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WEEKLY SUMMARY


Wildlife diary and news for June 24 - 30 (Week 26 of 2013)

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BIRDS

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Storm Petrel: June 23 seems to have been the peak day for seeing these and several other seabird species around our south west shores. Although the highest individual count of the Petrels was only 18 at St Ives in Cornwall they were accompanied by many Manx Shearwaters (Portland had over 200 of these) plus small numbers of Balearic and even Sooty Shearwaters

Cattle Egret: June is normall a dead month for birding excitement so a group from Reculver in Kent decided to pop across the Channel on June 24 and this is what they recorded during this day trip. .. "With birding so quiet at Reculver over recent weeks we spent another day in France. We visited Marquenterre, Crecy Forest and Oye Plage and saw 102 species including 157 Spoonbills, 1 Cattle Egret, 24 White Storks, 7 Great White Egrets, 21 Black-winged Stilts and 3 Black-necked Grebes not to mention singing Marsh Warblers, Firecrests and Wood Warbler. All in all an excellent day out.

Little Egret: Passing Langstone Pond on June 29 I did not have the time to assess the number and and ages of the Egrets but, despite the seawall path being crowded with people, I guessed that there were at least 30 Egrets on view and saw that several had the greenish legs of well grown juveniles.

Scaup: Last week I mentioned that an adult female Scaup had been seen in the Langstone Channel on June 23 and that this was a surprise as it was the first mention of the species for a month. There was some confusion as to where the bird was as it was said to have been seen from Warblington (east of Langstone and in Chichester Harbour) but located in the Langstone Channel (which is in Langstone Harbour and refers to the main channel running south from the Oysterbeds). This ambiguity was elminated next day (June 24) when what must have been the same bird was found in Pagham Lagoon where it stayed to at least June 28 and was photograhped by Alon Kitson (see http://www.sos.org.uk/administrator/components/com_jobline4/logo/snv37775---copy.jpg.

Black-Winged Stilt: I have already mentioned that the Kent birders who made a day trip to France on June 24 found 21 Stilts there but I see that one of the Stilts flew over to Sheppey on June 26 - no further info.

Green Sandpiper: Early autumn passage birds continue to arrive with a party of 5 together at Sandwich Bay on June 26 plus smaller groups in Dorset and Cornwall this week. Wood and Common Sandpipers are also passing through.

Wilson's Phalarope: The bird which arrived at Yarmouth (IoW) on June 18 was last seen there on June 23.

Little Tern: On June 28 more than 10 of these were seen in Pagham Harbour and Rye Harbour reported that chicks were being fed there. In Langstone Harbour their absence was marked by a large plastic banner at the Oysterbeds telling us what a great job was being done by local government and the Veolia waste disposal company in saving the Little Tern from its suicidal tendencies.

Cuckoo: What I assume are adult birds are still being seen this week in Kent, Hampshire and Dorset but a check on the progress of the bird adopted by Sussex (see http://www.sos.org.uk/follow-sussex-on-his-journey.html) shows it had already reached the southern tip of Sadinia when it realised it was missing the action of the Tour de France and smartly turned back north to the northern tip of Corsica (not sure how you account for that in any scientific theory of bird navigation).

House Martin: Two snippets of discouraging news come from (a) myself - only managing to get the species on my yearlist this week when I saw four birds over the Budda Farm pools on June 29, and (b) Rebecca Rees who checked for nests in Hurstpierpoint near Brighton on June 27 and could only find one nest where there had been seven last year.

Meadow Pipit: To show that not all news is bad I I heard at least two singing Meadow Pipits at the Langstone South Moors where I have heard them this year on Apr 10, June 5 and now June 29. No doubt they are only singing because they have not managed to attract a female so far!

White Wagtail: Birders at Folkestone are claiming to have a pair nesting there for the first time time 1981 (but I am not sure if they have found the nest yet).

Mistle Thrush: A flock of around 12 birds seen on Graffham Down near Midhurst would seem to indicate that at least two pairs have bred successfully this year - maybe this species is drawing back from the brink of extinction.

Spotted Flycatcher: At least one pair has bred on the Stansted estate this summer and a pair have been seen at Alresford this week - another species not quite extinct as a breeding species in Hampshire and Sussex.

White-throated Needletail: This species, which holds the air speed record for level flight, got into the news this week by flying from the Himalays to the Scottish island of Harris where it promptly killed itself by flying into a privately owned wind turbine which the locals had been complaining about since it was put up. I'm surprised that the media have not made more of a meal out of a story with all this controversial points. If you want some more accurate info try Lee Evans account at http://uk400clubrarebirdalert.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/red-red-alert-needle-tailed-swift-on.html and a local birder's account at http://maciverblog.co.uk/2013/06/28/twitchers-shock-as-rare-bird-killed-by-drinishader-turbine/. Finally have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-throated_Needletail which tells us that the dead body is to be sent to a museum. If you pursue this story to http://www.western-isles-wildlife.com/ you find further excitement through the other local hot topic in the western isles under the headline .. "New Zealand Flatworm wipes out earthworms in Carinish garden".

INSECTS

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Dragonflies:

Brown Hawker (Aesha grandis): First for the year seen in Lancashire on June 25.

Ruddy Darter: First for year seen in Essex also on June 25.

Red-eyed Damsel: One of 28 species seen this week and included because, after seeing several photos in which there is no 'red eye' visible, Steve Copsey managed to get a shot which does show this - taken at Ham Wall in Somerset on June 14 - see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2013/06/Red-eyed-Damselfly-1-Han-Wall-14-Jun-2013.jpg.

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Large Skipper:

Dingy Skipper:

Grizzled Skipper:

Swallowtail: On June 19 a migrant from the continent was seen in St Thomas Ave on Hayling Island

Clouded Yellow: At least nine were seen in Kent and Sussex this week

Pale Clouded Yellow: The only one reported so fr this year was at the Testwood Lakes near Southampton on June 27 where it was watched for at least ten minutes

Brimstone:

Large White:

Small White:

Green-veined White:

Green Hairstreak:

Small Copper:

Small Blue:

Silver Studded Blue:

Brown Argus:

Common Blue:

Adonis Blue:

Holly Blue:

Duke of Burgundy: Probably the last for the year.

Red Admiral:

Painted Lady: At least 8 seen this week.

Small Tortoiseshell:

Comma:

Glanville Fritillary:

Speckled Wood:

Wall Brown:

Meadow Brown:

Snall Heath:

Wall Brown:

Ringlet:

First for the year reported on June 27 at Froxfield near Petersfield.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings for this week:

409b (Cypress-tip Moth), Argyresthia cupressella out in Dorset on June 23

720 (Bordered Ermel), Ethmia bipunctella out in Kent on June 25

819 (Winter Groundling), Scrobipalpa costella out in Kent on June 23

905 (Hawthorn Cosmet), Blastodacna hellerella out in Dorset on June 24

970 Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix, Pandemis cerasana out in Dorset on June 26

985 Carnation Tortrix, Cacoecimorpha pronubana out in Hampshire on June 22

1200 (Bright Bell), Eucosma hohenwartiana out in Dorset on June 26

1356a (Dark Bordered Pearl), Evergestis limbata out in Kent on June 27

1359 (Starry Pearl), Cynaeda dentalis out in Dorset on June 26

1372 Paracorsia repandalis rare migrant seen in Dorset on June 19

1640 Drinker, Euthrix potatoria out in Dorset on June 26

1657 Common Lutestring, Ochropacha duplaris out in Dorset on June 28

1765 Barred Yellow, Cidaria fulvata out in Dorset on June 25

1876 Small Yellow Wave, Hydrelia flammeolaria out in Dorset on June 26

1941 Mottled Beauty, Alcis repandata out in Dorset on June 26

2068 Scarlet Tiger, Callimorpha dominula out in Hampshire on June 25

2170 Varied Coronet, Hadena compta out in Dorset on June 22

2321 Dark Arches, Apamea monoglypha out in Dorset on June 25

2323 Reddish Light Arches, Apamea sublustris out in Kent on June 27

2418 Cream-bordered Green Pea, Earias clorana out in Dorset on June 28

2439 Gold Spot, Plusia festucae out in Dorset on June 25

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

Other Insects

Yellow-ringed Comb-horn (Ctenophora flaveolata): See http://www.buglife.org.uk/conservation/adviceonmanagingbaphabitats/lowlandbeechandyewwoodland for this woodland insect which Graeme Lyons found out of context on Levin Down north of Chichester on June 22. For Graeme's account see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-daddy-of-all-wasp-mimics.html.

Long Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta): Found and photographed b7 Brian Fellows in Emsworth on June 23 - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x733-long-hoverfly-rail-ws-24.06.13.jpg

Hornet: Other than one at Folkestone on May 19 the only other I have heard of this year was seen in Botley Woods on June 25 (report from Three Amigos blog)

Glow-worm: The first glowing female reported this year was at Durlston on June 27.

Nursery Tent Spider (Pisaura mirablils): First tent-full of spiderlings seen in Brook Meadow at Emsworth on June 27.

Zebra spider (Salticus scenicus): Thia tiny jumping spider is not uncommon on warm surfaces such as house walls in the summer and is identified by its 'zebra striped' body and by the very large central pair of eyes which it needs to compute the precise jump onto its prey. All but nine species of spider found in Britain have eight eyes (the exceptions have only six) and the pattern in which they are arranged is a major id feature. See Peter Raby's excellent photo of this spider with its prey at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x730-wolf-spider-prey-PMR-27.06.13.jpg but remember that this creature is no more than 6mm long.

PLANTS

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Long-headed Poppy: Flowering at Farlington Marshes on June 15

Opium Poppy: Flowering at Hayling Oysterbeds on June 25

Creeping Yellow Cress: Flowering at Havant Rail station on June 26 and more plentifully on the old playing fields at Broadmarsh on June 29.

Water cress: Flowering in Havant on June 24.

Narrow Leaved Pepperwort: Flowering at the A27 Langstone roundabout on June 29.

Tutsan: Flowering at Nore Barn Woods, Emsworth, on June 26.

Slend St Johns Wort: Flowering at Broadmarsh on June 29.

Rose Campion (lychnis coronaria): Flowering on Sinah Common. Hayling Island, on June 25.

Rest-harrow: Flowering on Hayling beachlands on June 25.

Smooth Tare: First of this 'blue flowered' species out on June 29.

Hairy Vetchling (Lathyrus hirsutus): First flowers seen at its only Hampshire site (the Broadmarsh mountain =old rubbish tip) on June 29.

Greater Birds Foot Trefoil: First flowers at Broadmarsh on June 29.

Bladder Senna: The small tree half way up the east side of The Kench on Hayling was covered in yellow flowers on June 25.

Great Willowherb: First flowers in Havant on June 28.

Hoary Willowherb: Flowering in Emsworth on June 23.

Enchanter's Nightshade: One plant flowering in my Havant garden on June 23.

Large flowered Evening Primrose: First flower seen in Havant on June 29.

Knotted Hedge Parsley: Flowering on June 29 at a regular site beside SouthMoor Lane in Havant.

Common Centaury: Flowering at Broadmarsh on June 2

Yellow-Wort: My first sight of this in flower at Broadmarsh on June 29.

Hedge Bindweed: First flowers in Emsworth on June 23.

Cock's Eggs (Salpichroa origanifolia): Starting to flower at it Hayling Island site on June 25.

Great Mullein: First flowers on Hayling on June 25. Late news is of what seems to be a Moth Mullein now flowering in Emsworth

Pale Toadflax: First flowers at its Hayling site on June 25.

Lesser Snapdragon or Weasels Snout (Misopates orontium): First flowers at Havant New Lane allotments on June 26.

Water Forget me not: Fresh flowers in Havant on June 29.

Sheep's Bit: First flowers at south Hayling on June 25.

Hedge Bedstraw: First flowers on June 25.

Small Scabious: First flowers at Farlington Marshes on June 25.

Shaggy Soldier: Flowering in Emsworth on June 27.

Spear Thistle: Flowering onJune 24.

Creeping Thistle: Flowering in Havant on June 25.

Welted Thistle: Flowering on Hayling on June 25.

Smooth Hawksbeard: Flowering in Havant on June 25.

Bristly Oxtongue: Flowering at Hayling Oysterbeds on June 25.

Perennial Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis): Flowering in Emsworth on June 29.

Stinking Iris: Many plants in flower on Hayling on June 25.

Broad-leaved Helleborine: Flowering at Hastings on June 25.

Greater Butterfly Orchid: Flowering in Hampshire on June 22.

Frog Orchid: Out on Beachy Head on June 25.

Southern Marsh Orchid: The official count of these at the Langstone South Moors on June 29 gave the surprisingly high count of 7420 spikes (in 2010 the count was 9234)

Divers

OTHER WILDLIFE

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Minke Whale: First report I have seen on one in British waters this year. For more info see http://www.wdcs.org/national_regions/scotland/shorewatch/minke_whale.php

Water Vole: Both adults and young seen at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on June 29. As these voles can have up to five 'litters' between March and October these are likely to be the second 'litter' of this year. For more info see http://www.durhamwt.co.uk/what-we-do/current-projects/water-vole/water-vole-ecology/

Bats: By chance I saw a Pipistrelle hunting over my garden on the evening of June 29 and I see that Durlston mentions Pipstrelle and Noctule on June 27 so I guess warm evenings at this time of year give the amatuer bat watcher a good chance of seeing more than one species.

Pond Life: On June 22 Steve Copsey took some photos of the pond life in his Portsmouth area garden and I was intrigued by the small Leeches which he found under Water Lily leaves. I have in the past been encouraged to walk into a New Forest pond wearing wellies and it only took a few minutes before the large Medicinal Leeches which get their supply of blood from New Forest ponies attached themselve to my boots and more recently I have been told that these large Leech Species occur in Cungre Pond (to be found in the centre of the Cams Hall Golf Course by Fareham Creek). For info on the smaller species that occur in most ponds see http://www.bugsandweeds.co.uk/leeches.html

Marine life: Brian Fellows has been told that shoals of Cuttlefish are now in the harbours to breed (see the section on mating in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuttlefish for the 'mind games'involved in the sex life of Cuttlefish) but I think they normally arrive earlier than this - see http://www.bsac.com/diverreports.asp?section=1248&itemid=2143 which gives Apr 1 as the date when human divers start to look for them off the Devon coast, and it must have been before the end of June (when the old BTO Common Bird Census period ended) that I can remember Foxes on Warblington Farm bringing recently dead and very smelly Cuttlefish back from the shore to use as 'air fresheners' for their earths though I have not noticed the cuttlefish 'bones' on the shore so far this year.

Cage Fungus (Clathrus ruber): Durlston reported the first find of this uncommon and very unusual fungus. For pictues and info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrus_ruber.

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for June 17 - 23 (Week 25 of 2013)

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BIRDS

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Divers: Just one report of Red-throated off Portland and one of Black-throated off Selsey this week but spiced up with a White-billed off Aberdeenshire on June 14.

Storm Petrels: Strong winds brought several of this up the Channel this week , though no more than two seen at Selsey on one day.

Mute Swan: To compete with the daily family entertainment at Emsworth where three families are competing for entertainment ratings (and one poor cygnet has either been subject to a lot of pecking or is loosing the down around it neck as a result of manutrition among the litter in its area of the Town Millpond) an inland bird decided to take to its bed on an area of Martin Down reserved for Stone Curlew posing a 'who gets the benefit of your contributions to the RSPB and DEFRA' problem for the conservation bodies

Scaup: A female was reported to be in the Langstone Channel of Langstone Harbour on the afternoon of June 23. This is the first report for Hampshire since a male and two females were in Southampton Water on May 23.

Shelduck: Young birds at Christchurch Harbour are said to be now 'full grown' suggesting that it will not be long before the majority of adults leave for their remote moulting beaches.

Black Kites: One has been seen more than once in Cambridgeshre this week but maybe it moved down to Bournemouth to make a brief appearance over Bournemouth on June 18 is not known.

Honey Buzzard: Sightings over Poole Harbour and the Pulborough area this week probably were of young non -breeding birds.

Quail: Late news of one in the Scillies on June 4 has been followed by a string of reports from Portland where at least two attempted to sneak in while Martin Cade was absent on June 18 and at least one was still there on June 22.

Avocet: The presence of 11 at Sidlesham Ferry (Pagham Harbour) on June 16, increasing to 23 there on June 21 is being taken as a sign that their autumn passage to the west country has already started as Green Sandpipers and other waders start to return but Avocets at Rye Harbour perhaps have a more urgent need to move on as their newly created wetlands dry out and leave the young birds without food (I don't know the facts about this and am merely picking up 'fag ends')

Ruff: Males in breeding plumage have already been seen at Exmouth and Poole Harbour (Swineham) and this week two more arrived at Sandwich Bay on June 21.

Black-tailed Godwit: On June 21 an entry in the SOS News by Chris Barfield said .. "A few early autumn migrants on the Sidlesham Ferry pool today - two Green Sandpipers and a juvenile Greenshank, also 25 Black-tailed Godwits and 23 Avocets".. and as I was surprised to hear of migrant Godwits already back with us (whereas I know that many young Godwits stay here through the summer) I thought I would check round for further evidence which led me to discover a website that I really should have been aware of years ago. The URL is http://www.uea.ac.uk/~b026515/icelandic.html which tells you all you need to know about Icelandic Godwits and has photos of two people which I went birding with in the 1980s. Reading from this bible I find that .. "From June onwards, unsuccessful breeders start to gather and flock, in preparation for migration. Some of these birds are reported already back on the wintering grounds in late June." So there is the proof I was looking for

Green Sandpiper: These are perhaps the most noticeable evidence of returning breeders this week with five seen together at the Lower Test nesr Southampton and ones and twos newly seen at four other sites in England (and a party of 20 at a Netherlands site.

Wilson's Phalarope: A female of this species, which regularly returns early from breeding (but does not often stop off in England) has been at Yarmouth (Isle of Wight) for at least five days this week (June 18 to 22) and you can see Derek Hale's photos of it in the gallery at the head of his web page - see http://iowbirds.awardspace.com/IOW.htm.

A female of the commoner Red-necked Phalarope has been at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire this week

Black Tern: Another early autumn passage birds was one of these flying west off Spalsh Point in Sussex on June 15.

Hoopoe: One was at Hampreston in Dorset (north of Bournemouth) on June 19.

Sand Martin: The juveniles in nests at Christchurch Harbour were said to be near fledging on June 19.

Red-Rumped Swallow: One was at Swalecliffe on the north Kent coast on June 19.

Bearded Tit: On June 13 Bob Chapman reportd that there were young in three nests at Farlington Marshes which would soon be fledging and on June 21 three juveniles were seen at Christchurch Harbour which had probably come from an undetected nest there. If you want to know what the young of this species look like before you go in search of them have a look at http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/38963968

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

28 species were on the wing this week, none of them being new for the year. If the weather warms up again we ought to start seeing Southern Hawkers and Common Darters which have already been seen in some places, and Ruddy Darter should not be far behind.

Butterflies:

Species of interest this week:

Large Skipper: The first report was from the Isle of Wight on June 6 with the next two in Sussex on June 14 and 16 but the main emergence was on June 19. Nationally the first was seen on June 2 in Derbyshire.

Swallowtail: What was presumably a continental migrant was seen at Durlston on June 2 but the first mention of our natives in Norfolk reached me indirectly on June 16 - on checking with the Norfolk Butterfly Conservation website I found a general statement saying .."The adults are on the wing from mid May to the end of June, and in a good year a second brood from the end of August to mid September. The optimum time, however, is the middle two weeks of June." The BC National site gives the first sighting for 2013 as May 19.

Clouded Yellow: Nationally the first sighting was on June 1 in Dorset but the current influx started on June 18 with reports from Sussex and Hampshire. By June 20 I had seen 11 reports, none of more than 2 butterflies so this is not a major invasion.

Brimstone: It would seem that this summer's brood also started to emerge around June 15 when there were reports of 20 and 25 seen together, with 8 seen in Havant Thicket on June 19. As the main purpose of these is to survive the winter and produce a new generation next year they will not stay around to enjoy flowers and sunshre this autumn but will soon find a hibernation site and settle down to sleep.

Silver Studded Blue: These started to emerge on June 19 in Sussex and June 20 in Hampshire though nationally the first was out on June 4 in Cornwall.

Large Blue: The first to emerge at the Collard Hill re-introduction site in Somerset was out on June 14.

White Admiral: This has not yet appeared on the national website but two were reported in the Straits Enclosure near Alton on June 19. No further confirmation..

Painted Lady: Five of these arrived at Portland on June 14 and they have not ceased to arrive in scattered small numbers since then. At least one got as far west as Cornwall on June 18 and on June 19 there was a local sighting in Havant Thicket

Small Tortoiseshell: On June 19 I had a brief sight of one which looked pristine and very active while I was at Warblington near Havant which made me wonder if the summer generation might have started to emerge. Looking at the rough records I keep I found a two week gap in reported sightings from June 5 to 18 when one was seen at Rye Harbour, while my sighting was followed by one of three together at Emsworth on June 21 providing some support for my suggestion.

Dark Green Fritillary: Naationally the first report came from Somerset on June 10 followed by one in Hampshire on June 14 and one in Sussex on June 18.

Wall Brown: Nationally the first to be seen was in Dorset on May 1 followed by one on the Isle of Wight on May 10, another in Kent on June 12 and one in Sussex on May 19 but Hampshire did not see its first until June 8 (in the Lymington area).

Meadow Brown: After an isolated sighting in Sussex on May 26 no more were reported until June 5 when just one was seen at Martin Down. Eventually a more normal scene was reported when there were sitghtins at five sites (including Brook Meadow at Emsworth) on June 19 though no others have been reported since. Nationally the first report was from Derbyshire on May 22 (a more normal date for general emergence).

Monarch: Last week we reported that one potential trans Atlantic migrant had reached the Gosport area on June 17 and this week there is a second report of one at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight on June 19 with the comment .. "Monarch seen along the Yarmouth old railway line between the station and gate to Mill Copse at around 13.30. We saw it flying powerfully past us from northeast to southwest along the track as we stood next to the Station Pond. It cut through the hedge between the track and the estuary and disappeared off to the west. We were unable to relocate it"

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

14 Ghost Moth, Hepialus humuli out in Dorset on Mar 6

281 (Clouded Slender), Caloptilia populetorum out in Dorset on June 17

143 (Buff Long-horn), Nematopogon metaxella out in Dorset on June 16

151 (Small Barred Long-horn), Adela croesella out in Dorset on June 16

171 Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet, Zygaena lonicerae out in Hampshire (Browndown) on June 19

216 Cork Moth, Nemapogon cloacella out in Kent on June 21

229 (Yellow-backed Clothes), Monopis obviella out in Kent on June 19

313 (Brown Oak Slender), Acrocercops brongniardella out in Kent on June 20

385 (Common Nettle-tap), Anthophila fabriciana out in Kent on June 18

465 (Grey-streaked Smudge), Plutella porrectella out in Dorset on June 16

808 (Mallow Groundling), Platyedra subcinerea out in Kent on June 15

989 Timothy Tortrix, Aphelia paleana out in Dorset on June 16

1033 (Green Oak Tortrix), Tortrix viridana out in Kent on June 19

1076 (Common Marble), Celypha lacunana out in Kent on June 14

1082 Plum Tortrix, Hedya pruniana out in Kent on June 14

1241 (Triple-stripe Piercer), Grapholita compositella out in Sussex on June 18

1276 (Silver-lined Drill), Dichrorampha plumbagana out in Sussex on June 18

1293 Garden Grass-veneer, Chrysoteuchia culmella out in Dorset on June 19

1333 (Meadow Grey), Scoparia pyralella out in Kent on June 21

1336 (Marsh Grey), Eudonia pallida out in Kent on June 20

1354 Small China-mark, Cataclysta lemnata out in Sussex on June 20

1392 (Olive Pearl), Udea olivalis out in Kent on June 21

1458 Thistle Ermine, Myelois circumvoluta out in Dorset on June 16

1474 (False Cacao Moth), Ephestia parasitella out in Kent on June 20

1510 (Thyme Plume), Merrifieldia leucodactyla out in Sussex on June 20

1645 Scalloped Hook-tip, Falcaria lacertinaria out in Dorset on June 21

1654 Figure of Eighty, Tethea ocularis out in Dorset on June 17

1682 Blood-vein, Timandra comae out in Dorset on June 17

1689 Mullein Wave, Scopula marginepunctata out in Sussex on June 20

1693 Cream Wave, Scopula floslactata out in Dorset on June 15

1707 Small Dusty Wave, Idaea seriata out in Kent on June 19

1711 Treble Brown Spot, Idaea trigeminata out in Kent on June 19

1713 Riband Wave, Idaea aversata out in Dorset on June 19

1719 Oblique Carpet, Orthonama vittata out in Dorset on June 16

1781 Small Waved Umber, Horisme vitalbata out in Kent on June 20

1784 Pretty Chalk Carpet, Melanthia procellata out in Dorset on June 19

1827 Freyer's Pug, Eupithecia intricata out in Dorset on June 19

1830 Wormwood Pug, Eupithecia absinthiata out in Dorset on June 17

1874 Dingy Shell, Euchoeca nebulata out in Dorset on June 20

1918 Lunar Thorn, Selenia lunularia out in Dorset on June 18

1937 Willow Beauty, Peribatodes rhomboidaria out in Kent on June 21

1945 Brussels Lace, Cleorodes lichenaria out in Dorset on June 19

1996 Alder Kitten, Furcula bicuspis out in Dorset on June 13

2036 Dew Moth Setina irrorella out in Kent on June 18

2058 Cream-spot Tiger, Arctia villica out in Hampshire on June 15

2059 Clouded Buff, Diacrisia sannio out in Sussex on June 18

2107 Large Yellow Underwing, Noctua pronuba out in Kent on June 20

2118 True Lover's Knot, Lycophotia porphyrea out in Dorset on June 17

2198 Smoky Wainscot, Mythimna impura out in Dorset on June 16

2199 Common Wainscot, Mythimna pallens out in Dorset on June 15

2205 Shoulder-striped Wainscot, Mythimna comma out in Kent on June 14

2216 Shark, Cucullia umbratica out in Dorset on June 14

2278 Poplar Grey, Acronicta megacephala out in Dorset on June 20

2279 Sycamore, Acronicta aceris out in Dorset on June 15

2340 Middle-barred Minor, Oligia fasciuncula out in Dorset on June 15

2387 Mottled Rustic, Caradrina morpheus out in Dorset on June 16

2396 Rosy Marbled, Elaphria venustula out in Dorset on June 19

2434 Burnished Brass, Diachrysia chrysitis out in Dorset on June 18

2465 The Four-spotted Tyta luctuosa out in Kent on June 20

2474 Straw Dot, Rivula sericealis out in Kent on June 19

2477 Snout, Hypena proboscidalis out in Kent on June 21

2489 Fan-foot, Zanclognatha tarsipennalis out in Dorset on June 18

2492 Small Fan-foot, Herminia grisealis out in Dorset on June 21

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

Other Insects

Giant Lacewing (Osmylus fulvicephalus): One seen at Folkestone on June 15. For a photo and brief details go to http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/giant-lacewing

Longhorn Beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens): Seen by Bob Chapman at the Swanwick (Fareham area) nature reserve on June 22. For Bob's photo see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/agapanthia-villosoviridescens.jpg?w=500&h=374.

Longhorn Beetle (Rhagium mordax): Not the first time we have come across this recently but Bob's photo from June 22 is worth a look - see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/rhagium-mordax.jpg?w=500&h=375.

Fleabane Tortoise Beetle larva : For the adult beetle (which looks very like a Ladybird) see http://www.flickr.com/photos/peter_orchard/5853819478/ but for Bob Chapman's photo of the extraordinary looking larva, which continues to carry all its discarded 'baby clothes' around on its back as camouflage, see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/fleabane-tortoise-beetle-larva.jpg?w=500&h=374.

Graeme Lyons latest insect finds: As time is running out for me to complete this week's summary I will leave you to make your own investigations in Graeme's latest finds by visiting his blog at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/. He has some interesting and colourful beetles and spiders in his entries called 'Land of the Giants' on June 20 and 'Tales of the Inexpectus' when he was at Rye Harbour with the British Arachnological Society on June 16.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Adders Tonque: Earlier this year Bob Chapman found a new site for this north of the A27 at Farlington Marshes and this week he has found yet another site near the ponds in 'The Bushes'.

Annual Wall Rocket: I noticed the first flowers for the year in Havant on June 17 but I do not expect to see the Perennial Wall Rocket which flowered profusely on railway land near the now disused Signal Box where the land has recently been 'cleaned up'.

Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis): I was not aware that this species could be found locally but Brian Fellows says .. "On June 15 while walking round Bosham Harbour I found some white-flowered plants which I thought at first were English Scurvygrass on the roadside embankment on eastern side of the harbour opposite the town. I brought a sample home and on closer inspection they appeared to fit the description of Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis agg) in my guides. In particular, the upper leaves were clasping the stem and the pods were rounded." See photo at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x741-scurvygrass-bosham-15.06.13.jpg. Subsequently Brian has had confirmation from Martin Rand (Hants BSBI recorder) that this is Common Scurvygrass.

Fat Hen: I first noticed this for the year when at Warblington Farm on June 19.

Bastard Toadflax: John Goodspeed found this speciality had started to flower on Portsdown on June 19.

Small Flowered Cranesbill: I first found this flowering in Havant on June 21 after discarding several other candidates which did not have the 'close shaven' flower stems.

Sea Clover: Bob Chapman came on the first of this for the year on June 15 in a new site - the ex-IBM Playing Fields at the sea end of Southmoor Lane in Havant.

Meadow Vetchling: I came across this in flower for the first time in the Havant Cemetery on June 17

Cockspur Thorn tree: These ornamental trees were newly flowering at both Havant and Warblington cemeteries this week.

Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis): This relative of the common Salad Burnet of our downland is very much less common than it so Brian Fellows was very surprised recently to find he had half a dozen plants of it flowering at Brook Meadow in Emsworth where it was previously quite unknown. Maybe they came from windborne seed (unlikely to have brought several plants to the same spot, maybe they came with soil attached to trees planted here or with introduced orchids, or maybe we have a mysterious human at work (like the rumoured 'Portchester Postman' who is said to have introduced the colony of Field Cow-Wheat that grows on Portsdown Hill when it is only officially found on the Isle of Wight).

Square-stalked Willowherb: I found this flowering on June 19.

Corky-fruited Water Dropwort: Brian Fellows found the first of this in flower on Thorney Island on June 16.

Wild Carrot: Brian was also the first to come across this in flower on June 19.

Common Sea Lavender: And Brian also was the first to see this on June 19.

Blue Water-Speedwell: And this at Brook Meadow on June 21.

Black Horehound: First flowers seen at Warblington Farm on June 19.

Self Heal: Flowering from June 12.

Hound's Tongue: Reported flowering at Durlston on June 18.

Carrot Broomrape: Also flowering at Durlston on June 18.

Adria Bellflower (Campanula portenshlagiana): This had arrived in the Havant St Faith's churchyard as a new casual when I was there on June 17 (look by the steps down into the Homewell Street).

Wall Lettuce: A lot of this grows on the wall of Homewell House close by the steps just mentioned but this year I noticed the first plant in full flower down a back alley of North Street in Havant on June 17.

Pyramidal Orchid: First flowers reported at Durlston on June 20.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Basking Shark: First report I have seen was from Cornwall on June 15

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for June 10 - 16 (Week 24 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Storm Petrel: On June 12 at least 40 were off Newlyn in Cornwall and next day one had been blown east to be seen off Selsey Bill where there were two separate sightings on June 13.

Squacco Heron: On June 8 the first to appear in Britain this year was seen in the Bembridge Marshes on the Isle of Wight and it remained there until at least June 14.

Black Stork: One flew over Pulborough Brooks on June 7 to be the fifth sighting in the south of England this year.

Spoonbill: There have been up to three on the Lymington shore this week and on June 14 what was probably one of them was at Titchfield Haven.

Mute Swan:Emsworth has been holding a festival of cygnets this week with a total of 12 cygnets on show - pride of place was taken by the Peter Pond pair with 8 cygnets (hatched on June 12 and still intact on June 15), next came the pair which also hatched 8 cygnets on June 1 in the Marina but which now only have three left, and finally there is the one cygnet that remains from the five eggs laid in the Millpond 'litter nest'

Brent Goose: The few birds that remain here through the summer normally settle down in parts of the Solent harbours where they can escape detection until they have completed their moult and sense that the migrants will soon be back. This year the cut-off date after which any birds seen will be summering here seems to have been May 24 when a party of 710 were seen in the Netherlands. Since then a summering party of four have been reported in the Fishbourne Channel of Chichester Harbour on May 31 and single birds have been seen in Portsmouth Harbour (near Pewit Island) and in Poole Harbour (Brand's Bay) with at least one remaining in Southampton Water (Weston Shore) on May 31. The Poole Harbour bird may have moved to Christchurch Harbour, where one was seen on June 12, in a search for company and another possibly lonely bird was seen flying east past Dungeness on June 11.

Osprey: The bird seen on the artificial nest at the Thorney Island Great Deeps from June 7 to 10 has not been reported since then but the bird(s) at Arlington Reservoir have been seen from June 8 to 13.

Red-Footed Falcon: A 'possible' sighting of one over East Wittering on June 13 has not been confirmed.

Peregrine: Young have fledged from nests in Bournemouth (2 or 3 juvs on June 8) and the Winchester Police HQ (2 juvs on June 14)

Quail: Two heard calling at Martin Down on June 9 were the first I know of in the UK this year and were also the last of the summer migrant species to arrive.

American Golden Plover: One has been in the Cuckmere Haven area near Beachy Head from June 11 to June 14 at least. For a series of photos go to http://seafordbirding.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/cuckmere-havenvalley-14613.html (the photos do not show the underwing)

Ruff: A male in breeding plumage was at Swineham (between Wareham and Poole Harbour) on June 11 and a photo of it can be seen at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jYGWLS7OzNs/UbeRJlPUtpI/AAAAAAAAAbA/3esVTCO7XIs/s400/Swineham-Ruff-2.jpg.

Long-tailed Skua: What seems to be only the third to attempt the English Channel route this summer was a first summer bird seen from Berry Head near Brixham in Devon on June 10.

Little Gull: Singles were seen this week at the Chichester Gravel Pits (June 10), in Portsmouth Harbour (June 11) and in Poole Harbour (June 14).

Herring Gull: We hear a lot about gulls deserting the coast in favour of our cities with their many safe breeding sites and plentiful fast food but I was a little surprised to read of some 1000 Herring Gulls and a few Lesser Black-backs feeding on Dartmoor this week where they presented a minor hazard for motorists.

Caspian Tern: This giant of the Tern world was seen at the Testwood Lakes near Southampton on June 9 and briefly at Radipole near Weymouth on June 11 before moving to West Bexington (north of Weymouth) that day and staying there over June 12. For Bob Chapman's photo of the Testwood bird see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/caspian-tern-2.jpg?w=500&h=375

Sandwich Tern: An indication that some of our summer visitors are 'voting with their wings' against the intolerable weather conditions in Britain this summer came on June 13 when some 400 Sandwich Terns plus 25 Common and 20 Little Terns flew west past Christchurch Harbour. On that same day I hear that the Common Tern colony at Lodmoor near Weymouth (proudly advertised by the RSPB as the largest such colony in south west England) had been deserted during the previous night.

Swift: On June 10 my first (and perhaps only) Swift sighting for the year came when two birds showed for less the ten seconds over trees at the bottom of my garden. Maybe the lack of insect food and the high winds which are preventing the majority of Swifts, Swallow and House Martins from Nesting this summer is having a global effect - at any rate a single Pacific Swift flew down the east coast on June 12, being seen at Spurn Head and in Lincolnshire before making a short stay at Trimley Marshes near Felixstowe in Suffolk where Matt Eade photographed it - see http://seafordbirding.blogspot.co.uk/.

Red-Rumped Swallow: One was over the Bembridge area of rhe Isle of Wight on June 9.

Meadow Pipit: Of local interest at least one and maybe two birds were making song flights over the Langstone South Moors on June 5.

Grey-headed Wagtail (M.f. thunbergi): One reported at Cuckmere Haven near Beachy Head on June 13 - for photos seen http://seafordbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ (Scroll down past the photos of Pacific Swift and American Golden Plover).

Marsh Warbler: Following the recent discussion of a bird claimed as a Marsh Warbler at Gosport I was interested to see that on June 10 RBA was reporting a total of 6 of these birds in the UK.

Dartford Warbler: I have not seen any reports of these on Hayling Island this year and to make up for the lack of visual sightings I enjoyed a photo of one in Dorset this week - see http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-B12eN4GhMmc/UbeQzr3hegI/AAAAAAAAAa4/2jHOWDNGcFY/s400/1238dartford.jpg.

Bearded Tit: On June 13 Bob Chapman saw males carrying food to three different nests in the reeds at Falington Marshes and hopes we will soon be seeing many newly fledged birds

Jay: The mystery of the wandering Jays continues with unexpected sightings of one at Portland on June 10 and 2 at Dungesness on June 11.

Jackdaw: With vivid memories (from Springwatch on TV) of the perils faced by juvenile Jackdaws before they fledge I was interested to note the fledging process of local breeders in the tower of St Faith's Church here in Havant. On June 10 and 11 several adult Jackdaws were seen harrying Crows in the air above my garden (some 300 metres from the church) and on June 12 I saw one newly fledged Jackdaw looking lost on the ground in the church yard where the grass had been recently mown. Nearby among the mown grass was a pile of black feathers - I doubt the bird from which they came had been mown to death but the presence of the feathers did not bode well for the live youngster on the ground.

Black-headed Bunting: On June 8 one was seen and heard singing near the Compton Bay carpark near Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. The bird was still in the same area on June 11.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

26 species have been reported on the British Dragonfly Society's Latest Sightings page since I scanned it for last week's summary.

Azure Damsel

Azure Hawker (Aeshna caerulea): First seen on June 7 in Scotland.

Broad-bodied Chaser, Beautiful Demoiselle, Brilliant Emerald, Banded Demoiselle, Blue Tailed Damsel, Black Tailed Skimmer, Common Blue Damsel, Common Darter, Downy Emerald, Emperor, Four Spotted Chaser, Gold Ringed Dragonfly, Hairy Dragonfly, Keeled Skimmer, Large Red Damsel.

Northern Damsel (Coenagrion hastulatum): First seen on June 8 in North Yorkshire.

Northern Emerald (Somatochlora arctica): First seen on June 12 in Scotland.

Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isoceles): First seen on June 6 in Norfolk.

Red Eyed Damsel, Scarce Blue Tailed Damsel, Scarce Chaser.

Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale): First seen on June 7 in Wales.

White-faced Darter, White Legged Damsel

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Large Skipper: First reported last week on June 6 but no sightings since then.

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, 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: A small arrival of migrants between June 8 and 14 in Sussex and Hampshire.

Peacock, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Dark Green Fritillary: First of year on June 14 in the New Forest.

Marsh Fritillary: First of year on June 2 at Martin Down in Hampshire. See http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/marsh-fritillary.jpg?w=500&h=373.

Glanville Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown.

Meadow Brown: Still no further reports one sighting in Sussex on May 26 and one in Hampshire on June 5.

Small Heath.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

5 (Plain Gold), Micropterix calthella out in Dorset on June 10

153 (Little Long-horn), Adela fibulella out in Dorset on June 10

246 (Fulvous Clothes), Tinea semifulvella out in Kent on June 12 (Larvae feed on dead Fox hair)

267 (Saltern Bent-wing), Bucculatrix maritima out in Dorset on June 10

409a (Triple-barred Argent), Argyresthia trifasciata out in Kent on June 12

610 (Swan-feather Dwarf), Elachista argentella out in Dorset on June 10

779 (Dark Groundling), Bryotropha affinis out in Kent on June 10

968 (Birch Conch), Cochylis nana out in Kent on June 12

986 (Dark-barred Twist), Syndemis musculana out in Dorset on June 11

1015 (Brassy Twist), Eulia ministrana out in Dorset on June 10

1129 (Hook-tipped Roller), Ancylis apicella out in Dorset on June 9

1301 (Hook-streak Grass-veneer), Crambus lathoniellus out in Dorset on June 14

1334 (Common Grey), Scoparia ambigualis out in Kent on June 12

1421 Large Tabby, Aglossa pinguinalis out in Hampshire on June 7

1646 Oak Hook-tip, Watsonalla binaria out in Kent on June 12

1652 Peach Blossom, Thyatira batis out in Dorset on June 12

1722 Flame Carpet, Xanthorhoe designata out in Hampshire on June 7

1737 Small Argent & Sable, Epirrhoe tristata out in Dorset on June 13

1773 Broken-barred Carpet, Electrophaes corylata out in Dorset on June 9

1802 Rivulet, Perizoma affinitata out in Dorset on June 7

1817 Foxglove Pug, Eupithecia pulchellata out in Dorset on June 7

1887 Clouded Border, Lomaspilis marginata out in Kent on June 10

1901 Little Thorn, Cepphis advenaria out in Dorset on June 10

1903 Barred Umber, Plagodis pulveraria out in Dorset on June 7

1978 Pine Hawk-moth, Hyloicus pinastri out in Hampshire on June 7

1992 Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Deilephila porcellus out in Hampshire on June 7

2056 Wood Tiger, Parasemia plantaginis out in Hampshire on June 8

2142 Beautiful Yellow Underwing, Anarta myrtilli out in Hampshire on June 14(for photo see http://www.hantsiow-butterflies.org.uk/php/upload/7096-image-1.jpg.

2194 White-point, Mythimna albipuncta out in Dorset on June 10

2223 Toadflax Brocade, Calophasia lunula out in Kent on June 12

2281 Alder Moth, Acronicta alni out in Hampshire on June 7

2302 Brown Rustic, Rusina ferruginea out in Dorset on June 10

2305 Small Angle Shades, Euplexia lucipara out in Dorset on June 8

2442 Beautiful Golden Y, Autographa pulchrina out in Dorset on June 8

2449 Dark Spectacle, Abrostola triplasia out in Dorset on June 13

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Other Insects

Microdon analis Hoverfly: Seen by Graeme Lyons at Graffham near Midhurst on June 8. See http://www.hoverfly.org.uk/album_page.php?pic_id=57.

Moss Carder Bee (Bombus muscorum): First report for the year from Brook Meadow in Emsworth on June 14.

Speckled Longhorn Beetle (Pachytodes cerambyciformis): Found at Graffham by Graeme Lyons on June 8. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/od0man/5789721944/.

Phyllobius weevil species: See http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/6/13/torquoise-weevil.html.

Oak Longhorn Beetle (Pyrrhidium sanguineum): Another Longhorn beetle species found by Graeme Lyons on June 11 at the Knepp Castle estate. See http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_q1gk42pzUhc/S60ZVV3othI/AAAAAAAAJ64/muPn3g78xiM/s400/oak_longicorn2.jpg.

'Thigh Beetle'(Oedemera nobilis): First sighting of the year at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on June 14. This was a female which does not have the distinctive enlarged 'thighs' of the male. See http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x741-thigh-beetle-fem-bm-14.06.13.jpg.

Six spotted Longhorn Beetle (Anoplodera sexguttata): Seen in the Roydon Woods near Lymington on June 9 - see http://www.treknature.com/gallery/photo226511.htm.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Yellow Horned Poppy:This had started flowering at Rye Harbour on June 7 but I did not see it locally near the Hayling Oysterbeds until June 14 when I also found the leaves of one Milk Thistle there to show that the species has not disappeared there.

Dames Violet: These had started to flower (both white and violet forms) at the Hayling Oysterbeds on June 14.

Weld: The first flowers of this were also seen at the Oysterbeds on June 14.

Corn Cockle: These were in full flower at the Lymbourne Spring conseration area here in Havant on June 13.

Lesser Stitchwort: I found a few plants of this in flower back on May 22 but have seen no more since then so a find by Brian Fellows on Thorney Island on June 14 may mark the real start of general flowering.

Common Mallow: This started to flower here in Havant on June 10.

Hop Trefoil: First flowers seen on June 14 both at Langstone and on Thorney Island.

Tufted Vetch: Newly flowering by the Hayling Coastal Path on June 14.

Grass Vetchling: Although this had been found in flower elsewhere on June 3 I did not find it locally on the top of the Broadmarsh 'mountain' until June 7.

Yellow Vetchling (Lathyrus aphaca): Found by John Goodspeed flowering in the Paulsgrove Chalkpit on June 14.

Horseshoe Vetch: Although first reported in Sussex (Heyshott Down) on May 17 the first report of it on Portsdown was not until June 14.

Kidney Vetch: This had been reported flowering at Durlston on May 16 but was not seen on Portsdown until June 13.

Sainfoin: This too was flowering at Durlston on June 1 and the huge swathe flowering on Portsdown by June 13 suggested it must have started there about the same date.

Rock or Entire Leaved Cotoneaster (C. integrifolius): This was in full flower on Portsdown on June 13 and my photos of it can be seen at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#1306.

Sweetbriar Rose:First flower open on June 12 at the Billy Trail carpark below the Havant Art Centre - photo at http://ralph-hollins.net/ROSB136.jpg.

Japanese Rose (Rosa rugosa): This has been widely planted around the Havant area and on June 5 I was impressed by the growth of what was a single small bush on the Langtone South Moors into the massive bush that I found found this year - see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0506.

Sulphur Cinguefoil: Briian Fellows found this flowering on June 11 in the Bridge Road carpark at Emsworth.

Dogwood: General flowering started on June 12.

Hemlock: General flowering started on June 7.

Corky Fruited Water Dropwort: Flowering in the Hastings area from June 10.

Field Bindweed: First flowers on Thorney Island on June 14.

Small Yelow or Straw Foxglove: Just two plants with their flowers not yet open on Portsdown at the Nelson Lane/Skew Road site on June 13. The bnk on which these grow has been so overgrown with scrub that I fear these plants will soon cease to grow there.

Common Toadflax: First plant seen in flower at Langstone on June 14.

Purple Toadflax: Starting to flower in Havant from June 12.

Heath Speedwell: Several clumps flowering at Broadmarsh in Havant on June 7 with more seen on Portsdown on June 13.

Field Cow Wheat: Only around half a dozen plants in flower at the Skew Road site above Portchester on June 13 where there has been a large carpet of the flowers in the past.

Wild Thyme: Newly flowering on Portsdown on June 13.

Hedge Woundwort: General flowering started on June 14.

Self Heal: Flowering in Havant from June 12.

Tufted Forget-me-not: First flowers on the Langstone South Moors on June 5.

Vipers Bugloss: First flowers seen in June 7 in Havant.

Common Broomrape: Reported flowering at Durlston on June 12.

Sea Plantain: Flowering on the Langstone shore on June 14.

Guelder Rose: Flowering in Havant from Jun 7.

Honeysuckle: First flowers seen on June 14.

Common Ragwort: First flowers seen in Emsworth on June 13.

Pineappleweed: First flowers seen on June 10.

Melancholy Thistle: A couple of flowering plants in the Lymbourne Spring conservation area puzzled me but they turned out o be Melancholy Thistles which I understand only grow naturally in England north of Durhan.

Black Knapweed: First flower seen on Portsdown on June 13.

Rosy Garlic: Several clumps flowering on Portsdown around the Collyers Pit area on June 13 but I fear the plants in the small west carpark at Broadmarsh may have been destroyed however Brian Fellows has found a new site at Bosham.

Twayblade Orchid: Flowering at Durlston on June 13.

Bee Orchid: One was in flower at Broadmarsh on June 7.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Angular Crab (Goneplax rhomboides): See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goneplax_rhomboides. This gets into the news on account of a sighting of an injured specimen (unable to demonstrate its ability to make a fast getaway) on the shore of Rye Bay on June 8.

Fish: On June 12 Graeme Lyons joined the staff of Chichester Harbour Conservancy monitoring marine life in the harbour. Species mentioned by Graeme were Reticulated Dragonet,Great Pipefish,Long-legged Spider Crab,Sand Smelt,Black Goby,Pollack,Herring,Common Goby, Shanny, Sea Bass, Long-spined Sea Scorpion,Mackerel,Chameleon Prawn. For Graeme's full account with some photos see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/youre-gonna-need-bigger-boat.html.

Undulate Ray (Raja undulata): On June 11 these Rays, together with Smooth Hounds and Spurdog (two species of Shark), had come inshore in the Swanage area to feed on crabs which were temporarily without their normal protection as they moulted. Crab species reported on the Durlston Country Park webstie were Edible, Hermit, Spider and Velvet Swimming Crab

Sea Gooseberry (Pleurobrachia pileus): On June 8 several of these had become stranded on the shore of Rye Bay. For photos and facts see http://www.arkive.org/sea-gooseberry/pleurobrachia-pileus/.

Fungi: Not many around at the moment but on June 7 I came on a good example of a Dryad's Saddle bracket on a tree stump in Havant. See http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0706.

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for June 3 - 9 (Week 23 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Sooty Shearwater: Although not seen in southern England but at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire a sighting of 2 birds on June 6 was the first news of the species since February 14 when one was off Portland. Last year they began to be seen off Devon and Cornwall on June 7 and were seen off Portland from June 22.

Wilson's Storm Petrel: A sighting of one in the Scillies area on May 31 was the earliest recorded return to British waters (though only by one day!). The so-called European Storm Petrels continue to be seen in the English Channel with six seen as far east as the water off Durlston on June 5.

Little Bittern: A pair has been breeding at Ham Wall in Somerset for the last three years and news has just been released that they are there again this year

Purple Heron: One or more have been seen in Cornwall from May 19 to June 3 at least and another flew in over Folkestone on May 31.

White Stork: On June 2 one flew north over Southampton and another flew south over the Oare Marshes in Kent.

Spoonbill: Three were on the Lymington shore on June 1 and 2 with 2 seen there on June 6 and 7.

Mute Swan: Three pairs at Emsworth have been in the news this week. One pair which managed to evade publicity until June 1, when one adult was seen near the Marina leading 8 cygnets, is thought to have nested in the Marina. Sadly but not unexpectedly this brood seems to have been reduced to just three cygnets by June 4. The nest attracting most interest from the general public was built from litter and sited at the north end of the Town Millpond where people passing on the pavement of the main road could look straight down into the nest and as this week's expected hatching date approached a small crowd gathered there and witnessed the death of one of the two cygnets which hatched from the five eggs. The unfortunate cygnet was exploring the outer edges of the nest when it became caught in the sticks forming the nest and 'fried' to death in the hot sunshine that we have been enjoying. The mother swan seems to have made no attempt to save the cygnet but since the event has been seen leading her one surviving cygnet around the Millpond as if nothing had happened. The third Emsworth nest, on the bank of Peter Pond to the north of the main road, was still sitting on 8 eggs when last heard of.

Black Swan: Last year these attractive birds made just three 'breaks for freedom' from captivity. At Ryde on the Isle of Wight one was seen on the Esplanaded Canoe Lake on Feb 2 and Aug 15 with the third sighting at Rye Harbour on Nov 7. This year the first escapee to get reported was on the Cuckmere River near Beachy Head on June 7. Mention of this species reminds that in May 2012 Tony Tindale (one of the Three Amigos whose blog, thanks to the generosity of Her Majesty's Navy, offers an excellent education in worldwided birding) visited a brother living in Perth, Australia, and brought back a photo of a lakeful of Black Swans and a close up showing a glimpse of the surprisingly large pure white wing panel which these birds reveal when the take flight ... See http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/05/05/perth-western-australia-black-swan-back-on-tony-ts-life-list/

Mandarin Duck: A couple of week's ago when the BBC did a radio piece on the spread of Mandarin Duck in the UK, I mentioned this in my Week 20 Summary (http://ralph-hollins.net/Summary.htm#Week 20) but this week I learn that we can find the species breeding here in Havant. On June 6 Mike Collins found a female with four baby ducklings on the Leigh Park Gardens Lake (aka Staunton Country Park lake).

Gadwall: Another possible new breeder in Langstone village area is Gadwall. These duck have probably bred at the Budds Farm pools in Havant since at least 2007 (when males and females, though no young, were seen there in April and May) and definitely bred in 2009 (three pairs seen with juvs on June 22). This year Peter Raby has reported two sightings suggesting breeding in the Langstone area - on May 4 he saw a pair flying south over Warblington Farm on a line which suggested that they had come from the watercress bed pool situated east of Warblington Castle, and on June 1 he saw a pair on Langstone Mill Pond which he thought might be nesting on the small ornamental lake (Chinese Water Gardens) in the adjacent grounds of Wade Court.

Red-breasted Merganser: One or two of these usually stay in the Solent Harbours through the summer - this year the only reports I have seen so far are of a female seen in the Warsash area of the Solent on May 21 and June 5.

Honey Buzzard: Of the seven reports of migrants this week three were on June 2 coming in over Christchurch Harbour, Folkestone and Peachaven in the Brighton area.

Ossprey: These have been arriving at a steady rate since mid-March and the first to be seen at Thorney Island was at Pilsey on Apr 30 but it was not until June 5 that one was seen in the Thornham Marshes area where two artificial nests have been created on poles which originally supported raised landing lights to guide planes landing at the long disused Thorney Island airfield. This was probably the same bird which flew up the nearby Bosham Chanel on June 4 and which was still there on June 7 and 8 using one of the artificial nest platforms as a dining table. Hopefully it will stay around and just maybe it will be joined by a female which, with a lot more luck, will not be en route to an established nest and mate elsewhere and will with some more luck find one of the artifical nests and the resident male to her taste. Looking at a series of photos taken by Richard Fairbank on June 8 ( see http://birdingneversleeps.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/thorney-pagham-08-june-2013.html) I get the impression that the Osprey would easily be chased off by the Crow shown dominating it in one photo and Richard suggests that the discolouration of feathers around the base of its right leg may be caused by bleeding from a wound so all in all this bird does not seem to be favourite to take over this site.

Hobby: A couple of these found their luck had run out before they got round to nesting. A photo of the emaciated corpse of one found dead at the north Kent Oare Marshes on June 5 can be seen at http://www.kentos.org.uk/Oare/images/Hobbydead0506132b_000_000.JPG and on May 26 the Dungeness Bird Observatory reported an emaciated bird found dead there.

Avocet: On June 2 we were told that 27 pairs are breeding at Rye Harbour this year.

Lapwing: On June 3 I visited the Havant Thicket area where it was a great surprise to me to see and hear a single Lapwing apparently trying protect an unseen chick against the horde of corvids (mainly Rooks from the rookery near Rowlands Castle rail station) which feed on the large area of grass fields south of Havant Thicket. I had seen Lapwing breeding here each year from 2005 to 2011 but could not find them in 2012, their departure apparently co-onciding with the removal of the horses which had grazed here (and provided a supply of insects from their dung as well as keeping down the height of the grass). This year the Lapwing I found was in a different part of the grassland (where sheep had been grazed recently) and the good news that the Lapwing were breeding here again was enhanced later in the week by an entry on the Three Amigo's blog in which Mark Cutts described a visit here with his Bird Ringing trainer for the purpose of ringing the Lapwing chicks. You can read about this at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2013/06/06/4512/. Although only two chicks were found and ringed on that visit there were thought to be four pairs present (similar to the number I have found in previous years) and I eagerly await further news (to keep in touch with this blog the basic URL is http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/. One other item of Lapwing news is the first report of post breeding flock (probably better described as a failed breeding flock) of more than 30 Lapwing (and 21 Curlew) at Rye Harbour on June 8: watch out for their return to our shores.

Turtle Dove: Birders who can remember 'the good old days' will be pleased to see that there were six birds at Martin Down on Jun 3. I was also reminded of them breeding on the Warblington Farm fields in the 1980s by a photo taken that day showing a pair perched on power lines at Reculver in north Kent - see http://www.kentos.org.uk/Reculver/images/turdo0613.jpg. On June 4 one even landed at Sandy Point on Hayling Island.

Nightjar: The annual visit to Havant Thicket by Hampshire Wildlife Trust members on June 5 heard at least two churring and watched a least two roding Woodcock. On the evening of June 7 John Goodridge found two males and a female at another local site (West Walk woods at Wickham in the Meon Valley. Elswehere they have been reported this week at several sites in the New Forest and at Ampfield Woods near Romsey.

Wryneck: These seem to be in very short supply this year.After a 'probable' in Devon on Apr 2 they started to arrive in northern Europe from Apr 22 when one turned up in the Scillies and others in Belgium and Germany. First for mainland Britain was in Norfolk on May 2 followed by three more in France and the Netherlands before May 15 when RBA reported a total of three in northern Britain but even they had no more news until June 2 when they posted a report of one in Hampshire but that never got into the HOS news.

Wheatear: Another reminder of the 'good old days' when I can remember breeding Wheatear bobbing around on the old Stoney Cross aerodrome in the New Forest is news from Rye Harbour of a pair with young there on June 2 (I think the species may still breed in Hampshire)

Marsh Warbler: I think a few enthusiasts are still operating under a 'No Surrender' flag but I think the majority of Hampshire birders are now convinced that the Brockhurst bird at Gosport is an abnormal Reed Warbler and not a Marsh Warbler.

Eastern Sub-Alpine Warbler: One was at Portland on June 2 and to learn how to separate the western and eastern races go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subalpine_Warbler

Greenish Warbler: The first to reach Britain this year ( and the second ever to be seen on the Scillies) was reported on June 3. It was singing to aid its identification.

Jay: These continue their recently acquired nomadic lifestyle with a report of a travelling party of 13 seen at The Hague in the Netherlands on June 7 and a couple flying east at Folkestone on June 2.

Divers

Magpie: For a story of how one man has been deprived of his prvacy and sleep by a Magpie see http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/6/7/magpie.html.

Chffinch: What would a flock of 452 Chaffinches be doing on June 7? Another puzzle resulting from this year's strange weather brought this flock together at a Netherlands site.

Common Rosefinch: One was present and singing at Portland on June 2.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Emperor: General emergence seems to have started on June 1.

Norfolk Hawker: First seen on June 6 in Norfolk.

Gold Ringed Dragonfly: First report come from Dorset (Ramsdean Forest near Ringwood)on June 4)2.

Brilliant Emerald: First for year seen in Surrey on June 1. This nationally rare species can only be found in Surrey or the Highlands of Scotland.

Black Tailed Skimmer: First sighting in Norfolk on May 31.

Scarce Chaser: First seen in Sussex on May 25 there was a further report from Beeding Brooks by the R. Adur on June 2.

Red-Veined Darter: One seen in Victoria Park, London, on June 1 may have been a migrant though this species is now resident at some British sites.

Common Darter: Also seen in Victoria Park, London, next day (June 2).

Banded Demoiselle: The first report was from Bushy Park in London on May 16 but the first locally was at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on June 6.

Red Eyed Damselfly: First report was from Suffolk on May 12 but we now have a photo taken at Reculver in north Kent on June 2 showing that the 'red eyes'are not prominent and that this species could easily be confused with the common Blue-Tailed Damsel

Small Red Damsel: First for the year seen at Cadnam in the New Forest on June 5.

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Large Skipper: First for the year on the Isle of Wight on June 6.

Dingy Skipper:

Grzzled Skipper:

Swallowtail: First of the year seen at Durlston on June 2. This will have been a cross Channel migrant

Wood White:

Brimstone:

Large White:

Small White:

Green Veined White:

Black Veined White: A migrant flew in at Portland Bill on June 8 and continued north. The species became extinct in Britain in 1925 but is very common just across the Channel. For many photos (click to enlarge) see http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?species=crataegi.

Orange Tip:

Green Hairstreak:

Small Copper:

Small Blue:

Brown Argus:

Common Blue:

Adonis Blue:

Holly Blue:

Duke of Burgundy:

Red Admiral:

Painted Lady: Two more sightings this week - one at Gosport (Gilkicker) on June 1 and one at Castle Hill near Brighton on June 5.

Small Tortoiseshell: A few of last summer's brood still surviving.

Peacock:

Comma:

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary: First of year at Bentley Wood on the Hants/Wilts border on June 7 but none yet seen in Sussex.

Pearl Bordered Fritillary:

Glanville Fritillary:

Speckled Wood:

Wall Brown:

Meadow Brown: Still only two reports - one in Sussex on May 26 and one at Martin Down in Hampshire on June 5.

Small Heath: Unusually numerous.

Monarch: One migrant seen at Lee on the Solent near Gosport on June 4

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

163 (The Forester), Adscita statices out in Hampshire on June 7

247 (Bird's Nest Moth), Tinea trinotella out in Kent on June 1

286 (Yellow-triangle Slender), Caloptilia alchimiella out in Hampshire on June 7

303 (Hawthorn Slender), Parornix anglicella out in Kent on June 1

438 (Little Ermel), Swammerdamia pyrella out in Dorset on June 1

652 (Common Tubic), Alabonia geoffrella out in Hampshire on June 1

874 (London Dowd), Blastobasis lacticolella out in Kent on June 2

904 (Yellow-headed Cosmet), Spuleria flavicaput out in Dorset on June 1

937 (Common Yellow Conch), Agapeta hamana out in Sussex on June 7

1058 (Marsh Button), Acleris lorquiniana out in Dorset on June 4

1174 (Yellow-faced Bell), Epiblema cynosbatella out in Dorset on June 5

1261 (Codling Moth), Cydia pomonella out in Dorset on June 6

1279 (Sharp-winged Drill), Dichrorampha acuminatana out in Kent on June 1

1675 (Dingy Mocha), Cyclophora pendularia out in Dorset on June 4

1676 (Mocha), Cyclophora annularia out in Dorset on June 1

1742 (Yellow Shell), Camptogramma bilineata out in Hampshire on June 7

1807 (Grass Rivulet), Perizoma albulata out in Sussex on June 2

1825 (Lime-speck Pug), Eupithecia centaureata out in Dorset on June 4

1837 (Grey Pug), Eupithecia subfuscata out in Kent on June 1

1857 (Dwarf Pug), Eupithecia tantillaria out in Kent on June 1

1890 (Sharp-angled Peacock), Macaria alternata out in Dorset on June 4

1904 (Scorched Wing), Plagodis dolabraria out in Dorset on June 4

1939 (Ringed Carpet), Cleora cinctaria out in Dorset on June 4

1956 (Common Wave), Cabera exanthemata out in Dorset on June 1

1958 (Clouded Silver), Lomographa temerata out in Dorset on June 5

1961 (Light Emerald), Campaea margaritata out in Kent on June 3

1976 (Privet Hawk-moth), Sphinx ligustri out in Dorset on June 1

1979 (Lime Hawk-moth), Mimas tiliae out in Sussex on June 2

1991 (Elephant Hawk-moth), Deilephila elpenor out in Dorset on June 5

2028 (Pale Tussock), Calliteara pudibunda out in Dorset on June 1

2120 (Ingrailed Clay), Diarsia mendica out in Dorset on June 5

2123 (Small Square-spot), Diarsia rubi out in Dorset on June 4

2147 (The Shears), Hada plebeja out in Kent on June 4

2157 (Light Brocade), Lacanobia w-latinum out in Dorset on June 5

2280 (The Miller), Acronicta leporina out in Kent on June 6

2284 (Grey Dagger), Acronicta psi out in Dorset on June 4

2337 (Marbled Minor), Oligia strigilis out in Kent on June 1

2399 (Bordered Sallow), Pyrrhia umbra out in Dorset on June 4

2478 (Bloxworth Snout), Hypena obsitalis out in Dorset on June 6

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Other Insects

Large Crane Fly (Tipula maxima): First reported on June 3 at Fairlight nr Hastings

Ornate Brigadier: This large Soldier Fly was seen at Rye Harbour on June 7. For pictures see http://www.flickr.com/photos/63075200@N07/sets/72157632909198652/.

Short-haired Bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus): For details of the release of these bees, imported from Sweden, at Dungeness see http://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-us/case-study/short-haired-bumblebee-reintroduction/ and http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/03/short-haired-bumblebee-queens-boost

Rhinocerus Beetle (Sinodendron cylindricum): This third member of the Stag Beetle group was seen near Brighton on June 7. See http://www.buglife.org.uk/discoverbugs/bugofthemonth/Rhinoceros+beetle.

Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata): First found in Sussex on June 1.

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis): First of year at Emsworth on June 1.

Ladybirds: These are late in appearing this year but the first 2-Spot and the first Harlequin were both seen at Emsworth Brook Meadow on June 1.

Longhorn Beetle: A specimen of Rhagium mordax was seen at Fairlight nr Hastings on June 7. For photos see http://www.eakringbirds.com/eakringbirds4/insectinfocusrhagiummordax.htm.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Buttercups: Both Celery Leaved and Hairy were found at Emsworth on May 30.

Lesser Spearwort: Flowering in Havant Thicket on June 3.

Yellow Horned Poppy: First flowers at Rye Harbour on June 7.

Procumbent Pearlwort: First flowers in Havant on June 3.

Grass Vetchling: First flowers at Swanwick nature reserve by the River Hamble on June 3.

Sea Pea: This rarity was flowering at Rye Harbour on June 2.

Sainfoin: First flowers seen at Durlston on June 1.

Creeping Cinquefoil: Started to flower in the Havant area on June 3.

Broad-leaved Willowherb: Started flowering in Havant on June 3.

Rhododendron ponticum: Flowering in Havant Thicket on June 3.

Foxglove: Flowering started in Havant on June 3.

Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus): An oddity found in Havant on June 3. A full sized flower growing directly from a crack in stone paving outside a house with no water in sight - see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0306.

Feverfew: Self sown plants starting to flower in Havant on June 3.

Marsh Thistle: First flower in Havant Thicket on June 3.

Mouse-ear Hawkweed: First flowers in Havant on June 3.

Sword-leaved Helleborine: Plants already in full flower at Chappetts Copse nr West Meon on June 1.

Man Orchid: Flowering near Folkestone on June 1.

Common Spotted Orchids: General flowering seems to have started on June 3.

Bee Orchid: Just one flower open on June 7. See http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0706 for photo and for other newly flowering plants (Viper's Bugloss, Heath Speedwell, Hemlock, Yarrow)

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Marsh Frog: For a photo of one taken at the Oare Marshes in north Kent see http://www.kentos.org.uk/Oare/images/MarshFrog030613MR1a_000.JPG

Wall Lizard: One got a mention in the Folkestone news this week - if anyone wants to know more about these colourful creatures which are now widespread in Southern England they should check out the comprehensive website created by the Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group at http://www.surrey-arg.org.uk/SARG/02000-Activities/SurveyAndMonitoring/WallLizard/PMSitePicker.asp. Scrolling down beyond the overview map of all sites you can discover the known detail for each site (including the colony of one lizard seen in the Farlington area (somewhere in SU 6805) in 2007 and hopefully awaiting rediscovery)

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for May 27 - June 2 (Week 22 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: All three species can occasionally still be seen but in small numbers

Little Egret: On May 30 Nik Knight was the first to discover that the Egrets at Langstone Pond had started to hatch when he saw three juveniles in one nest - he commented that one of the young looked bigger than the others which is the result of the parents starting to incubate as soon as the first of up to six eggs are laid at the rate of one a day. I went to the pond on May 31 and had no difficulty in seeing 15 nests with adults present (there may be twice that number of nests with the others hidden by foliage - those in trees on the 'mainland' are more difficult to spot than those on the 'island') but I only saw one youngster in one of the few nests which you have any chance of seeing into. Peter Raby visited the pond on June 1 and saw young in four nests and as the young grow over the next four weeks we should see a lot more before they finally leave their nests (before this they may well be seen climbing around on branches close to the nest). Even though we cannot see many of the young we can hear the delightful 'gargling' baby talk as the adults communicate with their young and see more aggression between parents whose nests are too close to each other for the comfort of the adults.

Great White Egret: One was seen at Brading Marsh on the IoW on May 26 and what was probably the same bird was at the Testwood Lakes close to Southampton on May 30

Spoonbill: Possibly the same bird was seen at Christchurch Harbour on May 25, then at Farlington Marshes on May 27 and 28, before reaching Rye Harbour on May 30

Mute Swan: On May 27 the nest at the Farlington Marshes Deeps produced 6 cygnets and on June 1 a brood of eight cygnets appeared in Emsworth Harbour, presumably from a nest hidden from easy viewing on the north wall of the Emsworth Marina. A further 8 cygnets may emerge in the next day or so from the very visible nest in Emsworth's Peter Pond in which 8 eggs have been seen and six more will hopefully hatch in the town Millpond on June 7 or thereabouts.

Cackling Canada Goose: A bird assumed to be of this 'half-size' species was at Titchfield Haven on May 29 and 31. What is probably the same bird was seen at the Testwood Lakes on at least six dates between June 26 and Aug 14 in 2011 and at the nearby Lower Test Marshes on just two days (Jan 27 and Oct 20) in 2012. I wonder where it spends the rest of its time?

Shelduck: The first young that I have heard of this year were a brood of 8 seen in Langstone Harbour entrance on May 25 and they were followed by a family of 5 ducklings on Alresford Pond on May 27. A single bird seen on the mud off Northey marina (Hayling Island) on May 22 may well have a mate sitting nearby but a pair of adults seen sitting out the high tide in a newly planted Sweetcorn crop on Warblington Farm on May 30 are unlikely to produce their own young this year but may be waiting for a job as child-minders to young left behind when their real parents fly off to moult .

Garganey: A pair at Rye Harbour had hatched young which were seen there on May 30.

Pochard: These also had juvs on show at Rye Harbour on May 30

Honey Buzzard: These are clearly still arriving in this country with reports this week of sightings over the Stour valley in Kent, at Folkestone, off the Devon coast, over Christchurch Harbour and over Portland (on both May 26 and 28).

Hobby: Late news from the Kent Stour valley on May 19 is of a total of 34 Hobbies hunting there, many of them probably having arrived together as a migrant flock.

Peregrine: I have long been aware that Peregrines nest in public view on the cliff of the Paulsgrove chalk pit on Portsdown but I had not seen the nest for myself until May 27 when my visit there happenend to coincide with my meeting with a local man who has been watching them for the past six years, and with a visit to the nest by both the male (tiercel) and one of last year's young which drew the female (falcon) off the nest to let me see all three in flight, to hear them calling, and then to see the falcon return to the nest where the tiercel joined her and I could see them both from the new metal bench seat near the south east corner of the pit. Something which few people have seen clearly is the actual moment of impact when a Peregrine strikes a Woodpigeon in flight and even fewer will have seen that strike in a photo apparently showing a Magpie about to strike the Peregrine down and steal its prey but this is shown in the second of three superb shots in the May 30 entry on Keith Pritchard's blog at http://birdingportlanduk.blogspot.co.uk/

Pheasant: In last week's summary I mentioned that two cocks were seen fighting at Sandwich Bay and were so absorbed in their fight that they only broke off when a cow charged in between them. This week I had a similar experience when walking round one of the big fields at Warblington Farm. When I entered the field I immediately saw the two cocks in the centre of the field - crouched down facing each other in what appeared to be a silent and motionless attempt to outstare each other. In the five minutes or so while I was walking round the field edge neither moved - the only outcome that I could see to this dispute would be that they were very slowly separated by the growth of the Sweetcorn crop in the field around them.

Little Stint: On May 28 both a Little Stint and a Curlew Sandpiper were at the Farlington Marshes lake with 15 Ringed Plover and 85 Dunlin all apparently en route to the Arctic when forced down by heavy rain.

Med Gull: On May 29 an unprecedented total of 82 Med Gulls flew west over Christchurch Harbour raising the possibility that they had been driven from a breeding colony by some major disaster. So far I have seen no explanation of what caused this mass flight.

Great Black Back Gull: The pair which had nested on a raft in the Slipper Mill Pond at Emsworth hatched three young on May 24 and all three were still there on June 1.

Roller: The appearance of this superb rarity at Broxhead Common (between Alton and Haslemere) on May 25 and 26 was mentioned in last week's summary but if you want to see what this bird looks like Mark Cutts photo at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2013/05/European-Roller-1a-Broxhead-Common-25-May-2013.jpg remains the best which I have seen.

Black Redstart: A pair were feeding fledged young at Dungeness on May 28.

Mistle Thrush: First report of fledged young comes from Arlington Reservoir (near Beachy Head) on May 31 when a single adult with a single youngster were seen.

Marsh Warbler?: A bird which was found on May 29 (and remains there on June 2) at Fort Brockhurst, where the road from Fareham into Gosport enters Gosport, has been the subject of increasingly heated debate as to whether it is a Reed or a Marsh Warbler. My only comment is that senseless violence breaks out all over Europe at this time of year and that we are not immune from it. Individuals will have different opinions based on their knowledge and experience of the two species concerned, and their personal observation of the bird concerned, and they should present factual evidence to the appropriate rarities committee charged with providing an 'official opinion' (which can never be quaranteed correct), but they should refrain from 'shouting at each other (or worse)'.

Spotted Flycatcher: To give an impression of the extraordinary wave of migrants arriving at Portland Bill on June 1 I have to quote Martin Cade's account of that day in full. He says (at http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/aa_latestnews.htm) .. "Portland was treated to a real top-notch migration spectacle today when a combination of factors including clear skies, a brisk northerly and the lateness of the spring - conspired to precipitate a quite astouding visible passage of Spotted Flycatchers at the Bill. The first observer through the Top Fields after dawn reported none until he reached the Privet Hedge, whereupon he was met by the first wave of what was to prove a five hour or so north-bound stream of flycatchers arriving a low level in off the sea from the south; the total of birds passing in close proximity to the Obs reached just over 800 and, allowing for the seemingly lower but uncensused numbers visible at times heading overhead well to the west of the Obs, it seems inconceivable that there weren't well in excess of 1000 birds through by mid-morning. With so many flycatchers about it was easy to overlook that there was another very respectable arrival of other migrants with, for example, the likes of 20 Wheatear, 15 Willow Warblers, 10 Whinchats, 6 Reed Warblers, 3 Garden Warblers, 3 Jays and singles of Whimbrel, Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail and Redstart at the Bill, along with some quality in the form of a Firecrest and a brief Serin at Southwell.

Bearded Tit: According to Bob Chapman, who saw one adult and nine newly fledged young in the reeds near the Farlington Marshes Reserve building on May 30, these have hatched at least two broods

Golden Oriole: This week brought sightings from Devon and Dorset plus one seen and heard singing at Hope Gap (near Beachy Head) on May 2

Red Backed Shrike: Although I have not seen any reports from southern counties more recent than a sighting at Portland on May 23 RBA was reporting a total of 22 in the UK on May 28 (after a peak of 26 on May 21)

Jay: These continue to circulate as if they had no homes to settle in. Since May 26 they have been seen in small numbers (max 3) at Dungeness and Portland.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Club Tailed Dragonfly: First seen in Oxfordshire on May 25

Keeled Skimmer: A very early first sighting in Cornwall on May 18

Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva): First in Sussex on May 25

White-faced Darter: First in Shropshire on May 30

White Legged Damselfly: First in Surrey on May 25

Scarce Blue Tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilo): First in Cornwall on May 26

'Possibles': Still no confirmation of Bob Chapman's possible Emperor which he saw on May 22 but the premature Southern Hawker of May 15 has been re-identified as a Hairy Dragonfly which has been on the wing since May

'Regulars': Also assumed still flying this week were Beautiful and Banded Demoiselles, Emerald Damsel, Large Red Damsel, Azure Damsel, Variable Damselfly, Common Blue Damsel, Blue Tailed Damsel, Red Eyed Damsel, Hairy Dragonfly, Downy Emerald, Four Spotted Chaser, Scarce Chaser,Broad Bodied Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer,

Butterflies:

First or notable species reported this week:

Wood White: The first had been seen at the normal Botany Bay site near Chiddingfold on May 7. On May 27 one was reported in Sheffield Park (home of the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex) which may be a new site for the species (though there has been no comment to that effect)

Small Blue: Of local interest Mark Cutts saw the first I know of found in the Paulsgrove Chalkpit on Portsdown on May 31. See his photo at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2013/06/Small-Blue-Portsdown-310513-020.jpg

Painted Lady: Three reports this week. One in the Alver Valley at Gosport on May 25, one on Kingley Vale near Chichester on May 27, and one dead on a road in Portsmouth on May 29

Glanville Fritillary: First seen on May 25 near Ventnor (IoW) with just one more sighting there on May 27.

Meadow Brown: First and only report on May 26 from a regular transect somewhere in Sussex.

All species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, 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, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Pear Bordered Fritillary, Glanville Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Meadow Brown, Small Heath.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

17 (Common Swift), Hepialus lupulinus out in Kent on May 27

200 (Fern Smut), Psychoides filicivora out in Kent on May 28

228 (Carrion Moth), Monopis weaverella out in Dorset on May 20

284 (Small Red Slender), Caloptilia rufipennella out in Dorset on May 18

310 (Garden Apple Slender), Callisto denticulell8 out in Kent on May 27

332a (Firethorn Leaf Miner), Phyllonorycter leucographella out in Kent on May 20

436 (Copper-tipped Ermel), Pseudoswammerdamia combinella out in Dorset on May 30

447 (Copper Ermel), Roeslerstammia erxlebella out in Dorset on May 20

607 (Little Dwarf), Elachista canapennella out in Dorset on May 18

631 (Broken-barred Dwarf), Cosmiotes freyerella out in Kent on May 26

647 (Brown House Moth), Hofmannophila pseudospretella out in Kent on May 19

649 (Sulphur Tubic), Esperia sulphurella out in Doret on May 21

656 (Ruddy Streak), Tachystola acroxantha out in Dorset on May 20

893 (Common Cosmet), Mompha epilobiella out in Dorset on May 18

966 (Black-headed Conch), Cochylis atricapitana out in Kent on May 18

1111 (Rush Marble), Bactra lancealana out in Dorset on May 30

1255 (Grey Gorse Piercer), Cydia ulicetana out in Sussex on May 27

1356 (Garden Pebble), Evergestis forficalis out in Kent on May 29

1376 (Small Magpie), Eurrhypara hortulata out in Doret on May 97

1428 (Bee Moth), Aphomia sociella out in Kent on May 28

1638 (Fox Moth), Macrothylacia rubi out in Hampshire on May 26

1647 (Barred Hook-tip), Watsonalla cultraria out in Dorset on May 30

1651 (Chinese Character), Cilix glaucata out in Doret on May 20

1677 (Birch Mocha), Cyclophora albipunctata out in Dorset on May 26

1727 (Silver-ground Carpet), Xanthorhoe montanata out in Sussex on May 25

1728 (Garden Carpet), Xanthorhoe fluctuata out in Dorset on May 28

1747 (Streamer), Anticlea derivata out in Dorset on May 21

1752 (Purple Bar), Cosmorhoe ocellata out in Sussex on May 27

1759 (Small Phoenix), Ecliptopera silaceata out in Kent on May 28

1764 (Common Marbled Carpet), Chloroclysta truncata out in Kent on May 18

1782 (Fern), Horisme tersata out in Kent on May 23

1787 (Argent & Sable), Rheumaptera hastata out in Hampshire on May 25

1794 (Sharp-angled Carpet), Euphyia unangulata out in Kent on May 28

1834 (Common Pug), Eupithecia vulgata out in Kent on May 21

1846 (Narrow-winged Pug), Eupithecia nanata out in Dorset on May 21

1894 (Latticed Heath), Chiasmia clathrata out in Hampshire on May 29

1906 (Brimstone Moth), Opisthograptis luteolata out in Dorset on May 18

1920 (Scalloped Hazel), Odontopera bidentata out in Dorset on May 30

1952 (Common Heath), Ematurga atomaria out in Dorset on May 26

1955 (Common White Wave), Cabera pusaria out in Dorset on May 20

1957 (White-pinion Spotted), Lomographa bimaculata out in Dorset on May 29

1982 (Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth), Hemaris tityus out in Hampshire on May 25

1994 (Buff-tip), Phalera bucephala out in Hampshire on May 31

1997 (Sallow Kitten), Furcula furcula out in Dorset on May 19

2000 (Iron Prominent), Notodonta dromedarius out in Dorset on May 18

2006 (Lesser Swallow Prominent), Pheosia gnoma out in Dorset on May 19

2007 (Swallow Prominent), Pheosia tremula out in Dorset on May 17

2011 (Pale Prominent), Pterostoma palpina out in Dorset on May 17

2014 (Marbled Brown), Drymonia dodonaea out in Dorset on May 20

2019 (Chocolate-tip), Clostera curtula out in Dorset on May 20

2043 (Orange Footman), Eilema sororcula out in Dorset on May 28

2060 (White Ermine), Spilosoma lubricipeda out in Dorset on May 21

2061 (Buff Ermine), Spilosoma luteum out in Dorset on May 19

2084 (Light Feathered Rustic), Agrotis cinerea out in Kent on May 19

2087 (Turnip Moth), Agrotis segetum out in Kent on May 18

2089 (Heart and Dart), Agrotis exclamationis out in Dorset on May 26

2098 (Flame), Axylia putris out in Sussex on May 25

2102 (Flame Shoulder), Ochropleura plecta out in Dorset on May 17

2160 (Bright-line Brown-eye), Lacanobia oleracea out in Dorset on May 20

2166 (Campion), Hadena rivularis out in Kent on May 18

2167 (Tawny Shears), Hadena perplexa out in Kent on May 23

2291 (Coronet), Craniophora ligustri out in Kent on May 20

2326 (Clouded-bordered Brindle), Apamea crenata out in Dorset on May 30

2334 (Rustic Shoulder-knot,), Apamea sordens out in Dorset on May 18

2380 (Treble Lines), Charanyca trigrammica out in Kent on May 27

2384 (Vine's Rustic), Hoplodrina ambigua out in Dorset on May 30

2410 (Marbled White Spot), Protodeltote pygarga out in Dorset on May 30

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

N/A

Other Insects

Myathropa florea hoverfly: Bob Chapman reported the first sighting at Farlington Marshes on May 27

Cheilosia variablis: Bob also reported this hoverfly on May 27

Anthomyia pluvialis (Root-maggot fly): Bob also reported this on May 27 see http://www.insectoid.info/pictures/anthomyia-pluvialis.jpg

Hornet: First sighting for the year reported at Folkestone on May 19

Ladybirds: On June 1 Brian Fellows found both 2-Spot and Harlequin species at Brook Meadow in Emsworth - this seems a late date for the first sighting but no one else has mentioned them this year.

Red Cardinal Beetle: Also seen on Brook Meadow on June 1. A similar species, Cantharis rustica, was seen at Durlston on May 31 but that could not be confused with the all red Cardinal - I mention it as these are the very first sightings of this type of beetle for the year.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Great Horsetail: These plants are now around a metre tall beside the 'Selangor Avenue' path along the east side of Warblington Farm at Havant

Hairy Buttercup: This looks very similar to the ubiquitous Bulbous Buttercup but on May 31 Brian Fellows dug up a plant flowering on wasteland by Emsworth rail station and saw that it had roots and not bulbs, thus proving it was Hairy.

Celery-leaved Buttercup: I had my first sight of this in flower for the year in the marshy SSSI field east of Warblington cemetery on May 30.

Common Poppy: Flowering on Portsdown on May 27.

Large Bittercress: Found flowering in the Warblington SSSI on May 30.

Hairy Rock Cress: Lots of this freshly flowering on Portsdown on May 27.

Horse Radish: First flowers seen at Broadmarsh by Langstone Harbour on May 29.

Wild Mignonette: Newly flowering on Portsdown on May 27.

Ragged Robin: Only starting to flower in the Havant area on May 30.

Bog Stitchwort: First flowers found on Warblington Farm on May 30.

Lesser Sea Spurrey: Flowers first seen at Farlington Marshes on May 27.

Bird Cherry: Flowering at Broadmarsh Coastal Park on May 29 (when it had clearly been out for some time).

Portland Spurge: Newly flowering at Durlston on May 28.

Rough Chervil: First flowers seen at Warblington Farm on May 30.

Ground Elder: Starting to flower in Havant on May 27.

Sea Milkwort: Plenty of this in flower on the Warblington SSSI on May 30.

Bittersweet Nightshade: Starting to flower at Broadmarsh on May 29.

Brooklime: My first sight of this flowering on May 29 in the Hermitage stream at Bedhampton.

Common Gromwell: First flowers on Portsdown on May 27.

Slender Thistle: Plenty of flowers open beside Harts Farm Way opposite the Havant Amenity 'Tip' site on May 29.

Salsify: This close relative of Goatsbeard was flowering at Broadmarsh on May 29.

Rough Hawkbit: First flowers on Portsdown on May 27.

Hieracium exotericum: Lots of what I assume was this flowering on Portsdown on May 27.

Black Bryony: Also first flowers in Portsdown on May 27.

Stinking Iris: Flowering at Durlston on May 27.

Common Spotted Orchid: I am not certain if this was actually flowering at Durlston on May 30 but it is not yet flowering in the Havant area.

Southern Marsh Orchid: Just one plant flowering at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on May 27 but not even any leaves could be found this week at two other regular Havant sites (South Moors and Warblington).

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

White Rabbit: When I visited Farlington Marshes on Jan 11 this year I was excited to see a pure white Rabbit at the north east end of the seawall path (in the trees on the landward side) and a man I met there told me that he had seen three different white Rabbits in that area. Now, on May 30, Bob Chapman has had another sighting of one (he has been aware of their presence for some time) and you can see his photo of it at http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/white-rabbit.jpg

Killer Whale (Orca): On June 1 one was photographed heading west past Selsey Bill - see the photo at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MajIU925SY4/UapQE_iPVzI/AAAAAAAACag/JPa9u2t36m4/s400/photo.JPG.

Masked Crab: On May 27 Alan Parker wrote on the RX website .."A bit of a treat during early morning low tides this weekend was the large number of Masked Crabs on the lower levels of the sandy beaches off Cliff End and Fairlight. I've only seen a few of these previously by catching them in a shrimp net, but there must have been a hundred on show on Saturday." As I was not aware of this species (which is common on snady shoes from Portugal to northern Sweden) I found out more from http://www.arkive.org/masked-crab/corystes-cassivelaunus/ but the only vague resemblance to the mask of a human face which is supposed to be visible on the carapace was found at http://www.marlin.ac.uk/speciesinformation.php?speciesID=3074 and then only after clicking on the photo to enlarge it.

Broad clawed Porcelain Crab: Graeme Lyons continues the seashore theme with another species found when rock-pooling near Whitley in Yorkshire. I found the best image of this at http://www.fungalpunknature.co.uk/Seashore/porcelaincrab.htm and I recommend http://www.fungalpunknature.co.uk/FW1.html as a good starting point when searching for images of a wide variety of wildlife.

Squat Lobster: Another of Graeme Lyons' finds at Whitley is well illustrated at http://www.fungalpunknature.co.uk/Seashore/SquatLobster.html

Sea Fish: The Durlston Rangers Diary for May 26 says .. "At last the migration of summer fish species has begun in earnest with Black Bream, Garfish and Mackerel arriving to join the already present Ballan Wrasse, Scorpionfish, Pollock, Bull Huss, Dogfish and a Swanage Bay speciality the Undulate Ray (Swanage Bay is a breeding ground for these nationally scarce Rays)." The name which caught my eye in this list was Scorpionfish which is here being used to refer to a different species (there are some 300 species worldwide given this general name) to that which is currently in the news as a 'first for Britain' - see http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/wildlife/article3762174.ece. For more information about the family to which this species belongs see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpaenidae and |http://library.thinkquest.org/12880/scorpion.html

Lepidonotus squamatus: I am not particularly interested in worms but when reading Graeme Lyons latest blog entry at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/whitley-bay-rocks.html I was intrigued by what he describes as an 'armoured worm' found while rock-pooling but all I managed to find when googling the name was an alternative photo at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lepidonotus_squamatus.jpg.

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for May 20 - 26 (Week 21 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

Late News not included in Summary below

Terek Sandpiper at Rye Hbr on May 25

Black Stork over Horsted Keynes on May 25

Turtle Dove in Chidham orchard on May 22 (Local interest)

Red Rumped Swallow at Weir Wood reservoir (Crowborough) on May 24

Short Eared Owl at Westhampnett (Chichester) on May 24

Roller at Broxhead Common (between Alton and Hindhead) on May 25 and 26 - for comment and photo see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2013/05/25/european-roller-at-broxhead-common-hants/

Durlston have a swarm of Daddy Longlegs Craneflies on May 26

Two Temminck's Stint at Rye Hbr on May 26

2 Bee Eaters at Dungeness on May 24 - good photo at http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/images/Bee-eater%20240513%207167.jpg

Great Blackback Gulls hatch three chicks on raft at Emsworth on May 24

For a couple of Cliff Dean's better essays into Birding, Art and Fantasy go to

http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/striking-notes/ and

http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/clouds-unfold/

New dragonflies on the wing have been ... (from http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/latest-sightings )

Hairy Dragonfly on May 19

Scarce Chaser on May 22

Keeled Skimmer on May 23

Club Tailed Dragonfly on May 25

White Legged Damselfly on May 25

New moths include ... (from http://www.dorsetmothgroup.info/portal )

Bright-line Brown-eye on May 25

Least Black Arches, Currant Pug, Rustic Shoulder-Knot and Lobster Moth on May 20

V-Pug, Garden Carpet and Sallow Kitten on May 19

Common Swift, Cabbage Moth and Green Carpet on May 18

.. and for an introduction to a colourful spider see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/amazing-massive-luminous-green-spider.html

Burnt Tip Orchids: photos of the first of these beauties at Seaford on May 25 can be seen at http://seafordbirding.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/burnt-ochids-25513.html. Hopefully they will soon be flowering in Hampshire at Martin Down.

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Northern Diver: A sighting of 41 of these off the south Devon coast during a seawatch on May 15 (after more than 21 had been seen nearby on May 14) seems unusual for this time of year.

Black-necked Grebe: One bird is still being seen on Castle Water at Rye Harbour.

Manx Shearwater: Counts of up to 200 off Portland (and even 2 at Dungeness) this week are presumably of non-breeding birds.

Storm Petrel: These have been seen off several sites in Dorset and Devon this week with a max of 9 of Prawle Point in Devon on May 15.

Cattle Egret: Just one reported this week at Dungeness.

Spoonbill: Two currently being seen in Poole Harbour and one on the Lymington shore.

Grey Heron: A dark plumaged bird at Brading Marshes on the IoW was at first reported as a Purple Heron while at Weir Dood reservoir near Crowborough at least 19 juveniles could be seen in nests.

Black Stork: After a couple of vagrants early this month (in Devon and Northumberland) another was over the northern New Forest on May 18.

Bewick's Swan: A yellow billed swan, thought to be a Bewick's, was seen in Nutbourne Bay (Chichester Harbour) on May 16 in company with 7 Mutes. I presume this is an escape from captivity.

Barnacle Goose: A report of a flock of 53063 at a German site on May 23 made me check on where they go to breed and I discovered that, while the main breeding area is in rocky Arctic islands a number of them have, since the 1970s. taken to low grassy islands in the Baltic and that these birds are part of the population that winters in the Netherlands and normally breeds on Novaya Zemlya (which is in the Arctic Ocean north east of Norway). The birds which winter in Scotland and Ireland breed in Greenland and Svalbard.

Brent Goose: Seven are still being seen in Southampton Water and on May 24 four appeared off Church Norton in Pagham Harbour while at least two have been seen in Chichester Harbour at Ella Nore but the surprising news this week is of a flock of 710 still in the Netherlands on May 24.

Scaup: A group of up to seven were still being seen in the Exe estuary in Devon on May 2

Hooded Merganser: The appearance of one at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on May 19 attracted the comment that the bird was of unknown origin but I like to think it is the same bird that was in Pagham Harbour in Nov 2012 after being at Radipole (Weymouth) in the previous winter and has a more or less continuous history of sightings in Dorset since it was found as a 'tame, unringed, full winged young bird' cowering in a storm drain at Weymouth on June 6 in 2008.

Honey Buzzard: At least one, possibly two, flew over the Isle of Wight on May 20 heading towards the New Forest.

Black Kite: What may well have been the same bird arrived in Dorset on May 17 and wss seen in the New Forest later that day. On May 18 it flew south over Southampton to be seen next morning over the disused Hamble airfield before turning back west to the Lymington area after which it disappeared.

Hobby: 7 were seen in Dorset on May 17 and a further influx on May 19 brought more than 10 to the Pevensey Levels with another 8 to West Rise Lake in Eastbourne.

Pheasant: These do not often earn a mention from me but on May 17 two cocks were having one of their battles at Sandwich Bay when a Cow got fed up with them and charged in to break up the fight.

Avocet: Chicks now hatching at least at Rye Harbour where on May 24 one adult was seen with 5 chicks.

Lapwing: These too are now hatching and on May 18 four pairs had young at Farlington Marshes with more on the Langstone Harbour RSPB Islands.

Little Stint: One was in Christchurch Harbour from May 18 to 23.

Curlew Sandpiper: Singles seen this week at Rye Harbour, Pagham Harbour, Christchurch Harbour, and Exe estuary.

Purple Sandpiper: None reported at Southsea Castle since May 22 when 2 were still there

Black-tailed Godwit: On May 23 one was killed by a Crow at the Exe estuary - clearly the Godwit's 'water pistol' is no defence against a determined Crow sledgehammer.

Terek Sandpiper: The first report of this species this year was from the Netherlands on May 7 and our late news shows that one had crossed the channel to Rye Harbour on May 25. Photos of that bird can be seen at http://seafordbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ and while these are not close ups it was worth the visit for me to see much closer photos of the first Burnt Tip Orchids of the year as the next entry in that blog. This blog also has a panel of links to other blogs and my joy at seeing the orchids was washed away by the sadness of reading about the 'desecration' of a hide at Pagham by drunken youths (see May 25 entry on http://paghambirder.blogspot.co.uk/)

Black-headed Gull: Chris Cockburn tells us that a recent count came up with a total of 1149 nests at the Hayling Oysterbeds. Sadly no Little Terns have yet established nests and if they do it is more likely that they will do so on the RSPB Islands which have recently had the potential nesting area increased (and raised above the previous tideline) by the addition of much shingle - there is a slight chance of some breeding on the 'strip island' in the northern section of the Oysterbeds which has also had its nesting potential improved, including the provision of 'air raid shelters' in which the chicks can shelter from hovering Kestrels.

Stock Dove: A surprising report (at this time of year) of a flock of 63 Stock Doves seen in the Test Valley north of Romsey on May 20 presumably reflect a substantial non-breeding population

Turtle Dove: Another surprise is that now Turtle Doves have ceased to breed in most of southern England this week has brought reports of two settling down to look for mates here. On May 20 one was seen and heard perched on the tip of a dying Acacia tree in Grove Road at Havant and dispite being chased off by Magpies it remained in the areafor at least a couple of days. On May 22 another was heard in an orchard beside Cot Lane at Chidham, just east of Thorney Island though there is no report of it staying there.

Nightjar: These seem to have turned up at most of their regular sites and some have been heard churring but this probably hides a serious problem likely to greatly reduce their breeding success. John Eyre summarised the problem, which affects many species, in a Hoslist email which said .. "We did a Nightjar count on Ash Ranges (Surrey)on the evening of May 22. Numbers were way down on last year - 27 compared with 75. It was cold and there were very few flying insects so I suspect the birds are more interested in surviving than breeding! My Woodlark monitoring is showing similar results. Numbers are lower and breeding is way down. By this time in a normal year we would have found over 30 nests. This year we have found just 8. Also there seem to be far more unmated males around than normal. Some species have crashed following the extended winter, particularly the snow in March. Stonechats have taken a real hit, probably down by between 50 and 75% on the Thames Basin Heaths." This email was a response to a discussion of hirundines being seen in large numbers around a few water bodies over which there are some insects on which they can feed, but being absent from the places where they would normally be nesting by now.

Bee eaters: Sightings this week at Church Norton on Pagham Harbour, at Marchwood on Southampton Water, and Ventnor on the Isle of Wight are the latest of ten reports of the species in southern England this year and I am wondering if this and an increased number of appearances by several other 'vagrant' species is driven by bad weather during the winter and spring in their home countries (similar to our weather) causing the birds to move in the hope that the grass is greener on the other side of the Channel.

Short-toed Lark: One seen on the Lymington shore on May 19 was a brief one-off.

House Martin: See John Eyre's comments above under Nightjar. All Hirundines are here in good numbers but are only just able to find sufficient insect food to stay alive (not to achieve breeding fitness) by concentrating above the few water bodies offering a supply of hatching insects.

Grey Wagtail: A couple of reports of adults feeding newly fledged juveniles this week. Other birds having a general fledging of young this week are House Sparrows and Starlings.

Bluethroat: A red-Spotted Bluethroat was at Dungeness on May 17. On April 1 RBA reported 9 White-spotted Bluethroats concurrently in the British Isles and there may have been as many again since then but this is the first report of a Red-spotted bird whose photo you can see in the May 17 entry at http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/lateframe.html. Wikipedia tells us that the White-Spotted birds breed in southern Europe while the Red-spotted nest in northern Eurasia (and that there is a 'No Spotted' form in Turkey - for these details see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluethroat

Spotted Flycatcher: There has been a mini-influx in the past two weeks bringing more than 16 to Portland on May 19 and at least 5 to the north Hayling horse paddocks between Stoke and Northney villages on May 17. On May 22 one was seen to fall into the sea just yards before reaching land at Selsey Bill - one of the birders which saw this waded into the sea and picked up the bird but it died in his hands - see a photo of the dead bird at http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-D1wWni4Ven8/UZ1C0bgVj9I/AAAAAAAACWU/0pypuEz2GjE/s400/015.JPG

Golden Oriole: Two more sightings this week both on May 22, one in east Sussex amd the other at Sandy Point on Hayling Island, are among at least 16 birds seen in southern England this spring. The 16 include one picked up dead from the sea off Cornwall by a fishing boat.

Red-backed Shrike: One at Portland on May 22 was only the second that I know of in southern england this year but on May 15 RBA reported a 'northern total' of 11 birds (maybe in the northern isles?

Woodchat Shrike: One was within a short distance of the Christchurch Harbour recording area on May 22 and 23.

Jay: The number of apparently migrant Jays continues to puzzle - this week there have been sightings of up to 16+ flying over coastal sites including Dungeness, Portland, Selsey, Durlston and Calshot and the Selsey blog (http://selseybirder.blogspot.co.uk/) records 5 passing over on May 13, 17 over on May 17, 16 over on May 21 and 4 over on May 23 with another 4 on May 25 and possibly a few more on May 26 - all reports are of birds heading north west over the coast. This sage was first noticed on May 1 with 2 birds at Dungeness and 36 at Calshot which seems to be the epicentre of the puzzle.

Corn Bunting: Single apparent migrants at Portland on May 18 and 20 and a flock of 68 in the Martin Down area on May 2

Escapees: A Northern Bobwhite Quail was at Christchurch Harbour on May 22 reminding me that I have seen no reports of genuine migrants yet this year - last year they were in the Netherlands by Apr 29 and in Cornwall on May 11.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

See latest news at head of this summary for this week's newly emerged species and use the link to last week's summary to see earlier species

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper:

Grizzled Skipper:

Wood White: First were seen on May 7 and this week 7 were seen at Botany Bay nr Chiddingfoln on May 22

Brimstone:

Large White:

Small White:

Green Veined White:

Orange Tip:

Green Hairstreak:

Small Copper:

Small Blue: First seen on the Sussex Downs (Springhead Hill) on May 18

Brown Argus: First were reported somewhere in Hampshire on May 23

Common Blue: First reported on May 6 but no more seen until May 17 with further sightings on May 18 in Paulsgrove Chalkpit and May 19 at Stockbridge Down

Adonis Blue: First and only report from Mill Hill at Shoreham on May 23

Holly Blue:

Duke of Burgundy: Now widespread and seems to be flourishing(?)

Painted Lady: A single report from Northney on Hayling Island on May 18. This is the 13th report for the year but none since Apr 28 until this week

Small Tortoiseshell:

Peacock:

Comma:

Pearl Bordered Fritillary: After an isolated report from the Isle of Wight on Apr 20 there have been regular sightings since May 2 with a peak count of 45 in Rewell Wood near Arundel on May 16

Speckled Wood:

Wall Brown: First seen on the Isle of Wight on May 10 and now also reported from Kent, Sussex, and Dorset but not Hampshire.

Small Heath: After isolated reports on May 2 and 10 this has become widespread since May 16

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

See latest news at head of this summary for a partial list of new species 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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

This section omitted for lack of time on Sunday.

Other Insects

Scorpion Fly: First was seen on Hayshott Down near Midhurst on May 17 with the second that I know of being see at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on May 23.

St Marks Fly: These were first seen at Durlston on May 11 but only became prominent in the Portsmouth area on May 18

Neoascia podagrica: This is one of the smallest and commonest hoverfly species which was noticed by Bob Chapman at Farlington Marshes on May 18. For photos and info see http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/neoascia-podagrica.

Nicrophorus humator Burying Beetle: Reported near Henfield in Sussex on May 2

Cockchafer: First reported at the Blashford Lakes on May 8 but surprisingly not reported again until May 20 when one was found in Emsworth - usually there are many reports of them around moth traps but perhaps the evenings have been too cool to supply the power to lift their heavy bodies - the one found in Emsworth was struggling to move around in wet grass.

Divers: Wasp Beetle just one mention of them by Bob Chapman on May 21 when they were found emerging from old fence posts being uprooted and replaced at Farlington Marshes

Bloody Nosed Beetles: Many seen on the Durlston downland on May 21.

Field Cricket: On the evening of May 22 Neil Hulme attended an evening visit to the Sussex site where these rare insects were given a safe home last year and you can see a couple of photos he took at http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/images/FieldCricket1Chiddingfold220513NH.jpg and http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/images/FieldCricket2Chiddingfold220513NH.jpg. You can also read about the arrival of the insects at this site (near Chiddingfold) at http://markcolvin.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/cricket-season_25.html

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Adder's Tongue Fern: On May 21 Bob Chapman found more than usual in the field where it is regularly found just south of the A27 and also found three clumps in a field north of the road where it has not been seen before.

Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis cambrica): The first garden escape flowers (bright yellow) were out by the Hayling Billy trail in Havant on May 22.

Greater Celandine: I amy have been mistaken in thinking that these had started to flower in Emsworth on Apr 28 but they were in full flower near Lumley Mill on Apr 23 after I had seen them by the Hayling Billy Trail ib Langstone on May 22.

Common Ramping Fumitory: I found this flowering in sand among Gorse Bushes on Hayling's Sinah Common on May 22.

Sea Radish: This was first seen flowering on May 18, also on south Hayling.

Eastern Rocket: Also seen on south Hayling o May 18 but I failed to spot any when I wa these on May 22.

Bastard Cabbage: The many plants which have recenlty taken over the seawall of the Saltmarsh Lane wetland on Hayling Island were in flower on May 22 though they had not yet set any of their distinctive 'chianti bottle' seeds.

Sea Kale: First report of flowering from Rye Harbour on May 19 and out at both the Oysterbeds and Gunner Point on Hayling by May 22.

Pale Flax: Just one flower seen by the Hayling Coastal Path on May 22 shortly beofre it was reported at Durlston.

White Campion: First flowers seen on Haylng on May 22 where the pale pink hybrid between Red and White was seen at the North Common site that same day.

Lesser Stitchwort: First flowers out on Hayling on May 22

Sea Sandwort: First flowers seen on Hayling on May 18

Tree Mallow: First flowers seen in shingle on the Hayling Eastoke promenade on May 22 and also in Emsworth on the same day.

Large-flowered Pink Sorrel: This common garden escape was out on Hayling on May 22

Broom: One bush in flower at Langstone on May 22.

Tree Lupin: Starting to flower at Gunner Point on Hayling on May 22.

White Clover: First flowers seen in Emsworth on May 23.

Lesser Trefoil: First noticed on Hayling on May 22.

Subterranean Clover: First seen on Hayling on May 18.

Hairy Tare: Seen in grass beside the Haylng Coastal Path on May 22.

Horseshoe Vetch: Reported flowering on Hayshott Down in Sussex on May 17.

Kidney Vetch: Flowering at Durlston on May 20

Bramble: First flowers (of the white Stone Bramble type) seen on Hayling on May 22.

Silverweed: One flower out at Hayling North Common on May 22.

Wood Avens: First flowers seen on Hayling on May 22.

Biting Stonecrop: First open flowers on the Church Hall wall in Havant on May 21.

English Stonecrop: First flowers out at Sinah Common on Hayling on May 22

Mind-your-own-business (Soleirolea soleirolii): I had never thought of this as a species worth recording until I saw it mentioned as a new addition to the Durlston site list on May 18 and discovered that it is actuall a fourth member of the Nettle family along with Small Nettle, Pellitory of the Wall and Common Nettle. I have yet to spot the tiny flower which like those of Parsley Piert hide in the leaf axils.

White Bryony: One plant, climbing one of the Tamarisks on the Hayling sand dunes, was in flower on May 22.

Bur Chervil: Flowers first seen on the sandy soil of Sinah Common on May 18.

Hmlock Water Dropwort: Just starting to flower on Hayling on May 22.

Yellow Rattle: A mass of this in flower on the Gunner Point shore of Hayling on May 22.

Common Comfry: Flowering started on May 18.

Russian Comfrey: Flowering at North Common on Hayling on May 22.

Buckshorn Plantain: First flowers noticed on May 22.

Red Valerian: This has been flowering for some time but on May 22 I noticed the first white flowered plants at the southern end of Langstone Bridge where there is an established colony.

Three Cornered Leek: I noticed a mass flowering of this garden escape beside the Hayling Coastal Path on May 22.

Yellow Flag: Just one report of flowering at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on May 18 with no others since. On May 22 I looked for the less common Turkish Iris flowers in an estblished colony on Hayling's North Common but there was no sign of flowers among the leaves almost two weeks after the normal date.

Burnt Tip Orchid: See the latest news at the head of this summary for a link to photos of this already flowering in the Seaford area of Sussex.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Natterjack Toad: For a recording of the very loud calls of these creatures go to http://chog.org.uk/Features/Natterjack.htm

Weasel: A daytime sighting of one at Portland on May 15 suggests that they are now feeding young and will be out hunting round the clock.

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for May 13 - 19 (Week 20 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Only two reports of Red-throated this week with a total count of 3 birds and only four reports of Black-throated (5 birds) but ten reports of Great Northern totalling 84 birds, mainly in Devon and Cornwall but including a report of 4 on the sea at Selsey Bill on May 11. In Arctice Norway 147 White-billed were at Slettnes on May 16 and 5 were off Aberdeenshire on May 12

Greebes: One Red-necked was still off Cap Gris-nez on May 12. No Slavonian or Black-necked were seen during the week.

Storm Petrel: Seven reports during the week with a max count of 7 off Berry Head in Devon on May 14. On May 13 RBA reported 11 Leach's Petrels scattered along the west coast.

Cattle Egret: Two seen this week - one in the Kent Stour valley on May 10 and one in Anglesey on May 15.

Brent Geese: Two Dark-bellied were heading east off Selsey on May 11 and 8 Pale-bellied were in Weymouth Bay that same day.

Mandarin Duck: During the past winter I became more aware of the number of these that can now be found in Devon where a loose flock of 90 or 100 were based around the River Dart where it emerges from the south east of Dartmoor near Buckfastleigh to flow down past Totnes to the sea at Dartmouth. One factor bringing them here was that local people regularly put down grain, intended to feed Muscovy Ducks, in a sheltered area under the bridge carrying the A38 road over the River Dart. Another attraction was that there was thick woodland a short distance upstream offering many tree nesting opportunities where the birds are currently laying their eggs (normally a batch of around ten). I learnt this from the BBC Radio 4 Living World programme broadcast early on Sunday morning but heard by me via the Radio I-Player at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01shst7 which also told me that there are an estimated 4,000 pairs of these birds in Britain out of a total estimated world population of around 30,000 pairs and that the species is now officially on the British List of birds. Unlike many introduced species they do not come into serious conflict with our native species nor cause other problems for the British environment - the only problems mentioned during the programme were that they will occupy large tree nest boxes intended for owls and occasionally compete for natural nest holes with Goosanders.

Eider: A possibly deranged male was seen on the Cams Hall Golf Course on May 13 chasing Mallards across the Fairway. This is thought to be the same bird that was seen displaying to Mallards at Petersfield Heath Pond on Apr 19.

Long Tailed Duck: Cornwall Birding reports sightings of a first summer male of the species at the Stithians reservoir on May 15, 16 and 18. By mid-May the strict title of winter visitor only is already wearing thin and a review of "The Historical Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1875 - 1900 includes numerous unsubstantiated claims that breeding has occurred in many years, even as recently as 1969. Although officially this species does not breed anywhere south of the Arctic Circle the possibility cannot be ruled out, especially in the weather conditions of this spring.

Red-Breasted Merganser: On May 16 Bob Chapman saw a male still present in Langstone Harbour where it will probably remain through the summer.

Common Scoter: On May 16 the number said to be present at a Netherlands site reached 51,930.

Montagu's Harrier: Late news is of a male in the Scillies on May 5 and 6 while more recently a first summer bird has been in the Kent Stour Valley on May 13,16 and 17..

Kestrel: At Durlston on May 17 a male Kestrel was seen to bring a large mouse or small rat to the nesting female which I think she eventually enjoyed but not before fighting off a large and noisy gang of Jackdaws and a Raven which also wanted the meat for itself.

Dotterel: These are still passing through lowland Britain and on May 14 RBA reported a total of 19 in the UK.

Lapwing: The first chick was seen at Farlington Marshes on May 1

Pectoral Sandpiper: One was at Dungeness on May 11,12 and 13 while on May 14 three were present in Cambridgeshire.

Spotted Redshank: One at Christchurch Harbour on May 13 seems to be the last present in southern England.

Pomarine Skua: Although 8 were seen at Dungeness on May 11 and another 8 went past Portland on May 12 the number passing through the Channel was negligible compared to the number taking the west coast route around Britain - this peaked at 724 on May 13 when some 494 Long-tailed Skuas also passed through the western Isles with only one being seen on the Dorset coast.

Little Tern: On May 16 Chris Cockburn took a boat trip round Langstone Harbour and tells us that around 80 Little Terns were in the harbour, many of them roosting, if not yet nesting, on the shingle recently added to South Binness and Baker's Island while there were even seven Little Terns on the 'strip island' in the north west section of the Oyster beds which has also had shingle (with dummy Terns placed on it) to encourage Little Terns to nest there now that Black-headed Gulls have taken all the available space on the islands in the lagoon - Chris also tells us that the first Black-Headed Gull chick has now hatched. This week also brought a significant increase in the number of Little Terns at Christchurch Harbour with 45 there on May 14.

Guillemot: On May 16 there were still just under 1000 Guillemots present on the cliffs at Berry Head in south Devon and no eggs could be seen two weeks after they usually appear. It seems that the combination of bad weather and the pollution which has killed many birds is having a significant effect on their breeding but one tiny bit of good news is that the presence of 2 Razorbills at Berry Head may signal the first breeding there by that species for more than 18 years.

Bee Eater: These seem to be becoming regular summer visitors to Britain and I have now seen reports of seven separate groups arriving this year. What's more, while the first four were of just one or two birds numbers are now increasing - on May 8 there were 8 in Norfolk, on May 12 Essex had 9 and on May 14 a party of 10 came in at Folkestone. More recently one has been seen in the churchyard at Church Norton in Pagham Harbour on May 18

Black Redstart: The male which has been singing continuously in Portsmouth Dockyard since Apr 30 was still at it on May 14.

Savi's Warbler: One at Minsmere on May 12 seems to have started a busy period for the twitchers with a Great Reed Warbler in Worcestershire, a Marsh Warbler in Suffolk, two Icterine Warblers in northern Britain and several Subalpine Warblers, the most recent being on Skokholm. Other recent rarities have been a Short-toed Lark on the Lymington shore on May 19 and a Black Stork over Acres Down (near Lyndhurst) on May 1

Lesser Whitethroat: These have been in England since Apr 16 but I was still pleased to hear one from trees around the Pony stables just south of the Hayling Oysterbeds on May 15.

Bearded Tit: When Bob Chapman was at Farlington Marshes on May 15 he noticed Bearded Tits regularly flying along the reeds beside the stream and deduced that they were feeding young in the nest - this should give other visitors a good chance of seeing the parents at work.

Long-tailed Tit: The first report of young Long-tailed Tits out of the nest comes from Brook Meadow at Emsworth on May 17 and hopefully that means that other family parties will soon be on show there and elsewhere.

Red Backed Shrike: These started to appear in continental reports from May before invading Britain on May 15 when RBA reported a total of 11 in Britain to which one was added on May 17 with one in north Kent and another at Martin Down in Hampshire. Also on May 17 a Hoopoe was in Gosport and a real rarity, a Dusky Thrush, was drawing twitchers to Margate.

Jay: The great 'return passage' mystery continues - we regularly hear of flocks of continental birds arriving in the autumn but do not hear of them returning in the spring, that is until this year when a flock of 36 was seen at Calshot on Southampton Water on May 1. On May 11 52 were there and on May 14 there were still 24 there. An indication that this was not just a local phenomenon came from Thorpeness in Suffolk where 28 were seen on May 14 and looking back I see that a flock of 100 were at Gibraltar Point on the East Anglian coast on Apr 30. Latest news is of a flock of 17 flying north west over Selsey Village on May 17 after a couple of similar recent sightings there - maybe their flight direction shows they are coming from the continent and not returning?

Cirl Bunting: An RSPB scheme to encourage farmers to change their practice of sowing a new crop of wheat for the coming year in the autumn as soon as they have harvested the current crop, and to leave the stubble in the fields over winter, has proved so effective in reviving the Cirl Bunting population in Devon that it has now become the basis for re-intruducing the birds into Cornwall and I see that on May 12 one of the Buntings took it on itself to explore the possibility of re-colonizing Dorset (at least it showed up at Portland Bill that day!).

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Hairy Dragonfly: On the wing since May 3 and now widespread.

Downy Emerald: First seen at Thursley in Surrey on May 11 with 8 at another site on May 16.

Broad Bodied Chaser: Out in southern counties since May 5

Four Spotted Chaser: Also out in the south since May 5

Banded Demoiselle: First seen at Bushy Park in London on May 1

Beautiful Demoiselle: First seen at Durley in Hampshire on May 13

Red Eyed Damselfly: First seen in Suffolk on May 1

Small Red Eyed Damselfly: First seen on May 16

Large Red Damsel: Now on the wing everywhere

Blue-tailed Damselfly: First seen in Hants in May 6 and now fairly widespread.

Common Blue Damselfly: First seen in Devon on May 5 and now seen in Wiltshire and Norfolk.

Azure Damselfly: Out since May 6 and now widespread

Variable Damselfly: Out since May

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skipper:

Grizzled Skipper:

Brimstone:

Large White:

Small White:

Green Veined White:

Orange Tip:

Green Hairstreak: Out since Apr 11 in Hants

Small Copper: Out since Mar 5 in Norfolk and May 1 in Kent

Small Blue: First seen at Portland on May 12 but out in Glamorgan on May 6

Common Blue: Out on May 5 in Bucks and Kent

Holly Blue: Out since May 3

Duke of Burgundy: Out since Apr 30 in Hants and May 5 in Sussex

Red Admiral: Still a few on the wing

Small Tortoiseshell: Numbers of last years brood now diminishing

Peacock: Still on the wing

Comma: Still some on the wing

Pearl Bordered Fritillary: First seen on IoW on Apr 20, in Sussex on May 2 and in Hants on May 10. Latest report is of 45 in Rewell Wood at Arundel on May 16.

Speckled Wood: Now common.

Wall Brown: First seen on IoW on May 10 then in Kent on May 12 and Dorset on May 13 - none so far in Hants.

Small Heath: First in Sussex on May 2 and in Hants on May 10.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

140 (Large Long-horn), Nematopogon swammerdamella out in Sussex on May 16

608 (Red-brindled Dwarf), Elachista rufocinerea out in Kent on May 16

1738 Common Carpet, Epirrhoe alternata out in Hampshire on May 13

1909 Speckled Yellow, Pseudopanthera macularia out in Sussex on May 16

1980 Eyed Hawk-moth, Smerinthus ocellata out in Dorset on May 19

1981 Poplar Hawk-moth, Laothoe populi out in Dorset on May 13

2060 White Ermine, Spilosoma lubricipeda out in Dorset on May 12

2164 Broad-barred White, Hecatera bicolorata out in Kent on May 13

2173 Lychnis, Hadena bicruris out in Dorset on May 12

2289 Knot Grass, Acronicta rumicis out in Kent on May 14

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

Other Insects

St Marks Fly: First seen this year at Durlston on May 11

Helophilus pendulus Hoverfly: Seen in Emsworth on May 13 after a first report from Farlingon Marshes on May 7. For photo see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/helophilus-pendulus.jpg?w=500&h=374. Two more hoverflies photographed by Bob Chapman at Farlington Marshes on May 15 are Erastalinus sepulchralis (see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/eristalinus-sepulchralis1.jpg?w=500&h=375 ) and Helophilus trivittatus which is larger than the H. pendulus shown above and can be seen at http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/helophilus-trivittatus.jpg?w=500&h=374

Bombus hypnorum (Tree Bumblebee): A queen had been seen by Brian Fellows back on Apr 21 but another mention of the species at Folkestone on May 12 gave me another chance to brush up on this species which only arrived in Britain in 2001 and has since spread rapidly across England. One site with good photos and info on Bumblebees is http://www.eakringbirds.com/eakringbirds2/insectsbumblebees.htm

Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum): Brian Fellows found a Queen of this species in Emsworth on May 15 and this reminded me that I did not know why this and several other species are called 'Carder' bees but I believe this is because comb together plant material (particularly moss) in order to build their nest (typically lining old mouse holes with the combed material which they have gathered) This is best explained and illustrated by http://newingtongreen.org.uk/image/common-carder-bee-nest. A similar explanation is given for a different species (the Wool Carder Bee) at http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=content/beginners-bees-and-wasps-anthidium-manicatum but I am not sure if the set of 'hooks' shown on the tail of the male of that species is a uniques adaption to the job of 'carding' only found in that species or (in different forms) common to all carder bees.

Violet Oil Beetle (Meloe violaceus): Last week I made a brief reference to the first appearance of an Oil Beetle on Martin Down in west Hampshire and so when the Durlston rangers diary mentioned that the first Violet Oil Beetles had appeared at Durlston on May 16 I needed to confirm that this was a different species to the Meloe proscarabaeus found at Martin on May 5 (which it was, and Wikipaedia lists 22 Meloe species which go under the generic name of Blister Beetles)

Crab Spider: This generic name covers at least 26 species found in Britain, all of them holding out their front legs in the same way that a crab holds it claws and having various other common features. This was brought up when Brian Fellows found one on a Lilac flower in Emsworth on May 13 (see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x773-crab-spider-rail-wayside-13.05.13.jpg ) This photo gives the correct specific name as Misumena vatia but, as with most spiders, the male bears little resemblance to the female, being much smaller (4mm body length compared to her 10mm) and not having the ability to change colour to suit his background.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Note: this Summary does not contain a number of significant new flowerings seen on May 18 and 19 by Ros Norton and the Havant Wildlife group on Hayling, and by Brian Fellows in Emsworth.

Small Flowered Buttercup: Reported flowering at Durlston on May 17 but you are very unlikely to find this in south east Hampshire (though it was a weed found at Catherington in 1938 but not since)

Wild Cabbage: The Durlston Rangers Diary for May 11 said .. "Along Durlston’s stretch of the coast path and on towards St Adhelms head Wild Cabbage seems to be having a great year with proud stand of this broad green leaved plant with delicate yellow flowers seen in abundance." I hope it was not growing on the part of the Coast Path that has recently fallen into the sea.

Wild Radish: This much commoner plant started to flower on May 15 in Emsworth.

Lesser Swine Cress: Also first flowering in Emsworth on May 13.

Sea Campion: First mention of this in flower comes from Durslston on May 16

Cut-leaved Cranesbill: Another first flowering in Emsworth on May 13

Hedgerow Cranesbill: The strange version of this plant which has been seen in a tiny scrap of waste ground in Havant Bus Station which has flowered almost continuously for several years, with its flowers becoming white in the last couple of years, was last seen flowering on Feb 2 but has now managed to renew its strength and open a few new flowers on May 16 - it seems to thrive on continuous blasts of diesel fumes.

Laburnum: Trees in Havant started to flower on May 14.

Black Medick: First seen flowering at Hayling North Common on May 15.

Birds Foot Trefoil: Newly flowering in Emsworth on May 13.

Kidney Vetch: First flowers at Durlston on May 17.

Portland Spurge: Out at Durlston on May 16 - Sea Spurge is also probably flowering at Sandy Point on Hayling Island

Hogweed: First flowers since February seen at Durlston on May 12.

Scarlet Pimpernel: Reported flowering at Durlston on Apr 8 but no Havant area finds until May 13 when Brian Fellows found it in Emsworth.

Early Gentian: Flowering at Durlston on May 17 but not seen yet on Portsdown.

Duke of Argyll's Tea Plant: Flowering in Havant Cemetery on May 16.

Wood Speedwell: Flowering on the Isle of Wight on May 10.

Elder: First flowers opening at Warblington Cemetery on May 16.

Wayfaring Tree: First flowers reported at Durlston n May 17.

Ox-eye Daisy: First few flowers open at Hayling on May 15

Scented Mayweed: Newly flowering in Emsworth on May 13

Goat's Beard: Another first flowering in Emsworth on May 15

Beaked Hawksbeard: Also first flowering in Emsworth on May 13.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Roe Deer: The Durlston Ranger's diary for May 16 says that a pair of Roe were seen mating which conflicts with the accepted account of their life cycle in which the 'rut' is said to occur between mid-July and mid-August (see http://www.bds.org.uk/roe.html and various other authoritative websites). One aspect of Roe behaviour which we can all see has changed in recent years is that where in the past Roe would only be seen in ones or twos (at most one family) it is now common to find them, at least during the winter, in small herds of a dozen or even twenty, a change that has been forced upon them by an increasing population and a decreasing availability of habitat, but I would not expect them to change their breeding behaviour and I am wondering if this could have been a case of mistaken identity as Muntjac are known to mate at any time of year and during the mating process their unique 'hunched' body shape might not be so obvious and the 10 to 20 cm difference in height at the shoulder could equally be misjudged.

Muntjac Deer: These are not often seen by people who are not purposefully looking for them but a sighting of one at Noar Hill near Petersfield on May 13 was made by a butterfly hunter only ten days after one had been seen by another butterfly hunter in Ampfield Woods near Romsey, and these reports may increase the liklihood that the deer seen mating at Durlston were also Muntjac.

Brown Hare: On Apr 2 I was delighted to hear that 20 Hares (two of the 'boxing') had been seen on Great Litchfield Down near the A34 in north Hampshire, making me wonder if we could expect to see them again in places like Thorney Island and Farlington Marshes as we did 30 years ago but the fact that no one has mentioned the species in the wildlife reports which I see on the internet until May 12, when half a dozen were out on the marshes around East Guldeforde (near Rye), makes it unlikely that there has been any great revival in their numbers.

Slow Worm: A couple of sunny days in the past week has brought a couple of these out to sunbathe

Sussex rockpooling: On May 8 Graeme Lyons joined a group exploring the rockpools on the Saltdean shore near Brighton (see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/taking-things-littorally.html) and his finds included the fish called a Shanny which you can see and read about at http://www.wemburymarinecentre.org/viewspecies.php?id=2 (note - never pick them up with your bare hands - their teeth are designed to munch barnacles and when frightened they will bite you). I don't think this site describes one use of the Corkwing Wrasse which is sold to aquarium keepers in order to eat Salmon Louse that have infested other fish in a tank. Graeme also found some polychaete worms called Sand Masons (Lanice conchilega) which can grow to 30 cm long - no relation to Emsworth's specialty found in the Slipper Mill Pond and called Ficopomatus enigmaticus (to which I have given the English name of Emsworth Tube Worm though that is only one of many sites around Britain and worldwide where it can be found) Apparently the Emwsworth colony suffered a dramatic decline in 1986 - nevertheless if, having heard of the species, you want to see what it looks like go to http://www.exoticsguide.org/ficopomatus_enigmaticus and scroll down through a variety of pictures. Another site (http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-1700 ) which mentions the Emsworth population, points out that unlike some invasive species which do no good to anyone except themselves, this one counterbalances its nuisance value in fouling the hulls of ships and buoys with the benefit of providing a water filtration and purification service (and also has a tendency to auto-destruct where it becomes too successful, saving the need for a cull)

St George's Mushroom: One of the few toadstool type fungi to be found at this time of year is called St George's Mushroom to recognize that it appears around April 23rd which is St George's Day. It is easy to identify in that it looks like a large, white capped, Field Mushroom from 5 to 15cm across the cap but instead of having crown gills they are white. I have found iit twice this week, first in roadside grass beside the Petersfield Road in Havant and secondly in Warblington Cemetery.

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for May 6 - 12 (Week 19 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: At the start of this week I thought we were seeing the last of the Divers that have been wintering in the English Channel and this impression was borne out when I found that the only report of Red Throated to exceed a single digit count came from Slettnes in northern Norway where 184 were seen on May 7 but a closer look shows that our coastal sites are currently reporting more than they did in the winter - e.g. 9 Red Throated off Lymington on May 5 annd 8 off Selsey that day. That tendency is even more marked with Black Throated of which Beachy Head saw 6 heading east on May 5 (when Cap Gris Nez reported 51) and even more so with Great Northern of which 20 were off Otterton in south Devon on May 6 (with 10 of them seen at Selsey). Even more unexpected was the sighting of a single White Billed off Cap Gris Nez on May 5 (though a count of 113 of them at Slettnes was more fitting for the date of May 7)

Grebes: One Red-necked was off Cap Gris Nez on May 5 and a single Black-necked was still at Rye Harbour on May 11 (has it got a mate?) but there were no reports of Slavonian during the week

Storm Petrel: When I saw that two had been seen off Prawle Point in south Devon I though this marked the start of their appearance in British waters for the year but I see that one was picked up (alive) in a Swanage garden on Jan 22 and that three had been seen from a fishing boat off south Devon on Apr 26

Leach's Petrel: A report of one at Burnham on Crouch in Somerset on May 10 was also second, not first, for the year after one was at a lake in Bedfordshire on Feb 8.

Bittern: At least two sites still have them - one was at Rye Harbour on May 7 and two were booming in the Kent Stour valley on May 10.

Squacco Heron: Seemingly a genuine first for the year was at Lanreath in Cornwall on May 8.

Cattle Egret: One was reported flying over Sandwich Bay on May 5 and was presumably seen well but a later report from Henfield on May 7 reminded me of the time when Little Egret was newcomer to England and I was watching one through a telescope when a passer by asked what I was looking at - my reply of 'Little Egret' was greeted with scorn by this gentleman of a military disposition who said it was definitely a Great White Egret of which he had seen many when serving in India... The Henfield report read .. "I was approaching the A283/A2037 roundabout at 9.00 am today when a white bird was flying parallel to the road and to my left. Were it not for the rain and poor conditions I might have considered a Barn Owl. A few weeks ago when we were in the Algarve I mentioned to my wife how similar Barn Owl and Cattle Egret seem to be in flight. That is to say both birds white/whitish, broad wings for fairly short bodies and last but not least a wingbeat frequency that must be very similar (within 10-15% of each other). Anyway, at a point when I could reasonably look at the bird without bumping into the car in front of me it was clearly a Cattle Egret. It was only 30 or so yards away and ID was 100% certain." .. To me the statement of 100% confidence is always a reason for asking for more evidence.

Mute Swan: The Langstone Pond pair seem once again to have been the first to hatch their young on May 5 but sadly this year they only produced 3 cygnets rather than their usual brood of six or more. You can seen Peter Raby's photo of them at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x779-mute-swan-cygnets-lmp-05.05.13.jpg and you can read Peter's account of their first appearance by going to http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm and using CTRL + F to search for 'Cygnets on Langstone Mill Pond' where you will find that I was wrong in my assumption (expressed in my Diary entry for May 6) that the male had not been present at the hatching to defend the cygnets against predators. In fact his being out in the harbour when I first saw the family on May 6 may have been an attempt to get his family to leave the pond (as they have done in previous years) for the greater safety of the harbour waters - family can usually be found at the mouth of the Langbrook stream where they are less eay prey for Foxes than they would be if they remained on the pond.

Greylag Goose: These are uncommon in south east Hampshire but over in north Kent five pairs were seen with a total of 25 goslings at the Oare Marshes on May 8.

Canada Goose: On May 5 a pair on Baffins Pond in Portsmouth had six goslings on show. (The first family I know of was one of 4 goslings at the Bembridge Marshes on the IoW on May 1)

Brent Goose: The latest apparent Dark-bellied migrants were a group of 8 flying east past Stokes Bay near Gosport on May 8 (when 16 flew east past Beachy Head) but I am not certain of the intentions of the group of 5 that were at the mouth of Southampton Water on May 11

Egyptian Goose: A pair at Fleet Pond in north Hampshire had 2 goslings with them on May 5.

Gadwall: On May 4 Brian Fellows passed on news that a pair had been seen flying south from the 'Ibis field' of Warblington Farm which might sound puzzling until you look at my map of the farm and see that they almost certainly came from the cress bed pond which is north of the Ibis Field (which I know as 'Field L') - see http://ralph-hollins.net/warblington.htm.

Velvet Scoter: On May 7 a flock of 15 flew past Splash Point at Seaford and on May 8 9 went past Dungeness (where 28 had been seen on May 3) making it seem that more of these birds were leaving than had been seen on our south coast in the whole winter. Totals across the channel were even higher with 127 at one Netherlands site on May 5.

Honey Buzzard: Since the first of the season was seen in Dorset on Apr 30 I have seen news of one over Folkestone on May 3 and one over Durlston on May 6. Over the Channel there have been four reports with numbers given as 2,2,8,and 13 - the last being from Belgium on May 9

Montagu's Harrier: On May 8 the RBA service gave a UK total of 3 birds already here

Osprey: Still no news from the artificial nests on the Thornham Marshes (Thorney Island) but on May 10 the SOS website carried a link to the Rutland Water Osprey site (a female Osprey which had been at Arlington reservoir last summer has recently been trying to muscle in on the nest of an established pair at Rutland) If you want to get the low down on this scandal or want general news of Ospreys go to http://www.ospreys.org.uk/a-first-time-visitor/.

Peregrine: Mobile phone users in the vicinity of Southampton University have been unable to get a signal for some three weeks because the phone mast that covers the area, and which needs repair, is on the roof of a University Building on which a pair of Peregrines are thought to be nesting and so the engineers are prevented from getting to the mast for fear of being arrested for disturbing the nest of a protected bird species. This story has now reached the national TV News and is "troubling the nation's conscience". To divert attention from this problem an alternative good news story is being 'talked up' - it seems that another pair of Peregrines, this this time based in Winchester, have become the first pair to successfully hatch young in a nest box provided for them on the roof of the Hampshire Police HQ. I'm not yet certain which party we are supposed to applaud for this success - the Peregrines for 'doing what comes naturally', the Hampshire Ornithological Society for providing the box and the publicity, or the Police for giving their permission for the box to be put up on their property - on reflection the plaudits should go to all those members of the human race who have recognized the importance of allowing the natural world to co-exist with our human world and have been prepared to co-operate to that end.

Spotted Crake: On May 9 RBA reported the first for the year had been seen "in the west Midlands"

Comon Crane: Another wanderer seen in the Pevensey Levels on May 4.

Black-winged Stilt: And another surprise was one of these in Lincolnshire on May

Stone Curlew: One by the River Frome in Dorset on May 8 was a fairly late surprise.

Dotterel: RBA gave a total of 40 in the UK on May 7 and 25 on May

Little Stint: On May 5 there were singles at Lymington and Rye Harbour but on May 10 there were two at Rye Harbour.

Temminks Stint: One at Oare Marshes in north Kent on May 8.

Curlew Sandpiper: One at Christchurch Harbour on May 7 was in partial summer plumage

Purple Sandpiper: Still 5 at Southsea Castle on May 7.

Bar-tailed Godwit: Dungeness reported 445 passing on May 6 and 365 going by on May 7.

Spotted Redshank: Still a summer plumage bird at Farlington Marshes on May 7.

Wood Sandpiper: 2 at the Oare Marshes on May 7 and 1 in Devon on May 8 when there was a total of 34 in the Netherlands.

Terek Sandpiper: First of the year in the Netherlands on May 7.

Spotted Sandpiper: One appeared at Wadebridge in Cornwall on May 10.

Pomarine Skua: Selsey had one on May 5 and two on May 9 but 378 went by the west coast route on May 10 (peak count for the Channel route was 11 at Dungeness on May 7).

Arctic Skua: Highest count was 59 passing Dungeness on May 5.

Long-tailed Skua: None seen in the Channel so far this year but a count of 30 taking the west coast rout north on May 10 is worth a mention.

Great Skua (Bonxie): Highest counts this week were of 21 off Dungeness on May 4 and another 21 off Portland on May 9.

Bonaparte's Gull: One has been around the Exe estuary in Devon from May 3 to 11.

Roseate Tern: First of the year was seen on May 5, maybe just one bird but it was reported at six places from Devon to Dungeness (as two were seen passing Beachy Head it was not just one!). By May 11 more than 8 were being seen around the Exe estuary.

Common Tern: A big surge of these through the Channel on May 5 with counts of 2000 at Selsey, 2270 at Beachy Head and 12,500 'Commics' at Dungeness. On May 7 there were 20 over Ivy Lake at Chichester, two of them displaying.

Black Tern: 16 reports between May 5 and 8 starting with a count of 101 at Cap Gris Nez on May 5 but 10 at Dungeness that day was the highest count on this side of the Channel. By May 8 one had strayed from the coast to be seen at the Blashford Lakes.

White-winged Black Tern: May 7 brought a party of at least 11 of these through the Channel but all on the southern side.

Guillemot: Back on Apr 30 there were 1019 on the cliffs at Berry Head in Devon (with the comment that the expected number for that date was 1250) and by May 11 only 957 could be seen there. News of the colony at Durlston is also bad - only 286 birds were on the cliffs on May 1 and no eggs were laid until May 8 (two weeks behind normal schedule) and now Ravens are stealing the eggs as soon as they are left exposed. The one piece of good news to come out of this is that the Durlston Rangers daily dairy (which appeared to have vanished from cyber space and been replaced with a page featuring a modern art exhibition of lumps of wood plus a froth or Twitter) has re-appeared and can be read at http://www.durlston.co.uk/index.php?nid=119&id=156)

Black Guillemot: May 8 brought an unexpected sighting of one at Pentire in Cornwall.

Turtle Dove: Until this week I was beginning to think the Martin Down was the only place in Hampshire where these might still be found (two were heard there on Apr 21 and one was seen on May 1) but on May 6 one was found on Chalton Down (north of Rowlands Castle) and on May 8 one was in the Stokes Bay area near Gosport (probably just passing through)

Tawny Owl: At this time of year young Tawny Owls regularly indulge in the dangerous sport of 'Branching' which involves in trying to explore the world long before they can fly - as they scramble out along the branches of the tree holding their nest they often fall to the ground where they are at the mercy of Foxes, Dogs and other predators. On May 5 one fell from a tree near Lewes and was only just put back into Ivy on the tree trunk before dogs appeared on the scene. Hopefully the parent owls were nearby but they are unable to lift their young from the ground - they can however pose for photographs such as one taken at Beachy Head and on show at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-40ZsKAOSpb8/UYj9k672qMI/AAAAAAAAx6A/T5kCKKlezAA/s400/Tawny+Owls.jpg.

Short-eared Owl: Some of these are still moving north and one, presumably resting after crossing the Channel, was at Farlington Marshes on May 5.

Nightjar: These are not often seen in gardens but on May 6 four were seen in a New Forest garden near Bransgore with the remark that they were .. "Regular visitors albeit slightly earlier than last year. Usually appear nightly for week or so."

Swift: Plenty of these appear to have arrived in England but they are only being seen at the coast on arrival or at places where there is a supply of insect food such as sewage farms or ponds. The biggest count this week was of around 500 over the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood on May 11 when Petersfield Heath Lake had around 100. So far I have only seen one report of them checking out houses in which to nest and that was of just five birds seen on May 7 at Beach Road in Selsey

Bee Eater: On May 8 RBA reported a party of 8 in Norfolk.

House Martin: As with the Swifts there seem to be plenty in England but they are only being seen where insect food is available. The last four reports I have seen were of around 400 over Slapton Ley on the south Devon coast on May 8 when another 100 were over the Eastleigh sewage farm in Hampshire, then 350 over Weir Wood reservoir in east Sussex on May 10 and some 300 over the Blashford Lakes on May 11. The only place where I have heard that three or four pairs were taking nest material into artificial nest boxes on May 7 is a house by the Hermitage Stream running through Leigh Park at Havant. I still do not have House Martin on my personal year list.

Dipper: On May 8 a pair at Truro in Cornwall already had one fledgling out ot the nest.

Spotted Flycatcher: A total of just 18 bird seems to have reached southern England to date. All reports bar one were of single birds, the exception being three at Christchurch Harbour on May 11.

Red-breasted Flycatcher: One in Shetland on May 8.

Collared Flycatcher: One in Northumberland on May 8 and one in Shetland on May 10.

Marsh Tit: A three hour search of the area around Faccombe village (north of Andover) on May 5 discover four Marsh Tits but not a single Willow Tit despite use of a tape recording of Willow Tit song. As this was the only site where Willow Tit could be found in Hampshire last year the prospects of finding any left in the county this year are small.

Golden Oriole: The twelth to be seen in England this spring was a female by the banks of the River Adur not far north of Shoreham on May 10.

Red Backed Shrike: Just two reports so far this spring - three birds in the Netherlands on May 7 and 1 in Belgium on May 8.

Woodchat Shrike: These have been in Cornwall and the Scillies since Apr 20 and this week singles have been seen at Newlyn, Coverack and The Lizard (all in Cornwall).

Jay: These continue to demonstrate an unusual spring return to Europe from southern Britain - this week the focus was on Calshot on Southampton Water where 76 were seen on May 5 and 34 on May 6.

Corn Bunting: An estimated 30 birds were seen near Cissbury Ring on the Sussex Downs on May 5.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Southern Hawker: No sightings of a live insect but an empty larval skin is reported to have been found on May 7

Hairy Dragonfly: Now flying in Norfolk, Kent and East Sussex since May 3

Broad Bodied Chaser: Seen since May 5 in Hampshire.

Four Spotted Chaser: First in Dorset on May 5.

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa): Out in Devon on May 5.

Common Blue Damselfly: 10 seen in Devon on May

Blue Tailed Damselfly: Two in Hampshire on May 6.

Azure Damselfly: First in Sussex on May 6.

Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum): Out in Cambridgeshire on May 6.

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Dingy Skippe: First seen in Sussex on May 5.

Grizzled Skipper: Out since Apr 28 and 24 seen on Butser Hill near Petersfield on May 5.

Wood White: First of year seen near Plaistow in Sussex on May 7.

Brimstone: Plenty now around - max count of 47 at Magdalen Hill Down near Winchester on May 7.

Large White: Just four reports of singles this week.

Small White: Small numbers being widely seen.

Green Veined White: Only small numbers seen so far.

Orange Tip: Plenty of these still around.

Green Hairstreak: On May 6 there were 63 on Chantry Hill above Storrington near Pulborough.

Small Copper: The first had been seen at Folkestone on May 1 but so far only one other report of one in Devon on May 7.

Common Blue: From Hampshire on May 6.

Holly Blue: Out since Apr 19 and relatively common and widespread this week.

Duke of Burgundy: First was seen at Noar Hill on Apr 30 and now being seen at the expected sites in small numbers.

Red Admiral: A few of last summer's insects are still on the wing.

Small Tortiseshell: After a better than expected showing since they started to appear on Feb 15 these too are becoming scarcer.

Peacock: This species is still bearing up well.

Comma: Only four reports this week with a max count of just 2.

Pearl Bordered Fritillary: So far it seems that just three individuals have been seen at three sites - one was in Parkhurst Forest on the IoW on Apr 20, there were two sightings at Abbott's Wood near Eastbourne on May 2 and 6, plus one seen in Rewell Wood mear Arundel on May 9 - hopefully there will be more!

Speckled Wood: These seem to be doing fairly well at the moment.

Small Heath: Sadly no further sightings since two were seen in Sussex on May 2.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

6 (Common Oak Purple), Eriocrania subpurpurella: out in Dorset on May 4

293 (Common Slender), Caloptilia syringella: out in Kent on May 6

323 (Common Thorn Midget), Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae: out in Kent on May 6

607 (Little Dwarf), Elachista canapennella: out in Dorset on May 1

672 Parsnip Moth, Depressaria heraclei: out in Dorset on May 7

697 (Brindled Flat-body), Agonopterix arenella: out in Dorset on May 5

702 (Dusted Flat-body), Agonopterix assimilella: out in Kent on May 4

900 (Scarce Violet Cosmet), Pancalia schwarzella: "Probable only" record from Mill Hill in Sussex on May 6

1361 (Small Purple and Gold), Pyrausta aurata: out in Sussex on May 6

1643 Emperor Moth, Saturnia pavonia: out in Dorset on May 7

1660 Frosted Green, Polyploca ridens: out in Dorset on May 2

1680 Maiden's Blush, Cyclophora punctaria: out in Dorset on May 6

1724 Red Twin-spot Carpet, Xanthorhoe spadicearia: out in Dorset on May 7

1769 Spruce Carpet, Thera britannica: out in Dorset on May 2

1818 Marbled Pug, Eupithecia irriguata: out in Dorset on May 4

1819 Mottled Pug, Eupithecia exiguata: out in Kent on May 6

1832 Currant Pug, Eupithecia assimilata: out in Kent on May 9

1835 White-spotted Pug, Eupithecia tripunctaria: out in Kent on May 5

1853 Oak-tree Pug, Eupithecia dodoneata: out in Kent on May 8

1883 Yellow-barred Brindle, Acasis viretata: out in Kent on May 10

1906 Brimstone Moth, Opisthograptis luteolata: out in Kent on May 5

1936 Waved Umber, Menophra abruptaria: out in Dorset on May 4

1995 Puss Moth, Cerura vinula: out in Dorset on May 4

2003 Pebble Prominent, Notodonta ziczac: out in Dorset on May 4

2005 Great Prominent, Peridea anceps: out in Dorset on May 4

2006 Lesser Swallow Prominent, Pheosia gnoma: out in Dorset on May 1

2007 Swallow Prominent, Pheosia tremula: out in Sussex om May 6

2010 Scarce Prominent, Odontosia carmelita: out in Dorset on May 3

2063 Muslin Moth, Diaphora mendica: out in Dorset on May 3

2078 Least Black Arches, Nola confusalis: out in Dorset on May 3

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart, Agrotis puta: out in Dorset on May 3

2102 Flame Shoulder, Ochropleura plecta: ouy in Dorset on May 7

2183 Blossom Underwing, Orthosia miniosa: out in Dorset on May 4

2214 Chamomile Shark, Cucullia chamomillae: out in Kent on May 5

2221 Mullein, Shargacucullia verbasci: out in Kent on May 9

2235 Tawny Pinion, Lithophane semibrunnea: out in Dorset on May 4

2260 Dotted Chestnut, Conistra rubiginea: out in Dorset on May 6

2283 Dark Dagger, Acronicta tridens: out in Kent on May 8

2389 Pale Mottled Willow, Paradrina clavipalpis: out in Kent on May 9

2450 Spectacle, Abrostola tripartita: out in Kent on May 8

2470 Small Purple-barred, Phytometra viridaria: out in Sussex on May 6

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

This section to follow

Other Insects

Common Pond Skater: Active in a Havant garden on May 6.

Alder Fly (Sialis lutaria): First report of an adult from the Blashford Lakes on May 6

Brown Tail Moth caterpillars: On May 6 these were reported in the Henfield area of Sussex and on May 7 they were seen on Milton Common on the south west shore of Langstone Harbour

Ringed China Mark moth caterpillars: Although the moths fly in the air their caterpillars feed under water on aquatic vegetation and were among the finds during a pond dipping session at the Blashford Lakes on May 9 - see a photo of one of the caterpillars at http://blashfordlakes.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/ringed-china-mark-larva.jpg?w=500&h=375. While on this subject I was interested to learn that in Hawaii a moth has evolved that is equally at home in air or water - see http://io9.com/5498714/a-moth-that-has-evolved-to-breathe-underwater-and-in-air.

Crane Fly: An unspecified Crane Fly was seen in Brook Meadow at Emsworth on May 7.

Hoverflies: Some new species were seen this week starting with Scaeva pyrastri at Beachy Head on May 5 - for the photo see http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HhCJsvb2JB4/UYj9nOJbFGI/AAAAAAAAx6I/Dw-_LXDbVmQ/s400/Hoverfly.jpg. Also new was Helophilus pendulus seen at Farlington Marshes on May 7 - see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/helophilus-pendulus.jpg?w=500&h=374. Also seen at Farlington Marshes on May 7 was Eristalinus sepulchralis - see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/eristalinus-sepulchralis.jpg?w=500&h=375

Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum): This was reported in Sussex on May 4, at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on May 5 and I think this is the insect of which I found three feeding on Dandelions in Havant Thicket on May 9

Green Tiger Beetle: Now active in several woodlands in Hampshire and Sussex

Cockchafer: The first was reported at the Blashford Lakes on May 8

Oil Beetle: One seen on Martin Down on May 5

Raft Spider: A small young specimen was seen at the Blashford Lakes on May 10 - see photo qnd read about the find at http://blashfordlakes.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/further-car-park-closures-and-son-of-george/

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Adder's Tongue Fern: First report from Farlington Marshes on May 4 - see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/adders-tongue.jpg?w=500&h=665

Male Fern: Some had finished their initial 'unfurling' by May 6

European Larch: A tree in Havant had acquired its green leaves by May 10

Goldilocks Buttercups: Found in Pyle Lane south of Horndean on May 6 - see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0605

Garden Aquilegia: Wild plants flowering in the Paulsgrove Chalk Pit on Portsdown on May 7

Wild Cabbage: A distant possible sighting of this growing on the cliff of the Paulsgrove Chalk Pit on May 7 - for more detail see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0705

Hedge Mustard: First 'new season' flowering in Havant on May 11

Chalk Milkwort: First flowers on Portsdown on May 7

Red Casmpion: First new flowers in Havant Cemetery on May 10

Shining Cranesbill First flowers in Havant on May 11

Common Vetch: First flowers in Havant on May 11

Rowan Tree: First flowers in Havant Cemetery on May 10

Hawthorn: First flowers out in Havant on May 10

Tormentil: One single first flower in Havant Thicket on May 9

Wild Strawberry: First flowers in Pyle Lane near Horndean on Nay 6

Sycamore: Trees in flower in Havant on May 11

Horse Chestnut: At least one tree in full flowerin Havant Park on May 10

Wood Spurge: Already in flower on May 6

Sanicle: Flowering on Portsdown on May 7

Fiddle Dock: The distintively shaped leaves found in Havant Park on May 1

Common Sorrel: First flowering in Emsworth on May 7

Yellow Archangel: Fresh flowers in Horndean on May 6

Ribwort Plantain: First flowers seen on Portsdown on May 7

Crosswort: Mass flowering from May 7

Perennial Cornflower: Flowering in my garden on May 9

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fox Cubs: Proof that these have now started to emerge from their earths can be seen in a short video taken in a house and garden on Portsdown hill on or before May 5. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyGUF4Y9jyM - thanks to John Goodspeed for publicising this.

Muntjac Deer: I think these small Deer are widespread and numerous in woodland throughout southern England but they are rarely seen and while their persistent barking is audible to all most people think they are hearing dogs. To hear this sound go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Reeves's_Muntjac and click the "Sounds" button (to the right of the world map showing the distribution of the species. Thanks to Tim Graham who saw a Muntjac in the Ampfield Woods near Romsey on May 3 and mentioned it in his report of Butterflies seen there on the Hants Butterfly Conservation website.

Water Vole: Last week we passed on news of the first baby Water Vole of the year seen at Brook Meadow in Emsworth and this week the Brook Meadow website carried a photo of a Vole carrying food to its bankside tunnel, presumably to feed young not yet ready to emerge and find their own food - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x778-water-vole-carry-06.05.13.jpg

Marsh Frog: The Oare Marshes reserve near Faversham in north Kent mentioned a Marsh Frog (one of their regular residents) on May 8, not because of its 'charming'? song, but because the song was thankfully terminated when the singer was speared and swallowed by a Heron.

Nattterjack Toad: The following special offer appeared on the Christchurch Harbour website on May 4 saying .. "Bournemouth Borough Council are running Natterjack walks this evening (4th) and next (5th). Walks commence at 7:30pm from the Barn on Hengistbury at a cost of £3 per adult and £1 for children. Duration is around 4 miles and the finish time is approximately 10pm." .. Sorry for publishing this too late for you to attend but if you go to http://chog.org.uk/Sightings%20Photos/2013/May%202013/Natterjack_040513.jpg you can see the line running centrally down the back of this species to distinguish it from a small Common Toad.

Water Snails: On May 6 Bob Chapman found some snails in a pool of water and his attention was caught by the regularity with which they came to the surface, took a deep breath, and then sank back into the depths. He later identified the species as Aplexa hypnorum - to see Bob's photo click http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/water-snails.jpg?w=500&h=375 and to keep up with all his joys and sorrows (such as finding that yobs had overnight tried to destroy a tern raft that he and his volunteers had just brought to a state in which it was just ready for its 'sea trials' next day) make http://solentreserves.wordpress.com/ one of your 'Favourites'.

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Apr 29 - May 5 (Week 18 of 2013)

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BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: The maximum count of Red-throated that I saw recorded this week was just 10 passing Folkestone on May 2. The number of Black-throated seen from English soil was equally low (just 2 off Portland and Splash Point) but Cap Gris-nez recorded 53 on Apr 28 and 90 on May 3. There were still 4 Great Northern off Selsey on May 4 (after 26 off Cornwall on Apr 28) but the week's big surprise was the presence of a flock of 33 White-billed Divers in the North Sea (albeit off northern Norway)

Grebes: One Red-necked was off Falmouth on Apr 28; one Summer Plumaged Slavonian was at Selesey Bill on Apr 29 and 3 were at Camperduin (Netherlands) on Apr 30 with one Black-necked; latest news is of one Summer Plumaged Black-necked at Rye Harbour on May 4.

Night Heron: The bird at Dartington in south Devon was seen again on Apr 28 and may still be there this week.

Cattle Egret: One still in the Kent Stour Valley on May 1

Little Egret: My own tentative estimate of up to 35 nests at Langstone Mill Pond made at dusk on Apr 30 was supported by Peter Raby's daytime estimate of up to 30 nests made on May 3 (there are always more birds present at dusk when birds that were away fishing during the day return to roost and these extra birds can reveal the possibility of more nest sites by perching near to their partners whose nests can be totally hidden from view.

Purple Heron: A sighting of a bird in flight over the A37 road in Devon on Apr 28 hints at their presence in England but the only definite report this week is of one in Belgium on May 4.

Spoonbill: At least two were in Poole Harbour this week (compared to the 16 or more that were there earlier in the year)but one of these two gives good value in an unusual photo the can be seen at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tUxGCYKP5bs/UYUL3kvH3iI/AAAAAAAAAhg/3_j61ZZ3ae8/s320/DSC_9046.jpg.

Mute Swan: A pair with what Brian Fellows calls a 'litter nest' in Emsworth Mill Pond (you can look down into it from the pavement on the south side of the main A259) has attracted attention this week but two other newly revealed nest sites are at the extreme west end of the Thorney Great Deeps (close to the gate in the military fence) and at the Budds Farm Pools in Havant (see my diary entry at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#3004 which has an interesting observation the pair's behaviour which misled me as to the exact location of the nest).

Canada Goose: The inevitable annual increase in the Canada Goose population in Britain (can we get UKIP to repatriate them to Canada?) started on May 1 when a family of 4 goslings was seen on the Isle of Wight. Since then another family of six goslings has been seen at Baffins Pond in Portsmouth on May 5.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose: Just when we thought all migrants had left us two parties of 14 birds were seen heading east (passing Folkestone on May 3 and Selsey Bill on May 4)

Pale-bellied Brent Goose: Unlike the Dark-bellied birds that fly along the European coast for the majority of their passage route (and can drop off to rest and feed almost anywhere) the Pale-bellied birds have to face a much more arduous sea crossing from northern Ireland to Greenland and consequently take longer to feed up and prepare themselves, so they can usually be seen after their cousins have left. This week's news has reports of a flock of 100 or more at Exmouth on Apr 28 and of 25 at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 29 (but nothing later).

Long-tailed Duck: A report of a flock of 715 off Slettnes in northern Norway on Apr 30 was not surprising but the continued presence of one at Abbotsbury Swannery on May 3 was. Other late leavers were a Velvet Scoter off Seaton in south Devon on Apr 29 and a single Goldeneye at the Blashford Lakes in Hampshire on Apr 28

Honey Buzzard: The first news of this species in England this year came from Poole in Dorset on Apr 30 when one flew (perversely) south over the town. One going north over Folkestone on May 3 had a better sense of direction.

Black Kite: I see there have been occasional reports of these in southern England since one was in Kent on Mar 4 but the frequency of reports seems to have increased recently (along with a massive increase in reports of Red Kites everywhere - I put down the fact that I have not yet seen one from my garden to my preference for looking for wild flowers on the ground rather than raptors in the air).

Montagu's Harrier: On Apr 30 one arrived from the south at Folkestone and on May 2 there were sightings at both Folkestone and Dungeness.

Osprey: Sightings continue to pour in but there was local interest this week when the first was seen over Thorney Island on Apr 30 and May 1 and 3 (still only at the southern end, not at the Great Deeps where two man-made nests await occupants). There had been an earlier report of one over the Chidham penninsula, east of Thorney, on Apr 21 but that bird did not stop.

Red-footed Falcon: After last weeks news of one in the Scillies May 2 brought news of three all in Cambridgeshire.

Hobby: These often migrate in small flocks and this brought a group of 6 to Woolmer Pond in east Hampshire on May 1 where they stayed together, feeding on insects, at least until May 2. May 2 also brought one flying notth over Portsdown Hill.

Spotted Crake: None yet in Britain but the first of the year was in the Netherlands on May 2.

Common Crane: Two flew west over Southampton on May 3 with no news of where they came from or where they went - are they lurking in the New Forest?

Black-winged Stilt: RBA reported two at Ham Wall in Somerset on Apr 27 and they may still be there but news of 2 in the Netherlands on May 3 and 2 in Belgium on May 4 suggests that others may turn up in England.

Kentish Plover: One was seen at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on May 2 and 3.

Dotterel: By May 4 RBA was reporting a total of ten in the UK after daily reports of birds moving north.

Grey Plover: A substantial flock of at least 40 young birds can normally be found in Langstone Harbour during each summer but it is unusual to see birds in their full summer plumage until they start to return from breeding in August so I was surprised to see that Peter Raby has found up to six birds in summer plumage during his walks from Emsworth to Langstone along the Chichester Harbour shore on Apr 28 and May 4 On the May 4 walk he also saw a 'Red' Knot.

Snipe: The first news of Snipe 'drumming' to proclaim their breeding territory comes from the New Forest on Apr 30.

Wood Sandpiper: 63 of these were at Breskens in the Netherlands on May 2 and there have now been seven reports of them in the Netherlands since the first appeared on Apr 12 but we have only had two reports in southern England with one on the Lymington shore on Apr 26 and one at the Exe estuary on Apr 28.

Pomarine Skua: These have been moving east through the Channel since Apr 14, mostly in ones and twos (peak of 8 passing Dungeness on May 1). On Apr 28 I noticed the first report from the Hebrides of the birds taking the northern route - that was of 53 birds of South Uist and was followed on Apr 29 by another report of 34 birds. For those interested in the annual Pom King competition at Selsey the latest info that I have is that of the total of 50 birds reported at south coast sites since Apr 14 just five have been seen at Selsey.

Mike Shrubb: When checking on the facts about Pom Skuas I visited the Selsey Bill blog ( http://selseybirder.blogspot.co.uk/ ) and found the May 4 entry included a photo of Mike Shrubb, one time farmer of the fields around the Ferry Pool and visitor centre at Pagham Harbour, one of the co-founders of the SOS in 1962 and author of 'Birds of Sussex' published on 1996 and other books (including one on The Lapwing). He now lives in Wales and in 2012 was given a Lifetime Achhievement Award from the Welsh Ornithological Society for his contribution to birding in Wales since leaving Sussex and moving to Wales.

Med Gull: In Brian Fellows Diary entry for May 3 (see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm) he includes a status report from Chris Cockburn on the Hayling Oysterbeds site in which Chris tells us that Med Gulls have now started to nest among vegetation on the curved island lying north of the 'straight' unvegetated southern island. Chris and others refer to the curved island as being 'east' of the straight island but to my way of thinking that would place the curved island where the 'bus shelter' and earth mound can be found. My view is if you draw an east west line through the gap which separates the two islands the whole of the 'curved island' is north of the line' and the whole of the straight island is south of it. Chris also says that, although no Little Terns have yet shown signs of nesting, some have been seen resting on the shingle around 'Stoke Bay' south of the Oyster Beds.

Nightjar: At the time of last week's summary there had been just two reports of Nightjar, both in Dorset, on Apr 23 and 25. This week has brought eight more reports with birds seen and heard on heathland around Alton, Basingstoke, and in the New Forest. They have also been found near Hastings and on the Isle of Wight.

Bee Eater: Reports this week from the Isle of Wight, Shropshire and Cumbria though I think none of the birds have settled at these locations.

Hoopoe: Reports this week of one at The Lizard in Cornwall and another at Newton Ferrers near Plymouth in Devon.

Wryneck: There had been reports of this species on Apr 2 in east Devon and on Apr 22 in the Scillies and now a third report comes from Norfolk on May 2.

Red-rumped Swallow: Three more sightings this week from Lodmoor near Weymouth, Dungeness and near Berry Head in south Devon.

House Martin: Back on Apr 23 I was told that one House Martin was checking out the six nest boxes on Tony Tupper's house near the Hermitage Stream in Leigh Park here in Havant and on Apr 22 a flock of 200 were over the Testwood Lakes near Southampton but so far I have not heard of any settling down to nesting.

Waxwing: A single bird was still being seen at Angmering in West Sussex on Apr 29 when another was still in Romsey. The Romsey bird was seen again on May 1 but that does seem to have been the very last bird alive in Britain.

Nightingale: I think these have now settled down at their breeding sites and that includes up to three at the Marlpit Lane site between Emsworth and Chichester where they were heard on May 2.

Fieldfare: The last which I know of was seen at Farlington Marshes on Apr 30 after a late Redwing was in the Scillies on Apr 27.

Savi's Warbler: The first and so far only bird reported in England this year was in a garden near Poole Harbour on Apr 30.

Dartford Warbler: At least some seem to be still breeding in southern England with reports of singing at Gosport and Lymington with two further reports from the Gosport area of (a) one bird having a fight with a Whitethroat and (b) another carrying food (presumably to young in a nest) also near Gosport.

Blackcap: A couple of interesting comments concerning the arrival of our summer birds and the departure of winter visitors. Blackcaps said to have been seen daily in a Sussex garden through the winter did not leave until Apr 25, long after summer vistors had been reported from many places. A comment from Portland Bill on Apr 30 says that Blackcap had become the most ringed bird there this year, overtaking Willow Warbler.

Spotted Flycatcher: After the first arrivals at Portland on Apr 26 I have only heard of one near Basingstoke on Apr 28, one at Church Norton on Apr 28 and 29, one in the New Forest om May 4 and one in Paulsgrove Chalk Pit on Portsdown on May 5.

Golden Oriole: Mixed news this week starting with a report from a trawler off the Cornish coast which found one dead at sea on Apr 28 (not sure if it was picked out of the water or died from exhaustion after landing on the boat). Better news was of one seen by several people on the Lymington shore on both Apr 28 and 29, and another in Suffolk on May 1.

Jay: Each autumn for several year I have read of Jays arriving in this country from Europe and moving west across southern England with no reports of any returning but this year, starting from Apr 5, there have been many reports seemingly indicating a strong return passage. I first became aware of this when a flock of 22 were seen in the Test Valley north of Romsey on Apr 23, then on Apr 26 one was seen flying high east over Southampton and on May 1 a flock of 36 was at the mouth of Southampton Water (at Calshot). Elsewhere a flock of 100 were on the Lincolnshire coast on Apr 30 shortly after flocks of 110 and 87 had been seen in the Netherlands (maybe having just crossed the North Sea from England?).

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Large Red Damselfly: After the first was seen on Apr 14 these have emerged all over England.

Hairy Dragonfly: Second dragonfly species to emerge with one seen in Essex on May 3.

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Grizzled Skipper: First of year seen at Shoreham Mill Hill on Apr 27 with another seen on Butser Hill near Petersfield next day and others now reported from the Isle of Wight and the Sussex Downs

Brimstone: five more reports this week.

Large White: Six new report

Small White: Again five reports.

Green Veined White: Six reports.

Orange Tip: Seven reports.

Green Hairstreak: After an isolated early report from Titchfield Haven on Apr 11 nothing more until May 1 since when there have been sightings in Hampshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight.

Small Copper: First of the year at Folkestone on May 1 - no others so far.

Holly Blue: Plenty now out.

Duke of Burgundy: First seen at Noar Hill north of Petersfield on Apr 30 increasing to two there on May 1.

Red Admiral: Four sightings this week.

Painted Lady: Two singles, probably migrants, at Ventnor (IoW) on Apr 27 and at Folkestone on Apr 28.

Small Tortoiseshell: Five new reports including counts of six in Portsmouth and six at Shoreham.

Large Tortoiseshell: No sighting since Apr 25.

Peacock: 8 new reports including a count of 16 on Lane End Down east of Winchester on Apr 25.

Comma: Five new reports.

Pearl Bordered Fritillary: First of the year at Abbots Wood near Eastbourne on May 2.

Speckled Wood: Now becoming fairly common.

Small Heath: First two of the year at Ashcombe Bottom on the Sussex Downs near Lewes on May

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

899 (Violet Cosmet), Pancalia leuwenhoekella: out in Sussex on Apr 27

1362 (Common Purple and Gold), Pyrausta purpuralis: out in Sussex on May 2

1365 (Straw-barred Pearl), Pyrausta despicata: out in Sussex on May 2

1366 (Wavy-barred Sable), Pyrausta nigrata: out in Sussex on Apr 28

1858 The V-Pug Chloroclystis v-ata: out in Sussex on May 2

2015 Lunar Marbled Brown Drymonia ruficornis: out in Kent on Apr 30

2064 Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa: out in Sussex on May 1

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon: new influx at Portland on May 3

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma: out in Dorset on Apr 25, influx in Sussex on May 3

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

0692 (Ruddy Flat-body), Agonopterix subpropinquella found in Kent on APR 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2483

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0692.php

0899 (Violet Cosmet), Pancalia leuwenhoekella found in Sussex on APR 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6313

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0899.php

1362 (Common Purple and Gold), Pyrausta purpuralis found in Sussex on MAY 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1182

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1362.php

1365 (Straw-barred Pearl), Pyrausta despicata found in Sussex on MAY 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1356

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1365.php

1366 (Wavy-barred Sable), Pyrausta nigrata found in Sussex on APR 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3530

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1366.php

1746 Shoulder-stripe Anticlea badiata found in Dorset on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5631

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1746.php

1858 The V-Pug Chloroclystis v-ata found in Sussex on MAY 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=156

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1858.php

1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata found in Dorset on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=123

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1862.php

1917 Early Thorn Selenia dentaria found in Dorset on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3537

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1917.php

1927 Brindled Beauty Lycia hirtaria found in Dorset on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1742

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1927.php

2015 Lunar Marbled Brown Drymonia ruficornis found in Kent on APR 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2848

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2015.php

2064 Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa found in Sussex on MAY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=34

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2064.php

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon found in Dorset on MAY 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=226

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2091.php

2139 Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa found in Kent on APR 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2018

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2139.php

2182 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda found in Dorset on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=347

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2182.php

2187 Common Quaker Orthosia ceras found in Dorset on APR 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3947

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2187.php

2188 Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta Adult found in Dorset on APR 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1979

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2188.php

2189 Twin-spotted Quaker Orthosia munda Adult found in Dorset on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1940

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2189.php

2190 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica found in Dorset on APR 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2001

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2190.php

2243 Early Grey Xylocampa areola found in Dorset on APR 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6184

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2243.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found in Dorset on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1134

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

Other Insects

Vapourer Moth: Colourful home reared caterpillars hatching at Horndean near Portsmouth on May 3 - for photo see https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRDDQHN9MDIIxQqSOVpkUS72mTK7DhEKp_PN2pm9shw2wDUIgsx3w

Eristalinus aeneus hoverfly: Found at Farlington Marshes - larvae of this species live on rotting seaweed. For photo of female see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/eristalinus-aeneus-head.jpg?w=500.

Eristalinus aeneus hoverfly: For photo of male see http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/eristalinus-aeneus.jpg?w=500&h=374

Common Wasp: Seen in Emsworth area on May 1 - Not the first this year but presumably a queen seeking a nest site

Tawny Mining Bee (Andena fulva): First seen on Hayling Coastal Path on Apr 29

Red Mason Bees and Bee Hotels: See Barry Yates piece (illustrated by a photo of a Red Mason Bee) on the RX website at http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/5/4/bee-hotels.html and click the link for info about make a 'Bee Hotel'

Graeme Lyons latest finds: See the latest three entries on Graeme's blog (at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/ to learn more about beetles and heathland restoration (May 2 entry), invertebrates benefitting from river restoration at the SWT Woods Mill HQ (Apr 30). and, on Apr 27, Graeme's current 'all species list total (currently 4222 species) illustrated by a photo of a ferocious looking spider (female Amaurobius ferox) which he found in a Brighton street (Dick Jones' book tells me this species likes to be in dark corners of buildings and that these females grow to 16 cm long).

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Great Horsetail: The first Field Horsetail spike with a fertile cone had been seen in Emsworth on Apr 23 but it was not until May 1 that I found 50 cm tall spikes of Great Horsetail by the path going north from Nore Barn at Emsworth.

Adders Tongue: First found at Farlington Marses on May 4 by Bob Chapman - see his photo at http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/adders-tongue.jpg?w=500&h=665

Creeping Buttercup: First flowers of the new season seen in Havant on Apr 3

Bulbous Buttercup: First seen by Brian Fellows on Hayling Island on Apr 30. I saw my first on May 1 and realised that I had recorded them as Meadow Buttercups (which have not yet been reported) when I found some in bud before their sepals had become down-turned.

Greater Celandine: Brian Fellows found this unusual member of the Poppy family in flower at Emsworth on Apr 28.

Winter Cress: I had found the first plants of Intermediate or Early Winter Cress last week on Apr 27 and Brian Fellows found others in Emsworth on Apr 28 but was uncertain if they were the Early or the 'common' species. See his photo at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x786-wintercress-buds-bm-28.04.13.jpg. Despite the early date the broad, entire (not pinnate) upper leaves look like Common Wintercress to me

Hoary Cress: This often remains in bud for a long time but I found at least one plant at Broadmarsh on Apr 30 which had two or three tiny florets already open.

Spring Beauty: Masses in flower in the Sinah Sand Dunes area of Hayling on Apr 29.

Herb Robert: The first flower of the spring season was out at Langstone on Apr 30.

Red Clover: First spring flowers seen on Apr 29.

Spring Vetch: First flowers seen in the Hayling Sand Dunes on Apr 29. To get an idea of the size of these tiny plants see my diary entry for that day (http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#2904)

Barren Strawberry: The flowers of this were out beside the path leading north from Nore Barn in Emsworth on May 1

Common Nettle: First spring flowers seen on May 1.

Thrift: Just one first flower seen at Sinah Common on Hayling on Apr 29.

Germander Speedwell: First spring flowers found by Brian Fellows on May 2.

Bugle: First flowers seen by the Havant to Portsmouth cycleway on Apr 30.

Field Forget-me-not: These small plants were out in Havant on Apr 30.

Purple Gromwell: See my comments on a find made in Prinsted village on May 1 in my Diary entry at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0105.

Tartarian Honeysuckle: The small pink flowers of this long established bush beside the Ferry Road on south Hayling (by the exit from the 'Gun Site') were out on Apr 29.

Keel-fruited Cornsalad: Out on May 2 in both Havant and Emsworth.

Goosegrass or Cleavers:The first tiny white flowers of this very common plant were found by Brian Fellows in Emsworth on May 2.

Field Madder: Another first found by Brian Fellows on May 2.

Snake's Head Iris (Hermodactylus tuberosus): This is a common cultivated species but one that I had not previously heard of as a wild flower yet one seems to have arrived unaided at a nature reserve on Portland on Apr 30 - see http://www.ukwildflowers.com/Web_pages/hermodactylus_tuberosus_snakes_head_iris.htm

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Common Seal: 22 were hauled out on the mud of the Emsworth Channel where it passes the southern tip of Thorney Island in Chichester Harbour. This count on Apr 30 is an increase of one on what was said to be a record count of 21 made on 12 Aug 2012, and is significantly greater than the count of 10 made there on 8 May 2012 (when there were also 3 Grey Seals present giving an overal count of 13)

Water Vole: A small individual seen at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on May 3 is thought to be the first of this years young. Reminding myself of the Water Vole's life cycle. which includes the birth of up to five litters of three to seven young between April and September each year, I found all the relevant facts at http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/animal-facts/water-vole and also found a page devoted to them at Brook Meadow by going to http://www.brook-meadow.hampshire.org.uk/bm-water-voles.html

Wall Lizard: The first mention of these came on the Portland website on Apr 28 with a photo taken there that day which can be seen at http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_wall_lizard_11_280413_500.jpg If you want to see a map showing the 50 English sites at which these creatures can be found go to http://www.surrey-arg.org.uk/SARG/02000-Activities/SurveyAndMonitoring/WallLizard/PMSitePicker.asp which has all the information you might want to know about these creatures. Even if you are not interested in Wall Lizards have a look at the above website as a model of website design which I hope will be widely adopted for the presentation of verbal, photographic and cartographic data.

Slow-worm and Snail: On May 3 Brian Banks gave us an amusing item on the RX website with a photo of a White-lipped Snail resting happily on the body of a Slow-worm which was having a snooze in the sunshine, oblivious to the dinner on the outside rather than inside its body. For the photo and story see http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/5/3/snail-with-a-deathwish.html

Great Grey Slug (Limus maximus): Bob Chapman found one of these at the Swanwick Nature Reserve by the River Hamble on May 1 and you can see his photos of its topside and very distinctive underside (or foot) at http://solentreserves.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/a-great-grey-large-red-and-very-blue-day/

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 22 - 28 (Week 17 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: 37 Red-throated were off Dungeness on Apr 21 and at least one was still to be seen off Selsey Bill on Apr 27. Dungeness also reported 13 Black-throated passing on Apr 23 and Selsey Bill still had 5 Great Northern on Apr 27. Further north at least 8 and probably a lot more were seen off Aberdeenshire on Apr 21 with three off Norway on Apr 24

Grebes: A raft of 7 Great Crested were still in Southampton Water on Apr 27, one Red Necked was seen from Dungeness on Apr 20 and single Slavonian were seen in Stokes Bay (Gosport) on Apr 23 and in the Kent Stour Valley lakes on Apr 24. The only report of Black-necked this week was of 5 on Bewl Water in East Sussex on Apr 26.

Fulmar: These are now nesting on the cliffs east of Hastings

Manx Shearwater: More than 1000 were seen from Pendeen on the north coast of Cornwall Apr 26 but the only reports from the English Channel were of singles at St Catherine's Point (IoW) on Apr 27 and Portland on Apr 24.

Storm Petrel: Other than a report of one picked up alive in a Swanage garden on Jan 22 the first report for the year comes from a boat 30 miles south of the Devon Coast on Apr 26 (three of the birds were seen)

Bittern: The only report this week is of one found dead with a broken bill (cauing it to starve to death) at Rye Harbour on Apr 23. See http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/4/23/sad-end.html for close up photos of the plumage, bill and claws.

Night Heron: One was present on the River Dart in south Devon from Apr 24 to 26 at least but, true to its name, was only seen during the nights. This is he first that I know of in England this year.

Cattle Egret: One had been in the Kent Stour Valley from Apr 22 to 25 and may have been there since Feb 14 when one was last seen in Kent.

Little Egret: Last week I reported that the number night roosting at Langstone Pond here in Havant had risen to 24. This week a dusk visit to the pond on Apr 25 found a minimum of 89 birds with around a dozen nests under construction though no birds yet sitting. Reports from Titchfield Haven of daytime flocks of up to 33 Egrets suggest that they may be thinking of starting a new nesting colony which would be the sixth that I am aware of between Chichester and Titchfield.

Purple Heron: These started to return to continental nest sites from Mar 31 and this week there have been two possible sightings in the Portsmouth area. On Apr 26 an experienced birder reported seeing one flying north from Portsmouth Harbour over the naval research establishment on Portsdown Hill between Fort Southwick and Fort Nelson and on the same day, around an hour before the Portsdown sighting, there was a possible sighting of what may have been the same bird in the Langstone area.

Greylag Goose: Despite being numerous thoughout most of Britain Greylags are rare in the Porstmouth area (we have quite enough Canadas!) so the appearance of 1 in the Milton area of Portsmouth (south west shore of Langstone Harbour) on Apr 24, and the subsequent appearance of three at Farlington Marshes on Apr 27, was noteworthy.

Brent Goose: A sighting of 50 off Folkestone on Apr 24 seems to mark the end of the departure of our winter flocks visiting from Russia. Several small groups of no more than six birds are still around and will probably stay through the summer but in Dorset and Devon Pale-bellied birds heading back to Canada are still being seen (73 were in Weymouth Bay on Apr 25 and 48 were in Devon on the same day). More interesting was a report (also on Apr 25) of 50 Dark Bellied Brent flying west off Ladram Bay near Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth. This may have been a misidentification of Pale Bellied birds or there may have been a substantial recruitment of Dark Bellied birds to the population which breeds in Greenland and Canada.

Mandarin Duck: Sightings of two male birds perched on trees in Stansted Forest probably indicates that two female birds are already sitting on nests nearby - the Head Forester confirms that these duck have bred in the Forest in past years.

Golden Eagle: There have been occasional sightings in recent years of what appears to be a free ranging Golden Eagle in the East Sussex countryside north west of Hastings and on Apr 24 an observer at Laugton Common (between Hailsham and Lewes) saw what he believes to have been this bird fly past no more than 10 metres from him to disappear into trees.

Osprey: No reports yet of Ospreys taking an interest in the two man-made nests created for them in the Thornham Marshes on Thorney Island but there have been a few sightings in the general area. On Apr 21 one was seen over Cobnor Point (seemingly the first for Chichester Harbour this year) and on Apr 26 one was over Farlington Marshes were the first for Langstone Harbour had been seen on Apr 12.

Red-footed Falcon: The first two of these summer visitors returned from Africa on Apr 25. One arrived in the Scillies, the other in the Netherlands. For a super photo of the Scillies bird see http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8543/8682253941_83138717a5_z.jpg.

Corncrake: After reports of one being heard in Dorset (Crichel Lake) on Apr 14 and the 'long staying' bird at Beachy Head from Apr 15 to 18 a third bird was heard and seen at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 23.

Black Winged Stilt: On Apr 26 the RBA website reported the presence of two Black-winged Stints at Newport wetlands in Gwent which I assume is a misprint for Stilt. If so this would be the first in the UK this year (though one was at the Somme estuary in France on Mar 22)

Lapwing: On Apr 25 Bob Chapman found 32 Lapwing territories at Farlington Marshes but I suspect that the patrolling Foxes will ensure that the season does not end with 32 broods of fledged chicks. At least the Marshes still has breeding Lapwings in a year when, after they have vanished from the many farms on whcih they used to breed, they ceased to breed on the Gipsies Plain at Havant Thicket leaving Farlington Marshes as the one and only breeding site in the Portmouth/Havant area.

Pectoral Sandpiper: The first of these for the year was at Rainham Marshes in London on Apr 25.

Wood Sandpiper: The first to be seen in England this year was on the Lymington shore on Ap 26.

Long Tailed Skua: An unexpected first for the year in Britain was a single bird in breeding plumage which visited Lundy Island on Apr 16. Passage migrants heading from the southern oceans to feed on Lemmings in northern Scandinavia during their breeding season normally give southern England a miss in the spring and are only seen here in the autumn.

Bonaparte's Gull: Another unexpected seabird sighting was of a Bonaparte's Gull at Theale in Berkshire on Apr 26.

Little Tern: The first to reurn this year was seen in the Netherland on Apr 6 with one in Dorset on Apr 8. After these first arrivals there is always a period of around two weeks when the birds are moving up Channel before they enter the Solent harbours and this year the first was seen in Chichester Harbour on Apr 21 and in Langstone Harbour on Apr 23 but none have been reported taking an interest in nest sites so far despite work to encourage them by providing more shingle on which they can nest both on the RSPB Islands and at the Oysterbeds (and raising the surface height so that the nests should be above the high spring tide levels which often wash out their nests).

Wiskered Tern: Two of these were at Shapwick Heath in Somerset on Apr 22 with singles seen in the Chew Valley obApr 25 and by the Severn in Gloucestershire onApr 26.

Black Tern: This week three were at Weir Wood reservoir in east Sussex onApr 25, two were on the Lymington shore on Apr 26, and six were seen from a boat 30 miles south of Devon on Apr 26.

Turtle Dove: Ignoring the single bird that was wintering in north Cornwall the first to reach England was at Calshot (Southampton Water) on Apr 20 and by Apr 27 fourteen different birds have been reported in England (including two purring away on Martin Down in Hampshire.

Cuckoo: This week has brought one to the Langstone/Warblington area where one or two Reed Warblers seem to be holding territories but whether that will be enough to tempt the Cuckoo(s) to stay here is anyone's guess.

Long Eared Owl: Single birds on their way north from winter quarters have been seen in Pagham Harbour and at Beachy Head this week while a third bird was found dead on the road close to where cars parks at the Chichester Ivy Lake entrance.

Nightjar: Just two arrivals have been reported so far. On Apr 23 one was at Combe Heath in Dorset and on Apr 25 another flew over Malvern Road in Bournemouth.

Swift: After one exceptionally early bird in the Scillies on Mar 23 there has been a steady flow of arrivals since on reached Portland on Apr 9. A report of 595 at a Netherlands site on Apr 20 was exceptional but it seems that higher than usual numbers are in this country before April is out - the questions are will they find enough insects to eat and will they find enough nest sites to breed?

Pallid Swift: Four reports from the Scillies between Apr 19 and 24 (probably just one bird).

Hoopoe: Four reports this week, probably of four different birds in the Scillies, Isle of Wight (Totland), Cornwall (Lizard), and Swanage in Dorset.

Wryneck: The first was in the Scillies on Apr 22 and the only other report so far is of two birds in Belgium on Apr 26.

Swallow: After a report of 120 at Eastleigh sewage farm last week there have been seven reports of 100+ birds this week including 600 at Lodmoor in Dorset and 1033 at Weston-super-mare in Somerset.

House Martin: A report of 200 over the Testwood Lakes near Southampton on Apr 22 was encouraging.

Yellow Wagtail: A good number of reports but mostly of very small numbers (highest count was of 33 at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 24). Locally they have been heard going north over Warblington Farm on three days and at the Langstone South Moors and up to 6 have been on Farlington Marshes.

Waxwing: Still one bird in Romsey on Apr 26 where there had been 9 on the previous day. 7 in Seaford on Apr 26 may have come from Romsey but I am not sure where a flock of 10 in Hove (Brighton) on Apr 22 came from.

Fieldfare: None reported since Apr 23 and no Redwings since Apr 18.

Western Bonelli's Warbler: One created a lot of interest at Church Norton in Pagham Harbour on Apr 22 and 23 and I was specially pleased to see that the finder was Ted Raynor who, with his wife Penny, 'recruited' me as a HOS walks leader in the early 1980s.

Spotted Flycatcher: The first to reach England this year was at Portland on Apr 28 and one was in Hampshire near Basingstoke on Apr 28. Of the regular summer visitors the only species that have not yet reached us are Quail, Honey Buzzard, and Roseate Tern.

Willow Tit: This species is very close to extinction in Hampshire though it is just hanging on in the very north of the county so a report of one .."singing right above my head" in Mark Ash Wood (New Forest) was a real surprise. I would not be surprised if the Marsh Tit follows it into oblivion before many years have passed (so far this year I have seen only 12 reports of the species in Hampshire).

Golden Oriole: One was reported in Dorset as early as Mar 19 and one on the Lymington shore on Apr 27 and 28 is the eighth that I know of this year (and the only one found in Hampshire though there was one at Birdham (just across the Sussex boundary) on Apr 16.

Great Grey Shrike: The two birds at Bishops Dyke in the New Forest and Wyke Down in Dorset were both seen on Apr 23 but not since.

Woodchat Shrike: The bird which turned up in Conwall on Apr 20 has now been joined by four others at four different UK sites. A very good photo of one in the Scillies on Apr 21 can be seen at http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8381/8678079392_142e36c230_z.jpg

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Large Red Damselfly: Two more reports of this species after the three seen last week

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Brimstone: Still flourisihing this week

Large White: Four new reports this week.

Small White: Three new reports this week.

Green Veined White: New this week with the first seen on Apr 20 with reports from seven sites during the week.

Orange Tip: Ten new sightings this week from sites which include Stansted Forest.

Holly Blue: Six new sightings this week.

Red Admiral: Apr 20 was the date on which the first hand-reared lavae emerged at Newhaven.

Painted Lady: Just one report of a presumed migrant from the coast at Seaford on Apr 20 - this was the tenth report for the year.

Small Tortoiseshell: For the possibility that several coastal clusters (including an extraordinay find of 194 at Ferring near Worthing on Apr 22 were in fact the result of migration from the continent see my diary entry at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#2604.

Large Tortoiseshell: See my summary for last week which suggests that sightings on the Isle of Wight were on locally reared insects and not of migrants. This week Neil Hulme from Sussex found two male at the Isle of Wight site but did not express any comment on their 'immobility' (I feel that a migrant that had crossed the Channel would wish to fly on further).

Peacock: Five new sightings this week including 9 together on Stockbridge Down.

Comma: Just three more reports this week.

Pearl Bordered Fritillary: The only new species this week with a report of one seen in Parkhurst Forest on the Isle of Wight on Apr 20.

Speckled Wood: Three new reports this week.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

290 (Maple Slender), Caloptilia semifascia: out in Kent on Apr 26

435 (Brown Ash Ermel), Zelleria hepariella: out in Kent on Apr 25

464 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella: out in Kent on Apr 25

483 (Garden Lance-wing), Epermenia chaerophyllella: out in Dorset on Apr 23

667 (Dawn Flat-body), Semioscopis steinkellneriana: out in Dorset on Apr 22

892 (Garden Cosmet), Mompha subbistrigella: out in Dorset on Apr 23

998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana: out in Dorset on Apr 22

1288 Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla: out in Kent on Apr 22

1633 Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris: out in Dorset on Apr 23

1881 Early Tooth-striped Trichopteryx carpinata: out in Dorset on Apr 21

1888 Scorched Carpet Ligdia adustata: out in Kent on Apr 25

1927 Brindled Beauty Lycia hirtaria: out in Kent on Apr 19

2154 Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae: out in Kent on Apr 26

2425 Nut-tree Tussock Colocasia coryli: out in Kent on Apr 25

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

0290 (Maple Slender), Caloptilia semifascia found in Kent on APR 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2976

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0290.php

0435 (Brown Ash Ermel), Zelleria hepariella found in Kent on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3362

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0435.php

0464 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella found in Kent on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5084

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0464.php

0483 (Garden Lance-wing), Epermenia chaerophyllella found in Dorset on APR 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1931

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0483.php

0663 (March Tubic), Diurnea fagella found in Kent on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=663

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0663.php

0667 (Dawn Flat-body), Semioscopis steinkellneriana found in Dorset on APR 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6185

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0667.php

0670 (Dingy Flat-body), Depressaria daucella found in Kent on APR 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1863

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0670.php

0692 (Ruddy Flat-body), Agonopterix subpropinquella found in Kent on APR 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2483

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0692.php

0892 (Garden Cosmet), Mompha subbistrigella found in Dorset on APR 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2753

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

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana found in Dorset on APR 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0998.php

1288 Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla found in Kent on APR 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=360

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1288.php

1342 (Narrow-winged Grey), Eudonia angustea found in Kent on APR 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5073

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1342.php

1633 Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris found in Dorset on APR 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2646

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1633.php

1661 Orange Underwing Archiearis parthenias found in on APR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=871

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1661.php

1746 Shoulder-stripe Anticlea badiata found in Dorset on APR 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5631

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1746.php

1750 Water Carpet Lampropteryx suffumata found in Dorset on APR 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4814

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1750.php

1852 Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata found in Hampshire on APR 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=698

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1852.php

1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata found in Kent on APR 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=123

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1862.php

1881 Early Tooth-striped Trichopteryx carpinata found in Dorset on APR 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4768

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1881.php

1888 Scorched Carpet Ligdia adustata found in Kent on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2221

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1888.php

1917 Early Thorn Selenia dentaria found in Hampshire on APR 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3537

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1917.php

1927 Brindled Beauty Lycia hirtaria found in Kent on APR 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1742

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1927.php

1930 Oak Beauty Biston strataria found in Kent on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2639

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1930.php

1934 Dotted Border Agriopis marginaria found in Dorset on APR 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3940

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1934.php

1947 The Engrailed Ectropis bistortata found in Kent on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6352

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1947.php

2154 Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae found in Kent on APR 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=82

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

2182 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda found in Dorset on APR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=347

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2182.php

2187 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi found in Dorset on APR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3947

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2187.php

2188 Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta found in Kent on APR 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1979

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2188.php

2189 Twin-spotted Quaker Orthosia munda found in Kent on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1940

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2189.php

2190 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica found in Dorset on APR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2001

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2190.php

2236 Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica found in Kent on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2448

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2236.php

2243 Early Grey Xylocampa areola found in Kent on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6184

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2243.php

2425 Nut-tree Tussock Colocasia coryli found in Kent on APR 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=334

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2425.php

2469 The Herald Scoliopteryx libatrix found in Hampshire on APR 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5101

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2469.php

Other Insects

Bee Fly (Bombylius major): Seen in Emsworth on Apr 22 and also in my Havant Garden this week.

Dotted Bee Fly (Bombylius discolor): Seen in Walter Copse (IoW) on Apr 20.

Cheilosia grossa Hoverfly: First seen at Rye Harbour on Apr 27.

Helophilus pendulus Hoverfly: First seen at Rye Harbour on Apr 27.

Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum): Probable Queen seen in Hollybank Woods at Emsworth on Apr 21.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris): Several seen at Rye Harbour on Apr 27.

Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius): Several seen at Rye Harbour on Apr 27.

Bug species: An interesting list of the various bug species seen over the years by Graeme Lyons can be found at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/first-record-of-rare-shield-bug-for.html

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Field Horsetail: The first fertile cone was seen at Emsworth on Apr 23.

Male Fern: The fronds were starting to unfurl in the Hollybank Woods at Emsworth on Apr 22.

Early Winter Cress (Barbarea intermedia): First two flowering plants in Havant on Apr 27.

Wavy Bitter Cress: Newly flowering in Havant on Apr 22.

Cuckoo Flower: Newly flowering in Emsworth on Apr 21.

Garlic Mustard: First flowers seen on Portsdown on Apr 24.

Honesty: After one plant started to flower in my garden on Apr 19 I have seen several self sown plants flowering this week.

Rue Leaved Saxifrage: Plants in the Havant Pallant carpark were flowering last week and one came out in my garden driveway this week.

Red Currant: The first 'wild' plant was flowering in the Hollybank Woods on Apr 22.

Flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum): Flowering in several places by Apr 27.

Hornbeam: Catkins open on Apr 27.

Norway Maple: First flowers seen on Apr 24.

Ash tree: First flowers seen in Emsworth on Apr 20.

Thyme-leaved Speedwell: First spring flower out in my garden on Apr 27.

Field Forget-me-not: First flowers seen in Havant on Apr 27.

Early Forget-me-not: This has been flowering on Hayling Island for about ten days but anyone wanting to see some good photos of the flowers now out at Rye Harbour should go to http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/4/27/blooming-tiny.html.

Crosswort: Just one plant was in full flower on Portsdown on Apr 24.

Oxford Ragwort: This is usually in flower much earlier but this year I did not see its flowers untilApr 27.

Smooth Sowthistle: First flower seen in Havant onApr 27.

Lords and Ladies (Arum): First unsheathed spathe seen in Havant on Apr 27.

Early Purple Orchid: Just one spike showing flower buds found in the Hollybank Woods on Apr 22.

Green Winged Orchid: These had started to flower in the Northiam area of East Sussex (north of Hastings) by Apr 27 - see photo at http://www.rxwildlife.info/storage/Green-winged%20orchid.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1367068289533.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

White-beaked Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris): These are uncommon in the English Channel and the first report of them that I have seen this year comes from Graeme Lyons who saw a small group of them on Apr 21 as he was crossing the Channel on a ferry from Newhaven with a party of Marine Life enthusiasts.

Pipistrelle bat: One was seen flying by day near Burgess Hill in West Sussex on Apr 21. The observer expresses the opinion the day flying is the result of not being able to find suffient night flying insects to meet the bat's needs for food.

Newts: Bob Chapman was at the HWT nature reserve at Swanwick (near the Hamble river) on Apr 26 setting bottle traps in the lake to catch Great Crested Newts in order to record the pattern of markings on the belly of each Newt. All three Newt species are present in this pond but it is only the Great Crested which have a unique pattern of markings on theif bellies - when these patterns have been recorded it will be possible to discover the population of this species, the age of individuals and various studies of individual behaviour can be made.

Grass Snake: The first report of a Grass Snake for the year came from Durlston on Apr 21. Since then there has been a change of policy at Durlston and the Rangers Daily Diary has been dropped from their website. In its place ad hoc news items will be posted on Twitter, Facebook and other 'social media' to which I currently have no access so I will miss wildlife news from this site.

Sea Slater (Ligia oceanica): If you are not familiar with this 3cm long sea shore version of a Wood Louse have a look at http://www.arkive.org/sea-slater/ligia-oceanica/. The reason for its being in the news is that Bob Chapman found on on top of the seawall at Farlington Marshes on Apr 20 which was unusual as, while I think the species is quite common it does not usually come out of the water. I have only seen these creatures once on the banks of Fareham Creek and I think the emergence there was attributed to a population explosion causing a large number to come out of the water in order to move away from an area which had become over-crowded with the species.

Grey Mullet: The first shoal of these fish for this year was seen by Brian Fellows in the Slipper Mill Pond at Emsworth on Apr 23.

Sea Mouse (Aphrodite aculeata): The following entry for Apr 23 on the RX website attracted interest in this species - see http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/4/23/aphrodite.html. Also see http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22Sea_mouse%22_(Aphrodita_aculeata)_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1735554.jpg

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 15 - 21 (Week 16 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

The moth reports which were omitted from this summary last Sunday have now been included

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: No substantial numbers in the south this week though a couple of Red-throated were seen passing St Catherine's Point (IoW) on Apr 20 and 27 Black-throated were off the French Normandie coast on Apr 18 with just one Great Northern.

Grebes: One Red-necked was off Hill Head (Titchfield Haven) on Apr 20 and two Slavonian were off the Netherlands during the week with one Black-necked at Sandwich Bay on Apr 19. From north Devon comes news of the first two Little Grebe chicks seen on Apr 19.

Manx Shearwater: On Apr 15 Martin Cade wrote in the Portland website .. "in case anyone thinks we're not bothering to mention Manx that isn't the case - it's just that their customary arrival in considerable quantity in Portland waters at this time of year hasn't happened so far" .. 25 had been seen at Potland on Apr 11 but the only other reports I have picked up from there so far have been of 31 on Apr 17 and 150 on Apr 18.

Great White Egret: One was at Yarmouth (IoW) from Apr 15 to Apr 19 a least and one was at Rye Harbour on Apr 18 while one flew in off the sea at Selsey Bill on Apr 19, heading north to an unknown destination. (Another 20 were at a Netherlands site that day - maybe heading our way?)

White Stork: These have been arriving back in northern Europe since Feb 17 and on Apr 6 at least one crossed the Channel to be seen at Folkestone and Dungeness with one reaching Cornwall on Apr 8 but so far no more have reached us.

Glossy Ibis: The bird which has been in the Arundel area at Warningcamp since Apr 8 was still there on Apr 21

Brent Goose: Although some of the birds still with us may not stay over the summer I have seen no reports of flocks heading east since Apr 14 when Selsey had 125 and Seaford had 248.

Shelduck: A report of a pair at Winchester sewage farm on Apr 17 reminds me that the Shelduck which stay on the south coast to breed have few undisturbed nest sites available on the shore (where humans like to walk their dogs) and long ago learnt to fly miles inland to nest in less 'public' holes despite the very long walk back to the shore to which this condemns their ducklings (the route inevitably involves crossing busy roads and electrified railways).

Eider: One strange report this week was of a male Eider on Petersfield Heath Pond displaying to the local Mallards without success.

Hen Harrier: A late bird was still in the Danebury area near Stockbridge on Apr 15

Montagu's Harrier: A 'possible' had been reported from Dorset on Apr 8 but the first two definite reports for the year came from Poole Harbour on Apr 15 and 16 (probably the same bird) with two others seen in the Netherlands on Apr 17

Hobby: At least six have reached southern England since Mar 25 when one was seen in Dorset and among the new reports have been one from Northney (Hayling) on Apr 15, one from Portsdown on Apr 17 and one at Woolmer Pond (north of Petersfield) on Apr 18.

Corncrake: Sussex birders had an unusual opportunity to see a Corncrake when a migramt arrived at Beachy Head on Apr 15 and decided to stay there until Apr 18 - admittedly it did demonstrate its ability to remain unseen for hours at a time and (as far as I know) was not vocal. The Beachy Head blog entry for Apr 18 sums up this bird's visit .. "We spent early morning and evening looking for the Corncrake in Shooters Bottom and finally connected with it at around 19.40 when it showed well along the edge of one of the paths for some 10 minutes from 20 yards range, much to DC's relief as it was a Sussex tick for him. Since 1960, 29 records although a number were seen by the late Tom Bridger who was the farmer at Cornish Farm and knew Corncrake very well. The 15th April is now our earliest Spring record, our previous earliest was on the 19 April, 1970." To see a run of eight photos of the birds go to http://beachyheadbirding.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/10-april-2013-to-17-apr-2013-beachy-head.html and scroll down.

Moorhen: Brian Fellows reported the first chicks for the year in Fishbourne near Chichester on Mar 20 and this week I see that another family of five chicks hatched somewhere in Sussex on Apr 14.

Common Crane: Two were near Penzance in Cornwall on Apr 20.

Knot: 31 were at the Hayling Oysterbeds on Apr 15 with 15 there on Apr 16

Purple Sandpiper: Still 10 at Southsea Castle on Ap 19.

Wood Sandpiper: The first for this year was in the Netherlands on Apr 12 followed by reports of singles in Belgium on Apr 17 and 18.

Pomarine Skua: Spring passage seems to have started on Apr 14 with two birds passing Worthing and since then seven more birds have been seen including the first three recorded at Selsey on Apr 19.

Little Gull: These have been present in the English Channel since the start of January and there was a count of 3865 from Cap Gris-nez on Mar 9 but numbers shot up again this week with a potential total on Apr 20 of 8538 at six continental sites. On Apr 16 a lone bird was seen inland at Fleet Pond.

Little Tern: There have now been 13 reports since one reached the Netherlands on Apr 6 but numbers remain low - on Apr 19 counts of 4 at Rye Harbour and 5 at Christchurch Harbour were the highest up to that date but 7 were on the Lymington shore on Apr 20 and 8 were on the sea at Selsey on Apr 21.

Black Tern: A flock of 23 at a Netherlands site on Apr 20 was the first in double figures and other than the exceptional report of one off the Bognor area on Mar 9 and 10 the current run of seven sightings which started on Apr 12 have all been across the Channel.

Turtle Dove: By the middle of this week the only regular summer migrants which had not reached England were Quail, Honey Buzzard, Wood Sandpiper, Turtle Dove, Nightjar, and Spotted Flycatcher and that list was reduced by one on Apr 20 when a Turtle Dove was seen at Calshot on Southampton Water (one had reached the Netherlands on Apr 17). On Apr 21 'purring' could be heard at Martin Down where a pair were present.

Cuckoo: Although many of us may not have heard one yet these have been in England since Mar 29 and I have ceased to record every report.

Swift: These too have been around in England since Mar 23 and will soon be here in large flocks to judge by the appearance of 595 at one Netherlands site on Apr 20.

Alpine Swift: One was seen in the Scillies on Apr 16 followed by one at Dungeness on Apr 17 (when RBA reported a total of 5 in the UK).

Red-rumped Swallow: One at Pulborough Brooks on Apr 18 when another was in the Netherlands.

House Martin: Although these have been seen in the UK since Mar 6 the biggest flock before this week was of just 15 birds so a count of 30 at Christchurch Harbour on Mar 14 gives hope that there has not been a total collapse of the population.

Yellow Wagtail: A count of 6 at Farlington Marshes on Apr 16 and news that males were singing on territory in the marshes east of Rye Bay on Apr 15 is encouraging. On the Isle of Wight 5 Yellow Wagtails at Bembridge Marshes on Apr 17 were accompanied by two Blue-headed continental birds.

Waxwing: There were still 8 at Romsey on Apr 20

Nightingale: Of local interest one singing bird was back at the Marlpit Lane site (west of Chichester) on Apr 17. Plenty of others around since Apr 12.

Common Redstart: These have been arriving since Apr 3 and are now established in their New Forest territories.

Whinchat: These started to arrive on Apr 14 and have been seen in Dorset and Hampshire but maybe not Sussex so far. See http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2013/04/Whinchat-2-Hook-with-Warsash-17-Apr-2013.jpg for a photo taken at Hook (Warsash) on Apr 17 by Steve Copsey of the Three Amigos.

Grassshopper Warbler: Present since Apr 9 and seen/heard this week at Christchurch Harbour, Titchfield Haven and Waltham Brooks nr Pulborough.

Savi's Warbler: Not yet in England but the first for the year was in the Netherlands on Apr 20.

Sedge and Reed Warblers: Now back in the expected places.

Subalpine Warbler: First for the year in Poole Harbour (at the 'PC World drain') on Apr 19.

Lesser Whitethroat: The first reached Portland on Apr 16 and others were seen next day at Winchester sewage farm and heard at Northney (Hayling), then on Apr 20 one was at Rye Harbour and another was heard singing at Budds Farm in Havant.

Common Whitethroat: First was at Portland on Apr 9 and by Apr 17 one was at Brook Meadow in Emsworth and many other places.

Garden Warbler: Arrived at Portland on Apr 16 and at Dungeness on Apr 17 but so far not reported elsewhere.

Blackcap: Summer birds now widespread.

Wood Warbler: Found at West Compton in Dorset on Apr 15 and at Church Norton in Pagham Harbour on Apr 17.

Chiff Chaff and Willow Warbler: Both now well established in England.

Firecrest: Dungeness reported the arrival of 35 on Apr 14.

Pied Flycatcher: First seen at Portland on Apr 11 and by the end of this week at least 8 had been reported including one in a Brighton park.

Golden Oriole: A male was briefly in a Birdham garden (south of Chichester) on Apr 16. There had been one other report on Mar 19 in Dorset.

Woodchat Shrike: One in South Devon on Apr 18 and another in west Cornwall on Apr 20.

Great Grey Shrike: The New Forest (Shatterford) bird last reported on Apr 16 and two were at the Dorset (Wyke Down) site up to Apr 19.

Jay: These birds stream into southern England in the auutmn but we do not normally notice a return passage as seems to be happening at the moment. The most recent mention of this was in a report of two Jays in bushes near the mouth of the Adur on Apr 11 after two had been seen in another unlikely spot (Bransbury Common near Andover) on Apr 6. First to notice the movement was Andrew House at Seaford on Apr 5 who wrote .. "Another surprise garden visitor to my north Seaford garden this morning was a Jay followed closely by second. Very few large trees in this area so perhaps they were on their way back to the continent." Current reports on Tretellen give counts of up to 113 birds in the Netherlands between Apr 16 and Apr 20.

Serin: These have been seen in the last ten days at Christchurch Harbour, Sandy point on Hayling, Dungeness and Ventnor (IoW).

Little Bunting: Second for the year was a male at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 17. (The first was in Lancashire on Mar 13).

Escapees: Two birds looking like Mallards wearing Pom-Pom hats (and described as Call Ducks though I think that describes a type of duck rather than a species) have been on Baffins Pond in Portsmouth recently and you can see a photo of one on Brian Fellows website at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x798-crest-call-duck-baffins-15.04.13.jpg (see http://www.callducks.net/ for more info about this type of duck

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Large Red Damselfly: The 'latest sightings' page of the British Dragonflies website (http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/latest-sightings ) awoke from hibernation this week with its first news since Dec 8 and reports the emergence of Large Red Damsels in Norfolk on Apr 14, in Cornwall on Apr 19 and in Dorset on Apr 20.

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Brimstone: More than 20 seen by the River Itchen in the Eastleigh area on Apr 16 and all across southern England this week.

Large White: After the early emergence of one that had been given a preferential hibernation site in a Brighton potting shed and emerged on Apr 11 'natural births' occurred at East Dean (nr Eastbourne) on Apr 14 and at Stubbington (nr Gosport) on Apr 18.

Small White: There had been five sighting before this week which had one in Sussex on Apr 14, two in Gosport on Apr 15, and one in Portsmouth plus another in Fareham on Apr 19.

Orange Tip: A female was seen in Denmead on Apr 14 and what were likely to have been males near Eastleigh on Apr 16 and in the Waterlooville area on Apr 19.

Holly Blue: First for the year at Blackstone nr Henfield on Apr 19.

Red Admiral: Two more seen this week in Fareham and Eastleigh.

Small Tortoiseshell: 12 seen at one site near Newhaven on Apr 14 and 9 seen at the Testwood Lakes near Southampton on Apr 16.

Large Tortoiseshell: One, presumably an early immigrant from the continent?, seen at Newtown (IoW) on Apr 19. Having suggested that it was an immigrant I then went to check the date on which Brian Fellows saw one in Havant last spring (Mar 30) and in so doing I noticed that there had also been sighting at the same IoW site (Walters Copse) on both Mar 27 and Mar 30 last year and this makes me wonder if there might be a local enthusiast in that area rearing caterpillars and then releasing the butterflies - another factor suggesting this is that it seems that last year's butterfly stayed in the same place for four days which is unlikely behaviour for a strong winged migrant which had just crossed the channel (they usually want to keep going). A further check shows that there was another IoW sighting on Mar 14 in 2011 though near Wootton some five or six miles east of Newtown.

Peacock: One of the commonest species this week.

Comma: Also common this week.

Speckled Wood: This is usually one of the early species but, other than an odd sighting in Cornwall on Jan 1 and one near Worthing on Feb 23, the only normal report is a second hand one saying the the species had been seen in the Hollybank Woods north of Emsworth sometime before Mar 13. This week one was seen on Apr 16 in a garden on the southern fringe of Havant Thicket but by Apr 21, with several days of good weather, there have been no more reports (and there has been equal concern for Grizzled Skipper which is normally out several weeks before the present date but which has not been seen anywhere)

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the fuller list of moth sightings given below here are what I think to be the more significant reports ('firsts' for the year, appearance of a new generation, migrant influxes, rarities etc)

149 (Early Long-horn), Adela cuprella: First of year in Hampshire on Apr 19.

670 (Dingy Flat-body), Depressaria daucella : First of year in Dorset on Apr 2.

695 (Brown-spot Flat-body), Agonopterix alstromeriana : First of year in Dorset on Apr 16.

701 (Red-letter Flat-body), Agonopterix ocellana: First of year in Dorset on Apr 12.

716 (Rolling Carrot Flat-body), Agonopterix rotundella : First of year in Dorset on Apr 18.

770 (Black-speckled Groundling), Carpatolechia proximella: First of year in Dorset on Apr 19.

1746 Shoulder-stripe Anticlea badiata: First of year in Dorset on Apr 16.

1750 Water Carpet Lampropteryx suffumata: First of year in Dorset on Apr 17.

1768 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata: First of year in Dorset on Apr 12.

1852 Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata: First of year in Dorset on Apr 12.

1919 Purple Thorn Selenia tetralunaria: First of year in Dorset on Apr 18.

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum: Second report of emergence from hibernation in Sussex on Apr 17 (first was on Apr 2)

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon: migrant arrival at Portland on Apr 15 (first since Jan 4)

2139 Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa: First of year in Dorset on Apr 16.

2241 Red Sword-grass Xylena vetusta: First of year in Dorset on Apr 18.

2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa: First of year in Dorset on Apr 17.

2423 Oak Nycteoline Nycteola revayana: First of year in Dorset on Apr 16.

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Full list (known to me) of species seen this week

For each species there are links to the page showing photos and giving background info about the species on both the UK Moths and Hants Moths websites - you can also see the Sussex moths page for the species by following the instructions given above.

0149 (Early Long-horn), Adela cuprella found in Hampshire on APR 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4505

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0149.php

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum found in Sussex on APR 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

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

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon found in Dorset on APR 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=226

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2091.php

0288 (White-triangle Slender), Caloptilia stigmatella found in Dorset on APR 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6614

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0288.php

0663 (March Tubic), Diurnea fagella found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1945

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0663.php

0670 (Dingy Flat-body), Depressaria daucella found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1863

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0670.php

0695 (Brown-spot Flat-body), Agonopterix alstromeriana found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=754

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0695.php

0701 (Red-letter Flat-body), Agonopterix ocellana found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1458

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0701.php

0716 (Rolling Carrot Flat-body), Agonopterix rotundella found in Dorset on APR 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2618

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0716.php

0770 (Black-speckled Groundling), Carpatolechia proximella found in Dorset on APR 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5810

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0770.php

1044 (Rusty Oak Button), Acleris ferrugana found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4972

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1044.php

1524 (Common Plume), Emmelina monodactyla found in Dorset on APR 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=592

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1524.php

1659 Yellow Horned Achlya flavicornis found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5117

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1659.php

1663 March Moth Alsophila aescularia found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1873

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1663.php

1746 Shoulder-stripe Anticlea badiata found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5631

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1746.php

1750 Water Carpet Lampropteryx suffumata found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4814

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1750.php

1768 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=785

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1768.php

1852 Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=698

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1852.php

1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata found in Dorset on APR 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=123

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1862.php

1917 Early Thorn Selenia dentaria found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3537

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1917.php

1919 Purple Thorn Selenia tetralunaria found in Dorset on APR 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5727

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1919.php

1930 Oak Beauty Biston strataria found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2639

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1930.php

1947 The Engrailed Ectropis bistortata found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6352

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1947.php

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum found in Sussex on APR 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

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

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon found in Dorset on APR 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=226

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2091.php

2139 Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2018

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2139.php

2179 Pine Beauty Panolis flammea found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5756

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2179.php

2182 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=347

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2182.php

2186 Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilis found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2015

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2186.php

2188 Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1979

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2188.php

2189 Twin-spotted Quaker Orthosia munda found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1940

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2189.php

2190 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2001

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2190.php

2236 Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2448

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2236.php

2241 Red Sword-grass Xylena vetusta found in Dorset on APR 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2738

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2241.php

2243 Early Grey Xylocampa areola found in Dorset on APR 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6184

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2243.php

2256 The Satellite Eupsilia transversa found in Dorset on APR 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1797

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2256.php

2258 The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii found in Dorset on APR 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1105

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2258.php

2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa found in Dorset on APR 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1731

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2306.php

2423 Oak Nycteoline Nycteola revayana found in Dorset on APR 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5374

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2423.php

Other Insects

Bee Flies (Bombylius major and B. discolor): On Apr 15 Bob Chapman found the first examples of both species at Farlington Marshes and you can see the differences between them in the two photos he took. See http://solentreserves.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/sea-trials-and-bee-flies/ for Bob's full account of the day with photos but to just see the photos go (for the common Bee Fly - B. major) to http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/bombylius-major.jpg and (for the rare Dotted Bee Fly - B.discolor) to http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/bombylius-minor.jpg. On Apr 18 Bob found more Bee Flies at the Swanwick Nature Reserve by the River Hamble. So far I have only heard of one other sighting of a common Bee Fly at a garden in the Denvilles area of Havant on Apr 19.

Eristalis intricarius: This hoverfly which disguises itself as a furry Bumblebee, was seen at Rye Harbour on Apr 18. You can read about the species at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eristalis_intricarius and about the sighting at http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/4/18/rye-harbour.html which points out that the insect has three colour forms (for good photos of two forms see http://www.eakringbirds.com/eakringbirds2/insectinfocuseristalisintricarius.htm )

Holly Leaf-miner Fly: It is not uncommon to find Holly trees with leaves showing evidence of 'leaf mining' and sometimes of pecking by birds wanting to eat the insect grub within the leaf (or of the exit hole through which the grub emerges to become a fly). Brian Fellows came across such leaves in the Hollybank woods on Apr 19 and suggested that we learn about the fly from a Natural History Museum website but this was inaccessible when I tried to look at it so I found equivalent information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holly_leaf_miner.

Bloody Nosed Beetles: Both the main species and the Lesser Bloody Nosed beetles were active at Durlston on Apr 18 and they my well be seen now on Portsdown.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Rue-leaved Saxifrage: This started to flower in Havant this week (in the Pallant Carpark) and this plus other finds during the week can be seen in the additions I made to the Cemeteries Page of my website covering my monthly visits to St Faith's Churchyard and the Havant and Warblington Cemeteries for which I prepare monthly Wildlife Posters.

For St Faith's see http://ralph-hollins.net/Cemeteries.htm#F1704 - this includes a new find of Rue-leaved Saxifrage and four species of Speedwell (my first find of Wall Speedwell plus several good clusters of Slender Speedweell and the inevitable Ivy Leaved and Common Field species) Also found there was one of the first flowerings of Ivy-leaved Toadflax and a substantial increase in the number of White Comfrey plants which are rapidly becoming a dominant species in Havant.

For the Havant Cemetery see http://ralph-hollins.net/Cemeteries.htm#H1704 where the only new flowerings were of Cherry Laurel and Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa forbesii) but I also found Hornbeam catkins starting to develop.

For the Warblington Cemetery see http://ralph-hollins.net/Cemeteries.htm#W1704 where the new flowerings were of Snakes Head Fritillaries and a species of tall, yellow-flowered Lily planted by Havant Borough in the natural burial 'wild flower' area. Also found there was a new 'casual' addition in the form of Green Alkanet that I also found this week for the first time in the Juniper Square area of Havant.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Common Toad: Active in Filsham Reedbed near Hastings on Apr 15 - no doubt this was not the only active site.

Common Lizard: Active at the Swanwick nature reserve by the River Hamble on Apr 18. Only previous report was of basking in a Northiam garden near Hastings on Mar 12

Slow Worm: Other than an isolated report of one seen in an un-named churchyard somewhere in Somerset on Mar 10 the first reports came on Apr 16 from Brian Fellows garden in Emsworth and from Pulborough Brooks, followed on Apr 18 by the Swanwick nature reserve by the Hamble river.

Leopard Slug: Found on Apr 18 by Bob Chapman at the Swanwick nature reserve under a log - see Bob's photo at http://solentreserves.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/slugs-and-woodlice.jpg?w=500&h=373

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 8 - 14 (Week 15 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Summer Migrant arrivals: Although there had been reports of Cuckoo in Devon on Mar 29 and 31 these started to arrive this week with birds on the IoW and at Seaford on Apr 10, at Thorney Island on Apr 11 and on Apr 12 at Lewes and in the New Forest - latest were at Lymington, Broughton Down near Stockbridge and Wisborough Green near Pulborough on Apr 14 when two more were in the New Forest. Another exciting arrival has been of Nightingales - on Apr 13 they were heard singing at Pulborough Brooks and at Rye Harbour (at 1 am) and on Apr 14 one was singing at noon on Thorney Island, just north of the Little Deeps. The first Common Whitethroat reached Portland on Apr 9 when another was reported in the north Hayling/Langstone area, then on Apr 11 they were seen at Dungeness and Christchurch - today (Apr 14) one was at Eastney in Portsmouth. The first Grasshopper Warbler was at Portland on Apr 9 and at Christchurch on Apr 11 with another at Durlston on Apr 14. Both Sedge and Reed Warblers have also arrived - the first Sedge was singing by the Adur on Apr 7 with one at Cogden in Dorset on Apr 10 when another was at Winnall Moors in Winchester followed by one at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 11. The first Reed Warbler was at Warsash on Apr 3 with another by the Test near Andover on Apr 6, then one at Portland on Apr 9 and another by the Itchen at Winnall Moors on Apr 12. The first report of a Hobby was on Mar 25 in Dorset followed by another/same? at Durlston on Mar 28 and another in Dorset on Apr 4 - those three may all have been the same bird but this week brought a further small wave of arrivals with news of 2 on the Trektellen site on Apr 8 (one at Durlston and another somewhere not stated). Trektellen then reported one in Gloucestershire on Apr 10 but now records 6 separate birds in the Netherlands on Apr 14 (four of them together at one site). Finally an oddity with the first Swift being seen in the Scillies on Mar 23, then another at Portland on Apr 9 and a more genuine arrival of 6 in the Netherlands on Apr 13 (though maybe this was just one bird seen at six sites). To end this section I see that Little Terns reached England on Apr 8 when 4 flew north over Dorset, Apr 9 brought one to Selsey and Apr 12 saw two fly east past Seaford and on Apr 13 three were in the Lymington area. An abnormally early Black Tern was seen off the west Sussex shore at Climping on Mar 9 and then flew inland over Bognor on Mar 10 but Apr 12 brought a more likely sighting of 2 in the Netherlands followed by 7 there on Apr 13

Blackcap changeover: There is always some uncertainty as to whether a Blackcap seen or heard at this time of year is a new arrival from Africa or a bird departing for central Europe and the extensive overlap between the two makes it impossible to be sure without evidence from rings but there are signs we can look for, the most obvious being the sudden appearance of many birds in new places (especially at coastal bird observatories). Two other signs are (a) the start of full song and (b) 'fast feeding'. None of these signs are conclusive evidence - both departing and arriving birds can build up in numbers at coastal sites (especially in adverse weather) - the start of song is dependent on the bird's state of health which is again weather, food and hormone dependent as well as the urge to establish a territory on arrival in the intended breeding area - and the need to feed is not only a sign that the bird has used up its energy reserves during a long flight but may also be caused by shortage of food due to bad weather, failure of 'crops', or forgetfulness by humans to supply the birds with food. My own guess as to when our summer birds started to arrive is based on the sudden arrival of 60 Blackcaps at Portland on Mar 24 (the only previous reports there were of 5 on Mar 23 - part of the same influx - and of one heard singing on Feb 16, presumably a wintering bird 'feeling good') Since Apr 1 I have noticed 29 south coast Blackcap reports covering at least 142 birds and 28 of these have occurred between Apr 9 and 13, with 87 of the 142 birds being reported on Apr 11 (when St Catherine's Point had 20, Christchurch Harbour had 36, Dungeness had 8 and Pagham Harbour had 6). Interestingly for those who rely on song to announce the arrival of our summer birds, of two local gardens which had an influx on Apr 12, one on Portsdown did have a bird in full song while one in Emsworth noticed that the birds were very hungry and did not have time to sing

Perils of passage: Anyone who keeps in touch with the internet reports of birds arriving 'in off the sea' will know that many of the migrants die in the attempt to cross the sea, either from exhaustion or predation by the gulls, skuas and raptors which queue up to pick them off en route - on Apr 8 Bob Self, seawatching at Seaford, wrote a typical obituary to .. "a single unknown passerine whose brave attempt to reach shore ended in a watery grave only a few yards short of its objective." This spring the bad weather has emphasised another cause of death, the urgent need to replenish the bodily energy store of fat which has been exhausted during the long flight. This problem was brought to our attention by Keith Betton who posted two messages on HOSLIST saying, on Apr 8, .. "I have heard of two Stone-curlews being picked up dead in the last week (one in Wilts, one in Hants) - both well under the normal expected weight." followed by "Another dead Stone-curlew now found locally. Three also found dead in Norfolk."

Divers: What looks like a final surge of departing Red-Throated brought a count of 1156 passing Cap Gris-nez on Apr 7, then 1021 off the Suffolk coast on Apr 8 and 1160 off the Netherands on Apr 9 with a peak of 539 passing Dungeness on Apr 9. Locally an oiled bird was at Chichester Ivy Lake on Apr 10. More Black-throated than usual were seen leaving the English Channel with at least 64 passing Cap Gris-nez on Apr 7 and possibly a total of 91 along the French Normandie coast on Apr 9. Only five reports of Great Northern caught my eye (compared to 14 reports of Black-throated) but more than one White-billed was still being seen in the northern isles

Grebes: One Red-necked was seen at Dungeness on Apr 9, 10 and 12 and maybe that bird was off the Netherlands on Apr 13 while a different bird was at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 11. There were still 9 Slavonian at Cap Gris-nez on Apr 7 but nowhere had more than 3 later in the week (in Hayling Bay on Apr 11 and in the Netherlands on Apr 13). The only substantial flock was of 47 Black-necked at Cap Gris.nez on Apr 7

Glossy Ibis: What may have been the Warblington Bird (which was last seen there on Mar 22) was thought to have flown east to Arundel where one was seen at the Wildfowl reserve on Mar 30 before appearing at Pulborough Brooks on Apr 1. This week one has re-appeared at Arundel on Apr 8 and was still there (at Warningcamp just across the Arun from the Wetlands Centre) on Apr 14.

Spoonbill: A major movement on the continent brought a report of 780 in the Netherlands on Apr 8 and 380 on Apr 9. The six which have been at Titchfield Haven for some time were down to 4 on Apr 9 and have not been reported since and on Apr 12 two turned up at Pagham Harbour

White-front Goose: There were still 32,000 in the Netherlands on Apr 7 but only 16543 reported on Apr 12

Barnacle Goose: Still 44,000 in the Netherlands on Apr 13

Brent Goose: Biggest flock in southern England this week was 2800 passing Dungeness on Apr 10 but 3400 were in the Netherlands on Apr 13 (when Christchurch had 61 and there were 58 at Weston on Southampton Water).

Red-Breasted Goose: It seems very likely that the bird which left Farlington Marshes on Apr 5 was seen at the Oare Marshes in north Kent (with just 5 Brent) and then, an hour later, at Margate with 450 Brent all pressing on east.

Black Kite: Three reported sightings in southern England this week give raptor watchers somehting to look out for. One was near Brighton on Apr 8, another near Weymouth on Apr 9 (when perhaps 7 were seen in the Netherlands), another in Suffolk on Apr 11

Montagu's Harrier: A possible sighting was reported on Apr 8 near Dorchester in Dorset.

Osprey: I have now picked up 49 reports since the first in Cornwall on Feb 27 but the first local bird, seen over Langstone Harbour on Apr 12, deserves a mention.

Curlew Sandpiper: A bird that was wintering on the Exe estuary in Devon from Jan 19 to Apr 1 has not been seen there since but one turned up on Brownsea Island on Apr 6 and was then seen at the Hayling Oysterbeds on Apr 7 before two were reported at Lymington on Apr 10

Skuas: These are now starting to move up the English Channel in flocks with 47 Arctic at Cap Gris-nex on Apr 10 and 64 Bonxies passing Seaford on Apr 10 (no current Pomarine passage)

Arctic Tern: These started to appear in sea watching reports this week with two in the Scillies on Apr 8, four off Hastings on Apr 9 and two at Seaford on Apr 12.

Hoopoe: One has been at Portland on Apr 7 and 10, in Cornwall on Apr 9 and in Belgium on Apr 12

Wood Lark: Of local interest one was in the Stansted East Park on Apr 11

Yellow Wagtail: Birds of Hampshire tells us that as recently as the 1980s up to 15 pairs could be expected to breed at Farlington Marshes but nowadays we are lucky to see one there during spring passage and that was achieved this year on Apr 9. The only sites to have more than one bird so far this year are Portland (with 2 on Apr 11) and Christchurch (with 4 on Apr 13).

Waxwing: A few are still around - peaks this week have been 28 at Romsey on Apr 11, 15 at Chideok in Dorset on Apr 8, 15 in Stoneham between Eastleigh and Southampton on Apr 9 when there were still 11 at Exeter. A report of 43 in the Kent Stour valley on Apr 7 seems to be of birds passing through on their way east.

Red-flanked Bluetail: The first (and only) bird to get a mention this year was in Norfolk on Apr 10

Black Redstart: RBA reported a total of 59 in the UK on Apr 9.

Common Redstart: These have been seen since Apr 3 and Portland had 13 on Apr 11. On Apr 12 one was seen by the stream which feeds Langstone Mill Pond.

Stonechat: A sign that these are now returning to coastal breeding sites was the appearance of 11 at Christchurch Harbour on Apr 11.

Ring Ouzel: These continue to pour into England with a UK Total known to RBA of 56 birds on Apr 9 (these are the birds reported to RBA as 'rare' and the number is likely to greatly underestimate the real population). Locally one was seen at Stoughton village (source of River Ems) on Apr 8.

Migrant Thrushes: Both Fieldfare and Redwing are still being seen in flocks of several hundred and both species have been heard in chattering subsong as they psyche themselves up for passage. There have also been numerous reports of Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Robins apparently arriving in this country from the continent which seems to contradict the idea that all the European birds come here for the winter and presumably should now be heading back (not arriving) but maybe I have misunderstood where these birds have come from and are going to.

Pallas' Warbler: The bird in the Eversley area on the Hants/Berks border was still there on Apr 11.

Willow Warbler: By Apr 9 a count of 70 newly arrived migrants was made in south Devon and on Apr 12 Martin Cade estimated a fall of 500 had occurred at Portland.

Red-breasted Flycatcher: On Apr 11 a lady approached the sea watchers at Selsey with a photo and asked them what the bird was that she had just seen in her garden. Apparently the photo showed a Red-breasted Flycatcher but as no one asked the lady her name and address it was impossible to track the bird down for confirmation!

Pied Flycatcher: One definitely seen at Portland on Apr 11 but so far no others have been seen.

Great Grey Shrike: Still present this week at Morden Bog near Poole Harbour on Apr 6, at Bishop's Dyke in the New Forest on Apr 7, and at Wyke Down in north east Dorset on Apr 12.

Chaffinch: Very large numbers on the move this week - 157000 in Belgium on Apr 8, 80,000 to 100,000 in the Netherlands on Apr 9, and more than 5,000 at Sandwich Bay on Apr 12.

Serin: A couple had been seen in March (in Cornwall on Mar 24 and in Belgium on Mar 25 but this week one reached the Isle of Wight on Apr 6 and two were at Christchurch Harbour on Mar 10 when another was at Sandy Point on Hayling.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Brimstone: At least 12 seen in Hants and Sussex between Apr 4 and 11 (but onlu reported this week).

Large White: Caterpillars which had been taken into a Brighton garden potting shed last autumn started to emerge as butterflies on Apr 11.

Small White: Adults had been seen in January and March but one emerging in Apr 7 at Lewes was at a more normal first date and may be followed by others.

Green Hairstreak: A female seen at Titchfield Haven on Apr 11 has been recorded as the first anywhere in Britain (to check on the first appearance of any species go to http://butterfly-conservation.org/52/first-sightings-2013.html

Red Admiral: Just two seen in Sussex this week

Small Tortoiseshell: 16 sightings this week including one at Brook Meadow in Emsworth - at least 45 individuals have been seen since the first appeared on Jan 1. It certainly seems that this butterfly is recovering from a severe crash in numbers which started in 2003 and is thought to be caused, at least in part, by a fly called Sturmia Bella which lays its eggs in Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars causing the death of the caterpillar as the fly larva eats its innards. For more on this fly (which only arrived in this country around 1990) see http://chrisraper.org.uk/blog/?p=283

Peacock: At least six sightings this week including one on my front path on Apr 14

Comma: At least 17 seen this week.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the normal list of moth sightings given below with links to the websites giving background info about those species here is a list of what I believe to be 'First of the Year' reports

288 (White-triangle Slender), Caloptilia stigmatella : First of year in Dorset on Apr 2.

1984 Humming Bird Hawkmoth, Macroglossum stellatarum : The first I have heard of was photographed on Apr 2 nectaring on Daffodils in a Brighton garden.

2186 Powdered Quaker, Orthosia gracilis : First was in a Dorset trap on Apr 2.

2188 Clouded Drab, Othosia incerta: Trapped on Apr 10 at Folkestone.

2189 Twin-spotted Quaker, Orthosia munda: Also trapped but in Dorset on Apr 8

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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

0288 (White-triangle Slender), Caloptilia stigmatella found in Dorset on APR 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6614

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0288.php

0663 (March Tubic), Diurnea fagella found in Kent on APR 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1945

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0663.php

0688 (Common Flat-body), Agonopterix heracliana found in Dorset on APR 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=755

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0688.php

1661 Orange Underwing Archiearis parthenias found in Hampshire on APR 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=871

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1661.php

1663 March Moth Alsophila aescularia found in Dorset on APR 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1873

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1663.php

1930 Oak Beauty Biston strataria found in Dorset on APR 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2639

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1930.php

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum found in Sussex on APR 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

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

2182 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda found in Kent on APR 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=347

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2182.php

2186 Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilis found in Dorset on APR 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2015

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2186.php

2187 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi found in Kent on APR 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3947

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2187.php

2188 Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta found in Kent on APR 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1979

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2188.php

2189 Twin-spotted Quaker Orthosia munda found in Dorset on APR 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1940

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2189.php

2190 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica found in Kent on APR 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2001

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2190.php

2237 Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus found in Kent on APR 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5016

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2237.php

2243 Early Grey Xylocampa areola found in Dorset on APR 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6184

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2243.php

2256 The Satellite Eupsilia transversa found in Dorset on APR 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1797

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2256.php

2258 The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii found in Dorset on APR 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1105

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2258.php

Other Insects

Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius): Queen out feeding (just feeding herself hence no pollen baskets on her legs for the collection of food for others in the nest) on Apr 8 at Galley Hill (Bexhill) where the first Mining Bees were also active.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

New Moss Species: See http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2013/4/8/rare-moss-found-at-rye-harbour.html for an account of a "new to England" Moss species found at Rye Harbour on Apr 8

Meadow Buttercup: I had my first sight of the flower-buds of this species for the year on Apr 8 at the A27 Underpass 'Emsworth Wayside site'

Stinking Hellebore: Also on Apr 8 at the same A27 underpass site I found a large bush of this in full flower on the edge of the sliproad coming down from the westbound A27. I am surprised that I have not noticed it before and also by how it managed to get there.

Spotted Medick: First flowers of the year also found at the A27 Underpass on Apr 8.

Rue-leaved Saxifrage: Several plants in flower at the Pallant Carpark in Havant by Apr 14. Look for them on the pavement beside the north wall of the Gazebo building and on that wall and the wall separating the public carpark from the private one belonging to the Bear Hotel.

Alexanders: Although this was flowering on Portsdown on Feb 4 the plants along Thornham Lane on Thorney Island were only just starting to flower in Apr 8.

Scarlet Pimpernel: Reported flowering at Durlston on Apr 8 but I have yet to see or hear of it elsewhere.

Slender Speedwell: Just one early plant flowering in Havant St Faith's churchyard on Apr 9.

Early Forget-me-not (Myosotis ramosissima): Flowering at Durlston on Apr 8.

Green Alkanet: First flowers on garden escape plants in Havant on Apr 11.

Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria): Found and photographed in West Dean Woods near Chichester on by Graeme Lyons on Apr 13 when checking on the Wild Daffodils which grow there and which he also reports on - see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/teeth-and-brains.html

Good Friday Grass (Luzula Campestris): This now covers much of my lawn and is so unexciting that I have not reported its start of flowering this year - on Apr 11 it had been in full flower for several days.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Pipistrelle bat: These were seen flying in midday sun at both Portland and at Emsworth on Apr 2 and 3. One theory to explain this was the shortage of insect food in recent cold nights, leaving the bats (hungrier than usual after only recently emerging from hibernation) needing to feed during the day when more insects were flying.

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Apr 1 - 7 (Week 14 of 2013)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: The highest count of Red-Throated on our side of the Channel this week was just 78 at Hastings on Apr 6 but Apr 3 saw a potential total of 4575 from three Netherlands sites. We still had 9 Black-Throated down in Cornwall against a peak of 15 at Cap Gris-Nez and 9 Great Northern at Selsey on Mar 29 but there was no doubt a much higher number hidden in the 599 'Diver Species' at a Netherlands site on Apr 4. Cornwall still had its lone Pacific Diver at Mounts Bay on Apr 1.

Grebes: No reports of Great Crested rafts on the sea this week but single birds heading east were reported from Emsworth, Eastbourne and Selsey. Red-Necked were seen at several sites and if you are unfamiliar with their plumage have a look at http://chog.org.uk/Sightings%20Photos/2013/April%202013/Red_necked_Grebe_040413.jpg. At least 15 Slavonian were still at Falmouth on Apr 1 with 8 in Portland Harbour on Apr 3 and one off Lymington on Apr 5. The last report of a Black-Necked at the Hayling Oysterbeds was on Mar 29 but there were still four at the Blashford Lakes on Apr 3 and two in Dorset (Shell Bay) on Apr 5.

Bittern: Singles still being seen at Penzance and Eastbourne plus four Dorset sites this week.

Little Egret: The first serious sign that these have not abandoned Langstone Mill Pond as a nest site came on Apr 6 when I found that the token presence of ten birds seen there at dusk on Mar 29 had increased to at least 24.

Purple Heron: The first report of these back in the Netherlands from their African winter quarters was reported on Mar 31 - none have yet been seen on our side of the Channel

White Stork: These started to return to northern Europe on Feb 17 but it was not until Apr 6 that one was seen across the Channel at Dungeness.

Glossy Ibis: The bird which left Warblington on Mar 22 was not reported again until Mar 30 when it turned up at the Arundel Wetland Centre but by Apr 1 it had flown up the Arun to Pulborough but did not stay there and has not yet been seen again.

Spoonbill: The bird that was at Farlington Marshes until Mar 28 has not been seen thers again but the five that have been at Titchfield Haven since Mar 21 were still there on Apr 7 with perhaps 20 more birds scattered through southern England.

Brent Goose: The evening of Apr 6 with clear skies and little wind seemed an ideal opportunity for any remaining migrant geese to start their journey east and I feel sure that a party of around 200 which I saw heading east over Langstone at sunset in loose and ever changing Vs (as if jockeying for good positions to settle down for a long haul) were so doing. As I write this at midday on Apr 7 I know that there were 55 Brent still in Southampton Water at 07:30 this morning (but there are usually late flocks passing almost until the end of April) and I also know that at least one birder has been to Farlington Marshes this morning and seen a Marsh Harrier without mentioning the presence of Brent or the more 'newsworthy' Red-breasted Goose (which has not had a mention since Apr 5) so while I cannot say that the majority of the Brent and the Red-Breasted Goose have now left I think there is a good chance that they have. Further confirmation of a mass departure comes from Sussex with reports of 4035 Brent passing Selsey between 4pm and 7pm (well before the flock I saw would have got that far east) and reports of 3000+ from at least two other sites. Sadly the Dungeness site has been off the air since Apr 2 but Trektellen has news for this morning of 1350 Brent passing over one Netherlands site (the majority of the birds will probably have left the Northerlands behind before dawn). One final sign that last night marked a change in the seasons is news of the first Sedge Warbler singing in Sussex (River Adur) this morning and the first Chiff-chaffs singing as that pass up the old Hayling Billy rail line past my house this morning.

Red-breasted Goose: The Farlington bird not reported since Apr 5

Green-winged Teal: The Lymington bird last reported on Apr 5

Mallard: After the early report of a family of ducklings in Devon on Jan 5 we now have a more timely report of a family of ten ducklings at the same site (Thurlstone Bay) on Mar 31.

Smew: One male was still at Bramshill Plantation in north Hampshire on Apr 1.

Pallid Harrier: One reported in Surrey on Mar 31.

Osprey: Seven reports from southern England this week including one pssing through Southampton Docks on Apr 6

Hobby: After the first for the year in Dorset on Mar 25 two more reports from that county this week (possibily the same bird)

Stone Curlew: Three more brief sightings this week - one at Exmouth in Devon, another on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour and the last at Cogden on Chesil Beach near Abbotsbury.

Little Ringed Plover: These seem more numerous than usual with a count of 27 at the Avon Causeway south of Ringwood and 11 together on the Exminster Marshes.

Killdeer: One in Donegal on Mar 29.

Dotterel: Four seen on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall on Apr 2 became 4 on Apr 5. I have not been able to discover if this is an unusually early date but my inbuilt knowledge suggests that (at least in Hampshire) one should expect Dotterel in May and look for them in 'bean fields' so maybe these are a month earlier than usual.

Curlew Sandpiper: As far as I am aware the only Curlew Sandpiper seen in England this year has beem one in the Exmouth area, seen a dozen times between Jan 19 and Apr 1 but I see today that there may well have been one among the 200 Black-tailed Godwit which I saw on Hayling Island (Texaco Bay) last night as it was seen at midday today (Apr 7) with Godwits at the Hayling Oysterbeds before flying towards Langstone Bridge where the Godwits were feeding last night.

Purple Sandpiper: The highest count at Southsea Castle this winter was 21 birds recorded there on both Apr 2 and 4

Cuckoo: Two reports so far - one from north Devon near Bideford on Mar 29 and another from south Devon on Mar 31.

Little Owl: Of local interest there have now been three sightings of the pair which breed near the Hayling Oysterbeds on Apr 2, 4 and 6 so if anyone wants to see one they have a good chance of doing so in the trees immediately east of the Hayling Billy line roughly opposite the vehicle entrance to the Oysterbeds area.

Wryneck: A 'possible only' sighting in east Devon on Apr 2 would be the first in England for this year.

Yellow Wagtail: The first report for this year was of one in Poole Harbour on Apr 1 and this has been followed by six more individual birds (including one at the Blashford Lakes in Hampshire with others in Cornwall and at Portland) by Apr 5.

Waxwing: Only three sites still reporting them this week - up to 27 at Stoneham near Eastleigh in Hants, up to 20 at Romsey, and more than 40 at Topsham in Devon.

Bluethroat: On Apr 2 RBA reported a total of 5 in Britain but the only sites I know of where they were seen this week were Portland and the Isle of Wight (St Helens Duver).

Black Redstart: RBA reported a total of 58 birds in the UK on Mar 30 and I doubt the number has diminished since then.

Ring Ouzel: These continue to pour into Britain with RBA reporting a total of 40 known to them on Mar 30 to which were added one at Nutbourne (east of Emsworth) on Mar 31 and another at Warblington (west of Emsworth) on Apr 1 when another 6 were at Portland.

Fieldfare: Reports this week included 300 at Beacon Hill in the Meon Valley on Apr 2

Redwing: Peak count for the week was of 200 at Nursling near Southampton on Apr 6.

Mistle Thrush: The bird which I heard in full song by Wade Lane at Langstone on Mar 19 was probably the same which I saw in a field near the Royal Oak on Apr 2.

Reed Warbler: First and so far only report for the year is of one at Hook near Warsash on Apr 3.

Sedge Warbler: Also first and only report is of one singing by the R. Adur near Lancing College on the morning of Apr 7.

Nuthatch: Of local interest the bird which was heard in old trees beside Wade Court Road in Havant during the breeding season last year has been heard there again on Jan 30 and Apr 2.

Great Grey Shrike: Still present at two Dorset sites this week (Morden Bog and Wyke Down) up to Apr 5 and seen at Bishops Dyke in the New Forest on Apr 7.

Raven: Again of local interest the pair nesting on an electricity pylon at Paulsgrove Chalk Pit are copying a pair which also used an electricity pylon just north of Horndean last year and again this year.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Red Admiral: One at Titchfield Haven on Apr 2.

Painted Lady: One in the Scillies on Mar 30.

Small Tortoiseshell: Six reports this week including one at Brook Meadow in Emsworth where none were seen last year

Peacock: Just one this week at Durlston on Apr 6.

Comma: Four reports this week, three on Apr 2 from Gosport and the Isle of Wight, and one from Emsworth on Apr 6.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

In addition to the normal list of moth sightings given below with links to the websites giving background info about those species here is a list of what I believe to be 'First of the Year' reports

No new species 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 and a third source is available. 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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1. Open a new TAB alongside the one you are using

2. Copy the http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ URL into the new TAB address bar and press ENTER to open the Sussex Moth site

3. When you come to a species in my list below for which you want to check the Sussex status

4 Refer to the second line of my entry for the species (the link to the Hantsmoths site) and obtain the moth number (preceding the '.php') from it taking care to ignore any leading zeroes but to include any terminal letter suffiix (e.g. from .../0366a.php you get a moth number 366a )

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

6. Click on the box saying "Name or B&F?" under the Species Search heading on the left side of the page

7. Enter the Moth Number (properly known as the B&F or Bradley and Fletcher number) in this box, then press ENTER - this will bring up the data for the species in the right hand side of the page

Species recorded this week:

0663 (March Tubic), Diurnea fagella found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1945

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0663.php

1659 Yellow Horned Achlya flavicornis found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5117

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1659.php

1663 March Moth Alsophila aescularia found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1873

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1663.php

1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata found in Dorset on MAR 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=123

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1862.php

1930 Oak Beauty Biston strataria found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2639

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1930.php

1934 Dotted Border Agriopis marginaria found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3940

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1934.php

1960 Early Moth Theria primaria found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6078

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1960.php

2182 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=347

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2182.php

2190 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2001

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2190.php

2256 The Satellite Eupsilia transversa found in Dorset on MAR 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1797

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2256.php

Other Insects

Eristalis pertinax hoverfly: First of year at Rye Harbour on Apr 5

Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris): One seen at Rye Harbour on Apr 5

Pride of Kent (Emus hirtus): A rare and strange insect seen by Graeme Lyons at Elmley Marshes on the Isle of Sheppey and looking like a Devils Coachhorse Beetle wearing the hair covering of a Bumblebee. Although the sighting described took place ten years ago it is still worth reading Graeme's account and seeing his photo at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-pride-of-kent.html in case you should ever come across this rarity.

Lesser Bloody Nosed Beetle (Timarcha goettingenis): First of the year reported at Durlston on Apr 3.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Wood Anemone: Although these had been first reported at Waterlooville on Mar 12 I have seen no further reports until Mar 29 when Brian Fellows saw them in woods near East Ashling (east of Funtington)

Yellow Croydalis: This common garden escape started to flower in my garden on Apr 3.

Thale Cress: First flowers seen in Havant on Apr 3.

Common Dog Violet: First report from Durlston on Apr 3.

Ground Ivy: First flowers seen on Apr 2 where I usually find them on the corner of Pook Lane at Warblington outside the Old Rectory.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Hare: First report of boxing Hares comes from Great Litchfield Down by the A34 in north Hampshire on Apr 2

Fish: The Durlston rangers diary for Mar 30 says that Cod and Whiting are now spawning and that the first Mackerel and Black Bream have been caught.

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


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