

1175 Bramble Shoot Moth Epiblema uddmanniana found in Sussex on June 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4742

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1175.php

1176 Epiblema trimaculana found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=822

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1176.php

1219 Lathronympha strigana found in Kent on June 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4389

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1219.php

1278 Dichrorampha sequana found in Kent on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3645

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1278.php

1356 Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis found in Sussex on June 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5918

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1356.php

1652 Peach Blossom Thyatira batis found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1877

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1652.php

1699 Least Carpet Idaea rusticata found in Dorset on June 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=537

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1699.php

1784 Pretty Chalk Carpet Melanthia procellata found in Sussex on June 8 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=441

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1784.php

1837 Grey Pug Eupithecia subfuscata found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2697

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1837.php

1859 Sloe Pug Pasiphila chloerata found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1367

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1859.php

1876 Small Yellow Wave Hydrelia flammeolaria found in Dorset on June 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=272

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1876.php

1889 Peacock Moth Macaria notata found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5979

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1889.php

1991 Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor found in Sussex on June 8 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=50

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1991.php

1999 Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi found in Dorset on June 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6468

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1999.php

2059 Clouded Buff Diacrisia sannio found in Hampshire on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1563

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2059.php

2154 Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=82

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2154.php

2216 The Shark Cucullia umbratica found in Sussex on June 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6316

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2216.php

2385 Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua found in Dorset on June 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2805

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2385.php

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Phryganea grandis: Caddis Flies come in several species of differing sizes. To see the biggest you are likely to come across in Britain see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/06/phryganea-grandis/

Slender-footed Robberfly (Leptarthrus brevirostris): Graeme Lyons found one of these at Pyecombe Hill near the southern end of the A23 near Brighton and you can see his photo and blog entry at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/hunchback-of-wolstonbury-hill.html but don't miss seeing another photo of this Robberfly jewelled with dew at http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathmcdonald/5768257447/

Volucella bombylans hoverfly: First report of this species for the year comes from Thanet in Kent on June 4. If you are not familiar with the species see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volucella_bombylans

Amblyteles armatorius Ichneumon: Another first for the year from Thanet on June 4. For photo and info see http://www.uknature.co.uk/A.armatorius-info.html

Pogonocherus hispidulus: A not very attractive name and a not very attractive look to this small beetle which achieved fame by becoming the 4,000th new species to be found and recognized by Graeme Lyons (thus achieving his target to qualify as a 'proper pan-species lister'). Read all about it at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/i-made-it-to-4000-species.html Later on June 2 and also in Rewell Wood near Arundel Graeme found a more respectable Lesser Stag Beetle and a number of Wasp Beetles (Clytus arietis)

Grasshoppers: The Durlston Diary for June 9 tells us that mature Grasshoppers are now becoming prominent there as well as many of their nymphs

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Yellow horned Poppy: First flowers that I am aware of were seen at Rye Harbour on June 3

Narrow-leaved Pepperwort: This has for some years grown in paving block cracks in the northwest quadrant of the Langstone Roundabout where you enter Havant from the A27. I cannot see any plants there this year but on June 8 I found two freshly flowering healthy plants only a short distance west in disturbed ground where new crash barriers have been installed beside the slip road approaching the roundabout

Sea Clover: On June 4 I accompanied John Norton and Eric Clement to several sites in the Havant area and among the finds were a substantial colony of Sea Clover on the west side of the seawall of the south east most field of Warblington Farm growing on the well drained top section of the bank on either side of the channel through which the stream flows out into the harbour south of Nore Barn woodland. Previously, on May 30, John had found this clover in flower near the Great Salterns Quay beside the Eastern Road into Portsmouth.

Clustered Clover (Trifolium glomeratum): Also on June 4 John Norton found a single plant of this rare clover near the Warblington underpass below the A27 where the species has been found each year since 2007

Tufted Vetch: First report of this in flower came from Durlston on June 4 (Brian Fellows also found it in Chichester on June 7)

Yellow vetchling (Lathyrus aphaca): First and only report of this in flower so far comes from Durlston on June 6

Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis): First seen by the Havant Wildlife Group on Portsdown on June 9. The group also found many Pyramidal Orchids in flower - the first I am aware of

Small Melilot: John Norton found a colony of this plant on May 30 in a gravel depression inside the Langstone Harbour west seawall just south of the Great Salterns Quay. I think this is currently the only site for it in SU 70

Dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris): First report of flowering from Pulborough Brooks on June 5

White Bryony: First flowering at Nore Barn (Emsworth) on June 4

Knotted Hedge Parsley: First flowers seen at Southmoor Lane in Havant on June 8

Knotgrass: First flowering seen in Havant on June 5

Common Figwort: I found this for the first time this year beside Southmoor Lane in Havant (on the boundary between the Havant Borough offices and the Southern Electric carpark). As these plants had both seeds and flowers at a date when I have not come across the species anywhere else I am wondering if the plants might be hybrids or an unusual Figwort species.

Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata): A photo taken by Cliff Dean at Ashburnham Place near Hastings on June 4 shows one plant flowering there.

Brooklime: Flowering at the Langstone South Moors on June 8

Hedge Woundwort: This started to flower on June 7, seen both by Brian Fellows in Chichester and myself by the Hayling Billy Trail in Havant

Self Heal: Also found flowering for the first time at Langstone South Moors on June 8

Water Forget-me-not: First flowers seen on June 4 at Brook Meadow in Emsworth

Tufted Forget-me-not: This smaller plant of watery sites was in flower at the Langstone South Moors on June 8

Green Hounds Tongue (Cynoglossum germanicum): One of several rare plants seen by Graeme Lyons at Box Hill in Surrey on June 5 - see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/north-of-wall.html in which Graeme has photos of various species found in Surrey that day - including Greater Yellow Rattle and Cut-leaved Germander (neither yet in flower ) and both Ground Pine and Green Hounds Tongue (both in flower)

Sea Plantain: Flowering at Nore Barn on June 4

Common Marsh Bedstraw: Flowering on the Langstone South Moors on June 8

Wall Bedstraw (?): A single specimen of a small Bedstraw Plant which might have been of this species was found beside the cycleway section north of the Langstone Technology Park on June 8

Narrow-leaved Ragwort: Possibly a first for Hampshire and certainly new to the Havant area was growing in a roadside ornamental flowerbed (planted with Cotoneaster but also supporting a good show of Thistles and other 'weeds') on the north side of Brookside Road at Havant (Brockhampton) where the road meets the gates leading into the carpark on the north west side of the Langstone Technology Plant. For photos see my Diary entry for June 8

Marsh Thistle: First flowering plants seen at the Langstone South Moors on June 8

Creeping Thistle: Another first seen growing by the Narrow-leaved Ragwort on June 8

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Common Frog: Good news from Fareham - in the Three Amigos blog ( http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/06/08/common-frogs-in-the-garden/ ) Steve Copsey tells us that he still has at least 30 adult Frogs around his garden pond with lots of tadpoles still to leave the pond. Here in Havant (and I think across the UK ) the Frog population has been more than decimated by the viral disease known as 'Red Leg' which has been present for the best part of 20 years despite all attempts to eradicate it ( see http://www.froglife.org/disease/frog_mortality_project.htm ). Congratulations to Steve for providing a virus free haven and for the superb photo of a healthy frog in fancy dress ( http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2012/06/Common-Frog-2a-Garden-5-June-2012.jpg )

Roman Snail: In the past I have found extra large Snail Shells of a rich brown colour on Portsdown and wondered if these were Roman Snails only to be assured that the nearest site at which I might still find those was in Surrey. This week Graeme Lyons was in Surrey and found living examples ready for eating (thankfully he refrained) - see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/north-of-wall.html Graeme does include a link to Steve Gales blog in his entry but if you want to go straight to the photo which attracted Graeme to contact Steve see http://northdownsandbeyond.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/roman-snail-porn.html

Sun Fish: First mention of this extraordinary creature (which swims around disguised as a large dinner plate balancing on its rim) comes from the Devon Birding blog after a birder saw one off Berry Head on June 7. If you are not familiar with this species see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_sunfish and learn to admire a fish which can grow to weigh 1,000 Kilograms on a diet of Jellyfish

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for May 28 - June 3 (Week 22 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Still a few sightings off the south coast though the only reports of Red-Throated came from the Yorkshire coast. One Black-Throated was seen at Selsey on May 26 with other singles at Christchurch and Portland on May 27. The only Great Northern was reported off Portland on May 29

Sooty Shearwater: One seen off the Yorkshire coast on June 1 was the third I know of this year (one in Jan off Flamborough Head and one on May 14 off the Butt of Lewis in the western isles)

Night Heron: One turned up on the Lymington shore on June 2. A group of 4 were seen in Devon on Mar 13 and there were numerous sightings of singles in Devon and Cornwall between Mar 12 and Apr 15. Since then one was in the Pulborough area from May 17 to 23, probably this bird was in the Pagham Harbour north fields on May 23

Squacco Heron: One was at Dungeness on May 30 after one was in Somerset from May 2 to 11. Another single was in the Netherlands on May 27 (maybe en route to Dungeness?)

Little Egret: The first nests were seen at Langstone Pond on Mar 29 and there were estimated to be 23 nests there on Apr 13 but I could see no sign of any young having hatched when I was last there on June 1 (just one of the adults was standing up and poking at something in the nest, all the other adults were sitting patiently). Incubation is supposed to take no more than 22 days so eggs laid on May 13 should have hatched by June 3. The nests seemed to be ready for egg laying on Apr 13 so once again the Little Egrets are behaving unpredictably! The best account of their nesting behaviour I have come across is in a paper by the RSPB Southend Group ( http://www.southendrspb.co.uk/egrets.htm ) which says .."In the UK, Little Egrets nest among Grey herons. The nest is a typical heron nest a platform of sticks high in a tree or a bush. Even though egrets nest colonially, they do defend the immediate area around the nest. The female lays a clutch of 2-6 eggs, one a day, and starts to incubate as the first egg is laid. The chicks hatch over several days about three weeks later. The chicks start to climb on branches around the nest before they fledge at four weeks old.. They will spend a further month in their parents' care while they learn to feed themselves and perfect their flying skills." As far as I know Langstone is the only site at which Egrets nest independently (there has never been a Herony there). Next time I go there I will look more closely at some of the nests where the 'sitting adult' seems to have a downy plumage and could be an already well grown juvenile.

Great White Egret: According to Chris Packham on the Springwatch TV programme this week a pair is nesting in Somerset this year.

Glossy Ibis: Two arrived in the Pagham North Walls area on May 6 and at least one of them has been regularly seen there up to May 30 at least. Another single bird has probably been in the Exmister Marsh area by the R Exe since May 21 while two more were in the Rye area (Pannell Farm) on May 25. Locally one was seen at the Farlington Marshes 'Deeps' on May 28 and may have moved to the Lymington shore where it was seen on June 2

Spoonbill: One was seen on the Lymington shore on May 28 and another roving bird (in full breeding plumage) turned up at Dungeness on May 26 when only three of the Poole Harbour flock were seen

Brent Geese: 13 summering birds have been seen in Fishbourne Channel near Chichester on May 24 and 29 and a single was at Newtown Harbour (IoW) on June 1

Shelduck: Ducklings are now appearing in various breeding areas but when I was at the Havant Budds Farm Pools on May 28 no ducklings were on show but I saw a fierce dispute between what I assume were the males of the two pairs assumed to be nesting there.

Honey Buzzard: These have been arriving since Apr 21 and I have now seen more than 40 reports, the latest being a flock of 40 over the Netherlands on May 28 when a single flew north over the Hastings area. The latest so far was one over Dungeness on May 29

Black Kite: 16 have been seen over southern England since Mar 30. Three reports this week have come from Poole in Dorset on May 28, from Cornwall on May 31 and (possible only) from Four Marks near Alton in Hampshire on June 1

Red Kite: Since May 22 there have been several 'mass movements' of Red Kites starting with an estimated 25 birds over Dorset on that day when another 9 seemed to come in off the sea over Brighton. May 24 saw an influx over Kent and May 25 and 26 brought a total of around 29 birds over west Cornwall before 30 birds were seen to fly east over Crowhurst rail station (near Hastings) on May 29. There is no hard evidence of birds invading southern England from the continent (though I get the distinct impression that a good number have done so when I read the many reports of birds seen heading north in coastal areas with no equivalent reports of birds previously flying south to the coast) and it seems that expert opinion is that these movements are just the normal wanderings of young birds that are not yet tied to breeding territories.

Montagu's Harrier: Reports this week have come from Portland, Seaview (IoW), Durlston and Cornwall

Osprey: A late arrival came in off the sea at Portland on May 26 and birds were fishing at both Arlington and Weir Wood reservoirs in Kent during the week but there has been a shortage of the normal records of spring birds pausing at Thorney Island this year (just four reports since the first on Apr 30 compared to 8 reports - all in April - in 2009). On May 29 I was at the Thornham Marshes and had a look at the massive man-made Osprey nest on one of the old airfield landing lights - hopefully it will eventually attract interest from a pair.

Merlin: One in the Pannell valley near Rye on May 25 was the latest in Sussex since 1999 (and the only one reported in southern England this week though one was still in the Netherlands on May 27)

Quail: Reports from four sites this week with a peak count of 6 at Martin Down on June 1

Baillons Crake: The bird which has been on Anglesey since May 22 was still there on June 1

Corncrake: One was at The Lizard in Cornwall on May 5 but the only reports since then have been of one at a Netherlands site on May 20 and 27

Black-winged Stilt: This seems to have been an exceptional spring for these birds with 35 reports since the beginning of April. They have now been seen this year at 12 sites, apparently not staying anywhere though the latest report of a female and juvenile at Lymington on June 2 makes me wonder if the report of a pair at Leighton Moss in Lancashire on Apr 20 hides the fact that they stayed there and nested.

Avocet: Predation by Fox or Badger of nests at Rye Harbour, despite protective fencing, means that several pairs there are now laying second clutches.

Spotted Redshank: Three birds in summer plumage were seen at Pagham Harbour north walls on May 26, one was at Oare Marshes in north Kent on May 28 and another was at Newquay in Cornwall on May 29

Greenshank: These have also been later than usual in departing with a flock of 19 at Pagham north walls on May 26 (and 7 still there on May 27). Two were still at Christchurch Harbour on May 28 (with one still there on June 1)

Great Blackback Gull: A possible indication of an increase in the number of breeding pairs on the south coast comes from Emsworth where a pair has bred for the first time on a floating raft in the Slipper Mill pond. Eggs started to hatch in this nest on May 29 and three chicks were seen on June 1

Kittiwake: On May 28 Bob Edgar wrote .. "I went to count the colony at Newhaven today but all the nests are deserted. This colony was established as the first breeders in Sussex in 1976 and once numbered 1200+ pairs." Then on June 1 Sandie Field wrote .. "I was concerned about the Kittiwake report (colony deserted at Newhaven) so I took myself down to Seaford today. I am pleased to report that to my untrained eye there looks to be loads of "nesting" Kittiwakes." These reports refer to two separate colonies and the 2010 Sussex Bird Report indicated that the Newhaven colony (on Telscombe Cliffs) had 45 occupied nests whereas the Seaford Head cliffs (viewed from Splash Point) had 830 nests and so Sandie's report does not preclude that there has also been a significant drop in nest numbers there as well as at Newhaven.

Woodpigeon: According to Chris Packham on the Springwatch TV programme the RSPB are proposing to measure the success of our attempts to support birdlife in our gardens by the biomass they represent (i.e. if you were able to catch and weigh every bird seen in your garden then the garden having the greatest total weight of birds would be the one that was most successful in supporting bird life). As the majority of birds that come into my garden for food that I put out (mainly bread crumbs with some cheap bird seed in the winter) are Woodpigeons, which weigh in even more heavily than usual after stuffing the equivalent of a slice of bread down their gullets, I will probably qualify for an RSPB Medal 'for services to increasing biodiversity' (assuming that biomass becomes accepted as the measure of biodiversity)

Nightjar: Following last week's news that some Nightjars were back in Havant Thicket I am pleased to see that four were found in the West Walk woodland near Wickham in the Meon Valley on May 29

Bee-eater: These were seen at six southern sites this week stretching from the Thanet area of east Kent to Cornwall and the Scillies with intermediate sightings at Durlston in Drset, Rogate near Midhurst in Sussex plus Dungeness and Weir Wood reservoir.

Roller: One had been seen on the Devon coast (Teignmouth) on May 1 and now June 1 brings a second report from Yorkshire

Yellow Wagtail: These have long ceased to be regular breeding birds along much of the south coast and their demise was highlighted by Pat Bonham on June 1 when, in a ten mile walk over the Guldeford Marsh area east of Rye, he only found 2 breeding pairs plus 6 apparently unpaired males

Black Redstart: A pair has nested on the cliffs at Durlston and on June 1 they had three new hatched nestlings

Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis): On May 29 the sixth recorded in Britain was trapped at Hartlepool

Wood Warbler: Singing males have been heard at half a dozen sites in east Hampshire where they were once regular breeders but have not been seen for several years

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Gold Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii): First seen in both Hampshire and the Highlands on May 27

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) : First seen in Hampshire on May 27

Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonsolombei): First seen on May 27 in Hampshire

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum): First of year in Devon on May 29

Scarce Blue Tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilo): First of year in Gloucestershire on May 25

Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale): First in Hampshire on May 27

Species reported this week:

Gold Ringed Dragonfly, Hairy Dragonfly, Downy Emerald, Keeled Skimmer, Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Beautiful Demoiselle, White-legged Damselfly, Red Eyed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly, Scarce Blue Tailed Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Southern Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon): Just one report of a sighting near Newton Abbot in Devon on May 30 - possibly a migrant, possibly an escape from local breeding?

Clouded Yellow: Sightings at Portland on May 28 and 29 may have been one or two migrants

Painted Lady: Six reports between May 27 and June 1 from Bishops Waltham (Hants), Berry Head (south Devon), Seaview (IoW), Portland, and Friston nr Estbourne,

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Swallowtail, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock, Comma, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Glanville Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Small Heath.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0141 Nematopogon schwarziellus found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1056

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0141.php

0143 Nematopogon metaxella found in Dorset on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3759

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0143.php

0153 Adela fibulella found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6389

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0153.php

0163 The Forester Adscita statices found in Hampshire on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6414

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0163.php

0169 Six-Spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae found in Dorset and the IoW on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=241

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0169.php

0924 Bluebell Conch Hysterophora maculosana found in Sussex on May 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6135

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0924.php

0986 Syndemis musculana found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1883

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0986.php

1015 Eulia ministrana found in Dorset on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5264

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1015.php

1212 Spotted Shoot Moth Rhyacionia pinivorana found in Dorset on May 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2751

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1212.php

1279 Dichrorampha acuminatana found in Dorset on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5049

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1279.php

1341 Eudonia lineola found in Dorset on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3648

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1341.php

1376 Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2760

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1376.php

1458 Thistle Ermine Myelois circumvoluta found in Dorset on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=104

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1458.php

1490 Oxyptilus parvidactylus found in Hampshire on May 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5186

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1490.php

1654 Figure of Eighty Tethea ocularis found in Dorset on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4799

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1654.php

1740 Galium Carpet Epirrhoe galiata found in Dorset on May 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5627

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1740.php

1742 Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata found in Hampshire on May 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=91

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1742.php

1803 Small Rivulet Perizoma alchemillata found in Dorset on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3930

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1803.php

1827 Freyer's Pug Eupithecia intricata found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1867

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1827.php

1868 Lesser Treble-bar Aplocera efformata found in Hampshire on May 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=865

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1868.php

1874 Dingy Shell Euchoeca nebulata found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=505

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1874.php

1902 Brown Silver-line Petrophora chlorosata found in Sussex on May 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=18

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1902.php

1904 Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4210

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1904.php

1944 Pale Oak Beauty Hypomecis punctinalis found in Dorset on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2219

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1944.php

1955 Common White Wave Cabera pusaria found in Dorset on May 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1955.php

1956 Common Wave Cabera exanthemata found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4168

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1956.php

1958 Clouded Silver Lomographa temerata found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=78

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1958.php

1961 Light Emerald Campaea margaritata found in Kent on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=75

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1961.php

1968 Yellow Belle Semiaspilates ochrearia found in Hampshire on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=373

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1968.php

1976 Privet Hawk-moth Sphinx ligustri found in Sussex on May 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1669

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1976.php

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum found in Sussex on May 27 and South Devon on May 31 (not first but probable migrants) - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1984.php

2061 Buff Ermine Spilosoma luteum found at Portland on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2762

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2061.php

2084 Light Feathered Rustic Agrotis cinerea found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4315

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2084.php

2118 True Lover's Knot Lycophotia porphyrea found in Dorset on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=170

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2118.php

2120 Ingrailed Clay Diarsia mendica found in Dorset on May 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5080

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2120.php

2123 Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi found in Dorset on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5282

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2123.php

2134 Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa found at Portland in Dorset on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5674

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2134.php

2166 The Campion Hadena rivularis found in Sussex on May 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=171

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2166.php

2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens found in Devon on May 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=224

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2199.php

2278 Poplar Grey Acronicta megacephala found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2750

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2278.php

2302 Brown Rustic Rusina ferruginea found in Dorset on May 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3163

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2302.php

2305 Small Angle Shades Euplexia lucipara found in Dorset on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=38

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2305.php

2331 Small Clouded Brindle Apamea unanimis found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5087

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2331.php

2339 Tawny Marbled Minor Oligia latruncula found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1274

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2339.php

2340 Middle-barred Minor Oligia fasciuncula found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5570

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2340.php

2382 The Rustic Hoplodrina blanda found in Sussex on May 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=435

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2382.php

2399 Bordered Sallow Pyrrhia umbra found in Dorset on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5872

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2399.php

2434 Burnished Brass Diachrysia chrysitis found in Sussex on May 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4301

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2434.php

2477 The Snout Hypena proboscidalis found in Dorset on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1136

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2477.php

2480 Buttoned Snout Hypena rostralis found in Kent on May 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=687

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2480.php

2492 Small Fan-foot Herminia grisealis found in Dorset on May 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=57

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2492.php

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Froghopper species (Cercopis vulnerata): First report was on May 19 but Cuckko Spit did not become abundant until May 29

Short-haired bumble-bee (Bombus subterraneus): On May 28 51 females imported from Sweden were released at Dungeness as a re-introduction to Britain of an extinct species

Cockchafer: First report from south Devon on May 20 and then from Durlston on May 29

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Traveller's Joy (Clematis vitalba): First flowering at Durlston on May 31

Black Mustard: On May 4 many plants were flowering on the seawall of Emsworth Marina but it was not until I returned there in May 29 that I say the adpressed seed pods confirming the identity of the plants

Horse Radish: First flowers seen at Southmoor Lane in Havant on May 28

Weld: Plants were seen in Emsworth on May 22 but I am not sure if they were in flower by then - they definitely were by May 28

White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum): This plant is restricted to two sites, one in North Somerset, the other in South Devon and the latter had plants in flower on May 27 at Berry Head

Turkish Tutsan (Hypericum xylosteifolium): Plants that were once part of an informal garden beside a moored wooden sailing ship in the Brockhampton Stream in Havant still persist and were flowering on May 28 many years after the vessel was swept out to sea and destroyed.

Greater Sea Spurrey: First flowers seen by me on May 29 at the Thornham Marshes on Thorney Island

Bastard Toadflax: First report of this in flower comes from Whitehawk Hill at Brighton on May 27

Spanish Broom: This has probably been in flower for some time but the first time I was aware of it was at Emsworth marina on May 29

Rest Harrow: First flowers seen in Portsdown on May 30

Hop Trefoil: First flowers seen on May 29 on the Thorney sea wall (west end of Deeps)

Smooth Tare: Started to flower generally from May 28

Grass Vetchling: First report of flowering from north Hayling on May 26

Sea Pea: Flowering at Rye Harbour on May 29 (only Hampshire site seems to be around Hurst Castle near Lymington and it may not have been found there since 1993).

Sainfoin: Plants were in bud on Portsdown on Apr 30 but I did not see them in flower until May 30 when there was a great display below the carpark to the east of the old A3 London |Road (near The George pub)+

Entire leaved Cotoneaster (C. integrifolius): There was a great display of what I think is this species (because of its big flowers not in clusters) on the slopes of the old A3 cutting south of the Portsdown Hill Road bridge on May 30

Sulphur Cinquefoil: Flowering in Emsworth (Bridge Road) on June 1

White Stonecrop: Flowering in Emsworth on May 26

Biting Stonecrop: Flowering at Hayling North Common on June 1

Corky Fruited Water Dropwort: Flowering on the Thorney Island seawall near the Little Deeps on May 29

Yellow Pimpernel: First report of this in flower comes from Stansted Forest on May 31

Wild Privet: First flowers seen on North Hayling on June 1

Field Bindweed: First flower (just one) seen on the Thorney Seawall area on May 29

Large Bindweed: First flowers seen in Havant on June 2

Common Toadflax: First flowers seen on June 1 at North Common on Hayling

Purple Toadflax: Both Purple and Pink forms flowering fromMay 28

Wild Thyme: The first that I am aware of was out on May 30 at Portsdown

Alkanet (Anchusa officinalis): First flowers seen on May 28 in Southmoor Lane at Havant

Ivy Broomrape: The yellow (form monochroma) plants were pushing up strongly at the Portchester Redd Barn estate on May 30 (see my diary for that date)

Common Broomrape: First report from Kent on May 28 with local plants seen on Portsdown on May 30

Clove-scented Broomrape (Orobanche caryophyllacea): Flowering in the Thanet area of Kent on May 28

Hoary Plantain: Starting to flower on Portsdown on May 30

Honeysuckle: Coming into general flowering on June 1

Common Ragwort: First flowers seen on north Hayling on June 1

Slender Thistle: Starting to flower in the Southmoor Lane area of Havant on May 28

Black Knapweed: Flowering in the Broadmarsh area of Havant on May 28

Goatsbeard: First flowers not reported until May 26 (Salsify was out on May 7 and is much more abundant than Goatsbeard this year

Wall Lettuce: First flowers in Emsworth on June 1

Rosy Garlic: Flowering at Boadmarsh west carpark on May 28 and on Portsdown on May 30

Stinking Iris: First flowers seen on June 2 (yellow flowered form in Havant cemetery)

Turkish Iris (I. orientalis): Flowering on June 1 at the old seawall of the long disused boating lake of Hayling North Common Holiday camp

New Zealand Cabbage Palm (Cordyline australis): Flowering in a Havant garden on June 1

Orchid species: See http://www.planetthanet.org/avian_news_May_2012.htm (May 28 entry) for an account of a ten hour chase around East Kent which managed to record 20 species of orchid (not all in flower)

Bee Orchid: Locally around 20 plants were flowering beside the Broadmarsh to Farlington Marshes cycleway on May 28 and more were seen on Portsdown on May 30

Common Spotted Orchid: These started to flower locally on May 30

Southern Marsh Orchid: I had found one plant starting to open its flowers at Langstone South Moors on May 19 but the first report of general flowering came from Emsworth Brook Meadow on May 27

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Muntjac deer: A sighting of one on Portland Island on May 29 was thought to be only the third record for the Island

Pointed Snail (Cochlicella acuta): The colony on the seawall bank opposite the west end of the Thorney Great Deeps is still surviving - I saw 23 live shells hanging from the vegetation in the hot sunshine when I was there on May 29

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for May 21 - 27 (Week 21 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Their winter season with us is now effectively over but one or two still managed to get noticed like the Great Northern in full summer plumage which was seen flying north over a house in the centre of Dartmoor on May 20 (one was still on the sea at Selsey on May 25)

Slavonian Grebe: One in summer plumage in the Exmouth area of Devon on May 21 was probably intending to stay there for the summer

Storm Petrel: Despite the dramatic change in the weather from winter to summer the ringers on Portland Bill still managed to tape lure one of these into their nets on the night of May 22

Night Heron: One made an over night stay at Waltham Brooks (Pulborough) on May 17 and probably stayed on in that area as one was seen at Pulborough Brooks on the evening of May 23. What must have been a different bird was heard and seen in the fields north of Pagham Harbour, also on May 23

Cattle Egret: One flew west over West Bexington (near Abbotsbury in Dorset) on May 24 and was probably the bird which arrived at Yelland (on the Taw estuary near Barnstable) on May 25

Great White Egret: One arrived at Thurlstone (south Devon) on May 24 and was still there next day

White Stork: A party of four spent four days (May 23 to 26) touring the south coast of Dorset and Devon from Portland to the Kingsbridge area

Glossy Ibis: One of the pair which have been in the Pagham north walls area since May 6 was still there on May 26 but another was a new comer in the Pannell Farm area of Rye Bay on May 25

Spoonbill: Four were still in the Poole Harbour area this week and a young bird was still at the Walmsley Sanctuary (Wadebridge) in Cornwall but the pair seen early in the week at Lymington and Christchurch were not there at the end of the week.

Brent Goose: It seems a long time since we last saw big flocks of Brent but I see that a flock of 5256 were still in the Netherlands on May 23

Shelduck: Families of young have been appearing since May 15 (6 ducklings at Sidlesham) and this week 2 adults were shepherding more than 20 ducklings at a north Devon site but I have not yet heard any young in the Solent harbours

Honey Buzzard: On May 22 Graeme Lyons had a good view of one over the Sussex Wildlife Trust Butcherlands farm near Midhurst and on May 23 Laurence Holloway watched one come in over his home at Bognor. Also on May 23 there were 9 together over one Netherlands site

Black Kite: On May 19 one, seemingly arriving from the continent, was over Freshwater in the Isle of Wight and next day another came in off the sea in Cornwall while another was seen over Whitcombe (near Dorchester) in Dorset on May 25

Red Kite: Recent reports suggest that our British Kite population is being swelled by waves of continental immigrants. On May 13 a group of 9 Kites over the Porthgwarra (Lands End) area seemed to be part of an influx with many other sightings in Cornwall. On May 22 there was a similar surge of reports from both Sussex and Dorset of birds seen heading north from the coast but not seen previously coming south - of course there is no clear 'proof of origin' but with game rearing landowners having recently obtained government support for measures to control the number of Buzzards which are said to be having a harmful effect on their ability to make money from shooting Pheasants I wonder how long it will be before Red Kites will only be allowed to live in cages? See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18183204

Quail: No evidence yet that this is to be a 'Quail year' but birds have been heard this week in the Rodmell area near Lewes, at 'The Burgh' where the Arun cuts through the Sussex Downs north of Arundel, at Martin Down south of Salisbury, at Horton in Dorset (west of Ringwood), and in the Scillies

Baillon's Crake: One has been heard 'singing' in Anglesey on May 23 and 24 and again on May 26

Black-winged Stilt: I have now seen 28 reports of these (mainly in southern England) since Apr 6 when one was on the Isle Of Wight (near Newport). This week one was at the Gaia Trust's Home Farm Marsh Reserve in North Devon and other sightings have been at Lodmoor and Abbotsbury in Dorset and at the Paxton Pits on the Beds/Cambs border near Bedford

Avocet: The first report of chicks having hatched came from Rye Harbour on May 12 with others seen at the Oare Marshes in north Kent on May 19 but so far I have not heard of any at Titchfield Haven.

Cream-coloured Courser: One in Herefordshire from May 20 to 24 made a good day trip for the twitchers

Dotterel: On May 20 it seems there were at least 12 somewhere in the British Isles, one of them being heard on the Worthing seafront

Great Blackback Gull: For many years Herring and Lesser Blackback Gulls have been extending the area of their rooftop nesting to new towns along the south coast and this year Great Blackbacks have joined in the takeover of rooves in the Portsmouth area. In the Burrfields area of Portsea Island (near Hilsea rail station) the first chicks were seen at factory roof nests on May 24 and there is every expectation that other chicks will soon appear on a raft nest in the Emsworth Slipper Mill Pond (best estimate is that at least one will hatch on May 28). This is almost certainly not the only Great Blackback nest in the Havant area as I now expect to see an adult commuting between the town and Langstone Harbour whenever I visit Budds Farm, and on May 24 I was surprised to see six adults on the harbour shore at the mouth of the Langbrook stream

Common Tern: When at the Hayling Oysterbeds on May 24 I noticed two Common Terns looking as if they were sitting on nests on the southern fringe of the area occupied by the Black-headed Gull nests

White-winged Black Tern: One was seen in the Scillies on May 18 and two spent May 26 fishing in the Stodmarsh area of the Kent Stour Valley

Barn Owl: Photographers may like to take a look at http://www.kentos.org.uk/Seasalter/images/IMG_0532.Barn-Owl.450.SS.19.5.12.jpg and admire the luck of the photographer who took this shot

Nightjar: Birds are now present, churring and wing-clapping, at most regular sites including Havant Thicket (though the display was subdued when John Goodspeed was there on May 22)

House Martin: Of local interest six birds were seen collecting mud for nest building at the Bidbury Mead recreation ground in the Bedhampton area of Havant on May 25

Wheatear: I think very few, if any, Hampshire birders think of Wheatears as birds which breed in the south of England so it is good to see that an adult could be seen with two fledglings on the Seven Sisters clifftops near Beachy Head on May 23. Even in that part of Sussex I suspect that few can recall the days when it was regular practice to catch bags full of Wheatears for sale in towns like Eastbourne (as Wheatears nest underground in Rabbit burrows and the like you catch them by propping a stone above a likely burrow entrance, wait for the Wheatear to enter, then pull the string attached to the prop holding up the stone.)

Marsh Tit: I was asked during the week by an orchid 'hunter' who had been to see a Military Orchid in (I think) Berkshire whether a Tit they had seen regularly entering a nest built in the hollow metal tube of a footpath 'finger post' was more likely to be a Marsh or Willow Tit to which my answer was Marsh as these take advantage of ready made nest sites while Willow Tits excavate their own nests from rotten wood. I see that this theory still gets support as on May 19 a Marsh Tit nest was found in the Broadwater Forest area near Crowborough in a Dormouse nest box.

Golden Oriole: I see that I have now collected 51 reports of these birds since Apr 13 (when a male arrived at Seaford Head in Sussex). This relatively large number is mainly the result of my having cast my net wider this year, collecting many of the records from Devon, Cornwall and the Scillies (up to 11 were present in the Scillies on May 3, and at least one dead individual was brought in by a cat there!). Nevertheless Sandy Point on Hayling still recorded one on May 25 and one flew over Portland on May 24 while one was at Reculver in north Kent on May 21

Red-backed Shrike: Five reports since May 4 have come from Cornwall, Northumberland, The Scillies and north Kent (Oare Marshes and the Stour Valley)

Woodchat Shrike: Twenty three reports since Apr 30, again mainly from Devon, Cornwall and the Scillies, but Hampshire had one briefly at Lymington on May 12 and 13 and one was at Martin Down on May 20 and 21 with another reported at Portland on May 23

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Emperor: First reported in Cornwall on May 19

Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica): First in Berkshire on May 25

Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva): First at Burton Mill Pond in Sussex on May 21

White-faced Darter (Leucorrhinia dubia): First in Staffordshire on May 26

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo): First in Essex on May 22 (and a male settled on Portsdown far from water on May 23)

White Legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes): First in Gloucestershire on May 24

Species reported this week:

Emperor dragonfly, Hairy dragonfly, Downy Emerald, Brilliant Emerald, Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, Scarce Chaser, White-faced Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Beautiful Demoiselle, White Legged Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Variable Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary: First in Bentley Wood near Stockbridge on May 25

Marsh Fritillary: First at Martin Down on May 22

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Wood White, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Painted Lady (probable migrants near Lewes and Eastbourne on May 21 and 22), Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Glanville Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Small Heath.

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0229 Monopis obviella found in Dorset on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2010

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0229.php

0391 Cocksfoot Moth Glyphipterix simpliciella found in Dorset on May 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=907

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0391.php

0396 Glyphipterix fuscoviridella found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3731

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0396.php

0409a Argyresthia trifasciata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5622

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0409a.php

0436 Pseudoswammerdamia combinella found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6195

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0436.php

0652 Alabonia geoffrella found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6677

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0652.php

0654 Pleurota bicostella found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5863

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0654.php

0843 Aproaerema anthyllidella found in Dorset on May 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3364

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0843.php

1097 Endothenia gentianaeana found in Sussex on May 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2952

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1097.php

1142 Epinotia tedella found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6116

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1142.php

1146 Epinotia rubiginosana found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2755

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1146.php

1334 Scoparia ambigualis found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4160

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1334.php

1336 Eudonia pallida found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3716

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1336.php

1469 Euzophera cinerosella found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1456

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1469.php

1517 Adaina microdactyla found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1378

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1517.php

1648 Pebble Hook-tip Drepana falcataria found in Dorset on May 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=80

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1648.php

1677 Birch Mocha Cyclophora albipunctata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2767

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1677.php

1680 Maiden's Blush Cyclophora punctaria found in Dorset on May 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2773

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1680.php

1689 Mullein Wave Scopula marginepunctata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3476

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1689.php

1693 Cream Wave Scopula floslactata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=815

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1693.php

1711 Treble Brown Spot Idaea trigeminata found in Dorset on May 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=454

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1711.php

1713 Riband Wave Idaea aversata found in Devon on May 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4170

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1713.php

1722 Flame Carpet Xanthorhoe designata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=17

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1722.php

1727 Silver-ground Carpet Xanthorhoe montanata found in Dorset on May 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=29

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1727.php

1752 Purple Bar Cosmorhoe ocellata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=138

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1752.php

1754 The Phoenix Eulithis prunata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=887

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1754.php

1771 Juniper Carpet Thera juniperata found in Dorset on May 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1870

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1771.php

1773 Broken-barred Carpet Electrophaes corylata found in Dorset on May 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=459

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1773.php

1778 May Highflyer Hydriomena impluviata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=866

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1778.php

1781 Small Waved Umber Horisme vitalbata found in Dorset on May 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3926

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1781.php

1807 Grass Rivulet Perizoma albulata found in Dorset on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=357

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1807.php

1819 Mottled Pug Eupithecia exiguata found in Dorset on May 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=460

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1819.php

1821 Valerian Pug Eupithecia valerianata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2441

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1821.php

1844 Ochreous Pug Eupithecia indigata found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1024

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1844.php

1867 Treble-bar Aplocera plagiata found in Sussex on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3933

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1867.php

1875 Small White Wave Asthena albulata found in Devon on May 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1207

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1875.php

1879 The Seraphim Lobophora halterata found in Dorset on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1043

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1879.php

1882 Small Seraphim Pterapherapteryx sexalata found in Dorset on May 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4490

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1882.php

1890 Sharp-angled Peacock Macaria alternata found in Dorset on May 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=275

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1890.php

1901 Little Thorn Cepphis advenaria found in Dorset on May 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1028

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1901.php

1920 Scalloped Hazel Odontopera bidentata found in Dorset on May 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=9

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1920.php

1981 Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi found in Dorset on May 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=28

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1981.php

1982 Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Hemaris tityus found in Dorset on May 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4435

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1982.php

1994 Buff-tip Phalera bucephala found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=32

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1994.php

1996 Alder Kitten Furcula bicuspis found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=399

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1996.php

2043 Orange Footman Eilema sororcula found in Dorset on May 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4773

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2043.php

2056 Wood Tiger Parasemia plantaginis found in Hampshire on May 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2077

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2056.php

2058 Cream-spot Tiger Arctia villica found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4451

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2058.php

2098 The Flame Axylia putris found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=229

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2098.php

2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum found in Dorset on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=121

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2126.php

2145 The Nutmeg Discestra trifolii found in Dorset on May 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2026

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2145.php

2147 The Shears Hada plebeja found in Dorset on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=306

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2147.php

2157 Light Brocade Lacanobia w-latinum found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=492

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2157.php

2194 White-point Mythimna albipuncta found in Dorset on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=890

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2194.php

2202 L-album Wainscot Mythimna l-album found in Dorset on May 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1035

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2202.php

2281 Alder Moth Acronicta alni found in Dorset on May 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=372

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2281.php

2291 The Coronet Craniophora ligustri found in Dorset on May 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4356

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2291.php

2337 Marbled Minor Oligia strigilis found in Dorset on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=36

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2337.php

2439 Gold Spot Plusia festucae found in Dorset on May 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5919

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2439.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

On May 24 Graeme Lyons was at Southeram and Malling Down in the Lewes area (see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/swarm-of-conservationists.html ) and found Bombus muscorum (Moss Carder Bee), a rare Stilletto Fly (Thereva plebeja) and a solitary bee called Osmia aurulenta.

On May 21 Graeme visited the coast at Seaford Head (see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/at-my-loess-point.html ) and saw another rare bee called Anthophora retusa and a hoverfly called Eristalinus aeneus whose larvae live in rotting seaweed plus a micromoth (Endothenia gentianaeana) whose larvae live in Teazel heads. To round off he found a small Dung Beetle called Aphodius fossor

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Hairy rock cress (Arabis hirsuta): First flowers out on May 23 when I visited Portsdown

Weld (Reseda lutea): First found flowering in Emsworth on May 22

Common Rockrose ((Helianthemun nummularium): Just starting to flower on Portsdown on May 23

Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum): First flowers seen on Portsdown on May 23

Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris): Flowering at Langstone on May 24

Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea): First flowers found in Havant on May 21

Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris): This was flowering in January but the first flowers seen since Feb 1 were found on May 25

Least Yellow Sorrel (Oxalis exilis): First flowers found in Langstone (Southbrook Road) on May 24

Sea Clover (Trifolium squamosum): Starting to flower in the south-eastmost field of Warblington Farm on May 25

Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulnerata): Although reported flowering at Durlston on Apr 29 I did not see any in flower until May 23 on Portsdown

Broad-leaved Willowherb: First flowers seen in Havant on May 25

American Willowherb: First flowers found in my Havant garden on May 26

Square-stemmed Willowherb: Flowering in Havant on May 25

Caper Spurge: Garden escape plants flowering in Havant on May 21

Rough Chervil: This successor to Cow Parsley was starting to flower in the Havant area on May 24

Hemlock: First flowers starting to open on May 24

Ground Elder: This burst into flower on May 25

Sanicle: Flowering on Portsdown on May 23 (though I thought I had seen it earlier!)

Early Gentian: Durlston reports more than usual of this flowering by May 23 but none yet seen on Portsdown

Foxglove: First flowers open on May 25

Viper's Bugloss: First flowers seen in Emsworth on May 25

Common Gromwell: A single floret open on Portsdown on May 23

Corn Chamomile look-alike (Anthemis austriaca): The massive wildflower seed sowing in the Warblington Cemetery extension had started to flower on May 24

Cornflower: This was also starting ot flower on May 24 in this wildflower seed sown area

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Rockpool fish: On May 20 Graeme Lyons went rockpooling on the beach at Saltdean (Brighton) and his blog made me aware of some of the wonders of the (not so) deep water. Among the creatures you can see and read about on his blog at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/klingons-off-starboard-bow.html are Long-spined Sea Scorpion (Taurulus bubalis) - which is related to the oddly named "Fatherlasher" or Short spined Sea Scorpion (Myoxocephalus scorpius), the Five-bearded Rockling (Ciliata mustela), Corkwing Wrasse (Crenilabrus melops) and the Small-headed Clingfish (Apletodon dentatus) whose fins have evolved into suckers.

Grey Mullet: A large shoal of these has been in the Slipper Mill Pond at Emsworth this week and, while I am not interested in trying to catch them, I was interested to learn that they are not easy to catch as they spurn the baits which attract other fish - their idea of a good meal is a mouthful of mud or slimy algae, both of which are difficult to attach to a fish hook. I learnt this from http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/sea-fishing-articles/mullet_basics.html Another web article ( http://www.gofishing.co.uk/Sea-Angler/Section/how-to/Sea-Fishing-Advice/Fish-Species/British-Sea-Fish-Species/Thick-Lipped-Grey-Mullet/ ) tells me that the reason they turn up in our coastal waters at this time of year is that they come to spawn in shallow, cool water in the spring and then hang around but we may not see them for much longer as the English Channel is already at the southern limit of water they deem to be cool enough for spawning.

Fungi: The only species worth a mention this week grows in acidic bog water, stands no more than 4 cm high and looks like a tiny, bright yellow, ice lolly on a white stick of a stem. It is called the Bog Beacon (Mitrula paludosa) and I have seen it in the past in the New Forest but the current find by Graeme Lyons was in Rowland Wood near Hailsham/Eastbourne and you can see Graeme's photos of it at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/bog-lollies.html

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for May 14 - 20 (Week 20 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Red-throated only get one report from the English south coast this week (one at Christchurch on May 19) but Black-throated were seen at Portland and Falmouth as well as Christchurch (still no more than 2) making Great Northern the most frequently seen with ten reports and a count of four at Marazion (near Penzance) on May 18

Red-necked Grebe: Just one reported off the Netherlands on May 19

Sooty Shearwater: One had been reported off Flamborough Head on Jan 5 but the real 'first of the year' was off the Butt of Lewis in the western Isles on May 14

Leach's Storm Petrel: There had also been sightings of this in the first week of January but the species is only now making its real first appearance with sightings off the Butt of Lewis on May 14 and Spurn Head on May 15

Night Heron: One put in an unexpected appearance at Waltham Brooks (Pulborough) on the evening of May 17 but disappeared next day!

White Stork: Up to three 'lost birds' were wandering around southern England this week with sightings over Pulborough Brooks, East Grinstead (near Crawley), and Stockbridge in the Hampshire Test valley.

Glossy Ibis: At least one (of the two which arrived at the Pagham North Walls on May 6) was still there on May 19

Spoonbill: One or two have been seen this week in north Cornwall, the Scillies, Exminster marsh in Devon and on Brownsea Island (Poole Harbour in Dorset)

Mute Swan: The pair on the Budds Farm pools in Havant had five new cygnets on May 19 but I fear that some disaster has overtaken the Langstone Pond family which hatched seven cygnets on May 2 and was seen on May 5 taking normal precautions against Fox predation by taking the youngsters off the pond onto the open waters of the harbour. They normally spend the first couple of months in the mouth of the Langbrook stream to the west of Langstone Bridge and I expected to see them there on May 19 but only saw two adults on the harbour off the South Moors shore (I think these were unrelated non-breeding birds). Reaching Langstone village shore there was still no sign of the family but off the pond seawall there was a single Swan (seemingly a female) behaving in an agitated fashion. When first seen she was paddling fast with wings half raised as if heading to drive off an intruder (though no other Swan was in the area). She then returned to the pond sluice gate area and, in the shallow water, stood up and flapped her wings while 'yapping' (making dog like sounds which I have not heard before). Interestingly this yapping was also heard from a different female earlier this week in the Milton Lakes area of Southsea where this year's cygnets mistook an adult (thought to be one of last year's young still in the area - normally the breeding adults would have driven off last year's young before settling to raise a new family). When the mother Swan saw her cygnets following this other adult she also became vocal to call them back to her.

Greylag Goose: Among the 'remarkable' sightings recorded on the Trektellen website on May 18 was a report of 1985 Greylags in the Netherlands (1667 at one site and 318 at another) - I have no idea if such a gathering at this time of year is as unusual as it seemed to me, maybe it is just an earlier than usual moult gathering after an earlier than usual breeding season?

Pale-bellied Brent: Another report which strikes me as unusual is of 10 Pale-bellied Brent on the Lymington shore on May 14. I have the impression that the normal northward passage of these birds from the French west coast, where they have been wintering, over Devon and Cornwall and then up the west coast of England has for some reason shifted east this spring bringing more birds over the Portland area of Dorset and that a few of these birds have suffered a further eastward shift in their route which has changed their northward heading into an eastward one.

Shelduck: The first six ducklings of the year were seen on the Sidlesham Ferry Pool (Pagham Harbour) on May 15. No ducklings yet at Budds Farm pools here in Havant on May 19 where what I assume was the male of one pair was sitting patiently alone on the concrete wall and the other pair made a brief appearance on the water together as if the male had been joined by the female (who was seen having a 'wash and brush up' during a brief escape from egg sitting duty)

Red-breasted Merganser: A pair seen on the River Hamble near Warsash on May 17 were presumably very late passage birds. Birds of Hampshire remarks on an increase in the number breeding in Britain and the BTO Factsheet says that 2150 pairs bred in Britain in the 1988 to 91 period but I think these were probably all in Scotland

Honey Buzzard: Sightings were reported this week in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Kent and Hampshire (including one flying north over Havant on May 12) but these birds are not necessarily intending to spend the summer in the British Isles - they may well be off-course birds heading for Scandinavia (back in the autumn of 2000 large numbers of returning birds were windblown across south east England and, e.g., 62 flew over Beachy Head on Sep 30 giving a total of 120 over that site in eight days)

Hobby: Arrivals probably peaked this week with a count of more than 39 together over the Stodmarsh area of the Kent Stour Valley on May 19. At least one was seen flying north over Havant on May 16

Quail: One was reported in Cornwall on May 11 and that was followed by five more reports between May 15 and 19 from Sandwich Bay in Kent to the Scillies, including one in the Lewes area of Sussex and another at Tarrant Rushton in Dorset

Coot: These 'too numerous' (?) birds are now increasing their numbers with babies seen at Emsworth Slipper Mill Pond, Langstone Pond, and the Budds Farm pools this week

Dotterel: RBA News for May 12 included a count of 20 Dotterel without a site being named (so I assume this to be a UK total of reported birds). A similar report on May 15 gave a count of 11

Curlew Sandpiper: One was on the Lymington shore on May 19 after reports of 2 at a Netherlands site and one in Belgium

Wood Sandpiper: Two were on the Lymington shore on May 12 and two were in the Scillies on May 17 followed by a report of 11 in the Netherlands on May 19

Common Sandpiper: These normally turn up in ones and twos but on May 18 one Netherlands site reported 117

Red-necked Phalarope: After a report of one in Wales (Powys) on May 2 another has been seen in Gloucestershire on May 16

Pomarine Skua: This week saw a peak in their spring passage through the Western Isles of Scotland with counts of up to 600 on May 13 and 635 on May 14. On the south coast things were more usual with 2 passing Portland on May 16 and 3 passing Selsey on May 17

Long-tailed Skua: 550 went through the Western Isles on May 13

Med Gull: These seem to have changed their habits this year with a max count of just 4 at the Hayling Oysterbeds on May 19 and a comment that 10 at Titchfield Haven on that day was a 'low number'. On May 18 Rye Harbour reported the presence of 55 breeding pairs (perhaps slightly less than the 130+ individuals reported there on Apr 30 last year)

Black-headed Gull: Chicks started to hatch at Rye Harbour on May 10 but there have been no reports of young at the Hayling Oysterbeds (and distant views of the Langstone Harbour islands have shown no increase in aerial activity which would be expected when the adults start feeding young)

Little Tern: On May 19 Chris Slade was at the Hayling Oysterbeds and says that one pair of Little Terns have nested (though he does not say that he saw them or the nest - maybe he heard a confused report of the one pair of Sandwich Terns which were said to have nested there) but his version would tie in with my sighting of one adult fishing in the northernmost pool on May 2 but lack of further reports of any birds in Langstone Harbour makes it likely that no others will nest there this year. In Pagham Harbour the highest figure I have seen is a count of 31 birds there on May 10 so I doubt if more than 20 pairs will nest (probably many fewer) and at Rye Harbour the highest figure reported was 16 birds on May 7 with the comment on May 13 that windy weather was making it very difficult to catch any fish using their technique of high hovering and plunging when the water surface was churned up by the wind.

Black Tern: Although there have been a couple of inland sightings at the Blashford Lakes and one at Pulborough Brooks a sighting of one at Fleet Pond on May 18 was unusual

Turtle Dove: Although it seems that a few have returned to established sites such as Martin Down and Noar Hill it seems unlikely that this summer will bring any news to indicate a change to the pattern of declining numbers breeding in southern England. This decline has for long been associated with the shooting of birds passing over Malta but this week I saw what I believe to be a well informed comment that, while that shooting is to be deprecated, the birds which arrive to breed in Britain do not fly here via Malta but use a different route via the western Mediterranean.

Cuckoo: During the past week birds have been heard repeatedly calling around both Langstone Pond and Budds Farm pools while the first report of the bubbling call (which I understand is made by females after egg-laying) came from the Blashford Lakes on May 17. When I passed Langstone Pond on May 19 at least one Reed Warbler was singing but there was no sign of new reed growth replacing the dead reeds from last year and I think the Reed Warblers will not build their nests and become targets for Cuckoos until the new reeds are full grown.

Little Owl: I think the normal hunting technique used by these owls is to watch for and plunge on beetles and worms from low perches or even to hunt for them on the ground but I am pretty sure that they do not like to get their plumage wet moving about among wet grass on the ground so it is interesting to hear that one was seen on May 15 hovering some 25 feet up to search the ground below for prey. The observer reporting this added that he had seen this technique used only once before and that too was in rain.

Long-eared Owl: These are fairly common on the Isle of Wight where they replace Tawny Owls and this week the presence of young in one Parkhurst Forest nest was revealed by the strange squeaky calls of the young (said to resemble the noise made by a bicycle with a very rusty chain). Quite a few years back I remember hearing reports of this noise heard on the slopes of Portsdown above Portchester, and later hearing of a Long-eared corpse found on the coast road through Portchester. More recently several of these owls have been discovered as summer residents on the Downs above Brighton though I think this colony is now diminishing.

Short-eared Owl: Another eleven reports this week from sites in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset with the latest sighting being of two at the Pagham Harbour North Walls on May 19 after one on Thorney Island on May 18

Nightjar: There have been at least a dozen visual sightings of these since the first was reported at Portland on May 4 and this week we have the first report of one heard churring at 4:30 am on May 13 by a Dawn Chorus party at Woods Mill in the Arun valley

Swift: May 14 brought a gathering of 300 over the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood and on the continent one Belgian site had 7665 on May 18 so there are plenty of birds now 'house hunting' in southern England but coming up against a great shortage of suitable accommodation. I saw one party of eight birds circling and screaming over my garden at 9am on May 18 but their brief presence gives me little hope that any will nest here this year - these birds think nothing of travelling several hundred miles in a day and the eight birds I saw could have been searching an area covering several counties and possibly several countries with the channel being no obstacle.

Bee Eater: May 19 brought reports of one bird heading north over Beachy Head and another doing the same over Newhaven. May 17 brought one over the Isle of Wight and then Hayling Island. Earlier in May others were seen over Wales and Cornwall with one heard at the Lower Test Marshes (Southampton) on May 5

Woodpeckers: I recently saw photos of a Great Spotted Woodpecker enlarging the entrance hole to a Tit nest box so that it could eat the baby tits or feed them to its own young so I have much admiration for the bravery of two Dorset ringers at the Longham Lakes (Bournemouth) who held up (in their bare hands) both a Great Spot and a Green to be photographed ( see http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-J6tVusSZ0SQ/T7a2UHD0wPI/AAAAAAAAAOY/Jmbd7N-x7hY/s400/GRSWO-&-GREWO-RogermPeart.jpg ) without suffering injury from either beak or claw.

Sand Martin: Some 50 nest holes are already occupied at Christchurch Harbour

Red-rumped Swallow: On May 11 the RBA News reported a significant influx of these into Britain with at least 37 birds reported up to that date and this week there have been more reports from the Scillies (at least six present), Helston in Cornwall, Pegwell Bay and Dungeness in Kent, Spurn Head in Yorkshire. The image below was taken by R.Mawer and appeared in the Isles of Scilly website.

Red Rumped Swallow photo taken by R Mawer

House Martin: A late influx of these brought a report of more than 2000 over the Blashford Lakes on May 15

Meadow Pipit: At least one pair seems to be nesting on the Langstone South Moors with the male making song flights when I passed on May 19

Nightingale: A report of five different birds singing at the local Marlpit Lane site near Funtington on May 11 was confirmed by another visit on May 13 when all five were still singing

Goldcrest: A search of the Elvetham Estate at Hartley Witney near Fleet in north Hampshire on May 13 found 20 nests and a total of 82 birds present

Firecrest: Of local interest May 16 brought news of one singing on the south west fringe of Chichester (where the East Broyle housing estate meets the Brnady Hole Copse area)

Long-tailed Tit: First report of a family party numbering more than 20 birds came from the Church Norton area (Pagham Harbour) on May 15

Nuthatch: A bird heard and seen in trees along Wade Court Road in Havant back on Mar 21 seems to have stayed there to be heard again on May 16 and another bird seems to have settled in the Brook Meadow area at Emsworth with sightings there on Jan 31, Mar 14 and May 17

Golden Oriole: This week has brought another 13 reports (including three from the Netherlands) with four birds present on the Scillies on May 17

Red-backed Shrike: A male in the Scillies on May 17 was the fifth report of the year though the others were in Cornwall, Northumerland, Co Cork in Ireland and Belgium (on Apr 30)

Woodchat Shrike: One has been in the Scillies from May 8 to 17, another near Wembury (Plymouth area of south Devon) from May 13 to 15, and another in the Lands End area from May 13 to 19. One at Keyhaven in the Lymington area was only seen on May 12 and 13

Raven: On May 13 pig fields near Martin Down (south of Salisbury) held 105 Ravens

Starling: Flocks of noisy juveniles are now out seeking their own food

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Black Tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum): First seen in Devon on May 16

Emperor: First seen in Cornwall on May 19

Species reported this week:

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea), Black Tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Beautiful Demoiselle, Banded Demoiselle, Azure Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Variable Damselfly, Red-eyed Damselfly, Blue tailed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spot Chaser, Hairy Dragonfly, and Club-tailed Dragonfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Small Blue: A sighting of two in the Paulsgrove Chalkpit on Portsdown on May 13 was the seventh report for the year (first seen on Isle of Wight on Apr 16 after a reported sighting there on Mar 30)

Glanville Fritillary : First of the year at Wheelers Bay (Ventnor, IoW) on May 11

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Clouded Yellow (presumed migrants at Ventnor and Portland), Brimstone, Large- Small- and Green-Veined White, Orange-tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Pearly Bordered Fritillary, Glanville Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Small Heath.

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0128 Phylloporia bistrigella found in Kent on May 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2873

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0128.php

0199 Psychoides verhuella found in Kent on May 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6705

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0199.php

0247 Tinea trinotella found in Dorset on May 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1377

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0247.php

0381 Large Red-belted Clearwing Synanthedon culiciformis found in Kent on May 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5170

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0381.php

0797 Neofaculta ericetella found in Kent on May 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1702

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0797.php

1076 Celypha lacunana found in Isle of Wight on May 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5042

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1076.php

1118 Ancylis uncella found in Kent on May 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3501

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1118.php

1132 Epinotia subocellana found in Kent on May 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6125

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1132.php

1136 Epinotia immundana found in Kent on May 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=939

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1136.php

1640 The Drinker Euthrix potatoria found in Dorset on May 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2149

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1640.php

1651 Chinese Character Cilix glaucata found in Dorset on May 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2150

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1651.php

1725 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata found in Dorset on May 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=164

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1725.php

1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata found in Devon on May 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=26

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1764.php

1787 Argent & Sable Rheumaptera hastata found in Hampshire on May 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6424

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1787.php

1802 The Rivulet Perizoma affinitata found in Kent on May 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=439

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1802.php

1808 Sandy Carpet Perizoma flavofasciata found in Dorset on May 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2168

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1808.php

1825 Lime-speck Pug Eupithecia centaureata found in Dorset on May 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=113

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1825.php

1878 Drab Looper Minoa murinata found in Sussex on May 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4396

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1878.php

1909 Speckled Yellow Pseudopanthera macularia found in Hampshire on May 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5299

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1909.php

1937 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria found in Dorset on May 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=582

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1937.php

1939 Ringed Carpet Cleora cinctaria found in Dorset on May 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3112

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1939.php

1952 Common Heath Ematurga atomaria found in Sussex on May 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2132

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1952.php

1978 Pine Hawk-moth Hyloicus pinastri found in Dorset on May 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=769

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1978.php

1992 Small Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila porcellus found in Dorset on May 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3162

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1992.php

2069 The Cinnabar Tyria jacobaeae found in Hampshire on May 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3579

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2069.php

2089 Heart & Dart Agrotis exclamationis found in Dorset on May 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5076

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2089.php

2173 The Lychnis Hadena bicruris found in Dorset on May 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=68

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2173.php

2380 Treble Lines Charanyca trigrammica found in Devon on May 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=330

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2380.php

2463 Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica found in Sussex on May 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5298

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2463.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata): First sightings at Durlston on May 19 plus finds of their 'Cuckoo Spit'

Beetles seen by Graeme Lyons: See entries for May 13, 15, 16 and 17 at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/ for photos and details of a Rosemary leaf beetle (Chrysolina americana), the rare Saproxylic (deadwood) beetle Colydium elongatum which has a mixed diet of wood and smaller beetles of similar species, a probable Ampedus cinnabarinus, a really tiny Small Heather Weevil Micrelus ericae, and another Weevil Aulacobaris picicornis

Uncommon spiders: On May 18 Graeme Lyons spotted a rare Crab Spider (Philodromus aureolus) on the ceiling inside his house (see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/space-invader.html ) and on May 19 Chris Bentley found his first females of the eye-catching and rare jumping spider Pellenes tripunctatus at Rye Harbour (see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/05/19/ooh-its-the-ladies/ )

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Common ramping fumitory (Fumaria muralis): My first find of this year was made under gorse on Sinah Common (south Hayling) on May 16

Annual wall rocket (Diplotaxis muralis): Another first for the year in Havant on May 14

Dame's violet (Hesperis matronalis): Newly in flower at the Hayling Oysterbeds on May 16

Sea kale (Crambe maritima): Newly flowering on shingle south of the Hayling Oysterbeds on May 16

Bastard Cabbage (Rapistrum rugosum): Lots of this in full flower on the Hayling western seawall on May 16 - for details and photos see my diary entry for that day

Field mouse ear (Cerastium arvense): Although not uncommon in inland Hampshire it is absent from the south east of the county although there is an old record of it from the Hayling Sinah Sand Dunes in 1950. As it is a large plant the size of Greater Stitchwort and forms large mats it is very unlikely to have been overlooked there in recent years but it is also very similar to the 'Snow in Summer' (Cerastium tomentosum) which grows on your left just before the blind bend leading to the harbour entrance carpark and next time I am there I intend to give that a closer look to make sure I have not misidentified it! The reason for this entry is that the plant was found this week on Beachy Head and you can see photos with Graeme Lyones blog entry at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/stitched-up-like-mouse-ear.html

Upright chickweed (Moenchia erecta): Another of Graeme Lyons finds when at Cowdray (nr Midhurst) on May 13. See the second part of http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/saproxylic-weasel.html

Sea sandwort (Honckenya peploides): One flower of this soon to be common shore plant was open when I was at south Hayling on May 16

Lesser sea spurrey (Spergularia marina): Although the first few flowers were to be seen a month ago this has only just become a very common sight along the harbour and seaside

Round leaved cranesbill (Geranium rotundifolium): I made my first find of this on Hayling on May 16

White Clover: First flowers seen in Havant on May 19

Spring Vetch: Although I had found this in the sandy soil of Sinah Common back on May 2 it was to be found in much larger numbers on May 16

Cockspur Thorn: On May 14 I noticed one of these trees for the first time in the Havant Eastern Road cemetery in full blossom and with its distinctive large fruits and leaves at the northern end of the eastern wall

Dog Rose: First flowers of the summer near Budds Farm in Havant on May 19

Japanese Rose (Rosa rugosa): Bushes in full flower along the South Moors seawall on May 19

English Stonecrop: Just starting to flower on the Sinah Common shore on May 16 along with Mossy Stonecrop

Hogweed: Although last year's plants persisted well into this year I came on my first 'new season' plant on May 19

Early gentian (Gentianella anglica): This had started to flower at Durlston on May 18 so may well be found at the Paulsgrove Chalk Pit site on Portsdown in the near future

Yellow Rattle: Flowering on Sinah Common (Hayling) on May 16

Hounds Tongue: Flowering at Mill Hill (Shoreham) on May 16

Russian Comfrey: First flowers seen in the Emsworth Brook Meadow area on May 12

Slender Thistle: Many full grown plants (none yet in flower) around the south end of Southmoor Lane near Budds Farm in Havant on May 19

Cats Ear: One plant flowering in Havant on May 19

Hairy Garlic: Brian Fellows found this in flower at Emsworth (near Lillywhite's Garage) on May 15 but when I checked the Langstone Mill Lane it seemed that the plant there had been selectively eliminated

Southern Marsh Orchid: Among the first half dozen clusters of leaves newly present on the Langstone South Moors one small plant with hardly any leaves had put its energies in to raising a flower spike with several coloured and nearly open flowers on May 19

Hare's Foot Grass: Although I do not normally record grasses I was very impressby the way this elegant plant seemed to have extended its range when I was at Sinah Common on May 16 (with some plants on the flower-rich roundabout near the Ferry Inn where I have never seen them before)

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Brighton seashore: On Monday of this week (May 14) Graeme Lyons was on the shore at Saltdean adding more species to his list (now rapidly approaching his target of 4,000). You can read his blog for this outing at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/snakelocks-and-shipworms.html but for quick reference the species mentioned included Sea-anemones (Snakelocks Anemones Anemonia viridis, Strawberry Anemone Actinia fragacea, and Sagartia troglodytes), Molluscs (Flat Top Shell Gibbula umbilicalis and Grey Top Shell Gibbula cineraria), a Sponge (Breadcrumb Sponge Halichondria panicea), Seaweeds (Sugar Kelp Saccharina latissima, Japweed- now renamed Wireweed Sargassum muticum, and Toothed Wrack Fucus serratus) and Fish (Blenny and a dead Garfish Belone belone). Graeme's final photo is of the case of a Great Shipworm Teredo navalis ensconced in a crevice of a piece of driftwood - this rightly belongs among the molluscs.

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for May 7 - 13 (Week 19 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Max count of 5 Red-throated off Selsey on May 7 with Black-throated again the most numerous (35 passing Dungeness on May 7) and Great Northern still enjoying a holiday off Devon (max 8 off Berry Head on May 10)

Black-necked Grebe: Three of these giving good value as they parade in breeding plumage at the Blashford Lakes up to May 6 - probably the same three that have been seen there intermittently since Mar 4

Squacco Heron: The bird which arrived in Somerset on May 2 was still there on May 11

Cattle Egret: One spent a little more than a day at Christchurch Harbour (May 5/6) and it or another was seen at Cuckmere Haven in Sussex on May 9

White Stork: A group of 5 which toured southern England last weekend (May 4 - 6) flew over the ASDA store in Bedhampton (Havant) on May 4. Two birds were seen at Kings Somborne in the Test valley on May 8 and a single was at Pulborough Brooks on May 11 (maybe the same bird was over Ashdown Forest area on May 13)

Glossy Ibis: Two have been showing at the Pagham North Walls from May 6 to 12 but may now have left. (If you are interested in White Ibis follow Tony Tindale of Fareham on a visit to his brother in Perth, Australia - see the May 12 entry on http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ )

Mandarin Duck: A pair had 10 ducklings with them at the Weir Wood reservoir site near Crowborough on May 6 (sadly no details or photos of them leaving their tree nest without parachutes)

Honey Buzzard: Sightings reported in southern England this week are of one at Titchfield Haven on May 4; one over the Isle of Wight (Rookley) on May 5; singles in off the sea at Christchurch Harbour on May 7, 8 and 11; and one over a Bedhampton garden in Havant on May 12

Black Kite: On May 5 one flew north up the Avon valley over Ibsley (north of Ringwood) and on May 6 one arrived at The Lizard in Cornwall. On May 7 nine were seen over the Netherlands and on May 9 there were sightings over the New Forest and the Andover area.

Marsh Harrier: Nothing unusual here in England but on May 7 a Belgian site had 53 and on May 8 a Netherlands site had 40

Hen Harrier: Still being seen in southern England including one over south Hayling on May 7 (when a Netherlands site had 26)

Osprey: May 5 brought one over Ivy Lake at Chichester and on May 6 two were in the Pilsey area of Thorney Island with another over the Hamble River on May 7. May 8 brought another Thorney Island sighting and another over the R Adur at Shoreham. On May 9 one was at Weir Wood in Sussex; May 11 brought sightings at Arundel and Romsey; May 12 brough five reports from Thorney Island, Southsea, Weir Wood, Prinsted and Peacehaven.

Hobby: By May 12 the biggest flock had risen to 21 at the Exe estuary (one of these seems to have been so tired and hungry that it fell to the ground and was taken into care and fed after which it recovered enough to be released - no apparent injury). That was just one of 16 reports I picked up during the week.

Quail: First report of a migrant reaching England was of one in Cornwall on May 11 - another first migrant in Cornwall was a Corncrake (heard only) at the Lizard on May 5

Avocet: First report of a pair with chicks came from Rye Harbour on May 12

Kentish Plover: One was at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on May 2 and 3; another was at Rye Harbour from May 3 to 6; and a male and female were at Marazion near Penzance on May 11

Dotterel: A party of 10 were at a Netherlands site on May 10

Lapwing: One bird with two surviving chicks was at Hook/Warsash on May 11 when I was surprised to see two pairs of adults (no chicks seen) at the Gipsies Plain site south of Havant Thicket. In recent years a few pairs have continued to breed here, probably feeding on insects attracted to the droppings of many ponies. On Mar 22 this year I found two Lapwing here but no Ponies were present and there were still none on May 11

Little Stint: Three were at Rye Harbour on May 5 and five were in Pagham Harbour on May 8 with one at Christchurch Harbour on May 9

Temminck's Stint: One was at Fort Victoria, Isle of Wight, on May 4 and then at Rye Harbour on May 5 and 6

Pectoral Sandpiper: One at the Exe estuary in Devon on May 9

Curlew Sandpiper: An unexpected crop of spring sightings - two were at Rye Harbour on May 5 and on May 6 one was at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour and three were on the Pilsey sands (Thorney Island) with 5 on the Pevensey Levels. May 7 saw one in Devon (Exe estuary) and another in Poole Harbour while May 8 brought one to Pagham Harbour.

Purple Sandpiper: On May 6 14 were at Lyme Regis and 3 at Southsea Castle

Wood Sandpiper: One was on the Lymington shore from May 6 to 11 (at least)

Pomarine Skua: Peak count for the week was of 18 passing Dungeness of May 7

Arctic Skua: 14 were off Portland on May 7

Great Skua: May 7 brought 12 past Selsey

Black-headed Gull: 1039 nests were counted on the islands at the Hayling Oysterbeds this week leaving little room for other species (just one Sandwich Tern nest but no Med Gulls or Little Terns this year). The first chicks to hatch were at Rye Harbour on May 12.

Great Blackback gull: A pair have nested on a raft in the Slipper Mill Pond at Emsworth this year and Brian Fellows calculates that their young may hatch around May 22

Little Tern: No definite news of nesting anywhere so far - last year virtually every chick in Langstone Harbour was taken by a fox on the RSPB islands (and I don't think the Oysterbeds had any success), Rye Harbour reported zero productivity from the nests there and the only places where there may have been some success were Pagham Harbour and the Weymouth area where day and night human guards kept predators away (just one Hedgehog escaped detection and took a few eggs). There is nothing to indicate better success this year though there were 31 adults in Pagham Harbour on May 10 and 268 adults flew past Dungeness on May 4, maybe hoping to do better at East Anglian sites

Turtle Dove: New arrivals were reported in all the south coast counties this week and the Trektellen site told me that May 11 had brought 21 birds to the Hunstanton Cliffs in Norfolk. Locally May 11 saw two birds at the Marlpit Lane site near Funtington, one on the top of Butser Hill near Petersfield and one came in off the sea at Sandy Point on Hayling

Ring-necked Parakeet: These are uncommon in the west country so one seen at Portland on May 8 and possibly the same bird seen in south Devon on May 12 were noteworthy.

Cuckoo: On May 5 Barry Yates suggests (on the Rye Bay website - see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/05/05/cuckoos/ ) that the main reason for the decline in Cuckoo numbers here in Britain is lack of food. He says that he has not noticed a decline in numbers at Rye Harbour where there is a good supply of the hairy caterpillars (in particular those of Brown-tail and Pale Grass Eggar moths) but he is aware of a national decline in moth numbers

Short-eared Owl: These winter visitors are still passing through south of England sites with reports this week from Farlington Marshes, Pagham Harbour, Lymington marshes and several other sites

Nightjar: The first reports this year were from Portland and Selsey, both on May 4, and there have been seven more sightings this week though none have yet been heard to churr.

Swift: The first report mentioning birds 'screaming over the rooftops' came from the Woolston area of Southampton on May 12 and with reports of more than 1000 birds over the Longham Lakes at Bournemouth on May 10 (and 2508 at Scolt Head in Norfolk on May 11) they should now be getting down to breeding.

Bee Eater: One was reported to have been heard (but not seen) at the Lower Test Marshes near Southampton on May 5 and there was another heard only report from The Lizard in Cornwall on May 7 but support for their arrival in northern parts comes in a report of at least four seen in the Netherlands on May 7 followed by a report of two at a different Netherlands site on May 8 and of one in Wales (Pembrokeshire) on May 10

Hoopoe: One was seen at the Waitrose store at Storrington (south of Pulborough) on May 4 when another was on the Dorset coast near Swanage (and may have been the bird seen at Lulworth next day). Another report comes from the Exmouth area of Devon on May 9

Wryneck: One has been in the Scillies from May 4 to 6 and another arrived at Dungeness on May 5 when another was reported in the Netherlands

Short-toed Lark: One in the Scillies on May 4

Crested Lark: One at Dungeness on May 7

Red-rumped Swallow: In addition to a plentiful supply of normal Swallows this week has brought eleven reports of the rarer species from the Scillies, Dungeness, Helston in Cornwall and the Thanet area of Kent. Those are the reports which I happen to have picked up but on May 11 the RBA website told us that 7 new birds had been reported in the UK that day bringing the spring total of sightings to 37 so far.

House Martin: As I write this I have just had an email from Tony Tupper to say that there are now eight birds around the nestboxes on his house by the Hermitage Stream flowing through the Havant area and this reflects a recent general increase in numbers - 500 were seen at Titchfield Haven on May 5, more than 200 were at Pulborough Brooks on May 6, and 2641 were at Scolt Head in Norfolk on May 10. This is good news but must still be seen in the perspective of the overall decline of wildlife which I have seen during my lifetime - not only the loss of habitat but the disappearance of many species from our gardens and streets. When I moved into my present house back in 1967 at least 4 pairs of House Martins nested under its eaves and several pairs of Swifts arrived back at long established nest sites in rooftops of my and several other houses in the road - what's more they arrived on May 1 and left on July 31. This year no Swifts have been seen over the road and I do not expect any to nest here - House Martins may eventually appear in the sky visible from my garden as they feed on insects over the trees that line the old railway at the end of my garden but so far I have only seen them over Thorney Island, not over Havant town centre. I agree with what Barry Yates says about Cuckoos - the decline is mainly about lack of insect food, especially enough to feed the young in the nest. During the week I visited a website ( http://westfieldwildlife.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/house-martin-nests/ ) showing modern highrise flats in Turkey still having two or more House Martin nests on each one of the hundreds of windows - the reason they were there was that a plentiful supply of insects was still available within a few minutes flying time from the buildings.

Yellow Wagtail: Again the same sad story - how many will nest on Farlington Marshes this year compared to the number which did so in the 1980s (Birds of Hampshire gives a figure of 12 to 15 pairs there each year but the 2010 Hampshire Bird Report gives the status of Yellow Wagtail as "Formerly a summer visitor and common passage migrant now rare in summer...")

Nightingale: It will be interesting to see what this year's survey shows - maybe the fact that there is a survey has produced more reports of the birds than we would had seen without it but at least most of us living in rural areas can still be sure of hearing at least one singing within ten miles of their home

Fieldfare: A flock of 37 was still to be seen in the Netherlands on May 6 (and just one in Belgium on May 7)

Redwing: Two at Dungeness on May 4

Subalpine Warbler: One turned up at Portland on May 9

Garden Warbler: Portland reported the arrival of 200 on May 4 and this gave me some confidence in thinking that I had heard my first at Havant Thicket on May 11 (in the dense scrubby trees north of the Gipsies Plain and just west of the carpark area - one was also recorded at Sandy Point on Hayling that day)

Wood Warbler: As well as being back in the New Forest these have been heard at a number of unexpected sites this week - two at Buchan Country Park (Crawley), two at Christchurch Harbour, one in the Scillies and one at Church Norton (Pagham Harbour) plus Parkhurst Forest on the Isle of Wight.

Spotted Flycatcher: Another species with more reports than I would expect including 5 at Sinah Common on Hayling on May 4 and 20 at Portland on May 9 followed by 15 there on the next day

Golden Oriole: Another good crop of 13 reports this week ending with one trapped at Portland on May 11 and photographed in the hand (with the comment that this species objects to being handled!). On May 7 there were 4 together on the Scillies and the same day brought a count of 14 from one Netherlands site and a single bird at Church Norton.

Red-backed Shrike: The first two birds in mainland England this year were at The Lizard in Cornwall on May 4

Woodchat Shrike: Singles had been reported in Cornwall and the Scillies from Apr 30 to May 8 but on May 12 one was in the Keyhaven area near Lymington

Rose Coloured Starling: One was in Selsey village from May 6 to 11 at least

May Bird Races: I'm glad the practice of early May 'Bird Racing' has not died out - success requires a combination of Formula One driving skills, planning and execution to match those of the SAS, and an intimate knowledge of bird recognition plus the ability to remain good friends after a day of tension. This year I have only seen results from two teams - the 'Oven Readies' (Steve Keen, Mark Halligan and Steve Piggott) scored an admirable 143 species while Nigel Matthews and Andy Browne (with some help from Pete Durnell) managed to tick off 113 during a day on foot only.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Club Tailed Dragonfly (first of the year in Warwickshire on May 8)

Four Spotted Chaser (first of the year in Somerset on May 8)

Species reported this week:

Hairy Dragonfly (at Thorney Little Deeps), Club Tailed Dragonfly, Four Spotted Chaser, Large Red Damselfly,

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Wood White (first of the year at Botany Bay near Chiddingfold in Surrey)

Clouded Yellow (not first of the year but first to emerge at the resident colony in Bournemouth on May 8)

Adonis Blue (first of the year at Mill Hill, Shoreham on May 11)

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Wood White, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Peacock, Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Small Heath

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0084 Stigmella ruficapitella found in Dorset on May 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1821

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0084.php

0130 Incurvaria masculella found in Dorset on May 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=893

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0130.php

0140 Nematopogon swammerdamella found in Kent on May 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2011

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0140.php

0154 Heliozela sericiella found in Kent on May 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5723

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0154.php

0200 Psychoides filicivora found in Dorset on May 9 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5183

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0200.php

0294 Aspilapteryx tringipennella found in Dorset on May 9 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3607

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0294.php

0385 Nettle Tap Anthophila fabriciana found in Dorset on May 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=366

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0385.php

0389 Apple Leaf Skeletonizer Choreutis pariana found in Sussex on May 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3868

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0389.php

0966 Cochylis atricapitana found in Kent on May 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5789

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0966.php

1189 Eriopsela quadrana found in Kent on May 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4725

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1189.php

1361 Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata found in Sussex on May 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=965

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1361.php

1720 The Gem Orthonama obstipata found in Dorset on May 9 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2530

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1720.php

1941 Mottled Beauty Alcis repandata found in Dorset on May 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=48

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1941.php

1979 Lime Hawk-moth Mimas tiliae found in Dorset on May 9 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1773

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1979.php

2008 Coxcomb Prominent Ptilodon capucina found in Dorset on May 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4838

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2008.php

2164 Broad-barred White Hecatera bicolorata found in Kent on May 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2765

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2164.php

2384 Vine's Rustic Hoplodrina ambigua found in Dorset on May 6 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1612

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2384.php

2387 Mottled Rustic Caradrina morpheus found in Kent on May 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5671

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2387.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

St Marks Fly: Brian Fellows took a photo on May 8 of a pair mating at Emsworth showing the differences between the sexes - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-089-st-marks-flies-mating-08.05.12.jpg

Beetle species: On May 8 Graeme Lyons found Demetrias imperialis and a Box Bug at Woods Mill (Henfield) and on May 12 he found an Adonis Ladybird and Philorhizus vectensis. Pictures and text can be found at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/

An eye-catching spider: Another of Graeme Lyons finds (at Rye Harbour on May 8) was the jumping spider Pellenes tripunctatus which can be seen at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/isnt-this-most-amazing-spider.html - well worth a look even if you don't like spiders (Graeme thinks it worth five separate close up pictures and I agree)

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Adder's Tongue Fern: This was mentioned in the Durlston news for Apr 26 and gets a further mention on the Planet Thanet website on May 9 to remind me that I still haven't been to look for it at Hilsea Lines in Portsmouth or in the 'slip field' at Farlington Marshes (note that the seawall path there is undergoing vital repairs so it is impossible to make the usual circuit but there is nothing to stop you visiting the slip field close to the eastern entrance or to stop you exploring the large area north of the A27)

Celery Leaved Buttercup: Flowering in the Warblington SSSI field on May 7

Lesser Spearwort: Newly in flower at Havant Thicket on May 11

Early Wintercress (Barbarea intermedia): Seen at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on May 6 and along the seawall at Broadmarsh between the slipway and the Harts Farm Way bridge on May 10

Small-flowered Cranesbill: On May 7 I found the first flowers since Jan 12 on the roundabout outside Bosmere School in Havant (South Street)

Subterranean Clover: On May 7 I found a good show of this near the seawall in the Warblington Farm SSSI (the marshy field east of the cemetery)

Bitter Vetch (Lathyrus linifolius): Two flowering plants found in Havant Thicket on May 11 - for details and photos see my diary page for that day

Greater Birds Foot Trefoil: First mention of this for the year comes from Durlston on May 9

Silverweed: First flowers seen by me in Havant Thicket on May 11

Wild Celery: Plants were well grown but not yet flowering in the Warblington SSSI on May 7

Rhododendron ponticum: First flowers opening in Havant Thicket on May 11

Sea Milkwort (Glaux maritima): Newly in flower at the Warblington SSSI on May 7

Wild Clary: Brian Fellows found this starting to flower in the roadside grass of Christopher Way in Emsworth on May 11

Pineappleweed: First find of this in flower at Warblington on May 7

Salsify: One plant flowering on May 7 alongside Emworth Road in Havant

Lily of the Valley: The large colony of wild plants in Havant Thicket was in full flower on May 11 (for photos and location details see my Diary page for that day)

Rosy Garlic: A good show of plants just starting to flower in the ditch around the small west carpark at Broadmarsh on May 10

Yellow Iris: First flowers seen on May 5 at Budds Farm Pools and more seen in the Eastern Stream of Warblington Farm on May 7

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Beaver: Until this week I was under the impression that the only Beavers in the UK were those hidden away in Scotland to help the BBC keep up their ratings by boosting the number of viewers of 'Season Watch' (will we have an extra programme this year named Jubilee Watch?). Then on May 7 a photo (taken by Mark Chidwick - see http://www.kentos.org.uk/Stodmarsh/images/IMG_2356.JPG ) appeared on the Kent Stour Valley webpage of one swimming in the lake at Stodmarsh to the east of Canterbury along with the comment that the animal .. "presumably originated from the release scheme at Ham Fen" Further investigation at http://kingsdownkent.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/beavers-at-ham-fen.html showed that Beavers had been introduced to Kent in 2011 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsdown,_Kent tells us that Kingsdown is a village (main attraction is the Black Pig butchers shop) on the East Kent coast south of Deal - the purpose of the introduction was to keep the waterways of 'Kent's fenland' open. Re-introductions into England go back to at least 2005 when they were released in Gloucestershire (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/4380276.stm which includes the interesting comment .. "Speaking at the release, land owner Jeremy Paxton said: "We now just need to leave them alone and let them get on with a bit of breeding." In 2011 another BBC article ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13445166 ) included the fact that .. "In England, beavers are limited to private collections and enclosed conservation projects run by groups including Devon Wildlife Trust, Cotswold Water Park and the WWT Martin Mere reserve. Wales is also now set to host beavers after an absence of 900 years in an ambitious project that aims to restore the wild indigenous woodland of the past."

Seals on Thorney Island: On May 8 Barry Collins saw .. "Three Grey Seals and 13 Harbour Seals hauled up on the mudflats at low tide this morning off the southern end of Thorney Island." Grey Seal sightings are becoming more frequent along the central south coast but I think this is the first time I have heard of them joining the established Common Seal colony on Thorney.

Baby Deer: Driving east on May 8 along the Emsworth Common Road, on the uphill slope just after crossing the county bounday which follows the stream through the woods, I saw the corpse of a baby deer beside the road where the Fallow Deer regularly cross to reach the relative safety of Longcopse Hill. As I associate this spot with Fallow Deer I assumed this was one of their fawns (Roe Deer have kids, Fallow have fawns) but a little inconclusive investigation found that both species give birth in May/June and that Roe kids all have the white spotted light brown colour which the corpse had whereas Fallow fawns come in four varieties - leaving out the melanistic (black) and leucistic (white) variants the fawns can be either white spotted on light brown like the Roe (these are called 'menil' deer) or darker brown with less obvious white spots ('Common'). Another distinction when they become adult is that the Common have black around the white tail patch and have a black stripe down the tail while Menil do not have any black in the tail area (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallow_Deer ). I am still not certain which species I saw but, while I associate this area with Fallow, I think they do not normally give birth until June whereas Durlston reported the first Roe kid on May 4 (the rangers who write the daily reports on that website have to keep up an appearance of omniscience which is not easy to achieve and I see the kid was described as a fawn! - a more forgiveable error than I assume occurred last month when what I assume to have been Yellow Wagtails feeding around the feet of cattle were said to have been Yellowhammers)

Water Shrew: On May 3 one of the regular contributors to the Brook Meadow website saw what was assumed to be a Water Shrew swim across the River Ems. Brian Fellows commented that he knows of only one definite report of this species seen at Brook Meadow back in 2008 though experienced Water Vole surveyors who have visited the site have reported 'signs of the presence of Water Shrews' I am interested in this as I too have only encountered the species once in my life (years ago I found a dead specimen on the edge of Aldsworth Pond) but I have read that, while they are not common, they are widespread and can be found well away from water (not sure how true this is) and they have some unusual features. Not only are they large and aggressive (for shrews!) but they have a bold black and white contrast to their upper and lower fur, have venomous saliva, and are quite vocal when they encounter others of their own species. A good account of the species can be found at http://www.mammal.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=216&Itemid=248 Another web entry at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/262.shtml gives more detail and warns you not to handle a live one as the venomous saliva can leave a burning pain which can last for a few days if you are bitten.

Natterjack Toad: We featured this species last week but I can't resist pointing you to another photo taken by Joe Murphy at Christchurch Harbour - this time of one with a St Mark's Fly sitting on its nose - see http://www.chog.org.uk/Sightings%20Photos/2012/May%202012/Natterjack%202.jpg

Massive slug (Limax cinereoniger): One seen in Rewell Wood near Arundel on May 5 - for details of the species which can grow to 30 cm long and has the sole of its foot divided (like Gaul) into three parts see http://idtools.org/id/mollusc/factsheet.php?name=Limax%20cinereoniger and http://www.habitas.org.uk/molluscireland/species.asp?ID=107

Basking Shark: After reports from the Dorset coast on Apr 7 and 30 the first report from Cornwall (off St Just) is of more than two seen on May 5

Fungi: A few more seen this week with large Parasol Mushrooms at Broadmarsh (Havant) on May 10. Also seen there were my first Shaggy Inkcaps and more St George's Mushrooms plus Fairy Ring Champignons. In Havant Thicket on May 11 I added a big cluster of fresh Brick Tuft (Hypholoma lateritium)

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 30 - May 6 (Week 18 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: This week Red-throated were in the minority with only five reports and a max count of 3 passing Selsey on Apr 30. Black-throated were much more numerous with twelve reports and a max count of 13 passing Dungeness on May 1 (17 off a Netherlands site on May 2). Great Northern seem to have been less frequent with only nine reports but stormy weather off the south Devon coast on Apr 30 brought an unexpected count of 23 birds (Selsey had 7 that day). The week also brougt reports of two White-billed off the Scottish coast

Grebes: Three Red-necked were still in Netherlands waters on Apr 29. Just one Slavonian was also seen in the Netherlands on Apr 29 with what I thought was the last Black-necked off France near the Somme estuary but on May 5 three of them turned up on the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood, remaining until May 6 at least.

Storm Petrel: The rough weather at the end of April brought a report of 21 off Berry Head in Devon with one seen as far east as Hurst Beach at the west end of the Solent

Squacco Heron: The first report of this species for the year comes from Somerset where one was seen on May 2 (still there on May 4)

Cattle Egret: One remained at Wadebridge in Cornwall (at least up to May 2) and another (maybe the bird seen on the Pevensey Levels on Apr 28, after being in Norfolk on Apr 25) turned up at Lodmoor, Weymouth, on May 1.

Great White Egret: One was at the Lewes Brooks on Apr 30 and May 1

White Stork: A group of up to 44 arrived in the Netherlands on Apr 30 and maybe some of them crossed the channel to account for a grounp of 5 which did a wide tour of southern England this week appearing at Fontwell in Sussex and Portland in Dorset among other places - there was also an unconfirmed report of one by the River Test at Stockbridge.

Glossy Ibis: The single bird remained at Lodmoor in Dorset until May 2 at least. On the evening of May 4 one arrived at Pagham Harbour and joined the Herons and Egrets roosting near the North Wall, being seen there again in May 5 and being joined by a second bird on May 6

Spoonbill: The group of five were still at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Apr 28 but this week they may have split up with reports of 2 at Christchurch Harbour and 2 at Middlebere in Poole Harbour. More may be on the way as Apr 29 brought a report of 26 on the French north coast (Somme estuary) increasing to 31 at Sangatte (Calais) on May 1

Mute Swan: On May 2 the Langstone Mill Pond pair had 7 healthy cygnets out of the nest and on May 5 they had taken advantage of the high tide to take the cygnets across the seawall to drop into the harbour water (I saw them at the subsequent low tide in the outfall of the Lymbourne stream which feeds the pond and on the evidence of past years they can be expected to go west under Langstone Bridge to settle in the mouth of the Langbrook Stream. Other local birds were still on their nests though the high tides very nearly washed out the Emsworth Peter Pond nest and will have got close to that on the bank of the 'island' between the two entrances to Emsworth marina. At the Thorney Little Deeps the Swan was determinedly settled on the tiny island (hardly big enough to support the nest) when I was there on May 4. I have no info on the two other local nest sites - one in the Northney marina basin and the other on Fowley Island in the harbour south of Emsworth.

Brent Geese: Any Dark-bellied birds seen from now on are almost certainly intending to stay here for the summer but on May 1 another wave of Pale-bellied birds moved north through Dorset and Devon (130 seen from Portland and 150+ seen at the mouth of the Exe in Devon)

Shelduck: Two birds seen at the Budds Farm pools on May 5, standing patiently well away from each other, were probably the males of two pairs which by now have females nesting in old rabbit burrows

Red-breasted Merganser: A few late birds have been flying east this week with the latest reports being of 4 passing Dungeness and maybe the same 4 seen at Sandwich Bay on May 2 (three went past Selsey Bill on May 1)

Honey Buzzard: There are probably several now in southern England but there presence is being kept quiet in the interests of their hoped for nesting success. News from the continent included sightings of up to 9 birds in the Netherlands on Apr 30 with further reports of one or two in Belgium on May 1 and 3

Common Buzzard: Those intending to breed in the arctic are still waiting for the Lemmings and and other prey species to have a chance to produce their first young so a report of 50 Buzzards at one Belgian site on Apr 30 may well have been of passage birds

Osprey: Apr 30 brought the first report (that I know of) of an Osprey pausing to eat a fish in the Pilsey area of Thorney Island

Red-footed Falcon: First to be reported as far north as the Netherlands was there on Apr 30

Merlin: At least two were still in the Netherlands on May 1

Hobby: Highest count of a migrant 'flock' so far is of 21 at a Netherlands site on Apr 29

Peregrine: May 1 brought an unusual report from Havant where an experienced observer saw what was probably an inexperienced falcon (last year's bird) attempt to take a domestic pigeon from the roof of his house. The Peregrine was a young male (so I should have referred to it as a tiercel - falcon is properly reserved for the larger female) and failed to kill the pigeon because the Peregrine was forced to strike obliquely from above where the Pigeon's closed wings formed a thick 'flak jacket' and a vertical stoop which might have broken the Pigeon's neck would have resulted in the Pergrine hitting the roof with a fatal impact! In last week's summary I wrote of a similar failed attempt to kill when a Peregrine attempted to take a Gadwall from the water of the River Exe and in this week's case I suspect the reason for the attempt to kill, in circumstances where the Peregrine must have known it was unlikely to succeed, were the same - the desperate need to find food for newly hatched young.

Quail: First migrants had reached the Netherlands on Apr 29 (one Quail that day increasing to three on Apr 30)

Spotted Crake: Another migrant 'first arrival' in Britain was reported in the RBA news for May 3 without a location, though it is unlikely to remain here to breed

Common Crane: One flew over Fleet Pond in north Hampshire on May 5

Black-winged Stilt: One or more birds seem to have been on a whistle stop tour of Britain since Mar 30 and that tour might have ended on May 2 when one bird landed on the roadside at a roundabout in Christchurch in Dorsert. A further sighting on May 3 at Paxton Pits near Bedford was probably of a different bird!

Black-winged Pratincole: Another traveller of this species was in Flintshire (Wales) on May 4

Kentish Plover: On Apr 29 a flock of 17 were on the French coast at the Somme estuary and maybe one of these was seen at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on May 2 and maybe another arrived at Rye Harbour on May 3 staying there until at least May 5 when it had been joined by both a Temminck's Stint and a Curlew Sandpiper.

Dotterel: On May 4 the RBA news including one of 15 Dotterels somewhere in the Surrey area of London

Lapwing: First report of newly hatched chicks came from the Arundel wetlands reserve on Apr 28. More were seen at Rye Harbour on May 1 desperately searching for their own food in the rain without the protection of adult feathers.

Knot: I thought most of these had already left us but a surge of passage birds on May 3 brought 168 to Rye Harbour and 321 to Cap Gris-Nez across the Channel

Curlew Sandpiper: Reports of one at Brownsea Island on Apr 19 and Apr 28 have now been have now been backed up by reports from Belgium on Apr 30 with another on the French north coast on May 2 (and one at Christchurch Harbour on May 3)

Black-tailed Godwit: Hopefully the Icelandic birds which visit our south coast in the winter (and leave a substantial number of young non-breeding birds with us through the summer) are having a good breeding season in Icleand without last year's volcanic dust but the continental race birds which breed in East Anglia are ( in common with Redshank, Lapwing and Snipe) suffering very significant loss of eggs and young as their nesting areas (particularly around The Wash) have been submerged under the flood water of our 'drought'.

Bar-tailed Godwit: This week seems to have seen the peak of thier up-Channel passage. On May 1 723 were reported at one Netherlands site (with 105 passing Portland that day). On May 2 Portland had 160 passing and on May 3 Cap Gris-Nez reported a total of 673 while Rye Harbour had 230 and Selsey had 116

Whimbrel: Passage seems to be tailing off though on May 1 there was a high tide roost of 112 on Peewit Islad in Portsmouth Harbour

Wood Sandpiper: Reports from the Netherlands were of up to 7 there on Apr 29 followed by 4 on Apr 30 and another 4 on May 1. The first to be seen on English soil was at Pennington (Lymington) on May 6

Red Necked Phalarope: The first to get a mention this year was in Wales (Powys) on May 2

Pomarine Skua: There seem to be more than usual on the English coast this spring - 7 at Dungeness of Apr 29 became 22 there on Apr 30 (when Sandy Point on Hayling saw 4). May 1 brought 12 to Dungeness (plus 9 off Portland)

Arctic Skua: Selsey Bill saw 50 flying east on Apr 30 and May 1 brought a report of 21 passing Portland

Long-tailed Skua: Singles were seen on the Suffolk coast on Apr 29 and at Spurn Point on May 2

Great Skua: Numbers down this week with a max of just 15 (at Selsey on Apr 30)

Roseate Tern: Titchfield Haven had its first of the year on May 1 (three pevious UK sighting starting on Apr 14 when one flew past Selsey)

Little Tern: On May 4 Dungeness recorded 268 flying east and on Apr 30 Sandy Point had 30 around the entrance to Chichester Harbour but so far the only bird that I am aware has been near the potential nesting islands in Langstone Harbour was a lone bird fishing in the northmost pool of the Oysterbeds at high tide on May 2. Up to 17 were in Pagham Harbour on May 1 and 12 were at Rye Harbour on May 3

Turtle Dove: Excluding a couple of March sightings (which may have been wintering birds) single Turtle Doves started to arrive on Apr 13 with a major arrival which brought 20 birds to the Netherlands on Apr 30 followed by four reaching the Dorset coast on May 1 and this small stream of arrivals continued on May 2 with three more, including one heard purring in trees along Marlpit Lane near Funtington. Sadly none came back to the Thorney Little Deeps area that day and none were heard in the trees beside the Hayling Coastal path (where they were heard annually until 2001 but not since) as I rode down it.

Little Owl: May 4 brought a report that one was back 'at the usual site' near the Hayling Oysterbeds - I think the area to look for it is around the only farm gate on the east side of the Coastal Path north of the 'North Hayling Halt' carpark just south of the Oysterbeds

Nightjar: First reports for the year came from Selsey and Portland on May 4 so they should soon be back at nesting sites but are likely to remain silent and invisible until the weather improves!

Swift: On Apr 29 more than 8,000 were seen on the north coast of France and since then there have been widespread reports from southern England including one of 100 birds over the Budds Farm sewage works in Havant on May 2 (when Pulborough Brooks reported more than 500 but so far there is little indication of them settling down to nest

Alpine Swift: Singles reported in Suffolk on Apr 28, in Essex on Apr 29, Devon on Apr 30 and north Wales on May 4

Roller: Apr 1brought a confident report of one at Teignmouth in Devon

Hoopoe: This week one has been in the Weymouth Littlesea area and another at Pendeen in Cornwall. Nearer home one was in the Waitrose carpark at Storrington, not far south of Pulborough, on May 4

House Martin: Numbers have started to increase starting with a report of 5855 at the Somme estuary in northern France on Apr 29 and they are now back at nest sites in several place.

Yellow Wagtail: I have now recorded 53 reports of them for this year but an indication of how 'thin on the ground' they are nowadays is that the highest count anywhere has so far been just 34 at Reculver on the north Kent coast on May 4

Fieldfare: Following the late sighting of two in an Emsworth garden on Apr 22 I have seen three later reports with the last being of one at Folkestone on May 3

Melodious Warbler: One was singing at Dungeness on May 1 (when an Icterine Warbler was reported to be in te Bournemouth area)

Wood Warbler: These have vanished from many once regular sites in recent years but are not yet extinct and I have picked up 16 reports of them so far this year - five of them from places where they will hopefully breed

Spotted Flycatcher: The first for the year was at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 27 followed by one near Fort Widley on Portsdown on May 1 when they were seen at seven sites from Dungeness to Start Point in Devon

Golden Oriole: After an isolated first arrival at Seaford in Sussex on Apr 13 there have been 10 more sightings between Apr 29 and May 3 - the latter date brought a report of 11 birds in the Scillies. One which as seen at Reculver on the north Kent coast in Apr 30 was captured on camera and can be seen at http://www.kentos.org.uk/Reculver/images/golor0412amarc.jpg

Red-backed Shrike: First report for the year came from Belgium on Apr 30 and the only other report so far is of one in Ireland (Co Cork) on May 2. There have been no reports of Great Grey Shrike since Apr 30 (Netherlands) but a Woodchat Shrike has been in Cornwall (at St Just) from Apr 30 to May 2

Snow Bunting: A very late bird was still at Reculver in north Kent on May 4

Ortolan Bunting: The first in Britain this year was at Dungeness on Apr 30

Little Bunting: Two were in Devon from Mar 19 to Apr 13 and another was trapped at Sandwich Bay on Apr 30 (where a Calandra Lark was also seen)

Reed Bunting: One was again singing at Langstone Pond on the evening of May 5 where it has been heard sporadically since Mar 24

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenia): First flying in Wiltshire on Apr 30

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) First reported in Wiltshire on Apr 30

Common Blue Damsel (Enallagma cyathigerum): First of year in Wiltshire on Apr 30

Species reported this week:

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenia), Broad Bodied Chaser, Banded Demoiselle, Beautiful Demoiselle, Large Red Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damsel, Azure Damselfly, Variable Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Clouded Yellow: Probable migrant at Berry Head in south Devon on May 1

Painted Lady: Reports from Eastbourne, Brighton and the Isle of Wight, all on Apr 30 and May 1, indicate migrants

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small Heath.

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0150 Adela reaumurella first seen in Sussex on Apr 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=896

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0150.php

0293 Caloptilia syringella first seen in Dorset on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2943

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0293.php

0649 Esperia sulphurella first seen in Dorset on May 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=448

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0649.php

0656 Tachystola acroxantha first seen in Dorset on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5195

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0656.php

1174 Epiblema cynosbatella first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=452

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1174.php

1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella first seen at Portland in Dorset on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1793

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1398.php

1514 Pterophorus galactodactyla first seen in Sussex on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2016

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1514.php

1638 Fox Moth Macrothylacia rubi first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1999

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1638.php

1707 Small Dusty Wave Idaea seriata first seen in Folkestone on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=881

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1707.php

1724 Red Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe spadicearia first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3763

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1724.php

1728 Garden Carpet Xanthorhoe fluctuata first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=30

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1728.php

1738 Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata first seen in Hampshire on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=83

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1738.php

1759 Small Phoenix Ecliptopera silaceata first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4116

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1759.php

1768 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=785

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1768.php

1776 Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria first seen in Hampshire on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3922

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1776.php

1832 Currant Pug Eupithecia assimilata first seen in Folkestone on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5275

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1832.php

1846 Narrow-winged Pug Eupithecia nanata first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=147

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1846.php

1853 Oak-tree Pug Eupithecia dodoneata first seen in Folkestone on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5841

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1853.php

1893 Tawny-barred Angle Macaria liturata first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3108

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1893.php

1931 Peppered Moth Biston betularia first seen in Folkestone on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3040

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1931.php

1936 Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria first seen in Dorset on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1810

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1936.php

1995 Puss Moth Cerura vinula first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4513

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1995.php

1997 Sallow Kitten Furcula furcula first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=283

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1997.php

2000 Iron Prominent Notodonta dromedarius first seen in Folkestone on May 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=413

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2000.php

2010 Scarce Prominent Odontosia carmelita first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4494

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2010.php

2078 Least Black Arches Nola confusalis first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6146

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2078.php

2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba first seen in Dorset on May 3 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=117

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2107.php

2167 Tawny Shears Hadena perplexa first seen in Folkestone on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1032

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2167.php

2214 Chamomile Shark Cucullia chamomillae first seen in Folkestone on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1978

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2214.php

2221 The Mullein Shargacucullia verbasci first seen in Dorset on May 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3529

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2221.php

2334 Rustic Shoulder-knot Apamea sordens first seen in Dorset on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=49

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2334.php

2462 Mother Shipton Callistege mi first seen in Hampshire (Meon Valley) on May 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4769

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2462.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Rhingia campestris hoverfly: First report from Rye Harbour on May 1

Epistrophe eligans hoverfly: First report from Rye Harbour on Apr 30

Marpissa muscosa jumping spider: See http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/05/01/after-the-deluge/ for the report of this Epistrophe eligans.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Marsh Marigold: The plants in the Langstone South Moors 'orchid field' were at their best on May 5 with at least 60 plants in flower, some having well over 20 blossoms

Common Poppy: A single flower in an arable field on Portsdown seen on Apr 30 was the first of the year that I know of

Greater Celandine: First to be seen flowering was by the Billy Trail in Havant on May 2

Wild Cabbage: This is a native plant on seaside cliffs and was reported to be in flower at Durlston on Apr 24. The Hampshire Flora says that it is rare in this county but has been found on the man made chalk cliffs of Paulsgrove Chalk Pit (Portsdown Hill) so when walking through the base of the pit on Apr 30 I looked up and eventually found what might be these plants in flower near the very top of these inaccessible cliffs. I could not get near enough to see any detail but the chances are that these are successors to the plants found here in 1978 by Francis Rose and in 1984 by Paul Bowman - my mapref of SU 6384 0659 (110 metres from the east end of the south facing cliff) is apparently within 100 yards of the previous finds.

Black Mustard: Although I did not check their identity properly I think that a mass of plants coming into flower on the seawall of Emsworth Marina on May 4 were this species (which has been found here in previous years) despite the early date.

Winter Cress (Barbarea vulgaris): This had started to flower on Portsdown on Apr 30

Sea Radish: Plants just starting to flower in the Sinah Common area of south Hayling on May 2

Dames Violet: The colony growing between the north end of the 'earth mound overlooking the Hayling Oysterbeds lagoon' and the nearby Coastal Path were in bud on May 2 and should soon be in flower

Smith's Pepperwort: Found flowering on Sinah Common (south Hayling) on May 2

Swine Cress: Found flowering in Emsworth by Brian Fellows on Apr 30

Shepherd's cress (Teesdalia nudicaulis): Just one plant flowering on Sinah Common on May 2

White Campion: Flowering in various places since Apr 30 (a little later than Red Campion)

Ragged Robin: Two plants were in flower at the Langstone South Moors wet 'orchid field' on May 5

Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum): This garden escape had started to flower beside the Ferry Road on south Hayling on May 2

Tree Mallow: One was in flower on the side of Slipper Mill Road at Emsworth on May 4

'Greater Herb Robert': This is my name for the possible Geranium reuteri growing on top of a wall along an alleyway going south from East St in Havant which I found flowering at the start of this year. After a couple of months pause it had started to flower again on May 3

Cut-leaved Cranesbill: I found the first flower in Havant on May 5

Hedgerow Cranesbill: I also found the first flower of this in Emsworth on May 4

Laburnum: Started to flower on Apr 30

Spring Vetch: First flowers found in the Sinah Sand Dunes (south Hayling) on May 4

Bird's Foot Trefoil: Reported flowering at Durlston on Apr 24 and found on Portsdown on Apr 30

Kidney Vetch: Reported flowering at Durlston on Apr 29

Sainfoin: Flower buds close to opening on Portsdown on Apr 30

Bird Cherry: I saw the long white racemes of flowers hanging from a tree in Emsworth on May 4

Bur Chervil: Flowering on south Hayling on May 2

Scarlet Pimpernel: Although I saw a single flower back on Apr 5 it was not until May 5 that I found the first plant in full flower

Wall Speedwell: First flowers seen at south Hayling on May 2

Wild Clary: Reported flowering at Durlston on May 1 and will hopefully appear again in the Emsworth Christopher Way roadside around May 19 when it was found last year.

Common Comfrey: First flowers found at Brook Meadow in Emsworth by Brian Fellows on May 2

Ribwort Plantain: Started to flower locally on Apr 30

Buck's Horn Plantain: Started to flower on Hayling on May 2

Cleavers or Goosegrass: Started to flower on May 4

Woodruff: Probably now flowering in woodland - garden version flowering in Havant on May 5

Rough Hawkbit: First flowers seen on Portsdown on Apr 30

Solomon's Seal: Probably flowering in woodland - garden plants flowering on May 4

Ramsons or Wild Garlic: Flowering in the Hambrook area on May 4

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Natterjack Toad: I have always assumed that these were fairly small brownish green creatures only distinguished by a yellow line down the centre of the back but a photo on the Christchurch Harbour website makes them appear to have a peacock blue colour to the distended throat when croaking - see http://www.chog.org.uk/Sightings%20Photos/2012/May%202012/Natterjack.jpg

Basking Shark: After a very early first sighting this year (off Durlston on Apr 7) there has been a second report of one heading west off Portland on Apr 30 (maybe the same precocious creature coming back after visiting the North Sea??)

Fungi: Despite all the rain there has been no outburst of fungi and I have only two reports for the week (both seen by myself) On Friday evening (May 4) I noticed a cluster of six large but old specimens of Horse Mushroom in the roadside grass of Southleigh road close to its junction with Horndean Road. On Saturday May 5 I came on a small cluster of medium sized fungi at the Langstone South Moors (growing on soil under the young trees planted on either side of the 'new' gravel path connecting the Moors proper to Southmoor Lane. I have not been able to name them but they had smoothly domed caps (biggest 6cm across) coloured a creamy yellow with a dark periphery where the dark brown gills showed through the thin flesh at the edge of the cap. These gills were crowded and adnate (fully joined to the whitish stem which was fairly straight, measured roughly 60 by 8 mm, and had no obvious features such as a ring)

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 23 - 29 (Week 17 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Five Red-throated were seen at Selsey on Apr 27 and smaller numbers of this species were reported every day this week from sites along the south coast while larger numbers of Black-throated were still with us (Dungeness reported 29 passing on Apr 25 and 16 on Apr 26). Great Northern were also widespread with a peak count of 8 off Looe in Cornwall on Apr 25 and 5 at Selsey on Apr 28. A surprising recent report was of a single White-billed Diver off Cap Gris-nez on Apr 22

Grebes: A single Red-necked was seen at Portland (Chesil Cove) on Apr 26 but the only other sighting I know of was of one Slavonian at a Netherlands site on Apr 22.

Shearwaters: More than 2000 Manx were off Berry Head in south Devon on Apr 25 and 19 of them got as far east as Dungeness on Apr 23 but only one Balearic gets a mention this week (also off Berry Head on Apr 25)

Cattle Egret: One long stayer was still at Wadebridge in Cornwall on Apr 27 and RBA reported one in Norfolk on Apr 25 (maybe the one which had been in Essex ten days earlier). Apr 28 brought news of one in breeding plumage at the Pevensey Levels but there was no mention of a mate!

White Stork: Several birds had strayed into British airspace this week. On Apr 23 a party of six were over Conwy in Wales with another over Wool in Dorset that day. By Apr 26 the party of six seem to have reset their Satnavs and were heading east over Oxfordshire.

Spoonbill: Two have been in the Scillies through the week with another five settled on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour but a few are on the move - two over Dungeness on Apr 22 and one over Christhchurch Harbour on Apr 27

Canada Goose: Last week I reported that Greylags already had goslings but I could not find the reference to Canada Geese having already hatched young - I have now refound the photo of a pair with four young on Cliff Dean's website which Cliff posted on Apr 19

Pale Bellied Brent: Their passage north through the west country seems to have reached its peak this week (after all the Dark Bellied have left us on their more gently eastward passage, unlike the long flight over the unsympathetic ocean which the Pale-bellied have to make). On Apr 25 Portland reported 52 and 61 were seen in Devon (49 from Beer near Seaton and 12 at Exmouth). On Apr 26 more than 110 were seen in Dorset, presumably going north through the Weymouth area (30 over Weymouth Bay and 80+ at West Bexington near Abbotsbury)

Mallard: These seem to breed at any time in the year. In 2011 there were reports of 8 ducklings at Wakehurst Place near Crawley on Nov 6 and of slightly older ducklings on the Chichester Canal on Nov 7. The earliest to hatch last year were seen at Pulborough on Apr 5 with more here in the Staunton Country Park on Apr 7 but this year some were seen near Warash on Mar 1 with others at Alton on Mar 3 and a big family of 16 was reported in south Devon on Mar 27. This week young have been seen at Langstone Pond and on the Thorney Great Deeps

King Eider: At least one has been off north east Scotland from early January to the end of March but I was surprised to see that one was off the Wash (seen from Lincolnshire) on Apr 21 - maybe its thinking of joining the few Eiders which spend the summer on our south coast?

Bufflehead: A female or young bird was at Helston in Cornwall from Oct 29 until Mar 3 and was seen once more at Redruth on Mar 4. Now a similar bird has appeared in Lincolnshire on Apr 27

Honey Buzzard: First report for this year (of 2 birds) came from Weir Wood in north Sussex on Apr 21 and this week brings a second report on Apr 27 of a single bird seen perched in a pine tree at Breamore by the Hampshire Avon just north of Fordingbridge

Red Kite: If you happen to own a very small dog you might like to read a story in the Maidenhead Advertiser of how such a dog nearly became dinner for a Kite - see http://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/News/Areas/Maidenhead/Red-kite-tried-to-snatch-my-dog-25042012.htm No doubt someone in the booming pet accessory business is already designing a re-inforced dog jacket with built in radar to trigger a smokescreen aerosol in response to any aerial attack

Common Buzzard: One Sussex birder this week voiced his pleasure that his garden (which suffered much rabbit damage in pre-Buzzard days) was now free of such damage. Sadly another Sussex birder reported that he had not detected any diminution in the number of rabbits in recent years despite the skies being full of Buzzards.

Merlin: This week has not brought an end to Merlin sightings here in the south - five were seen in Belgium on Apr 28 and singles were seen at Portland and Rye Harbour on Apr 27

Hobby: These have been arriving since early March but it is only now that we are beginning to see the first signs of them arriving in flocks - 8 were seen in the Stour valley on Apr 27

Peregrine: All four eggs in the Chichester Cathedral nest had hatched by Apr 25 and it may have been a similar urgent need to find food for young that caused a Peregrine to stoop on a Gadwall in the River Exe. The falcon kept hold of the duck and was seen to 'swim ashore' with it (using its wings as oars) but when the observer got to the place where the birds had come ashore all that could be seen was a pile of feathers with no blood or other evidence of a kill - I suspect the Gadwall was not seriously injured by the initial strike and by the time they reached the shore the Peregrine was so exhausted that the Gadwall had no trouble in making its escape

Bar-tailed Godwit: This week has probably seen the peak of their passage with 243 passing Dungeness on Apr 23 and 116 off Worthing on Apr 25 but an indication that we have not seen the last of them came with 1958 passing Cap Gris-nez across the Channel on Apr 28 (looking back to last year I see the peak at Dungeness was on May 1 with a count of 5475)

Whimbrel: These are now being seen in moderate numbers all along the south coast and in inland fields but the peak counts have been at the Exe estuary with 320 there on Apr 22 and an estimated 1000 on Apr 25, reverting to around 300 on Apr 27

Spotted Redshank: It seems a long time since we had the regular bird at Nore Barn (Emsworth) - it was last seen on Mar 9 - but this week there were still singles at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 23, at Lymington on Apr 24, and three were still on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Apr 27. On Apr 28 the combined count from six Netherlands sites was 53, maybe indicative of a last minute race back to their breeding sites where the females will each lay eggs in several nests, leaving several males to raise the young while they (the females) enjoy a summer holiday.

Wood Sandpiper: Another species leaving their spring passage to the last minute. I have not seen any reports from English sites yet (and maybe we won't see any until they are on their way back) but there have been four reports from the near continent since the first two or three birds were in Belgium on Apr 15 (the other three reports were all on singles in the Netherlands and Germany)

Skuas: The passage of Poms is hotting up with six seen from Orcombe Point near Exmouth on Apr 25 but at least three were seen in Hampshire that day (at Milford) and maybe the same three at Selsey. Apr 26 brought five to Splash Point at Seaford. Arctics were seen daily at many sites with a peak count of 48 at Dungeness on Apr 26 and Dungeness also had the highest count of Bonxies with 137 on Apr 25. Splash Point had 100 on Apr 26 while Apr 25 brought 78 past Worthing, 75 to Berry Head in south Devon, 72 to Selsey (a site record) and 64 to Milford in Hampshire.

Little Gull: Their passage mainly follows the continental coast with 3669 seen at one Netherlands site on Apr 22 and 2338 at another on Apr 24 but Dungeness had 125 on Apr 25 (and Ivy Lake in Chichester had just one on Apr 26)

Roseate Tern: The first I know of this year was at Selsey on Apr 14 with one seen at Dungeness on Apr 23 and another inland in Bedfordshire on Apr 27

Black Tern: Two were seen at Sandy Point on Hayling on Apr 23 and ten were seen at Milford on Apr 25 (with 11 at Dungeness)

Cuckoo: One or two local birds turned up this week with two at the Thorney Island Little Deeps on Apr 21 (after one there on Apr 17) and one was heard in the Langstone area early on Apr 23. Apr 27 brought one to the Wade Lane area of Langstone which seems to have stayed on to be heard on Warblington Farm that same day

Short-eared Owl: Still being seen daily as they continue to move north. On Apr 23 one was in the rough grass of the Eames Farm field north of the Thorney Great Deep and on Apr 24 five were together at Newtown Harbour on the Isle of Wight. Apr 25 saw one at the Exe estuary and Apr 26 brought a report from Belgium while Apr 27 brought reports from the Adur levels and Pagham Harbour in Sussex plus Portland in Dorset and on Apr 28 one was on the Lymington marshes.

Swift: On Apr 25 there were 1014 over a single Netherlands site, Apr 26 saw 100+ at the Exe estuary in Devon and Apr 27 brought 200 to the Kent Stour valley (and 28 to the IBM lake in Portsmouth). On Apr 28 Cliff Dean's blog carried a link to http://www.swift-conservation.org/news.htm It's well worth a scan of all 39 news articles on this web page - make sure you don't miss the piece about the New Forest District Council's attempt to keep their New Milton housing estate clear of House Martin droppings by lining the roof edges of the houses with rows of downward pointing six inch spikes (designed to be mounted pointing upward to deter urban pigeons which are a problem elsewhere). These are likely to skewer any Swifts flying up into the eaves at high speed to check their nest sites. The news is not all bad - there is a real 'win win' project by Cambridge City Council to provide both Swift and Bat nest boxes in a modern art structure that should attract interest from anyone who sees it without the structure having any obvious sign of being anything to do with wildlife conservation. If you share Cliff Dean's sense of humour don't miss another part of his Apr 28 Blog entry at http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/ in which he suggests some more names to match the genuine new 'English names' for moths such as .. "Nag’s Head Hawk, Blotted Copybook, Rubicund Rustic, The Inconvenient, Tortured Genius, Deptford Arches, Duke of Earl, Stinking Bishop, Innocent Bystander, Foxy Lady, The Unsubstantiated, Little Bleeder, Bayswater Beauty, The Inconceivable, Bloody Mary, Spotted Dick, Radical Cleric and Wounds of Christ."

Hoopoe: One was briefly in the Fairlight area of Hastings on Apr 25

House Martin: A major arrival of hirundines on Apr 27 triggered a one hour sample count at Christchurch Harbour giving a result of 125 House Martins, 160 Sand Martins and 300 Swallows. This influx was not restricted to Dorset as I had an email later that day from Tony Tupper who lives near the Hermitage Stream running through Leigh Park here in Havant and who has had House Martins nesting in home made nest boxes on his house for the past 8 years - the email said that the first four birds had just arrived back and were checking out the nest boxes.

Tawny Pipit: The first of these less common visitors for the year was over Dungeness on Apr 26

Whinchat: The first to reach Hampshire was on Badminston Common near Clashot on Apr 27. So far I am only aware of eight birds reaching England with the first at Portland on Apr 14

Fieldfare: It seems that the report of two Redwings in an Emsworth garden on Apr 22 was a case of mistaken identity and they were actually Fieldfares. Whichever they were they did not achieve the status of last for the winter - for Redwings that currently goes to one seen on the Scillies on Apr 23 while the last Fieldfare so far is awarded to a couple of Fieldfare that were still in France (the Sangatte area of Calais) on Apr 25

Sedge Warbler: One was at last back at the Thorney Little Deeps on Apr 21 (first for the year was at Lymington on Apr 7 and one was at the Milton Lakes in Portsmouth on Apr 8)

Reed Warbler: Still none on Thorney Island though the first was at Radipole (Weymouth) on Apr 2 and one was at the Milton Lakes in Portsmouth on Apr 8

Common Whitethroat: An influx on Apr 27 brought one to Brook Meadow in Emsworth and another to a Langstone garden, almost a month after the first few reached Britain.

Spotted Flycatcher: The first and so far only report for this year is of one at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 27

Raven: A count of 52 flying over Martin Down (south of Salisbury) on Apr 28 was further confirmation of the large numbers of this species currently resident in southern England. Back on Mar 11 there was a sighting of 21 together over Beachy Head in Sussex and December of last year brought counts of a winter roost in the Cerne Abbas area of Dorset (7 miles north of Dorchester so within 30 miles of the Hampshire border) - 102 were seen heading there on Dec 5 and 147 on Dec 31. Further west in Devon a birder looking for a Black Kite at Kennerleigh (12 miles northwest of Exeter) saw 70 Raven on July 30 of 2011 and was told by the local farmer that up to 400 had been seen there though I suspect this figure included a lot of Crows)

Goldfinch: Four fledglings, now out of their nest, were being fed by their parents in an Emsworth garden on Apr 23

Siskin: Also on Apr 23 an adult was feeding two fledglings in the New Forest

Snow Bunting: One was seen in Jersey on Apr 27 and another was photographed on the north Kent coast at Reculver on Apr 28 (18 days later than the previous 'latest' there )

Ortolan Bunting: None in England but the species gets its first mention in continental reports on Apr 27 with one seen in Netherlands followed by three in Begium next day

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo): First for the year in Cornwall on Apr 24

Blue Tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elgans): First for the year in Somerset on Apr 24

Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma naja): First sighting (6) in Somerset on Apr 24

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella): First sighting (10+) in Somerset on Apr 24

Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum): First of the year in Somerset on Apr 24

Species reported this week:

List as above with none of last week's three species reported

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Clouded Yellow: After a report of a probable migrant at Portland on Mar 29 another probable migrant was reported at St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, on Apr 21

Small Blue: This had been reported on the Isle of Wight on Apr 16 and was seen again at the same site (Afton Down near Freshwater) on Apr 23 when at least one was also seen on Portland

Pearl Bordered Fritillary: In addition to sightings at Rewell Wood near Arundel and Abbotts Wood near Eastbourne where the species had emerged last week there were good numbers seen this week in Houghton Forest south of Pulborough.

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Small Heath

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0005 Micropterix calthella found in Thanet (Kent) on Apr 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=723

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0005.php

0129 Incurvaria pectinea found in Thanet (Kent) on Apr 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5734

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0129.php

0590 Perittia obscurepunctella found in Thanet (Kent) on Apr 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5732

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0590.php

0608 Elachista rufocinerea found in Thanet (Kent) on Apr 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=925

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0608.php

1973 Death's-head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos first moths emerging from home bred caterpillars in the Brighton area on Apr 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2540 - also see the Apr 24 entry in http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/sightings.html

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1973.php

2003 Pebble Prominent Notodonta ziczac first seen in Dorset on Apr 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2003.php

2006 Lesser Swallow Prominent Pheosia gnoma first seen in Dorset on Apr 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5171

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2006.php

2029 Brown-tail Euproctis chrysorrhoea not a new moth but another report of caterpillar webs seen at Freshwater, Isle of Wight on Apr 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1598

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2029.php

2060 White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda first seen in Dorset on Apr 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3228

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2060.php

2064 Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa first seen in Dorset on Apr 27 (after a dubious earlier sighting in Sussex on Apr 10) - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=34

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2064.php

2068 Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula caterpillars not moths first seen at Magdalen Hill Down near Winchester on Apr 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2195

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2068.php

2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta first seen in Dorset on Apr 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=15

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2102.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma - more migrants seen on Apr 26 and 27 at Portland and Tolpuddle in Dorset, and Seaford in Sussex - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1134

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

2450 The Spectacle Abrostola tripartita first seen at Folkestone on Apr 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=7

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2450.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Short-haired bumble-bee (Bombus subterraneus): On Apr 26 the Rye Bay website had a link to http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/apr/26/extinct-bumblebee-uk-release which describes how bumblebee queens will be brought from Sweden to Kent this summer to re-introduce the species

Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus) and Weevil (Liparus coronatus): See Graeme Lyons blog entry for Apr 24 at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/creatures-of-shadow-and-flame.html to discover a colourful insect living beside the A27 at Worthing

Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela campestris): First seen this year on Apr 26 in Rewell Wood near Arundel - see the Apr 26 entry at http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/sightings.html for a photo of this relatively common heathland ground beetle which apparently holds the record for being the fastest running beetle

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Adders Tongue Fern: First report comes from Durlston on Apr 26 - it should soon be showing on the south side of the Hilsea Ramparts east of Peronne Road in Portsmouth and also in the extreme northeast field (south of the A27) at Farlington Marshes

Garden Aquilegia: In flower at Langstone village on Apr 25

Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea): Seen at Durlston on Apr 24 and according to the Hants Flora it was found by Francis Rose on the chalk cliff of the Paulsgrove Chalkpit on Portsdown in 1978 but I am not aware of it being found there since

Wavy Bittercress: Normally seen in wet puddles in woodland rides I was surprised to find a substantial colony growing on my front lawn when I cut the grass after heavy rain on Apr 27

Red Campion: First flowers seen in Havant Eastern Road Cemetery on Apr 25 but now starting to flower widely

Spring beauty (Claytonia perfoliata): Found in the Hook area of Warsash on Apr 21 by the Havant Wildlife Group - presumably in flower. It should now be out under Tamarisks on Hayling's Sinah Common sand dunes.

Dove's Foot Cranesbill: First flowers seen in Havant on Apr 23

Hairy Tare: The first white flowers of this were out in Havant on Apr 25

Bird's Foot Trefoil: Not yet reported in the Havant area but out at Durlston on Apr 24

Horseshoe Vetch: Also in flower at Durlston on Apr 24

Yellow-flowered Strawberry: The first flowers to be seen at the Havant Juniper Square site since Jan 2 were out on Apr 25

Salad Burnet: First seen in flower at Durlston on Apr 24

Common Nettle: First catkin like flowers seen in Havant on Apr 25

Holly: First flowers seen in Havant on Apr 25

Portland Spurge: Reported flowering at Durlston on Apr 26

Duke of Argyll's Teaplant: The plant in the Havant Eastern Road cemetery was covered in flowers on Apr 23

Germander Speedwell: My first sight of its flowers in Havant on Apr 23 though it had been reported out at Durlston on Apr 9

Ox-eye Daisy: The first mass flowering on the A27 south facing embankment in Havant seen n Apr 25

Perennial Cornflower (Centaurea montana): First flowers open in my garden (where the plants grow as weeds) were out on Apr 27

Nipplewort: First flowers since Jan 14 were out in Havant on Apr 25

Beaked Hawksbeard: First flower seen in Havant on Apr 26

Early Purple Orchid: 80 flowering spikes seen at the Longcopse site (Hollybank Woods at Emsworth) by John Goodspeed on Apr 24

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fox cubs: These usually start to appear above ground in mid-April but the first report of them that I have seen is dated Apr 24 when Dr David Tinling mentions seeing two in his Gosport garden

Marsh Frog: While checking out the Planet Thanet website for news from north east Kent I came across this excellent photo of a Marsh Frog taken by the person who runs the site but prefers to be known merely as 'Gadget'. See the photo, taken on Apr 22 by the River Stour in the Minster area, at http://www.planetthanet.org/images/2012%20folder/April%202012/April%2023rd%202012/Marsh%20Frog%2022nd%20April%202012%20Minster%20Marshes%20Thanet%20a.jpg Here in Hampshire I think the only place you are likely to see and hear these 'beauties' is in the Shatterford area of the New Forest to the west of Beaulieu Road Station

Snails: Wet weather always helps snail hunters to find their prey but heavy rain after dry weather is especially useful when looking for the Round-mouthed Snail (Pomatias elegans) which gets a mention on the Durlston website this week. This species burrows into loose soil (preferably chalk) to hide when not forced out to seek food or a mate. It does this not so much to escape predation (which most snail species are able to do just by hiding under a log or similar cover) but because it has been foolish enough in the course of its evolution to retain a breathing system that was fine when it was a marine species but is difficult to hold onto in a dry land environment. Most snails have adapted to life on land by becoming air-breathing and now have the equivalent of lungs but the Round-mouthed still retains gills which only work in water and thus it needs to retain a substantial amount of water within its shell - two ways in which it does this are (a) to have a thick round 'bath-plug' on the sole of its foot to seal the entrance to its round-mouthed shell whenever it is not forced to stick its head out, and (b) to burrow into the ground in order to insulate its shell from the heat of the sun and the drying effect of the wind, only coming out at night. Heavy rain will of course wash these creatures out of the loose chalky soil and while healthy live specimens will quickly burrow back the rain will leave the empty shells of dead snails exposed to your view. Another species mentioned on the Durlston website is the Rounded Snail (Discus rotundatus), a much commoner species - for a quick introduction to it see http://www.joyofplants.com/wildlife/search.php?o=121 which I am interested to see mentions as its predators Magpie and Slow-worm. With Magpies now on full time hunt for food for their newly hatched young I have been watching one searching the long grass around the edges of my lawn and have in the past seen a Magpie dash into the grass and come out with a Slow-worm in its bill but I did not then know that the Slow-worm might well have one of these snails in its gullet giving the Magpie chicks a two for one offer and teaching them the principles of the food chain.

Brook Lamprey: On April 22 a party led by Dr Patrick Roper in the Brede High Woods by the River Rother in East Sussex came across one of these and took photos, one of which can be seen at http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/04/22/brook-lamprey/ That entry on the RX website also has a link to a Radio 4 programme broadcast on Apr 19 and still available on the BBC iPlayer - if you have 30 minutes to spare go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01g60ft and learn more about Lampreys but be aware that the Brook Lamprey is a different species from the River Lamprey described in the first part of this broadcast (Brook Lampreys stay in the small streams thoughout their lives, River Lampreys spend much of their lives out at sea, only returning to breed - this final part of their lifecycle involves ceasing to feed, loosing their digestive system and acquiring sexual organs which they did not have until this stage of their lives)

Pike: In my summary for last week I wrote about Eels after guessing that a photo taken on Apr 19 in the River Ems (see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-105-eel-zz-river-C-bm-MP-19.04.12.jpg ) was of part of the back of an Eel but the picture has since been identified as of a Pike

Fungus: A fresh specimen of Dryad's Saddle gets a mention on the Durlston website this week

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 16 - 22 (Week 16 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Although numbers continue to drop Apr 18 saw 6 Red-throated pass Splash Point at Seaford with another passing Portland and one more off Seaton in Devon. Apr 18 also brought 22 Black-throated past Dungeness and on Apr 20 there were 5 Great Northern off Selsey.

Manx Shearwater: Numbers of these are increasing with more than 250 off Portland on Apr 19

Balearic Shearwater: Four were seen from Milford (west of Lymington) on Apr 18 and there were two more sightings of singles during the week.

Cory's Shearwater: First report for the year comes from Selsey where one was seen on Apr 21

Storm Petrel: Now being seen further east in the Channel one was seen in mid Channel south of Selsey in Apr 20

Little Bittern: First report for the year was of one in Wales (Pembrokeshire) on Apr 20

White Stork: At least two strayed over to our side of the Channel this week and there is late news of one landing on the lawn of a house in Waterlooville on Apr 7

Glossy Ibis: At least one has been in the Weymouth area since Feb 14 and one may have been lurking at the Bembridge RSPB reserve on the Isle of Wight since Jan 29 (though there were no reports from the Island between Feb 4 and Mar 15). The latest reports from Bembridge were on Apr 8 and 14.

Greylag Goose: A pair in Kent had seven goslings by Apr 18

Canada Goose: Last week I commented that the island in the Thorney Little Deeps on which a pair of Swans had built a nest looked to be too small to support the nest and this week I hear that they have abandoned it and that a pair of Canada Geese have attempted to use the nest but they too have now abandoned.

Brent Goose: A late flock of 31 flew east past Splash Point at Seaford on Apr 18 but it seems that the departure of our winter visitors is now effectively over

Pale-bellied Brent: These birds which breed in Svalbard, Greenland and Canada are still on passage and flocks of up to 150 have been seen on the Devon and Dorset coasts this week

Egyptian Goose: At least three pairs have been seen with young this week - on Apr 14 a pair had 7 goslings at the Petersfield Heath Pond, on Apr 15 there were 6 goslings at Fleet Pond and on Apr 17 a pair had 5 goslings in the Hailsham/Eastbourne area

Red Breasted Merganser: A single bird flying east past Selsey on Apr 15 is the last I know of.

Rough-legged Buzzard: What may have been the final final appearance of the Arun valley bird came from the Sussex Downs on Apr 16 when the bird was seen flying north

Peregrine: The Chichester cathedral pair were sitting on Apr 15

Honey Buzzard: First report for the year is of two birds seen over Weir Wood reservoir near Crowborough on Apr 21

Black-winged Stilt: One of at least three birds which have been moving rapidly around England recently was at Abbotsbury in Dorset from Apr 12 to 17

Dotterel: Two were back in Scotland (Fife) on Apr 16 but a group of five were still in the Netherlands on Apr 19 so there is still a chance of seeing one in southern England - the place to look for them is traditionally 'a bean field in May'

Golden Plover: A flock of 37 were at Danebury Hill near Stockbridge (Hampshire Test valley) on Apr 17

Curlew Sandpiper: First for the year (other than one found dead on a beach in the Thanet aea of Kent on Feb 7) was at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Apr 19

Purple Sandpiper: Still passing along the south coast with sightings at Southsea Castle of 10 on Apr 18 and 2 on Apr 21

Bar-tailed Godwit: Spring passage is now underway - Christchurch Harbour had 32 on Apr 16 and by Apr 19 there were more than 60 in the Devon Exe estuary

Whimbrel: These too are now moving in force with 101 at the Exe estuary on Apr 18, 33 at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 20, 62 at Falmouth (Cornwall) on that day and 106+ at Topsham in Devon on Apr 21

Wood Sandpiper: First report for the year is of two seen in Belgium on Apr 15

Common Sandpiper: These are now arriving as obvious migrants with counts of 13 at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 19 and 8 at the Longham Lakes (north of Bournemouth) on Apr 20 (when two were at Sidesham Ferry Pool)

Arctic Skua: Strong winds on Apr 18 brought 65 past Splash Point in Sussex

Great Skua: A count of 288 passing Dungeness on Apr 18 was unprecedented (previous highest day total was 95)

Little Gull: With their spring passage up channel well under way many sites have enjoyed their smart breeding plumage (jet black head, scarlet legs, white plumage with a strong flush of pink on the underparts). Splash Point had the highest count of 30 on our side of the Channel (Apr 18) but one Netherlands site had 2116 on Apr 14.

Whiskered Tern: Just one report of one in the Netherlands on Apr 20

Black Tern: 118 were seen at a Netherlands site on Apr 19 and there was a possible sighting of one at Stokes Bay (Gosport) on Apr 17 which would have been the first for the English coast

Turtle Dove: These are now starting to arrive - after one at Christchurch on Apr 13 and another at Cissbury Ring on the west Sussex Downs on Apr 17 East Sussex had its first with one heard purring in the Beckley Woods area north of Hastings on Apr 19

Cuckoo: The first local bird was on Thorney Island on Apr 17 and two were photographed there together (on power lines over the Little Deeps) on Apr 21

Tawny Owl: A newly fledged bird was seen near the Woods Mill HQ of the Sussex Wildlife Trust on Apr 17

Short-eared Owl: These are still moving north through southern England. On Apr 21 three were seen at The Burgh on the South Downs south of Pulborough with two others presumably just in after crossing the channel seen at Gosport and Sandwich Bay

Swift: I already have 17 reports of these starting with one at Portland on Mar 29 and including a massive count of 73 at a Netherlands site on Apr 13. This week one reached Portsmouth (Milton Common) on Apr 17 and on Apr 21 three were at the Milton site with another six over Budds Farm sewage works in Havant.

Hoopoe: This week one was in south west Hampshire (Barton on sea) on Apr 19 and 20 while one which arrived at Sandwich Bay in Kent on Apr 17 was still there (and had turned into two birds!) on Apr 21

Wryneck: None in southern England this week as far as I know but one had got as far north as Orkney by Apr 21

Swallow: A big arrival last week (137 seen to fly north over Portland in just 30 mins on Apr 13 was indicative of the rate of arrival) brought 100 to the Heath Pond at Petersfield on Apr 14. This week 710 flew north over the French Normandie coast on Apr 19 when 110 were seen at Weir Wood reservoir in north Sussex (with 50 House Martins) and on Apr 20 there were 70 at Titchfield Haven

Meadow Pipit: 13,090 were heading north over a Netherlands site on Apr 18

Nightingale: These have been arriving in southern England since Apr 3 and two birds were back at our local regular site (Marlpit Lane near Funtington, west of Chichester) by Apr 17

Whinchat: The first to reach southern England was at Portland on Apr 14 with another (maybe the same) at Hartland Moor in Dorset on Apr 15 and another new arrival was at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 20

Fieldfare: Probably the last to be seen in southern England were 5 at Hoe Gate (near Hambledon in the Meon valley) on Apr 16 after 2 were seen in Thanet (Kent) on Apr 14

Redwing: The last I know of were in Thanet (Kent) on Apr 15

Grasshopper Warbler: It is uncommon to see one in full song with no vegetation obscuring the view so a photo taken at Reculver (north Kent) by Marc Heath is worth a look - see http://www.kentos.org.uk/Reculver/images/grawa411marc_000.JPG

Lesser Whitethroat: Excluding what was probably a wintering bird in a Cornish garden seen on March 3 the first arrival in southern England was at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Apr 8. Since then song was heard at Rye Harbour on Apr 14 and at Farlington Marshes on Apr 19 but other than one sighting at Durlston on Apr 20 and one of three birds at Rye Harbour I am not aware of any significant influx - they should be with us soon!

Common Whitethroat: I have only picked up 23 reports so far and none seem to have reached the Havant area yet but I see that on Apr 22 there were four more reports on the Hampshire Birding site which have not yet been added to my database so if it stops raining next week we might all be able to tick the species

Garden Warbler: The first for the year was at Warsash on Mar 29 but so far I am only aware of ten more reports since then

Wood Warbler: These are thin on the ground nowadays but one was heard singing in the New Forest on Apr 19 and another was singing that day in Devon (Yarner Wood)

Great Grey Shrike: What may well be the last reports for the winter were made on Apr 16 when one was still in Hampshire (near Fordingbridge) with others in Suffolk and Lancashire.

Tree Sparrow: A reminder that there is still at small colony in the Pevensey Levels area near Eastbourne came on Apr 14 when 4 birds were seen there. I think that none breed in Hampshire nowadays.

Reed Bunting: Of local interest Martin Hampton has heard one singing at Langstone Pond on three days this April implying that I was not imagining that I heard one there on Mar 24!

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

I see from the News section of the British Dragonfly Society website ( http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/latest-sightings) that the Dragonfly season started as early as Mar 25 with the emergence of the first Large Red Damselflies in Cornwall, since when that species has been seen Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and Sussex (Thorney Island)

First report of Hairy Dragonfly came from Somerset on Apr 13 and the first Broad-bodied Chaser was seen at Portland on Apr 16

Species reported this week:

Large Red Damselfly, Hairy Dragonfly and Broad-bodied Chaser

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Small Blue: I thought a report of one on the Isle of Wight on Apr 16 was the first for the year but see the two were seen at the same place (Afton Down near Freshwater) on Mar 30

Small Tortoiseshell: No adult sightings were reported this week but there was proof that the early and widespread emergence (44 reports between Jan 6 and Apr 6) had done their work in an entry for Apr 19 on the Sussex Butterfly Conservation website reporting the finding of more than 180 Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars in a lane at Eastbourne by a girl on her way home from school.

Pearl Bordered Fritillary: First seen in Rewell Wood near Arundel on Apr 16 followed by others in Abbotts Wood near Hailsham/Eastbourne on Apr 20

Wall Brown: One had already been seen near Eastbourne on Apr 2 but this week brought further sightings on the Isle of Wight (Afton Down at Freshwater on Apr 15 and Bonchurch Down at Ventnor on Apr 20)

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Peacock, Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

50 Stigmella aurella found in Dorset on Apr 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1496

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0050.php

227 Skin Moth Monopis laevigella seen at Ventnor (Isle of Wight) on Apr 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1093

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0227.php

900 Pancalia schwarzella seen at Shoreham (Mill Hill) on Apr 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5706

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0900.php

1342 Eudonia angustea seen at Ventnor (Isle of Wight) on Apr 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5073

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1342.php

1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata seen by day in Dorset on Apr 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=14

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1906.php

2011 Pale Prominent Pterostoma palpina seen in Dorset on Apr 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3160

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2011.php

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta seen in Dorset on Apr 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5348

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2092.php

2160 Bright-line Brown-eye Lacanobia oleracea seen in Dorset on Apr 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=47

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2160.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma seen on downs in East Sussex on Apr 20 (not first but of interest as a migrant) - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1134

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

Moth larvae. On Apr 15 larvae of Endothenia gentianaeana were found in Teasel seed heads in Thanet (Kent) along with leaf mines of Phyllonorycter messaniella on Holm Oak and larvae of Metzneria aestivella in Carline Thistle seed heads (the latter were also found at Mill Hill Shoreham on Apr 17)

On Apr 17 several young caterpillars of Pale Grass Eggar moths were found at Rye Harbour and can be seen at http://rxwildlife.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/rxeggar.jpg

On Apr 19 the sporangia of Harts Tongue Fern in the Thanet area of Kent were found to have larvae of Psychoides filicivora and Psychoides filicivora feeding on them

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Beetles: Once again Graeme Lyons has found a couple of Beetles which I have never heard of - one is probably Phyllotreta nigripes and the other is the Belladonna Flea Beetle (Epitrix atropae). To find out more about them see his blog entries at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/outside-my-comfort-zonemy-garden.html and http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/not-so-deadly-nightshade.html respectively. The first of these entries also has a photo of the Metzneria aestivella moth larva in a Carline Thistle seed head which has been mentioned above under moth larvae. Another beetle in the news this week is the Darkling Beetle (Helops caeruleus) which was found at Rye Harbour (see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/04/17/some-spring-insects/ )

Harvestman (Megabunus diadema): I do not expect to see Harvestman species until summer but there is more than one species which can be found in the spring and a fascinating species with its eyes mounted in an armoured turret on top of its head was found by Gordon Jarvis in the Peasmarsh area north of Hastings on Apr 16 - see it at http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/04/16/15491/

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Goldilocks Buttercup: This was flowering in Pyle Lane near Horndean on Apr 19 and you can see a photo in my diary entry for that day

Sea Campion: The first flowers of this that I have seen this year were out on the Sinah Common shore on Apr 16

Three veined Sandwort (Moehringia trinervia): First flower seen at Marlpit Lane near Funtington on Apr 19. A poor photo is included with my diary entry for that day

Spring beauty (Claytonia perfoliata): Unopen flower buds could be seen under the Tamarisks near Gunner Point on Hayling on Apr 16 and a lot was found (presumably in flower) by the Havant Wildlife Group when they visited Hook/Warsash on Apr 21.

Whitebeam: My first sight of this in flower came on Apr 19 when I visited Marlpit Lane near Funtington

Wood Avens: Brian Fellows was the first to find this in flower at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Apr 20

Mossy Stonecrop: This was another first flowering when I visited Sinah Common on Hayling on Apr 16

Sheep Sorrel: Several people have seen this newly flowering this week since Apr 16

Thrift/Sea Pink: Newly flowering on Hayling near Gunner Point on Apr 16

Bugle: Newly flowering in the Pyle Lane area near Horndean on Apr 19

Ramsons/Wild Garlic: First report of flowering from Durlston on Apr 16

Early Purple Orchids: These seem to be late in flowering this year but some have been seen in Hampshire (at Lowtons Copse north of Clanfield on Apr 21 and at some indeterminate earlier date at Durlston in Dorset). While in the Clanfield area on Apr 21 John Goodspeed also found a new site for Toothwort on the western edge of Blagdons Copse (close to Lowtons Copse where this parasite on Hazel was found flowering back on Mar 15)

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Eel: On Apr 19 Brian Fellows published in the Emsworth Wildlife website a photo taken in Brook Meadow of what was described as 'a fish' in the River Ems. (See the photo taken by Malcolm Phillips at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-105-eel-zz-river-C-bm-MP-19.04.12.jpg ) The fish is thought to be an Eel, not uncommon in the River Ems, and this made me wonder if the Eel might be on its way downstream en route to the Sargasso sea and in checking on this thought I found that this would be unlikely as the peak time for such departures is in the autumn. I also found that the number of Eels (though still vast) is in catastrophic decline, causing the Environment Agency to ban the catching of them during the period that they are en route to their breeding grounds (supposedly somewhere in the Sargasso Sea though, unlike the source of the Nile, the exact location remains a mystery). If you want to learn more about this fascinating subject go to http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/6acbbc1e-3588-11df-963f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1slBjpmOq which has a lengthy but very readable article on the subject.

Cordyceps fungi: I have long been aware that there is an uncommon fungus called Cordyceps militaris (or the Scarlet Caterpillarclub) and have in the past even found it in Havant Thicket but it was not until reading Graeme Lyons fascinating blog ( http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/ ) that I became aware that the Cordyceps genus is omnipresent worldwide with hundreds of species each directed at the control of an individual insect species, making sure that they do not take over the world for themselves, and that the technique they employ is far more gruesome than anything which the most evil human could devise. To discover what I found out go to http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/where-is-my-mind.html in which Graeme describes being shown Cordyceps gracilis (the species charged with protecting the world against the tiny Common Swift moth) and be sure to view the video in which David Attenborough describes the modus operandi of another Cordyceps as part of the BBC Planet Earth series. After this sobering experience you will understand the meaning of the strange poem with which Graeme's piece started.

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 9 - 15 (Week 15 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Single Red-throated were still to be seen off Selsey and south Devon on Apr 13 and there had been as many as 65 off the French Normandie coast on Apr 8. Surprisingly there were 10 Black-throated off St Austell bay in Cornwall as late as Apr 13 when 3 were seen passing Dungeness. Great Northern were represented by 4 at Selsey on Apr 13 when another 4 were still off Cornwall. White-billed were seen off the Western Isles (2 on Apr 9) and off east Scotland (1 off Aberdeen on Apr 9)

Grebes: Two Red-necked were with the divers off St Austell Bay on Apr 13 and 8 (maybe 9) were off the Netherlands on the same day. A distant grebe off Splash Point in Sussex may have been either Slavonian or Black-necked but there were definite reports of two Slavonian off the Netherlands on Apr 13 and three Black-necked at a different Netherlands site on Apr 12

Manx Shearwater: Plenty of these now in the Channel with 2000+ off Portland on Apr 9 (when 5 were off Sandy Point on Hayling) and 1 was as far east as Dungeneness on Apr 11

Balearic Shearwater: The first to be reported since January was off Portland on Apr 8

Storm Petrel: First to be reported this year (2 birds) were seen by a boat fishing off south Devon on Apr 13

Bittern: As no one has yet invented an accurate Bittern Boom locator birders in Kent are being asked by Natural England to note their own position whenever they hear a boom and also to note the direction from which the sound comes and how loud it is (as an indication of the distance). For full details go to http://www.kentos.org.uk/Stodmarsh/bitternsurvey.htm - I will not be surprised if in future years the Kent Stour valley has its own fleet of barrage balloons, each equipped with technology to relieve the birders of this onerous task) - will this be followed by harrowing accounts of the number of birds killed by flying into the mooring wires of the balloons?

Cattle Egret: Seven reports this week include six from Dorset and Cornwall plus one from the Hayling Oysterbeds on Apr 11 - the bird here was identified when it flew past the observer at close range.

Little Egret: A further check on the birds at Langstone Mill Pond on Apr 13 gave a total of 23 nests though there could have been one or two more or less as a result of some nests being hidden in ivy and others being double counted by mistake when viewing the nest island from two different viewpoints.

Purple Heron: At least one was still being seen in Devon up to Apr 10 when the last sighting was of one flying high east (followed by a new report of one in Begium next day)

Glossy Ibis: On Apr 11 RBA News carried a total of 5 reports from English sites and at least one was still at Radipole in Dorset on Apr 12 but the two birds seen on the Lymington shore on Apr 7 have not been reported since (and may include the bird which turned up at Brading Marshes (Isle of Wight) on Apr 8)

Spoonbill: Eleven reports this week come from nine different sites and suggest a fluid population. Two or three birds may be based in the Poole Harbour area but a sighting of two birds in the Warsash area on Apr 11 were probably (as with several other reports) of birds on the move

Mute Swan: Attempts at nesting by pairs at Peter Pond in Emsworth and the Little Deeps on Thorney Island seem likely to fail - although at least one egg had been laid at Peter Pond the nest seemed to have been submerged by a high tide and the island chosen as a nest site at the Little Deeps looks to be too small to support the nest (any eggs laid are likely to roll off into the water). I think Swans have to serve a long apprenticeship before being able to move up a ladder of increasingly good nest sites until they reach sites where their chances of success break even.

Brent Goose: On Apr 10 a flock of 35 was seen at Southampton Water and then at Selsey as they moved east and on Apr 13 there were still 20 birds at Christchurch Harbour but we are now reaching the stage at which sightings are more likely to be of birds staying for the summer than of late migrants (5 birds in the Fishbourne Channel of Chichester Harbour on Apr 12 are likely to stay)

Green Winged Teal: The bird that was at Farlington Marshes from Feb 23 to Mar 30 has not been seen there since but one has appeared on the 'Posbrook flood' at the north end of Titchfield Haven from Apr 7 to 14

Garganey: Several have probably now settled down to nest in southern England but a new pair was seen to fly in off the sea at Exmouth in Devon on Apr 14

Ring-necked Duck: The longstaying bird at Par (near St Austell in Cornwall) has not been seen since Apr 11 and I see that one flew east past Dungeness on Apr 12

Long-tailed Duck: Two were still at Dungeness RSPB on Apr 12

Red-breasted Merganser: Sightings are becoming rare and a group of ten in Chichester Harbour off Langstone on Apr 13 may be the last I see until autumn

Hen Harrier: One was still in southern England (Cuckmere Haven in Sussex) on Apr 11 and four were at a Netherlands site on Apr 14

Montagu's Harrier: Two sightings in Cornwall - a male was reported at St Ives on Apr 6 and a ringtail at the same place on Apr 10

Goshawk: Two were reported to have entered this country from the south via Bognor where the Borders Agency was unable to detain them on Apr 13. Interestingly the same observer had seen two very similar birds at the same place on Apr 3

Rough-legged Buzzard: The Arun valley bird was reported as still present on Apr 10 and 14

Osprey: No news yet of any interest in the nest which has been prepared for them on the Thornham Marshes landing lights but Hampshire had one arrival at Milford on sea (west of Lymington) on Apr 9 and another on Apr 11 which came in off the sea at Lymington and was probably the bird seen later that day at the Blashford Lakes. Another came in over Pagham Harbour on Apr 10

Merlin: Still passing on their way north - Christchurch Harbour had one on Apr 9 and two on Apr 11 when one was at Rye Harbour. At the end of the week one was over Selsey on Apr 12 and another over Pagham Harbour on Apr 13

Hobby: Three new arrivals in Dorset on Apr 12 and one in Kent (Folkestone) on Apr 13 - it won't be long now before they start to arrive in small flocks of 20 or more but we must wait for the dragonflies to start to emerge before that happens (last year there was a report of 45 in the Kent Stour valley on May 13 preceded by 12 there on May 8. A group of 5 came in at Sandy Point on Hayling on May 1 and 7 were seen together in Dorset on Apr 28)

Black-winged Stilt: Two or more of these seem to have been moving around in southern England recently. One had been reported in Ireland (Co Wexford) on Mar 30 but I'm pretty sure it was a different bird which headed north over the Isle of Wight on Apr 6 to be reported in Somerset on Apr 10, then at Abbotsbury in Dorset on Apr 12 and 13. On Apr 12 Lee Evans told us of one in Oxfordshire which I assume to be a different bird

Dotterel: Other than one wintering with a flock of Golden Plover that was seen at Dungeness from Jan 25 to 30 the first migrant to reach England was one at Rye Harbour on Apr 11

Purple Sandpiper: Four were at Southsea Castle from Apr 6 to 8 but they were not the last as 28 were at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 9 with 5 there on Apr 13

Snipe: First report of drumming came from the Ashdown Forest on Apr 8. This unusual sound was fairly common in the New Forest when I was young but I get the impression that it is very uncommon now - looking back to last year I can only find one report of drumming (Kent Stour Valley on June 1) among the data I recorded and in 2008 the only reports are of one or more 'displaying' at Woolmer Pond in east Hampshire on Apr 13 and two birds drumming near Burley in the New Forest on Apr 4. In 2007 the only report mentioning drumming came from the New Forest on Mar 17 (also in that year reports indicated that Snipe were still to be found breeding on the outskirts of Chichester - Clay Lane area near Bishop Luffa school). 2006 also has just one note of drumming (Kent Stour Valley on Apr 5) as has my 2005 list (Adur levels in Sussex on May 15) and the same is true for 2004 (New Forest on Apr 2 with a further note on Apr 13 of 'no drumming' at the Vyne near Basingstoke as if it was a surprise not to hear one of at least 16 birds there). The first sign of the 'old days' comes in 2003 when drumming was heard at five different New Forest sites. No reports in 2002 but in 2001 drumming was heard in the New Forest on May 15 and at Fleet Pond on May 21. Ten years earlier when Birds of Hampshire was published in 1991 the drainage of meadows was already causing a notable decline in the Hampshire breeding population ...

Whimbrel: Fifteen reports this week as passage hots up. Biggest count was of 85 at one Netherlands site on Apr 8 when Christchurch Harbour had 17. Since then two birds were at Northney (Hayling) on Apr 10 and a flock of six was over the Exminster Marshes in Devon on Apr 13. Apr 14 saw two birds (probably the same two) reported at Hill Head and Stokes Bay (Gosport)

Spotted Redshank: Lymington still had 5 birds on Apr 12 when singles were at Christchurch Harbour and in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester

Common Sandpiper: Migrant arrivals have brought 13 reports this week with a maximum count of 3 at the Blashford Lakes on Apr 14

Arctic Skua: Now being seen daily along the south coast with a peak count of 18 on the French Normandie coast on Apr 10 (and 5 at Dungeness on Apr 12)

Great Skua: Also a daily sight with 12 at Dungeness on Apr 9 and 16 at Seaford on Apr 10

Little Gull: Numbers now increasing - peaks of only 15 at Dungeness on Apr 13 but 2116 at a Netherlands site on Apr 14

Roseate Tern: First for the year at Selsey on Apr 14

Arctic Tern: First report for the year came surprisingly from Latvia on Apr 7 and Netherlands on Apr 12

Little Tern: First reports came from the Netherlands on Mar 26 and 30 followed by a gap until Apr 10 when 3 were seen at Pagham Harbour. Apr 11 brought 6 to the Lymington shore and Apr 12 brought 2 to the Chirchester Harbour entrance (and later to Selsey). Apr 13 saw 6 at Selsey and Apr 13 brought three reports (1 at Exmouth in Devon, 2 at Stokes Bay Gosport, and 10 on the Lymington shore)

Black Tern: Four reached the Netherlands on Apr 13 and one more was reported there on Apr 14

Turtle Dove: What were probably wintering birds were in a Dorset garden (Mar 15) and beside the Centurion's Way cycle track at Chichester on Mar 21. The first migrant arrival seems to have been at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 13

Cuckoo: Eleven reports this week come from sites at Sandwich Bay in Kent to Christchurch Harbour in Dorset gving a total of 29 reports since the first on Mar 17

Short-eared Owl: Still moving north through southern England - most surprising of 11 reports this week was of 12 birds flushed out of the saltings at Newtown Harbour (IoW) by the tide on Apr 10. Last that know of came in off the sea at Exmouth in Devon on Apr 14

Swift: One was seen at Portland as early as Mar 29 and I now have 11 reports including one of 73 birds over a Netherlands site on Apr 13 followed by another of 25 birds there on Apr 14. Four reports of birds in southern England this week come from Portland on Apr 10, Christchurch Harbour on Apr 11, Cornwall on Apr 12 and Rye Harbour on Apr 14

Hoopoe: One was in the Bishops Dyke area of the New Forest on Apr 10 and 11 - it may have then moved to Christchurch Harbour where one was seen on Apr 13

Wryneck: One had reached the Scillies as early as Mar 25 but the first in southern England was in a garden at Bodiam (near Hastings) on Apr 9. The only other report was from the Netherlands on Apr 13

Swallow: A major arrival of hirundines started on Apr 12 with 40 Swallows at Dungeness, 75 at Christchurch Harbour and 80+ at Thurlstone Bay in South Devon. Apr 13 saw 2000+ Swallows passing over Lundy and 50+ over Westhampnett Lake at Chichester - also that day Portland counted 137 in one 30 minute period, 72 at Christchurch Harbour, 56 at Andover, 38 at Selsey and 36 at Sinah Common on Hayling, etc.

House Martin: Apr 13 brought 14 to Christchurch Harbour and Apr 14 saw more than 30 at Hook/Warsash

Yellow Wagtail: The number of reports was up to 17 this week but none was of more than 11 birds (local reports of 2 in fields south of Fareham on Apr 8 and one over the Highland Road cemtery in Southsea on Apr 14

Nightingale: Song heard on Apr 9, 11, 12 and 13 - maybe it's worth a trip to our local site at Marlpit Lane near Funtington in West Sussex? (Three were singing there on Apr 25 last year)

Whinchat: One was reported in Germany on Apr 8 but the first to reach England was at Portland on Apr 14

Fieldfare: A late flock of 102 birds was at Sandwich Bay on Apr 9 and 10 were at Fleet in Hampshire on Apr 12

Redwing: 257 were at a Netherlands site on Apr 9 but the last that I know of was just 1 at Durlston on Apr 11

Sedge Warbler: One was singing at Arundel back on Mar 30 and another reached the Milton Lakes in Southsea on Apr 8 but none seem to have reached the Thorney Island Deeps yet

Reed Warbler: One was at Radipole on Apr 2 and there have been 13 subsequent reports including the Southsea Milton Lakes on Apr 8 but none so far in the Langstone/Thorney area

Lesser Whitethroat: Only two reports of migrant arrivals in England so far - one at Lodmoor on Apr 8 and one singing at Rye Harbour on Apr 14

Common Whitethroat: Lee Evans knew of one arrival by Mar 24 but the first I saw reported was at Christchurch on Apr 2 since when there have been at least 16 reports with song heard since Apr 12

Wood Warbler: The first and only report is from Yarner Wood in Devon on Apr 10

Willow Warbler: Although the first reached England on Mar 14 and 15 this week saw a major widespread arrival with more than 1000 at Portland on Apr 12 and 20 in the Highland Road Cemetery in Southsea among many other sites. The arrival continued on Apr 13 to give 100 on Sinah Common (south Hayling) and 85 at Beachy Head with single birds heard singing elsewhere by most birders who were out that day

Pied Flycatcher: One among at least 11 arrivals this week was on Sinah Common (south Hayling) on Apr 13

Golden Oriole: A male was seen briefly at Seaford on the Sussex coast on Apr 13

Siskin: Early nesting brought an adult with two fledglings to feeders at Salehurst (north of Hastings) on Apr 12

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Dingy Skipper: First for the year at Shoreham Mill Hill on Apr 6

Duke if Burgundy: First two seen at Noar Hill on Apr 13 (the second of these was happily perched on a ladies nose)

Small Heath: First of the year at Shoreham Mill Hill on Apr 6

Local sightings at Fort Purbrook on Portsdown on Apr 13 were Green Hairstreak, Small Copper and Speckled Wood

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Small Heath

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

435 Zelleria hepariella found in Dorset on Apr 8 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3362

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0435.php

464 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella found in Pagham Harbour on Apr 7 (first migrants seen since January) - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5084

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0464.php

667 Semioscopis steinkellneriana seen by day on a gatepost at Butcherlands Farm (Ebernoe near Midhurst) on Apr 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6185

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0667.php

720 Ethmia bipunctella seen on Sussex Downs north of Eastbourne on Apr 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3339

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0720.php

1643 Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia male seen by day in the Thanet are of Kent on Apr 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6212

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1643.php

1927 Brindled Beauty Lycia hirtaria seen in Dorset on Apr 8 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1742

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1927.php

1980 Eyed Hawk-moth Smerinthus ocellata emerged from pupa (which had been in a bag of compost delivered to a house in the Alresford area near Winchester) on Apr 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1694

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1980.php

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum - two more sightings in Dorset at Blandford on Apr 7 and at Waitrose in Dorchester on Apr 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1984.php

2005 Great Prominent Peridea anceps - a first for the Pagham Harbour list on Apr 7 (one previous sighting this year in Dorset on Mar 27) - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4445

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2005.php

2007 Swallow Prominent Pheosia tremula - first for the year in Dorset on Apr 8 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=368

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2007.php

2028 Pale Tussock Calliteara pudibunda - first for the year in Dorset on Apr 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1784

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2028.php

2036 Dew Moth Setina irrorella - first for the year at Folkestone in Kent on Apr 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4312

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2036.php

2064 Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa - first for the year at Brighton on Apr 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=34

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2064.php

2235 Tawny Pinion Lithophane semibrunnea - first for the year in Dorset on Apr 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5250

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2235.php

2389 Pale Mottled Willow Paradrina clavipalpis - first for the year in Dorset on Apr 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2389.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma - first migrant arrival at Portland (other than one on Mar 28) on Apr 8 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1134

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

2470 Small Purple-barred Phytometra viridaria - first for the year seen by day on the East Sussex Downs on Apr 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4529

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2470.php

2478 Bloxworth Snout Hypena obsitalis - first for the year seen in Dorset on Apr 7 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4354

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2478.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Caddis Fly species: One at Durlston on Apr 8 but species not named

St Marks Fly: An early sighting on Portsdown on Apr 11

Scaeva pyrastri hoverfly: An early report from Thanet in Kent on Apr 6

Chequered Hoverfly (Melanostoma scalare): Also seen in Thanet on Apr 6

Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa): First report from Thanet on Apr 6

Chrysolina banksi: This beetle was found on Thorney Island by Graeme Lyons on Apr 9 - to learn about the beetle go to http://wildlifeonwheels.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/leaf-beetle-chrysolina-banksi.html but to follow Graeme's train of thought to the graffiti artist Banksy see Graeme's blog at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/ (and for those who overlook this entry I have included what I learnt from Graeme in my Other Wildlife section). A visit to Graeme's blog will also introduce you to a couple of other beetles which he came across at Graffham Down near Midhurst on Apr 13

Common Groundhopper (Tetrix undulata): Most people are aware of the presence of several species of Grasshopper in their local environment but few are aware of the Groundhoppers which are widespread and not uncommon (I was introduced to them by Bob Chapman when he was warden of Farlington Marshes and commented on finding them there). The Common Groundhopper was seen at Peasmarsh near Hastings and got a mention (with photo) on the Rye Bay website on Apr 14 but for more info and photos see http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/common-groundhopper-0 and to put them in context among the other Grasshoppers and Crickets that you may come across see http://www.naturespot.org.uk/taxonomy/term/19476

Evarcha arcuata jumping spider: The first of the tiny, big eyed, jumping spiders (Salticus scenicus) that will patrol the wall of my house around the kitchen window during the summer was on the kitchen window sill this week but to extend your knowledge of this group of spider to a heathland specialist species see Graeme Lyons blog for Apr 13 or visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evarcha_arcuata which has an attractive photo of a male. Graeme's blog mentions several other spider and beetle species which I have not mentioned here

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Garlic Mustard: Brian Fellows was the first to find this in flower on one of his Emsworth Waysides on Apr 10 - very soon it will be seen everywhere

Pale Flax: I was surprised to read that this was already starting to flower at Durlston on Apr 9

Field Pansy: John Goodspeed found the first of these flowers on Portsdown on Apr 11

White Campion: First flowers seen in Emsworth on Apr 9

Lesser Sea Spurrey: First flowers on the Langstone sea wall on Apr 13

Subterranean Clover: Very early flowers found by John Norton on Apr 4 in an unexpected location (the grass around the carpark at the Bedhampton ASDA store in Havant

Common Sorrel: First flowers found in Emsworth by Brian Fellows on Apr 12

Pittosporum tenuifolium: Not a wild flower but each year I am impressed by the powerful scent which comes from the small black flowers of this tree - this week the scent stopped me in my tracks as I was walking home with a load of shopping on the pavement on the opposite side of the road from the tree.

Germander Speedwell: Reported as in flower at Durlston on Apr 9

Yellow Archangel: Escaped plants of the garden version of this lovely flower were out at the southern entrance to Hollybank Woods at Emsworth on Apr 11

Crosswort: First flowers found on Portsdown by John Goodspeed on Apr 11

Field Madder: First flowers seen in Emsworth on Apr 12

Lily of the Valley: Not yet in flower but newly found in the Hollybank Woods at Emsworth this week as a result of scrub clearance allowing light to return to the heathland on which this woodland grows. A similar patch of this native species can be seen in Havant Thicket at approx SU 716108 on the west side of the peripheral track

Ramsons (Wild Garlic): Already flowering at Durlston on Apr 13

Early Purple orchid: Already flowering at Durlston on Apr 11

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Otter: On Apr 9 Joe Stockwell was photographing Swallows and other spring migrants at Rooksbury Mill in Andover when two Otters (which I guess he has never seen before here on his home patch) appeared in the water. At this time of year these were probably young Otters seeking their own territories for the first time.

Weasel: Also on Apr 9 the Rye Bay website had a photo of two Weasels battling with each other but Barry Yates was uncertain whether this was a dispute between two males or the equivalent of a female Hare 'boxing' an over-attentive male. A more unexpected Weasel photo was taken at Brook Meadow in Emsworth - I don't remember hearing of any pevious Weasel sightings there though the site must provide a good hunting ground for these predators - and the animal seen was unusual in having a very dark brown coat. As it was seen on the river bank there was concern that it might discover one of the 'above water' Water Vole tunnels that gave access to a breeding chamber but the page about Water Voles on the Wild about Britain website does not mention Weasels as predators (it says .. "Cats, foxes, weasels, pike, birds of prey and adders are among the predators seeking water voles. Mink are the most serious threat to Water Vole populations, due to their ability to hunt underwater, foiling the Water Vole`s main course of evasion from threats."). I was surprised that Weasels did not get a mention - the Environment Agency page does include them, listing .. "They have many predators including weasels, stoat, polecat, mink and fox, kestrel, buzzard, harrier, heron, barn owl and short-eared owl." All sources agree that Mink, becase of their ability to enter Water Vole burrows under water, are the most serious threat to these Voles. While searching for info on this subject I learnt (from that eminently reliable source, Wikipaedia) that .. "There are also indications that the water vole is increasing in numbers in UK areas where the European otter has made a return. The otter is a predator of the American Mink."

Grey Seal: On Apr 11 one was reported at the Newtown Harbour site on the north coast of the Isle of Wight

Hedgehog: It is not unusual to hear of the owners of neat suburban gardens being woken from their sleep by persistent grunting noises coming from their lawn which turn out to come from mating Hedgehogs trying to solve the problem of how to get together when the female insists on wearing a very spiky nightdress. My impression was that mating did not normally take place until May and when I tried to confirm this the first report that I found was of a date in mid-June (see http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/forums/mammal-forums/13780-hedgehogs-mating.html ). The report which sparked off this enquiry came from an Emsworth garden where a female Hedgehog had been provided with board and lodging (a wooden box to sleep in and tins of 'Spike's Dinner' for meals) over the past winter. During the past week her peaceful winter holiday from the cares of life was rudely interrupted by the intrusion of a male (much larger than the female) who chased her round her box for so long that in the morning the grass had been worn down to bare earth (I recall seeing a similar ring of bare earth round a tree where pair of Roe deer had run a multi-lap Grand Prix circular race)

Green Lizard: A sighting was reported from the Shoreham area on Apr 6 and if you are not familiar with this eye-catching species in the British countryside have a look at http://www.uksafari.com/greenlizards.htm A much fuller account of the history of introductions of the species to the British Isles can be found at http://my.opera.com/Ukwildlife/blog/green-lizard-lacerta-viridis-l-bilineata-in-britain An interesting sidelight brought up by a Google search concerns the construction in Brighton of houses made of old bottles and tyres - the houses are called 'Earthships' and the site where they are built is called 'The Lizard' - see http://www.findaproperty.com/displaystory.aspx?edid=00&salerent=0&storyid=20249

Basking Shark: First sighting that I am aware of for this year came from Durlston on Dorset on Apr 7

Banksy's Beetle: Beetles would normally be in my Insect News but not when they are the subject of a painting in the American Museum of Natural History by the graffiti artist known as Banksy. I was made aware of the painting (see copy below) by Graeme Lyons through his ever-fascinating blog at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/ when he mentioned it in connection with his find of a beetle called Chrysolina banksi on Apr 9. True to his personal mode of operation Banksy placed his painting in the museum without permission and it took two days before it was discovered by the authorities! For more about Banksy visit his own website at http://www.banksy.co.uk/ and click the four informal links on the home page

Copy of Banksy's picture of a Beetle named Withus oragainstus in the American Museum of Natural History

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 2 - 8 (Week 14 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

Those who share my interest in the broader aspects of wildlife and the quirks of their fellow enthusiasts may be as amused as I was to see a couple of blogs to which Cliff Dean drew my attention during this week.

Have a look at http://bandwellfumblefinch.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/moth-news/

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: A couple of Red-throated were still to be seen heading east at Selsey on Apr 6 and 124 had been seen passing Cap de la Hague in Normandie on Apr 2. Single Black-throated were reported daily through the week with the last seen in Jersey on Apr 5 after others had been seen at Christchurch, Lymington and Bexhill on the preceding three days (maybe all sightings of the same bird heading slowly east). Only one report of Great Northern this week - 9 seen at Selsey on Apr 6

Grebes: Very few of the wintering birds still here - one Red-Necked hanging on in Portland Harbour until at least Apr 5 and one Slavonian off Titchfield Haven on Apr 1

Manx Shearwater: None had been seen in the Channel until Mar 19 but by Mar 31 there were 41 off Prawle in Devon and on Apr 4 Portland reported 60

Bittern: Booming now heard regularly at Dungeness RSPB and a 'beginner' can sometimes be heard at Rye Harbour (Castle Water)

Little Egret: 18 occupied nests could be seen at Langstone Pond on Apr 2

Purple Heron: One was still to be seen at Budleigh Salterton in Devon on Apr 4 and a group of 3 had been at a Netherlands site on Apr 3

White Stork: One seen attacking a Red Kite somewhere in Sussex on Apr 3

Glossy Ibis: Two have been at Radipole (Weymouth) since Feb 29 and were still there on Apr 5. Others have been seen this week in Essex and as far north as the Western Isles of Scotland with others in Cleveland and Ireland (Co Cork)

Brent Goose: 138 were still passing Splash Point at Seaford on Apr 5 but very few are now left with us still intending to fly east. Typical of those that are left is one which flew inland to the Ardingly reservoir on Apr 4 - lost and lonely.

Egyptian Geese: When Birds of Hampshire was written in 1992 this species was classed as 'a very scarce visitor' with a very small colony established in Berkshire and a bigger one in Norfolk. Last October 174 of these geese were seen on the Hampshire/Berkshire border and this year there were 10 together at the Blashford Lakes in January with groups of half a dozen seen in Sussex (Petworth) and Dorset during February. By the end of March I already had 22 reports of the species from Hants, Dorset and Sussex and on Apr 1 two birds (maybe a pair seeking a breeding site?) flew south low over the Gipsies Plain at Rowlands Castle.

Shelduck: As the winter coastal flocks break up one or two pairs usually appear on the Budds Farm pools at Havant and try to breed there. This year there were 9 birds there on Apr 2 and it will be interesting to see how many stay there. Few find undisturbed breeding sites along the harbour shores and the majority of those that attempt to breed in south east Hants nowadays seem to do so at places five or more miles inland where the parents may find a safe site (perhaps under a fallen tree) but which gives that ducklings a five mile plus walk back to the harbours (crossing busy roads and a railway) before they can find the food they need.

Tufted Duck: On Apr 1 the number at the Blashford Lakes was given as 595 (maybe prior to a mass passage flight to breeding sites?) and on Apr 5 a pair had appeared on Langstone Mill Pond where they are not normally seen.

Honey Buzzard: The first and so far only report of one that I have seen came from Laurence Holloway seen over his Aldwick (Bognor) home on Apr 3 and until some other reports come in I will wonder if the bird was mis-identified

Pallid Harrier: Another 'first and only' report for the year was of a male over Slimbridge, also on Apr 3

Osprey: 32 reports so far this year with the first over Weir Wood reservoir in Sussex on Mar 9. No others until one reached the Devon coast on Mar 21 after which reports came in almost daily with one being seen on Mar 25 heading north over the Fishery Lake (south east Hayling) and probably about to overfly Thorney Island. On Apr 4 one was seen following the Hamble River north over Sarisbury Green

Merlin: The only report for this week is of a late bird heading north over Portland on Apr 4

Hobby: As with Osprey the first report was on Mar 9 from the New Milton area of Hampshire with no more sightings until March 23. April 4 brought the tally of reports up to 12 with separate sightings at Thurlstone Bay in Devon and Falmouth in Cornwall after one had been in the New Forest on Apr 3

Crane: The 'off course' bird that had been seen near Exeter in Devon on Apr 1 was seen again there on Apr 2

Purple Sandpiper: Just two April reports - on Apr 1 Christchurch Harbour had 22 and on Apr 6 Southsea Castle had 7

Whimbrel: Passage now warming up with eight reports this week including a flock of 12 seen in Belgium on Apr 5 (Dungeness had 4 on Apr 3)

Spotted Redshank: Still 8 on the Lymington Marshes on Mar 31 and 2 there on Apr 4

Common Sandpiper: No indication of migrant arrivals yet - the only April reports are of singles at the Arlington Reservoir in Sussex on Apr 2 and the Lower Test Marshes on Apr 5

Turnstone: Reports of 45 in Southampton Water (Weston shore) on Apr 1, 20+ on the Broadmarsh Shore at Havant on Apr 2 and 150+ at Bexhill on Apr 4 indicate a bunching up and easterly passage of these birds

Pomarine Skua: One passing Dungeness on Apr 1 was noted as early though there had been 21 previous reports (mainly from Europe) spaced out since Jan 1 (when one was at Selsey)

Common Tern: The first migrant was seen at the Longham Lakes (Bournemouth area of Dorset) on Mar 17 but we had to wait until Mar 25 for a more substantial arrival with 2 seen at Portland and 4 at a Netherlands site where the number increased to 24 on Mar 27. Five were seen at Dungeness on Mar 29 when one was at Ivy Lake in Chichester followed by one at Fleet Pond in north Hampshire on Mar 30. Latest arrival was one at Southsea Castle on Apr 6

Cuckoo: I am aware of 17 reports since the first was seen at Weymouth on Mar 17 - so far the nearest to Havant has been one at Ella Nore (near West Wittering) on Apr 5

Short-eared Owl: What may be the last of the many which have wintered in the south were seen this week. One passing through after wintering on the continent was seen at Sandy Point on Hayling on Apr 3 while the last that I know of were seen on Apr 4 at Pagham Harbour and Waltham Brooks near Pulborough.

Common Swift: Following the sighting of one over Portland on Mar 29 another has been seen over the Netherlands on Apr 2

Bee Eater: The first for the year in the British Isles was in Yorkshire on Apr 2

Hoopoe: The 24th report for this year came from Cliddesden near Basingstoke on Apr 1 followed by what seem to be reports of four different birds in Devon and Cornwall this week

House Martin: I have now seen at least 24 reports of these including sightings this week of 10 over Eastleigh sewage farm on Apr 5

Yellow Wagtail: Just three reports this week, all from Kent. On Apr 3 one was at the Oare Marshes (Faversham) and three were at Dungeness, and on Apr 4 one was in the Stour Valley (first for the year was near Arundel on Mar 11)

Nightingale: Two had been reported at Calshot (mouth of Southampton Water) on Feb 7 but I suspect this was based on mis-identified song - interestingly one was reported again in that same area as singing on Apr 3 when another report came from the Kent Stour valley (the accepted earliest Hampshire record was on Apr 3 in 1975)

Fieldfare: On Apr 1 a German site reported 2052 heading north and a small party of 96 were on Gander Down near Winchester on Mar 31 but this week 3 seen on Apr 5 near Fawley power station on Southampton Water was the biggest flock.

Redwing: Just 7 at Portland on Apr 3 (and 350 in the Netherlands on Apr 4)

Grasshopper Warbler: First for the year was in Dorset (Winspit) on Mar 28 followed by three more individuals in Dorset and then one near New Milton in Hants on Apr 5

Sedge Warbler: The first was at Rye Harbour on Mar 27 with 11 others in Kent, Sussex, Isle of Wight and Dorset before the first in Hants (Milton Common in Portsmouth) on Apr 4

Reed Warbler: So far the only report I am aware of was of one at Radipole (Weymouth) on Apr 2

Common Whitethroat: Lee Evans was aware that some had arrived by Mar 24 but the only report I know of from a south coast site was of one at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 2

Garden Warbler: Four reports so far - first was at Warsash Common on Mar 29 with another not far away in the Fareham area on Mar 30. Apr 1 brought one to Dorset and on Apr 4 one was singing in Sussex at the Arundel Wildfowl reserve.

Iberian Chffchaff: A good report from Hartley Witney in north Hants on Apr 6 - still there at dawn on Apr 7

Pied Flycatcher: The first was a female in Devon on Mar 28 followed by at least four at Portland on Mar 31. On Apr 7 two were seen in Hampshire - one at Farlington Marshes and another near the Eastleigh sewage works.

Marsh Tit: First report of one singing came from the Botley Woods near Fareham on Apr 2

Willow Tit: A photograph of one probably taken near the Hookheath Nature Reserve (north foot of Portsdown) on Apr 1 appeared that day on Brian Fellows website ( http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm ) and on Apr 3 two birds were in the Whitchurch area by the A34 north of Winchester

Linnet: Unlike other passerines which have mostly ceased to live in large winter flocks and have changed to breeding mode Linnets are still roaming the country in flocks with 221 at Sandwich Bay on Mar 29 and 325 at Christchurch Harbour on Mar 30. On Apr 5 a flock of 232 was still to be seen but up in Yorkshire. Here on the south coast they are by now generally on territory.

Twite: A group of five were still to be seen in the Thanet area of Kent on Apr 4

Hawfinch: The small flock which has been at Eastleigh Lakes since Feb 24 still had at least 6 birds on Apr 5 though they have not been reported since then

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Large Tortoiseshell: Apr 2 brought a third sighting at Walters Copse, Newtown on the Isle of Wight (previous sightings there on Mar 27 and Mar 30) which is somewhat odd for a butterfly famed for its tendency to roam - could it suggest that these three are different individuals but all the offspring of a migrant arriving here last year which are now emerging over a short period before flying off into oblivion (maybe the insect seen in Havant on Mar 30 was the one which had emerged on the Isle of Wight on Mar 27). To add weight to this theory that we are now seeing the offspring of last year's migrants there have also been two sightings in the Scillies on Mar 10 and Apr 1.

Wall Brown: One was seen on the East Sussex Downs on Apr 2, around a month before expected

Species reported this week:

Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Large Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0714 Agonopterix yeatiana found at Folkestone on Apr 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6535

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0714.php

1661 Orange Underwing Archiearis parthenias found at Rowland Woood near Eastbourne on Apr 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=871

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1661.php

2029 Brown-tail Euproctis chrysorrhoea larvae found at Durlston on Apr 3 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1598

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2029.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Spiders: See Graeme Lyons blog ( http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/my-housemate-simoni.html ) to learn that the Daddy-long-legs (Pholcus phalangioides) spider, which can be found somewhere in most houses, has a smaller transatlantic cousin which has arrived in this country with wine imported from the USA

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Field Horsetails: Just starting to push up - first seen in Emsworth on Apr 1

Creeping Buttercup: First flowers seen on the Langstone South Moors on Apr 5

Bulbous Buttercup: First flowers seen in Emsworth on Apr 3

Yellow Corydalis: First flowers of the spring seen in Havant on Apr 2

Hedge Mustard: This was still flowering in early January and on Apr 2 I found fresh spring flowers

Honesty (Lunaria annua): Fresh flowers at several places in Havant from Apr 5

Herb Robert: Spring flowering first seen in Emsworth on Apr 1

Red Clover: First flowers seen since Feb 1 were out on Portsdown Hill on Apr 4

Spring Vetch: I could not find this when I was last on the Hayling sand dunes but Graeme Lyons found it flowering in East Anglia on Apr 1

Hawthorn: The first fully open flowers for this year were out on Apr 2 in the Havant East Street carpark on the old rail track

Red Currant: Flowers out on a self sown plant in the Havant cemetery on Apr 6

Pellitory of the Wall: First new spring flowers seen at Bidbury Mead in Bedhampton (Havant) on Apr 2

Field Maple: Flowering in the Warblington area on Apr 2

Norway Maple: First flowers seen on Mar 31 in the Chalton area north of Rowlands Castle

Horse Chestnut: First open flowers seen at the Havant Cemetery on Apr 6

Silver Birch: Catkins open at Bidbury Mead, Bedhampton on Apr 2

Ash: Flowers first noted in Havant on Apr 2. On Apr 5 I noted a male and female tree growing together on the roundabout outside Bosmere School at the end of South Street in Havant

Basford Willow (Salix alba var vitellina x Salix): Flowering at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Apr 2

Hemlock: First flowers seen on the Marina seawall at Emsworth on Apr 5

Scarlet Pimpernell: First flowers for the year seen on Apr 5

Ivy-leaved Toadflax: First flowers since January seen on Apr 5

Thyme-leaved Speedwell: One plant starting to flower in Havant on Apr 5

Grey Field Speedwell: First flowers since January seen in Havant on Apr 5

Red Valerian: Fresh spring flowers opening on Apr 5

Corn Salad (Valerianella) species: Starting to flower in Emsworth on Apr 1 and in Havant on Apr 4. Although the commonest species used to be V. locusta I am told by Eric Clement that V. carinata is now the commonest species in south Hampshire so it is worth checking the fruit when that is available. Carinata fruits as wide as they are thick and much longer than they are wide and have a deep goove. Locusta fruits are twice as thick as wide and scarcely longer than thick with only a shallow groove.

Moshachatel: First flowers found in the Chalton area north of Rowlands Castle on Mar 31

Smooth Sow Thistle: First flowers seen on Apr 5 and I am again indebted to Eric Clement for correcting my way of distingishing Smooth from Prickly - the only factor to use is the shape of the auricles (are they pointed or rounded ignoring and backward pointing teeth on the auricles which may make them look pointed)

Meadow Foxtail grass: This had started to flower in Emsworth on Apr 3

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Otter: This week Devon Birding News has an account of how a birder found the corpse of an Otter which had seemingly been killed by dogs (presumably of the sort uncontrolled by dog walkers, not Otter Hounds) and subsequent entries tell you how to report any such incidents to the Environment Agency

Grass Snake: Only three reports of these that I have seen this year (all since mid March) compared to more than 20 reports of Adders (starting on Jan 8). Not sure what this tells us ...

Bullhead breeding: The Brook Meadow conservation group at Emsworth were working on Apr 1 and an old cider can on the bottom of the River Ems looked as if it should be removed but when a hand reached down to retrieve it a tiny fish dashed out of the open end of the can and when the can was out of the water it was seen to have a pile of orangey-yellow eggs in an indentation at the other end of the can. See the entry for Apr 4 in Brian Fellows website ( http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm ) which has the original photo of the can plus my input suggesting that the fish species was a Bullhead (aka Miller's Thumb) and pointing people to a video of the 'nesting habits' of this species including a shot of eggs which look very similar to those found in the can (video at http://www.arkive.org/bullhead/cottus-gobio/video-09.html )

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Mar 26 - Apr 1 (Week 13 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: There were still 37 Red-throated passing Dungeness on Mar 30 with singles of Black-throated seen off the Isle of Wight and Splash Point at Seaford during the week with 20 passing Cap Gris-Nez on Mar 31. The biggest count of Great Northern was 7 at Selsey Bill on Mar 27

Grebes: 9 Red-necked were off a Netherlands site on Mar 30 (possibly as many as 22 if we add the reports from 5 Netherlands sites for that day). Two Slavonian were in Hayling Bay on Mar 23 and 25 and one was still off Titchfield Haven on Mar 31. One Black-necked in breeding plumage was still at Eastbourne on Mar 26 but that was the only report from southern England

Bittern: Still reported from five south England sites this week with one at Rye Harbour attempting to boom on Mar 24

Night Heron: Four are probably still present in west Cornwall where the first was seen near St Just on Mar 12 but the party of four that arrived in north Devon on Mar 13 have not been reported since Mar 20.

Cattle Egret: The Kingston Maurward (Dorset) bird has not been reported since Mar 18. On Mar 24 Lee Evans reported one in Berkshire and another in Gloucestershire and on Mar 27 one was seen in the Exe estuary

Little Egret: On Mar 20 two individuals turned up at new inland sites (Weir Wood near Crowborough and Gatwick airport). By Mar 29 a minimum of 8 nests could be seen at the Langstone Pond site and two of the 27 birds present (with the tide out) were in trees on the mainland suggesting that all nest sites on the island were now taken.

Great White Egret: The group of six that have been at a Somerset Levels site since at least Feb 29 were still there on Mar 24

Purple Heron: First reports of these for the year come from the Netherlands and Belgium on Mar 26, 27 and 28

Spoonbill: On Mar 28 one arrived in Pagham Harbour and was still there on Mar 31 when two others turned up at the Farlington Marshes deeps. Others have been moving through the wider Havant area this week - four flew north east over Titchfield Haven on Mar 21, one was in the Warsash/Hook area on Mar 22 when three more flew east along the west Sussex coast and one was also going east off Hastings on Mar 24

Mute Swan: These are at last starting to nest - on Mar 28 an inexperienced pair were building a nest in the Emsworth Slipper Mill pool and on Mar 29 the female of the long established Langstone Pond pair was sitting.

Whitefront Goose: On Mar 27 a flock of 1680 birds was seen at a German site, presumably preparing to fly north, and on Mar 28 there may have been 2165 birds in that area

Brent Goose: Counts of departing birds were 919 on Mar 28, 770 on Mar 29 and 840 on Mar 30 but not all of these geese follow the coast - on Mar 28 a flock of 50 flew high north east over Chichester

Mandarin duck: Pairs of these tree breeding ducks are now searching for nest sites in old trees usually close to water and on Mar 24 a male was seen in a tree near the River Wallington at the north foot of Portsdown. A pair seen on that day in the Lepe country park near the mouth of Southampton Water and on Mar 27 a pair was seen at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood

Green-winged Teal: The male which appears to be paired with a Common Teal was still in the Farlington Marshes area, seen at the 'Deeps' on Mar 30

Mallard: A female was seen with 16 tiny ducklings at a Devon site on Mar 27

Garganey: 15 reports this week including a pair on the Farlington Marshes 'Deeps' on Mar 30

Black Kite: The first report of one in southern England that I am aware of came from the London area on Mar 30

Red Kite: One report (out of the many seen daily everywhere) which cannot be ignored came from the Bedhampton area of Havant on Mar 29. In the air above Peter Raby's home were one Red Kite, 2 Hobbies, 3 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk were all interacting. As if this was not enough there was another bird which hit the national headlines on the RBA website - an Alpine Swift. These birds were reported just after midday when I was heading home from a walk round the Warblington Farm area and had been attracted to look up on hearing a Buzzard call to see a group of birds interacting high over the distant Northney marina area - the distance and haze looking into the sun made it impossible to see accurately what was going on but I am certain of three Buzzards and one falcon stooping at them - I guessed it was a Peregrine but it could well have been a Hobby (the birds were slowly drifting towards Bedhampton).

Rough-legged Buzzard: There was one confident report of the Arun valley bird as late as Mar 29

Osprey: 15 reports this week with the majority coming from Dorset, Devon and Cornwall but one flew north over south Hayling on Mar 25 and one went north over the Blashford Lakes on Mar 29

Hobby: After isolated reports on Mar 9 and 23 there were two reports on Mar 28 from Dorset and Sussex, two on Mar 29 from Cornwall and Hampshire (the Bedhampton birds) and two more from Hampshire on Mar 31 (Romsey and Ringwood areas)

Baillon's Crake: One in Ireland on Mar 24 was a first for the year in the British Isles and the more unusual for being seen in spring rather than autumn

Coot: The first nest was in use at Emsworth on Mar 25

Black-winged Stilt: One in Ireland (Co Wexford) on Mar 30

Stone Curlew: Two more migrant arrivals this week - on Mar 23 one flew north over the Worthing area, heard calling at 21:25, and on Mar 24 one was seen on the ground at Christchurch Harbour in the early morning

Little Ringed Plover: 18 reports this week including Pagham Harbour and Pulborough Brooks

Kentish Plover: A female at Slapton Ley in south Devon on Mar 30

Lapwing: During a walk round Farlington Marshes on Mar 27 I saw at least 8 birds on territitory though only three were displaying.

Purple Sandpiper: 16 were seen at Southsea Castle on Mar 30

Ruff: 11 reports this week including one at Farlington Marshes on Mar 31

Woodcock: Roding males on the heathland south of Fleet were trying to drive away the competition on Mar 25 and a late departing migrant was put up from a field of Cauliflowers in north Kent on Mar 27

Bar-tailed Godwit: The start of their spring passage was marked by a group of five flying east past Splash Point at Seaford on Mar 25

Whimbrel: Early migrants flew past Splash Point on Mar 17 and on Mar 28 the first report to mention their 'teetering' call came from the Kent Stout Valley on Mar 28

Little Gull: Numbers passing along the south coast are now increasing with 7 seen at Selsey Bill on Mar 23 and 10 at Dungeness on Mar 28. 2481 were at a Netherlands site on Mar 27 as they head towards the Baltic and Siberia to breed

Iceland Gull: The Broadmarsh area bird was still in Langstone Harbour on Mar 31 but one seen at Winchester sewage works on Mar 28 was presumably on its way north

Common Tern: These have been arriving since Mar 17 and 8 reports this week included 25 on the French coast on Mar 28, 5 at Dungeness on Mar 29 when one was at Chichester Ivy Lake. On Mar 30 one was inland at Fleet Pond

Little Tern: Just two reports both from the Netherlands (3 seen on Mar 26 and 1 on Mar 30)

Cuckoo: The first was reported from the Weymouth area of Dorset on Mar 17, a couple (maybe the same bird) were in the Eastbourne area on Mar 20, and a more regular string of reports began on Mar 24 when one was in Dorset and another in the New Forest. Mar 26 saw one on the Sussex Downs and Mar 27 brought two reports, maybe of the same bird, in the Worthing area. The latest news is of one at Bere Regis in Dorset on Mar 29

Scops Owl: One seen on the Scillies (St Mary's) on Mar 25 and again on Mar 26

Eagle Owl: One seen on the roof of a house in the Waterlooville area by day on Mar 29 was clearly used to humans, unlike the wild one seen in northern Norway on Mar 22 by two of the Three Amigos (see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/03/30/royalty-eagle-owls-and-velvet-scoters-bergen-norway/ ) on their final trip on HMS Liverpool which was back in Portsmouth for its decommissioning ceremony before I saw this post. I rather suspect that the Waterlooville bird had been seen on Mar 27 on a building close to Winchester Rail Station when it was reported as a 'Long-eared Owl'.

Short-eared Owl: Still several around this week but no reports since Mar 29 when two were in the Pagham Harbour area a day after two were seen at Farlington Marshes

Common Swift: One was over Portland on Mar 29

Alpine Swift: One had been reported at The Lizard in Cornwall on Mar 18 and this week one was over Havant on Mar 29 before one was reported over Lundy on Mar 30

Hoopoe: 17 reports between Mar 24 and 29 came mainly from Cornwall but there were sightings on the Isle of Wight and at Weymouth. On Mar 28 RBA News gave a total of 11 birds in the UK

House Martin: Swallows and Sand Martins are now being seen regularly and widely but House Martins are still scarce with a maximum 'flock' of 5 in the Romsey area on Mar 31

Tree Pipit: The first arrival that I am aware of was one in the Scillies on Mar 25 with five more seen in various Dorset sites by Mar 30 when two more were on the Lymington shore

Meadow Pipit: Thousands are currently moving north over southern England each day and they have been heard singing since Mar 27 at Farlington Marshes and Pulborough

Yellow Wagtail: Just five reports so far covering sites in Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (max count only 4)

Red-flanked Bluetail: Just one seen in Ireland (Co Cork) on Mar 26

Black Redstart: Just six new reports this week but including one at the Budds Farm site in Havant on Mar 31

Common Redstart: First of the year arrived at Portland on Mar 28 followed by five more sightings in Dorset and one at Selsey Bill this week

Ring Ouzel: 16 new reports this week including one on Mar 31 at the north foot of Portsdown (Purbrook Heath area)

Fieldfare: Still heading north with a flock of 146 near Ropley in east Hampshire on Mar 27 and 135 in the Timsbury area of the Test valley on Mar 29

Redwing: Still moving north with 31 at Christchurch Harbour on Mar 30

Grasshopper Warbler: Just one report so far of a bird heard singing in the Dorset Winspit valley on Mar 28

Sedge Warbler: First arrival was singing at Rye Harbour on Mar 27 followed by reports from Kent, Dorset and the Isle of Wight (but not Hampshire so far)

Common Whitethroat: Mentioned as having arrived in Lee Evans bulletin on Mar 24 but I still have not seen any dates or sites on the south coast

Garden Warbler: I have only seen two reports, both in Hampshire. On Mar 29 one was heard and seen on Warsash Common and on Mar 30 one was heard singing in competition (and contrast) to a Blackcap somewhere in Fareham

Willow Warbler: Portland reported the first big arrival (at least 100) on Mar 29 and on Mar 30 one was singing in trees bordering the Hayling Billy trail in Havant where it passes Lower Grove Road (Christchurch Harbour had 220 arrive that morning). Regular full song started on Mar 25

Firecrest: Of local interest Martin Hampton reported on Mar 27 that a Firecrest had been singing for the past 10 days in trees bordering the Hayling Billy trail where it passes his house in Lower Grove Road and on Mar 30 he told us it was still to be heard there

Pied Flycatcher: First arrival ( a female) was reported on Mar 28 from the Exe estuary and on Mar 31 Portland had 4 arrivals

Long-tailed Tit: First report of nest building came from south Devon on Mar 17 with another fron the Oare Marshes in north Kent on Mar 18 followed by a photo of a nest at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Mar 29

Great Grey Shrike: A bird on Ibsley Common near Ringwood was reported to be singing on Mar 24 and on looking up the habits of this species in my old P.A.D. Hollom 'Handbook' I read that its harsh alarm note .. 'may become a Magpie-like chatter'. Searching on the internet I found a blog describing song heard in Northumberland last year - there it is described as follows .. 'I never though I would hear a Shrike sing and it sounded nothing like I had imagined. First it sounded slightly like a warbler but kept adding mimicry and sounded like a wader then a bird of prey.' A longer verbal description can be found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Grey_Shrike

Woodchat Shrike: First of the year was in Ireland (Co Waterford) on Mar 24

Jay: One at Waltham Brooks (Pulborough) was also described as 'singing' on Mar 28

Serin: One which arrived on the Scillies on Mar 22 was heard singing there on Mar 25

Hawfinch: The saga of the Hawfinches at Eastleigh Lakeside Country Park continues with up to 5 still there on Mar 30. They were first seen there on Feb 24 and the number has varied up to a max of 12 on Mar 16 and 17

Little Bunting: One was caught and ringed at Thurlestone Bay in south Devon on Mar 19 and a second bird was also caught there on Mar 28

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Grizzled Skipper: First of year at Shoreham Mill Hill on Mar 24 followed by one at Magdalen Hill Down near Winchester on Mar 27 when three more were found at Rake Bottom on Butser Hill

Clouded Yellow: One nectaring on Groundsel at Portland on Mar 29. As these have at least one permanent colony in Bournemouth and are also known to hibernate in the south of England it is not possible to say if this was a migrant, an emerging resident or even one which had managed to hibernate.

Green Hairstreak: First of the year seen at Beacon Hill, Exton in the Meon Valley on Mar 29 with a second sighting at Magdalen Hill Down next day.

Small Copper: Although the first sighting was on Mar 21 it was not included in last weeks summary. Mar 21 brought a report of one in the New Forest which I at first thought was very early but on checking found that one had been found at Gosport in 2009 as early as Mar 5. This years first has been followed by a 'possible' sighting on Butser Hill on Mar 27 and a definite sighting near Lymington on Mar 28

Small Blue: Seen and photographed on the Isle of Wight on Mar 30

Painted Lady: A 'tatty' specimen seen on Mar 21 in the Rother Woods north of Hastings and one was seen at Prawle on the south Devon coast on Mar 25 - both present the same problem of origin as the Clouded Yellow

Large Tortoiseshell: The identity of one seen in Havant by Brian Fellows on Mar 30 has been confirmed by the presence of extra black patches at the rear of each forewing (unique to Large Tortoiseshell) as well as by the large size which immediately made Brian aware this was not a Small Tortoiseshell (see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm entry for Mar 31 for a photo). The possibility that there has been a small arrival of these butterflies as migrants is suggested by two further sightings at Newtown on the Isle of Wight - one was seen by Peter Hunt on Mar 27, and when Mike Gibbons came over to the Island to see it on Mar 30 he believes that he saw a different individual from that photographed on Mar 27. Yet another report, from the West Wellow area near Romsey on Mar 29, is more dubious as the list of butterflies in the reporter's garden included a Common Blue which must have been a Holly Blue and this throws some doubt on the reporter's ability to separate Large from Small Tortoiseshell. Further indications of migrant arrivals may be seen in moth reports of Silver Y and Hummingbird Hawkmoths (see moths below) but these are not proven.

Camberwell Beauty: The Mar 28 entry on the Sussex Butterfly Conservation website has a photo of a Camberwell Beauty taken on Mar 22 at the Marley Common National Trust site (close to Fernhurst and Blackdown Hill) by the NT warden. This is more likely to be an escape or release of a locally bred individual rather than a migrant, but who knows?

Species reported this week:

Grizzled Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Large Tortoiseshell, Camberwell Beauty, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note - I assume that readers are as ignorant of moths as I am and so I attempt to provide background info about each species through links to sources of expert knowledge. For each species two links are given. The first is to the UKMoths entry for that species giving one or more photos (if more than one thumbnail is shown clicking it will cause it to replace the large image) plus background info at the national level. The second is to the HantsMoths entry giving similar information at the Hampshire county level - clicking the Phenology, etc boxes gives charts relating to records in the Hampshire database and the meaning of the colours in the Flightime Guide can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php Finally note that a Sussex Moths site is under development at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0149 Treetop Longhorn Adela cuprella found at Potland on Mar 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4505

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0149.php

0485 Schreckensteinia festaliella found in Dorset on Mar 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6388

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0485.php

0666 Semioscopis avellanella found at Eridge near Crowborough on Mar 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5714

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0666.php

0899 Violet Cosmet Pancalia leuwenhoekella found at Mill Hill near Shoreham on Mar 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6313

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0899.php

0900 Pancalia schwarzella found at Malling Down near Lewes on Mar 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5706

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0900.php

1116 Ancylis comptana found at Malling Down near Lewes on Mar 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5449

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1116.php

1200 Eucosma hohenwartiana found at Magdalen Hill Down near Winchester on Mar 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=717

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1200.php

1255 Cydia ulicetana/succedana found in Dorset on Mar 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5047

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1255.php

1362 Pyrausta purpuralis found at Mill Hill near Shoreham on Mar 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1182

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1362.php

1365 Pyrausta despicata found at Mill Hill near Shoreham on Mar 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1356

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1365.php

1366 Pyrausta nigrata found at Mill Hill near Shoreham on Mar 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3530

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1366.php

1645 Scalloped Hook-tip Falcaria lacertinaria found in Dorset on Mar 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5279

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1645.php

1660 Frosted Green Polyploca ridens found in Dorset on Mar 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5074

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1660.php

1661 Orange Underwing Archiearis parthenias found at Wadhurst near Crowborough on Mar 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=871

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1661.php

1662 Light Orange Underwing Archiearis notha found at Dungeness on Mar 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3343

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1662.php

1834 Common Pug Eupithecia vulgata found in Dorset on Mar 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=463

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1834.php

1858 The V-Pug Chloroclystis v-ata found in Dorset on Mar 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=156

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1858.php

1883 Yellow-barred Brindle Acasis viretata found in Dorset on Mar 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1140

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1883.php

1919 Purple Thorn Selenia tetralunaria found in Dorset on Mar 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5727

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1919.php

2005 Great Prominent Peridea anceps found in Dorset on Mar 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4445

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2005.php

2015 Lunar Marbled Brown Drymonia ruficornis found in Dorset on Mar 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2848

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2015.php

2019 Chocolate-tip Clostera curtula found in Dorset on Mar 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=848

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2019.php

2063 Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica found in Dorset on Mar 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4314

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2063.php

2260 Dotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginea found in Dorset on Mar 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3804

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2260.php

2289 Knot Grass Acronicta rumicis found in Dorset on Mar 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=72

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2289.php

2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa found on Portsdown on Mar 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1731

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2306.php

2425 Nut-tree Tussock Colocasia coryli found in Dorset on Mar 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=334

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2425.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found in Dorset on Mar 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1134

Note that this is a new wave of immigrants - those seen on Jan 18 were 'last years'

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

2469 The Herald Scoliopteryx libatrix found in Dorset on Mar 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5101

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2469.php

Hummingbird Hawkmoth sightings New sightings on Mar 22 in the Bitterne are of Southampton; on Mar 23 in the Totton area near Southampton, nectaring at Daffodils; on Mar 27 at Folkestone, nectaring at Flowering Currant; and on Mar 29 another seen at Folkestone

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Bee Flies: Widespread reports of the common Bee Fly plus sightings of Dotted Bee Fly at Woods Mill (Henfield) on Mar 30 and at Rye Harbour on Mar 24.

Oak Gall Wasp (Biorhiza pallida): First Oak Apples seen on Warblington Farm on Mar 29 - see my diary page for an account of the complex life cycle of the gall wasps which create them

Common Wasp: Queens are now emerging to set up new colonies - please don't kill them as they are very unlikely to harm you and their offspring do a lot of important pest control work

Hairy footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes): These are now active and have been reported on two websites with illustrative photos that seem to show different insects. Graeme Lyons photos at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/stalker.html show an insect with a long downward pointing proboscis looking as rigid as that of a Bee Fly whereas the photos on the BWARS website ( http://www.bwars.com/Anthophora_plumipes.htm ) pointed to by Brian Banks entry on the RX website (see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/03/25/hairy-footed-flower-bee/ ) show no sign of a proboscis. A search through several sources of information on this species found no mention of the proboscis shown in Graeme's picture though it is clear that this bee mainly visits plants with long tubular flower requiring a long 'drinking straw' to get at the nectar. I did eventually find a photo showing the proboscis (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/23111015@N04/6830537362/ ) and it would seem that, despite the impression given by Graeme's photos that the proboscis is rigid (as in Bee Flies) it must in fact be retractable (like that of a butterfly)

Oil beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus): These get a mention as active at Durlston on Mar 21 and provide an excuse to point you to an excellent photo of the species at http://theweekendbiologist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/oil-beetles.html As well as looking at the photo do read the text above it describing the life of the young larvae and how it hitches an air flight to the Bees nest in which it will grow up.

More beetles, some extraordinary spiders and a huge millipede: Just some of the things Graeme Lyons has been finding recently. Do visit http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/ and try to find out more about the species he keeps finding

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Great Horsetail: The first signs of these were the fertile cones which had started to push up on path edges at Warblington Farm this week

European Larch: The first green leaves had appeared on a tree here in Havant by Mar 29 but with no sign of the Larch Roses still to come

White mustard (Sinapis alba): When on Portsdown on Mar 26 I parked in the unofficial parking area immediately west of Fort Southwick and was puzzled by a cluster of plants growing at the edge of the arable field beside the parking area. From the leaf shape I thought they might be a Sisymbrium species but when the specimen which I took home began to open its flowers I realised that this was White Mustard which might well have been grown on the field and then ploughed in as 'green manure' to increase the fertility of this chalky soil

Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis): I believe that this lovely spring flower is disappearing from our countryside as existing colonies are destroyed - if left more or less undisturbed it can survive but if the colony is cut down or ploughed up it has no means of reinstating itself by e.g. windborne seed. This happened to a large patch on the grass verge beside the Forestside Road running through Stansted Forest where it passes the 'Middle Lodge' close to the Avenue carpark and I have not seen any of these flowers so far this year whereas Brian Fellows has found it at Kingston near Lewes and in the Bridge Road carpark by his Emsworth home.

Chalk Milkwort: Durlston reports this starting to flower on Mar 30

Shining Cranesbill: First flowers seen at both ends of the Pook Lane footbridge over the A27 at Warblington on Mar 29

Wood Sorrel: A great show of flowers in the Longcopse Hill area of the Hollybank Woods at Emsworth on Mar 30 were my first for the year

Common Vetch: First flowers seen on Portsdown on Mar 26

Black Medick: Last year's flowers had vanished by the end of January and I saw my first new flowers for this year on Portsdown on Mar 26

Wild Cherry: Flowering in the Longcopse area of the Hollybank Woods at Emsworth on Mar 30

Wild Plum: Also in full flower in the Longcopse area on Mar 30

Flowering Currant: Now flowering at Folkestone so no doubt also to be found locally

Elder: At least one tree bearing open flowers at Farlington Marshes on Mar 27

Ox-eye Daisy: One flower fully open and many in bud on Portsdown on Mar 26

Neapolitan Garlic: One flowering plant found by Brian Fellows on Mar 30 beside the A259 main road through west Emsworth (in a ditch outside No 103 near the Brookfield Hotel)

Wild Daffodil: The usual display could be seen in the West Dean Woods north of Chichester on Mar 27

Arum (Lords and Ladies): Spathes started to open from Mar 29 onward

Early Spider Orchid: Starting to flower at Durlston on Mar 28

Hairy Woodrush (Luzula pilosa): Flowering in the West stoke area at the foot of Kingley Vale on Mar 27

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fox: Foxes are a regular sight in the meadow between Langstone Pond and Wade Court and normally look very healthy but an extremely mangy specimen was there on Mar 29

Hare: Birders looking for the Rough-legged Buzzard in the Arun Valley near Burpham this week reported many Hares in the fields

Brook Lamprey: A couple of these were seen in the R Itchen at Avington on Mar 24. If you are not familiar with these strange jawless fish have a look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/European_brook_lamprey At the moment they are probably busy moving stones on the river bed to create a spawning bed.

Fish: The first report of a shoal of Grey Mullet in the Slipper Mill Pond at Emsworth was dated Mar 25 and on that same day the Durlston website commented on numbers of Turbot, Brill, Plaice & Dabs coming inshore after spawning slightly further out in the Channel

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


To see Summaries for January to March 2012 go to JAN-MAR 2012 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for October to December 2011 go to OCT-DEC 2011 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for July to September 2011 go to JUL-SEP 2011 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for April to June 2011 go to APR-JUN 2011 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for January to March 2011 go to JAN-MAR 2011 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for October to December 2010 go to OCT-DEC 2010 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for July to September 2010 go to JUL-SEP 2010 SUMMARIES

No Summaries available for April to June 2010

To see Summaries for January to March 2010 go to JAN-MAR 2010 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for October to December 2009 go to OCT-DEC 2009 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for July to September 2009 go to JUL-SEP 2009 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for April to June 2009 go to APR-JUN 2009 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for January to March 2009 go to JAN-MAR 2009 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for October to December 2008 go to OCT-DEC 2008 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for July to September 2008 go to JUL-SEP 2008 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for April to June 2008 go to APR-JUN 2008 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for January to March 2008 go to JAN-MAR 2008 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for October to December 2007 go to OCT-DEC 2007 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for July to Sept 2007 go to JUL-SEP 2007 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for April to June 2007 go to APR-JUN 2007 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for Jan, Feb and Mar 2007 go to JAN-MAR 2007 SUMMARIES


GO TO ... DAILY DIARY HOMEPAGE MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS SPECIES LISTS MAPS ABOUT RALPH HOLLINS