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WEEKLY SUMMARY


Summary for Sep 24 - 30 (Week 39 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

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Red-throated Diver: We have now had eight separate reports of these since Sep 18 between Sandown on the IoW and Christhurch Harbour in Dorset - on Sep 25 two were seen at Sandown and two (maybe the same) at Christchurch. On Sep 28 and adult was seen feeding a juvenile off Titchfield Haven.

Black-necked Grebe: After early sightings in Hampshire (Fleet Pond and Langstone Harbour) on Aug 24 , and in the Sussex Ouse Valley (Sep 9) and in the Dungeness area on Aug 29 and Sep 15, there have been no further reports until now (Sep 28) when one was on the sea at Studland Bay in Dorset near the mouth of Poole Harbour.

Sooty Shearwater: On Sep 24 one was seen in Hampshire waters off Barton on Sea (Portland has recorded as many as 27 of them on Sep 20)

Leach's Petrel: Despite the many Storm Petrels that have been in the Channel this summer a Leach's Petrel seen passing St Catherine's Point (IoW) on Sep 21 was the first to be reported since January

Little Egret: On the evening of Sep 28 Barry Collins counted 125 entering the night roost in trees a little north of the Thorney Little Deeps.

Great White Egret: In addition to the 'regular' bird at the Blashford Lakes (last reported on Sep 27) two birds (presumably new in from the continent) arrived over Pilsey Island in Chichester Harbour and continued north to land by the central Great Deeps on Thorney Island. After spending the day feeding there they joined the Little Egrets in their night roost in a small copse north of the Little Deeps (and south of Marina Farm)

Spoonbill: Four were still in Poole Harbour on Sep 28 and two were still at Ttichfield Haven on Sep 29. One which flew over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 29 may have been one of the Poole Harbour birds or a new arrival.

Pink Foot Goose: On Sep 26 a party of 14 flew north west over Sandwich Bay on the east Kent coast and were seen again over the Stour valley near Canterbury. On Sep 27 what was presumably a second party of 20 arriving from the continent flew north over Rye Harbour

Canada Goose: On Sep 25 what sounded like a couple of Canada x Greylag hybrids were at the Lower Test and on Sep 23 a 'half size' Canada (minima race) was at the Thorney Deeps

Barnacle Goose: On Sep 26 a flock of 48 were reported flying north over Newhaven up the Sussex Ouse valley - at a guess these are feral birds or newly escaped rather than wild arrivals from the Arctic which normally winter no further south than Scotland

Brent Goose: The very first migrant seems to have reached Britain (Dungeness) on Sep 12 and the first small flock of around 20 was in Langstone Harbour on Sep 13 but the first news of a large flock (153 birds) came from Chichester Harbour on Sep 28. On Sep 29 I found a similar number (in excess of 120 birds) in Langstone Harbour.

Wigeon: These too have now started to arrive in force with over 400 in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 27 (over 100 at Lodmoor, Weymouth, that day). Around 200 were on the Blashford Lakes at Ringwood on Sep 28 and 'hundreds' were seen flying in at Lymington on Sep 29

Mallard: One female had a new brood of a dozen tiny ducklings on Langstone Pond this week

Garganey: Four were still with us this week - One at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Sep 23, one at Weymouth (Lodmoor) on Sep 26, one at Horsham (Warnham Mill Pond) on Sep 27 and one at Shell Bay (just outside Poole Harbour entrance, so probably en route south) on Sep 28

Goldeneye: A female in Chichester Harbour (off Pilsey Island) on Sep 28 can be regarded as the first of the winter (one in Poole Harbour on Sep 3 could well have been lurking there during the summer)

Red-breasted Merganser: One in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 28 seems to have been second of the winter following one flying west past Selsey Bill on Sep 19

Marsh Harrier: Anywhere east and north of the Rye Bay area Marsh Harriers are now almost as common as Buzzards are in the rest of southern England but one flying west over Langstone Harbour on Sep 27 was an exciting addition to the Greater Yellowlegs for Jason Crook

Hen Harrier: One seen over Rempstone Heath (west shore of Poole Harbour) on Sep 23 was the first of the winter in Dorset but there have been sightings in Sussex (Selsey area on Aug 21), Isle of Wight (Newtown on Aug 25) and Hampshire (Barton on Sea on Sep 16). This week brought a ringtail over Langstone Harbour on Sep 27 and maybe the same bird over Thorney Island on Sep 28

Osprey: Two were still at Thorney Deeps on Sep 23

Corncrake: One flushed at Portland Bill on Sep 23 was the second of the autumn there after one on Sep 9

Common Crane: On Sep 25 one was seen twice over the Pannel Valley near Rye - it should probably have been migrating across Europe and had accidentally found itself on the wrong side of the Channel. Another had been seen briefly at Dungeness on Sep 18. At this time of year thousands of Cranes are moving southwest across Europe from breeding areas in the Siberian taiga to wintering areas in Spain.

Knot: A count of 120 in Pagham Harbour on Sep 25 was the first 100+ report from there this winter (we have had 350 on the Pilsey Sands on Sep 20)

Little Stint: Fourteen reports this week from nine sites. On Sep 28 one was at the Sidlesham Ferry Pool (Pagham) and on Sep 29 one was at Titchfield Haven with another four on the Lymington marshes.

Pectoral Sandpiper: An isolated report of one at Abbotsbury near Weymouth on Sep 26

Curlew Sandpiper: Among many current reports news of three at the Bunny Meadows site (on the R Hamble immediately north of Warsash) on Sep 24 was of local interest as being slightly unusual. A count of 9 together at the Lymington marshes on Sep 25 was equal highest of the autumn with a count of 9 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 22

Purple Sandpiper: One was back in the Bembridge Foreland area (IoW) on Sep 23, more than a month after the first of the autumn showed up at Southsea Castle. Others have already been seen in the Hurst area near Lymington, at Portland and at Christchurch Harbour where 8 were seen flying east (coming our way?) on Sep 28

Jack Snipe: First report of the autumn came from Christchurch Harbour on Sep 28

Whimbrel: Their main autumn passage is over by mid-September but stragglers can be seen in October and even November so the singles seen this week at Portland, Pagham, Lymington and Fishbourne (Chichester) may or may not be staying for the winter. This summer the only flocks seen on autumn passage were moving through our area in mid-July and there have been no reports of more than three together in September

Greater Yellowlegs: The BTO had only 18 records of this North American species since 1954 (there were earlier records - the first was found at the Scillies in 1906), and none since 2002, when one flew in to spend 15 minutes at Baston and Langtoft pits in Lincolnshire on the evening of Sep 25. That bird flew off south west overland and was almost certainly the bird which landed in front of Jason Crook and Kevin Crisp at the Farlington Marshes lake at 15:10 on Sep 26. They had an even shorter time to see it than the Lincolnshire birder had had before it flew out into Langstone harbour but at 18:50 it came back to the lake and remained there until it was dark, giving elusive views. Next morning it was seen to leave before it was light enough to get good views or photos and it has not been seen since. Back in Aug a Yellowlegs was reported to have been in the Brands Bay area of Poole Harbour on Aug 20 and 21 but that is more likely to have been the slightly commoner Lesser Yellowlegs.

Grey Phalarope: There were two sightings in Dorset last week on Sep 20 and 22 and this week one flew past Selsey Bill on Sep 25

Long-tailed Skua: One (probably a juvenile) seems to have loitered in the east Solent from Sep 23 to Sep 27 at least

Little Gull: A sharp increase in numbers brought 50 to Dungeness on Sep 23 but so far this batch have not been seen futher west along our coast

Kittiwake: Large numbers started to pour out of the North Sea into the Channel on Sep 19 when 162 were off Dungeness and 250 were seen at Portland. They were still coming through on Sep 23 when 150 were seen at Dungeness and 31 went past St Catherine's Point (IoW)

Little Tern: A late straggler was off Dungeness on Sep 24 and another was seen there on Sep 29

Black Tern: A juvenile was off Titchfield Haven (and another off Dungeness) on Sep 24, and three were at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 25

Razorbill: Five new reports show that these are starting to appear in our waters. Two were seen from St Catherine's Point (IoW) on Sep 23 and three were at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 28

Little Auk: One was off Dungeness on Sep 29 but got no further as it was killed by a Greater Blackback gull

Collared Dove: I have no idea how many come to us across the Channel as winter migrants but I see that two were seen to come in off the sea at Dungeness on Sep 27

Turtle Dove: What may have been the last to leave was seen at Dungeness on Sep 25

Short Eared Owl: After a single early sighting at Truleigh Hill on the Sussex Downs on Sep 1 the next did not show until Sep 26 at Portland followed by one at Cissbury Ring on the Sussex Downs on Sep 28

Wryneck: Two late sightings could have been of the same bird - first spotted on the Farlington seawall on Sep 25 it made its next brief appearance at Sandown (IoW) on Sep 29

Woodlark: At least four were still in their summer haunts in the Ashdown Forest up to Sep 26 and what seems to have been the first coastal sighting was on Sep 28 on Christchurch Harbour

Sand Martin: 270 went south over Dungeness on Sep 23 when there was a major hirundine exodus but there were still 100+ at the Blashford Lakes on Sep 28

Swallow: On Sep 23 Dungeness reported 6000 leaving us while Christchurch Harbour had 2400 and Portland 750. 1800 were still moving over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 28

House Martin: Dungeness had 1200 leaving on Sep 23 with smaller numbers elsewhere (Pannel Valley reported a night roost of 10,000 hirundines there that night and in my own Havant garden I had the impression that more than 20 birds spent the night in trees close by - see my diary entry for Sep 24 below). Those were by no means the last - Christchurch Harbour reported 14,000 on Sep 26 and 2,200 next day increasing to 6,700 on Sep 28 when 300+ were over Warblington here in Havant that evening. Also on Sep 28 an estimated 1800 hirundines were over the Pagham North Walls area

Rock Pipit: The first of the winter to appear at Farlington Marshes was seen by Jason Crook on Sep 27 and two showed up on Pilsey Island in Chichester Harbour on Sep 28

Water Pipit: A 'possible only' at Farlington Marshes on Sep 29 - the earliest ever for Hampshire was on 26 Sep 1993 though they normally do not arrive until mid-October (in 2006 the first reached Hampshire on Oct 23)

Yellow Wagtail: These are still being seen daily at a number of coastal sites but there have been no two digit counts since Sep 17 (when 25 went over Portland) and that was a sharp drop from 100+ roosting at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Sep 16

Grey Wagtail: The appearance of one on Sep 25 beside the tiny Westbrook stream feeding the Town Millpond in the centre of Emsworth is an indication that the passage birds which have been on the move since at least Aug 25 are now settling in winter quarters - perhaps we will soon have one or more back in central Havant as we usually do in the winter

Alba Wagtail: Most of the passage Wagtails seen on the coast at this time cannot be separated into White and Pied and are recorded as 'Alba Wagtails'. On Sep 26 Portland recorded 150 of these and Christchurch Harbour had 145

Robin: It seems that Robins are now arriving from the continent in large numbers. On Sep 26 there were 50 at Portland with 50+ on Sep 27 and on Sep 29 there were 88 on West High Down near the Needles (IoW)

Stonechat: The count at Portland was up to 65 on Sep 27

Ring Ouzel: 12 reports between Sep 22 and 29, all sightings of 3 or less birds except for a group of 11 birds at Portland on Sep 29

Blackbird: A hint of the numbers arriving in this country for the winter is seen on a count of 35 on the open high ground of the IoW West High Down on Sep 29

Fieldfare: Other than an odd sighting of one in a Ropley garden near Alton on July 24 and 26 the first of the winter was seen on the Isle of Wight on Sep 29 (just one bird)

Song Thrush: A flock of 111 migrants was reported from the Lytchett Bay area of Poole Harbour on Sep 28 with an estimated 60 on Portland that day and 85 at Dungeness on Sep 29

Redwing: 17 reports since Sep 27 starting with 37 at Horsham on Sep 27, then 30 at Portland on Sep 28 and a total of 153 in the Stockbridge area that day and 125 at Dungeness on Sep 29

Blackcap: This seems to be the only passerine species moving in large numbers in the past few days - on Sep 23 the count at Beachy Head was 400 and the Pannel Valley near Rye recorded 100+ that day. There were still 100 at Portland on Sep 29

Yellow-browed Warbler: First of the autumn were 3 which turned up at Portland on Sep 28

Chiffchaff: These were also moving in force though the Sep 23 count at Beachy Head was only 100 and the highest counts this week have been on Sep 27 when Portland had 150 and Christchurch had 115

Red Breasted Flycatcher: Singles had been at Portland on June 19 and 23 but the only other report that I have seen for this year is of one also at Portland on Sep 29

Bearded Tit: A count of 40 seen at the Thorney Deeps on Sep 23 is the first indication that these birds are beginning their autumn journeyings. I think numbers like this, although they may be present in the reeds through the summer after successful breeding, are not seen by birders until the birds feel the urge to disperse and start to fly up into the air above the reeds as they psyche themselves up to fly off into the great unknown.

Rose Coloured Starling (now 'Rosy Pastor'): a juvenile has been in the Pennington marshes area near Lymington from Sep 23 to 26 at least. The only other report of this species I have seen this year was also in the Lymington area on June 10 (that was an adult)

Chaffinch: Autumn movement of these birds is now under way with counts of 43 and 71 seen moving across the Isle of Wight on Sep 22. By Sep 27 1400+ went over the Dungeness area. Interestingly the start of this movement was marked with the arrival of a female in my own garden on Sep 18 - reports from elsewhere started to come in from Sep 22 onwards when the week end birders got on the case.

Brambling: First of the autumn was over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 26, followed by sightings at Dungeness and Horsham on Sep 27 and at Christchurch and Portland on Sep 28 (max count of 9 at Portland)

Siskin: 28 new reports in the past few days show that these are now on the move on a broad front with a max count of 317 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 28 when birds which had been passing west over the Blashford Lakes at Ringwood for about a week started to settle in the Alders there. Redpolls and Reed Buntings are also becoming frequent entries in the current news.

Bullfinch: The first report of these as passage birds comes from Weymouth on Sep 27 when a total of 27 flew north.

INSECTS

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Butterflies

Green Veined White: One seen at Browndown on Sep 25 may be a further example of an unexpected third brood (a fresh male was reported from Sussex on Sep 21)

Small Copper: Reports of these from the Isle of Wight, Beachy Head and Durlston in the past few days - Durlston comment that these are now fresh third brood insects.

Common Blue: These are also now third brood insects, reported from the Isle of Wight, Noar Hill, Beachy Head, Keyhaven and Browndown (Gosport)

Chalkhill Blue: Five very late specimens seen at Brook Down, IoW, on Sep 22 with 3 Adonis Blues there

Wall Brown: Five third brood insects at Brook Down on Sep 22 and at least one at Durlston on Sep 26. On Sep 27 a total of ten were seen in the Lymington Keyhaven area

Grayling: A late specimen at Browndown (Gosport) on Sep 18

Gatekeeper: Four exceptionally late ones at Brook Down, IoW, on Sep 22

Moths

Clifden Nonpareil: First report for the year from the Pannel Valley, Rye Bay, on Sep 23

Other Insects

Gymnosoma rotundatum: Once more the Rye Bay website has added a new insect to my knowledge. A photo of this fly appeared on the website on Sep 29 with news that several of the same species had been seen recently around Peasmarsh (a village on the A268 three miles west of Rye). This fly is one of a group known as Tachinid parasites described on page 212 of my copy of Michael Chinery's Collins Guide to Insects but this species is not mentioned there. The photo shows it to have a rosy pink abdomen and further research shows that it lays its eggs in Shield Bug type insects - while its young are eating the insides of the bug the adults are delicately sipping nectar, with a preference for yellow coloured flowers.

Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae): This is not the first year I have been made aware of this bee through the Rye Bay website - the species has only recenlty appeared in Britain but now has a strong foothold on cliffs at Hastings where an estimated 2000 insects have been seen recently.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Field Pennycress: Still flowering on the Warren Down stables dungheap at Forestside (north of Stansted Forest) on Sep 25

Lucerne: Still flowering on the west shore of Hayling near Saltmarsh Lane on Sep 29

Dog Rose: The outburst of second flowering which started in mid-August was over soon after Sep 7 so I was surprised to see a single flower out on a bush at Langstone on Sep 29

Sweet Chestnut: Many spiny fruits had fallen to the ground in local woods by Sep 27

Sea Holly: The flowers on most plants are now dead but Brian Fellows found fresh buds on plants at the Eastney shore in Portsmouth on Sep 29

Round-leaved Fluellen: This was still flowering in the harvested arable fields of Stansted East Park when Brian Fellows was there on Sep 26 and I found both it and Sharp-leaved Fluellen there on Sep 27 though all the petals had fallen from the flowers of the latter.

Weasel's Snout (Lesser Snapdragon): Still flowering in the Havant New Lane allotments on Sep 24

Marjoram: Still flowering at Warren Down, Forestside, on Sep 25

Green Bristle Grass: Brian Fellows found this in Stansted East Park (where it was flourishing last autumn) on Sep 26

OTHER WILDLIFE

Dolphin species: One of these seen off Titchfield Haven on Sep 23

Seals: A Common Seal at Newtown Harbour (IoW) on Sep 25 and a Grey Seal in the Portsmouth area this week (photos of it catching and eating a fish appeared in the Portsmouth NEWS

Shews: When the Havant Wildlife Group were walking around Markwells Wood to the north east of Finchdean on Sep 22 they found a number of metal sheets lying on the ground. Lifting one revealed a large number of Common Shrews and under another they found a black and silver furred Water Shrew although the location was far from any water. I understand that while all Shrews can be found in damp places the Water Shrew is the only one that regularly enters water in search of prey, but it is equally happy on land and can be found (as in this case) on dry downland).

Roe Deer: These are a common sight in the countryside nowadays but I was surprised to read on the Rye Bay website that one has joined a herd of bullocks in a field near Hastings and can regularly be seen with them, even butting the bullocks from time to time

Grass Snake: These are now getting sluggish as the nights get cold and one disturbed at Rye Harbour on a recent morning had not got the energy to move away but could still hiss, inflate its body a little and emit a foul smell.


Summary for Sep 17 - 23 (Week 38 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Red-throated Diver: The first diver of the coming winter to be seen in Hampshire waters was a Red Throated seen by Bob Chapman on Sep 18 going west (leaving Hampshire) at Barton on Sea. Other than a couple of oddities (one at Christchurch Harbour on June 16 and one at Dungeness on July 3) this is the first Red Throated in the English Channel since May 21 though the 'diver species' seen passing Portland on Sep 7 may well have been Red Throated. Since then there have been sightings of three flying east past Milford on sea (west end of Solent) on Sep 19 and of one struggling to eat a large fish it had caught in the same area on Sep 22

Little Grebe: Of local interest there were three Little Grebe on Langstone Mill Pond on Sep 22 - I guess these were just passing as the species does not breed on the pond where there is little weed for them to eat.

Sooty Shearwater: Numbers on our side of the English Channel increased on Sep 19 to give 25 off Portland, where there were 27 on Sep 20 and 26 on Sep 21. Also on Sep 21 at least 18 were seen from Selsey Bill.

Manx Shearwater: There had been almost daily sightings of this species from May 2 to Aug 24 but they then disappeared for just over two weeks until 6 were seen off Dungeness on Sep 16 and 11 off Portland on May 19

Balearic Shearwater: Regarded as much less common than Manx, Balearic Shearwaters (which started regular appearance off our coast on May 29) seem to have had less of an autumn break in the continuity of their sightings, the only gap being from Sep 2 to 10. Latest sightings have been on Sep 16 at Portland, Dungeness (11 birds) and St Catherine's Point (IoW) followed by 2 more at Dungeness on Sep 17. On Sep 20 the count at Portland leapt up to 74 (there had been a peak of 117 there on July 8)

Storm Petrel: After this year's extraordinary run of sightings from May 7 to July 17 there was one sighting of four birds at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 15 and now comes another isolated sighting of a single bird seen from a boat in Lyme Bay on Sep 22

Gannet: This week has brought counts of 600+ off Dungeness on Sep 19 and 908 off Selsey Bill on Sep 21

Little Egret: For various reasons I have been unable to count the birds in the Langstone roost recently but Lee Evans told us on Hoslist that he came down to Thorney Island on Sep 8 and saw 118 go into a roost on Thorney Island that evening. Last year my peak counts at Langstone were 211+ on Sep 6 and 228 on Sep 19

Great White Egret: The ringed bird which was a regular sight at the Blashford Lakes last autumn and winter settled in there on Oct 1 after a couple of isolated sightings there on Sep 3 and 29. This year the same bird was seen there on Sep 16 and Sep 20 after a reported sighting (not necessarily of the same bird) on Sep 7 - we will have to wait for more reports to see if it settles again.

Spoonbill: The Titchfield Haven website had not been updated from Aug 3 until Sep 16 but we can now see that a single bird was there (with short gaps) right through the summer. There were a couple of isolated sightings on Mar 24 and Apr 5 before one turned up on May 16 and seems to have stayed until June 2. The next sighting was on July 13 but that disappeared after July 15. On Aug 11 one re-appeared and was there until Aug 26.There was then an isolated reported sighting on Sep 2 but no more sightings unti Sep 13 and this time the bird was still present on Sep 16 - since then there have been two at the Haven from Sep 19 to 22 at least. Elsewhere there were four birds in the Brownsea Island area of Poole Harbour until Sep 9 when they seem to have flown to Calshot at the mouth of Southampton Water on Sep 12 but they were back at Brownsea on Sep 16

Black Swan: A group of five birds (probably a family) turned up on the River Test at Redbridge (Southampton) early in September and this has revived a correspondence about the status of the species in Britain. Lee Evans contributed to this with .. "Many Australian Black Swans are now breeding 'ferally' in the UK, with as many as 45 pairs (including 'colonies' in Northamptonshire and Berkshire), whilst the individual numbers probably exceed 150 birds, including most likely immigrants from the Category C self-supporting populations in the Netherlands" .. but this takes no account of the (I suspect much larger) number in captivity. In the past I recall hearing of a large semi-wild population acting as a tourist attraction at Dawlish in Devon and that town's website includes the statement that .. "The Brook is the home to a great variety of ducks, swans and rare wildfowl. Black swans, swim gracefully along the river, gently guiding their cygnets as they navigate the river, and feed from the small weirs which interrupt the water's flow. You can view hatchlings in the specially constructed pens on the edge of the park. The whole area has a special feel to it, refreshing and tranquil". While this population may be one of the largest I think that possibly hundreds of lakes and ponds throughout Britain have one or more pairs and that some breed. The current discussion added one more site to those that I know of fairly locally - a breeding pair on a lake at the Hamptworth estate (just in Wiltshire but close to the northern boundary of the New Forest at Bramshaw Telegraph).

Brent Goose: Two birds landed on the Lymington marshes on Sep 16 and eight flew east past Gilkicker Point at Gosport on Sep 18. Since then the only reports have been from Christchurch Harbour (two west on Sep 19 and one seen on Sep 22)

Egyptian Goose: To add interest in the plastic wildfowl market a leucistic Egyptian Goose turned up at Pulborough Brooks on Sep 15

Shelduck: 17 were in the Thorney Island Great Deeps during the Sep 15 WeBS count and a juvenile was off Nore Barn at Emsworth on Sep 19

Mandarin: Maybe these have already completed their moult as there have been three reports of them this week - 5 at the Powdermill Reservoir north of Hastings on Sep 17, 22 on Weir Wood Reservoir in Sep 19 and three smart males on Eyeworth Pond in the New Forest on Sep 23

Wigeon: 600 were in the Thorney Island Great Deeps during the Sep 15 WeBS count

Gadwall: 53 were at Titchfield Haven on Sep 15

Teal: 120 were in the Thorney Island Great Deeps during the Sep 15 WeBS count

Mallard: A female had 12 tiny ducklings with her on Langstone Pond on Sep 22

Pintail: 14 were in the Thorney Island Great Deeps during the Sep 15 WeBS count and 31 were back at the Dungeness RSPB reserve at that time.

Garganey: Two were reported at the Dungeness RSPB reserve on Sep 17 with one at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Sep 22

Shoveler: 50 were back at Titchfield Haven on Sep 15 but the Dungeness RSPB reserve had 437 there on Sep 16

Eider: Spring sightings off Titchfield Haven ceased after Apr 24 when just one was seen. The next reported sighting was of three on Sep 2 but the count was up to 20 on Sep 9 and 23 on Sep 15. Off Lymington at the other end of the Solent between 25 and 30 were still present on June 28 and July 13 and fairly regular reports were made throughout August with 32 there on Aug 17 increasing to 38+ by Aug 27. Most recent reported sighting was on Sep 12.

Red Breasted Merganser: The first bird fo the winter flew west past Selsey Bill on Sep 19 - there had been summering birds at both Portland and on the Isle of Wight in early August but no reports since Aug 7

Hen Harrier: A ring-tail flew east into the Solent area past Barton on Sea on Sep 16. Although this is the first Hampshire report one was in the Selsey area on Aug 21 and maybe the same bird went to roost at the Brading Marshes (IoW) on Aug 25. On Sep 1 a female hunting over Pagham Harbour was reported as one of seven raptors seen in one visit to the harbour (the others were 6 Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Osprey, 4 Kestrels, 2 Hobbies and 2 Peregrines)

Buzzard: An interesting report from Titchfield Haven on Sep 15 said .. "There was an unusually high count of 16 Common Buzzards, 14 of which were observed heading eastwards"

Osprey: At the Thorney Deeps two were seen on Sep 15 and one on Sep 20

Red-legged Partridge: These are now being released in preparation for shoots and a sighting of 73 on farmland at Charlton (near Singleton below Goodwood Trundle) on Sep 18 will probably be matched in many other areas.

Grey Partridge: A pair was seen on Sep 20 at the Lewes Brooks with a single 'week old' chick. My book says that Partidges will lay a replacement clutch but gives the breeding season as ending in July

Common Crane: Although there had been 17 reports of Crane along the south coast between the end of January and mid June a report of one flying in to spend an evening at the Dungeness RSPB reserve on Sep 18 is the first since June 19

Ringed Plover: More than 80 were in a high tide roost on Sep 18 at the north west corner of Broadmarsh (Langstone Harbour) where the open space meets the A27

Golden Plover: Although there has been a flock in the Rye Bay area since Aug 7 with up to 127 there on Aug 21 only very small parties have been reported elsewhere (a party of 30 flying north over the IoW on Sep 4 being the only exception). On Sep 15, however, the WeBS count at the Thorney Great Deeps found 29 birds there (there were 108 at Rye Harbour that day).

Grey Plover: The Sep 15 WeBS count found 300+ on the Pilsey Sands in Chichester Harbour - also there were 87 Lapwing and 350 Knot.

Sanderling: A flock of 96 flew east past Gilkicker (Gosport) on Sep 18 was the highest count of the autumn so far after an isolated sighting of 172 on the Ryde Sands on Sep 2. Since writing that there has been an estimate of 130 at the Ryde Sands (IoW) on Sep 22

Pectoral Sandpiper: The single juvenile which arrived at Pulborough Brooks on Sep 12 was still there on Sep 18

Curlew Sandpiper: 21 recent sightings have come from 12 different sites including 5 birds seen at the Thorney Deeps on Sep 15 and a peak of 13 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 16

Redshank: The Sep 15 WeBS count at Thorney Deeps recorded 700 Redshank.

Greenshank:The Sep 15 WeBS count at Thorney Deeps recorded 60 Greenshank and on Sep 18 seven birds were in Emsworth Harbour.

Wood Sandpiper: A single juvenile was in the flooded pony field beside the Thorney Main Road from Sep 15 to Sep 20 at least

Common Sandpiper: A group of three were in the mouth of the Harmitage Stream by the Broadmarsh slipway in Langstone Harbour on Sep 18

Grey Phalarope: One stopped off in Christchurch Harbour for 10 minutes on Sep 20 before flying east, and on Sep 22 one was seen from a boat in Lyme Bay

Pomarine Skua: Two off Dungeness on Sep 17, one off Milford on sea on Sep 19 and one in Lyme Bay on Sep 22

Arctic Skua: A count of 36 off Dungeness on Sep 16 is an indication that we are approaching the peak in autumn passage. Last year the peak count was 100 at Dungeness on Sep 30 with another 94 there on Oct 5. On Sep 21 one uncharacteristically flew into Pagham Harbour and spread consternation among the other birds

Long-tailed Skua: Sep 16 brought two reports of singles at Dungeness and Portland

Great Skua: Eleven reports during the week with a max of 5 birds at Selsey Bill on Sep 21 but on Sep 22 a boat trip around Lyme Bay found 25 there

Little Gull: Counts of 6 or less shot up to 38 seen at Dungeness on Sep 16 with 20 there next day

Sabine's Gull: Two juveniles were at Dungeness on Sep 17 - this is only the second report of Sabine's this summer after a juv was seen at Selsey on Aug 18. Sep 21 brought another juv to Dungeness and on Sep 22 both an adult and a juv were seen there.

Kittiwake: On Sep 19 there were 162 at Dungeness and 250 at Portland with another 142 off Selsey Bill on Sep 21

Sandwich Tern: 830 went west past Dungeness on Sep 19

Roseate Tern: Three were off Titchfield Haven on Sep 22

Common Tern: A flock of 1050 was off Titchfield Haven on Sep 9 but by Sep 14 the count there was down to 320 but there were still 234 to be seen there on Sep 21 (with one Black Tern there that day)

Guillemot: A count of 70 of Dungeness on Sep 18 marked the arrival of the first winter birds on the south coast.

Razorbill: Seven new reports this week include a count of 27 birds off Portland on Sep 20

Little Auk: One was reported to have been seen off Brighton marina on Sep 17 but there was also a Razorbill in the Shoreham Harbour area that day and the Little Auk report may have been a mis-identification.

Puffin: Two seen in Lyme Bay on Sep 22

Sand Martin: 300 went over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 17 and 270 over Dungeness on Sep 22

Swallow: 2000 went over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 17 and 5000 over Ferrybridge on Sep 22

House Martin: 1200 flew out to sea from Dungeness on Sep 17 (when another 2000 were over Christchurch Harbour)

The following passerine migrants were recorded this week (max single group in brackets)

Tree Pipit (12)

Meadow Pipit (3000)

Yellow Wagtail: (100+) The recent update to the Titchfield Haven website tells us that the first Yellow Wagtail evening roost of the autumn occurred on Aug 25 with a peak roost count of 250+ there on Sep 9. They were still moving south on a wide front on Sep 18 with a roost of 100+ at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Sep 16

Grey Wagtail (30)

Pied Wagtail (50)

White Wagtail (10)

Common Redstart (2)

Whinchat (1)

Stonechat (4)

Wheatear (90)

Ring Ouzel (1)

Song Thrush (7) First arrivals on Sep 18

Redwing (10) First report of 2 north over Thanet (Kent) on Sep 7 then two flocks arriving in the Dungeness area on Sep 18 with a further single bird seen there on Sep 22

Grasshopper Warbler (4)

Aquatic Warbler (1)

Sedge Warbler (30+)

Reed Warbler (3)

Lesser Whitethroat (2)

Common Whitethroat (6)

Garden Warbler (2)

Blackcap (100+)

Chiffchaff (est 120)

Willow Warbler (est 100)

Goldcrest (10)

Firecrest (1)

Spotted Flycatcher (2)

Pied Flycatcher (2)

Carrion Crow: Flocks of up to 100 birds are not uncommon along the Hampshire shoreline, especially in the winter but on Sep 16 an estimated 500 Crows on the Weston shore just south of Southampton was the highest reported for some years (the Hampshire record given in Birds of Hampshire is of 700 at Old Winchester Hill on 31 Aug 1972). Looking through the Hampshire Bird Reports I see that the largest flock reported in 2003 was just 250 in north Hampshire (Darby Green north of Farnborough) on Jan 3. In 2004 the biggest flock was of 234 in the Lymington area on Sep 23 and in 2005 the biggest count was of 320 at Weston shore on Oct 6

Siskin: The first autumn bird was seen at Portland on Aug 26 and that was followed by six isolated reports of one or two birds up to Sep 8 but the arrival of four at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 14 marked the start of an increased frequency of reports and numbers of birds - seven reports for the period Sep 14 to 19 include a peak of 9 birds at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 18 and Sep 19 brought the first report of an autumn arrival in the Rye Bay area. Daily flights west over the Blashford Lakes were of well over 20 birds on Sep 19 and at Christchurch Harbour 25 went over on Sep 22

Linnet: A flock of 250 on the Goodwood Trundle on Sep 18 was the largest reported flock of the autumn other than on of 450+ in the Weymouth area (Langton Herring) on Aug 30

Lesser Redpoll: Four were seen in the Needles area of the IoW on Sep 15 and two were with the Linnet flock at the Goodwood Trundle on Sep 18

Lapland Bunting: The second south coast sighting of the year came from Portland on Sep 18 after one in the Weymouth area (Ringstead Bay) on Sep 15

Reed Bunting: As numbers increase there were counts of 20 in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 22 and of 50 in the Brede Valley north of Hastings that same day

Corn Bunting: A flock of 11 at Rye Harbour on Sep 20 were the first reported there since Aug 21

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies

Twenty one species have been recorded in the latest new reports but that list includes what may well be the last Brown Argus, Adonis Blue, Grayling and Gatekeeper of the year. The reports also mention a very late fresh male Green-veined White and some pristine Common Blues

Moths

Black Rustic: First for the year at Pannel Valley (Rye Bay) on 20 Sep

No other firsts in the past few days

Other Insects

Robber Fly (Asilus crabroniformis): Second report of this rarity for the year comes from the Newhaven area onSep 15 after one in the Cuckmere valley on Aug 27

Digger Wasp (Mellinus arvensis): Andy Phillips (of Hastings Country Park) says that this species is currently common in his area and is worth keeping an eye open for elsewhere as other similar species have now vanished from the scene. These wasps can be seen hunting for flies on which they prey and a good place to look are flowering Ivy bushes which attract a large variety of insects

Common Wasp: These are definitely scarce nowadays and I was very surprised to hear of someone (Andy Horton) being attacked by a swarm of at least 20 Wasps (and receiving several stings to his scalp) on Mill Hill (Shoreham) on Sep 16. Andy does not give any reason for the attack and my only guess is that he accidentally stood on the entrance hole of an underground nest for long enough to seriously annoy the Wasps

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Larkspur: On Sep 22 I found a very small specimen of this garden plant growing on disturbed soil at Langstone where the Hayling Billy trail comes north from the rail bridge to meet Mill Lane close to its junction with the main road through Langstone

Least Yellow Sorrel: Also on Sep 22 I found a big colony of this plant (a new life tick for me) growing on the west side of the footpath cutting across the new housing of Langstone from the A27 Langstone roundabout to the Royal Oak on the shore. The site is immediately north of Southbrook Road where the path cuts across it for the second time at around SU 718055. This species is marked Very Rare in the Hants Flora and I have not come across it before

Hawthorn: Most Hawthorn trees are now laden with ripe fruit but on the evening of Sep 22 I found a tree on Portsdown which also had clusters of freshly opened flowers on almost every branch. To see the tree use the carpark entered under a height barrier immediately west of the Churchillian Inn and walk down the east side of the open grassland adjacent to the carpark on the north slope of the hill - the tree is in the edge of the 'Children's Wood' planted by Portsmouth schoolchildren in the early 1990's

Verbascum macrocarpum: The Mullein plants which I found growing on North Common (Hayling Island) on Sep 4 have now been examined by both the south Hampshire plant recorder (Martin Rand) and by the country expert on Verbascums (Vic Johnstone who keeps the national collection of this group of plants) and neither could initially name the species. Vic Johnstone told me my specimens and photos do not match any species in his collection nor any described in a European Flora, and that the seeds show that the plants are of a true species (not hybrids). After further searching in the Floras covering the Middle East Vic now believes the plants found on Hayling are Verbascum macrocarpum and are thus not only new to Britain but also to western Europe - but before this can be be claimed with certainty the seeds of the plants I found will need to be grown on and the results submitted to other experts for their agreement.

Pink Water Speedwell: On Sep 19 Brian Fellows found this flowering in the mill stream running south from Westbourne Church to Lumley Mill in Emsworth - the plants were in the canalised section just south of the church

Wall Bedstraw: Within the past couple of weeks Geoff Farwell has found a substantial colony of these plants growing on dry sandy soil just outside the north east entrance to Farlington Marshes, and on Sep 18 I went to see them to add another tick to my life list of plant species. The Hants Flora lists the species as Very Rare and indicates that there were no known sites for the species is south Hampshire up to 1996 (when the Flora was published). Since then Geoff Farwell has found the species on Horsea Island (in the north of Portsmouth Harbour) before finding this second site. To find the plants come out of the Farlington Marshes reserve by the north east exit at Chalkdock and start out along the seawall path leading to the Cycle Track running beside the A27 and onwards to Broadmarsh. After a very short distance there is a gap in the bramble 'hedge' on your left with a way down the inside of the seawall onto a now disused track leading through a Teazel jungle. Follow this track for about 16 metres and you will see the plants forming a dense mass at your feet. Everything about the plants is smaller than other Bedstraw species and by now they have ceased flowering but there is sufficient mass of plants to make it very difficult to miss them.

Stinking Hawksbeard: This plant became extinct in Britain in the 1980s, partly due to Rabbits feeding on them in their shingle beach habitat in the Dungeness area. They have now been re-introduced and are flourishing behind Rabbit proof fencing and an entry on the Rye Bay website for Sep 17 shows that if planted in a Rabbit free area the plants thrive. The proof of this comes from the village of Northiam close to the Rother valley north east of Hastings, where a few seeds were sown in a garden by Brian Banks in order to study the species. Brian writes .. "Within 3 years we had an embarrassing 1225 plants growing in our street, spread across virtually all our neighbours gardens. This year the population declined slightly to a minimum of 973 plants, although its difficult to count the numbers of plants accurately in other peoples gardens without attracting the attention of Neighbourhood Watch! Despite the embarrassment I have used this as an opportunity to study the requirements of this plant. Interestingly it is not fussy where it grows, in limestone chippings, flint gravel, my neighbours lawns, flower beds, cracks in the road .."

OTHER WILDLIFE

Wild Boar: Although we hear little of them I think there are substantial numbers of these creatures living in both Kent and Dorset (probably elsewhere as well) The get a mention now as the Rye Bay website on Sep 22 told us that a Boar had recently been killed by a train on the railway running north east from Hastings through the Doleham area.


Summary for Sep 10 - 16 (Week 37 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Black-necked Grebe: Three were seen on Piddinghoe pond (close to the Sussex Ouse just north of Newhaven) early on the morning of Sep 9 but have not been seen again. These have probably continued their journey to find winter quarters further south, as have (probably) the bird seen in Langstone Harbour on Aug 24 (probably the same bird as was seen earlier that day on Fleet Pond in north Hampshire), and the other single seen at Dungeness RSPB reserve on Aug 29 - by Sep 15 the number there had increased to three.

Bittern: Keith Betton's monthly summary for August of birds seen in Hampshire mentions a Bittern at Titchfield Haven on Aug 29 - something that was not, I think, mentioned on Hoslist while the Titchfield Haven website has not been updated yet beyond Aug 3

Cattle Egret: The bird reportedly seen near the Pagham Harbour visitor centre on Sep 6 and 8 is thought by at least one person to have been a juvenile Little Egret ...

Spoonbill: One flew in to Titchfield Haven on Sep 15 where I have not heard of one since Aug 26. A party of four (maybe the four that were at Brownsea Island up to Sep 9) flew in to the Calshot area on Sep 12 but at least one was still in Poole Harbour on Sep 15

Brent Goose: The first four returning birds that I am aware of flew past Dungeness on Sep 12 and at least 18 (maybe 24) newcomers were in Langstone Harbour on Sep 13 (usually the first birds appear in the south east of the harbour but these were at the RSPB islands, unmindful of the noisy A27 nearby). On Sep 14 one was seen on the Lymington shore (maybe a summering bird?) and on Sep 15 a group of seven were in the mouth of Chichester Harbour seen from the Tournerbury area of Hayling (again possibly summering birds) but one at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) was more likely to have been a migrant arrival.

Shelduck: A party of 15 flew west past Christchurch Harbour as long ago as Aug 24 but I think these cannot have been returning from moult and I guess we can date the return of the birds from the north German sands at Sep 12 when 16 flew past Dungeness - possible confirmation of this comes from the appearance of a single adult on the Warblington shore here in Chichester Harbour on Sep 12 and the appearance of ten birds (including at least one juvenile) at the west end of the Thorney Great Deeps on Sep 13. Also on Sep 13 Christchurch Harbour noted the arrival of seven new birds there.

Wigeon: Sep 7 brought a count of 120 from the North Walls area of Pagham Harbour and they are now back in smaller numbers at many sites (e.g. around 40 at the Blashford Lakes, Ringwood, on Sep 13)

Gadwall: The count at Hook (Warsash) increased from 33 on Sep 4 to 64 on Sep 15

Teal: Also on Sep 7 the North Walls area of Pagham Harbour had 120 birds and on Sep 9 there were 140 in the Gutner Point area of east Hayling (178 already reported from the Lymington shore on Aug 7)

Honey Buzzard: Singles flew over Dungeness on Sep 9 and Seaford on Sep 13

Osprey: On Sep 9 one flew south over Old Winchester Hill in the Meon valley and on Sep 10 two birds were fishing in the Thorney Great Deeps seen from the east end of Thornham Lane - by Sep 13 the number at the Thorney Deeps was up to 3

Hobby: Plenty of sightings still being reported but one seems to have left us on Sep 9, seen flying high south out to sea at Hope Gap, west of Beachy Head.

Spotted Crake: At least one was still at Farlington Marshes on Sep 14.

Corncrake: These are very rarely seen on passage but one was flushed at Portland on Sep 9

Avocet: The reported count of 185 at Brownsea Island (Poole Harbour) on Aug 30 was down to 96 on Sep 9 - maybe half the flock has flown on to the Exe estuary?

Golden Plover: On Sep 4 a flock of around 30 flew north east over the Ventnor Downs (towards Pagham??) but on Sep 7 only one bird was to be seen in the North Walls area at Pagham. By Sep 15 the count at Rye Harbour was up to 108 and there is some indication that these early birds come north from the continent in a sighting of one flying north over the coast at Barton on Sea (west of Lymington) on that day

Grey Plover: On Sep 9 an estimated 700 birds were seen in the Gutner Point wader roost area off east Hayling

Temmincks Stint: One was seen at Farlington Marshes on Sep 9 and 10 and may still be in Langstone Harbour as Jason Crook had heard it calling ('trilling') over the RSPB Islands before it was seen on the Marshes.

Pectoral Sandpiper: One was at Pett Level (Rye Bay) on Sep 9 and a juvenile has settled in at Pulborough Brooks, seen there from Sep 12 to 15 at least

Curlew Sandpiper: 8 were seen at Pagham Harbour (Ferry pool) on Sep 14 and 18 have been reported at Christchurch Harbour with 5 at Farlington Marshes on Sep 11

Purple Sandpiper: One was reported at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 14

Black-tailed Godwit: On Sep 12 Anne de Potier found an estimated 110 in the Fishbourne channel near Chichester and on Sep 11 there were 364 in the Farlington Marshes lagoon

Pomarine Skua: One seen at Portland on Sep 13 (max of 32 Arctic at Dungeness on Sep 10 with 3 Bonxies there on Sep 11)

Med Gull: Bob Chapman counted at least 144 on the Lymington shore on Sep 15

Nightjar: What may be the last sighting of the year was of one on Ventnor Downs (IoW) on Sep 9

Wryneck: Two were at Durlston on the morning of Sep 16

Red-rumped Swallow: A juvenile was trapped at Haseley Manor (IoW) on Sep 9

House Martin: An estimated total of 20,000 flew over Christchurch Harbour with very few Swallows and Sand Martins on Sep 9. High counts have come from several sites but the highest are from Christchurch Harbour with an estimated 8000 on Sep 12 and 3500 on Sep 13 followed by 3100 over the Barton on Sea area on Sep 15

Meadow Pipit: The first three figure count (110) of the autumn passage came from Christchurch Harbour on Sep 10 and that figure leapt up to 250 at Portland on Sep 11 and then to 700 there on Sep 12

Yellow Wagtail: These are still being seen daily at numerous sites but the highest counts have been 120 at Hope Gap, Seaford, on Sep 10 and an estimated 120 coming to roost at Titchfield Haven on the evening of Sep 13

Grey Wagtail: Their passage rate is also increasing with a count of 20 at Portland on Sep 11 (preceding day counts there in Sept have been 3, 7, 13, 16 and 8). Sep 11 also brough 10 White Wagtails to Portland

Bluethroat: One may have been lurking in the Keyhaven area from Sep 5 to 11 at least

Ring Ouzel: The first to be seen on the south coast since an odd sighting of one in Sussex on June 24 came on Sep13 when one was at Durlston and another (probably 2) were on Ballard Down near Swanage. On Sep 15 there were singles at Durlston, Portland and Christchurch Harbour

Melodious Warbler: One was found in the Stokes Bay area at Gosport on Sep 13 but could not be relocated

Barred Warbler: A probable was reported at Cow Gap (Beachy Head) on Sep 7 but no further reports

Goldcrest: A total of 54 appeared at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 14 showing their autumn passage is under way. With them were 5 Firecrests

Marsh Tit: I have only seen 25 reports of this species so far this year, the latest being of three at Old Winchester Hill (Meon Valley) on Sep 8 - one was seen there on Aug 29. 12 of the 25 reports were from Hampshire but from 10 sites. For comparison I have seen 10 reports of Willow Tit for the year but five of those were from the same site at the same time of year so a better figure is just 6 reports of which three were in Hampshire.

Tree Sparrow: After the report of a flock of 10 in the Cuckmere valley near Eastbourne on Sep 8 there have been reports of singles in the same area on Sep 9 and 10. On Sep 12 one turned up at Christchurch Harbour.

Linnet: Flocks of 100 reported from the Sussex Downs above Amberley and the Brede valley near Rye Bay plus a bigger flock estimated at 160 in the Hook-Titchfield area

Lesser Redpoll: The first autumn passage bird was at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 15 - the first I have heard of anywhere for at least a month

Lapland Bunting: The first I have heard of anywhere this year was at Ringstead Bay near Weymouth on Sep 15

Reed Bunting: Singles (arriving for the winter?) at Hook/Warsash, Gilkicker-Gosport and Portland in the past few days. On Sep 12 a party of 12 appeared at Christchurch Harbour

Corn Bunting: Two seen on the Sussex Downs south of Amberley on Sep 8

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies

Golden Ringed Dragonfly: One was still flying at Ashdown Forest on Sep 15. Also reported from that site on that day were Keeled Skimmer, Ruddy and Black Darter

Red Veined Darter: Three in the Browndown (Gosport) area on Sep 15

Butterflies

Swallow Tail: A convincing report of one by a visitor to Portland on or just before Sep 9

Clouded Yellow: 18 new reports, from Sep 8 to 16, include a total of 31 around Thorney Island on Sep 11, 12 on teh Sussex Downs on Sep 8 (including a mating pair) and 10 at Cissbury Ring on the same downs on Sep 15.

Green-veined White: A late female seen in the Crawley area on Sep 11

Brown Hairstreak: These seem to be flourishing and maybe extending their range this year - on Sep 10 one came into a Keymer suburban garden (north of the Downs in the Brighton area) and showed interest in flowering Soapwort. At least one was still flying at Pulborough Brooks on Sep 12

Long-tailed Blue: Two reports - the first a probable at Portland during the August bank holidya weekend and the second a definite sighting by Dr David Tinling at Gosport (Gilkicker area) on Sep 3

Chalkhill Blue: What may have been the last of the year were seen on Mill Hill at Shoreham on Sep 9

Holly Blue: These are now getting thin on the ground but one was seen on Hayling on Sep 15

Marbled White: One was still being seen at Durlston on Sep16

Moths

Ypsolopha parenthesella: First of year at Christ's Hospital, Horsham, on Sep 14

Oak Lutestring: First of the year at Christ's Hospital, Horsham, on Sep 14 - not just one but 164 of them

Mottled Umber: An early first 'somewhere in Sussex' on Sep 12

Autumnal Rustic: First at Rusper, Horsham, on Sep 13

Dotted Clay: First at Horsham on Sep 1

Dog's Tooth: First of year at Pagham Harbour on Sep 7

Feathered Gothic: First of year at Edburton, north of Brighton, on Sep 7

Feathered Brindle: First of year in the Denton area of Newhaven on Sep 8

Feathered Ranunculus: First at the Dungeness RSPB reserve on Sep 8

Centre-barred Sallow: First 'somewhere in Sussex' on Sep 12

Pink-barred Sallow: First at Christ's Hospital, Horsham, on Sep 14

Other Insects

Temnothorax interruptus: This small ant species is a rarity which inhabits shingle beaches and can sometimes be found in the hollow stems of Sea Kale and similar plants. Found at Rye Harbour and brought to our attention with pictures on the Rye Bay website on Sep 11

Raft Spider: One seen in the Ashdown Forest on Sep 12

Wasp Spider: A large female still in her web on Portsdown on Sep 12. I have no reason to believe numbers of this spider are in decline but Barry Collins told me this week that he had seen none around Thorney Island this year - normally there are many there

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Marsh Horsetail: I was surprised to see one with a fresh fertile cone when at the Langstone South Moors on Sep 14

Bastard Cabbage: Having come across this plant for the very first time on Aug 4 in Sussex (Nutbourne Bay) I was surprised to find it again in Hampshire on Sep 15. This find was on the Hayling Island seawall at approx SU 710005 where a water channel has an exit into Langstone Harbour under the seawall. The Hants Flora says that the first record of it in the county came from Hayling Island but the current locations listed have nothing nearer to Hayling than the Denmead/Waterlooville area.

Hairy Violet: This was re-flowering at Durlston on Sep 14 - maybe it can also be found on Portsdown?

Bastard Toadflax: This was still flowering at Durlston on Sep 14

Alsike Clover: My first find of this plant for the year was on recently disturbed ground at the junction of Mill Lane and the main road at Langstone on Sep 14

Lucerne: My first two finds for the year of this came this week - on Sep 12 I found it on Portsdown and on Sep 15 on the Hayling seawall

Strawberry Tree: Although the tree at Northney Church on Hayling had been flowering for some time before Sep 4 the one by Slipper Road at Emsworth did not start flowering until Sep 13

Cocks Eggs: The plants on Sinah Common, south Hayling, were still flowering on Sep 15

Twiggy Mullein?? The plants found at North Common (Hayling) on Sep 4 have still not had their identity determined. The latest news is that they seem to key out in Stace as either Dark Mullein (which it is not) or Verbascum chaixii (called Hoary Mullein in Stace) and I have been told that I should send specimens to Vic Johnstone who runs the National Collection of Verbascums for the National Council for the Preservation of Plants and Gardens at Whitchurch in Hampshire. The more I seek a name for the plants the more bemused I become by the number of varieties that exist and I was amused to see that a popular variant of V. chaixii is called 'Sixteen Candles' with one purveyor advertising it as 'From birthdays to matrimony in two easy packets' so goodness knows where I will end up if I pursue the subject - perhaps with 60 years off my age or maybe with a new spouse!!

Pale Toadflax: The single cluster of plants on Hayling Island (Sinah Common) were flourishing on Sep 15

Round-leaved Mint: The three pronged cluster of white flower spikes on this Mint caught my eye in the vegetation beside the Hayling Billy trail in Langstone on Sep 14

Tansy-leaved Phacelia: Several plants of this were flowering just inside the fence of the Hayling Health Society enclave west of the Kench on south Hayling on Sep 15 - my first find of the plant for the year

Wall Bedstraw: Geoff Farwell recently found a colony of this plant on the Teazel rich 'waste land' between the north east entrance to Farlington Marshes and the A27. I hope to see them soon and the directions for finding them are to come out of the Farlington Marshes exit as if following the seawall path to join the cycle way but soon after coming through the exit gate turn left down a steep slope where an unofficial track (now mostly overgrown) used to offer an alternative to the seawall route. Once down the slope go straight ahead on the old track for perhaps 10 to 15 metres and the plants should be seen on the rabbit nibbled sandy grassland at your feet. The grid ref given by Geoff is SU 688053 but on my map that takes me to a point north of the A27 and I suggest a better reference is 6895-0513. The Hants Flora lists this plant as Very Rare and gives no sites for it in South Hampshire though Geoff has found it since publication of the Flora on Horsea Island in Portsmouth Harbour.

Green Bristle-grass: Brian Fellows found this in Warblington cemetery on Aug 21 and half a dozen plants could still be seen there on Sep 12 despite recent strimming of the area.

OTHER WILDLIFE

Fox: Shortly after dark on Sep 10 loud and piteous cries coming from a Fox in my neighbour's garden suggested that the animal was in great distress but I think the distress was mental rather than physical. Not many weeks ago I heard the same calls from my own garden in the very early morning and when I eventually got out of bed to investigate I saw a Fox (probably a youngster) standing motionless on the lawn with an equally motionless cat sitting firmly across the intended path of the Fox. By opening the window and causing the cat to disappear peace and quiet was restored and the Fox rapidly went on its intended way.

Bottle-nosed Dolphins: I suspect these creatures are present in the English Channel for most of the year but they are seldom reported. On Sep 11 a pod of at least four was seen to cruise past Gilkicker Point at Gosport

Hare: Two seen boxing on the South Downs above Amberley on Sep 13 - unusual for the season?

Slow Worm: 20 were translocated from a Bosham garden to Brook Meadow at Emsworth on Sep 12

Sea Potato: This relative of the sea urchins has a brittle shell which is usually broken up before the remains are washed up on the tide line but one measuring 48 mm across was found intact at Rye Harbour on Sep 14

Compass Jellyfish: One got it's photo on the Rye Bay website on Sep 11 when it was found stranded on the tide line at Rye Harbour. This one measured 16 cm across but they are said to reach 20 cm. They get their name from the set of 32 radial brown lines which divide the circular body into equal segments reminding the mariners who see them of the lines which divide their compasses into 32 sectors


Summary for Sep 3 - 9 (Week 36 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Diver species: The first diver of the autumn flew past Portland on Sep 7 but the species could not be identified for sure

Great Crested Grebe: The presence of a group of 9 on the sea off Hook (Warsash) on Sep 8 may indicate the start of an autumn flock on the water there.

Sooty Shearwater: Three sightings at Dungeness on Sep 3, 5, and 6. On Sep 5 two birds were seen flying east

Cattle Egret: A single juvenile appeared in Pagham Harbour channels near the visitor centre on the evening of Sep 6 and was still there on Sep 8

Great White Egret: It would seem that one is roaming around and has not yet decided where to settle. It was seen in the Arne area of Poole Harbour on Sep 5, then briefly at the Blashford Lakes (Ringwood) on Sep 7 before flying on to The Vyne watermeadows at Basingtoke that evening (it was seen there for 20 before it flew west). It appears that someone has spotted red rings on its legs, making it likely that it was last year's long stay bird at the Blashford Lakes.

Canada Goose: Three sightings this week are typical of this bird's autumn behaviour when it seems to get the urge to migrate but does not know where to go so the birds form large flocks and flew around aimlessly. 131 of them were at Yarmouth (IoW) on Sep 2 and around 200 flew into the Hook (Warsash) area that day. A small contingent of 32 were in the Budds Farm pools at Havant on Sep 8

Wigeon: Following the sighting of a dozen off the Langstone South Moors shore on Aug 29 there has been a count of 14 at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 30 and now 30 at Pulborough Brooks on Sep 2 and 40 at Pagham Harbour on Sep 3. By Sep 5 the count at Christchirch was up to 52

Gadwall: The number at Budd Farm pools was up to at least 8 on Sep 8

Teal: A total of 178 was reported from the Lymington marshes on Sep 7

Pintail: A count of 25 in Pagham Harbour on Sep 3 is the first double figure count of the autumn and shows the birds are now returning

Goldeneye: The appearance of one in Poole Harbour on Sep 3 is the first report of the species since May but may indicate the emergence of a summering bird rather than a very early arrival.

Honey Buzzard: Two were over the Ventnor Downs on Sep 2 and another flew south out of Southampton Water on Sep 8

Marsh Harrier: One at Bembridge on Sep 2 and one over Pagham Harbour on Sep 3 with another sighting there on Sep 6

Osprey: Sightings at the east end of the Thorney Deeps on Sep 1 (two birds) and Sep 4 (one bird), and what were probably different birds were seen from Ella Nore (south shore of Chichester Harbour) south of Thorney Island on Sep 3 (two birds) and Sep 4 (one bird). At least one was in the Thorney area on Sep 6. Single birds were also seen at Farlington Marshes (Sep 2) and Normandy Marsh at Lymington (Sep 3). In total the past week has brought 21 reports from at least 12 sites

Merlin: Single birds have been seen in the past few days at Portland (Sep 2), and on Sep 3 at Normandy (Lymington), Ella Nore near West Wittering, Newhaven, and Weymouth. On Sep 4 one was seen again at Lymington.

Red-legged Partridge: More have been released on the Goodwood estate near Chichester with a roadside sighting of 20 birds there on Sep 2

Water Rail: As many as 15 seemed to be newly arrived at Christchurch on the morning of Sep 7

Spotted Crake: At least one was still at Farlington Marshes on Sep 2. These birds are usually elusive but on Sep 4 someone walking along the pavement of a housing estate at Seaford (at 6:05am) got within 3 metres of a juvenile before it vanished into a garden - presumably it had arrived overnight and landed in the wrong place!

Avocet: At least one was still at Farlington Marshes on Sep 2. Three had been there on Aug 28 with subsequent unquantified reports on Aug 31 and Sep 1

Kentish Plover: One was reported at Brownsea Island on Sep 2

Knot: Recent sightings have included 53 at Normandy (Lymington) on Sep 3 with 35 in Pagham Harbour that day

Sanderling: 172 on the Ryde sands on Sep 2 was the first three figure count of the autumn

Temmincks Stint: One seen at Pulborough Brooks on Sep 2 and 5 was presumably the one that arrived there on Aug 27

Curlew Sandpiper: Two were still at Farlington Marshes on Sep 2 and another two were at the Sidlesham Ferry pool on Sep 3 increasing to 4 on Sep 6. Smaller numbers can still be seen at more than 10 sites

Ruff: On Sep 7 one was at the Lower Test and another at Keyhaven with others in Dorset, Sussex and the IoW

Black-tailed Godwit: Three figure counts in the past few days have come from Newtown Harbour (IoW) on Sep 2 (105 birds) and from Broadmarsh in Langstone Harbour on Sep 4 (124 birds) but smaller flocks are now widespread.

Bar-tailed Godwit: A count of 90 off Ella Nore near West Wittering on Sep 3 was probably a 'one off' passing flock as it came from a very reliable source (Bernie Forbes).

Whimbrel: The number of passage birds is now thinning out and the largest count this week is of 3 at Dungeness on Sep 3

Spotted Redshank: Present at 8 sites during the past week including a first ever sighting of one at The Vyne watermeadows (Basingstoke)

Wilson's Phalarope: One arrived at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 6 to increase the site bird list by one to 321. It was still there on Sep 8 and has been giving good views and photos

Long-tailed Skua: A juvenile seen off Dungeness on Sep 7 was only the second report I have seen this year (first at Portland on May 12). The current bird at Dungeness was with 15 Arctic Skuas and on Sep 8 there were 18 Arctic Skuas and a Bonxie there

Med Gull: On Sep 2 more than 50 were off Ryde and on Sep 6 an estimated 60 were hawking insects over Pagham Harbour

Caspian Gull: On Sep 2 Bob Chapman claimed a first winter bird briefly at the Blashford Lakes

Great Blackback: Simon Ingram was lucky not to lose a finger when a Great Blackback gripped the finger in its beak while Simon was trying to free the bird from masses of fishing line in which it had become entangled. He eventually ' got his finger out' with the help of a friend who happened to have a roll of electrical insulating tape in his pocket which was used to close the bird's bill before it could do further damage. When the line was eventually disentagled the only means of getting it off the bird was to bite through it (no other cutting device was available).

The bird was finally free to fly leaving Simon with a badly cut finger and the bird presumably with a taped up bill to teach it a lesson (Simon does not tell us if the tape was removed). This all occurred on the Lymington marshes on Sep 2

Black Tern: These are still passing daily down the English Channel and on Sep 8 one came into the Solent to be seen off Hook (five were at Dungeness that day along with a single long staying juvenile White Winged Black Tern)

Barn Owl: A report of one at Dungeness on Sep 8 does not make it clear if this was a migrant but I know that some continental birds do come across the channel for the winter and so I assume this was an early arrival

Little Owl: On Sep 2 Richard Ford saw one on north Hayling in some pony paddocks (I guess he means the fields south of Bridge farm)

Short-eared Owl: The first early autumn bird to appear near the south coast was seen on the Sussex Downs (near the Adur valley) on Sep 1. These birds occasionally stay with us through the summer but this year the only report of such a bird came from the Poole Harbour area in Dorset on July 14

Nightjar: A visitor to the Arne reserve in Dorset found a Nightjar lying on the surface of a road at 8:45pm, and the same person had seen one doing the same at this time of year in 2006. It is thought that the bird was enjoying soaking up the warmth retained in the road after a sunny day. Another person recalled seeing House Martins doing the same on a different road sometime in the past but they were more probably gathering heat directly from the sun in the early morning - I have in the past seen a large flock of House Martins which had seemingly spent the night on the roof of a building at Old Bedhampton and were unable to fly until the early morning sun had warmed them back to life

Swift: Singles seen in the Beachy Head area on Sep 6 and at Portland on Sep 8

Kingfisher: I heard the sharp calls of a Kingfisher but could not see the bird as I was approaching the metal bridge over the Hermitage stream where it passes the Portsmouth Water springs at Bedhampton on Sep 8

Dunnock: A bird in our garden on Sep 5 seemed to have completed its moult (a couple of weeks ago it was in a very tatty state)

Hirundines: There have been several large scale movements along the coast during the past week with reports of birds passing at the rate of 1000 per hour. These have been mainly of Swallows with good numbers of House Martins but few Sand Martins

Passerine migrants: The following list gives the number of reports of each species during the past week with the highest single count in brackets

Yellow Wagtail: 26 (95 at Barton on Sea on Sep 8)

Grey Wagtail: 13 (16 at Portland on Sep 5)

White Wagtail: 5 (7 at Portland on Sep 8)

Common Redstart: 14 (9 at Hastings Country Park on Sep 6)

Whinchat: 17 (20 at Portland on Sep 4)

Stonechat: 3 (35 newly arrived at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 7)

Wheatear: 16 (25 at Portland on Sep 7)

Grasshopper Warbler: Just one bird at Portland on Sep 4

Sedge Warbler: 7 (36 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 5)

Reed Warbler: 7 (10 at Beachy Head on Sep 5)

Lesser Whitethroat: 10 (10 at Beachy Head on Sep 5 and a total of 23 at Hope Gap near Beachy Head over three days)

Common Whitethroat: 13 (30 at Beachy Head on Sep 3)

Garden Warbler: 5 (10 at Beachy Head on Sep 5)

Blackcap: 15 (250 at Beachy Head on Sep 5)

Greenish Warbler: One reported to have been seen and heard singing at Hastings Country Park on Sep 7

Chiff Chaff: 12 (40 at Beachy Head on Sep 5 - reports of singing at three sites)

Willow Warbler: 15 (50 at Portland on Sep 8)

Goldcrest: 3 (5 at Portland on Sep 4)

Firecrest: 4 (All singles including a male singing at Horsham on Sep 4)

Spotted Flycatcher: 13 (10 at Portland on Sep 8 and another 10 at Hastings country park on Sep 6)

Pied Flycatcher: 2 (4 at Portland on Sep 8)

Red-backed Shrike: The Hayling Mill Rythe bird has not been reported since Sep 4 and on that same day another (?) juvenile turned up at Christchurch Harbour and was still being reported there on Sep 7

Jay: A count of 14 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 7 may have been newly arrived migrants or local birds

Tree Sparrow: A group of around 10 birds were seen well in the Cuckmere Valley near Eastbourne on Sep 8. This is the first report from anywhere since June 10

Siskin: Five reports from four sites this week as they start to arrive. All were singles other than 2 going over Durlston on Sep 4

Linnet: A flock of 160 remains in weedy fields between Hook and Titchfield on the Solent shore

Ortolan Bunting: Seven reports from five Dorset sites - all singles other than a group of at least 2 (maybe 5) at Portland on Sep 4

Reed Bunting: The shortage of these in our area may be about to end - Christchurch Harbour reported a small influx on Sep 7

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies

Migrant Hawker: Numbers seen to have increased at least with news of 'many' at Beachy Head on Sep 2 and then at Lymington on Sep 4

Emerald Damsel (Lestes sponsa): I have only seen four reports of this species this year since they start to emerge in mid June, and one at Dungeness on Sep 6 is the first anywhere since July 31

Small Red-eyed Damsel: Dungeness also has an intriguing set of reports of this species this week. One was seen there on Sep 4, three on Sep 5 and 33+ were reported on Sep 6 (it almost sounds as if next years insects were emerging early but much more likely the number represent the interest of the observer in searching for the insects) Another possibility is that these were arriving migrants..

Butterflies (25 species reported during the week)

Silver Spotted Skipper: This seems to be having a very good season in Sussex and are appearing in new sites there - on Sep 6 one turned up in an allotment at Newhaven and on Sep 7 two were seen on the Bevendean urban fringe nature reserve (several small bits of downland scattered in the Bevendean housing estate on the east edge of Brighton). More expected was a count of 30 on Old Winchester Hill (Meon valley) on Sep 1 and a count of 7 on Malling Down at Lewes on Sep 4 (the observer in this case only visited the down because of a major hold up on the A27 which he had intended to use, but as a result he enjoyed 16 butterfly species on the down)

Clouded Yellow: Quite a few are now with us - I have seen 12 reports for the period from Sep 1 to 4 including counts of 7 on Thorney Island and 10 at Beachy Heady, both on Sep 4. On Sep 8 one was flying north up Southmoor Lane at Havant as I cycled past - mine was one of 17 sightings during the week.

Brimstone: More than 20 were flying at Stockbridge Down on Sep 3 (with a single late Green-veined White there)

Painted Lady: Nine recent reports include a count of 13 at Old Winchester Hill on Sep 1

Marbled White: A single 'fresh looking' individual at Old Winchester Hill (Meon valley) on Sep 3 may qualify as a latest ever in Hampshire (though one was still flying at Durlston on Sep 8).

Gatekeeper: Still on the wing at Stockbridge Down on Sep 3

Moths

Phlyctaenia perlucidalis: First of year taken at Pagham Harbour on Sep 5

Trachycera marmorea: First report of the year from Newhaven on Aug 31

Small Dusty Wave: Also a first at Newhaven on Aug 31

Large Thorn: First seen somewhere in Sussex on Sep 1

Privet Hawkmoth: The appearance of a fresh specimen in a trap at Peacehaven near Brighton on Sep 1 was extremely unusual for Britain. Occasional second broods do occur in Europe (but not in Britain) and expert opinion is divided on whether this was a local emergence of a second brood or a migrant from the continent. On Sep 4 another specimen was taken somewhere else in Sussex

Poplar Hawkmoth: One taken 'somewhere in Sussex' on Sep 4 was said to be 'the latest for Sussex since 1850' but this was promptly capped by another taken at Lindfield (Haywards Heath) on Sep 6

Marsh Mallow moth (Hydraecia osseola): The first to be reported this year was photographed (on a Marsh Mallow plant) at the Pannel Valley (Rye Bay) on Sep 7. This is a rarity only found in parts of Kent and East Sussex

Frosted Orange: First of year at Pagham Harbour on Sep 5

Large Wainscot: First of year at Pagham Harbour on Sep 6

Pale Mottled Willow: First found at Pagham Harbour on Sep 1

Golden Twin-spot: First at Dungeness on Sep 1

Other Insects

Scorpion Fly: Brian Fellows found a very fresh specimen at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Sep 5

Harlequin Ladybird: This species has been found in Emsworth before now but an adult and a larva were both additions to the Brook Meadow list when found by Brian Fellows on Sep 5

Marpissa muscosa jumping spider: This was a new species to me when first reported from Rye Harbour on Aug 16 and now, on Sep 8, a group of 7 were found on one gatepost at the same site - a couple of excellent photos on the RX website

Araneus quadratus: This large orb web spider is probably the most colourful species that you are likely to come across but you may have to lure it from hiding to see it. If you find a really large fresh circular web strung between two bushes or other vegetation at this time of year, and cannot see a spider on the web, follow one of the upper 'guy ropes' of the web to its nchor point and look for a small cluster of leaves which the spider has stuck together to give it both a place to hide from predators and shelter from the elements. A gentle disturbance of the web may well draw a large spider out from its shelter to investigate possible prey in its web and if the spider is this species it will have four small dots forming a square on the upper side of its abdomen but the overalll colour of the abdomen can be anything from bright yellow to a rich claret red (well worth seeing)

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Corn Spurrey: Still flowering at Warblington Farm in the harvested field behind Conigar Point

Green Amaranth: On Sep 3 few damaged specimens can still be seen in Juniper Square, Havant, at the roadside but on Sep 4 I found a lot of full grown plants in an unused field north of Daw Lane, Hayling Island, where orchards had been grubbed out a few years ago

Annual Sea Blite: I noticed this inconspicuous shoreline species was flowering at Nore Barn, Esmworth, on Sep 7

Common Gorse: This was starting to re-flower at several locations on Hayling Island on Sep 4 and can now be seen in most places where Gorse grows

Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea: On Sep 3 I noticed that a plant growing outside the Park Road South multi storey carpark in Havant had pure white flowers

Fragrant Agrimony: Flowering on Sep 4 at North Common, Hayling, where it was discovered last year

Ice Plant (Sedum spectabile): Clearly a garden escape I noticed plants in full flower beside the Hayling Coastal Path passing Stoke Bay on Sep 4

Small Nettle: Still flowering on North Common, Hayling, on Sep 5

Hop: The distinctive fruits on a female plant at Juniper Square in Havant on Sep 3 showed me that I had (on Aug 23) mistaken the first flowers on this female plant for those of a male.

Tamarisk: The shoreline trees at Warblington are now in full flower and looking at their best

Dwarf Spurge: My first sight of this for the year was on Sep 7 in the Warblington Farm field behind Conigar Point

Cow Parsley: Found re-flowering in Emsworth by Brian Fellows on Sep 5

Upright Hedge Parsley: Still flowering at Church Lane, Warblington, on Sep 7

Ground Elder: A few plants re-flowering by the Hayling Billy Trail in Havant on Sep 4

Lesser Water Parsnip: My first sight of this in flower on Sep 4 in the Lymbourne Stream at Langstone

Strawberry Tree: The tree at Northney Church had both fresh and dead flowers on Sep 4 and subsequently Brian Fellows noted unopen flower buds on the tree at Slipper Road in Emsworth on Sep 7. As he also saw saw yellowish fruit on the tree I think it must have flowered earlier this year and I am wondering if the reddish flower beds he saw were in fact the remains of the flowers after all the white petals had fallen.

Twiggy Mullein (Verbascum virgatum)??? On Sep 4 at North Common on Hayling I came on a plant of a Mullein which I did not recognize. Initially it looked like a large specimen of Dark Mullein standing 90cm high with very large flowers (3cm across) on several spikes but a closer look suggested it was not Dark Mullein and a quick check back at home suggested that it could be Twiggy Mullein which has occurred on south Hayling in the past (but not since 1984). On Sep 5 I took some photos and sent them with a description to Martin Rand as Plant Recorder for the vice county but at the moment he require further evidence before committing to an opinion. On Sep 7 I learnt that the plant which had caught my eye has been knocked down but there was a second plant only just starting to grow next to the one that has been damaged so we may still be able to get a firm identification.

Field Woundwort: This is currently flourishing in the Warblington Farm field behind Conigar Point

Blue Fleabane: I first saw this reported in flower on Aug 1 but it was not until Sep 8 that I saw flowers for myself.

Salsify: Brian Fellows found this in flower in north Emsworth on Sep 8, long after the normal flowering period (it started to flower this year on May 10 and was not seen after June 8 until now so I assume this is a second flowering)

Butchers Broom: This had started to flower on Aug 28 when I found a flower growing on the Langstone South Moors in a small clump of Hawthorns which narrow the footpath going south along the top of the old concrete casing for the pipe which once carried Havant's sewage into the sea. I mention this as I gather there is a 'health and safety' type proposal to clear this obstruction from the path.....

Marsh Arrowgrass: Brian Fellows found this on Sep 7 for the first time this year on the Brook Meadow site at Emsworth when it was still in flower - another very late flowering.

Green Bristle Grass: Brian Fellows found a good show of this on graves in the Highland Road cemetery in Southsea on Sep 2. He had previously found it in Warblington cemetery on Aug 21 but a recent visit there found that a man with a strimmer had seemingly removed all trace of it (but I suspect we will see it raise its head there again next year).

OTHER WILDLIFE

Bottle-nosed Dolphin: On Sep 6 one of these and one Harbour Porpoise were seen off Hastings.

Toad: Sadly one was accidentally killed during work on Brook Meadow at Emsworth but no doubt plenty more are lurking in that damp grassland.


Summary for Aug 27 - Sep 2 (Week 35 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Black-necked Grebe: The first autumn records came on Aug 24 with birds seen at Fleet Pond and off Langstone South Moors on the same day. Third record of the autumn was of one at Dungeness on Aug 29

Night Heron: The juvenile was still in Alexandra Park at Hastings on Aug 23 but had moved to a different pool within the park

Squacco Heron. One was seen in Poole Harbour on Aug 27 - possibly the bird that was reported eight times in the Weymouth area between May 28 and July 3

Little Egret: This species is always giving us surprises and on Sept 1 it added to its repertoire when one was caught at Christchurch Harbour in a mist net designed to catch warblers

Purple Heron: The juvenile which I first heard of as being at Frensham Little Pond in Surrey on Aug 20 was still there and showing well on Aug 26

Spoonbill: Two were still at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Aug 30 but different single birds were seen at Titchfield Haven and at Farlington Marshes on Aug 26 (the Farlington bird was still there on Sept 1)

Brent Goose: One seen flying in Poole Harbour on Aug 29 was a reminder that the summering birds in Langstone and Chichester Harbours usually show themselves at this time of year as they fly around looking for the first returning migrants (which normally arrive around Sep 14)

Wigeon: Ten were back on the Lymington shore by Aug 27 and the first 12 were in Langstone Harbour (off the South Moors shore) on Aug 29. On Aug 30 the count in Christchurch Harbour was up to 14 and on Aug 31 there were 4 at Hook (Warsash)

Gadwall: At least two males were at Budds Farm pools in Havant on Aug 28

Teal: Reports of around 80 at Sidlesham Ferry Pool (Pagham Harbour) and 12 at Hook (Warsash) both on Aug 25. On Aug 27 there were 49 at Keyhaven (Lymington) and 7 in Christchurch Harbour, followed by a dozen at the Brading Marshes (IoW) on Aug 28. Since then there have been 32 at Christchurch Harbour (Aug 29) with 35 at Hook (Warsash) that day and 67 at The Vyne near Basingstoke on Aug 31

Pintail: Autumn arrivals started with one at Hook (Warsash) on Aug 26, rising to two there on Aug 29 when eight arrived at Dungeness. On Aug 31 the first four autumn birds flew west over Christchurch Harbour

Garganey: Single birds were at Lymington, Christchurch and Weymouth on Aug 26 with two at Dungeness on Aug 29 and one in Poole Harbour on Aug 30

Shoveler: More than a dozen were at Budds Farm pools on Aug 28

Eider: The count off the Lymington shore was 38+ on Aug 27 - this is the highest count there since April (though around 30 were still there in July)

Goosander: Two flew west over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 29 and at least one was seen at Portland that day.

Ruddy Duck: A pair was seen in the Budds farm pools here at Havant on Aug 29 and at least one male was at the Blashford Lakes on Sep 1

Honey Buzzard: Six reports this week include two reports from Pagham Harbour (Aug 25 and 27), one from the Hastings area (Aug 26), and one over Portland on Aug 28. In Hampshire one flew low over Romsey and was said to have been narrowly missed by a low flying Spitfire.

Marsh Harrier: Eight sightings this week include one at Farlington Marshes on Aug 29 and one at Freshwater (IoW) on Sep 1. In the Adur valley on Aug 29 one was seen interacting with a Buzzard

Hen Harrier: After early reports of one near Selsey on Aug 21 and another on the IoW (Newtown Harbour) on Aug 25 there has been a third sighting of a female hunting in the Pagham North Walls area on Sep 1 - the observer of the latter also saw 6 Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Osprey, 4 Kestrels, 2 Hobbys and 2 Peregrines

Sparrowhawk: Two cars had to swerve to avoid a Sparrowhawk mantling a pigeon it had just brought down in the middle of a minor road in the Ouse valley near Lewes on Aug 25. While writing these notes on Aug 29 a female took a Collared Dove on our garden lawn in mid-afternoon - it was aware that we were watching from the house and (at the third attempt) managed to take off and carry its prey into a tree. At Dungeness on Aug 27 a total of 15 migrant Sparrowhawks flew over Dungeness and another 7 were seen there on Sep 1

Osprey: On Aug 27 what may have been the same bird was seen over the centre of the Thorney Great Deeps (just east of the guard post) and over the top of the Thorney channel seen from Prinsted. Also on Aug 27 there were sightings over the Ventnor Downs and at Newtown Harbour on the IoW, and at Pett on Rye Bay. On Aug 28 three were still in Poole Harbour and there were sightings of one in Langstone Harbour on Aug 29, 31 and Sep 1. Three were around Thorney Island in Chichester Harbour on Aug 31

Kestrel: Aug 27 brought a count of 21 migrants passing over Dungeness on Aug 27

Merlin: Nine reports in the past week include one at Farlington Marshes on both Aug 29 and 31. The first to be seen at Dungeness this autumn was there on Aug 28 and Pannel Valley (Rye Bay) had its first on Aug 31

Spotted Crake: On Sept 1 two separate birds were seen at the Farlington Marshes lake, allowing several birders to see them (unlike the bird there on Aug 11 which remained hidden at the 'out of bounds' scrape)

Corncrake: One was reported to have been heard calling in the Christchurch Harbour area on Aug 26 - I have some doubt about this as while I know the birds overfly the south coast I would not expect one to be calling as it did so or on the ground. Nevertheless the CHOG website stated that the sighting had been confirmed.

Oystercatcher: These are often seen in their hundreds but a flock of 1064 at Brownsea Island on Aug 30 must have been an impressive sight (and maybe sound!)

Avocet: Two were again at Pagham (Sidlesham Ferry) on Aug 25 and 27, and three were at the Farlington Marshes lake on Aug 28 with at least one still there on Sep 1. The flock at the Brownsea Island lagoon had built up to 185 birds by Aug 30

Dotterel: A single bird was said to have been seen near the Seven Sisters cliffs (west of Beachy Head) on Aug 24. Birds of Hampshire has 18 'modern' records of the species and I see that 6 of these were in the autumn.

Golden Plover: The only large flock of 100+ remains at Rye Harbour but there have been sightings of ones and twos at six sites between Selsey and Christchurch Harbour in the past week including 12 overflying Hook (Warsash) on Aug 29

Grey Plover: A count of 100+ at Farlington Marshes on Aug 31 shows that winter is approaching

Knot: 22 reports in the past week include 80 at Pagham on Aug 31 and 65 at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 30.

Little Stint: Reported at six sites including 2 birds at Lymington (Normandy) on Aug 29

Temmick's Stint: A juvenile Temmincks was at Pulborough Brooks from Aug 27 to 31

Pectoral Sandpiper: The first report of this species for the year is of a juvenile at Sidlesham Ferry Pool on Aug 25

Curlew Sandpiper: Ten reports include three sightings of two birds at Farlington on Aug 29 , 31 and Sep 1

Ruff: 14 reports of this species in the past few days include three birds at Farlington Marshes on Aug 29

Black-tailed Godwit: 309 were present at Farlington on Aug 29 and there must have been at least 1000 in Poole Harbour on Aug 30 when 813 were at Brownsea and 180 in the Holes Bay area of the harbour.

Spotted Redshank: Present at seven sites this week including 3 at Farlington on Aug 29 and one inland at The Vyne, Basingstoke, on Aug 31

Redshank: A count of 307 at Farlington on Aug 29

Greenshank: 24 were seen at Farlington on Aug 28 (when the count at Brownsea Island was 46)

Green Sandpiper: 11 were present at the Lower Test on Aug 26 (but 12 had been there on Aug 12)

Wood Sandpiper: One was at the Lower Test on Aug 26 and two were there on Aug 30. Two were at Brading Marshes (IoW) on Aug 26 and one at Pennington (Lymington) on Aug 31

Pomarine Skua: Both Arctic and Great Skuas have been a more or less daily sight along the channel during the summer but a Pom at Dungeness on Aug 30 was only the fifth to be reported since the start of July (against 56 reports of Arctic and 30 reports of Bonxies in the same period)

Lesser Blackback Gull: A count of 75 going west over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 27 shows that their autumn passage is under way

Herring Gull: A count of more thn 400 on the hills east of Winchester is perhaps of more interest for the fact that they were folowing the plough than for the number of birds - driving from Havant to Huntingdon on Aug 30 I was surprised by the number of fields already ploughed

Common Tern: On Aug 29 more than 100 were fishing off Titchfield Haven and 950 flew west past Christchurch Harbour

Turtle Dove: Just one report this week of a single bird at the Selsey west fields on Aug 31

Cuckoo: One was at Seaford Head on Aug 25 and another near the Shoreham tollbridge over the Adur on Aug 30

Nightjar: These birds will fly nightly some distance from their breeding grounds to good feeding grounds, and moths around street lights are an attraction for them, but I guess that birds seen in urban situations at Sway and Pennington on Aug 26 and 25 respectively were migrants taking an opportunity to feed up while on passage.

Swift: Singles were seen on Aug 26 over Brighton, Winchester and Christchurch Harbour. On Aug 27 two more were seen, one over the South Downs and one at Durlston. On Aug 29 two were over the Seaford area and on Aug 30 one was over Durlston

Kingfisher: One was seen flying over the Slipper Pond at Emsworth on Aug 1

Bee Eater: A late report of one flying east over Sandy Point (Hayling) on Aug 9 comes in Andy Johnson's summary of his Hayling sightings for the month of August

Wryneck: On Aug 26 one was at the Lymington Marshes and another in a suburban garden at Basingstoke. On Aug 27 two were present at the Ventnor Downs (IoW) and one was seen at Lullington Heath on the north side of Friston Forest near Eastbourne - the description of this latter sighting by Rebecca Rees reads .. "Exceptional viewing of Wryneck feeding on ants on path at Lullington Heath. At first I thought it was a Wheatear in the distance then with bins Wryneck was revealed! We watched it for 40 mins at 10 metres distance then crept forward to 4 metres, amazing viewing and it was not bothered at all. After 20 mins 25 Bagot Goats were then watching us watching the Wryneck! The bird was not phased by their strong smell and mating noises. Eventually it got dark so we walked forward and the bird flew a short distance into a Hawthorn tree". Since then there have been two on the Ventnor Downs (IoW) and singles at fives sites from Dungeness to Portland

Sand Martin: Dungeness reported a movement of 10,000 birds overhead on Aug 27 (plus a similar number of Swallows)

Passerine migrants - the following entries each give the number of reports during the past week followed, in brackets, by the highest count.

Tree Pipit - 23 (30)

Meadow Pipit - 2 ('many')

Yellow Wagtail - 41 (100)

Grey Wagtail - 14 (9)

White Wagtail - 5 (4)

Nightingale - 2 (2)

Common Redstart - 14 (6)

Whinchat - 34 (20)

Stonechat - 4 (9)

Wheatear - 28 (72)

Grasshopper Warbler - 14 (3)

Sedge Warbler - 8 (40)

Marsh Warbler: Just one report (first for year) of a bird trapped at Haseley Manor (on the IoW Newport to Shanklin Road) on Aug 28

Reed Warbler - 8 (7)

Lesser Whitethroat - 23 (14)

Common Whitethroat - 14 (131)

Garden Warbler - 10 (5)

Blackcap - 12 (11)

Wood Warbler - 1 (1)

Chiff Chaff - 5 (10+) These are at last starting to move - one was singing at Emsworth on Sept 1

Willow Warbler - 16 (219)

Goldcrest - 1 (1) First of the autumn for Portland on Aug 26

Spotted Flycatcher - 19 (23)

Pied Flycatcher - 12 (7)

Marsh Tit: One at Old Winchester Hill (Meon valley) on Aug 29 is only the third to be reported anywhere on the south coast since March - have they gone the way of the Willow Tits?

Red Backed Shrike: A juvenile was near Pett on the Rye Bay shore on Aug 25 and another juvenile was seen in hedges around the Mill Rythe holiday camp on Hayling Island (east shore, south side of the Mill Rythe inlet) on Sep 1

House Sparrow: Ten or more came daily to my Havant garden up to Aug 21 but then presumably headed off for their autumn holiday in the harvest fields. A party of 5 seen in the garden on Sept 2 were probably a family party passing through.

Goldfinch: A flock of around 70 were on Budds Mound at Havant on Aug 28 and 50 were seen at Hook (Warsash) on Sep 1

Siskin: A single at Portland on Aug 26 was the first autumn arrival there. On Aug 29 a male appeared at feeders in a Horsham garden

Linnet: An impressive flock of 450+ was in the Langton Herring area beside the Fleet near Weymouth on Aug 30 and a flock of around 40 was in the Hook (Warsash) area on Sep 1

Ortolan Bunting: A group of four at Portland on Aug 27 were the first reported anywhere on the south coast this year. Another single was seen at Portland on Aug 29

Reed Bunting: There have been comments this week about the apparent scarcity of this species but a flock of 70+ was in the Brede Valley (Rye Bay area) on Aug 26

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies

Southern Hawker: A female was in Brian Fellows' Emsworth garden on Aug 27 to relieve a general shortage of dragonfly reports

Common Darter: Several, including a pair in tandem, were along the Lavant stream running along the edge of the Bartons Road playing fields in Leigh Park (Havant) on Aug 27 (this is only my second sighting for the year)

Butterflies

Silver Spotted Skipper: On Aug 26 Pete Hughes and Alice Parfitt found three on Kithurst Hill (south of Storrington) and on Aug 27 Neil Hulme wrote .. "Congratulations to Alice and Pete on their discovery of Silver-spotted Skipper at Kithurst Hill. I retraced their steps and found four, including three females, one of which was laying eggs. This represents a giant leap for skipperkind, amounting to an incredible 18 Km westwards shift from their stronghold at Newtimber Hill". In Hampshire 50 were seen at Old Winchester Hill on Aug 31 and 10+ at Beacon Hill across the Meon valley on Aug 27

Clouded Yellow: Fourteen reports in the past few days including a count of nine seen by Trevor Carpenter while walking around Thorney Island on Aug 27 and a count of 20 on southern Thorney by Barry Collins on Aug 29

Brown Hairstreak: Singles seen in different parts of the Adur valley on Aug 26 and 30

Brown Argus: While in the Kithurst Hill area on Aug 28 Neil Hulme found 53 Brown Argus

Duke of Burgundy: At least one was still flying at Noar Hill on Aug 30

Painted Lady: 17 new reports including a count of 37 on Old Winchester Hill (Meon Valley) on Aug 26

Camberwell Beauty: A fresh specimen seen near the Friston Forest (Eastbourne) on Aug 29

Marbled White: Still flying at Durlston on Aug 31

Ringlet: Two of these were still on the wing at Beacon Hill (Meon Valley) on Aug 27

Moths

Tawny Speckled Pug: First report of this came from the Eastbourne area on Aug 26

Purple Clay: First report from 'somewhere in Sussex' on Aug 24

Ear Moth: First report from 'somewhere in Sussex' on Aug 24

Plain Golden Y: What may have been the first of this species was reported as a 'Gold Y' seen near Newhaven on Aug 29

Other Insects

Gall Midge Kiefferia pericarpiicola: Evidence of the presence of this on the Rye Harbour reserve came from the swelling of flowers in Wild Carrot umbels. The species was new to the reserve and to me!

Robber-fly Asilus Crabroniformis: First report of the year comes from the Cuckmere Haven area of Sussex on Aug 27

Lesser Stag Beetle: First reported find of this for the year was made by John Goodspeed in the Langstone village area on Aug 27

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Hairy Bittercress: This was just starting to flower again in the pavements of Havant on Aug 28 - last seen regularly in April

Honesty: Two or three flowers on an otherwise totally dead plant were a big surprise on Aug 28 - last previous sighting on Apr 16

Horse Radish: Two fresh flowering plants on Budds Mound in Havant on Aug 28 - last seen flowering on May 23

Soapwort: A large colony of the 'Bouncing Bett' form with multiple petals on each flower was flowering in a hedgerow at the junction of Catherington Hill and Lovedean Lane on Aug 30 - no doubt originally of garden origin the plants are clearly well established there

Dwarf Mallow: Of personal interest was a find of this species well established under an apple tree in a small garden in a village by the Bedfordshire Ouse near Huntingdon on Aug 30

Bastard Toadflax: This was still flowering at Durlston on Aug 31

Crown Vetch: Still lots to be seen in flower growing wild in the garden of council flats in Leigh Park on Wakefords Way (Aug 27)

Purple Loosestrife: In addition to my first find in the Langbrook stream last week I found more in the culvert carrying the Lavant stream alongside New Lane in Leigh Park on Aug 27 and another clump by the West Ashling pond on Aug 28

Ivy: More flowers open by Aug 28 on the bush overhanging the Langbrook stream near its mouth but so far no other finds

Pepper Saxifrage: Just one small plant flowering by the Bartons Road playing fields in Leigh Park on Aug 27 was only my second of the year after the plants seen on Hayling on Aug 21. By Aug 30 there had been a suden upsurge of this species at Brook Meadow in Emsworth where 20 plants were found to be flowering

Slender Hare's Ear: This has been out locally since Aug 17 but I was particularly pleased with a good cluster of 20+ plants on the seawall of the Langstone South Moors seen on Aug 28. The low ground inside the seawall was in the past a reliable place to find the plant but that area is now thickly overgrown with Sea Couch grass, etc, so I was pleased to see the plants have survived. Coming from Budds Mound go up onto the higher wall after passing the old IBM playing fields and then count ten of the South Moor fence posts below you before looking down at your feet - most plants were on the seaward side of the beaten track. This may be a good year for the species as a find of 100+ plants was reported from Rye Harbour on Aug 28

Wild Carrot: A photo on the Rye Harbour website for Aug 29 shows flowers of this plant swollen by the work of a tiny gall midge called Kiefferia pericarpiicola which I had not previously heard of.

White Lace Flower (Orlaya grandiflora): In last week's summary I reported the strange find made on the Langstone South Moors on Aug 23 and said that it had been tentatively named as the umbellifer Orlaya grandiflora (which I see I mis-spelt in the summary!). On Aug 27 I took the specimen to Eric Clement in Gosport and he confirmed the name after comparison with specimens from abroad in his herbarium, to which my specimen has now been added. I am still not sure how many times the species has been found in the wild in Britain but it seems likely to be less than half a dozen - we should get a positive answer when Martin Rand has submitted the find to the appropriate national BSBI committee. (Brian Fellows tells me the official English name used by the BSBI is Large-flowered Orlaya - White Lace Flower is a name used by commercial seed merchants and gardeners).

Amphibious Bistort: Another six flower spikes had appeared on plants at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Aug 30

Brookweed: Still flowering on the Langstone South Moors on Aug 28 but only two plants seen.

Skullcap: It is good to know that this could still be found on Aug 29 flowering in the brickwork bank of the 'tow path' beside the Lumley Mill Stream where it flows just south of the church at Westbourne

Borage: A few flowering plants in a most unlikely site at an industrial estate off New Lane in Havant on Aug 27

Elder: Several bushes have opened new flowers this week

Shaggy Soldier: Heading north over the New Lane level crossing on Aug 27 I was much surprised to see a healthy flowering plant at the foot of the first telegraph post on the left side of the road north of the level crossing

Sneezewort: Another plant still just surviving by the Lavant stream running alongside the Bartons Road playing fields in Leigh Park

Narrow-leaved Water Plantain: The plant found last year in the Westbrook stream running along the back of the Bridge Road carpark in Emsworth is still present but is now long past flowering so it is of interest that on Sep 1 Brian Fellows was able to show Havant Wildlife Group members some more plants still flowering further upstream (where the Westbrook passes under Victoria Road)

Butcher's Broom: First flower of the new season found (with difficulty) on a bush at the Langstone South Moors on Aug 28

OTHER WILDLIFE

Common Seal: Trevor Carpenter saw 5 Common Seals during a walk around Thorney Island on Aug 27 reminding me that the colony based here usually numbers around 10 and I see that 10 were seen here on May 6. On Aug 31 Barry Collins reported the presence of 11 Seals around Thorney

Harvest Mouse: In the past I have heard of these nesting in the reeds at Titchfield Haven and on Aug 30 this year one was seen in a similar environment at the Pannel Valley reserve on the shore of Rye Bay

Adder: Few reports of these this year but on Sep 1 John Goodspeed watched a young Adder (9 ins long) wriggle across the Hayling Coastal Path at the Oysterbeds

Anilocra species: This name probably means no more to you than it did to me when I read of it on the Dungeness website but that site did have a couple of photos of a 6 cm long translucent 'Woodlouse' type creature (which had been found attached to a Black Bream in the sea) with the comment that this parasite was probably sucking the brains out of the fish. A search of the internet told me that there are several Anilocra species which parasitise fish, mostly found in warmer waters than the English Channel (is this one another gift of global warming?). The group of creatures to which Anilocra belongs are known as Cymothoid Isopods, and more generally they are crustaceans. The only similar creature that I have ever come across are Sea Slaters (which I once found in large numbers on the shore of Fareham Creek, and which I understand occasionally come ashore like a swarm of locusts).

Cow's Udder Sponge: This name was used by one of the Durlston country park rangers in their website daily diary to describe something found in the sea when checking an underwater hydrophone. I cannot find this English name in any book or on the internet but guess it refers to the sponge called Grantia compressa (or Purse Sponge) and the pictures of this certainly look like the teats of a Cow's udder.

Little Cuttlefish: Another species mentioned on the Durlston website with this name must be Sepiola atlantica (I did find a reference to the English name they used for this one!). A lot smaller than a normal cuttlefish this species is apparently not uncommon in English waters.

Fungi: Nothing special but this week brought up three species of Waxcap on my Havant lawn - Parrot, Blackening and one other which has a white cap and may be the Goat Moth species as it does not seem to be white enough for either Snowy or Ivory Waxcap)


Summary for Aug 20 - 26 (Week 34 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Black-throated Diver: No divers yet back on the south coast but news from Lee Evans of a first summer bird in Warwickshire last week indicates that they are possibly on their way.

Black-necked Grebe: Early on Aug 24 one was on Fleet Pond in north Hampshire and later that day one was on the Langstone Harbour water off the Langstone South Moors - these are the first Hampshire reports of the autumn

Cory's Shearwater: One (and possibly a second) was off Portland on Aug 19. The only other record of this species this year is Andy Johnson's distant sighting of one off Hayling Island on July 4

Sooty Shearwater: Numbers increasing with 8 off Selsey and 5 off Portland, both on Aug 18. Two more were off Portland on Aug 19.

Great White Egret: Latest report is of one at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Aug 24. Since the settled bird was last seen at the Blashford Lakes on Jan 21 there have been six isolated reports from Apr 4 to Aug 24, all at widely separated sites and none of the birds settled.

Purple Heron: One was at Frensham Little Pond on Aug 20 (and the juvenile Night Heron was still at Hastings on Aug 21)

Spoonbill: One that was at Titchfield Haven on Aug 22 and 23 may have flown to Farlington Marshes where one was seen on Aug 24. 2 birds have been seen at both Lodmoor (Weymouth) and Brownsea Island on Aug 22 and 24 respectively with a single seen in the south of Poole Harbour on Aug 25

Greylag: A substantial flock of 340 was at Pulborough Brooks on Aug 23

Canada Goose: Also at Pulborough on Aug 23 was a flock of 485 Canadas. On that same day a flock of 210 were seen on Thorney Island - this flock had decreased to just 72 on Aug 24

Bar-headed Goose: A family group of 4 (2 ads + 2 juvs) were on Thorney Island on Aug 24

Ruddy Shelduck: One has been in the Keyhaven area near Lymington from Aug 19 to 25 (maybe present there since the first report on July 31). In East Anglia a group of three juveniles were present in Essex recently

Teal: 43 flew past Dungeness on Aug 21 and next day 79 were present at Rye Harbour. By Aug 23 there were 114 in Christchurch Harbour.

Garganey: Two eclipse birds were on the 'Balancing Pond' (SZ 311921) at Keyhaven on Aug 19 and two were at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 21. when one was at Titchfield Haven. The two were still at Keyhaven on Aug 24 and at least one was there on Aug 25

Eider: Around 30 were off the Lymington shore on Aug 24

Goosander: Two birds flew over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 24 - presumably birds which have attempted to breed in the Avon valley

Honey Buzzard: Five sightings this week - on Aug 22 one flew (north!) over Portland and one was seen in Poole Harbour.On Aug 24 one was over the Purbeck coast and two flew over the Isle of Wight where one was seen on Aug 25

Marsh Harrier: On Aug 19 one was still at Brading Marshes (IoW) - there since Aug 17 - and on Aug 20 one was over Farlington Marshes while another was seen at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 21. There were three more sightings in Dorset on Aug 22

Hen Harrier: A very early returnee to Sussex was hunting over the Selsey west fields on Aug 21 and maybe the same bird roosted at Newtown Harbour (IoW) on Aug 25

Montagu's Harrier: A juvenile was over Luccombe Down (IoW) on Aug 19 and a female flew east over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 25

Osprey: Among this week's reports are a sighting of four in the Arne/Middlebere area of Poole Harbour on Aug 19 and a juvenile flying inland from Langstone Harbour on the evening of Aug 20 (it was going north east and this suggested to me that it might be using the trees around the Brickkiln Pond at Stansted as a night roost - I think there have been suggestions that birds have used this site in the past). On Aug 21 one was fishing off Lepe at the mouth of Southampton Water and on Aug 22 one was over Hatchet Pond in the New Forest (with three others seen in Poole Harbour that day)

Merlin: One seen at Portland on Aug 22 was the first reported anywhere on the south coast since May 13. Aug 24 brought sightings from Farlington Marshes, the Selsey area and Ventnor Downs (IoW). On Aug 25 another was in the Weymouth area

Hobby: On Aug 20 one flew south over Christchurch Harbour and carried on out to sea, presumably leaving us. This was one of twelve reports during the past week which included a sighting at Farlington Marshes and proof of breeding on the IoW (adult feeding juvenile)

Red-legged Partridge: Around 70 recently released birds were in fields near Old Winchester Hill on Aug 24

Avocet: This week's sightings include one feeding at Hayling Oysterbeds on the evening of Aug 22 and a total of 90 at Brownsea Island lagoon on Aug 24

Stone Curlew: The first report of one flying south came from the Isle of Wight on Aug 25 when one went over Newtown Harbour

Ringed Plover: More than 50 came to the Hayling Oysterbeds area as the tide rose on the evening of Aug 21 but there had been 100 there on Aug 19

Kentish Plover: Two were seen at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 21

Golden Plover: By Aug 21 the roost on the shore at Rye Harbour numbered 127 birds but of more interest locally a party of 25 flew south west over Pulborough Brooks that day, maybe heading for the Hampshire shore.

Knot: On Aug 21 there were 40 in Pagham Harbour and other recent local counts have been six at Titchfield Haven on Aug 19, two at Hook/Warsash on Aug 20 and four at Lepe on Aug 21. On Aug 22 there were 28 at Christchurch Harbour an d18 at Rye Harbour, while on Aug 25 a party of 13 flew over Titchfield Haven without stopping

Little Stint: One was at Hythe on Southampton Water on Aug 19 the week brought eleven other reports

Temmincks Stint: One was at Rye Harbour on Aug 24

White-rumped Sandpiper: One at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Aug 21 (another had been seen in the Shetlands on Aug 16) and was still at Brownsea on Aug 25

Purple Sandpiper: Following the two at Southsea Castle on Aug 15 one was on Hurst Beach west of Lymington on Aug 18 and 21. Another has been seen at Portland on Aug 23 and 24

Ruff: These have been reported at six sout coast sites this week with 9 birds together at Rye Harbour on Aug 24 and one at Lymington on Aug 25

Black-tailed Godwit: The number in Emsworth harbour increased from around 30 on Aug 20 to 88 on Aug 24

Bar-tailed Godwit: The first major arrival of the autumn was a flock of 380 at Dungeness on Aug 19

Yellowlegs species: A 'Greenshank sized bird with bright yellow legs' was seen in Poole Harbour (Brands Bay area) on Aug 20 and again on Aug 21 - probably a Lesser Yellowlegs but so far not identified.

Turnstone: A flock of 38 was on the Lymington shore on Aug 19 and by Aug 21 there were more than 78 on the Titchfield Haven shore

Red-necked Phalarope: One made an overnight stopover in the Lymington area from Aug 23 to 24

Pomarine Skua: The first to be reported since July 10 was off Dungeness on Aug 24

Sabine's Gull: A juvenile flew past Selsey Bill on Aug 18 (an adult was in Wales last week with another at Rutland Water)

Little Tern: The Portsmouth NEWS this week quoted a West Sussex County Councillor as saying that 8 pairs of Little Tern had nested on Pagham Spit this summer and had fledged five young. This is said to be the first time Little Terns have nested at Pagham Harbour for ten years

Black Tern: 100 of these were at Dungeness on Aug 22 with smaller numbers at several sites during the week. Well inland there were 19 at Weir Wood reservoir on Aug 22 with 28 at Bewl Water that same day

White-winged Black Tern: On Aug 20 a juvenile was seen at Dungeness and that evening a juvenile was in Langstone Harbour, seen from the Oysterbeds. On Aug 21 another juvenile was seen at Weir Wood reservoir in north Sussex and one spent a couple of days at the Dungeness RSPB reserve on Aug 22/23

Departing migrants: The following have been reported in the past few days ...

Turtle Dove: Singles reported at five sites this week

Cuckoo: Three seen in West Sussex, one at Dungeness and one at Christchurch Harbour

Nightjar: One at Abbotsbury on the Dorset coast on Aug 22

Swift: Reports from six sites including 20 at Lymington and 'dozens' over the Pett Level pools. On Aug 23 there were 16 at Christchurch and on Aug 24 one was seen still entering a nest site in a factory roof at Romsey. Latest sighting was of three at Christchurch on Aug 25

Wryneck: The first of autumn on the south coast was at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 22 and since then there have been sightings at Portland, Hastings, Lymington and at two IoW sites

Sand Martin: 1800 flew over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 22 and 110 went over there on Aug 23

Swallow: The passage at Christchurch on Aug 22 and 23 was 1000 and 1700 respectively

House Martin: The Christchurch counts of House Martins on Aug 22 and 23 were of 500 and 450. Similar but smaller counts of hirundines came from several other sites this week

Richard's/Tawny Pipit: A bird seen at Hope Gap near Seaford on Aug 24 was reported as a possible Richard's Pipit but Bernie Forbes suggested it was more likely to have been a Tawny Pipit at this time of year.

Tree Pipit: Around 100 were at Portland on Aug 22 - just one of 21 reports this week

Meadow Pipit: Around 20 were on the Gipsies Plain south of Havant Thicket on Aug 20 with a similar number at Selsey west fields that day

Yellow Wagtail: 150 at Rye Harbour on Aug 19 and 60 at Dungeness on Aug 21 were just two of 28 reports this week

Grey Wagtail: These are also now on the move with six reports - max count of 15 at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 25

White Wagtail: First autumn report is of 7 at Portland on Aug 25

Nightingale: Singles at Beachy Head on Aug 18 and 20 with two there on Aug 24 when one was at Dungeness

Common Redstart: Three at Luccombe Down (IoW) on Aug 20. By Aug 24 there were 20 at each of Ventnor Downs and Portland

Whinchat: 38 reports this week with a max of 35 at Portland on Aug 24

Stonechat: Reports of two at Hook/Warsash on Aug 23, one at Farlington Marshes on Aug 24 and six at Hook on Aug 25 seems to indicate a return to wintering coastal sites

Wheatear: Largest count was of 200 at Portland on Aug 23

Grasshopper Warbler: Fourteen reports this week including a group of three at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 20

Aquatic Warbler: Second of the autumn was at Radipole (Weymouth) on Aug 22 after one there on Aug 12

Sedge Warbler: Eighteen at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 20 plus ten other reports

Reed Warbler: Only five reports including eight at Beachy Head on Aug 20

Icterine Warbler: First report for the year from the IoW West High Down area on Aug 25

Dartford Warbler: Aug 20 brought a further sighting of a juvenile on Sinah Common near the min-golf course

Lesser Whitethroat: Thriteen reports include a count of 12 in the Brede valley near Rye on Aug 19

Common Whitethroat: Eighty in the Brede valley near Rye on Aug 19 was the biggest of 23 reported counts this week

Garden Warbler: 15 reports with a max count of 20 at Portland on Aug 24

Blackcap: 12 reports include a count of 8 at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 20 (and a male in my Havant garden on Aug 21)

Wood Warbler: Just one report of a single bird at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 24

Willow Warbler: 24 reports include a count of 100 at Portland on Aug 24

Goldcrest: One at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 20 seems to be the first autumn mover - 12 birds there on Aug 25

Spotted Flycatcher: 21 reports with a max of 50 at Portland on Aug 24. Nearer home 6 were in the Botley Woods on Aug 24

Pied Flycatcher: 11 reports with a peak of 15 at Portland on Aug 24

Rook: After the news of many hundred roosting in Midhurst on Aug 12 a report of many flying in off the Solent at Hook on Aug 23 suggests that the winter roost in northern Gosport (from which birds fly out daily to feed as far away as the New Forest) may be in use again.

Carrion Crow: A count of 200 at Weston on the Southampton Water shore on Aug 19

Starling: A flock of around 500 at Farlington Marshes on Aug 24 suggests that continental birds are already reaching us for the winter

Serin: One flew over Portland on Aug 23

Goldfinch: Autumn flocks are now feeding on thistle seeds. On Aug 19 a flock of 50 was at Climping on the Sussex shore and on Aug 23 a flock of 40+ was at the Langstone South Moors

Linnet: On Aug 24 a flock of 60 were at Old Winchester Hill in the Meon Valley and 90 were at Rye Harbour

Corn Bunting: 19 at Rye Harbour on Aug 21 - the first flock reported here since May 6

Escapes: On Aug 22 a female Saker crashed into a building at Walberton in the Arundel area and was rescued by someone from the Earnley Falconry Centre (is this a new organisation or another name for the Sussex Falconry Centre based between Chichester and Birdham?)

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Common Darter: Although these have been on the wing since June 9 they have been in short supply so far this summer. Sightings at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Aug 24 and 25 may signal the start of their general appearance.

Butterflies:

Adonis Blue: The summer brood emerged at Mill Hill (Shoreham) with 48 seen there on Aug 25 (including four mating pairs)

Small Tortoiseshell: Aug 25 brought counts of 14 on one Buddleia at Rye Harbour and 10+ in the Cuckmere Valley - I even had a fresh specimen on Portsdown that day.

Marbled White: One was still flying at Durlston on Aug 25

Moths

Cydia amplana: First of these migrants taken at Brockenhurst in the New Forest on Aug 23

Udea fulvalis: First also at Brockenhurst on Aug 23

Clay Triple-lines: First reported at Friston near Eastbourne on Aug 24

Oblique Striped: This unexpected find at Rye Harbour on Aug 25 was thought to have come from a population at nearby Camber

Hoary Footman: First at Hailsham on Aug 24

Great Dart: First at Portland on Aug 23

Hedge Rustic: First at Brockenhurst on Aug 23

Scar Bank Gem: This was only the 15th record for Britain when it turned up at Portland on Aug 24

Caterpillars: Two people have reported finds of Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillars in gardens at Havant and Emsworth this week

Other Insects

Helophilus hoverfly species: A large hoverfly with longitudinal yellow/black stripes on its thorax and broad horizontal bands of the same colours on its abdomen was seen but not identified by me on Portsdown on Aug 25

Chrysotoxum bicinctum hoverfly: One reported at Durlston country park on Aug 19

Coneheads: Both Long and Short-winged species were found at Rye Harbour on Aug 25

Bush Crickets: Grey Bush Crickets were seen at Rye Harbour on Aug 25 and a late report from Aug 16 is of many Roesels's on St Catherine's Hill at Winchester

Pimpla instigator Ichneumon: What was probably one of these was on our Havant kitchen window in sunshine on Aug 26 - the all black body and coloured legs (supposed to be orange but seen by me as red) agree with this species which is listed as the 'commonest of the 4000 species of Ichneumon found in Europe'. It was a female with a substantial ovipositor.

Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi): My first of the autumn seen on Hayling on Aug 21 and on Aug 23 I found four on the South Moors seawall, then saw more than 6 on Portsdown on Aug 24. Aug 25 brought a report of 10 around Lime Kiln Cottage (warden's house) at Rye Harbour

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Sea Spleenwort: Reported from Durlston on Aug 20. This only grows on rocks exposed to sea spray and the Durlston site is probably the easternmost on the south coast (the species is not found in Hampshire or anywhere on the coast up to Yorkshire)

Yellow Horned Poppy: A plant in flower on Aug 21 at the south end of the Stoke Bay area on west Hayling (SU 715 024) may represent an extension of the range of this species around the Langstone Harbour shore

Common Gorse: First flowers of the new season found on a single (dying) bush beside the Hayling coastal path on Aug 21. First flowers were reported at Durlston on Aug 10. None flowering locally since June 4 but flower buds could be seen on bushes at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Aug 24

White Melilot: First find of this in flower for the year seems to have been my find of it on Portsdown on Aug 25

Bladder Senna: Several bushes of this seem to be recent additions to the driveway into Leigh Park Gardens - the bright yellow flowers and translucent seed pods seen on Aug 20

Dog Rose: Several more bushes had a total of 20+ flowers on the Langstone South Moors shore on Aug 23

Purple Loosestrife: I had seen this in flower in a garden at Fishbourne near Chichester on July 11 but my first sight of it in natural surroundings was by the Langbrook stream at Langstone immediately north of Mill Lane (viewed from the public path across the small hay meadow) on Aug 23

Ivy: First flowers were open on Aug 23 on a bush overhanging and washed by the water of the Langbrook stream south of Mill Lane

Pepper Saxifrage: Several plants flowering beside the Hayling Coastal Path on Aug 21 were the first I have seen in flower this year other than a single plant in Havant Thicket on June 19 (it was also reported flowering at Durlston on July 18)

White Lace Flower (Orlaya grandiflora): This is the presumed id of a very distinctive white flowered umbellifer which I found on the Langstone South Moors on Aug 23. I sent a description and photos (courtesy of Brian Fellows) to Martin Rand for identification and his opinion is that it is Orlaya grandiflora (and would be only the first or second record of it in the wild in Britain - the genus is not even listed in Stace's Flora). On Aug 27 I hope to take it to Eric Clement for formal identification. This species occurs in the wild in both France and Germany, and is a popular garden flower which is grown in Britain.

Lesser Skullcap: My first find of this in flower this year was of a small clump at a 'new to me' site in the Long Avenue leading from Leigh Park Gardens to Havant Thicket on Aug 20

Skullcap: Brian Fellows found the first flowers of this at a regular site by the Lumley Mill Stream at Emsworth on Aug 20

Devils Bit Scabious: First flowers in Havant Thicket on Aug 20 (more found on Portsdown on Aug 25)

Groundsel: The uncommon form of this with 'rayed' flowers was found at a regular location in the Warblington farm fields by Brian Fellows on Aug 21

Canadian Goldenrod: Although I had seen this flowering 'out of county' on Aug 16 my first sight of it locally was on Portsdown on Aug 25

Ploughman's Spikenard: My first record of this in flower locally was on Portsdown on Aug 25 but it has probably been out for a month or more

Sneezewort: First find of this in flower for the year was in the Gipsies Plain fields south of Havant Thicket on Aug 20. Found at several places in the 'orchid ditch'.

Carline Thistle: My first record of this in flower for the year was my own find on Portsdown on Aug 25

Lesser Hawkbit: A plant growing on the 'earth mound' above the tern island in the lagoon at the Hayling Oysterbeds on Aug 21 was possibly an addition to the plant list for this site.

Hawkweed (Hieracium subaudum): Newly flowering in Havant Thicket on Aug 20

Green Bristle Grass (Setaria viridis): Found on Aug 21 by Brian Fellows flowering in Warblington cemetery (where it has occurred in past years)

OTHER WILDLIFE

Ray species: On Aug 17 a search of the Rye Harbour shore found the egg cases of four different Ray species washed up after the young had hatched.

The common name for these cases is Mermaid's Purses and the shape of each purse distinquishes the species to which it belongs - the number and variety found is of interest to the Shark Trust which uses them to monitor the breeding of the various species in British waters.

Totals were ..

Thornback Ray (Raja clavata) 54

Spotted Ray (Raja montagui) 14

Blonde Ray (Raja brachyura) 1

Undulate Ray (Raja undulata) 3.

Fungi: Both Blackening and Parrot Waxcaps appeared on my lawn this week and on Aug 23 while out in the Havant area I came on a cluster of tall Coprinus (C. lagopus type) and a huge display of small grey-white Mycena type fungi growing on the exposed roots of an old Horse Chestnut tree in Wade Lane at Langstone


Summary for Aug 13 - 19 (Week 33 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Sooty Shearwater: Up to 3 were off Portland in mid-July and one has been seen there again on Aug 13 and 15 - by Aug 18 five were seen there.

Balearic Shearwater: Now becoming more numerous and widespread. On Aug 14 the count at Portland was 16 with sightings at Branksome Chine in Bournemouth and at Hurst spit that day with three as far east as Dungeness. On Aug 15 one was off Milford on sea and on Aug 18 five were seen from Christchurch Harbour.

Storm Petrel: Four off Christchurch Harbour on Aug 15 were the first reported anywhere since July 17

Gannet: On Aug 14 more than 550 were seen from Hurst Beach near the Needles but at Portland that day brought a huge day count of more than 5000 (double the previous record day count made there in Oct 1988)

Night Heron: An unconfirmed report of a juvenile roosting in Alexandra Park at Hastings on the evening of Aug 14 has subsequently been substantiated by many observers and photos. The bird was still present on Aug 19 and is thought to have been there for a week or more. One had previously visited this town centre park site in 1996 (June 26 to July 3)

Great White Egret: One was among gulls on the beach at Dungeness for 20 minutes on Aug 15

Purple Heron: A 'probable only' report of one in Poole Harbour on Aug 12

Spoonbill: No reports from Dorset since Aug 13 but on Aug 15 one arrived at Titchfield Haven (last sighting there was on July 15). It was still at Titchfield on Aug 18 at least

Barnacle Goose: It seems that the Baffins Gang is not yet extinct. On Aug 18 six Barnacles were at Baffins Pond with the white hybrid plus one Embden.

Bar-headed Goose: On Aug 18 one was on coastal fields south of Thatchers Copse (just west of Titchfield Haven) with 50+ Canadas and 10 Greylags

Shelduck: A single juvenile seen at Alresford Pond (near the source of the Itchen north of Winchester) on Aug 17 seems to indicate inland breeding

Teal: Counts of 15 at Needs Ore in the Solent on Aug 11 and of 22 at Brading Marshes (IoW) on Aug 17 shows that more are returning

Garganey: This weeks reports of departing migrants includes one flying past Portland on Aug 12, one at the Drayton pit east of Chichester on Aug 16, two at Rye Harbour on Aug 17 and two at Keyhaven Marshes (Lymington) on Aug 18

Eider: 32 were off the Lymington marshes on Aug 17 (and two off Church Norton on Aug 16)

Mallard: Last week I saw a new family of ducklings on Langstone Pond and on Aug 14 a family of five hatched at the Portsmouth IBM site

Honey Buzzard: One flew west over the Blashford Lakes at Ringwood, 'displaying continuously', on Aug 13

Marsh Harrier: A migrant was seen hunting over fields on the IoW on Aug 12

Sparrowhawk: A male was feeding two noisy newly fledged young at the Sussex University site on Aug 13. Another pair with at least two fledged young was at Horsham on Aug 17 and a single juvenile was seen at the Lymington marshes on that day

Buzzard: Several reports indicate that they have had a good breeding season and plenty of young are now on the wing

Osprey: Three were still in Poole Harbour on Aug 17 and one was still at Newtown Harbour (IoW) on Aug 16. On Aug 17 there was another sighting of one around Thorney Island - seen eating a fish on the old airfield landing lights (south end near Longmere Point)

Spotted Crake: No further news of the one at Farlington Marshes on Aug 11 but on Aug 16 one arrived at Christchurch Harbour

Oystercatcher: The single youngster which hatched from a nest on the roof of a building at the Portsmouth IBM site has now fledged and was seen on the ground with one parent on Aug 14

Ringed Plover: Numbers now building with counts of 43 at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 16 and 170 at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on Aug 17

Kentish Plover: A report of three at the Lymington Marshes on Aug 13 aroused some controversy. While there is a possibility of confusion with juvenile Ringed Plover one group of birders said they could not have been Kentish Plovers because 'they' did not see them - others maintained that recent sightings of Kentish Plover at Christchurch Harbour and Weymouth, plus the rapid turnover of birds coming and going on the Lymington shore, made it quite likely that the reporter did see Kentish Plovers which vanished before other birders could see them

Golden Plover: The flock of 21 which arrived at Rye Harbour on Aug 7 had increased to 29 birds by Aug 12

Grey Plover: More than 20 were on the Lymington marshes shore on Aug 13 and they can now be seen at most coastal sites

Knot: Reported this week from five sites but the highest count was only four birds

Sanderling: Highest count this week was of 24 at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 15

Little Stint: On Aug 12 three were at Ferrybridge (Weymouth), on Aug 13 two were on the Lymington shore and on Aug 14 one was in Pagham Harbour at Church Norton. Since then they have been seen at four other sites

Curlew Sandpiper: Two were in Christchurch Harbour on Aug 13 and one was on the Lymington shore on Aug 17

Purple Sandpiper: Two were seen at Southsea Castle on Aug 15, only a few days earlier than the first arrivals in the past two years. In 2006 the first was at Portland on Aug 23 followed by Bembridge (IoW) on Aug 27. In 2005 the first also reached Portland on Aug 23. There have been July sightings in Hampshire in the past (suggesting summering birds) and one was at Pegwell Bay in Kent on July 24 in 2005

Ruff: There have been sightings of one or two at each of four sites between Aug 13 and 18. On Aug 17 there were three birds at the Lymington marshes.

Green Sandpiper: On Aug 12 the count at Southampton Lower Test was up to 12 birds. These, as well as Common and Wood Sandpipers, are now widespread along the coast.

Med Gull: 50 were present at the Brading Marshes (IoW) on Aug 14

Common Gull: Ones and twos have been back for some time but a count of 15 at Fishbourne (IoW) on Aug 12 suggests that numbers will soon increase

Little Tern: An unspecified number were still present at the mouth of Pagham Harbour on Aug 14

Black Tern: The count at Dungeness was up to 18 on Aug 17 and on Aug 14 one was seen at Sidlesham Ferry and three were in Pagham Harbour mouth - two more were in the Lymington Hurst area that day. On Aug 16 three were over Ivy Lake at Chichester and on Aug 17 one was among the terns coming to roost in the Kench area of Langstone Harbour while on Aug 18 an adult plus a juvenile were on Ryde Sands (IoW)

Razorbill: A juvenile was off Hordle cliffs near New Milton on Aug 12 and two were seen off Portland on Aug 18

Puffin: A juvenile was an unexpected sight at Milford on sea on Aug 15

Cuckoo: On Aug 12 single juveniles were seen by the Cuckmere River near Eastbourne and at Worthing. Aug 18 brought reports of singles from Christchurch Harbour and Preston village by the A353 east of Weymouth

Swift: Still plenty about. On Aug 12 Dungeness reported 100 over and since then there have been 13 more reports including 'many' over Titchfield Haven on Aug 18 when others were over Milton Common at Southsea.

Kingfisher: One was seen at the Thorney Deeps on Aug 12 and 'several newly arrived juveniles' were at the Pett Level pools by Rye Bay on Aug 14. Aug 17 brought another report from the Thorney Deeps and on Aug 18 one was seen in trees at the back of Langstone Pond (probably there since at least Aug 11)

Green Woodpecker: Reports of migrant Great Spots on the move are relative commonplace at coastal sites but I was surprised to see that on Aug 11 there were 6 Green Woodpeckers at Dungeness (where they are not resident).

Woodlark: A group of nine were still in the east of the Stansted estate on Aug 10

Aquatic Warbler: The first of the autumn passage birds reached the south coast on Aug 12 when it was caught and ringed at Radipole (Weymouth)

Passerine migrants: The following species have been reported at coastal sites this week (numbers in brackets are the highest individual day counts at a single site)

Sand Martin (300), Swallow (300 to roost by the River Adur), House Martin, Tree Pipit (11), Yellow Wagtail (350+), Nightingale (1), Common Redstart (4), Whinchat (5), Stonechat (1), Wheatear (60), Grasshopper Warbler (1), Aquatic Warbler (1), Sedge Warbler (53+), Reed Warbler (15), Lesser Whitethroat (10), Common Whitethroat (42), Garden Warbler (20), Blackcap (1), Willow Warbler (140), Firecrest (1 in Charleston reedbed, Cuckmere valler near Eastbourne), Spotted Flycatcher (40), Pied Flycatcher (4)

Rook: Large corvid roosts are a regular occurrence in winter but I was a little surprised to hear of 'many hundred Rooks' gathering in trees at the Midhurst town carpark on Aug 12

Serin: One seen at Wool in Dorset on Aug 13

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies

Lulworth Skipper: Still present at Durlston country park on Aug 17

Clouded Yellow: Seen at Durlston on Aug 16 and 17, at Dungeness on Aug 17, and a fresh female was on the Thorney Island seawall (west end of Great Deeps) on Aug 17

Brimstone: A count of 23 on Oxenbourne Down near Petersfield back on Aug 4

Brown Argus: A count of 50 at Beacon Hill in the Meon Valley on Aug 11 was surprisingly large

Chalkhill Blue: By Aug 4 more than 500 could be seen at each of Old Winchester Hill and Oxenbourne Down

Painted Lady: No large numbers but counts of up to 3 came from ten sites between Aug 11 and 18

Wall Brown: Keyhaven Marshes at Lymington seems to be the only Hampshire site still to have this species (15+ there on July 25) but in Sussex there have been sightings of the summer brood at 8 different sites

Marbled White: Still flying at Durlston on Aug 18

Grayling: Late news of 18 seen in the Sandy Point nature reserve on Hayling on Aug 5

Monarch: One has been hanging around the Botanic Gardens at Ventnor (IoW) from Aug 8 to 13 at least (migrant that has lost its urge to move or a locally bred insect with no urge to leave home??)

Moths

National Moth Night on Aug 11 brought a long list of 'new for the year' species which I will not list in full but I will mention a few of them.

Brown China-mark: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Gold Triangle: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Meal Moth: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Small Phoenix: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Cypress Pug: First at Dungeness on Aug 12

Dusky Thorn: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Buff Footman: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Beautiful Gothic: First at Portland on Aug 11

Copper Underwing: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Svenssons's Copper Underwing: Also taken at Horsham

The Olive: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Lesser Common Rustic: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Rush Wainscot: First at Horsham on Aug 11

Waved Black: First at Pulborough Brooks on Aug 11

Other Insects

Stripe-winged Grasshopper (Stenobothrus lineatus): Seen and heard and Durlston on Aug 18

Cockroaches: The large insects which occasionally infest places where food is stored are not permanently resident in Britain (they come from Asia) but there are three smaller species of this very large group of insects which are native to Britain. These are the Dusky, Tawny and Lesser Cockroach and the latter two species were both seen at Durlston on Aug 18

Marpissa muscosa (jumping spider): This large and furry spider was seen on a gatepost at Rye Harbour on Aug 16 (Photo on Rye Bay website). It lives on wooden surfaces and has a flattened body allowing it to squeeze under bark in order to hide when not out hunting.

Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi): Several seen in the Newhaven area on Aug 15. (Correction to my report of 2 seen on Portsdown on Aug 8 - they were found on the north face of the hill at the 'Two Dells' site north of Fort Widley)

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Early Dog Violet: One flower found in Havant cemetery on Aug 19 among thousands of leaves where the plants thickly cover the ground

Corn Spurrey: Still a few flowers on plants in a Warblington farm shore field on Aug 17

Saltwort: A good show of flowering plants by the Hayling Island sailing club at Black Point on Aug 13

Frosted Orache: Also found in the Black Point area on Aug 13

Dwarf Gorse: A great show of this in flower at the old Sandy Point hospital site on Hayling on Aug 13 (so far no local reports of Common Gorse coming into flower)

Sickle Medick: On Aug 15 John Goodspeed found the plants by the A3 slip road on Portsdown in flower for the first time this year (photos on his website). Last year I found flowers on June 20 and in 2005 John reported the first flowers on June 19 (but I was able to find plenty of flowers as late as Aug 19).

Dog Rose: Bushes on the shore line of a Warblington farm field close to Conigar Point were covered with fresh flowers on Aug 17

Ivy: On Aug 18 I noticed that the tight flower buds which have been on show for some time had expanded with long pedicels to the individual flower heads though there was no sign of any opening flowers.

Pepper Saxifrage: No reports of this in flower yet but it was in bud at Emsworth on Aug 12

Slender Hare's Ear: A good show of plants in flower on the Thorney seawall (west end of Great Deeps) on Aug 17

Autumn Gentian: John Goodspeed reported a particularly good show of flowers on Portsdown (near the A3 south of The George pub) on Aug 15

Weasel's Snout (Lesser Snapdragon): Still flowering at the New Lane allotments in Havant on Aug 19

Field Woundwort: Still flowering in the Warblington shore field near Conigar Point on Aug 17

Honeywort (Cerinthe major): Although this is a garden flower I was interested to come across an example of this South African species which is greatly attractive to several species of bumble bee (which get at the nectar by biting through the base of the flower, not entering it from the open end). Found in a Brook Gardens garden in Emsworth on Aug 17 (see Diary entry for that day)

Canadian Goldenrod: Wild Goldenrod has been out in Havant Thicket since July 31 but I did not see the very different common garden plant until Aug 16

Shaggy Soldier: Found at a new site in Emsworth on Aug 13 (in fields between Thorney Main Road and the Slipper Mill Pond)

Autumn Ladies Tresses: A record count of 469 spikes on Portland Bill (counted Aug 11)

Canary Grass: First mention of this from fields west of Southbourne (near Emsworth) on Aug 13

Cockspur Grass: Also found in the Southbourne fields on Aug 13

OTHER WILDLIFE

Seals: A Common Seal came into Langstone Harbour with the rising tide on the evening of Aug 17 and the Grey Seal remains close inshore at Pett (Rye Bay) showing much curiosity about human swimmers

Slow-worms and Common Lizards were numerous on the Stansted estate during the week ending Aug 12, and a three foot long Grass Snake was also found there

Wall Lizard: Five of these were seen again on Aug 13 at Ventnor (IoW) after a sighting of three there on Aug 11

Snails: Both Striped and Wrinkled Snails were easy to find at Durlston country park on a wet day (Aug 14) and on Aug 17 I found a mating pair of Pointed Snails at the colony on the Thorney Island seawall (west end of Great Deeps)

Fungi: Visiting the Sandy Point area of Hayling Island on Aug 13 I found a large white mushroom (still at the button stage but 8cm across) growing in a very dry situation at the base of a Macrocarpa tree. I subsequently identified it as Agaricus urinascens (in Phillips called A. macrosporus) which has the English Name of Macro Mushroom - a new species for me.


Summary for Aug 6 - 12 (Week 32 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Cormorant: On Aug 5 David Thelwell reported the presence of 23 Cormorants in a regular summer roost in trees near the River Test in the Romsey area and this provoked a brief discussion on two points.

The first concerned whether Cormorants have ever bred anywhere in Hampshire - the official view is that they have not but Bob Chapman thought it likely that they had probably done so on one or more of the Spithead Forts which are in Hampshire waters.

The second discussion was about behaviour differences between the 'British race' and the 'Continental' (sinensis) race. It has been a general assumption that British race birds only breed on sea cliffs while any inland tree nesters are Sinensis, and this assumption has been extended by some to give the impression that any bird seen inland is a Sinensis. David Thelwell said that the Romsey birds looked to be Sinensis but he was uncertain, while Martin Pitt said that at least one bird seen at The Vyne (National Trust property near Basingstoke) was ringed and could be traced to British parents with a nest in the Bristol area.

One conclusion that I drew from this discussion is that separation of the races and their habits is even more difficult than I previously thought, and one fact that I learnt is that the British race is a very small portion of a world population consisting of Sinensis birds.

Little Egret: An evening roost count at Langstone Mill Pond on Aug 11 recorded 120 birds - no significant difference from the 124 counted there on July 31. Another count of 209 was made in the Poole Harbour area but I have no data with which to compare this figure.

Grey Heron: Small groups of half a dozen or less are fairly regularly reported as passage migrants over coastal sites but a count of 60+ seen from Christchurch Harbour on Aug 11 came as a surprise to me. I guess the birds were going west (as had been 3 birds on July 29 and 4 on Aug 5). The birds were seen distantly on the horizon in two large flocks of 35+ and 25+

Black Stork: One was seen over Abbotsbury near Weymouth on Aug 7 - only the second Black Stork report for this year (the first having been in the Petersfield area on July 12). It was seen again in the same area on Aug 8, 9 and 10

White Stork: One was over the Alverstone area near Shanklin (IoW) on July 30 - the fifth report of this species for the year

Wigeon: What seems to be the first major return of these to the south coast was at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 10 when the count was 60+

Teal: The number at Christchurch Harbour shot up to 30 on Aug 8

Garganey: Two turned up in the Lymington area on Aug 4 and were seen there again on Aug 5 (when they were described as juveniles)

Shoveler: Aug 5 brought sightings of 10 at Christchurch Harbour and 11 in the Lymington area, and on Aug 7 the Hook/Warsash area had 3 back while the Chichester lakes had 5. By Aug 11 there were concurrent sightings of one at Keyhaven (Lymington), one at Lodmoor (Weymouth) and five at Christchurch Harbour

Pochard: A pair appeared on the boating lake at Sandown (IoW) on Aug 3 and they were still there on Aug 7 when 5 were seen at the Chichester lakes

Merganser: The summering bird which turned up at Ferrybridge (Portland Harbour) on Aug 4 was still there in Aug 6 but may have then flown to the Isle of Wight where one appeared on the shore of Sandown Bay on Aug 7 (only the second summer bird for the IoW in the past 20 years)

Ruddy Duck: A pair on the Drayton pit lakes at Chichester had six ducklings with them on Aug 7

Marsh Harrier: A pair which has bred at the Dungeness RSPB reserve this year is the first to have done so at that site although they breed regularly elsewhere in Kent. New reports of passing migrants this week came from Worthing, Weymouth, Pagham Harbour, Poole Harbour and on Aug 12 a juvenile flew over Old Winchester Hill in the Meon valley

Osprey: No reports from our local area since one was over north Hayling on Aug 4 but one was in the Lower Test area at Southampton on Aug 11. Other sightings of ones or twos this week have come from Poole Harbour, Newtown Harbour (IoW), and Weir Wood reservoir near Crowborough.

Spotted Crake: First of the autumn was at Farlington Marshes on Aug 11 but in the 'Scrape' area where there is no chance of visiting birders seeing it - it may well move to the Lake or Stream.

Kentish Plover: A single juvenile was at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 10

Golden Plover: The first autumn flock back on the south coast was at Rye Harbour where 21 birds were seen on Aug 7. Two more turned up at Dungeness on Aug 10

Grey Plover: There are by now widespread reports of ones or twos back at the coast and on Aug 11 a birder at Pagham Harbour reported .. "increasing numbers of Grey Plover, many still in summer plumage"

Little Stint: First of the autumn had been of two at Sidlesham Ferry on Aug 2 with no more reports until Aug 11 when singles were at Sidlesham and at Pannel Valley (Rye)

Curlew Sandpiper: Following the first of autumn at Farlington on July 31 there were three at Church Norton on Aug 7 and four at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 10

Ruff: There have been August reports from Dungeness on Aug 4 (3 flying west), Pulborough Brooks on Aug 7 (one) and Keyhaven on Aug 11 (one)

Black-tailed Godwit: For the Blackwit specialists the newly updated Titchfield Haven website shows that 170 new arrivals were there on July 11 several days before the first big count of 134 at Farlington on July 14. Current news is of a flock of 514 in the Middlebere area of Poole Harbour on Aug 9

Bar-tailed Godwit: Two summer plumage birds were seen in the Northney Marina area of Hayling on Aug 7

Redshank: As early as Aug 1 there was a roost of 216 Redshank on the jetty at Westlands (just east of Itchenor on the south side of the Chichester Channel)

Greenshank: Flocks of 20+ were reported at Farlington Marshes on Aug 10 and 22 were in the Fishbourne Channel on Aug 11 (there is probably a bigger flock based on the Thorney Island Deeps but I have no news from there)

Green Sandpiper: Plenty of these now around but a count of 12 at Brading Marshes on Aug 4 is worth noting as a record for the Isle of Wight

Turnstone: More than 50 were seen in the Keyhaven area near Lymington on Aug 5, and 3 were at the Hayling Oysterbeds on Aug 7. The recently updated Titchfield Haven website tells us that a flock of 34 were present there on July 21, well before Dungeness reported 20 birds passing there (which I previously had as the start of the return of these birds)

Black-headed Gull: 10,000 of these were reported taking flying ants from the air over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 5

Common Tern: A count of 300+ passing Christchurch Harbour on Aug 11 seems to indicate that these birds are starting to leave us

White-winged Black Tern: One flew in through the Langstone Harbour entrance on the evening of Aug 7, seen by Tim Lawman, and then perched on a buoy visible from the Kench where Jason Crook and Martin Gillingham both saw it. This seems to have been only the 29th Hampshire record of the species - the first having been in Sep 1959 (also in Langstone Harbour) while the most recent previous sighting was at Fleet Pond on 7 Sep 1999 and at nearby Tundry Pond next day

Turtle Dove: These could still be heard at Noar Hill on Aug 11 and at Old Winchester Hill on Aug 12

Cuckoo: Juveniles nearing the time at which they fly south over the channel were at Steep Down above Lancing on Aug 4 and at Hope Gap near Beachy Head on Aug 7

Barn Owl: At least one pair seem to have had a good breeding season - on Aug 5 a female was seen perched in a tree with five juveniles around her in the same tree at Constantia Manor by the R Ouse north of Lewes

Swifts: It looks as if a substantial number left England on Aug 5 - there were reports of 150 going south at Beachy Head, 200 leaving Portland and 370 flying over Christchurch Harbour. I have not seen any local birds over Havant since Aug 3 and have no idea as to whether they managed to raise any young this year but John Goodspeed reports that at least one nest in Cosham (Portsmouth) had two young fledge this year. A further wave probably left on Aug 11 when 50 flew over Christchurch Harbour (and at least three went high over my Havant garden)

Kingfisher: The numbers reaching the coast from inland breeding areas seems to be increasing and locally there is news of one at Farlington Marshes on Aug 10 (there was one there on July 21 but I have not heard anything to show that it stayed there). On the evening of Aug 11 I am pretty sure I heard the calls of one back at Langstone Pond

Tree Pipit: Four paused briefly to rest at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 6 and 14 were at Portland on Aug 7

Yellow Wagtail: Although these have been leaving us since July 20 a report of 250+ at Rye Harbour on Aug 7 shows that the main passage is now getting under way

Pied Wagtail: On Aug 11 Trevor Carpenter was watching a cricket match at Broadhalfpenny Down (the original Hambledon ground) and noticed a total of 17 Pied Wagtails keeping clear of the ground during cricket 'action' but invading the grass during pauses in the action. From his observations you could infer that the Wagtails were able to count the number of balls bowled and thus take advantage of the pause in activity at the end of each over (and when the players went in for tea all 17 Wagtails were on the pitch).

Dunnock: Although Robin and Wren are still singing daily I have not heard a Dunnock since July 28. On Aug 11 I caught a glimpse of one coming to the bird table and saw that it was in moult looking very unlike it's normally smart self.

Summer migrant departures: The following species have all featured in reports from coastal sites during the past week (figures given in brackets are high counts from an individual site).

Turtle Dove, Cuckoo juvenile, Swift (370), Swallow (150), Tree Pipit (14), Yellow Wagtail (250+), Nightingale, Black Redstart (7), Common Redstart (11), Whinchat (4), Stonechat (7), Wheatear (60), Cetti's Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler (25), Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (7), Common Whitethroat (86), Garden Warbler (10), Blackcap (9), Wood Warbler, Willow Warbler (150+), Spotted Flycatcher (60+ near Wareham in Dorset), Pied Flycatcher.

Woodchat Shrike: One was at Durlston country park on Aug 11

Starling: Autumn flocks now building - probably swollen by birds from the continent that will winter here. At Rye Harbour 1500+ roosted on Aug 7

House Sparrow: In the past few days there has been a discussion on HOSLIST of declining numbers of House Sparrows in gardens, and in particular the absence of flocks of them from harvest fields. One thread seems to have been that you can only enjoy the sight of these birds if you invest a fortune in bird seed. I would agree that numbers are low but they still appear daily in my garden where I feed them with the cheapest bird seed and stale bread (which I spend some time each morning cutting into tiny pieces so that I can scatter it widely and not choke the birds). Two personal observations this week have been of a flock of at least 50 on ripe wheat at Nutbourne, and of a flock of around 20 on the paving of my garden driveway where they were after what seems to be a delicacy for them - Buddleia seeds. I have not seen them searching for seeds on the ground before (I had recently cut down several branches with 'dead heads' thus scattering the seed on the driveway), but I have often seen them taking the seeds from the bushes.

Linnet: In past years the majority of birds feeding on seashore weed seeds have been Greenfinch but this year they seem to be Linnets. I have already reported the presence of Linnets all down the west shore of the Cobnor penninsula during my walk on Aug 4 and on Aug 7 Steve Copsey comments on the large number he saw feeding on shingle weeds in the Hook/Warsash area

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies

Lesser Emperor: The first of these rare migrants turned up at Dungeness on Aug 3 and seems to have been the precursor of a more substantial invasion than usual, leading to reports of two at Tundry Pond (west of Fleet in north Hampshire) on Aug 5 and of at least one at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood on the same day. Since then one has been seen at Keyhaven on Aug 11

Butterflies

Green Veined White: Unlike the Large and Small Whites which are forever on the move and can be seen anywhere and everywhere Green Veined exist in colonies which normally never stray from a small area of grassland (though they must have occcasional expeditions to found new colonies even if these expeditions are unintentional and driven by the wind). These remarks come as a result of having the species in my own garden for the first time I can recall - a tatty specimen on Aug 6 and a fresh one on Aug 7

Brown Hairstreak: These are now to be seen in the sites they favour - they are out at Noar Hill, Pulborough Brooks, Horsham and at Edburton to the north of Brighton. At Steyning in the Adur valley one had been seen on several occasions up to Aug 2 flying around a Bird Cherry tree several hundred metres from the nearest Blackthorn and this misguided insect was still there and alone on Aug 8

Duke of Burgundy: The unexpected second generation insect first seen at Noar Hill on Aug 3 may have been one of a pair seen mating there on Aug 7

White Admiral: A late individual was seen in Hipley Copse near Denmead on Aug 4 (and I may have seen a very tatty specimen in Stansted Forest as late as Aug 11 - this one did not settle and was too worn to be sure of its markings in flight but the flight pattern suggested that it was one)

Purple Emperor: At least one could still be found in the Straits Inclosure near Alton on Aug 4

Painted Lady: Eight new reports this week include one of three insects seen on north Hayling on Aug 7 and end with reports of large and increasing numbers in the Dungeness/Eastbourne area on Aug 10

Silver Washed Fritillary: On Aug 11 I saw some dozen still flying in Stansted Forest but all were very worn.

Wall Brown: Two reports from Sussex this week - one was on Malling Down at Lewes on Aug 5 and four were seen in the Firston Forest area near Eastbourne on Aug 10

Marbled White: These were still being seen on Aug 8 but not since then

Moths

Argyresthia goedartella: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 12

Orchard Ermine (Yponomeuta padella): The first seen on July 30 at an un-named location in Sussex (the id was not certain and the moth could have been the rarer Apple Ermine)

Swammerdamia pyrella: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 12

Brachmia blandella: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 12

Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana): The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 12

Codling Moth: The grubs which make a tasty(?) addition to some eating apples had turned into the first moths of this species in a Sussex garden on July 30

Chilo phragmitella: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 12

Calamotropha paludella: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 12

Catoptria falsella: First taken at Pagham Harbour on Aug 9

Dipleurina lacustrata: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 12

Ringed China-mark: The first report of these is of 'many' on the wing at the Pannel Valley near Rye on Aug 5

Orthopygia glaucinalis: First at Dungeness on Aug 8

Trachycera advenella: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 12

Small Emerald: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 10

Small Fan-footed Wave: The first report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 10 (it was taken there again on July 12)

Wood Carpet: First taken in Ashdown Forest on Aug 10

Dark Spinach: First at Portland on Aug 5 (only the fourth to be recorded there)

Maple Pug: First in an unspecified Sussex garden on July 30

Canary-shouldered Thorn: First at Portland on Aug 8

Scalloped Oak: The first report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on July 10 (taken again there on July 12)

Mottled Beauty: The first and (surprisingly) only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on June 10

True Lover's Knot: First at Horsham on Aug 5

The Gothic: The first and only report of this comes from Titchfield Haven on June 12

Antler Moth: First in Ashdown Forest on Aug 10

The Wormwood: First at Portland on Aug 4

Toadflax Brocade: First at Hastings on Aug 5

Lunar Underwing: First (early) at Portland on Aug 8

Straw Underwing: First at Durlston on Aug 6

Double Kidney: First at Horsham on Aug 5

Slender Brindle: First at Portland on Aug 9

Double Lobed: First at Titchfield on July 10 and 12

Flounced Rustic: Another first from that unspecified Sussex garden on Aug 5

Saltern Ear: First at Portland on Aug 5

Rosy Rustic: First taken at Portslade in Brighton on Aug 4 with another at Horsham on Aug 5

The Crescent: First at Portland on Aug 7

Fen Wainscot: First at Titchfield on July 10

Porter's Rustic: A good record for Portland where the first was taken on Aug 6

Caterpillar: A fine Eyed Hawk caterpillar was found eating Willow leaves at Rye Harbour on Aug 7

Other Insects

Horntail (Uroceras gigas): An unlikely but probable record for my Havant garden on Aug 6 when I saw a large Hornet sized insect flying around an old Pear tree in my garden. Although it was present for several minutes and I had my binoculars in the hopes of close look it was restless and moving in and out of the leaves around the many pears on the tree and I never got a satisfactory view of the whole insect which I think was a male Horntail.

My first naked eye view suggested Hornet both by size and the orange/yellow colour but later partial views with the binoculars showed long gauzy wings with a coppery sheen, larger in size and held differently to those of a Hornet, and the rear end of the body which was cylindrical (not coming to a point like a Hornet) and pure yellow in colour without the darker shade or markings of a Hornet.

Horntails are normally restricted to conifer woods but Michael Chinery says they are also .. "not uncommon in housing estates where adults emerge from timber used in building new houses" .. and this may have been the origin of this insect. I have had a close view of a female in the past while sitting on a stack of conifer logs beside a forest track but this was my first sighting of a male. In another of Chinery's books he says .. "males usually keep to the tree tops where they fly actively in sunshine" .. and this describes the behaviour I saw.

Orange Ladybird (Halyzia 16-guttata): Two sightings are reported in the latest news - one in East Sussex on Aug 5 and one at Dungeness on Aug 6. Unlike nearly other Ladybirds, which feed on Aphids or cannibalise each other, the Orange Ladybird (larvae and adults) is content to munch mildew from the underside of leaves and the species is often found on Sycamore trees. This is a large species and has an overall pale orange colour.

Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi): Probably the first report of this had come from Durlston on Aug 3 under the name of Tiger Spider but on Aug 8 a couple of these spiders were definitely found on Portsdown.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Bastard cabbage (Rapistrum rugosum): On Aug 8 I made a return visit to the Nutbourne Bay site where I came across this plant for the first time on Aug 4 and collected a couple more specimens to have a look at the leaves.

I am pretty certain from the very distinctive shape of the seeds that I have the right id but other features of the plants seem to be highly variable. The leaves which are illustrated by Marjorie Blamey as deeply lobed are on these plants long thin entire elipses but with a series of points around the edge (dentate) - Stace says they can be 'dentate to deeply lobed'. Another greatly variable feature is the hairiness of the seeds - on the specimen collected on Aug 4 many of the seeds were hairless but some upper seeds had a thick covering of stiff white hairs (at least on one side), but the specimens seen today had all their seeds hairless as far as I can see.

While at the site today I confirmed that the field concerned has had a now dead crop of Peas this year, while it probably had Rape as the previous crop (many plants of Rape are now flowering all over the field). The Bastard Cabbage is restricted to the seaward edge of the field where there is a dense cluster of the yellow flowered plants (perhaps a dozen metres long and a couple of metres wide) growing a little south of the farm track/public path but close to the seawall ditch where some small trees grow on the seawall bank. Other scattered plants of the Bastard Cabbage grow close to the farm track but the plants are not found over the rest of the field.

Common Dog Violet: These are not uncommonly seen in the autumn but this year I have noticed that they can be seen right through the summer in woodland which had recently been felled, allowing the plants to see the light for the first time in years. I came on several freshly flowering clumps in Stansted Forest on Aug 11 and had seen others there on July 6 (when I mistakenly took the dark violet flowers to be Sweet Violets)

Green Amaranth (or Pigweed): On Aug 10 I found several small fresh plants flowering in 'pavement cracks' in the Juniper Square area of Havant - my first sight of the species this year.

Common Gorse: The new fresh flowering season has started with a report from Durlston in Dorset on Aug 10

Dragon's Teeth: The only site for this plant that I am aware of is Noar Hill between Petersfield and Alton and plants were still flowering there on Aug 11 (I think they will have started to flower in June and will soon be over). I assume the name comes from the shape of the large yellow upward curving pea-type flowers which could suggest the fierce teeth in the mouth of a fire breathing dragon.

Amphibious Bistort: Just one flower was seen at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Aug 5 following a find of three flowers at the Hayling Oysterbeds on July 28

Autumn Gentian (or Felwort): This has now been seen in flower at Durlston on July 31 and at Noar Hill on Aug 11

Common Hemp Nettle: This has no doubt been flowering for some time but I have heard no reports of it and did not find it for myself until Aug 11 in Stansted Forest

Ploughman's Spikenard: I have not yet heard reports of this flowering locally (though it must be out). It was reported flowering at Durlston on Aug 10

Blue Fleabane: First report of this comes from Noar Hill near Petersfield on Aug 11

OTHER WILDLIFE

Stoat: On Aug 7 a birder scanning the Sidlesham Ferry Pool at Pagham Harbour for birds had the additional impressive sight of a Stoat killing and carrying away a Rabbit twice its size

Grey Seal: One was seen in Rye Bay on Aug 10 when it surfaced for a close look at a naked human swimmer

Fallow deer: A herd of 40 bucks was seen in Petworth Park on Aug 9

Roe deer: I used to think that the Roe rut was restricted to May but I have read elsewhere that it occurs in August and on Aug 8 I disturbed a pair from cover in an otherwise very open arable field immediately east of Nutbourne Bay. I had the impression from the way in which the buck (a young animal with small antlers) stayed close to the doe that he had not let her out of range of his nose for some time and did not intend to do so until she was receptive!

Harvest Mouse: I was aware that the nests of these creatures could be found in reeds at Titchfield Haven (the mice at times having to show that they can swim to get to and from the nest) but it was news to me that they might be found on Portsdown where the Conservation Volunteers found an old nest on Aug 8 in the Two Dells area (not sure where this is but I guess it refers to the Candy Pits area close to the west side of the A3 just south of The George pub)

Wall Lizard: Three were seen at Ventnor, IoW, on Aug 11


Summary for July 30 - Aug 5 (Week 31 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Fulmar: On Aug 5 five occupied nests could be seen at Hastings Cliff End but only two of the nests had young in them.

Balearic Shearwater: Of the 82 reports I have seen this year only 11 have been from sites east of Dorset, giving little opportunity to see them from Hampshire though at least one has been seen in the Lymington area. One seen off Rye Harbour on Aug 3 may indicate that the chances of Hampshire birders seeing one will increase as autumn progresses.

Gannet: The highest day count of the year so far was made at Portland on July 29 when 1300 Gannets were among the stream of birds passing the Bill

Cormorant: 73 flew west over Christchurch Harbour on July 30 following a count of 28 going west there on July 28

Cattle Egret: A single was seen at Dungeness RSPB reserve on July 30, only the seventh sighting reported this year from random points along the south coast with no apparent pattern (though the previous report also came from Kent - two were in the Stour valley near Canterbury on July 22)

Little Egret: The autumn build up of numbers is now well under way with a night roost count of 124 at Langstone Mill Pond on July 31. On Aug 3 a total of 52 left the Christchurch Harbour roost (the highest Dorset count of the year - 51 were in that area in January)

Great White Egret: An isolated report of one in Poole Harbour on July 27 - could it be heading back to the Blashford Lakes where none have been seen since Jan 21? Last year there were a couple of isolated sightings there in July but the birds did not become a regular sight at Blashford until Sep 29.

Spoonbill: The three birds that were at Farlington Marshes from July 16 to 29 seem to have split up - one was still there on July 31 but maybe one of the three flew to the Isle of Wight where one turned up at Brading Marshes on July 30. What may have been the immature bird from Farlington was seen at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 1 when an adult (possibly the third from Farlington) was at Brownsea Island

Black Swan: The two that were at the Pennington Marshes (Lymington) on July 13 were seen there on July 31 and again on Aug 4 (maybe they are a permanent feature that most people do not report?)

Canada Goose: The first report of these back on the wing after their flightless moult period comes from Farlington Marshes on Aug 1 when Frank Foulger saw a group of 20 fly in from Hayling Island, followed by another group of four.

Ruddy Shelduck: Last week we had the first report of these for the year when three flew north over Portland on July 27 and now we have a sighting of a female in the Keyhaven area (Lymington) on July 31 and on Aug 1 one flew over Christchurch Harbour. I assumed that the furthest these were likely to have flown was from the feral population in the Netherlands but I see some birders are wondering if these are truly wild birds from Asia...I think that's wishful thinking but they are behaving in a restless fashion.

Teal: Reports of 7 in Yarmouth estuary on the IoW on Aug 3 and 6 new arrivals at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 4 show that these are starting to return from breeding.

Garganey: A sighting of two at Lymington on Aug 4 suggests that they are starting their retreat from breeding areas.

Shoveler: These too are returning to coastal sites with 10 flying over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 1 and probably settling there to give daily sightings of smaller groups up to Aug 4. There have also been new arrivals back at Pagham and Hook/Warsash at the end of July

Red Breasted Merganser: One at Ferrybridge in Portland Harbour was the first Dorset sighting since the end of April. (The only report of a summering bird that I have seen remains the one seen at Hook/Warsash on June 27)

Marsh Harrier: There have been sightings of presumed breeding birds in Kent and in the Rye Bay area throughout the summer but one seen flying over the Christchurch area on Aug 3 may indicate the start of their passage

Sparrowhawk: Durlston has reported the hungry cries of juveniles now out of the nest since July 24 and I may well have heard one in trees between the Nutbourne orchards and bay when I was walking round Chichester Harbour on Aug 4

Osprey: The first autumn report from Thorney Island came from Barry Collins on July 30 when he saw two fishing there, and on both Aug 1 and 4 one was seen in Hampshire airspace over north east Hayling.

Red-footed Falcon: The first summer male which appeared briefly at the Brading Marshes (IoW) on July 28 was seen again in the Bembridge area on July 29 but has not been reported since

Avocet: On Aug 1 there were 66 at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour

Little Ringed Plover: Indications that these migrants are now heading south comes in a sighting of one at the Sidlesham Ferry pool in Pagham Harbour on Aug 2 and of a juvenile at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on the same day. Two on the Lymington shore on Aug 4 may have been birds still close to their breeding territory

Ringed Plover: These are now arriving on the south coast in strength with a count of 113 at Ferrybridge in Portland Harbour on Aug 4 and of 29 at the Hayling Oysterbeds that day

Kentish Plover: Also seen at Ferrybridge on Aug 2 was a group of four Kentish Plover - the first to be reported anywhere since one was in Pagham Harbour from May 20 to 25

Grey Plover: The first report of summer plumaged birds came from Newtown Harbour (IoW) on Aug 1 when two of five birds were in breeding plumage - probably a family party as I see that adult females as well as males acquire the smart black and silver plumage in the breeding season (in the majority of species nesting females have drabber plumage than the males). Locally three were at the Hayling Oysterbeds on Aug 4 but as there is no mention of plumage I guess these were first summer birds that have stayed in Langstone Harbour.

Lapwing: There are now large flocks at several places along the south coast so I was surprised on July 31 to see at least one still apparently on its breeding territory at the Gipsies Plain south of Havant Thicket - I only had a distant view of it and could not see a mate or chick in the same area.

Sanderling: These are also beginning to return - there were 23 on the Ryde sands on July 30 and 52 there in Aug 4. Other sightings of birds on the move west include 32 at Rye Harbour on July 31 and 11 on the Lymington shore on Aug 4

Little Stint: The first report since May is of 2 at the Sidlesham Ferry pool (Pagham Harbour) on Aug 2

Curlew Sandpiper: One was reported to be at Farlington Marshes on July 31 (the first reported anywhere since there was a possible in Langstone Harbour at the end of June)

Snipe: Plenty of these now round with reports 29 arriving at the Pannel valley near Rye on Aug 3 and 26 at Lodmoor (Weymouth) that day followed by 20 on the Lymington shore on Aug 4

Black-tailed Godwit: On Aug 1 there were 88 at Farlington, 120 around Thorney Island, and 57 in the Fishbourne Channel. Next day there were 58 in the Sidlesham Ferry pool (possibly having flown there from Fishbourne which is only 5 or 6 Km north)

Bar-tailed Godwit: I was aware that a few Bar-tails stayed around during the summer but I was surprised to see that Jason Crook has had as many as 50 feeding on the west coast of Hayling (a little south of the Oysterbeds) in late July. (In his latest summary of news from the Hayling Oysterbeds he says .. "Up to 50 Bar-tailed Godwits gathered to feed at low tide just south of the reserve".. I presume that by 'the reserve' he means the Oysterbeds though he may be referring to Farlington Marshes). I guess these are passage birds passing through the area and stopping briefly to feed but not staying here as the Black-tails do.

Whimbrel: Jason Crook, in his latest summary of news from the Oysterbeds, gives a peak of 33 Whimbrel at the Oysterbeds on July 20

Spotted Redshank: Farlington seems to have had its first autumn Spotshank on July 31

Redshank: Barry Collins reports a figure of 600+ on Thorney Island on Aug 1, along with 57 Greenshank

Turnstone: The Langstone Harbour WeBS count on Aug 4 found 21 Turnstone around the Kench and 6 more at the Oysterbeds so it should not be difficult to find one from now on.

Little Gull: One was seen around Farlington Marshes on July 31 - maybe the same first summer bird first seen there on July 16

Black-headed Gull: By July 31 the majority of these were well on the way to losing the dark feathers from their heads

Roseate Tern: One could be seen from the Hayling Oysterbeds on Aug 1 and on Aug 2 one was briefly in Pagham Harbour

Common Tern: Biggest recent count was of 332 off Titchfield Haven on July 29

Arctic Tern: A first summer bird was seen from Farlington Marshes on July 31 and two juveniles were off the Hayling Oysterbeds on Aug 1

Black Tern: On July 29 two were seen off north west Hayling Island (so presumably visible from the Oysterbeds), and there was another report of two off south Hayling that day. On Aug 1 one was again in the north of Langstone Harbour and on Aug 4 singles were seen in the Solent off Titchfield and Lymington

Guillemot: A party of six including some juveniles were on the sea below the West High Down (IoW) on Aug 3

Cuckoo: An adult was still to be seen near Bembridge (IoW) on July 29 and a juvenile at Dungeness on July 31

Nightjar: One was still churring in Parkhurst Forest (IoW) on Aug 1 but some are already heading south - one was hunting over the Pannel valley reeds on Aug 2, well away from breeding habitat

Swift: Although there are indications that large numbers are already leaving England a few still seem to be attached to nests in the Havant area giving me sightings of six over the town on July 30 and two on each of July 31, Aug 1 and 2 but a group of six in the evening of Aug 3 were the last seen here

Sand Martin: Both Sand Martins and Swallows began to use the Pannel Valley reeds (near Rye) as a night roost on Aug 2

Tree Pipit: The first report of one heading south comes from Portland on July 30

Meadow Pipit: A report of 45 at Rye Harbour on July 31 seems to be a first indication of these heading south

Yellow Wagtail: A report of more than 150 in the Rye Harbour area around July 20 has now been followed by a count of 90+ there on July 31

Pied Wagtail: Following the report of 100+ around a Tesco store in Gatwick on July 28 I had my first sight of birds heading over my house on the evening of Aug 1 going in the direction of the Havant Tesco (or maybe onward to Farlington Marshes).

Nightingale: One in the Lymington area on July 29 and one at Portland on Aug 2 mark the start of their southward trek, now involving all of our passerine summer visitors too numerous to mention here

Whinchat: I have now seen several reports of birds on their way south following the first sighting near Worthing on July 6. One of the latest reports came on July 30 from the Chidden area near Hambledon (not far from Old Winchester Hill)

Wheatear: Plenty of those are now heading south - Portland had a count of 25 on July 30 (the first report came from Portland on July 21). Locally the first sighting seems to have been on Hayling Island at the mouth of Langstone Harbour on July 30, and two were on the Farlington Marshes seawall on July 31

Wood Warbler: Singles of this species were at Christchurch Harbour on July 28 and Aug 3

Spotted Flycatcher: Five birds were seen on the Stansted estate on both July 30 and 31

Pied Flycatcher: First autumn sighting comes from Pulborough Brooks on July 31

Starling: Autumn flocks are now building up all along the south coast and there is a report of 1000 in the Cuckmere vallley near Eastbourne on Aug 3

House Sparrow: I saw my first flock of around 50 House Sparrows out in harvest fields near Nutbourne on Aug 4

Greenfinch: A group of 10 seen in the Bembridge Foreland area on July 31 were described as early migrants and on Aug 1the first for months landed in my garden (presumably a new comer to the area, not one of those that nest nearby and fly over each day)

Linnets: These too have started roaming in flocks - on July 29 some 140 were seen at Old Winchester Hill in the Meon valley and July 31 brought counts of 50 from the Bembridge Foreland area of the IoW and of 40 at Rye Harbour. On Aug 4 Linnets were to be seen all along the west shore of the Cobnor penninsula, probably involving 100 different birds

Bullfinch: One at Portland Bill on July 30 indicated that this species has also started to roam.

Escapes: A Scarlet Headed Blackbird appeared at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 4. A series of sightings of this species could possibly be of one bird that has learnt to survive in the wild - one was at Sandown (IoW) in July 2006 and there were several sightings of one in the Medina estuary south of Cowes in Feb 2007, then back at Sandown in April and now in Dorset

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies

Migrant Hawker: These have been reported from the Hastings area since July 16 but the first I have heard of them elsewhere was my own sighting of two in Havant Thicket on July 31. One was in my Havant garden on Aug 5

Lesser Emperor: The first report of this rare migrant comes from Dungeness on Aug 3

Butterflies

Silver Spotted Skipper: Following two reports of singles in the Stockbridge area of Hampshire on July 21 and 22 the first major sighting has been of 24 on Newtimber Hill near Brighton on July 31

Dingy Skipper: A summer brood started to emerge on July 28 when one was seen on Malling Down near Lewes. July 29 brought a sighting of one on Chalton Down by the railway north of Rowlands Castle. Further sightings came from Steyning in West Sussex on July 30 and from Newtimber Hill near Brighton on July 31

Clouded Yellow: Two were seen on Thorney Island on Aug 1 and singles have been seen this week at Hastings and Durlston

Brown Hairstreak: The first Hampshire report came from Noar Hill on July 28, and in Sussex (where the first was reported from Ifield near Crawley on July 24) they could be seen at Pulborough Brooks starting a few days before July 31. Other sightings come from Edburton on July 31 and from the Steyning area on Aug 2 (where it is possible that a colony exists away from Blackthorn around Bird Cherry trees)

Small Blue: The first of the summer brood was seen in the Shoreham area on July 23 and another was seen on Portsdown on July 24 - they could still be seen at the west end of Portsdown on Aug 4

Chalkhill Blue: By July 28 Old Winchester Hill in the Meon valley was living up to its reputation with a report of 500+ to be seen there

Adonis Blue: The first generation was last reported on June 17 so a sighting of one on July 28 at Castle Hill in the Brighton area was the start of a second generation and this was confirmed by a sighting of two on Mt Caburn at Lewes on July 31

Duke of Burgundy: A small individual photographed at Noar Hill on Aug 3 was evidence of a very unsual appearance of a second generation

Large Tortoiseshell: On July 30 one spent 30 mind nectaring on Buddleia in the New Milton area before flying north (This is the 24th report of this species I have seen this year)

Moths

Pediasia aridella: First of year at Rye Harbour on July 30

Mother of Pearl: First of year at Durlston on Aug 3

Grass Eggar: A very unusual pale form (var flava) was seen at Rye Harbour on Aug 3 (another had been seen at Dungeness RSPB in July)

Oak Eggar: The males of this species fly by day using their 'noses' to sniff out females which stay hidden during the day. The first had been seen at Rye Harbour on July 24 but the presence of one on Thorney Island on Aug 1 is worth noting

Barred Rivulet: First of year at Portland on July 31

August Thorn: First at Pulborough Brooks on Aug 1

Convolvulus Hawkmoth: First was recorded at Portland on Aug 1 and another was there on Aug 3

Hummingbird Hawkmoth: A report of one flying in off the sea at Dungeness on July 29 was followed by three doing so on July 30 and two more on Aug 4

Bedstraw Hawkmoth: First migrant arrival was at Portland on July 29

White-line Dart: First at Pulborough Brooks on Aug 1

Garden Dart: This used to be a common species but is now a rarity. First in Basingstoke area on July 28

Tree-lichen Beauty: First at Rye Harbour on Aug 1

Orache Moth: First of these rare migrants for the year turned up on the IoW on July 24 - the first British record was in 1995 and this is only the eighth

Bulrush Wainscot: First at Pulborough Brooks on Aug 1

Red Underwing: Another first at Pulborough on Aug 1

Emperor Moth: A caterpillar of this moth, probably now full grown (6 cm long) and on walkabout looking for somewhere to pupate, was seen at Cissbury Ring (north of Worthing) on July 31

Other Insects

Saltmarsh Horsefly (Atylotus latistriatus): This large but rare fly was recorded at Rye Harbour on July 30 with the comment that it rarely bites humans and prefers to take nectar from flowers

Voucella zonaria: This large hoverfly appeared on Buddleia in my garden on Aug 3

Bush Crickets: On July 31 Durlston country park reported that three species were now adult there - Great Green and Dark plus the less common Grey Bush Cricket (Platycleis albopunctata). On July 30 in the Steyning area north of Worthing there was an interesting report of a Roesel's Bush Cricket - not only is this an uncommon species but the observer (Neil Hulme) told us that "This was the mobile, macropterous (long-winged) form (diluta), which occurs in order to assist the species with increasing its geographical range". Most Bush Crickets are pretty sedentary and some cannot fly at all but I had never thought of them as having 'winged messenger' variants to spread their genes.

Wasp spider (Argioppe bruennichi): These should be starting to be noticed around now so I assume that something which the Durlston Country Park website lists as a 'Tiger Spider' was one of these.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Bastard cabbage (Rapistrum rugosum): This is a new species to me and was found by chance in the edge of a harvested arable field on the east side of Nutbourne Bay. At first sight the plants looked like Black Mustard which had gone to seed but the shape and hairiness of the seeds fit nothing other than Bastard Cabbage which Stace describes as "a casual on waste and arable land .. frequent and increasing in south and central England" - see diary entry for Aug 4 for more detail

Sea Rocket (Cakile maritima): Two large 'bushes' in full flower on the shingle of the north east corner of Nutbourne bay were a pleasant sight on Aug 4

Rock Rose: This was first reported in flower in north Hampshire on May 4 but could still be found on Aug 4 at a regular field edge site south of Huckswood Lane in the Idsworth area north of Rowlands Castle

Red Goosefoot: This joined the flowering list this week with plants found in a walk around Havant on July 30

Marsh Mallow: There was a great show of freshly flowering plants at the regular site just above the high tide mark around the south west corner of the Cobnor penninsula in Chichester Harbour on Aug 4

Long Stalked Cranesbill: This was found still flowering in a field edge on the south side of Huckswood Lane by the Havant Wildlife Group on Aug 4. This is the only site which I know of for this plant but luckily the plants straddle the Sussex:Hampshire border allowing it to be recorded in both counties.

Spotted Medick: Although Black Medick has remained in flower through the summer I have not recorded Spotted Medick since June 11 so a find on Aug 4 marks an autumn re-flowering.

Dwarf Gorse: In full flower at various places in Havant Thicket on July 31

Fragrant Agrimony: Plants growing on Hayling North Common which had the diagnostic features of Fragrant Agrimony last year lacked the distinctive backward curling on the bristles around the base of each seed when I looked at them on Aug 2 this year but the plants still had a strong scent and the undersides of the leaves were crowded with tiny glands

Hop: The first show of fully open male flowers was seen by me near Chidham village on Aug 4

Common Heather (Ling): This will soon be in flower but on July 31 I could only find one flower open on the millions of spikes in Havant Thicket

Cross Leaved Heath: This was fully out in Havant Thicket on July 31

Rottingdean Sea Lavender (Limonium hyblaeum): I was introduced to this plant by the Rye Bay website on July 31. A native of Sicily it has been imported to this country as a garden plant and has escaped to establish itself on cliffs at Rottingdean near Brighton. More recently it has appeared as a garden escape in other places in East Sussex and Dorset, including Rye Harbour. It seems to prefer dry cliffs to saltmarsh.

Autumn Gentian (or Felwort): This had started to flower at Durlston on July 31

Nettle-leaved Bellflower: I had my first sight of this in flower on Portsdown on July 30 - no doubt it has been out for a little while but I have not seen any previous reports of it.

Round-leaved Fluellen: Plenty of this flowering in a harvested arable field east of Nutbourne Bay on Aug 4

Devil's Bit Scabious: Not yet flowering but when I was in Havant Thicket on July 31 there was promise of a good show before too long

Golden Rod: This was in flower at Havant Thicket on July 31

Stinking Chamomile: This was flowering around a field at Chidham on Aug 4

Saw Wort: Flowering at Durlston on July 31

Carline Thistle: Starting to flower at Durlston on Aug 1

Broad-leaved Helleborine: Plenty of this had been found by John Goodspeed in the Cowplain area of Waterlooville on July 25 but it may be of interest that at least one plant (with a good flower spike about to open its first flower) could still be found in Havant Thicket on July 31

Autumn Ladies Tresses: Some 30 flowering spikes could be found on the south face of Portsdown on Aug 3 and on Aug 5 it was found flowering at Durlston

OTHER WILDLIFE

Bottle-nosed Dolphin: As last summer one is currently appearing in the Portsmouth NEWS as a regular sight in Portsmouth Harbour. Last year's animal was named Spinnaker by the paper - this year it is called Dolly (no connection with the sheep). Another single was in Bournemouth Bay on Aug 1

Hare: Numbers continue to appear to decline year by year. This year I have only seen six reports in total with the highest number seen in one area bring only 4 (in the Stansted area on June 27). Latest report is also from Michael Prior at Stansted where he has seen three Hares shortly before the end of July.

Fungi: First troop of Clouded Agaric (now called Clouded Funnel) found in Havant Thicket on July 31 along with one Tawny Funnel and one Rooting Shank


Summary for July 23 - 29 (Week 30 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Crested Grebe: Although the autumn flock in Langstone Harbour does not normally top the 100 mark until October it starts to build from July onwards (2005 figures from the Hampshire Bird Report are June = 8, July = 31, Aug = 66, Sept = 60, Oct = 110). This year the build up seems to have started as I saw 12 birds in Bridge Lake on July 28 (looking from the north pier of the old rail bridge)

Madeiran Petrel (Pterodroma madeira): In 1912 one of these was found dead on the shore at Milford-on-sea and was accepted as the first British record of the species. Until this week that was the only bird on the British list which had only been recorded in Hampshire and in no other county - sadly, on the evening of July 28, that unique feather was stolen from the crown of Hampshire birders by the sighting of a second (live) specimen of this bird by a party aboard a boat off the Scillies.

Cattle Egret: One adult and one juvenile arrived at the Stour Valley near Cantebury in Kent on July 22 could presage the arrival of others along the south coast in the post breeding dispersal which has already brought us several Spoonbills

Spoonbill: Three still at Farlington Marshes on July 27, two weeks after the first of them arrived there from Thorney Island. Maybe two of them have now left as on July 28 one adult and one first summer turned up at Brading Marshes (IoW)

Black Swan: One has been on the Test at Redbridge (Southampton) since at least June 7

Ruddy-headed Goose (Chloephaga rubidiceps): A new escapee species added to my database after it was reported with Canada Geese at a golf course near Hurstpierpoint north of Brighton on July 23. Ruddy-headed Goose is a species of Shelduck.

Ruddy Shelduck: First report for this year is of three birds arriving over Portland Bill on July 27 and heading north. Martin Cade is to be congratulated in getting a distant photo of them as he was 'caught short' (clearing sewage from a blocked drain with his bare hands covered in nasty material) when the birds came into view.

Shelduck: On July 23 a single juvenile Shelduck was still on the Budds Farm Pools at Havant where there had been 2 adults and six juveniles (all apparently fledged) on June 29. On July 27 Frank Foulger found an adult together with one of this years young at Farlington Marshes - I suspect these were in addition to any that have survived from Budds Farm.

Shoveler: Four seen at Pagham Harbour on July 25 were the first I have records of at that site since Mar 26 so presumably they were newly returned from breeding elsewhere.

Goshawk: Reports of one over Chewton Common in Highcliffe to the east of Christchurch on both July 18 and 26 suggest to me that it is a falconer's bird as Chewton Common is now a small patch of open ground totally surrounded by a built up area.

Sparrowhawk: Maybe these have had a bad breeding season as Durlston Country Park is the first place to report the 'plaintive calls of a juvenile' on July 24 - the sound of young begging for food is usually a common feature of woodland by the end of July.

Red-footed Falcon: On July 28 a first summer male spent ten minutes perched on a fence at the Brading Marshes RSPB reserve on the Isle of Wight allowing at least one experienced birder to be confident in the id.

Lapwing: A flock of 400 was at the Blashford Lakes (Ringwood) on July 21and more then 46 were at Farlington Marshes on July 27

Temmincks Stint: One was reported at Ibsley (Blashford Lakes) on July 24 following the arrival of one in the Kent Stour Valley on July 22

Dunlin: The first three figure counts of returning birds have come from Pagham Harbour (250+ on July 26) and Newtown Harbour, IoW (100 on July 28)

Black-tailed Godwit: 210 were counted in Poole Harbour (Middlebere area) on July 24. Other counts of returnee flocks this past week have been 89 at Hook/Warsash on July 28, 82 at Keyhaven on July 22, 60+ at Farlington Marshes on July 27, 52 in Emsworth Harbour on July 27, and 50 at Sidlesham Ferry Pool in Pagham Harbour on July 27

Wood Sandpiper: Singles have been at Rye Harbour, Christchurch Harbour and Pagham Harbour this week with 2 birds at Pulborough Brooks on July 27 - of these Peter Hughes, warden at Pulborough, wrote .. "One of the Wood Sandpipers froze with bill and body horizontal and just above the water as a passing Common Buzzard went over".

Green Sandpiper: 5 birds were at the Blashford Lakes on July 21 (there had been 6 at the Lower Test on July 15)

Turnstone: Two were at the Hayling Oysterbeds on July 25 and on July 28 there were 5+ at Newtown Harbour (IoW) and 9 at Hook/Warsash.

Terns: Each autumn large numbers of terns spend the nights in communal roosts just inside the entrances of both Langstone and Portsmouth Harbours. On the evening of July 24 Tim Lawman made the first reported count of them entering Langstone Harbour and his totals were Common Tern 881, Sandwich Tern 37, Little Tern 5, Roseate Tern 2 (thought to be the birds still being seen off Titchfield Haven during the day on July 24) and Black Tern 1

Little Tern: The "Ray of Sunshine Page" (a new feature of the Portsmouth NEWS dedicated to bringing us good news to cheer us up) announced recently that at least five pairs of Little Tern were feeding young on Pagham spit.

Nightjar: One flushed at Christchurch Harbour on July 25 must have been already leaving the country after a wet summer in which many of their ground nests have been flooded or chilled (and the supply of insects diminished). John Eyre tells us that of 15 nests he has been monitoring in the Thames Valley heathland only two of the pairs have succeeded in raising young.

Alpine Swift: After one flying north over the Lower Test reserve at Southampton on May 11 the second of the year was at Portland on July 28 (spending 2 hours circling the bird observatory)

Sand Martin: Counts of 300 passing over Dungeness on July 22 and 400 departing there on July 24 bring the phrase 'rats leaving a sinking ship' to my mind. At least two were among a large crowd of Swallows and House Martins feeding up over Budds Farm pools here in Havant on July 23 as they waited for the rain to stop before they headed south.

House Martin: It seems that they majority of Swifts, Swallows and Sand Martins have had a very bad breeding season and many of them have now abandoned all hope of having young this year but House Martins may fare better - they are well known for late breeding (young in the nest in October is not uncommon) and on July 27 one Hampshire birder reports a pair nest building on July 27

Yellow Wagtail: These have been flying south since July 3 but it was not until July 16 that the first was seen on the Hampshire coast (at Hook) - a second was at Barton-on-sea on July 24 (with a Grey Wagtail also on the move there that day)

Pied Wagtail: It would seem that these are now into autumn mode with July 28 bringing the first report of 100+ seen around the roof of a Tesco store in Gatwick where they have presumably established a night roost warmed by hot air coming from the store bakery.

Black Redstart: A count of 5 at Dungeness on July 24 was the first mention of the species anywhere since June 8 and presumably marks the start of their autumn passage

Whinchat: July 28 brought two coastal reports of departing birds at Dungeness and Christchurch Harbour

Wheatear: The first migrant to be seen on the Hampshire coast was a single young bird at Park Shore (east of Lymington) on July 24. One at Christchurch Harbour that same day was hailed as their 'first of the autumn'. Since then they have been seen at Portland (one on July 26), Barton on sea (two on July 27) and Pagham Harbour (five on July 28)

Fieldfare: A confident report of one seen on both July 25 and 26 feeding on wild cherries in a Ropley garden seems to be only the second Hampshire record of one present in July.

Song Thrush: These have continued to sing fairly regularly in the Havant area, probably indicating that they are still in breeding mode, and on July 26 Bob Chapman reported seeing one on a nest 'recently'. He has also seen recently fledged Blackbirds and thinks both Blackbird and Song Thrush have benefitted from the wet weather (bringing a great supply of snails and worms) and have attempted to raise a third brood this year.

Lesser Whitethroat: The arrival of 'several' at Durlston country park on July 24 indicates that they are now moving south.

Wood Warbler: One of these was seen at Christchurch Harbour on July 28 - presumably also leaving the country early.

Willow Warbler: The 'first of autumn' was at Dungeness on July 19 and by now they are becoming fairly common on the coast along with Grasshopper, Sedge and Garden Warblers. The first of the bright yellow juvenile Willow Warblers was noted in the Rye Bay area on July 24. On July 28 counts of departing Willow Warblers were 20 at Portland, 20 at Dungeness, and 65 at Christchurch Harbour - on that same day I heard one singing as it passed through gardens at Langstone

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies

Silver Spotted Skipper: The first of the summer was seen at Stockbridge Down on July 21 with another at Broughton Down (a little further south down the Test valley) on July 22

Clouded Yellow: Still no major invasion but of four reports this week one was at Horndean close to the A3M road on July 27

Black Veined White: One was seen and photographed at Stockbridge Down on July 25. This eye-catching species which is still common in Europe was once a pest of orchards in southern England but became extinct here in 1922. Several attempts at re-introduction of the species have all failed and it remains to be seen if this was genuine vagrant or a foolish attempt at a re-introduction.

Brown Hairstreak: The first for this summer was seen at Ifield near Crawley on July 24

Small Blue: One seen in the Shoreham area on July 23 was the first to be reported since June 23 but seems rather early for the second generation that usually appears in late August

Chalkhill Blue: Of local interest the first two were seen on Chalton Down (above the railway line between Rowlands Castle and Petersfield) on July 22 and by July 27 a dozen were seen there as the general emergence got under way.

Wall Brown: More than 25 were seen in the Keyhaven area west of Lymington on July 25 and on that same day the rangers diary for Durlston country park enigmatically stated that numbers there were similar to those of Marbled Whites (but did not say how many Marbled Whites there were!)

Moths

Beautiful China-mark: First of year seen at Horsham on July 25

Palpita vitrealis: First at Portland on July 27

Onocera semirubella: This delicately coloured micro put in its first appearance at Rye Harbour on July 24

Amblyptilia acanthadactyla: One of these small brown plume moths was showing well on the glass window of my garage door here in Havant on July 29, apparently the first to be reported this year

Clouded Magpie: First at Eastbourne on July 25

Privet Hawkmoth: On July 16 one was photographed on the jetty of the Hayling to Portsmouth ferry - such sightings are usually of moths that have just emerged from pupation and are spending their first day drying out on some sunny surface before flying off at dusk never to be seen again without use of a moth trap but the jetty seems an odd place for the caterpillar to have pupated.

Black Arches: First at Eastbourne on July 25

Rosy Footman: First at Eastbourne on July 25

Langmaid's Yellow Underwing: First of year taken at Portland on July 23

Mouse Moth: First at Horsham on July 25

Webb's Wainscot: First at Horsham on July 21

Other Insects

Hornet: A butterfly watcher in Alice Holt Forest near Alton was looking at a Ringlet on July 22 when a Hornet flew in, grabbed the butterfly and flew off with it as food for Hornet grubs.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Treacle Mustard: My first sight of this for the year was at Stubbermere Pond (SU 749095) south of Stansted Forest on July 24

Narrow-leaved Pepperwort: The plants by the A27 Langstone roundabout still had some flowers on July 23

Hairy St John's Wort: This was flowering in the Hollybank Woods on July 24 - the first I have heard of

Bush Vetch: On July 24 this was just starting to flower along the bank of the steep hill road running up from Racton in the Ems valley towards Aldsworth.

Hoary Willowherb: This was flowering everywhere around Havant on July 23 - first time I have noticed it.

Hop: Male flowers were close to opening on plants at Racton in the Ems valley on July 24

Sea Heath (Frankenia laevis): Pictures of this nationally rare plant flowering at Rye Harbour on July 23 sent me to check the status of this plant in Hampshire and I was very interested to see that (apart from three sites on the Isle of Wight) all the known Hampshire records come from the Black Point and Tournerbury area of Hayling Island. The last record for Tournerbury was in 1984 but there were records for Black Point from Paul Bowman up to 1995. The habitat preferred by the plant is a narrow band where saltmarsh and sandy soils meet, so it may well be worth having a look along the inner (west) edge of the causeway out to Black Point. To know what you are looking for go to http://rxwildlife.org.uk/ and select Plants under the News Categories heading on the left of the page. The entry for July 23 will give you a close up of the plants in flower and by clicking "Read the rest of this entry" below the photo you will see broader views of the habitat as you might spot the plants from a distance

Spreading Hedge Parsley (Torilis arvensis): Last year I saw this species for the first time in my life when I came on one plant in an arable field in the Stansted East Park (around SU 768107) after the crop had been harvested. This year I went there on July 24 and found at least three healthy flowering plants hiding under the wheat crop (see my diary entry for July 24 for more detail). Michael Prior (head forester of the estate) tells me that .. "We are hoping to enter a small part of the East Park into a special management regime with the help and cooperation of our tenants to preserve rare arable weeds". Michael adds that as a backup he is successfully growing some of the plants in his own garden.

Knotted Hedge Parsley: On July 23 I had difficulty in spotting the plants on the Langstone South Moors (close to the entrance from Mill Lane) as they had finished their season and died back but on the same day I could still find fresh flowers at the Southmoor Lane site (still under the Navtech banner)

Wild Angelica: A plant of this was flowering out of season at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Mar 15 but a report of it there on July 27 is the first for the proper flowering season

Water Dock: Plants at Langstone Pond and in Emsworth are probably now flowering but the only plant I have seen in flower was by the bridge over the River Ems at Racton on July 24

Amphibious Bistort: The first sight of this in flower on July 28 came as a surprise on the rough ground east of the 'earth mound' at the Hayling Oysterbeds. As I made my way down from the centre of the mound using the northern of the two avavilable tracks I found three spikes flowering on a dry ridge in an open area close to a blackthorn thicket (only a few yards from the base of the mound)

Gipsywort: I found this in flower for the first time at Stubbermere Pond on July 24

Bugloss (Anchusa arvensis): This is a plant which I see regularly at Black Point on Hayling and have occasionally come across in arable fields elsewhere but I do not recall finding it within the Havant town area until July 23 when I came on several plants flowering along the Southmoor Lane frontage of the Seward Car Repair centre (taking advantage of the protection given by their relatively new metal fence!) Apologies if I have wrongly named this plant as Alkanet (Anchusa officinalis) elsewhere - I have a mental hang-up over the two names!

Round-headed Rampion: This must by now be in flower on Hampshire downland but the only mention I have seen of it is in a Sussex Butterfly news item relating to the Cuckmere Valley near Eastbourne on July 22

Small Teazel: Ten years ago or so this could be found each year in the Ems valley at Racton but the site became shaded by trees and choked by brambles. Last year I spotted that one plant had managed to push up through the brambles and this year on July 24 I found 27 plants there, some over 2 metres tall and one having a newly opened flower. For more detail see my diary entry for July 24.

Shaggy Soldier: One small plant in disturbed ground near the main road end of Mill Lane in Langstone on July 28 was, I think, a first for that area (though by no means the first or only find this year)

Woolly Thistle: Although planted and growing in a garden at north Hayling I could not but be impressed by this large flower standing quite a bit taller than my height (nearly 6ft 6ins) - seen on July 28

Musk Thistle: On July 24 I found an immense number of these flowering in fields south of the bridge over the Ems on the Racton to Funtington Road - if you are passing they will repay a look.

Broad-leaved Helleborine: On July 25 John Goodspeed found 60 spikes, some already in flower, beside the unmade track called Sheepwash Road running alongside the A3M in the Cowplain area of Waterlooville

Violet Helleborine: Although not yet in flower John Goodspeed reports the presence of two healthy spikes growing in the Stansted Forest compartment 22A (SU 743107) which has recently been cleared of trees, and Michael Prior tells me that plants are growing in a wire cage under one of the Beech trees lining the approach road to Stansted House (SU 757105) though I did not spot them on July 24

'Landweed' (Nostoc commune): This alga, which I call landweed as it is the equivalent of seaweed but growing on dry land, could be seen on bare ground at the Hayling Oysterbeds on July 28

OTHER WILDLIFE

Badger: A road casualty corpse was lying beside the minor road from Aldsworth to Racton in the Ems valley on July 24

Roe: Last year there were numerous reports of at least 11 Roe to be seen on the large open fields of north Hayling. Walking across those fields on July 28 I talked to two separate people who both told me that one of the adult deer had died but the population had increased by at least one as one doe has two new kids this summer (one of my informants thought there was a third kid with another of the does).

Water Vole: An unusual observation made in Pagham Harbour on July 26 was reported on the SOS website by Bernie Forbes and Dave Smith who said .. "whilst testing out the new seats in the hide at Church Norton, we witnessed a Whimbrel chasing a water vole over the mudflats, the vole disappearing into the vegetation near the hide".

Fungi: On July 28 I was walking on the footpath running south and west of Bridge House Farm (near the ex-Texaco garage at the Hayling end of Langstone Bridge) and found a cluster of large white capped toadstools in long grass near Poplar trees towards the south end of the western (north bound) section of the path. Sadly I did not test the gills for milk but all other factors suggest these were Lactarius controversus as described in my three field guides to Fungi - this seems to be an uncommon species and one I have not come across before.


Summary for July 16 - 22 (Week 29 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Fulmar: A mention of five nests seen on cliffs at Newhaven on July 15 reminds me that we recently had news of 10 pairs nesting at Hastings (Cliff End) and have previously heard of a few nesting at St Catherine's Point (IoW) and on cliffs at Durlston

Sooty Shearwater: Up to three were off Portland on July 12 and 13 with a final sighting of one on July 15

Storm Petrel: At least two could be seen from Christchurch Harbour on July 17 when strong southerly winds drove them inshore - only sighting reported this week after five weeks of almost daily sightings on the Channel coast.

Gannet: Up to 600 feeding off Portland from July 15 to 17 - highest number anywhere so far this year.

Cormorant: A total of 48 flew west over Christchurch Harbour on July 16 - perhaps dispersing from south coast breeding in the hope of finding more food?

Little Egret: A count of 48 at Christchurch Harbour on July 15 is the highest I have seen from any site since early May.

Spoonbill: During the past week a number of Spoonbills have turned up along the south coast between Christchurch Harbour and Cuckmere Haven (near Beachy Head) with a cluster of sghtings at Thorney Island, Brading Marshes (IoW) and Titchfield Haven. Currently three have settled at Farlington Marshes - one arrived there on July 14, becoming three birds on July 16 and 17 (still there on July 21)

Canada Goose: A group that has been on the south east shore of Langstone Harbour since at least July 15 has two large white geese among them. Photos of the two white birds can be seen on John Goodspeed's website with a request from the person who took the photos for identification of the white geese. Looking at the photos it seems to me that both white geese are as large as (or even slightly bigger) than the Canadas and have pale bills and legs that may be yellow (as in Bar-Headed Goose) or pale pink (as Greylag) as well as a hint of some grey feathers. I can offer no definite suggestion as to the parentage of these birds but we should not forget that there have been one of two cases of leucistic Canada Geese in Hampshire (these are certainly not just white Canada Geese but that possibility may complicate the causes of their appearance)

Shelduck: Just one was seen at Newtown Harbour (IoW) on July 21 and I have heard no reports from anywhere in Langstone or Chichester Harbours since three were at the Oysterbeds on July 17. No doubt a few adults and juveniles are somewhere in the harbours but are keeping a low profile as they all become flightless in the moult season.

Wigeon: A single male remains at Christchurch Harbour where it has been since at least June 27, and this week new birds were seen at Hook (Warsash) on July 20 and at Farlington Marshes on July 21

Gadwall: These too are starting to return to the coast with a party of 12 landing in Christchurch Harbour on July 21 (the first returning Teal was also there on July 20 and a full albino Mallard was present on that day)

Pintail: The arrival of two juvenile birds at Farlington Marshes on July 16 aroused speculation as to where they were hatched - Jason Crook is certain that they came from elsewhere but maybe not very far away.

Garganey: Two eclipse birds turned up in the flooded field by Thorney Main Road (near Little Deeps) on July 19

Shoveler: These too are thinking of returning to the coast but a party of 16 which flew downstream into Christchurch Harbour on July 21 changed their minds and went back north.

Osprey: What may have been the first bird to start heading south from Britain was at the Lower Test Marshes (Southampton) on July 14 and 15 before moving to Newtown Harbour on the Isle of Wight where one turned up on July 16 (and was still there on July 21)

Oystercatcher: I have long known that these will nest well away from the shore and in unusual places (I recall the story of one nesting in the ballast of a railway line in Wales many years ago) but I had not until now heard of them nesting on the rooves of buildings. It seems that at least one pair has nested and raised a chick this year on the flat roof of a building near the Quay Street roundabout (close to Fareham Creek) in Fareham while another pair has a chick on the roof of a building at the Portsmouth IBM site. Peter Raby tells us that the Fareham nest site has been used by one or two pairs for at least the last three years and there may have been such nests in the past at IBM as single Oystercatchers have been seen on the site during previous summers over a long period.

Lapwing: A flock of 68 were back at Titchfield Haven by July 21

Sanderling: Reports of these from five coastal sites this week with a count of 19 on the Pilsey Sands in Chichester Harbour on July 19

Dunlin: Small groups (of failed breeders?) now seem to be returning to our shores. Last week there were 20 at Farlington Marshes, another 17 at Lymington and 15 at Portland (Ferrybridge). By July 17 the numer at Ferrybridge had doubled to 30 and 24 birds at Christchurch Harbour were described as new arrivals there. This week the increasing flow of returning birds is illustrated by counts from Christchurch Harbour of 29 on July 18, 60 on July 19 and 75 on July 20

Snipe: What may have been the first bird to return to Farlington Marshes was seen there on July 16

Whimbrel: A group of 27 on the Ryde east sands on July 17 shows that autumn passage is now seriously underway.

Curlew: The number at the Pennington Marshes (Lymington) on July 20 was up to 110

Spotted Redshank: The first of these arrived back in Poole Harbour on June 30 and by July 15 there were four present at Brownsea Island with the first singles back at Hook (Warsash) and Thorney Island Deeps (with 20+ Greenshank there that day)

Greenshank: There were 33 of these at the Thorney Great Deeps on July 19

Wood Sandpiper: One arrived at Pulborough Brooks on July 15 and was still there on July 17. One or two more, plus a possible Pectoral Sandpiper, have been seen this week in the Hastings area, and on July 20 one was in the Pennington area at Lymington

Common Sandpiper: Plenty of these now around with a count of 22 at Christchurch Harbour on July 19

Turnstone: The first bird to be reported anywhere on the south coast since June 8 was at Christchurch Harbour on July 15 and 16. Since then there have been sightings at the Hayling Oysterbeds and at Newtown Harbour on the IoW (three there on July 21)

Med Gull: An approximate total of 250 were in the Bembridge area of the IoW on July 16

Little Gull: A first summer bird was at Farlington Marshes on July 16 following a report of one at Titchfield Haven on June 23

Common Gull: The number on the Langstone to Emsworth shore was up to at least 4 on July 16 and and 6 were in the Bembridge area (IoW) on July 17 with the first single back at Portland (Ferrybridge) that day.

Yellow-legged Gull: A good number of these (both adults and juveniles) have been arriving recently and I see that on July 18 there were 91 of them around the Kerry Foods factory in Poole (I have a feeling that some of these will have nested in Poole Harbour as the first pair to breed in Britain did so in Poole Harbour in 1995 with two pairs nesting there in 1997)

Sandwich Tern: 400 pairs nested at Rye Harbour this year and raised 300 young - more than 1000 birds could be seen there on July 20

Roseate Tern: This week has seen an adult in Poole Harbour on July 15, singles at Dungeness on July 16 and 21, and another adult at Titchfield Haven on July 21

Common Tern: An autumn feeding flock off Titchfield Haven has already built up to around 250 Common Terns

Little Tern: It is still just possible that one pair will raise a chick at the Hayling Oysterbeds (but I'm not expecting that!) but there is some good news from Pagham spit where, on July 19, several pairs were feeding young. This seems to be the first breeding at Pagham since 1988 when 9 pairs fledged six young but on the other hand there has been no mention of nesting on Stakes Island or at Ellanore in Chichester Harbour, a site regularly used by some of the birds until 2003.

Black Tern: With autumn passage now under way a count of 14 birds at Dungeness on July 20 was not unexpected - nearer home one was at the Blashford Lakes on July 20 (first of autumn there)

Cuckoo: Three seen at Dungeness on July 15 were almost certainly saying goodbye to Britain for this year

Swift: Two or more are being seen regularly over my garden during the past week, suggesting to me that they are feeding young somewhere nearby

Kingfisher: It would seem that some are now arriving at coastal sites with sightings this week from the Lower Test, Christchurch Harbour, Farlington Marshes and Bembridge (IoW) - these are probably first brood juveniles.

Woodlark: A group of 8 seen feeding on the ground at the Stansted estate on July 13 probably included some young and indicated successful breeding there

Sand Martin: The flow of birds heading south is increasing with counts this week of 200+ at Portland on July 18, 150 at Brading Marshes (IoW) on July 19 and another 100 at Portland that day.

Yellow Wagtail: The first to reach the Hampshire shore on its way south was at Hook (Warsash) on July 16 and by July 20 Rye Harbour was reporting 150+ 'in the last few days'

Robin: I have not heard one singing since July 9 and on July 21 the only bird in my garden was clearly moulting

Redstart: These too are beginning to head south - a female was at Southampton Lower Test reserve on July 14 and a male was at Brading on the IoW on July 15

Wheatear: A pair were seen feeding two unfledged young on the clifftop west of Newhaven on July 15. In 2005 one or two pairs may have bred at each of 3 Sussex coastal sites (including Newhaven) with more than 20 pairs breeding at Rye Harbour. The 2005 Hampshire bird report only mentions one pair breeding in the county at a coastal site - have they ceased to breed in the New Forest? Birds of Hampshire suggested that up to 20 pairs bred in the Forest in the early 1990s but by 2000 only two pairs were know to have bred there. Up to six pairs may have been present in 2001 but that seems to have been a 'dying spark'. By July 21 single departing migrants, the first of the autumn, were seen on both the Isle of Wight and at Portland.

Mistle Thrush: A flock of 23 birds seen together on the Stansted estate on July 16 is good news - such autumn flocks were once a regular sight but this is the first I have heard of for a good many years.

Grasshopper Warbler: The first two reports of birds arriving back at the coast on their way south come from Durlston on July 12 and Brading Marsh (IoW) on July 15

Willow Warbler: The first autumn passage bird was at Dungeness on July 19 and on July 20 Portland reported that 'a few are now passing through'.

Bearded Tit: July 19 brought a report of 'several with young' from Thorney Little Deeps and at least two birds were seen this week at both Rye Harbour and Titchfield Haven

Siskin: An indication of autumn movement comes in reports at one flying over Christchurch Harbour on July 19 and a group of five going west over the Blashford Lakes on July 21

Crossbill: A party of four flew west over Christchurch Harbour on July 16 but I suspect this is another isolated report of a family party on the move rather than any hint of an irruption. This seems to be the fourth of a series of such sightings - a party of 5 arrived at Dungeness on May 21, another group of 5 were at Hastings on June 2 and a third report of 5 birds came from Durlston on June13 with no more reports unitl the current one. Latest reports are of two flying over the Horsham area on July 20 and singles over Christchurch Harbour on both July 20 and 21

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies

Migrant Hawker: First of year reported at Rye Harbour on July 16 with another report from the Hastings area on July 20

Butterflies

Dingy Skipper: A pristine insect seen at Shoreham Mill Hill on July 16 was the first reported since June 9 and marks the emergence of the summer brood

Bath White: This is a very rare migrant in Britain with very few records since the last mass arrival in 1945 so a confident report of one seen flying through a Micheldever garden (near Winchester) on July 15 is of great interest.

Brown Argus: The summer brood started to emerge on July 7 (3 fresh seen at Magdalen Hill Down) and of local interest they have been seen in the past week at the Hayling Oysterbeds

Common Blue: The first generation had come to an end by the end of June and a fresh male specimen seen at Crawley in Sussex on July 18 was probably the first of the summer brood (though one seen on Beachy Head on July 8 could claim that honour though it was probably a late survivor of the first lot)

Chalkhill Blue: These have started to appear in force this week. They have been seen in small numbers since July 5 but on July 15 an estimated 200 were flying at Stockbridge Down (and July 14 brought the first report of them from Portsdown)

Large Tortoiseshell: One seen near St Catherine's Point (IoW) on July 15 was the 18th report of the species I have seen this year. Since then I have read of one in the New Forest on July 5 and of three sightings (perhaps the same insect) at Portland on July 18, 19 and 20.

Camberwell Beauty: A fresh specimen was seen in an Eastbourne garden on July 14, the first since three sightings in April (one of those was the release of one found hibernating in the Hastings area in February)

Peacock: In Brian Fellows' diary entry for July 21 describing a visit by the Havant Wildlife Group to Oxenbourne Down he writes .. "Ian heard a Peacock butterfly he was photographing making an alarm sound. I was not aware butterflies made any sounds". I seem to remember that hibernating Peacock butterflies can make a squeaking noise when disturbed and I know that the caterpillars of Death's Head Hawkmoths are well known to 'squeak' when handled but I cannot find any reference to noises made by active butterflies (when threatened the defence mechanism of a Peacock is to flash its wings to show the 'eyes'). When and if they 'squeak' I understand they do so by expressing air through their spiracles (breathing tubes) and so I suppose it is possible for an adult butterfly to do this but I would be very interested to hear more about this.

Wall Brown: The first of the summer brood was seen on Mill Hill at Shoreham on July 15 - hopefully this summer generation will have a better showing than the first generation did (the only place where they were seen in any numbers this spring was the south west Hampshire shore with a report of 28 at Hordle Cliffs on May 2 and 30+ on the Keyhaven Marshes on May 5). Since July 15 I have only read of two more sightings - a female egglaying at Wilmington (Eastbourne) on July 18 and a single seen near Mount Caburn (Lewes) on July 21.

Moths

Orange Swift: First at Portland on July 17

The Festoon: This appeared on July 13 both at Pagham Harbour and at 'The Mens' reserve (by the A272 between Petworth and Billingshurst)

Esperia oliviella: First report of this also comes from The Mens on July 13

Eudemis profundana: First report of this also comes from The Mens on July 13

Epiblema foenella: First at Rye Harbour on July 21

Endotricha flammealis: Another first from The Mens on July 13 (very plentiful there)

Hemp Agrimony Plume (Adaina microdactyla): First at Horsham on July 15

Oak Eggar: First at Portland on July 17

Small Argent and Sable (Epirrhoe tristata): First on the Downs above Graffham near Midhurst on July 14 - a new species for me

Small Rivulet: First at Horsham on July 16

Wormwood Pug: First at Portland on July 15

Plain Pug: First at Horsham on July 15

Bordered Beauty: First of year taken at Lovedean (Waterlooville) back on June 26

September Thorn: Sounds early for this but one was taken at Pagham Harbour on July 9

Pigmy Footman: First at Rye Harbour on July 21

Four-spotted Footman: Another first at Pagham Harbour on July 10

Jersey Tiger: First at Portland on July 18

Small Black Arches: This rarity (new to my database) was taken at The Mens on July 1

Archer's Dart: First at Rye Harbout on July 21

White-speck: First at Pagham Harbour on July 12

The Shark: First at Rusper near Horsham on July 14

Striped Lychnis: First taken at Lovedean (Waterlooville) on July 8

Marbled Beauty: First at Portland on July 19

Small Dotted Buff: First at Portland on July 15

Mere Wainscot: First at Pagham on July 8

Brown-veined Wainscot: First at Pagham on July 10

Olive Crescent: Found in Friston Forest near Eastbourne on July 19 'with torch and net'

Other Insects

Tiphia femorata: This is listed on the Rye Bay website as one of a list of 'aculeates' found on July 16 at Glyne Gap (between Hastings and Bexhill) by Andy Phillips from Hastings Country Park. It seems 'aculeates' is a general name for insects which have stings and thus covers Ants and Bees as well as Wasps. This species is a relative of the Digger Wasps and lays its eggs in the larvae of Dung Beetle and Chafer grubs.

Digger Wasp Oxybelus uniglumis: Seen in Hastings Country Park on July 20. Andy Phillips tells us that this species has more than one parasite waiting to lay eggs in the paralysed flies which Oxybelus places in its nest chamber to feed its own grubs. To thwart these parasites Oxybelus covers the entrance to its nest chamber with sand every time it leaves to collect more flies and in order to dig its way back into the nest chamber as fast as possible it carries the paralysed fly spiked on the tip of its 'sting', leaving its legs free to dig. If, despite these precautions, one of the parasites gets so much as a touch on the paralysed fly Oxybelus assumes that a parasite egg has been laid in the fly and discards it, making sure it does not remain within the nest chamber.

Digger Wasp Mellinus arvensis: Another of the aculeates at Glyne Gap on July 16

Digger Wasp Astata boops: Another of the aculeates at Glyne Gap on July 16

Digger Wasp Cerceris arenaria: Yet another of the 'aculeates' seen in the Hastings area on July 20

Digger Wasp Lindenius albilabris: Yet another of the 'aculeates' seen in the Hastings area on July 20

Anthophora bimaculata: Another of the aculeates at Glyne Gap on July 16 - this one is a Bee

Bee-killer Philanthus triangulum: Another of the aculeates at Glyne Gap on July 16 (the only one of this set that I was previously aware of)

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Smith's Pepperwort: This has probably been out for several week's but I only saw my first flowering (and seeding) plant when visiting Sinah Common on Hayling on July 19

Stone Parsley: The small flowers on this plant are difficult to see in normal circumstances but a mass flowering under trees at the extreme south end of the Hayling Coastal Path made an eye catching show on July 19

Pepper Saxifrage: The first mention of this in flower comes from Durlston on July 18 - none seen locally so far.

Fennel: Plants were in flower on south Hayling on July 19

Lesser Centaury: First find of this lovely plant was made by John Goodspeed on Portsdown on July 18. I have looked at a number of small Common Centaury plants so far but none have had the deeper red of Lesser Centaury, nor the short (4mm) flower stem holding the calyx of the flower above the bracts at its base.

Common Dodder: John Goodspeed had found this in flower on Hayling on June 13 but I did not see any until July 19 when, luckily, it was still in full flower.

Pale Toadflax: The small colony of plants growing at the south east corner of the mini-golf course on Sinah Common was in full flower on July 19

Common Calamint: The plant which lurks under a Shrubby Honeysuckle bush surrounded by tall grass and shaded by a Strawberry Tree on the bank of the Slipper Mill pond at Emsworth had a fresh flower (and the remains of two previous flowers) on July 16. Brian Fellows reported the re-appearance of this oddity (first noticed last year) on June 27 but it was not then (I think) in flower - he has now seen the flowers on July 20

Betony: John Goodspeed is the first to report the flowering of this (on Portsdown) on July 14 (Last year it started to flower on June 28)

Sea Plantain: Although this had started to flower on May 31 it was not untiil July 16 that I saw a good showing of the yellow flowers along the north west seawall of Thorney Island

Common Valerian: John Goodspeed had found this in flower on Portsdown by July 14 and on July 21 there was a good show of it on Oxenbourne Down at the foot of Butser Hill near Petersfield.

Shasta Daisy: These garden escape coarse versions of Ox-eye Daisies were prominent by July 19

Tansy: July 19 brought my first sight of this lovely plant in flower on south Hayling

Prickly Lettuce: As with Stone Parsley this is not normally an eye-catching plant but a mass of them on the Thorney Island seawall, with all their flowers apparently open and with no 'dead heads', was attractive on July 16

Autumn Hawkbit: Brian Fellows found this in flower on Hayling Island on July 17 and I found my first there the next day

Frog Orchid: Although these have been flowering since June 6 at least there was a great show of more than 50 to be found on Oxenbourne Down near Petersfield on July 21

OTHER WILDLIFE

Mink: A reminder this week that Mink will take the chicks of raft nesting terns - as they did recently with Common Terns at the Warnham Pond reserve at Horsham

Bottle-nosed Dolphin: On July 15 a school (or is it a 'pod') of these joined gulls feeding on fish shoals in Bournemouth Bay. First mention of this species in our area since early May

Water Vole: Not as many sightings at Emsworth as the locals would like - just three reports during June and two so far in July (the latest being of what was possibly a juvenile on July 19)

Natterjack Toad: I would have thought these would have moved from the tadpole stage to become baby toads by now but on July 15 the Christchurch Harbour website mentions good numbers of tadpoles in pools at Hengistbury Head.

Land Snails: On July 20 the Durlston website had an entry about the 32 species that can be found there, with mention of five species currently seen there - Pointed Snail (also to be found on the Thorney seawall opposite the west end of the Great Deeps), Round-mouthed Snail (which they call Trapdoor Snail but is the same species - Pomatias elegans - which can be found at the north end of the Ladies' Walk in Stansted Forest), Lapidary Snail (which was mentioned last week) and the commoner White and Brown-lipped Banded Snails. This summer's rain is not bad news for Slugs and Snails!

Fungi: Blackening Waxcaps have appeared on my lawn, both in front of and behind the house, for the first time that I can remember - they are probably abundant in their regular sites (I used to see them in hundreds on the IBM North Harbour site in past years)


Summary for July 9 - 15 (Week 28 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Sooty Shearwater: Apart from a probable sighting of one off Selsey on June 22 the first of the year was reported off Portland on July 12 with 3 seen there on July 13

Manx Shearwater: The number seen from Portland decreased daily from 2380 on July 8 to 35 on July 14

Balearic Shearwater: These too decreased at Portland from 117 on July 8 to 15 on July 14

Storm Petrel: Peak count this week was of just 5 off Portland on July 10 with only 1 seen on July 13

Great White Egret: One in the Sussex Ouse valley near Lewes on July 8 was the first report from anywhere since May 26

Black Stork: A first report for the year came from the village of Steep Marsh, north of Petersfield and east the Hangers, on July 12 when one was seen in flight

Spoonbill: An immature bird was seen in the marshy field east of Thorney Island Main Road on July 12 and it was still there just before noon on July 13 after which it may have flown across the sea to appear at Brading Marshes on the Isle of Wight around tea time, and it may have then returned to the mainland where a similar bird was seen at Farlington Marshes on the afternoon of July 14 and the morning of July 15. What must have been a different bird flew north over Cuckmere Haven in East Sussex on July 14.

Mute Swan: A pair has once again bred on Bedhampton Mill Pond here in Havant - I saw the pair with three cygnets on July 14

Black Swan: A pair were on the Fishtail lagoon on the Lymington shore on July 13 - not sure if these are new there (I have not heard of them before)

Canada Goose: 30 of the 200 birds spending their flightless summer moult period around the IBM Lake at Portsmouth were, on July 7, lured into a cage and then had their necks wrung on the orders of the company (not IBM) which now manages the site (IBM now rent the offices back from this company). This cull, which I suspect will eventually reduce the number of birds much further, has aroused mixed feelings and makes me wonder about the attitude of humans to the natural world. I suspect that most of the people who object to this method of reducing the numbers of geese would not have the same compunction about killing ants, mice or wasps which had invaded their houses, and who are decidedly in favour of killing any rats which happen to eat Little Tern eggs.

Canada Geese were imported to this country in the18th century to ornament the lakes created as part of landscaping the grounds of our stately homes but, having no natural predators here, their numbers have increased exponentially with the result that (as one example) virtually all the mown grass around the edge of the IBM lake has been torn up by the geese and replaced with a 'wall to wall' layer of goose droppings from which a selection of 'coarse weed plants' grow, destroying both the pleasant look of the lakeside near the buildings and making it impossible for staff to sit on the grass and enjoy the view of the lake in their summer lunch time breaks. A less annoying feature of their moult is the litter of dropped feathers that cover the area.

The geese do this whereever they settle en masse - I remember being asked to count the flock around the Baffins Pond lake in Portsmouth during one hot summer in the 1990s and having to do so in a series of short dashes to the lakeside before retreating to a distance where I could breathe fresh air and not the stink of their droppings.

Going back to the situation at the IBM site I also remember being invited to explain to the then Chief Executive of IBM UK (Sir Eddie Nixon) why, when invited to Buckingham Palace to be 'knighted', he had incurred the wrath of the Duke of Edinburgh when he selected as the best example of IBM's efforts to create a natural paradise on the reclaimed mudflats of Portsmouth Harbour the fact that he could look out of his office window and see the beautiful Canada Geese sailing on the lake. He was aware that the reclamation was a controversial subject with the Duke who, as a Naval Officer, objected to the loss of part of the harbour for the building of the M27, and Eddie thought he could win him over by saying how much more wildlife could be found on the site after reclamation than could ever be found on the dreary mudflats.

If I can extend this digession even further I see that Tim Doran (who reported the cull) also mentioned that nine Common Sandpipers could be seen around the lake that day and he commented that it was a pity that there were no muddy edges to the lake. That same comment was also made by the Duke of Edinburgh on another occasion when he visited the IBM site and I was detailed to occupy him for a few minutes with an informal presentation on the widllife aspects of the site - as a result of that comment by the Duke we were able to get funds from IBM to create just such a muddy patch of shoreline at the extreme west end, but not to maintain it over future years - as a result another species saw its opportunity to extend its foothold on the site and the whole area was over-run by Phragmites reeds within a couple of years. I wonder if those who object to control of the goose numbers would be so opposed to destruction of those reeds?

Brent Goose: I see that the number of these summering in Langstone Harbour (as reported in Keith Betton's monthly summary of Hampshire Birding) has gone down from 11 in May to 8 in June. I also see (on the Rye Bay website) that a single summering Brent Goose was at Rye Harbour on July 9.

Pochard: One seen on the Sandown (IoW) canoe lake on July 8 as said to be the first July record for the IoW since 1999 (when a pair bred on the Island). I suspect this is just another example of early post breeding dispersion which we have seen in many other species this year after they have failed to breed (though the weather should have been all right for ducks! - but remember that they too can have nests washed out by high water levels and can lose young to cold weather)

Eider: More than 29 were on the water off the Lymington marshes on July 13

Common Scoter: There seems to be a year round supply of these in the English Channel - this week high counts were of 160 off Portland and 180 in Rye Bay, both on July 14

Osprey: This week brought late news of on in Langstone Harbour on June 3 and another at the Blashford Lakes (Ringwood) on June 21, plus a new sighting of one at the Lower Test marshes on July 14

Quail: One was heard at Mill Hill, Shoreham, on July 10 - the fourteenth report for this summer. On the same day one was heard somewhere in south west Hampshire

Oystercatcher: A gruesome photo on the Portland website with the July 14 entry shows an adult Great Blackback gull standing on the ground, apparently alive and well, with the head and bill of a young Oystercatcher protruding from its neck just below its own bill. The guess is that the gull decided to eat the Oystercatcher and swallowed the bird whole, feet first - this would not immediately kill the Oystercatcher and it seems it still had the strength to pierce the gulls throat with its bill, getting the bill and head out through the hole put unable to complete its escape before its strength gave out. This reminds me of another photo of a Great Blackback showing it in the process of killing an adult Moorhen which it, so we were told, did manage to consume.

Knot: One was at Titchfield Haven on July 11 and another (maybe the same?) was seen in summer plumage at the Farlington Marshes lake on July 15

Sanderling: Two were seen at the Lymington marshes on July 13.

Ruff: A male was in the flooded field beside the Main Road on Thorney Island on July 13 and maybe the same bird was at the Sidlesham Ferry Pool at Pagham Harbour on July 14

Black-tailed Godwit: These have now started to return to our south coast from Iceland. On July 12 a group of at least 11 were on the Langstone village shore, on July 13 Farlington Marshes had 70 back, and on July 14 the count at Farlington was up to 134 with another 33 at the Pagham Harbour ferry pool

Whimbrel: A report of 5 at Rye Harbour on July 11 may indicate that the birds which have stayed here through the summer are now being re-inforced by passage birds. This is the first mention of Whimbrel from the Hastings area since May.

Redshank: A single chick seen at the Farlington Marshes lake on July 14 and 15 gives first proof of breeding there for at least two years. On July 13 a total of 130 adults were there.

Common Gull: July 1 brought the first mention of one back on the Isle of Wight shore and I see that on July 8 two were back at Fishbourne beach.

Yellow-legged Gull: The first juvenile seems to have been seen on the south coast (at Dungeness) on July 8 with another seen at Fishbourne (IoW) on July 10

Great Blackback: See Oystercatcher entry above for a gruesome tale

Roseate Tern: Reports of returning birds this week include three at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on July 8, one at Rye Harbour on July 9 and one in Langstone Harbour off the west Hayling shore on July 10. On July 11 three adults were present at Lodmoor (Weymouth)

Common Tern: Around 200 flew west past Christchurch Harbour on July 14

Cuckoo: One adult at Christchurch Harbour on July 10 shows that the adults have not yet all left us.

Short-eared Owl: I know that these occasionally remain on the south coast during the summer but a sighting of one on Holton Heath (northwest shore of Poole Harbour) on July 14 is probably of a bird returning from the flooded north of England.

Swift: It now seems that birds across the south of England all disappeared from their breeding areas for a couple of weeks during the wet weather in June but many have returned for a new attempt. One doubly interesting report dated July 12 comes from Cuckfield in Sussex - the first interest is that a pair there had moved in to nest in a box which had previously been used by House Sparrows (which have only just left the box) but the aspect that I found most interesting was that when Swifts were flying overhead in a 'screaming party' a bird in the nest box could be heard screaming back at them, giving a new point to the screaming of the airborne birds (perhaps they are learning more from the birds on their nests than a plain 'I'm here' message)

Sand Martin: These have been heading south since June 28 and on the morning of July 11 more than 25 were seen to leave a reed bed at Rye Harbour.

Rock Pipit: Although these birds do breed in Dorset, Sussex and the Isle of Wight very few nest in Hampshire though they have done so at both Hurst Castle and at Calshot. Until 2005 none had been known to nest anywhere east of Southampton Water (with the next regular breeding area being at Seaford near Beachy Head in Sussex). In 2005 a nest with young was found in the walls of Southsea Castle but this year there have been no reports from Southsea since Mar 12 and there has been no obvious extension of their breeding range so a bird seen in the Hook (Warsash) area on July 9 (where they do not normally appear until September) seems to have been a very early returnee/failed breeder elsewhere.

Yellow Wagtail: More evidence that these are already flying south comes from reports of 1 at Christchurch Harbour and 3 at Dungeness both on July 10. The first to arrive on the south coast away from breeding areas were 1 at Dungeness on July 3 and around 50 on the beach at Rye Harbour on July 5

Pied Wagtail: A report of 16 roosting overnight in reeds at Rye Harbour on July 11 shows that these too are on the move.

Robin: Autumn song can now be heard intermittently

Whinchat: The first two reports of birds heading south came on July 6 (a pair seen on the Sussex Downs at Cissbury Ring) and July 7 (a single in the Lymington area). We now have a third report of one at Dungeness on July 10

Grasshopper Warbler: One was at Durlston country park on July 12, presumably already on its way south

Starling: Another sign of autumn being upon us comes from Rye Harbour where, on July 11, more than 4000 Starlings roosted overnight in a reed bed.

House Sparrow: These too are now in autumn mode with a flock of 10+ (including some juveniles) coming daily to my garden where there have been no more than half a dozen since the end of March. On July 13 an albino bird was seen in the Worthing area

Corn Bunting: There has been a distinct increase in reports from Sussex this year though that may be because birders have only now become concerned about their disappearance from the countryside and are reporting sightings which they would previously have ignored as being of common birds with no great interest. Latest of these reports is of four birds at Mill Hill, Shoreham on July 10. Here in Hampshire I have only seen two reports of the species this year - just one bird was seen in the Meon Valley area on Feb 3 and on May 20 two birds were seen at Martin Down.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies

Golden Ringed Dragonfly: The first sighting of one had been reported from the Fareham area on June 17 but I have heard no more of them until July 8 when one was seen in Atherfield area of the Isle of Wight. On July 13 came another sighting at Christchurch Harbour.

Butterflies

Clouded Yellow: My sighting of one in Leigh Park, Havant, on July 7 has not turned out to mark the start of a summer invasion but there have been six more sightings this week beginning with two more singles on July 8 - one at Arundel and another at Beachy Head. Since then there have been more singles in Hampshire, Sussex and Dorset.

Brimstone: Regular sightings of last year's butterflies continued until June 9. Since then there has been one sighting in Gosport on June 22 and another of a fresh specimen at Emsworth on July 8 and 9 and I have since heard of fresh insects at seven other sites up to July 12. It would seem that this years new generation are now out.

Brown Argus: Three fresh specimens seen at Magdalen Hill Down (Winchester) on July 7 were the first of the summer brood which normally appears in mid July. This species had ceased to be reported reguarly on June 8 though one was seen in the Gosport area on June 22.

Chalkhill Blue: Ignoring the unusual sighting of one on the Sussex Downs on May 16 the first to emerge was seen at Stockbridge Down on July 3 with another seen in Sussex on July 5. By July 7 eight were flying at Magdalen Hill Down with three more at Stockbridge Down, while July 8 brought the first sighting at Mill Hill, Shoreham and July 12 brought a report of four at Oxenbourne Down near Petersfield

Large Tortoiseshell: This species seems to have become a regular immigrant this year and I now have records of 15 sightings the last five of which form a cluster on July 7 to 10. On July 7 one was on a Buddleia in Clanfield village north of Waterlooville and another was at Portland, July 8 brought an unconfirmed report of as many as 4 different insects on Portland and July 9 brought a sighting from Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour followed by another sighting at Portland on July 10

Silver Washed Fritillary: On July 11 one was seen in Butterwood (near Fleet in north Hampshire) with wings that were jet black with orange spots near the tips of the forewings. This seems to be the most extreme of the aberrant forms of butterflies seen this summer which have included 'Black Admirals' and Valezina Silver Washed plus a Comma of variant called 'suffusa' which has virtually no dark markings - just an overall washed out orange (but still retaining the 'deckle edged' shape)

Grayling: The first had been seen at Browndown (Gosport) on July 1 and by July 6 at least two were out in the Beaulieu Heath area of the New Forest.

Moths

Cistus Forester: The first (probable) report of this species comes from the Wilmington area of Sussex inland of Beachy Head on July 13

Hornet Moth: Another tentative id of a moth seen 'feeding on Hedge Parsley' in the Romsey area on July 11

Sitochroa palealis: First taken at Portland on July 9

European Corn-borer (Ostrinia nubilalis): First report from Portland on July 11

Perinephela lancealis: First at Dungeness on July 12

Dolicharthria punctalis: First for year at Rye Harbour on July 8

Chalk Carpet: First at Portland on July 9

Dingy Footman: First also at Rye Harbour on July 8

Garden Tiger: First sighting at Portland on July 7

Scarlet Tiger: First report comes from the Test valley at Mottisfont on July 10

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing: First at Portland on July 13

Square-spot Rustic: Also at Portland on July 12

Broad-barred White: Also at Portland on July 11

Devonshire Wainscot: This was taken at Portland on July 12 and was a new species for my database

Old Lady: First sighting in an Edburton village garden at the north foot of the Sussex Downs on July 7

Crescent Striped: Another first at Rye Harbour on July 8

Cloaked Minor: First at Portland on July 11

Dusky Sallow: Another first at Rye Harbour on July 8

Small Rufous: First at Pannel Valley near Rye on July 7

Gold Spot: First sighting at Portland on July 7

Bloxworth Snout: First found by day at Portland on July 9

Dotted Fan-foot: Another first at Rye Harbour on July 8

Other Insects

Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum: This species has always occurred on the continent but was new to Britain on 2001 when one turned up in Wiltshire. Now it has been found at Rye Harbour on July 8

Summer Chafer: David Parker is the first to report these on the wing around tree tops on the northern fringe of Stansted Forest on July 7

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Mare's-tail: Although I could not get close enough to check if this was flowering the very healthy looking display of spikes sticking up from the water of Fishbourne village pond on July 11 should have had specimens in flower (and others should be out in the mass growing in Aldsworth Pond)

Creeping Yellow-cress: Although this has been in flower outside the Ranelagh Road allotments in Bedhampton since June 11 it was good to see it still flourishing while at the other end of the road the construction of new houses on the Jeram's Farm site has brought about the demolition of an old wall on which Maidenhair Spleenwort had grown for years.

Field Pepperwort: A visit to Portsdown (central south above Paulsgrove) on July 9 gave me a great feast of downland flowers, mainly as a result of the extensive scrub clearance which has been made during the past ten years by Richard Jones working for Portsmouth city council and his team of volunteers. One reminder of this came when crossing one of the newly cleared areas which as yet has no visible grass and is still thickly covered with coarser plants taking advantage of the light now reaching them - right in the middle of such an area I trod on a plant I did not recognize in that habitat but which turned out to be Field Pepperwort when I stooped to examine it and saw the seeds. Afterwards I was not certain if I had ever come across this species on the hillside, but was able to confirm that it has been found there by entering "Field Pepperwort Portsdown" into Google, taking me to a website (http://www.portsdown.org/) that I have not previously heard of and which surprisingly is not among the web links listed by John Goodspeed although he is one of the principal conservation volunteers whose work the website respresents. This site not only lists all the known wildlife species to be found in the area of the hill managed by Portsmouth City Council but has a very large photo album illustrating most of the plants (e.g. 12 images of Field Pepperwort)

Dittander: This large member of the cress family was flowering in some profusion along the upper limits of the saline area around Fishbourne Channel near Chichester when I was there on July 11 - although plentiful here the species cannot be found in Hampshire

Water Chickweed (Myosoton aquaticum): A find of this freshly flowering in most unexpected habitat (on the dry inner bank of the Prinsted Bay seawall) on July 13 added a new tick to my 'life list' The size of the plants and their flowers plus details such as abundant glandular hairs on the upper part of each plant convinced me that I had identified it correctly but to make sure I sent a description to the Sussex plant recorder and asked if it would fit any other species that I had overlooked - he has told me that I am almost certainly correct and that he too has occasionally found this species in unusual situations.

Greater Sea Spurrey: Although this has probably been in flower since I saw Lesser Sea Spurrey appeared in early June I did not spot any until July 11.

Dwarf Mallow: This is just holding on in our area where I found it flowering on July 13 on a market garden plot at Prinsted - it had only escaped weeding out by growing at the foot of a wire mesh fence around the plot. The only other site at which I have previously found this plant is the apple orchards at Nutbourne but here the grass under the apple trees is so thick that there is no sign of any Mallow

Bastard Toadflax: I went to look for this on Portsdown on July 9 and failed to find it so I am pleased to see that John Goodspeed found a few plants there on July 11

Clustered Clover: The Rye Bay website mentions this as one of the rarer plants that can currently be found on the Rye Harbour reserve - I will have to see if it is still flowering at the Warblington site where I found it on May 29

Hairy Vetchling (Lathyrus hirsutus): This had started flowering on the Broadmarsh rubbish mountain on June 9 but there was still a great display on July 14 when I went to confirm that the seed pods are indeed very hairy and probably give the plant its name (a theory suggested by Alistair Martin)

Ribbed Melilot: It is not easy to differentiate Tall Melilot from Ribbed Melilot until the seeds are ripe when those of Ribbed (M. officinalis) are brown and hairless while those of Tall (M. altissima) are black and hairy. Ribbed, however, is the commoner species hereabouts and I assume the many plants now flowering are of that species until proved otherwise

Dropwort: I am not familiar with this lovely plant on Portsdown but I see from three photos taken by Richard Jones which illustrate it on the Portsdown website that it was flourishing there in June 2006 and this year John Goodspeed re-found it on July 11

Purple Loosestrife: This is no doubt now flowering in the wild (probably on the Hermitage Stream here in Havant) but the only specimen I have seen was in a garden at Fishbourne when I was there on July 11

Upright Hedge Parsley: Having seen the first example of this on July 6 I found a lot more of it on Portsdown on July 9

Knotted Hedge Parsley: Although by now a few plants which I found along the seawall at Fishbourne on July 11 were dead and dried they retained the distinctive 'knotted' clusters of seed capsules.

Corn Parsley: Plenty of this was found along the seawall at Fishbourne on July 11 although I only managed to find one umbel with flowers open.

Stone Parsley: This was first reported in flower on July 12

Wild Parsnip: Although this had been reported in flower at Durlston on June 27 I did not find my own flowering plants until July 9 on Portsdown.

Lesser Water Parsnip: This was flowering prolifically in the small stream crossing Farm Lane at Nutbourne west of the main 'Ham Brook' on July 13

Black Bindweed: This inconspicuous arable weed was flowering in a field west of the Nutbourne orchards on July 13

Common Centaury: I was puzzled to read of Tufted Centaury being seen at Durlston County Park on July 10 as I could not find the name in any of my books but I soon discovered that this name is used for a 'dwarf mutant' form of Common Centaury.

Black Nightshade: By July 13 this was in full flower in several places

Field Cow-wheat: This impressively colourful plant was, we are told, deliberately introduced to the banks of the M27 above Portchester where it has survived and extended its foothold over the past ten years or more. In recent years it has been in danger of being shaded out by young trees growing on the bank so I was very pleased to read that John Goodspeed had, on July 8, found some new plants in a new area on the north side of Nelson Lane close by the original site.

Corn Mint: First of the year found flowering in the Hayling Oysterbeds area on July 10

Marsh Woundwort: First report of this in flower came from the Chichester Canal south of the city on July 10. By chance I found my first single plant on July 11 flowering on the banks of the now bone dry Lavant stream running around the city walls and later the same day found lots of it in the Fishbourne meadows

Common Valerian: First flowering on Portsdown on July 11

Squinancywort: Although this has been in flower since at least June 11 I was impressed by the quantity of it to be found on July 9 on Portsdown this year

Elecampane: I am not sure if this can be found as a wild plant anywhere in our area but I did see several specimens flowering in a garden at Fishbourne on July 11

Sea Aster: Just one plant had opened a single flower by Fishbourne channel when I was there on July 11

Shaggy Soldier: Masses of this in flower at the Prinsted market garden plot when I was there on July 13

Hemp Agrimony: The very first had been found on Portsdown on July 7 and I found my personal first flowering in a different area of the hill on July 9

Woolly Thistle: This biggest of our thistles had started to flower at Durlston on July 14 - I must see if one which I was told some time ago had appeared in a Denvilles garden here in Havant is now in flower.

Common Water Plantain: No doubt this has been in flower for some time but I saw my first specimen at Farm Lane, Nutbourne, on July 13

Great Quaking Grass (Briza maxima): This impressive grass is very rare in the wild but is grown as an ornamental garden plant. When I found some just outside gardens at Bedhampton some years ago I assumed it had just escaped but a plant found by Brian Fellows by the roadside through the Drivetts Copse area of the Southwick woods was far from human habitation though seeds can blow a long way, be carried by birds, or 'drop off a lorry' (or other vehicle to which they had become attached while parked in a garden.

OTHER WILDLIFE

Grey Seal: One had its photo taken in Rye Bay on July 14

Lapidary Snail (Helicigona lapicida): The weather recently has been good for slugs and snails and I have found several large specimens of the slug Arion ater in my garden but I was particularly interested to see on the Durlston website that they now have a lot of Lapidary Snails which have flattish disc like shells - this shape enables them to slip easily into cracks such as those in stone walls.


Summary for July 2 - 8 (Week 27 of 2007)

(Link to previous week’s summary)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Red-throated Diver: One seen off Dungeness on July 3 was probably one of the first heading south after the breeding season. Reports of this species were regular up to May 21 and since then there has been only one June sighting (seen from Christchurch Harbour on June 16 heading east into the Solent) before this current one

Cory's Shearwater: The first of the year was seen from Sandy Point on Hayling Island by Andy Johnson on July 4. This is only the fifth Cory's ever seen from Hampshire.

Manx Shearwater: Large numbers continue to be seen off Portland (1000 or more seen there on both July 5 and 6). On July 5 eleven flew west past Dungeness and on July 3 fourteen were seen from Ventnor (IoW)

Balearic Shearwater: Portland had 55 on July 5 after 42 on July 4. At Christchurch Harbour 6 were seen on July 1 and on July 3 one was seen from Ventnor and one was as far east as Dungeness. On July 5 on e was seen from Selsey Bill

Storm Petrel: More than 30 off Christchurch Harbour on July 1 with 25 there on July 2. On July 3 some 10 were off Selsey Bill but by July 7 numbers were down to just two off Portland and three off Christchurch.

Squacco Heron: The bird which arrived at Radipole (Weymouth) on June 30 was still there on July 3. This is said to be a different bird from the one that was there on June 6 and 7 - the current one has a 'blue bill'.

Little Egret: In my weekly summary for Week 25 I mentioned that I had just heard that there had been around a dozen nests at the Chichester Harbour heronry near Fishbourne and Brian Fellows now has confirmation of this number but no news of their success in producing young (the first juvenile left the Portsmouth Harbour nests to appear at Gosport on June 26). Also of current interest is a sighting on July 3 of two Egrets flying into Portland from the south - no doubt lots more will be arriving here from the continent in the next few weeks. Recent discussion suggested that some juveniles (but also at least one adult) had been seen with brown markings in their plumage and on July 7 one of three birds at the Hayling Oysterbeds was seen to have brown in its tail feathers - could that have been a juvenile with its parents?

Mute Swan: The pair in the Bosham area which Brian Felllows saw with 8 cygnets on June 4 still had that same number on July 3

Canada Goose: Brent Geese can create difficulties for golfers at the Cams Hall course alongside Fareham Creek where they refuse to give way to golfers and I am sure that Canada Geese also disrupt some sporting events so it is interesting to hear that Wisden's Almanac reports that the Worcestershire Cricket Club employ a pack of Collie dogs trained to drive Canada Geese off their riverside county cricket ground

Shelduck: At the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood a Mute Swan managed to drown at least one family of Shelducklings while still tiny but another family escaped the Swan and are now near fledging. I wonder if, when they can fly, they will dive bomb the Swan as we saw one parent Shelduck do to a Swan during the recent TV Spring Watch programmes - the adult Shelduck flew at the Swan from behind and hit it hard on the head!

Wigeon: An adult male bird still in spring plumage turned up at Christchurch Harbour on June 27 and was still there on July 5

Teal: Several of these have recently appeared at coastal sites as if returning from breeding - five were in Pagham Harbour on July 5 and singles have appeared this week at Bembridge (IoW) and at Hook (Warsash)

Oystercatcher: On June 15 Jason Crook told us that 10 pairs were nesting at the Hayling Oysterbeds and on July 3 Jason has updated us with news that only two of these pairs have been successful - one pair has two juveniles near to fledging, the other has two newly hatched chicks

Grey Plover: Two seen at Christchurch Harbour on July 5 were said to be new arrivals there but I do not know if 29 seen at Pagham Harbour that day were returnees or had been there through the early summer

Lapwing: July 1 seems a late date for a Lapwing to hatch chicks but two eggs had just hatched on that date at Isfield in the Ouse valley upstream of Lewes.

Black-tailed Godwit: On July 7 Christchurch Harbour reported 18 flying west (with another 9 in the harbour) but whether the birds on the move were new arrivals from Iceland was not known. On that same day 51 birds were still at Hook (Warsash) and 40 at Keyhaven (maybe the same group seen at Yarmouth (IoW) on July 4 when 42 were seen there.

Spotted Redshank: The CHOG website tells us that this species is usually one of the first to return to our shores from the arctic and notes the arrival of one bird in almost complete summer plumage at Christchurch Harbour on July 3 (this is probably the same bird that was seen in Poole Harbour at Brownsea Island on June 30 and July 1). By July 5 three were back at Brownsea.

Green Sandpiper: Six different birds were at the Blashford Lakes (Ringwood) by July 7

Wood Sandpiper: The first autumn bird was at Rye Harbour on July 5

Common Sandpiper: One was back at the Hayling Oysterbeds by June 25 and by July 3 Jason Crook reports that two are now present. By July 6 Christchurch Harbour was reporting 14 there.

Pomarine Skua: The first autumn bird was off Portland on July 6 (last 'spring' sighting was at Selsey on May 31)

Med Gull: First report of a juvenile away from its nest comes from Dungeness on July 5

Common Gull: One at Sandown Canoe Lake on the Isle of Wight was the first to be mentioned anywhere on the south coast since May 3

Kittiwake: A full check on the cliffs around Seaford Head on July 1 came up with 800 Kittiwake nests, maybe indicating a slight increase since 2005 when 721 nests were counted at Seaford (with another 85 at Newhaven)

Roseate Tern: One seen off Christchurch Harbour on July 5 was probably on its return journey although seven sightings at other sites during June

Common Tern : Three pairs hatched young at the Hayling Oysterbeds but by July 3 none of the young were left - almost certainly all eaten by one or more Black-headed Gulls

Arctic Tern: At least one juvenile had flown south to be seen at Dungeness on July 2

Little Tern: Jason Crook's latest report from the Hayling Oysterbeds on July 3 said .. "During the last week the only Little Terns to be seen on the reserve, up to eight birds, have sometimes been seen courtship feeding, displaying and even nest-scraping but the weather has not been kind to them. Feeding in the harbour in strong winds would have been difficult and I suspect the females have never had the opportunity to get into condition to produce eggs to lay. The season draws on and it remains to be seen if these birds will settle... I hope they will". Although it is unlikely that any young will leave Hayling Island or Rye Harbour this year I see that some chicks had hatched on Pagham spit on July 6 (no idea of numbers)

Black Tern: Four seen feeding at Dungeness on July 1 were the first there since June 7 and may well have been on their back from breeding on the south coast of the North Sea or around the Baltic. I'm not sure where the two that were at Weir Wood reservoir near Crowborough on June 22 had come from - possibly an attempt at breeding in East Anglia? The BTO website tells us that Black Tern ceased to breed in Britain in 1884 but recorded breeding attempts since then are: Ouse Washes (several in 1966 and 1969 & 1975), Lough Erne, Fermanagh (1967 & 1975), Tayside (taking food to young in 1970) and Nottinghamshire (1975).

Ring-necked Parakeet: One was heard calling from an Oak tree in Sway (near New Milton) at dusk on July 3 and I see that one was also reported from Sway on June 7 (possibly the same bird which had been seen at Titchfield Haven and then in Southampton on June 2)

Cuckoo: On July 3 one was so surprised to see the sun shinging that it was heard singing at Edburton north of the the Sussex Downs - this is the first report I have seen of one singing since June 9 when Brian Fellows heard one in Emsworth.

Swift: All over the south of England it seems that a majority of young in nests of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins died of starvation and cold during the very wet month of June and the local breeding Swifts here in Havant disappeared after June 19, probably joining the large flocks which oculd still be seen along the coast, but two Swifts were back over my house on July 7 and three were seen on July 8 - could they be laying a new clutch of eggs at this late date?

Green Woodpecker: John Gowen told me recently that he had seen the pair which frequent the Langstone South Moors with four young (I may have misremembered the number of young but the pair has bred successfully)

Sand Martin: Many of these are now moving back south - ome had started to do so at the beginning of June. By June 28 the first were seen back at Bembridge (IoW), on July 4 Dungeness reported 32 heading south and next day 70 flew south out to sea there. Several other reports confirm that birds are now departing.

House Martins: These are often among the last summer visitors to leave and can have young in the nest in October but this year a lot of them are already departing. On July 4 a flock of around 200 was over Titchfield Haven and several people who normally expect to have breeding birds are reporting that the birds have returned to their nests but then abandoned them without even laying eggs.. Against the run of these reports a few birds have been seen over my house on July 6, 7 and 8 behaving as if they have young in nearby nests (four were overhead, hawking for insects, on July 8)

Yellow Wagtail: One seen at Dungeness on July 3 was listed as a departing migrant (though, unlike Hampshire, I think quite a few still nest on the wet grassland close to Dungeness) and on July 5 a flock of around 50 could be seen on the shore at Rye Harbour.

Robin: On July 4 I wrote .. "I have not heard Robin song since June 19 though Wrens still sing occasionally and Dunnock song is heard daily".

Having said that I began to hear quiet autumn song from Robins in the evenings starting that very night (July 4)

Whinchat: These have started to move south with reports of a pair seen on the Sussex Downs at Cissbury Ring north of Worthing on July 6 and of a single bird at Keyhaven (Lymington) on or before July 7

Magpie: This week brought two reports of Magpies catching and killing Field Voles

House Sparrow: Having seen no more than half a dozen Sparrows in my garden for some time I was pleased to see more than 12 feeding and bathing on July 8 - several still had youngsters begging for food.

Corn Bunting: There seem to have been more reports of these on breeding territory in Sussex this year than there have been in recent years. One on Beddingham Hill near Lewes on July 1 was the eighth report from Sussex this summer (including two reports from the Chidham area of Chichester Harbour on May 26 and 31)

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Southern Hawker: The first report of this species came on June 10 but I have heard of no others until I saw what was almost certainly one in a Stansted Forest ride on July 6

Butterflies

Clouded Yellow: One seen on July 7 speeding north through Leigh Park at Havant was my first of the year and may presage a summer influx similar to the invasion lasting through April into May

Green-veined White: The presence of two at the Warnham reserve at Horsham on July 1 may indicate the emergence of the summer brood and a count of 15 at Crawley on July 6 confirms this. Sightings of spring insects became sparse after the end of May (just four reports of singles up to June 20 with none since then)

Chalkhill Blue: There had been an extraordinary early sighting of one on the Sussex Downs on May 16 but the real first of the year came on July 3 with one at Stockbridge Down followed by another on the Sussex Downs on July 5. An interesting comment on this latter sighting said .. "As soon as this very fresh specimen landed, it was 'mounted' by two excited red ants, possibly because it still carried traces of the attractive amino acids that the pupa exudes, to gain the protection of the ants".

Holly Blue: The spring brood staggered on up to June 22 and the first of the summer brood came out on July 4

Purple Emperor: An unusual sighting on June 29 came from Axmansworth near Tadley north of Basingstoke - the butterfly had flown from nearby woodland to rest on the observer's house before it flew down and in through the open kitchen window. Before returning to the woods it settled on a liquid soap dispenser (no doubt attracted by some artificial scent in the soap) and extended its proboscis to drink this nectar - it soon discovered its mistake and flew off. The first female to be reported was seen at Horsham on July 5

Large Tortoiseshell: The eleventh report for this year came from Portland on July 7

Grayling: The 'first' for this year was photographed at Browndown near Gosport on July 1

Moths

Cameraria ohridella: No moths seen but the work of their larvae can be seen on every Horse Chestnut tree in the Havant area (or at least all those I have seen in the last few days). See my diary entry for June 30 concerning this aggressive invader of Britain.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth: There has possibly been a new wave of immigrants reaching southern England recently. After lots of reports in the early part of the year up to April 17 I have only recorded four more reports - from Dungeness on May 22, Hayling Island on June 24 and now two reports on July 1 from Cissbury Ring near Worthing and from Dungeness

Rosy Minor: First of year at Portland on July 1

Scarce Silver-lines: First seen at Horsham on July 4

Other Insects

Jewel Wasp (Hedychridium roseum): Found at Hastings Country Park on July 4 this is one of a group of 'Cuckoo Wasps' (listed by Chinery as Ruby-tailed Wasps) which lay their eggs in or among those of other species - the larvae of this species parasitise the larvae of Shield Bugs

Hornet: Although these have been on the wing since Apr 21 I only saw my first in Stansted Forest on July 6 after eight other previouse reports.

Bombardier Beetle: On June 12 I reported how the warden of Rye Harbour found one of these beetles in his house, hiding under one of his boots when he went to put on the boots that day. Now, on July 1, he has found more than 100 of these beetles all enjoying the heat and protection of the roofing felt panels he has put down around the reserve as part of a scheme to monitor reptiles.

Glow-worm: Walking a dog at Durlston on the evening of July 6 one of the rangers there counted 63 Glow-worms near the lighthouse

Grasshoppers: Both Meadow and Common Green Grasshopper adults were 'singing' at Hastings Country Park on July 2

Great Green Bush Cricket: A sighting of one at Durlston on July 6 did not specify if it was a mature insect or still a nymph

Dark Bush Cricket: One of these seen at Durlston on July 6 was stated to be still a nymph.

Roesel's Bush Cricket: Adults of this species were also heard at Hastings Country Park on July 2

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Square-stalked St John's Wort: The first report of this in flower comes from Brook Meadow at Emsworth on July 2

Trailing St John's Wort (Hypericum humifusum): I came on the first flowers of this in Stansted Forest on July 6

Sweet Violet: This was flowering widely in the first three months of the year and I had not seen any in flower since Apr 6 when I came on a clump freshly flowering in Stansted Forest on July 6

Soapwort: Seen flowering in a Havant garden with other 'cultivated wild flowers' on July 2, acting as a reminder that more genuinely wild specimens might now be found (In the past I have seen this in a hedgerow opposite Lower Farm on the road south from East Meon)

Crown Vetch: In previous year's I have found this in Havant and in Southbourne (east of Emsworth) but this year I am only aware of one site in the local area (having discovered the site last year). A great mass of the plants grow on the small grass 'front lawn' of some council flats facing onto Wakefords Way in Leigh Park (almost opposite but a little downhill from the entrance to the Bartons Road playing fields car park). When I went to look for the plants on July 7 I found the 'lawn' of these flats had been brutally cut but luckily the plants had been spared and there was a massive show of them.

Hoary Willowherb: I first noticed this flowering in my garden on July 5 and have since found it around the Havant area.

Beech-mast: There seemed to be a great crop of this on all the trees in Stansted Forest on July 6

Lime: Although I have already reported Lime flowers since early May the scent and sight of them on trees at Stansted Forest on July 6 was impressive - I could smell the scent from yards away and every tree was alive with bees attracted to the same scent.

Upright Hedge Parsley: A single plant of this was in full flower at Stansted Forest on July 6. The first Cow Parsley species started to flower on Mar 20 and the last I recorded was on May 14 but the second species (Rough Chervil) did not appear until June and seems to have very rapidly given way to the summer species.

Burnet Saxifrage: I found the first of this in flower on Portsdown on June 7 but have seen no more reports of it until July 7 when it was flowering at the east end of the hill

Water Pepper: This had started to flower in Hollybank Woods on June 8 but I did not come across any until I was in Stansted Forest on July 6

Dark Mullein: Having found Great Mullein in flower on June 28 I found lots of Dark Mullein at Stansted Forest on July 6

Round-leaved Fluellen: The plants in Warblington cemetery were in flower on July 3

Wild Basil: This was flowering at Stansted on July 6 and on Portsdown on July 7

Teasel: After a lengthy period during which the framework of the flowerheard acquired its lilac colour a plant growing in my garden had at last protruded enough of its florets to attract a bumble bee by July 3

Marsh Ragwort: First for the year in my list was seen by the Lavant Stream running along the edge of the Bartons Road palying fields in Leigh Park on July 7

Hemp Agrimony: The very first flowers were seen on Portsdown on July 7

Lesser Burdock: This had flowers fully open in Havant on July 2

Prickly Lettuce: First flowers seen on waste ground in Leigh Park on July 7

Bee Orchid: It seems to have been a very good year for these and I have just had belated news of a count of 40 flowering spikes where I only found 12 in the small section of Warblington farm which was cut off by the new route of the A259 caused by the extension of the A27 from Warblington to Chichester in 1988

Slender Rush (Juncus tenuis): This was one of the less dramatic finds in Stansted Forest on July 6

OTHER WILDLIFE

Water Shrew: These got a mention on the Rye Bay website when both Common and Water Shrews were found under sheets of roofing felt laid on the ground at Rye Harbour as part of a scheme to monitor reptiles. This reminds us that Water Shrews are by no means restricted to water - in the past I have read that there is nowhere in the UK where they could not be found though they are by no means common.


To see Summaries for April to June 2007 go to APR-JUN SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for Jan, Feb and Mar 2007 go to JAN-MAR SUMMARIES


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