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WEEKLY SUMMARY

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Wildlife diary and news for Sep 24 - 30 (Week 39 of 2012)

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BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Red-throated have been seen at seven sites this week with a peak count of 470 at Spurn Point in Yorkshire on Sep 21 followed by 24 off the Netherlands coast on Sep 23. One was off Selsey Bill on Sep 23 and 24 with another seen from the Isle of Wight on Sep 23. Black-throated were seen at five of more sites but with a peak count of just 2 from Reculver on the north Kent coast on Sep 23. Four sites on the Yorkshire coast reported Great Northern but all were singles

Grebes: The autmn flock of Great Crested in Langstone Harbour is building with counts of 14 on Sep 17, 18 on Sep 27 and 24 on Sep 29. Single Red-necked were seen at Le Clipon near Calais and at Portland with two Yorkshire sites also reporting one. The first Slavonian of the autumn (only report so far) was off Ameland in the Netherlands on Sep 22 and one seems to have been off the French Normandie count this week but I can't find the date

Shearwaters: 40 Sooty were off the Belgian coast on Sept 27 with plenty of smaller counts from Yorkshire to Dorset. Balearic counts peaked with 340 off Brittany on Sep 27 but Portland had 163 on Sep 25 and Worthing had 5 on Sep 23.

Leach's Petrel: Nine reports this week with a peak of 16 from the Netherlands on Sep 22

Bittern: After one had been seen near Romsey in Hampshire on Sep 20 one was at the Testwood Lakes in Totton near Southampton on Sep 21

Cattle Egret: The first report since Aug 30 (from Dungeness) is of one in the Netherlands on Sep 28

Great White Egret: Recent reports have been of singles at Testwood Lakes near Southampton, Lymington shore area, and two sites in Cornwall but we may soon be seeing more as Belgium had a possible total of 65 (15 at a single site) on Sep 23

Heron: Some that have been further north in the summer are now retreating south giving a potential total of 152 at three Netherlands sites on Sep 23 (104 at a single site)

Spoonbill: Both Rye Harbour and Pett Level have reported single birds more than once this week and up to 11 have been together on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour this week but the Netherlands had 493 at a single site on Sep 22 (total of 13 sites there that day was 1633 birds)

Mute Swan: The flock/herd in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester was up to 143 birds on Sep 19 (I had 128 there on July 30)

Whooper Swan: What seems to be the first of these for the autumn was a single in Yorkshire on Sep 26

Wild Geese: Peak counts this week have been 41 Bean Geese in the Netherlands, 3728 Pinkfoot in Aberdeenshire, 1211 Whitefronts in the Netherlands with 3047 Greylags also in the Netherlands

Brent Goose: 23 reports of Dark-bellied show that more than 10 have got as far west as the Exe estuary in Devon and the Solent Harbours have reported peak totals of 92 in Portsmouth Harbour, 100+ in Langstone Harbour but no more than 8 in the Chchester Harbour area. The Isle of Wight has had 49 and Reculver on the north Kent coast has had up to 227. Pale-bellied counts have peaked with 39 in transit off the coast of County Durham and at least 15 have reached the Netherlands

Shelduck: The first real sign of birds returning to southern England after moulting on the north German coast came with the sight of 38 on the Emsworth shore on Sep 25

Wigeon: Plenty of these now around but a significant arrival on the south coast brought 408 to the north of Portsmouth Harbour on Sep 25 when Spurn Point on the Yorkshire coast also had an influx of 428 with close on 2000 Teal.

Pintail: One Netherlands site had 244 on Sep 28 when more than 13 had reached the Exe estuary. 60 were on the Normandie coast of France on Sep 27

Garganey: The last sighting I know of was made at Selsey Bill on Sep 24 where one flew east

Shoveler: 60 were at Rye Harbour on Sep 28 with others well dstributed.

Other Wildfowl: One Scaup was off the East Lothian coast of Scotland on Sep 23, 2578 Eider were back on the north German shore on Sep 25, 4 Long-tailed Duck were seen in East Lothian, one Velvet Scoter was at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on Sep 26, 5 Merganser were at a Netherlands site on Sep 29 and 6 Goosander were off Belgium on Sep 23

Raptors: 49 Honey Buzzards went over a German site on Sep 25 and one was over Lyminster village near Arundel on Sep 29, a single Marsh Harrier was over Farlington Marshes on Sep 22 and 25 and Merlin are now widespread in the south of England

Rough-legged Buzzard: Reports of a single bird in Germany on Sep 23, Belgium on Sep 24 and Yorkshire on Sep 24 may possibly have been of the same bird but a report of two at the same site in Belgium on Sep 29 suggests that more are on their way

Osprey: Still ten reports this week with the last being of two over Southampton Water on Sep 27

Hobby: One was still in England (Dorset) on Sep 28 and a total of 15 birds were seen at five sites in Belgium on Sep 29 when at least one was in Sussex

Quail: One was flushed in the Scillies on Sep 24

Crakes: Single Spotted Crakes were in the Scillies and near Penzance in Cornwal this week and there has been an intriguing report from a fisherman on the Chichester Canal of brief sightings of what some have suggested is a Baillons Crake seen on Sep 23. Late news is of a Spotted Crake at Farlington Marshes on Sep 30 with two Curlew Sandpipers still there.

Common Crane: After just one report this autumn of 2 birds at a Netherlands site on Sep 16 this week has brought a sign that the species is on the move with a count of 150 at a German site on Sep 21 (and another of 21 birds at a different German site on Sep 23)

Avocet: A count of 16 in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 27 indicates that some westerly movement has started and that we may soon see parties in Langstone and Chichester Harbours - so far only 9 seem to have reached the Exe estuary

Stone Curlew: One seen circling over Christchurch Harbour in the rain on Sep 24 was unexpected

Dotterel: Six reports include singles in both Cornwall and the Scilllies with just one in the Netherlands - last was seen in Cornwall on Sep 29

Golden Plover: Numbers starting to build up with a count of 200 on the north Kent coast (Seasalter) on Sep 28 and 75 on Dartmoor on that day when 26 were seen in Hampshire at the Bunny Meadows by the R Hamble at Warsash and 81 were at Reculver, also on the north Kent coast. In Cornwall there is an American Golden Plover on Davidstow airfield along with a Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

Lapwing: Still few around the Havant area but Christchurch Harbour had 1100 on Sep 21 and there were 89 in the north of Pagham Harbour on Sep 27

Ruff: Although there have been plenty in Kent since early August (Oare Marshes reported 20 on Aug 16 and Rye Harbour had 14 on Aug 25) I thought that one at Farlington Marshes on Sep 22 was the first there for the autumn but on checking I see that there was one there on Aug 25 (and one at Blashford lakes on Aug 26). Pagham Harbour has had several reports of singles since Aug 14.

Short-billed Dowitcher: The Lodmoor bird at Weymouth was still there on Sep 27

Woodcock: An early bird was on the move at Portland on Sep 26

Grey Phalarope: One was seen briefly at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 28 with others in the Scillies and on the Yorkshire coast this week

Little Gull: Their exodus from northern breeding sites has speeded up with a report of 409 reaching Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire coast on Sep 26 and 17 on the north Kent coast on Sep 27 - one was seen in Southampton Water on Sep 26

Great Blackback Gull: The pair which bred at Emsworth have not been reported there since Sep 19 but on that day a flock of more than 40 were in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester and by Sep 21 a Netherlands site had a count of 1038 as they flock together in winter mode

Terns: Most of our summer visitors have already left us but single Little Terns were at Dungeness on Sep 23 and at Christchurch Harbour (with 1 Black, 112 Common and 248 Sandwich Terns) on Sep 24. A single Roseate was at Christchurch on Sep 23. Two Black Terns were still to be seen at Dungeness of Sep 27.

Black Guillemot: The first Tystie of the autum was off the Netherlands on Sep 22 and at least 88 Guillemot with a few Razorbill were also in the English Channel this week

Turtle Dove: One still in the Scillies on Sep 22 with a juvenile in a Burgess Hill (W Sussex) garden on Sep 26 and one in Cornwall on Sep 27

Cuckoo: One in the Scillies on Sep 21 and one still in the Netherlands on Sep 23

Nightjar: One still in a Birdham garden south of Chichester on Sep 27 and one in Eastbourne on Sep 25

Swift: Still being seen in England up to Sep 27 when one was seen in Yorkshire (one near Southampton on Sep 25)

Hoopoe: One reported in Cornwall on Sep 28 (fifth in the West Country since the beginning of August)

Wryneck: Still 14 reports this week including one in Southsea (Portsmouth) on Sep 26. Latest was in Cornwall on Sep 29

Swallow: Few Sand Martins this week but Swallows still going strong with 8000 over Dungeness on Sep 27 when Folkestone had 3000 and Christchurch Harbour had 2200

House Martin: Sep 27 saw 1000 over Folkestone, 530 over Christchurch, 500 over the Worthing area and 400 over Pagham Harbour. On Sep 25 Tony Tupper sent me a summary of the breeding success of the Martins in the six artificial nestboxes on his house by the Hermitage stream in the north of Havant. He says that five of the six boxes were used with tow or three of them producing three broods of young while the rest had two broods. All the young had fledged by mid-September though up to a dozen birds were still coming back to roost in the boxes at night when he wrote. Clearly there is still a good House Martin population in England though the number that breed locally has diminished greatly

Richard's Pipit: One caught in nets at Sandwich Bay on Sep 29 was the first I know of in southern England other than one in the Scillies on Aug 31.

Tawny Pipit: More than 70 were seen at 15 sites in the Low Countries on Aug 28 but the first reported in southern England was seen flying over the Cuckmere Valley (near Beachy Head) on Sep 23

Olive-backed Pipit: A few of these started arriving in the Shetlands area with many other vagrants from Sep 28

Tree Pipit: This week brought a surge in numbers on the move with 13 at Portland on Sep 27 when Christchurch had 12 and a German site had 83

Pechora Pipit: One turned up on Shetland on Sep 21 to be the first for the UK this year

Meadow Pipit: 3481 headed south over Lancashire on Sep 22 but the peak count on our south coast this week was only 960 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 27 (when one Netherlands site had 9205)

Red-throated Pipit: One was in Cornwall on Sep 28 - first for the autumn in England

Buff-bellied Pipit: This is a fairly common species in America but an uncommon vagrant to Britain so one in the Scillies on Sep 26 was of interest

Yellow Wagtail: Still being seen on out south coast with recent reports including 11 in Devon on Sep 26, 19 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 27, 20 at Farlington Marshes on Sep 28 and 6 on the South Moors at Langstone on Sep 29

Citrine Wagtail: One in the Scillies to Sep 26 at least

Grey Wagtail: These are now returning winter along our south coast and Sep 22 brought 15 to Farlington Marshes and one more to the Sinah Warren area of south Hayling. Sep 27 saw 5 at Christchurch Harbour and 4 at Dungeness but I have yet to see one back in the Havant area

Pied Wagtail: These have started to return to the Havant area with 3 in Emsworth Harbour on Sep 22 and 3 on the Langstone shore on Sep 24

Waxwing: One seen in the Netherlands on Sep 26 - first report of the autumn

Robin: 15 were noted in the Folkestone area on Sep 21, 44 were at a Belgian site on Sep 23 and there were many more than usual along the hedges of the Hayling Coastal when I cycled along it on Sep 29 (among them a small group apparently disputing the ownership of the bushes where they had just arrived)

Nightingale: One still in Belgium on Sep 27

Red-flanked Bluetail: First of the autumn reported from Shetland on Sep 27

Common Redstart: Just two reports this week, both of singles at Climping (nr Worthing) and Northney on Hayling Island with both seen on Sep 27

Whinchat: Quite a few still around with 15 at Portland on Sep 26, 2 at Beachy Head on Sep 27, 2 at Farlington Marshes on Sep 28 and 1 in the Titchfield area west of Gosport on Sep 29

Stonechat: Christchurch Harbour had a surprise influx of 50 on Sep 19 and this week the only report was of 4 at Farlington Marshes (where they have been since August)

Wheatear: Numbers now tailing off but there were 13 at Dungeness on Sep 27 and 4 near Titchfield Haven on that day

Ring Ouzel: 12 reports in this week's news including 1 at Folkestone and 2 at Beachy Head, both on Sep 27

Blackbird: Now starting to move to winter quarters with reports of 40 at a German site on Sep 22 and 18 flying west over Christhchurch on Sep 24

Fieldfare: 52 were at a Netherlands site on Sep 23 and over here one was flying up the River Adur in Sussex on Sep 16 with 6 at Stoborough Heath in Dorset on Sep 21

Song Thrush: A German site counted 512 on Sep 24 and a small flock of 9 was seen in the New Forest on Sep 21

Redwing: Eight reports this week include one in Cumbria on Sep 28 and one at Durlston on Sep 29. Netherlands probably had a total of 28 on Sep 23

Mistle Thrush: A flock of was reported in Yorkshire on Sep 22 and one of 45 birds was at Avington on the River Itchen north of Winchester on Sep 26

Lanceolated Warbler: On Sep 26 two were on Fair Isle among an influx which included Paddyfield Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Olive-backed Pipit, Little Bunting, Barred Warbler, Richard's Pipit and 27 Yellow-browed Warblers

Grasshopper Warbler: Singles at four English sites this week including Christchurch and Portland

Aquatic Warbler: One in France on Sep 22 and one in the Scillies on Sep 26

Sedge Warbler: The only reports were of one in Devon on Sep 21 and one at Christchurch on Sep 26

Marsh Warbler: A probable sighting at Pagham (Ferry Pool) on Sep 27

Reed Warbler: Just four reports this week with a peak count of just five birds at Christchurch on Sep 26

Sykes Warbler: The first to reach Britain this year was in Shetland on Sep 28

Booted Warbler: One had been seen on Ronaldsay on Aug 16 but the second was not reported until Sep 26 in Norfolk

Melodious Warbler: The first since one in Devon n Sep 2 was in the Scillies pn Sep 26

Barred Warbler: One in Cornwall on Sep 25 may have flown to the Scillies were one was reported on Sep 26

Regular Migrants: Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler were seen in small numbers and Blackcap (100+ at Portland on Sep 27)

Arctic Warbler: One in Northumberland on Sep 28

Yellow-browed Warbler: I have already mentioned that 27 arrived on Fair Isle on Sep 26 but RBA had already reported a UK total of 68 on Sep 22

Western Bonelli's Warbler: One on the Scillies on Sep 20 and 21 (with an unexpected Wood Warbler on Sep 21)

Chiffchaff: A few have been singing this week but many more have been leaving us with counts of 120 at Dungeness on Sep 27 when Portland had more than 200 - no reports of Willow Warbler this week

Magnolia Warbler: The second for Britain (after one in 1981) was in the Scillies (as was the first) on Sep 23

Goldcrest: The count of these at Christchurch Harbour was 50 on Sep 26

Firecrest: 16 were in Abbotsbury Gardens (Dorset) on Sep 22 with smaller number at six other English sites and a count of 45 at a French site near the Somme estuary

Spotted Flycatcher: Five reports from different sites with a peak count of 5 at Beesands in Devon

Red-breasted Flycatcher: None along the south coast but one in Lincolnshire on Sep 26 was accompanied in that county by an Arctic Warbler, a Greenish Warbler, a Red-backed Shrike, and Icterine Warbler and several Yellow-browed Warblers

Pied Flycatcher: Reports this week from six sites from north Devon to Sandwich Bay (all singles - last on Sep 28)

Isabelline Shrike: First for the year reached Britain (Shetland) on Sep 28

Red-backed Shrike: Two reports from the south of England - one at Portland on Sep 28 and another in Cornwall on Sep 29

Great Grey Shrike: First for this autumn was reported by RBA on Sep 25 but no site was given

Jay: By Sep 21 the potential total on the move in the Low Countries was 2872 at 28 sites and these are now starting to appear in England with reports on Sep 27 of 5 at Dungeness and 12 at Folkestone, then on Sep 28 6 at Sandwich Bay and 58 at Reculver on the north Kent coast. Sep 29 brought 11 to Hook near Warsash and 16 to the Titchfield Haven area as they spread west over southern England

Rose Coloured Starling: One or more were in Cornwall and the Scillies between Sep 21 and 26 and on Sep 28 one was reported at the Hayling Oysterbeds - I was shown it still there on Sep 29 by a birder from Andover who had been watching it preening through his scope until it was put up by a Sparrowhawk and my view was of a single bird flying right to distinguish it from the rest of the Starlings going left. I was told that it was definitely a juvenile with all features including a pinkish bill where a young Starling would have a black bill.

Chaffinch: On Sep 25 one site in Germany reported a count of 28,706 on the move and there was a hint that these had started to reach England when 6 flew west along the north Kent coast

Brambling: 11 reports this week include one seen at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 27 and one at Titchfield Haven area on Sep 29. 159 were at one Netherlands site on Sep 22

Siskin: Twenty reports this week include sightings at eight or more sites in England including a party of 20 flying over Southsea (Portsmouth) on Sep 29 and a count of 200 at Dungeness on Sep 27

Linnet: Plenty of these in southern England with a count of 2000 at Steyning Round Hill (north of Worthing) on Sep 27

Twite: 5 had been seen in Lancashire on Sep 6 and one was reported in Jersey on Sep 29

Lesser Redpoll: Reports from six UK sites this week with a peak of 208 at Carnoustie in Scotland

Arctic Redpoll: First of the winter was seen onn Unst on Sep 28

Lapland Bunting: RBA gave a UK Total of 107 on Sep 22. Three were at Portland on Sep 27 and singles have been reported at Durlston and Christchurch Harbour

Snow Bunting: At least one in the Scillies this week with 2 in Cornwall and 1 at Sandwich Bay

Ortoland Bunting: Singles at Christchurch Harbour, Portland and the Scillies this week

Little Bunting: One at Portland on Sep 27 beating one on Fetlar on Sep 28

Reed Bunting: Reports from at least four sites in southern England with a peak of 25 on the north Kent coast on Sep 28 - Pagham Harbour had 8 on Sep 22

Vagrant: Not in Britain but of local interest through Steve Copsey (of the Three Amigos) who is currently heading south to the Antarctic on the Navy's HMS Protector for Ice Patrol duties. On Sep 23 as the ship was passing the Canary Isles Steve identified a bird perched on the ship as a Red-footed Booby which is normally only found in the Pacific around the Galapagos Isles.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Red-veined Darter: This species is now colonising Britain but a sighting of one (a female) in Rewell Wood at Arundel on Sep 20 was most unexpected - did she lay any eggs there??

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Ruddy Darter, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Willow Emerald, Common Blue Damsel

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Clouded Yellow: Seen at eight sites (not including the Bournemouth colony) this week between Sep 19 (one near Titchfield Haven) and Sep 22 (Pagham North Walls area)

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brown Hairstreak, Small Copper, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady (at three sites including Arundel on Sep 29), Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and Small Heath

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

1110 Bactra furfurana found in Dorset on AUG 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1535

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1110.php

1111a Bactra lacteana found in Dorset on AUG 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1152

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1111a.php

1342 Eudonia angustea found in Dorset on SEP 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5073

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1342.php

1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata found in Kent on SEP 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4948

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1760.php

2054 Crimson Speckled Utetheisa pulchella found in Dorset on SEP 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6045

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2054.php

2248b Sombre Brocade Dryobotodes tenebrosa found in Dorset on SEP 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4997

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2248b.php

2252 Large Ranunculus Polymixis flavicincta found in Dorset on SEP 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1104

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2252.php

2400 Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera found in Dorset on SEP 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2527

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2400.php

2433 Slender Burnished Brass Thysanoplusia orichalcea found in Cornwall on SEP 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2529

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2433.php

 

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Robber Fly (Asilus crabroniformis): One seen on Iping Common near Midhurst by Graeme Lyons on Sep 28

Hornet: A report of one visiting an Emsworth garden on Sep 22 to feed on fallen plums now that its duties of collecting meaty items to feed larva in the nest are finished for the year

Ivy Bees (Colletes hederae): 100 of these recent colonisers of southern England were seen near Gilkicker Point (Gosport area) on Sep 19

Buff-tailed Bumbleee (Bombus terrestris): Brian Fellows got a photo of a Queen in Emsworth on Sep 27 - to see the picture and read about the species see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm (details of the species life cycle from Bryan Pinchen and a copy of the photo at the end of the entry for Sep 28)

Dung Beetle (Athodius foetens): See http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/paradoxes.html for a very welcome resumption of Graeme Lyons blog in which he describes a find of this beetle species (no photo that I can find) and also describes finds of the following beetle and the two spiders with which this section ends ...

Wasp Nest Beetle (Metoecus paradoxus): I assume that of the four photos which Graeme includes in his blog the first two are of the female and the last two with the orangey wing cases and the more pectinate antennae are of the male.

Speckled Bush Cricket: One seen in the Milton area of Portsmouth on Sep 24

Southern Oak Bush Cricket (Meconema meridionale): When the first of these turned up at Dungeness on Sep 5 I wrote .. "This relative of our native Oak Bush Cricket is a recent invader (first seen around 2001) which differs from the native species in being flightless so it is a mystery as to how it reached this country and also how it reached the isolated Dungeness site where it was seen on Sep 5. One source tells me that it is a predator of the Horse Chestnut leaf mining moth (Cameraria ohridella), is active by night, and lives up trees. It also shares with our native species the fact that it does not stridulate but makes its presence known by rapidly stamping a foot." Now a second has been found there on Sep 15

Great Green Bush Cricket: One still active at Durlston on Sep 25

Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi): Egg sacs of this species were found at Gilkicker Point near Gosport on Sep 19

Ero tuberculata: For a photo and information about this spider which Graeme Lyons found in a pine tree on Ipin Common near Midhurst go to http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal.php/p/summary/s/Ero%20tuberculata - spiders of this genus are distinguished by having tubercules (lumpy knobs) on the sides of their abdomen

Six spot orb weaver (Arianella displicata): Another unusual spider found by Graeme Lyons - for photo see http://bugguide.net/node/view/471531

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Yellow horned Poppy: Still a few flowering on south Hayling on Sep 29 - also Sea Radish and Thrift

Purple Loosestrife: Visiting the Langstone South Moors on Sep 24 I was able to confirm that the plants which I had seen only distantly on a previous visit were a clump of Purple Loosestrife growin on the bank of the Langbrook stream just north of the Mill Lane houses

Cocks Eggs: Still some flowers (Sep 29) on the mass of plants (whose leaves are starting to turn brown) on Sinah Common

Shaggy Soldier: Freshly flowering in Emsworth and Southbourne on Sep 27

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Hedgehogs: Many people, unlike me, do not like Slugs and Snails but nevertheless do not take a simple precaution to reduce the number of these molluscs in their garden by following the lead of one Emsworth resident who has two small wooden boxes in her garden specially designed as homes for Hedgehogs - both are occupied. If you do not want to pay more than the cost of the materials go to http://thehedgehog.co.uk/houses.htm and scroll down to the bottom of the page for plans for a DIY house (if you have young children you can probably increase their interest in wildlife by giving it a 'dolls house' look similar to that shown in one of the drawings). Another simple action to help these useful creatures to survive, and one which may (or may not) improve your social life, is to contact your neighbours and promote the idea of creating a network of 'cycle routes' for Hedgehogs (bicycles not required!) by making small gaps in the bottom of the fences between properties so that the hogs can complete their nightly walks - to find out more about this go to http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/ and to find out that the average Hedgehog takes a three mile run every night to keep healthy see http://www.hedgies.com/health.php which will also tell you to feed your Hedgehog Yoghurt to avoid 'Green Poops' and what to do if you come across a case of Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome.

Common Shrew: Richard Jones, Portsmouth City's Portsdown Hill Countryside Officer, has his office in Fort Widley but does not go out of his way to encourage wildlife to share it with him so I suspect that the Common Shrew which he found in a Longworth trap inside the fort was quickly re-housed out on the hillside where it can pursue the natural life illustrated in the photos to be seen at http://www.arkive.org/common-shrew/sorex-araneus/

Water Vole: The early autumn is the best time to see Water Voles as the population is at its highest after a summer of breeding and before winter makes them spend more time 'indoors'. To find out where to see them in the River Ems at Brook Meadow in Emsworth visit http://www.brook-meadow.hampshire.org.uk/bm-water-voles.html and to see a recent video of them taken there see https://www.dropbox.com/sh/144y5j76kkxyitk/8tSHlpjzf2/Water%20Vole%20Brook%20Meadow.wmv (I personally only got through to this video at the second attempt and then found it very spasmodic but maybe you will have better luck)

Pointed Snail: After fearing that the colony on the Wickor Bank seawall opposite the west end of the Thorney Island Great Deeps (in the area extending south from the fence above the inlet pipes) was on the verge of extinction (none of my visits in the past two years have found more than one or two live snails) I was very pleased on Sep 27 to find more than fifty of these molluscs in the vegetation on this bank. Perhaps the autumn is the best time to see them as they have also attracted attention at the Rye Harbour nature reserve - see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/9/20/pointed-snail.html for photos (though not of the snails hanging high up on taller plant stems where they can be spotted from a distance without searching in the ground layer of vegetation). For a photo of them on such a stem see http://www.habitas.org.uk/molluscireland/photo.asp?item=Cochlicella_acuta2 and for a photo of them massed on a wooden post as mentioned in the RX piece and how I remember them on the wooden posts around the carpark at the IBM HQ at Portsmouth (before I retired in 1988!) see http://www.flickr.com/photos/juan-antonio-capo/3646089213/

Fungi: On Monday of this week (Sep 24) I found a bracket type fungus growing on an ornamental cherry or plum tree in a Havant garden and put photos of it on my Diary page (See http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#2409 ). In my commentary I said that I could not name it but it had a top surface colour closely matching that of Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus). I ruled out that species because all the previous finds I have made of it have looked more like balloons effusing from tree trunks, not layered bracket but a plea for help from the Hampshire Fungus Recording Group produced the answer that it was Chicken of the Woods (perhaps a less effusive example on account of being on a less virile tree). On Sep 27, after seeing the Pointed Snails on Thorney Island I cycled on through Southbourne village where, on Stein Road not far north of the railway crossing, at a road junction by some shops, I saw a large bracket fungus attached to the base of a big Holm Oak tree which was large (at least 30 cm across) and of the effusive type showing no separate layers - the flesh/pores surface was glistening white and the top surface was as hard and smooth as a turtle shell of a reddish colour. I am pretty sure this was a Lacquered Bracket (Ganoderma lucidum was G. resinaceum) which is said to be quite rare and which I cannot remember seeing before (my find seemed to match what Roger Phillips calls G. resinaceum which seems to have vanished from the world of mycology and not to match G. lucidum which grows on tree roost and has a long stem to bring the fruiting body above the ground surface). Later in this trip, heading into Westbourne village, I came across a big colony of the much commoner Pleurotus cornucopiae (now called the Branching Oyster).

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Sep 17 - 23 (Week 38 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Reports this week of a party of five Red-throated off Pendeen in Cornwall on Sep 13, one off Dungeness on Sep 14, and ten off a Netherlands site on Sep 15 show that winter is on its way. Single Black-throated have been seen in the English Channel and single Great Northern off Cornwall and Yorkshire

Black-browed Albatross: One was reported as a 'probable sighting' off the Isle of Man on Sep 18. This follows three sightings around the Channel Isles in May and June and one 184 miles south west of Mizzen Head in Ireland on Feb 29

Shearwaters: 30 Corys with 5 Great were off the Scillies on Sep 10, 31 Sooty (maybe up to 60) were off the French Channel coast on Sep 18, 326 Balearic were off the Normandie coast on Sep 16 and Manx are still numerous

Leach's Petrel: On Sep 19 a total of 14 were seen from one Netherlands site

Bittern: One was in the Fishlake Meadows by the River Test just north of Romsey on Sep 20, presumably a bird looking for winter quarters. The first on the move this autumn were seen on Aug 21 at Christchurch and Reculver in north Kent on Aug 23.

Little Bittern: One was seen at Sevenoaks in Kent on Sep 15 - maybe a re-emergence of the bird that was Hertfordshire (Stockers Lake) from June 10 to 16 at least after one in Wales on Apr 20

Great White Egret: On Sep 15 a group of 3 were new in the Kent Stour Valley, on Sep 17 one seen by the Hampshire Aven at Ringwood was not the ringed regular from the Blashford Lakes and a count of 21 at a Netherlands site on Sep 19 shows that this species is currently on the move to winter quarters. On Sep 21 what may have been new birds were seen at Testwood Lakes near Southampton and over the Lymington marshes.

Purple Heron: Conditions on Sep 19 also roused 21 of these in Belgium

Spoonbill: 9 were seen at Brownsea Is in Poole Harbour on Sep 15 but the conditions on Sep 19 also roused a total of 221 seen at a Belgian site though that was beaten by a count of 493 on Sep 22 (what was probably one of these continental birds was at Pett Level (Rye Bay) on Sep 21

Dark Bellied Brent: No mass arrival so far. First to reach England were 5 passing Dungeness on Sep 13 when 1 was seen in north Kent (I am assuming the 4 in Chichester Harbour on Sep 12 were summering birds). The biggest flocks I have read of so far have been 21 off Normandie on Sep 15, 15 in Chichester Harbour on Sep 17, 18 in the Exe estuary on Sep 18 and 12 in Portsmouth Harbour on Sep 23 (after 8 were there on Sep 21) with no significant arrival reported from Langstone Harbour

Pale Bellied Brent: These started to arrive before the Dark Bellied with 12 in the Exe estuary on Sep 2 and 111 reaching the western isles of Scotland on Sep 11. The 12 from Devon plus 1 from Portland may have made up the 13 in the Channel Isles on Sep 14 and they were followed by 6 at Ferrybridge (Portland) on Sep 16 (still there on Sep 20)

Shelduck: 24 in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 1 were probably the first to return from moult but 7 flying west past Dungeness were more convincing returnees

Garganey: No reports later than Sep 20 when two juveniles were at the Blashford Lakes

Shoveler: Not the first to return but a count of 160 at the Blashford Lakes on Sep 22 shows that they are now back in a big way

Wigeon: These too have been turning up in small numbers since the end of August but a count of 120 in Portsmouth Harbour on Sep 21 marks a major return

Scaup: Two at Flamborough Head on Sep 20 were the first to get a mention since July

Red-breasted Merganser: A single summering bird has been reported several times in the Langstone area but I suspect two have been around as two were seen together on South Binness in Langstone Harbour on Sep 19

Honey Buzzard: One flew south over Botley Woods (north of Fareham) on Sep 17 with three others seen over the Low Countries up to Sep 20 (plus another 5 on Sep 22)

Marsh Harrier: 3 flew over Dungeness on Sep 15 were probably migrant arrivals and one was seen over Langstone Harbour on Sep 22 (where I am not aware of any sightings since June 27)

Osprey: I suspect we have not seen the last to depart but passage seems to have trailed off this week with only three reports (Pagham, R. Arun, and Abbotsbury in Dorset) The only bird I know of since Sep 15 is one in the Southampton area up to Sep 23

Hobby: These too are becoming scarce with the only bird reported in Hampshire this week being one in the Warsash area up to Sep 21 and one in Sussex on Sep 20

Dotterel: One was on the Downs north of Brighton on Sep 17 and 18

Grey Plover: A flock of 200 was in Langstone Harbour on Sep 16 and the number had risen to around 300 by Sep 18

Sanderling: A flock of 150 in the Stokes Bay area west of Gosport on Sep 18 had increased to 200+ by Sep 20

Temmincks Stint: One was in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 16

Baird's Sandpiper: A juvenile was photographed on the Lymington shore on Sep 14 and may have moved to the Scillies where one was seen on Sep 16

Pectoral Sandpiper: RBA reported a total of 24 in the UK on Sep 19 including birds at Lymington, Sandwich Bay (2) and Cornwall

Curlew Sandpiper: Two have been at Farlington Marshes this week with one at Lymington, one at the Exe estuary and another at Ferrybridge (Weymouth)

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: RBA reported a total of 9 in the UK on Sep 19 probably including one at Oare Marshes in north Kent on Sep 20

Ruff: One seen at Farlington Marshes on Sep 22 (first there since Aug 25)

Short-billed Dowitcher: The Lodmoor bird was still present on Sep 21 with another in the Scillies this week

Lesser Yellowlegs: One still at Saltash in Cornwall on Sep 20

Red-necked Phalarope: One seen in the R. Ouse just north of Newhaven on Sep 18

Iceland Gull: One in the Scillies on Sep 18 was the first I have seen reported since the Portsmouth docks bird on July 4

Glaucous Gull: One off the Yorkshire coast on Sep 19 was the first I know off snce the last report of the long stay Dungeness bird on June 27. As an aside I had always thought that Glaucous was the largest gull that we are likely to see but I chanced to discover this week that Great Blackback is the largest gull in the world - taking the maximum measurements given for each of the two species GB has the longest body length by 6 cm and the longest wingspan by 8 cm

Common Tern: The number coming into Langstone Harbour at dusk to night roost was only 41 on Sep 18 compared with 735 on Sep 12 and 1650 on Aug 30

Black Tern: The only English sighting this week seems to have been of 3 at Dungeness on Sep 20 but there were 17 seen across the Channel on Sep 22

Turtle Dove: No reports this week

Cuckoo: Just one in Belgium on Sep 20 and another on Sep 22

Nightjar: No reports since one in France on Sep 16

Swift: Two separate singles seen in the Fleet area (north Hampshire) on Sep 16 and one in the Netherlands on Sep 18

Wryneck: Just one report from Belgium on Sep 17 and a late sighting on the Pagham Harbour spit at Church Norton on Sep 18

Woodlark: One over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 19

Sand Martin: Last report I have is of 210 over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 19

Swallow: Last report of 2300 over Christchurch on Sep 19

House Martin: Sep 20 produced the last reports I have of 3000 over Pulborough Brooks (including some Swallows) with thousands moving over Seaford and Christchurch that day plus a count of 800 from Sandwich Bay

Tree Pipit: Max count from England of 9 at Christchurch on Sep 17 when 126 passed over a German site

Meadow Pipit: Sep 19 saw 200 over Portland, 1350 over Christchurch and 2681 over a Yorkshire site

Water Pipit: The first since Aug 18 were one over a Belgian site on Sep 15 and one over Fishlake Meadows (Romsey) on Sep 20

Yellow Wagtail: Latest reports on Sep 20 when 100+ went over Seaford and 40 were at Portland

Grey Wagtail: Migrants seen at three sites this week (max 12 at Christchurch on Sep 17) but of more interest was one apparently back at its winter destination on south Hayling on Sep 22

Dunnock: One site in Germany has reported growing numbers of presumably departing migrants this week with a peak of 110 on Sep 19

Robin: A count of 45 at a Belgian site on Sep 16 presumably also indicates birds moving for the winter

Nightingale: Just one report of a single bird at a French site on Sep 20

Common Redstart: The only report this week is of 2 at Christchurch on Sep 19

Whinchat: Just two reports this week - 4 at Farlington Marshes on Sep 18 and 4 at Christchurch on Sep 19

Stonechat: The only report is of a surprising influx of 50 birds at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 19

Wheatear: Last report is of 7 at Seaford Head on Sep 20

Ring Ouzel: One was briefly at Hope Gap (Beachy Head) on Sep 14 and four were at a Netherlands site on Sep 20

Fieldfare: What seems to have been the first to reach England was one flying up the River Adur in west Sussex on Sep 16 followed by 6 at Stoborough Heath in Dorset on Sep 21

Song Thrush: One seen to fly in off the sea at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 15 and 108 counted at a German site on Sep 22

Redwing: One at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Sep 22 seems to be the first to reach England

Grasshopper Warbler: Singles at Christchurch on Sep 18 and at Portland on Sep 19

Sedge Warbler: A count of 46 at Sandwich Bay on Sep 15 was the fourth highest count of the autumn, the highest being 110 at Christchurch on Aug 21

Reed Warbler: Sandwich Bay had 18 on Sep 15, surprisingly the second highest count of the autumn for England after 24 at Sandwich on Sep 2. Also on Sep 15 a Netherlands site had 78 and this was only beaten recently by counts of 80 in Belgium on Aug 29 and 93 in Belgium on Aug 21 though it looks as if this species left early as there were counts from Belgium of 332 there on Aug 5, 107 on Aug 8 and 244 on Aug 9

Lesser Whitethroat: Latest and highest count was of 8 at Seaford on Sep 20

Common Whitethroat: Just one report of a single bird at Beachy Head on Sep 20

Garden Warbler: Again just two singles reported this week

Blackcap: A more normal set of recent reports including counts from Beachy Head of 350 on Sep 16 and 250 on Sep 20

Chiffchaff: Sep 16 brought 200+ to Sandwich Bay and 300 to Beachy Head

Willow Warbler: Very few - one was singing at Seaford on Sep 15, four were at Christchurch on Sep 19 and two were at Beachy Head on Sep 20

Yellow-browed Warbler: First of the autumn was at Sandwich Bay on Sep 22 and three were seen at different Netherlands sites on Sep 23

Goldcrest: Seven migrants at Portland on Sep 19

Firecrest: Ones and twos moving at several south coast sites but a French site (Baie de Somme) had 57 on Sep 17

Spotted Flycatcher: Very few seen - just three singles in Hants this week

Pied Flycatcher: Just one at Portland on Sep 18

Nuthatch: Several more reports of dispersing birds - on Sep 12 two birds were seen on a metal structure at the end of Berry Head in Devon, on Sep 14 one was seen out of normal habitat in the Adur valley (Beeding Brooks), on Sep 17 Laurence Holloway had one in his Bognor garden and said it was only his second garden record in 40 years, on Sep 19 another bird was seen on Berry Head and three were unusual at Christchurch Harbour

Lesser Grey Shrike: Second to reach the UK this winter was in Shetland on Sep 14 after one in the Scillies on Aug 22

Jay: The usual large autumn movement is now well under way. Movements started in Belgium on Sep 5 and the first 7 reached England at Sandwich Bay on Sep 18 followed by a flock of 11 flying west along the north Kent coast and a total of 25 passing over the Test Valley north of Romsey, both on Sep 20. Back on the continent Sep 20 saw a possible total of 1235 birds reported at 5 sites (minimum count of 162 at a single site) - on Sep 23 one Netherlands site had 370

Jackdaw: The first substantial count for this winter is of 170 at Southampton's Weston Shore on Sep 16

Carrion Crow: Also at Weston Shore on Sep 16 the Crow count (always high here) was 520

Rose Coloured Starling: A juvenile seen at Folkestone on Sep 20 was a new species for the area

Chaffinch: Just entering the winter movement process with a count of 512 at a German site

Brambling: By Sep 23 nine sites in the Low Countries were reporting Brambling on the move with one site having 52

Goldfinch: Two flocks feeding on thistles at Bignor Hill in west Sussex had a total of more than 400 birds on Sep 16

Siskin: Now widely reported in southern England with counts of 41 at Christchurch on Sep 17 and 63 there on Sep 19. On Sep 20 Reculver on the north Kent coast had 13 and Fleet pond in north Hampshire had 30 with 3 arriving at Portland and 23 at Dungeness

Linnet: Christchurch had 110 on Sep 19 while a total of 935 was reported in Germany on Sep 17

Lesser Redpoll: Portland reported its first two birds of the autumn on Sep 19 and one flew over Folkestone on Sep 20

Lapland Bunting: RBA reported a total of 23 in the UK on Sep 19 but the only southern reports I have seen have been from the Scillies

Snow Bunting: After last week's first two in Yorkshire one was again reported there on Sep 18

Ortolan Bunting: One turned up at Portland on Sep 17 - at least one more was in the Scillies

Reed Bunting: These joined the autumn passage this week with an influx of 15 at Reculver in north Kent on Sep 20 and Christchurch reported its first four migrants on Sep 21

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Willow Emerald: This species is continuing to spread with the first in the Kent Stour Valley this week

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer, Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Emerald Damsel, Willow Emerald, Blue-tailed Damsel, Common Blue Damsel.

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Large Tortoiseshell: One reported in the Crowborough area on Sep 15 was the 8th report for the year (six in March and April and one in July prior to this one)

Grayling: Two still active on Beaulieu Heath in the New Forest on Sep 15

Gatekeeper: Probably the last for the year at Durlston on Sep 17

Monarch: The individual which arrived at Portland on Sep 7 was last seen on Sep 15

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brown Hairstreak, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Large Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Monarch

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana found in Dorset on SEP 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0998.php

1745 The Mallow Larentia clavaria found in Kent on SEP 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1776

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1745.php

2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes found in Dorset on SEP 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6024

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2109.php

2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra found in Kent on SEP 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6029

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2232.php

2271 Orange Sallow Xanthia citrago found in Kent on SEP 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=211

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2271.php

2273 Pink-barred Sallow Xanthia togata found in Dorset on SEP 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6366

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2273.php

 

As well as the above firsts the following were of interest:

Convolvulus Hawkmoth: Three were in the Durlston traps on Sep 20 and one was at Winterbone Strickland (Dorset) on Sep 17

Hummingbird Hawkmoth: One was in the Southampton area on Sep 17

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Helophilus trivittatus Hoverfly: When I found one in a very dry situation on Sep 17 I was puzzled to read that they are normally found near water but when I found another in Havant on Sep 20 I discovered that they are migrants and thus may be found anywhere

Hornet: At this time of year the chore of finding food for larvae in the nest comes to an end and the previously housebound workers are free to roam the countryside on what I call 'death leave' as they are awaiting the death that will come with winter frosts. This means that more people get to see them at this time of year and this is perhaps borne out by a sighting in the Henfield area on Sep 19 and a couple of recent sightings in the north Emsworth area - interestingly the first of these was of a Hornet capturing a Wasp and carrying it off - as adult Hornets are not carnivorous while the larvae are this seems to imply a later than usual nest in that area - the second sighting of a Hornet enjoying plum juice was more typical (earlier in the season they live on flower nectar)

Great Green Bush Cricket: When Cliff Dean was recently leading a party of school children at Dungeness he found one of these Crickets and tried to rouse the the children's interest by getting them to handle it which he thought would be a novel experience for them but at least one child was not impressed and said that he was very used to handling them as he fed them daily to his Lizards (hopefully he was thinking of a different species)

Common Hammock Weaver spider (Linyphia triangularis): Although this is a very common species I only discovered its name this week and you can read my description of it and its web at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#2209 after the bit on Slugs

Four-spot Orb-weaver spider (Araneus quadratus): I enthused about this spider in my previous Weekly Summary (Week 37) when Brian Fellows found one at Brook Meadow in Emsworth - this week he found a second one there and I suggest that anyone who did not read my entry (and follow up the links) last week goes back to do so now

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Common Gorse: This week the flowering of Gorse really got underway

Ivy: This also came into flower everywhere

Hairy Bindweed: Maybe I have overlooked the 'candy striped' flowers of what looks very like Large Bindweed that I am now beginning to find - this week I found a new site for them at Broadmarsh and discovered more on the New Lane allotments alongside the Havant cemetery - or may be there is a genuine spread of this plant this year.

Black Nightshade: This plant made a belated first appearance in the Havant area this week on Sep 18

Danewort: My most surprising find this week was of a small colony of young Danewort plants outside the Eastern entrance to Farlington Marshes - apparently there have been recent finds of new colonies in north Hampshire but this seems to be the first in south Hampshire.

Chinese Mugwort: I thought that the only colony that I was aware of in the Havant area had been 'suppressed' by spread of brambles at the site where the shore path along Broadmarsh reaches the Havant to Portsmouth cycle way but on Sep 19 I found just one plant forcing its way up through the Brambles and as the species does not flower until October there is a chance that the species will survive for another year

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Bottle-nosed Dolphin: These are not uncommon in the English Channel but not often seen by birders at Selsey Bill where a pod of 10 were seen on Sep 16

Pointed Snail (Cochlicella acuta): The small colony of these on the Thorney Island seawall at the west end of the Great Deeps seems to be on the verge of extinction with no reported find of more than one life snail this summer but a piece on the colony at Rye Harbour dated Sep 20 shows that they are flourishing there - see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/9/20/pointed-snail.html

Large Black Slug (Arion ater): The word Black in this name can be misleading as the body colour is variable - see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#2209 for my photo of a very pale example and another photo of two brown specimens mating. To add to the confusion I looked at http://idtools.org/id/mollusc/factsheet.php?name=Arion%20ater group:%20Arion ater which has photos of several colour variants and for which the text begins by saying .. "This slug belongs to a species complex that can only be differentiated by dissecting the genitalia" .. If you then go to the top of this page and select the Next Fact Sheet link you will find a set of photos representing the Red Slug variant which includes a photo of a totally jet black specimen. Selecting the Next Fact Sheet link from this you get photos of Arion vulgaris in which the specimens are mainly orange or pink in colour

Medicinal Leech: These are still used in medicine for cleaning wounds and I was amused to read a comment from a lady on whom they had been used - see http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/camber-castle/ This only mentions the Leeches in the last paragraph but this tells us that when gorged these Leeches drop off the patient and move off on the floor of the hospital ward in search of a pond. The nearest place to Havant that I have seen these creatures is in Cunigre pond in the centre of the Cams Hall estate/golf course on the east side of Fareham Creek but they can be found with less interference from golfers in several New Forest ponds - put on your wellies and walk into these ponds and you will soon have Leeches trying to draw blood from your wellies!

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


_

Wildlife diary and news for Sep 10 - 16 (Week 37 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: All three 'common' species were in the southern part of the North Sea this week for the first time since the spring - just two Red-throated off Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and single of both Black-throated and Great Northern were seen off the Yorkshire coast. The most recent news is of a single Red-throated at Dungeness on Sep 14

Shearwaters: Single Sooty Shearwaters were seen off Kent and Dorset but there were many more off Cornwall with peaks of 72 Sooty, 2 Great and 9 Corys. Devon did best with Manx (1312 off Start Point) and Balearic (282 also off Start Point)

Petrels: Just one report of 10 Storm Petrels from the Scillies plus a couple of Leach's off Cap Gris-nez though RBA gave a UK total of 69 of these on Sep 12 (I think the majority of these were passage birds seen off the western Isles of Scotland)

Purple Heron: Another surge of these leaving the Netherlands to winter in Africa gave a count of 89 at one Netherlands site on Sep 13

White Stork: These too continue to leave the low countries with a peak count of 32 at a Belgian site on Sep 12

Spoonbill: Dorset had at least 7 in Poole Harbour on Sep 13 but Belgium had at least 209 at one site on that day (probably as many as 246 in total at three sites)

Pink-foot Goose: On Sep 12 Spurn Point in Yorkshire recorded 849 while Lancashire had 331 near Southport on Sep 8

Brent Goose: What was probably a single fore-runner of our returning birds was in the Netherlands on Sep 10 and the first to reach our south coast were probably four seen flying west past the mouth of Southampton Water on Sep 14 (these may have arrived on Sep 12 when four were seen in Chichester Harbour though those are more likely to have been from the 13 summering birds known to have been in that harbour). For me the clincher that migrants had started to arrive came on Sep 15 when 21 Brent were seen off the coast of Normandie and 6 were seen off Jersey.

Pale-bellied Brent: Following the small flock of 12 which reached the Exe estuary on Sep 2 a more substantial arrival of 122 birds was reported from the outer Hebrides on Sep 11

Wigeon: On Sep 12 the number in Christchurch Harbour was 48 and on Sep 13 a flock of 25 flew west past Worthing/Goring

Teal: On Sep 10 Spurn Pt in Yorkshire recorded 2599 presumably newly arrived Teal (these have been arriving since the start of August)

Pintail: There were 8 in Pagham Harbour on Sep 13 (these have been arriving since the start of September)

Garganey: These may now have left us - last reports I have were of five at Rye Harbour on Sep 9 and two at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 10

Honey Buzzard: The last I have heard of in England was one over East Sussex on Sep 8 but two or three were over Belgium on Sep 13

Red-footed Falcon: The bird that was at Chichester from Sep 6 was last seen on Sep 11 but one was in the Netherlands on Sep 12 and 14

Spotted Crake: The bird at Marazion (Penzance) from Sep 5 was last reported on Sep 12 but others were in Devon (Axe estuary) and the Scillies on Sep 9

Baillon's Crake: The bird which arrived at Rainham Marshes in London on Sep 7 was still there on Sep 13

Dotterel: Singles were seen in Belgium on Sep 8 and the Netherlands on Sep 9 when another was in the Scillies

Lapwing: I did not see my first returning bird (just one at Northney Marina) until Sep 12 and I have the impression that there are fewer present along the south coast than is usual for the time of year

Pectoral Sandpiper: Although RBA reported a total of 32 in the UK on Sep 9 the only ones I know of on the south coast have been singles at Sandwich, Dungeness and Hayle in north Cornwall

Purple Sandpiper: The only reports I have seen since the last from Southsea Castle on May 6 have been from Devon, Cornwall and the Scillies and these all dried up by July 28 so the sighting of one in the Netherlands on Sep 14 marks the return of the species to our area.

Jack Snipe: Another autumn first is of one in Dorset - the first since one was at Sandwich Bay on Apr 18

Short-billed Dowitcher: The young bird was still at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Sep 15. Mark Cutts (of the Three Amigos) managed to get a pretty good photo of it on Sep 12 (see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/09/12/short-billed-dowitcher-again/ )

Green Sandpiper: Of local interest it would seem that Havant already has its winter residents back. On Aug 30 I heard two flying over the Nore Barn site (west end of the Emsworth shore) and this week two were heard over the Lower Grove Road area and there was another report from somewhere in central Havant on Sep 12. In recent years one or more of these birds seem to have spent their time making a daily circuit of several sites which include the Lymbourne Stream cressbed, the pony field north of Langstone pond (when that field floods), the Southmoors area and the Hermitage Stream just upstream from Barncroft Road and sometimes including the Lavant stream near the New Lane/Bartons Road junction.

Common Tern: Passage birds passing Hayling Island in the evening usually stop off for the night in the south of Langstone Harbour and Tim Lawman makes regular counts of the number entering the harbour at dusk. This year he already had a count of 750 on Aug 26 and this reached a peak of 1650 on Aug 30 but had dropped back to 735 on Sep 12

Black Tern: On Aug 31 there were at least 493 (probably 603) passing through the Straits of Dover on the French side but I have seen no double figure counts since then (other than one of 35 birds at Ouistreham on the Normandie coast on Sep 12). We have probably not seen the last of them yet as there was one at Dungeness on Sep 14 with other reports from different sites on each of the three preceding days.

Recent unusual sightings:

Hoopoe - 1 in north Devon on Sep 9

Citrine Wagtail - 2 in Scilly on Sep 8 (but doubts expressed over Hampshire inland sighting on Sep 4)

Fieldfare (4), Song Thrush (5) and Redwing (2) in Netherlands on Sep 12

Nuthatch - reports of birds in unexpected coastal sites this week at Whinchelsea, Beachy Head and Christchurch

Coal Tit - 16 at Christchurch on Sep 12 (around 500 moving in the Netherlands this week)

Red Backed Shrike - one at Wembury (Plymouth) from Sep 5 to 9 (at least)

Jay - large numbers moving in the low countries this week (up to 1286 reported on Sep 8 and 1065 in Belgium on Sep 16)

Red-eyed Vireo - first for the year in Shetland on Sep 12

Siskin - Flock of 100 in Yorkshire on Sep 9, 6 at Portland on Sep 11 and 63 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Tree Sparrow - a flock of 12 to 15 seen at the Pevensey Levels on Sep 15

Lapland Bunting - 27 reported in UK on Sep 9 and 20 on Sep 12

Snow Bunting - first report since May 4 is of 2 at Spurn Pt on Sep 13

Departing migrants: Still with us this week were (with selected locations, counts, and latest dates) ...

Turtle Dove - 2 at Oare Marshes in Kent on Sep 13

Cuckoo - 1 at Pagham Harbour on Sep 11

Nightjar - 1 at Pagham Harbour on Sep 13 (showed aggression to Squirell)

Swift - 1 at Folkestone on Sep 12

Wryneck - Singles at Pagham Harbour and Lymington on Sep 13

Sand Martin - 100 at Rye Harbour on Sep 13

Swallow - 800 at Christchurch on Sep 13

House Martin - 1000 at Christchurch on Sep 13 and 10,000 over Sandwich Bay on Sep 16

Tree Pipit - 25 at Christchurch on Sep 12

Meadow Pipit - 170 at Christchurch on Sep 12

Yellow Wagtail - 60+ at Rye Harbour on Sep 13 (150 at Farlington Marshes on Sep 11)

Grey Wagtail - 14 at Christchurch on Sep 12

Common Redstart - 3 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Whinchat - 12 at Christchurch on Sep 12

Wheatear - 100 at Portland on Sep 12 and 27 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Ring Ouzel - 3 in Lancashire on Sep 13 and one at Hope Gap (Beachy Head) on Sep 14

Grasshopper Warbler - 2 at Christchurch on Sep 12

Sedge Warbler - 17 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Reed Warbler - 2 at Portland on Sep 8 (still no big numbers)

Lesser Whitethroat - 1 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Common Whitethroat - 43 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Garden Warbler - 1 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Blackcap - 71 at Christchurch on Sep 12 and 8 there on Sep 13. Beachy Head had its first good count of 350 on Sep 16

Wood Warbler - 1 at Portland on Sep 9

Chiffchaff - 118 at Christchurch on Sep 13 and 300 at Beachy Head on Sep 16

Willow Warbler - 9 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Goldcrest - 70 at Christchurch on Sep 12

Firecrest - 2 at Christchurch on Sep 13

Spotted Flycatcher - 4 at Northney on Hayling Is on Sep 12 and 1 at Pagham on Sep 13

Pied Flycatcher - 1 at Northney on Hayling Is on Sep 8

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

White-legged Damsel: Two reported on Sep 11 (River Ise in Nothants) may have been mis-identified - the last previous report I have was dated May 29 and they are said to fly no later than mid-August

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Four Spotted Chaser, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Emerald Damsel, Small Emerald Damsel, Willow Emerald (Essex), White-legged Damsel, Red-eyed Damsel, Small Red-eyed Damsel, Blue-tailed Damsel, Scarce Blue-tailed Damsel, Common Blue Damsel and Azure Damsel

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Clouded Yellow: Four reports this week bring my total for the year to just 33 - hardly a good year for them

Large Tortoiseshell: One reported in the Crowborough area of East Sussex on Sep 15

Red Admiral: Plenty of these currently flying but an assembly of more than 1000 in an old Plum orchard at Ticehurst near Hastings on Sep 12 and 13 was exceptional

Grayling: Just one reported this week from Yately Common in north Hampshire on Sep 8

Gatekeeper: Also just one on Bonchurch Down (IoW) also on Sep 8

Monarch: The presumed trans-Atlantic migrant which arrived at Portland on Sep 7 was still being seen on Sep 15

Species reported this week:

Lulworth Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brown Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Large Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Monarch

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

1062 Acleris emargana found in Kent on SEP 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2454

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1062.php

2080 Square-spot Dart Euxoa obelisca found in Dorset on SEP 11 (id uncertain) - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3315

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2080.php

2226 Beautiful Gothic Leucochlaena oditis found in Dorset on SEP 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5212

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2226.php

2270 Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa found in Kent on SEP 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1774

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2270.php

2375 Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa found in Kent on SEP 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1770

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2375.php

 

 

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Robber Fly (Asilus crabroniformis): One at Shoreham Mill Hill on Sep 11 is the only report I have seen for this year

Helophilus pendulus Hoverfly: I was lucky enough to get a good photo of one on a Field Rose flower on Sep 15 and in the course of identifying it I learnt that they are normally found close to water - mine was far from water on high ground near West Marden. For my photo see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#1509

Common Wasp: On Sep 10 an entry on the Sussex Butterfly Conservation web site said .. "Is it just a local thing or has anyone else noticed a distinct lack of wasps this year? Our garden here in Bracklesham is completely wasp-less, even around the wine ropes which I've been leaving out for the Red Admirals to enjoy. (Derek Lee)" A reply on Sep 12 read .. "In response to Derek Lee's posting. In the spring wasps were relatively plentiful. However in my Pest Control occupation, this year was probably the worst in living memory for calls to deal with wasps nests. Compared with 2011 we estimate there has been a 98% reduction in requests over the season. Although nests may have started it is likely that the heavy rains prevented feeding (due to the absence of other prey insects, low temperatures etc.) and the development of new workers. It is also likely that those nests which started in the ground or were built in more open situations such as bushes were effectively drowned out with the persistent water logging at the crucial time of development of new workers. To a lesser extent, it may also be possible that due to the rain some nests may have been overlooked as both activity was down and people spent less time outside especially during the summer holidays. However things do go in cycles and I am sure wasps will bounce back in future seasons as they have done many times before. (Richard Roebuck)"

Four-spot orb-weaver spider (Araneus quadratus): This is one of my favourite spiders which I used to find quite frequently when I worked at the IBM Portsmouth HQ site but have not seen for some time so I was pleased to see that Brian Fellows had come across one at the Emsworth Brook Meadow site. Although they are relatively large and spin their orb webs in eye-catching places the spider normally creates a retreat in which to hide on the perimeter of the web, rather than waiting for prey in the centre of the web, and thus usually escapes attention. When they emerge they are unmistakeable on account of their size (body can be 17mm long), round shape, and the four spots that are present on the top of the abdomen (for a good photo see http://www.flickr.com/photos/thekrankis/4956569167/in/photostream/ - this page also describes the 'nutty taste' of the species in a bizarre spider eating event) The only webpage that I have found showing the colour variation found in this species is http://www.nicksspiders.com/nicksspiders/araneusquadratus.htm - this also includes a picture of a male (as with most spider species he is tiny in comparison to the female). Finally, for a description of the construction of the orb web and its strength (easily supporting the spider which can weigh 4,500 times as much as the weight of the web) see http://www.bumblebee.org/invertebrates/Araneae5.htm

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Bush Vetch: This was one of few surprise finds this week, just one or two roadside plants found flowering between Forestside and West Marden on Sep 15

Goats Rue: Another plant which I was surprised to find still flowering at North Common on Hayling on Sep 12

Field Rose: Also still flourishing in a hedgerow between Forestside and West Marden on Sep 15

Ivy: One of just two genuine 'first flowers' found this week (the other being Butchers Broom) in the West Marden and Forestside areas on Sep 15

Dwarf Spurge: I first found one or two plants of this on Aug 30 in the Conigar Point field of Warblington Farm very soon after the wheat had been harvested, by Sep 10 it was much more plentiful

Hairy Bindweed: I had been very surprised to find this flowering in part of the Havant cemetery on Aug 20 and was very pleased to find another plant flowering in a different area of the cemetery this week

Verbascum macrocarpum: Just one of the five plants which I had found at North Common on Hayling on July 20 was still flowering on Sep 12 by which time it had grown to around 7ft tall and had its lower stem thickly covered with large seed pods already splitting open and hopefully about to generate a substantial colony of this plant here.

Bellflowers: Many plants of Clustered Bellflower were still to be seen on Nore Down near West Marden on Sep 15 along with a small number of Nettle-leaved Bellflower.

Scabious: Also to be found on Nore Down were good numbers of Devils Bit Scabious with both Small and Field Scabious present and still flowering

Autumn Hawkbit: Sep 15 was the first date on which I noticed this in flower though it has probably been out for a couple of months

Butchers Broom: This had its first flowers on show at a Hayling Island site on Sep 12

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Leopard Slug: On Sep 11 I found a Leopard (or Great Grey) Slug (Limax maximus) eating breadcrumbs from a saucer on my garden bird table. For photos, more detail and links to descriptions of the species and its unique mid-air love making see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#1109 - it would seem that that individual was then eaten by a Magpie but later in the week, when renewing the water put out for the birds in a plastic dish on the ground below the bird table I was pleased to see another smaller slug of the same species nestling in the cool damp soil under the water dish.

Portuguese Man-of-War: Two of these were encountered on the water around the Scillies on Aug 30. I first saw a mention of them being found there in week 35 and recommended http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/portuguese-man-of-war/ as a good place to learn about them. They are not simple jellyfish but are a colony of different organisms which come together for their mutual benefit as do several other life-forms such as Corals and Slime-moulds. I was reminded that we humans are a similar colony of co-operating cells by the Radio 4 'In our time' programme broadcast at 9am on Sep 13 (and available for a week from that date on BBC iPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01mk8vh/In_Our_Time_The_Cell/ ) which told me that nine tenths of all the cells in our bodies are bacteria having a life of their own.

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Sep 3 - 9 (Week 36 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Black-necked Diver: The first of these to be reported in our southern latitudes since June was off the Netherlands on Sep 7. Great Northern were also seen off both Devon and Cornwall but these have been seen sporadically through the summer.

Shag: Other than the youngster seen tied to a buoy (by a fishing line which it had swallowed) in the entrance to Langstone Harbour on July 13 one seen off the nearby Eastney shore on Sep 4 was the first to be reported there since April but it is likely to be some time yet before one or more take up regular winter quarters in the harbour entrance

Little Egret: An evening roost count at Langstone Pond on Sep 6 found 106 birds compared to the 76 seen on Aug 17. Last year my peak count of 198 was on Sep 14.

Great White Egret: I reported last week that the bird which was colour-ringed in France and which has been returning to the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood during the non-breeding season of each year since 2003 had returned this year on Sep 1. It was still there on Sep 8 but is not easily seen.

Pink-foot Geese: The first mention of this species that I have noticed since March came on Sep 5 when 7 were seen on the Carnoustie coast of Scotland - shortly after the first Wildfowlers appeared on the north Kent coast to mark the start of the wild-fowling season on Sep 1

Barnacle Geese: A flock of 144 were seen on the Yorkshire coast on Sep 3

Pale Bellied Brent Geese: The Portland website reported one back very early at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on Sep 2 and this made me wonder if it had been hiding away somewhere in the west country through the summer but when I subsequently saw that a flock of 12 had arrived at Exmouth that same day it helped to confirm that these were genuine returning migrants (presumably having failed to breed)

Returning wildfowl: On Sep 1 there were 83 Wigeon at Christchurch Harbour and 30+ in Pagham Harbour with 20 at Pulborough Brooks on Sep 4. Pintail are now being reported from several sites including 5 at Exmouth on Sep 2 when Christchurch had 3 - Farlington Marshes had 3 on Sep 5. Also on Sep 5 I noticed the first Shoveler (at least 5) at Budds Farm pools in Havant

Garganey: Singles were still to be seen at four sites in Hampshire and Dorset this week

Honey Buzzard: Nothing here to match the passage of 729 of these from France to the north coast of Spain on Sep 5 but one did fly over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 3 and another over the Downs north of Brighton on Sep 5 with two seen in Belgium on Sep 7

Montagu's Harrier: One seen in the Avon Causeway area south of Ringwood on Sep 4 and another was hunting a stubble field above Storrington in the Pulborough area on Sep 6

Sparrowhawk: These are now in migrant mood with 9 over Dungeness on Sep 4

Red-footed Falcon: One gave close views to many birders at the Chichester Lakes from Sep 6 to Sep 8 at least as it caught dragonflies over the small Nunnery Lake (across the main path from Ivy Lake)

Merlin: These started to return to the south coast very early with one in the Cuckmere Valley on Aug 1. Since then there have been at least a dozen reports from Sussex and Dorset but Hampshire had to wait until Sep 7 when one visited Farlington Marshes

Hobby: Reports are now thinning out but one was seen at Rye Harbour on Sep 8

Avocet: The Dorset bird news reported 30+ at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Sep 4 but then reported 1000 there on Sep 6 - that sort of number is expected there in the winter but if this is not an error there must have been an impressive arrival of the birds this week. Last year there were 1200 in Poole Harbour on Feb 2 but the first substantial autumn count was of 600+ on Nov 22

Pectoral Sandpiper: There has been a substantial influx of these from America this week with the RBA News reporting a total of 16 in the UK on Sep 5. Two had been seen on the Lymington marshes on Sep 3 and one was reported at Farlington Marshes on Sep 6

Ruff: Singles were at Pulborough Brooks and at the Sidlesham Ferry pool of Pagham Harbour both on Sep 4

Lesser Yellowlegs: One reported to be at the Testwood Lakes at Totton on the west side of Southampton Water. It seems to have been seen by a single observer for a short time. Although around five turn up in Britain eash year the last to be seen in Hampshire was at Titchfield Haven in October 2005 and stayed for five days. In 2007 one was in Poole Harbour on Aug 20 and in 2008 one was in Pagham Harbour in April. In 2009 one was in the Scillies in August and one was back in the Scillies in August 2010. In 2011 I picked up 25 reports, mainly from Cornwall and the Scillies from mid September to mid November and this year we have again had sightings in the west country in Jan, Feb, Mar and April with one at Saltash in Cornwall on Sep 6 which might have flown on here. A request for further information about the Testwood bird has not elicited any positive support for it being a Yellowlegs.

Short-billed Dowitcher: The second ever to be seen in Britain (the first was in 1999) became the 402nd species on Lee Evans British Isles tick list for this year when he saw it at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Sep 5. The bird is a juvenile and has been present from Sep 3 to Sep 8 (at least). There seems to have been some initial confusion with the more common Long-billed Dowitcher (one of which is currently to be seen in Gloucestershire) but it now seems that the only Dowitcher seen at Lodmoor this week was the rare one.

Black-tailed Godwit: Few young have been hatched in Iceland this year but one of them was in Emsworth Harbour this week allowing Brian Fellows to study its plumage which has a pale 'cinnamon' breast, a pale brown mantle and wings strongly flecked with black, and a plain white belly and vent area. Back in July Pete Potts reported on his annual trip to ring Black-tailed Godwits in Iceland with the statement: "Iceland has had a good summer with little rain and plenty of sunshine which has helped the breeding season in some areas, it was certainly a much better season than 2011. However, in some core areas very few pairs were found with chicks, no fledged chicks and no flocks were seen on fields suggesting an early departure.

Ring-billed Gull: The last report of one at Gosport was on Mar 17 and the first I have heard of since then is one in Ireland on Sep 5. Last year one was back at Christchurch Harbour as early as Aug 3 but the Gosport bird did not turn up until Oct 23.

Little Owl: One was seen on the seaward side of the Dungeness power station on Sep 6 reminding me that when Dave Billett was warden of Farlington Marshes Little Owls would sometimes turn up at the Farlington Point and that he concluded they were young dispersing birds whose random route had brought them to the sea which they were reluctant to cross but they were equally reluctant to retrace their flight path and try a different direction.

Short-eared Owl: Reports this week from north Kent, Folkestone and Seaford suggest that these are starting to move south for the winter as are the first Meadow Pipits

Departing migrants: Still being seen this week were Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Swift, Wryneck, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Nightingale, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethoat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Chiff Chaff (only just starting to appear as migrants), Willow Warbler (autumn song heard on Sep 6), Goldcrest and Firecrest (both just starting to migrate), Spotted Flycatcher (flock of 100+ in south Devon on Sep 5), and Pied Flycatcher.

Citrine Wagtail: A juvenile was seen in the grounds of Hinton Ampner House (near Cheriton in mid Hants) on Sep 4

Grey, Pied and White Wagtails: Although not long distance migrants these are now moving from summer to winter quarters (by Sep 6 there was already a flock of 114 Pied Wagtail roosting in the Eastleigh Lakeside area, and Wembury Point near Plymouth had a flock of 150 White Wagtails on Sep 5).

Black Redstart: One seen in a demolition area in the grounds of St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth on Sep 2 may have been one of the first to reach its winter quarters

Cetti's Warbler: These normally 'loud mouthed' birds have been quiet for some time but reports of their song resumed on Sep 2

Coal Tit: More than 600 appeared to be on the move in the Netherlands on each of Sep 4 and 5.

Red-backed Shrike: Juveniles were at The Lizard, in the Plymouth area and near Brighton this week

Jay: Starting to move on the continent with up to 159 at four Belgian sites on Sep 7

Spanish Sparrow: One has been found with House Sparrows at Landguard in Suffolk

Goldfinch: The first large autumn flock (50+) was seen in south Devon on Sep 1

Twite: Five seen near Bolton in Lancs on Sep 6 seem to be the first moving south for winter

Lapland Bunting: On Sep 5 RBA reported a total of 10 in the UK

Ortoland Bunting: It seems that at least two were in Dorset on Sep 4 and 5

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

No new species this week

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Common Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Southern Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Gold Ringed, Keeled Skimmer, Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red Veined Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Beautriful Demoiselle, Emerald Damsel, Southern Emerald Damsel, Willow Emerald Damsel, Small Red-eyed Damsel, Small Red Damsel, Blue Tailed Damsel, Scarce Blue Tailed Damsel, Common Blue Damsel, Southern Damsel

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Long Tailed Blue: This is a rare migrant to Britain and one seen in a garden at Sway (near New Milton in Hampshire) on Sep 3 may have been the first in Hampshire since 2006. The last that I am aware of in southern England was at Portland on Sep 8 in 2010

Red Admiral: A mass invasion on Sep 4 and 5 brought 100 fresh specimens to the Brighton area on Sep 4 and 120 to Portland on Sep 5 (Portland also had 25 Painted Ladies that day)

Small Tortoiseshell: On Sep 4 one appeared in a garden at Southbourne (near Emsworth) in which the normally large areas of orange on its upper wings was replaced by white. This has been confirmed by experts to be an example of the rare lutea aberration - the photo can be seen at http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/species/butterfly/vanessid%20images/TabpallidaSouthbourne040912AWingrove.jpg

Camberwell Beauty: One seen in Cornwall on Sep 2 seems to have been the third for this year after one found at Lee on sea (nr Gosport) on Jan 7 and one in Sussex on Mar 22

Monarch: One of these trans-Atlantic migrants was seen on Portland on Sep 7 and has remained around a favoured Buddleia bush until at least the afternoon of Sep 9. Three excellent photos are available: for the underside see http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_monarch_5_070912_500.jpg for the upper side see http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_monarch_6_070912_500.jpg and for a size comparison with a Red Admiral see http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_monarch_7_070912_500.jpg

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Brown Hairstreak, Small Copper, Long Tailed Blue, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Camberwell Beauty, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Monarch

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0285 Azalea Leaf Miner Caloptilia azaleella found in Dorset on SEP 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5196

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0285.php

1157 (Southern Bell), Crocidosema plebejana found in Dorset on AUG 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1600

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1157.php

1370 (Sulphur Pearl), Sitochroa palealis found in Kent on SEP 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4604

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1370.php

1433 (Double-striped Knot-horn), Cryptoblabes bistriga found in Kent on SEP 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4878

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1433.php

1632 Pale Eggar Trichiura crataegi found in Dorset on SEP 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=872

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1632.php

1719 Oblique Carpet Orthonama vittata found in Dorset on SEP 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2453

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1719.php

1858 The V-Pug Chloroclystis v-ata found in Dorset on SEP 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=156

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1858.php

1914 Dusky Thorn Ennomos fuscantaria found in Dorset on SEP 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3283

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1914.php

2132 Neglected Rustic Xestia castanea found in Dorset on SEP 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3136

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2132.php

2178 Feathered Gothic Tholera decimalis found in Dorset on AUG 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3290

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2178.php

2269 Centre-barred Sallow Atethmia centrago found in Kent on SEP 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6728

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2269.php

2300 Old Lady Mormo maura found in Dorset on AUG 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3308

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2300.php

2369 Bulrush Wainscot Nonagria typhae found in Dorset on SEP 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1039

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2369.php

 

 

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Pine Hawkmoth caterpillar: For my own encounter with one on the pavement outside my home in Havant, plus photos from UKLEPS, go to http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0809

Lesser Stag Beetle: One at Folkestone on Sep 3 was only the third that I know of this year (and I see that I also only have three records of the bigger Stag Beetles this year)

Southern Oak Bush Cricket (Mecenoma meridionale): This relative of our native Oak Bush Cricket is a recent invader (first seen around 2001) which differs from the native species in being flightless so it is a mystery as to how it reached this country and also how it reached the isolated Dungeness site where it was seen on Sep 5. One source tells me that it is a predator of the Horse Chestnut leaf mining moth (Cameraria ohridella), is active by night, and lives up trees. It also shares with our native species the fact that it does not stridulate but makes its presence known by rapidly stamping a foot

Oak Bush Cricket (Meconema thalassinum): Also making its debut on this website today with a report of it at Durlston on Sep 6 this species is fully winged and often flies to lighted windows at night but is one of the last to emerge each summer.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Fragrant Virgin's Bower (Clematis flammula): This is a popular garden flower which Brian Fellows found thriving in the wild on Sinah Common (south Hayling) on Aug 31. For Brian's photo of the flowers which were growing in shrubbery lining the public path running south from Ferry Road past the entrance to the Golf Club and down the eastern fence of the club grounds see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-001-clematis-flammula-hli-31.08.12.jpg

Common Gorse: This ceased to flower after June 20 this year and the first flowers of the new season that will keep it flowering through the winter until next summer were seen by me beside the Hayling Coastal Path on Sep 3. I only found flowers on one bush which looked old and had one dead branch and this imminence of death had probably caused it to flower earlier than usual in the hope of leaving some progeny before it died.

Tree Lupin: I was surprised to find quite a few fresh flowers in the Sinah Common area near Gunner Point on Sep 3

Bladder Senna: The long established bush growing on the east side of The Kench on south Hayling had a great show of both flowers and its distinctive translucent bladder seedpods on Sep 3. For my photos go to http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0309

Prickly Lettuce: In Brian Fellows diary entry for Sep 5 this week he mentions (in connection with a visit to the 'InterBridges site') that the ecologist showing him round this industrial development site pointed out the difference in leaf shape that can occur between different plants of this species. This sent me to check on Stace's Flora to see if the species had recognised sub-species or varities but Stace merely attributes the variations to natural plasticity and has a plate showing the variety of leaf forms that can be found in all five Lettuce species

Narrow-leaved Water Plantain: The Hants Flora distribution map for this rare species shows just two clusters of sites within the county, one in the extreme north east and the other in the extreme south west with no hint that it can be found at Emsworth in the south east. Nevertheless Brian Fellows has found it growing for some years in two parts of the Westbrook Stream and this week has found it in a new site (a culvert under the rail line just west of the rail station) north of those he already knows. I am not sure if there is a direct flow of water from this culvert into the Westbrook stream but if these sites are connected, and seeds have been carried downstream, then the new site he has found must be the ancestor of those already known - continuing this thought the question arises as to whether there are further sites further 'up stream'

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Yellow-necked Mouse: While putting out bread crumbs for the birds first thing on the morning of Sep 5 I found a dead but otherwise seemingly intact mouse in the middle of the lawn and noted its sandy (orangey) fur and the band of the same colour around its neck and across its breast. The colour of the fur would be enough to distinguish it from either Wood or House Mouse, both of which are greyer, but the confirmation that it was a Yellow-necked Mouse came from the band of fur (of the same sandy colour) running round its neck and across the breast - in both other species the underside fur is of an unbroken white. Presumably it had been caught by a well-fed domestic cat which preferred its food to come out of a tin and not to include inedible fur - I'm pretty sure that any wild mammal or owl predator would not have abandoned this substantial meal.

Water Vole: There have now been 179 reported sightings of Voles this year in the River Ems at Emsworth Brook Meadow, the first being on Jan 12 but regular sightings began on Feb 12 and continued until July 6 followed by a gap in reports until this week when an adult with one or more juveniles were seen on Sep 6. There is no reason to suppose that the voles were not present and active during the past couple of months and I would guess that the absence of reports is the result of factors such as the abundance of bankside vegetation (more cover for the animals and no need to make long trips to find food) plus the human holiday season taking the observers away from Brook Meadow. For anyone who enjoys seeing these 'cuddly' animals there is a wealth of excellent photos on the web page recording the Brook Meadow colony - see http://www.brook-meadow.hampshire.org.uk/bm-water-voles-2012.html and for those who want to see the creatures for themselves the Brook Meadow website has a map showing where to look. I have not seen an estimate of the number of voles present at this site but I read that each adult female can produce up to 5 litters, each of 5 to 8 young, in the breeding season which lasts from March to October (and young females born before July can produce a litter before the end of the year). Luckily the most serious threat to Vole populations, the Mink, has not been detected at or near Brook Meadow but Foxes, Weasels, and Cats do occur as do do Pike in the river and probably Kestrels and Tawny Owls.

Basking Sharks and Sunfish: This week has brought an increase in sightings of both off Cornwall - on Aug 31 there were 8 Basking Sharks off Pendeen and on Sep 3 St Ives had 5 Sunfish

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Aug 27 - Sep 2 (Week 35 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Black-necked Grebe: The first report for this autumn was of three at a Netherlands site on Aug 13 and this week two were seen on the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood on Aug 26 followed by two at the Weir Wood reservoir near Crowborough in Sussex on Aug 29

Shearwaters: Strong winds have brought unusually large numbers of seabirds to our shores in the past week starting with a count of 11 Cory's off the Scillies on Aug 25 and 15 Sooty off Berry Head in Devon on Aug 29. Portland had 200 Manx on Aug 29 and on Aug 31 the first Mediterranean Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) of the year was in British waters (off Whitburn on our northeast coast). Counts of Balearic Shearwater peaked at 83 off Berry Head in Devon on Aug 29 (when Jersey had 344 of them) and on Aug 27 Co Clare in Ireland recorded the third North Atlantic Little Shearwater (Puffinis baroli) of the year

Storm Petrel: Still up to 32 being seen from Lands End area on Aug 29

Cattle Egret: One made a brief appearance at Abbotsbury in Dorset on Aug 27 and on Aug 30 one tried to fly south from Dungeness but was blown back by the head wind.

Great White Egret: Bob Chapman reports from the Blashford Lakes that 'old faithful' returned there on Sep 1. This is the bird that was first seen at Blashford on 21 Aug 2003 wearing a French colour ring and has returned to Blashford annually for a good part of each year (outside the breeding season). This is now its tenth year of residence!

Grey Heron: We don't see much migration among the Herons resident in Britain but those feeding nearer the Arctic in summer are forced to retreat before the winter and on Aug 31 one Netherlands site logged 91 (with a potential total of 152 at four sites there)

Purple Heron: The number present at one Netherlands site suddenly shot up to 333 on Aug 31 (with a potential total of 517 from four sites fairly close to each other so double counting was possible). A look at http://www.argos-system.org/web/en/55-news.php?item=183 will tell you that this sort of mass migration from the Netherlands to west Africa is not unusual but that there is concern about the declining population in the Netherlands - until the 1970s around 1000 pairs nested in the Netherlands.

Glossy Ibis: The bird which was a regular sight in the Pagham north fields from June 19 to July 20 may have been lurking there unseen while moulting - that is conjecture but one was seen again there on Aug 26

Canada Goose hybrids: On Aug 26 a Canada Goose was seen in the Pagham north fields paired with a Barnacle Goose and leading four unusually marked hybrid young - if these young survive they may pose an id problem in the coming months.

Brent Goose: There is no evidence of migrant return so far but, following the report of four flying west off Worthing on Aug 20, a single bird has turned up unexpectedly at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on Aug 31

Mass return of wildfowl on Sep 1: The Christchurch Harbour website ( http://www.chog.org.uk/Pages/Sightings.htm ) recorded an unusual passage of returning wildfowl in its entry for Sept 1. Totals passing over the harbour that morning were 29 Pintail, 14 Shoveler, 64 Wigeon, 71 Teal, 24 Shelduck and 14 Gadwall, all west.

Garganey: Several are still here - on Aug 31 there were 2 at Rye Harbour and on Aug 30 the Oare Marshes in north Kent had 8. Sandwich Bay still had 2 on Aug 30 and Pulborough Brooks had 1 on Aug 27 when the Kent Stour Valley probably had 6. The last report from Lymington was on Aug 25 and Alresford Pond near Winchester last had 1 on Aug 20

Shoveler: The Blashford Lakes near Ringwood suddenly had 77 on Aug 28 (after an arrival of 262 at a Netherlands site on Aug 20)

Red Breasted Merganser: The summering female from Langstone Harbour was still at Northney on Hayling Island on Aug 31

Honey Buzzard: 551 arrived at a north German site near the Danish border on Aug 28 as they left Scandinavia. On Aug 26 a total of 1243 of them were logged leaving France for Spain via the Bay of Biscay. In England Aug 28 brought one over Sandwich Bay and another over Morden Bog in Dorset (west of Poole Harbour). Another had been seen in Dorset near Lulworth on Aug 26 and one was in the Kent Stour Valley on Aug 25. Latest report is of one drifting over Eastbourne on Sep 2.

Montagu's Harrier: 18 left France for Spain on Aug 26 when one was in the Romney Marshes area east of Rye Bay (staying there till Aug 28) and a juvenile flew west over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 31

Osprey: Still being seen at 12 sites in southern England this week

Merlin: Newly returned birds seen at 5 sites in southern England this week

Hobby: Only three reports from southern England seen by me this week - the last from an Alresford garden in Aug 29. Numbers may be thinning out but some should be with us at least till the start of October.

Kentish Plover: A juvenile was seen at St Catherine's Point on the Isle of Wight on Aug 31

Golden Plover: More than 100 were at Rye Harbour on Aug 26 and 200+ were on the north Kent marses (Oare) on Aug 27 with 10 in Pagham Harbour on Aug 26 shortly after sightings of 8 at Lymington and 14 on Pilsey sands (Thorney Island)

Skuas: On Aug 27 Berry Head in Devon recorded 6 Poms, 134 Arctic, 12 Long-tailed and 65 Bonxies. Although such numbers were not logged at intervening points along the south coast a record of 130 Arctic passing Dungeness indicates that all of them probably came through the Channel

Sabines Gull: One which made a more leisurely, coast hugging, passage through the Channel was seen at Dungeness on Aug 27, at Milford near Lymington on Aug 29 and at Portland on Aug 30

Terns: The number using the entrance to Langstone Harbour as a night roost as they pass down the Channel seems to have declined this year with a peak count of 1650 Common on Aug 30 when they were joined by 1 Roseate and 1 Black. Maybe there were more in the Channel on Aug 31 when Le Clipon near Calais had a count of 493 Black (with a possible total of 603 at four neighbouring French sites).

Auks: These are now starting to appear in the Channel with 3 Guillemot and 1 Razorbill off Portland on Aug 27. Of course these may just be local birds from e.g. Durlston (where several hundred families left the cliffs with their young at the end of June)

Departing summer visitors: Still with us this week were Turtle Dove, Cuckoo juveniles, Nightjar, Swift, Wryneck, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail (max 200 at Dungeness), Common Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear (max 200 at Portland), Grasshopper Warbler, Aquatic Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Wood Warbler (1 in the Scillies), (Chiffchaff - not yet departing in any numbers), Willow Warbler, Spotted and Pied Flycatcher. Of current local interest the first Wryneck to be seen at Farlington Marshes arrived on Sept 1. One bird which I thought had already left is Quail but on Sep 1 one was put up from long grass at Rusper, some 4 miles north of Horsham.

White Wagtail: The first autumn passage bird had been seen at Portland on Aug 23 and this week one was in the Sussex Cuckmere valley on Aug 27 and two were at Portland on Aug 31

Robin: It's probably too early for Continental birds to be coming here for the winter so I guess that a 'flock' of 25 at Portland on Aug 31 were British juveniles dispersing.

Fieldfare: These only appeared on Trektellen on one day this week (Aug 28) when up to 24 birds were seen at 6 Netherlands sites (10 of them at a single site where there had only been one on Aug 21)

Firecrest: An encouraging local sighting was made on Aug 31 when a male Firecrest was seen in pines within 100 metres east of the Texaco garage at Langstone Bridge

Red-backed Shrike: One was in the Scillies on Aug 25 and another was in the Beachy Head area on Aug 31

Woodchat Shrike: The bird which has been at Weymouth (Bridging Camp by The Fleet) since Aug 18 was still there on Aug 31

Raven: The population in the south of England continues to grow with 21 flying over Christchurch Harbour on Aug 29. This year there were at least 105 in the Martin Down area south of Salisbury on May 13 and last year a sighting of more than 70 in Devon led a local farmer to say that up to 400 had been there in recent years (of course this may have included other Corvids). In 2010 a roost near Cerne Abbas in Dorset held 102 birds on Dec 5 increasing to 147 on Dec 31

Tree Sparrow: The normal winter influx has already started with sightings of up to 60 birds at Dungeness on Aug 26, 28 and 30

Yellow Hammer: Nowaday an exciting rarity in the Langstone area (though still breeding on Portsdown) three were seen on the Langstone South Moors on Aug 24 - even more exciting on the South Moors were 10 Yellow Wagtails seen there on Aug 31

Vagrants: Two rarities reported by RBA on Aug 30 were a Black Skimmer (a first for the Western Palearctic) seen off Co Mayo in Ireland and a less rare north american subspecies of Black Tern (thought to be a separate species but still named Chlidonias niger surinamensis) was seen on Merseyside

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Southern Migrant Hawker: One in Essex on Aug 28 was only the fourth report of the year - the first was of two insects seen on July 15. All sightings have been in Essex.

Lesser Emperor: One seen egglaying at Badminston Common in the New Forest on Aug 26

Red Veined Darter: Several newly emerging at Badminston Common on Aug 26

Willow Emerald Damselfly: Sightings this week in Essex, Kent and Bedfordshire (a first for this county)

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Southern Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Lesser Emperor, Black Tailed Skimmer, Ruddy Darter, Red Veined Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Emerald Damselfly, Willow Emerald Damselfly, Red Eyed Damselfly, Small Red Eyed Damselfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly.

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Clouded Yellow: A very small influx this week with just two sightings at Durlston and Pett Level (nr Rye)

Adonis Blue: A good show in Sussex this week with counts of 124 on Malling Down (Lewes) and 201 at Mill Hill (Shoreham) both on Aug 28

Painted Lady: Sightings at seven sites this week with a peak of 4 at Durlston

Small Tortoiseshell: Good counts (for this year) of 15 together on the Isle of Wight on Aug 28 and 18 at Steyning Round Hill (Worthing) on the same day

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Brown Hairstreak, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Small Heath

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0366a Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella found in Dorset on AUG 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2900

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0366a.php

0386 Tebenna micalis found in Dorset on AUG 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4939

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0386.php

1038 (Dark-triangle Button), Acleris laterana found in Dorset on AUG 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5062

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1038.php

1647 Barred Hook-tip Watsonalla cultraria found in Dorset on AUG 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3539

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1647.php

2045 Hoary Footman Eilema caniola found in Dorset on AUG 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4188

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2045.php

2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta found in Dorset on AUG 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=15

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2102.php

2208 The Cosmopolitan Mythimna loreyi found in Dorset on AUG 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=885

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2208.php

2230 Feathered Brindle Aporophyla australis found in Dorset on AUG 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3338

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2230.php

2371 Brown-veined Wainscot Archanara dissoluta found in Dorset on AUG 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=555

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2371.php

2373 Webb's Wainscot Archanara sparganii found in Dorset on AUG 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2906

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2373.php

 

 

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Colourful Caterpillars: Both Grey Dagger (Acronicter psi - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Acronicta_psi_caterpillar.jpg ) and Dark Dagger (Acronicta tridens - see http://www.leps.it/images/Noctuidae/InLeNoAcTrL0001.jpg ) larvae got into the news this week.

Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis): This impressive invader from America has been arriving in this country each autumn (not directly but flying across the Channel after arriving earlier in Italy in cargoes of timber) and the first to be reported of this year's batch of 'illegal immigrants' was seen at Dungeness on Aug 28. To become familiar with it see http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Coreidae/leptoglossus_occidentalis.html

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Dwarf Spurge: My first sight of this for this year came on Aug 30 in the Warblington Farm field nearest to Conigar Point. The field has just been harvested and a good selection of arable weeds can be expected there if it is not re-sown too sown. My photo of the plant cane be seen at http://ralph-hollins.net/DwarfSpurge.jpg

Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy: This is not an uncommon variant of the regular Michaelmas Daisy that is now starting to flower and can be distinguished by smaller, paler (almost whitish) flowers as well as by narrower leaves. My find was made on Portdown on Aug 31

Green Bristle Grass: I found a small patch of this growing on a grave in the old Warblington cemetery on Aug 30 and you can see my diary entry and photos at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#3008

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fox: When visiting the Warblington cemetery extension on Aug 30 I was intriqued to see a cluster of pigeon feathers on the close mown grass of an as yet unused area near the natural burial area but when I reached the area I found a large hole in the grass near the centre of the feathers and was left with the impression that a Fox had made the hole and had been using it as sleeping quarters. As is the way with Foxes this one had been bringing his supper home with him on more than one evening. In the past, when carrying out a bird survey on the Warblington Farm fields, I have more than once found the entrance to Fox earths littered with extremely smelly remains of Cuttlefish (still with most of the flesh on the 'bones') which the Foxes have found on the beach and carried back to act as 'air fresheners' for their homes.

Newts out of water: After the breeding season spent in ponds newts will often travel far overland and find snug crevices in which to hide away when not foraging and in which to spend their winter hibernation. This week I learnt of an unusual hideout used by a Common Newt on Alan Parker's organic allotment in the Hastings area - the Newt was found several inches underground inside a Potato which had been hollowed out by Slugs. See Alan's piece on the Rye Bay website at http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/8/28/allotment-wildlife.html which has a photo of a Grass Snake and at least two Slow-Worms enjoying the luxury accomodation afforded by his allotment dung heap.

Portugese Man-of-War: This seems to have been a good year for Jellyfish in the waters around Britain but it was not until this week that I saw the first report of a Portugese Man-of-War off the Scillies - if you are as ignorant of these creatures as I was (they are not Jellyfish) learn all about them at http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/portuguese-man-of-war/

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Aug 20 - 26 (Week 34 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Northern Diver: One in near summer plumage was off the Scillies on Aug 17 and another sighting was off Durlston in Dorset on Aug 23. No other reports of divers this week.

Red-necked Grebe: On Aug 18 one was off Flamborough Head in Yorkshire, maybe it was one of two seen off the Netherlands on Aug 19, possibly then heading west to be seen off the north Frech Coast near Calais on Aug 22

Black-necked Grebe: One was off the Netherlands on Aug 21 (possiby one of three seen in that area on Aug 13)

Fea's Petrel (Pterodroma feae): One of these small 'gadfly' Petrels, which breed in the Cape Verde/Maderias area and of which there are pnly around 3,000 birds in the world, was seen off Land's End (Porthgwarra) on Aug 24. This was a second for the British Isles this year after one seen off Ireland (County Cork) on July 16

Balearic Shearwater: A maximum of 5 (off Christchurch Harbour on Aug 22) was reported from the British mainland but 238 were off the Channel Isles that day

Storm Petrel: Up to 80 were seen by boat trips around the Scillies during the week and 20 were off Devon on Aug 21 and one was seen from Milford in Hampshire on Aug 25

Bittern: One seen at Lodmoor(Weymouth) on July 10 may have been attempting to breed there but tewo reports this week show that Bitterns are already moving to winter quarters (or maybe juveniles that have been show the door by their parents). On Aug 21 one was seen to fly off from Christchurch Harbour (where there have been no reports since February) but then to return as if looking for a better site to settle in but not finding it. On Aug 23 one was found at Reculver on the north Kent coast where it was the first for the year (maybe a youngster from the nearby Stour Valley)

Little Egret: A high tide roost count of 53 birds was made on Aug 19 at the MoD Defence Munitions site on the north west shore of Portsmouth Harbour showing that the Egrets are still using this site which is where the first breeding in Britain probably occurred but was not officially recorded - officially the first breeding was at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour in 1996 but the official Heronry census counter for the Grey Herons at the Portsmouth MoD site that year (allowed to visit the site under armed guard) failed to spot the Egret nest which was known to people working on the site who were forbidden by the oath of secrecy about what was to be seen on the site from passing on their information.

Great White Egret: In addition to the pair which have bred successfully in Somserset this year a few vagrant birds visit Britain in most months and this month one was seen at Folkestone on Aug 23 (it was almost certainly this bird which was seen in the Kent Stour valley on Aug 24). Up to 12 were known to be present on the near continent on Aug 24

Purple Heron: A juvenile was in the Kent Stour valley from Aug 19 to 24 at least

White Stork: A group of four birds flew in over Portland on May 23 and seem to have been roaming southern England since then. The seem to have parted with one of their number from June 21 to 25 when three of them settled briefly near Bognor in Sussex and three continued to roam up to July 18 but after July 22 they may well have joined up again to become a group of 4 at Wet Moor in Somserset before flying off again into the unknown on Aug 23. On the near continent Storks continue to depart in small numbers, unlike the count of 736 seen at Roc de Conilhac - Gruissan on the French Riviera on Aug 12

Glossy Ibis: One was seen at the Pagham North Walls on Aug 26 where there were regular sightings up to July 20. The only sightings I know of since then have been at Farlington Marshes on Aug 11 and at the Barnham Levels near Arundel on Aug 14.

Spoonbill: Four were still at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Aug 18 with a fifth bird elsewhere in the harbour

Brent Goose: Last week we reported sightings of summering birds in both Langstone and Chichester Harbours and this week we have a more unusual report of four Brent seen flying west over the sea off Goring (near Worthing) on Aug 20. They are unlikely to have come all the way from the northern breeding grounds but could be birds that have been summering in Kent or Sussex (or even on the continent) and which think that the best way of renewing contact with their 'tribe' is to return to last winters site and wait for their friends and relations to rejoin them there.

Teal: On Aug 21 there were more than 200 at Pulborough Brooks

Garganey: The Lymington area bird as not been reported since Aug 19 (when a second bird turned up, perhaps encouraging both to set off south) and the only Hampshire sighting this week was at Alresford Pond on Aug 20. Surprisingly with all the activity of the Bird Fair around Rutland Water Mark Cutts (one of our local 'Amigos') managed to see a Garganey, a Black Tern and a Little Stint while he was there on Aug 18/19

Shoveler: The first mass arrival of 262 birds was recorded on Aug 20 but in the Netherlands - locally just 2 were new at the Drayton lake east of Chichester on Aug 21 (perhaps part of the same 'return flight'?)

Honey Buzzard: These two were on the move in a big way with at least 26 seen in the Netherlands on Aug 18 and 30 in Germany on Aug 24. Over here at least one unexpectedly overflew Cornwall on Aug 20 with singles seen on Aug 22 over the Isle of Wight and over a pub at Berwick near Eastbourne with another over the Downs near Lewes on Aug 23

Sparrowhawk: Back in April 60 Sparrowhawks flew north over a Netherlands site on Apr 18 followed by 52 at a different site on Apr 25 and these migrants are now starting to return with a report of 15 passing over Dungeness on Aug 23

Osprey: Single birds were reported at 13 different sites in southern England this week

Red-footed Falcon: A single observer reported seeing one taking dragonflies over Ivy Lake at Chichester this week. I see that my last report of this species was dated June 11 when one was killed by a Sparrowhawk in Derbyshire

Hobby: These seem to be starting to head south but the only report of a 'flock' was of four seen over Sandwich bay on Aug 22

Spotted Crake: RBA reported a total of 3 in the UK on Auk 18 and two on Aug 23 - one of these was probably at Christchurch Harbour where one seems to have been present from Aug 18 to 24. The only other southern bird was at Farlington Marshes on Aug 18 & 19 only

Dotterel: According to the RBA service there were two in the UK on Aug 19 and 3 on Aug 21 but the only located reports that I know of were of one over Folkestone on Aug 20 and one over Sandwich on that same day. On Aug 25 Trektellen reported a total of 24 birds at two sites (including 15 birds in Belgium)

Ruff: One has been on the Lymington shore from Aug 9 to 23 at least with two there on Aug 22 & 23. One was at the Blashford Lakes on Aug 21, when another appeared at Pagham Harbour, and on Aug 24 one was at Farlington Marshes. Aug 25 brought news of 14 at Rye Harbour but I am not sure if these were a flock of new arrivals or just a count of the birds that had been there for some time (there were around 20 on the Oare Marshes in north Kent on Aug 16)

Woodcock: The first signs of autumn movement come from a bird ringing station in the Netherlands which seems to have netted single birds on Aug 12 & 20 with two birds on Aug 16

Wood Sandpiper: We seem to have had more of these than usual in southern England this month with reports from 8 different sites this week including a reported count of 12 on the Lymington shore on Aug 19 (with a more definite 6 there on Aug 22). Elsewhere this week there have been 3 on the Exe estuary, 3 at Lodmoor (Weymouth), 5 at Rye Harbour and singles at Pagham Harbour and Sandwich Bay

Common Sandpiper: Sandwich Bay achieved a count of 127 on Aug 20 (I think this was from a boat trip along the River Stour)

Black Tern: Dungeness recorded 55 passing on Aug 21 and the first autumn sightings of singles over Langstone Harbour and Ivy Lake at Chichester were reported

White-winged Black Tern: Two of these, plus one Black Tern, were among the birds coming to roost in Langstone Harbour on the evening of Aug 24

Cuckoo: Eight reports this week indicate the daily departures of young birds this week

Little Owl: Following a BBC Radio programme on the species Barry Yates (warden of Rye Harbour) has expressed his personal opinion that these birds are cute little creatures which live off beetles and worms - he has experienced them killig and eating the chicks of Little Tern and Skylark plus Storm Petrel (presumably the Petrels were taken by owls on islands where the Petrels nest)

Short-eared Owl: One was reported several times at Farlington Marshes in the second half of July with no further reports until Aug 14 when one was seen at Reculver on the north Kent coast and another at the Thornham marshes on Thorney Island. There had been sightings at both locations back in June so maybe the owls have been lurking there through the summer?

Nightjar: None reported in England since Aug 16 when one was near Romsey and the only two reports this week come from a French site on the coast of the Bay of Biscay near the Spanish border

Swift: Sightings are still being reported almost daily though one near Basingstoke on Aug 26 was said to be the latest the observer had ever seen there. The last major fly past by these departing birds came on Aug 19 when 100 were over Christchurch Harbour, 48 over Southampton and 18 over Titchfield Common

Kingfisher: The first was back at Farlington Marshes on Aug 23 when ringers at Reculver on the north Kent coast also logged their first of the year. Not sure if these were juveniles but one netted at Sandwich Bay on Aug 24 was (distinguished by the white tip to its bill and the lack of orange colour on its legs)

Wryneck: I have seen 22 reports this week and RBA has put out UK totals of 9 birds on Aug 23 and 7 on Aug 24. Locally they have been seen at Calshot on Southampton Water and Luccombe Down on the Isle of Wight but not so far at Farlington Marshes.

Sand Martin: 100 flew over Dungeness on Aug 24 and locally six were over the Langstone South Moors on Aug 24 with 12 seen there on Aug 25

Swallow: The night roost at Thurlestone Bay in south Devon had more than 4000 birds on Aug 20

House Martin: 400 went over Sandwich Bay on Aug 21 when 42 were over the Eastleigh Lakes. On Aug 25 there were 10 over the Langstone South Moors with 1421 over a single site in the Netherlands

Tree Pipit: On Aug 23 there were 20 at Christchurch Harbour and 26 at Durlston

Yellow Wagtail: Dungeness had 38 departing birds on Aug 21 and 80 on Aug 23 while Rye Harbour had more than 200 on Aug 24 when Dungeness had another 75. On Aug 23 even Farlington Marshes was allowed to see 5.

White Wagtail: Portland recorded its first two autumn birds on Aug 23 (the only earlier report was of one at Lymington on Aug 8)

Common Redstart: The highest count of departing migrants this week was 13 at Cissbury Ring in Sussex on Aug 24

Whinchat: More than 24 reports including one on the Langstone South Moors on Aug 24 & 25 but the highest count was of 8 at Sandwich Bay on Aug 21

Wheatear: Max 50 at Portland on Aug 22 and locally 2 on the Langstone Souh Moors on Aug 24

Fieldfare: Approaching winter birds were seen at five Netherlands sites this week with a max of 25 birds on Aug 18

Mistle Thrush: A flock of 30 was at Acres Down in the New Forest on Aug 23

Grasshopper Warbler: A total of 42 birds were seen in the Netherlands on Aug 24

Aquatic Warbler: Seen at six sites during the week

Sedge Warbler: 100 were on Portland on Aug 20 and 110 at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 21

Reed Warbler: Max of three birds seen in England this week and a max of 93 at a Belgian site on Aug 21

Melodious Warbler: One was at Beachy Head on Aug 20

Lesser Whitethroat: Max of 21 at Seaford on Aug 19

Common Whitethroat: Max of 38 at Seaford on Aug 19

Garden Warbler: Max of 3 at Christchurch on Aug 21

Blackcap: Max of 25 at Christchurch on Aug 21

Willow Warbler: Max of 52 at Dungeness on Aug 21

Spotted Flycatcher: Max of 15 at Cissbury Ring north of Worthing on Aug 24

Pied Flycatcher: Max of 15 at Portland on Aug 20

Lesser Grey Shrike: In addition to one or two Red-backed and and Woodchat Shrikes the first Lesser Grey Shrike turned up in the Scillies on Aug 22

Goldfinch: The first flock to reach the 100 mark was seen in the Lymington area on Aug 22

Linnet: The first autumn flock of 200 birds was seen in the Worthing area (Steyning) on Aug 18

Lapland Bunting: The first to be seen in England this autumn was in the Sheffield area of Yorkshire on Aug 23

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Lesser Emperor: There have now been seven reports of this migrant so far this summer but a sighting of a pair egglaying at Eastbourne on Aug 23 was significant (there has been previous breeding in Cornwall only)

Red-veined Darter: Although migrants of this species appear and breed each year this is not yet a fully established resident in England so evidence of 26 emerging in Berkshire and more than 22 seen at Badminston Common near Calshot in Hampshire this week were significant

Willow Emerald Damsel: Singles seen in Suffolk and Norfolk this week

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Common Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Lesser Emperor, Gold Ringed, Black-tailed Skimmer, Keeled Skimmer, Four spotted chaser, Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Beautiful Demoiselle, Emerald Damsel, Scarce Emerald Damsel, Willow Emerald Damsel, Red-eyed Damsel, Small Red-eyed Damsel, Small Red Damsel, Blue-tailed Damsel, Common Blue Damsel, Azure Damsel,

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Dingy Skipper: Two reports of second brood insects seen at Malling Down near Lewes this week

Swallowtail: A single report of one being seen for four days in a Hampshire garden suggests that it was bred and released there rather than flying in from the continent (or, even less likely, from the Fens)

Clouded Yellow: I have only seen 18 reports for the year so far so not a good migrant year but the sightings have included one in Havant Thicket on July 24 and another on Thorney Island on Aug 20

Brown Hairstreak: Twelve reported sightings this year since the first on Aug 5. In Hampshire the only reports have come from Shipton Bellinger near Andover (but included a count of 17 on Aug 10) while they seem to have been seen in at least five different areas of Sussex with at least seven seen at the Steyning Rifle Range site on Aug 23

Adonis Blue: The second generation has been doing well in Sussex with 210 seen on Malling Down (Lewes) and 121 at Mill Hill (Shoreham) both on Aug 21

Painted Lady: This species has been faring better than Clouded Yellow with 59 reports that I know of since March this year but none of these reports has been of more than three insects.

Marbled White: Reports from all sites other than Durlston ceased after Aug 15 but Durlston was still reporting them as numerous up to Aug 25 (on Aug 23 the rangers diary said there were still hundreds there)

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Swallowtail, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brown Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Marbled White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0332a Firethorn Leaf Miner Phyllonorycter leucographella found in Kent on AUG 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5169

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0332a.php

0470 Orthotelia sparganella Reed Smudge found in Sussex on AUG 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1143

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0470.php

0473 Leek Moth Acrolepiopsis assectella found in Dorset on AUG 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3332

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0473.php

0672 Parsnip Moth Depressaria heraclei found in Dorset on AUG 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1832

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0672.php

0720 Bordered Ermel Ethmia bipunctella found in Sussex on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3339

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0720.php

0878 Poplar Cosmet Batrachedra praeangusta found in Dorset on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1081

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0878.php

0898 Bulrush Cosmet Limnaecia phragmitella found in Kent on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4859

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0898.php

1233 Sycamore Piercer Pammene aurita found in Kent on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1925

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1233.php

1425 Wax Moth Galleria mellonella found in Sussex on AUG 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1340

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1425.php

1649 Dusky Hook-tip Drepana curvatula found in Kent on AUG 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6456

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1649.php

1658 Oak Lutestring Cymatophorima diluta found in Dorset on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4744

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1658.php

1678 Blair's Mocha Cyclophora puppillaria found in Kent on AUG 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6325

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1678.php

1691 Rosy Wave Scopula emutaria found in Kent on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6423

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1691.php

1716 The Vestal Rhodometra sacraria found in Dorset on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6173

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1716.php

1826 Triple-spotted Pug Eupithecia trisignaria found in Kent on AUG 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3095

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1826.php

1841 Yarrow Pug Eupithecia millefoliata found in Hampshire on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3100

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1841.php

1855 Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata found in Kent on AUG 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1025

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1855.php

1888 Scorched Carpet Ligdia adustata found in Kent on AUG 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2221

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1888.php

1918 Lunar Thorn Selenia lunularia found in Kent on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1303

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1918.php

1997 Sallow Kitten Furcula furcula found in Dorset on AUG 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=283

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1997.php

2022 Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea found in Kent on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5648

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2022.php

2022 Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea found in Kent on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5648

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2022.php

2034 Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar found in Sussex on AUG 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6312

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2034.php

2041 Dotted Footman Pelosia muscerda found in Hampshire on AUG 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=760

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2041.php

2099 Portland Moth Actebia praecox found in Sussex on AUG 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=579

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2099.php

2133 Six-striped Rustic Xestia sexstrigata found in Kent on AUG 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=175

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2133.php

2290 Reed Dagger Simyra albovenosa found in Kent on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1396

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2290.php

2298 Svensson's Copper Underwing Amphipyra berbera found in Kent on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=184

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2298.php

2299 Mouse Moth Amphipyra tragopoginis found in Kent on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5349

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2299.php

2316 Lesser-spotted Pinion Cosmia affinis found in Kent on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1920

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2316.php

2350 Small Wainscot Chortodes pygmina found in Kent on AUG 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5672

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2350.php

2413a Shining Marbled Pseudeustrotia candidula found in Cornwall on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4935

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2413a.php

2452 Red Underwing Catocala nupta found in Dorset on AUG 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1791

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2452.php

2455 Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa found in Dorset on AUG 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=683

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2455.php

 

 

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Volucella zonaria hoverfly: For an impressive closeup taken by Cliff Dean on a visit to Norfolk on Aug 21 see http://rxbirdwalks.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/p1060270.jpg

Volucella pelluscens: The first report of this slightly smaller and less colorful species came from Stockbridge Down in Hampshire on Aug 18

Mottled Grasshopper: For a photo taken at Rye Harbour on Aug 24 illustrating the camouflage of this insect see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/rxtodaymottled%20grasshopperDSC02574.JPG

Stripe-winged Grasshopper: See http://www.insectopia.co.uk/Grasshoppers/grasshoppers%20and%20crickets.htm for a photo of this insect reported at Durlston on Aug 24 along with Speckled Bush Cricket, Long-winged Conehead, Great Green Bush Cricket and Dark Bush Cricket

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Allseed (Radiola linoides): I recently saw some Many-seeded Goosefoot and mentally confused the name of that common plant with this rare one which I have only seen once in the past on the edge of a New Forest pond. Luckily Graeme Lyons has recently seen the real thing on Chailey Common near Haywards Heath, allowing me to see his photo of it at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/johnny-allseed.html For a photo of the even rarer Four-leaved Allseed see http://www.arkive.org/four-leaved-allseed/polycarpon-tetraphyllum/#text=Facts but you are only likely to come across this in counties west of Dorset

Green Amaranth: I had my first sight of this for the year on Aug 20 at a site where it appears annually in Havant in a very stunted form (growing from pavement cracks in Juniper Square)

Marsh Willowherb: Brian Fellows has recently been successful in finding this in the Fishbourne Church marshy fields near Chichester and it has also come out at Dungeness where it was thought to be extinct. A photo of the Dungeness plant can be seen at http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/marsh%20willowherb.jpg

Purple Loosestrife: This seems to be vanishing from the Havant area but I believe I have found a flourishing colony of it growing by the Langbrook Stream on the far side of the South Moors 'hay field' where I saw a patch of the right colour distantly from the 'orchid field' on Aug 20.

Ivy: Flowers are now close to opening at a couple of places in Havant

Hairy Bindweed: After finding plants with some characteristics of this species recently on Portsdown I found several showing all the features (pink candy striping on the flowers, hair on both flower and leaf stalks, and winged flower stems) in Havant Cemetery on Aug 20

Devil's bit Scabious: This has maintained a tenuous hold on the Langstone South Moors orchid field for years but it seemed to be doing better than usual when I was there on Aug 20

Michaelmas Daisy: Brian Fellows tells us the first flowers were open on garden escape flowers by the Westbrook Stream in Emsworth on Aug 22

Saw wort: Several years ago this could be found growing by the Hayling Coastal Path but it has long vanished from that site (thanks to Rabbits) and I know of no local site for it in the Havant area but on Aug 24 Graeme Lyons found the species flowering on Chailey Common near Haywards Heath and you can see his photos at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-saw-in-red-house.html It has also been reported at Durlston this summer.

Least Duckweed: Yet another invasive species clogging up our waters - see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/8/21/pity-lesser-duckweed.html

Cockspur Grass: A mass starting to push up through pavement cracks in The Twittens road in Havant this week

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Chinese Water Deer: Cliff Dean had his first encounter with the species, a brief glimpse of a female and her young seen when visiting Strumpshaw Fen in Norfolk. You can find Cliff's brief mention of their existence in his blog entry at http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/a-bad-decision-and-a-good-one/ sandwiched between some dramatic photos of Volucella zonaria hoverflies and a photo of a padlock apparently abandoned by its owner after attaching it to a metal railing in the centre of the small town of Wroxham - below this photo the words Lucchetti d'Amore appear in red (in his blog such entries in red are hyperlinks and if you click this one it will take you to an entry in his blog written when he was in Venice and came on hundreds of these symbols of eternal love between modern youths). If you want to know why I am hooked on Cliff Dean's blog see his latest entry at http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/nosy/ and see if you share my pleasure in sharing his pleasure in the unexpected (and some of his thoughts on 'the way we live now' as expressed in his comment on sterile lawns). Until reading this latest entry I had never thought that the reason for tall chimney stacks on old buildings was to carry any sparks well above and away from the thick thatch that was once piled high on those rooves.

Hedghogs: I have only seen three Hedghogs this year - one was a small young one desperately searching for food in the grass of a Hayling Island roadside on Jan 23 (that one was almost certainly not going to survive the winter); the second was a corpse seen in May beside a Havant footpath well away from a road, indicating that road deaths are not the only threat to the survival of the species in this country; and the third was a dusk sighting of a large and seemingly healthy individual in my own garden on Aug 1. If the species is to survive in southern England it needs help from humans, not just the Hedgehog Hospitals to which you can take injured, sick or orphaned young, but practical help with their day-to-day living. Putting out the right food for them; making small gaps in garden fences to allow them to roam freely; and providing them with winter hibernation homes and springtime nurseries for their young are all things we can do and one person already doing this in the Emsworth area (no doubt there are others I do not know of) gets a mention in Brian Fellows website this week - see his Aug 24 entry in http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm and scroll down to the heading 'Hedgehogs' (under 'Caroline's News')

Hare: These can still be found in open country but have almost vanished from the coastal fringe around Havant so it was good to see that one could still be seen on Thorney Island last week

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Aug 13 - 19 (Week 33 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: At least one Great Northern was seen in the Scillies on Aug 5 & 9 and a large but distant diver on the sea off Selsey on Aug 15 was also thought to be Great Northern

Great Crested Grebe: Some 130 juveniles were raised on Bewl Water near Crowborough this year in 49 broods. Some of the young were taken by Mink but there is no mention of loss caused by the mental deficiency of their parents - I understand that as the eggs hatch each youngster is 'adopted' by one of the parents and that a particular chick will only be fed by the parent which adopted it at hatching - this system means that if neither of the parents were around when it hatched neither of them will feed it and it will starve to death (please verify this before using it in any serious discussion!)

Black-necked Grebe: On Aug 13 a group of 3 (family?) were seen at a Netherlands site. The species has occasionally bred in Hampshire, most recently in 2004.

Shearwaters: Single Great Shearwaters seen this week in the Scillies, Cornwall and Devon. Two sightings of Sooty Shearwater off south Devon this week (max of 8 off Berry Head on Aug 16 when 3470 Manx were logged there) and one was seen at Christchurch Harbour on Aug 15. Berry Head also had a count of 53 Balearics on Aug 16.

Storm Petrel: Boat trips around the Scillies recorded more than 50 on Aug 12 and more than 60 on Aug 1.

Night Heron: The Lymington bird was still in its favourite tree up to Aug 17 at least

Little Egret: An evening roost count at Langstone Pond on Aug 17 recorded the presence of 76 birds including four which were in nests when I arrived (not certain if these were juveniles refusing to leave home but I suspect they were adults which had built the nests and had arrived early to be sure of a more comfortable night's rest - one bird was seen to be lying down in its nest!). It seems there has been little change in the number of bird based here since I counted 75 on Aug 3.

Great White Egret: One in the Kent Stour Valley on Aug 14 was a newcomer, maybe indicating autumn dispersal, and a potential total count of 13 birds at 4 sites in the Netherlands on Aug 13 was an increase on a similar count of 9 birds at two sites on Aug 2

White Stork: An indication of mass exodus from northern Europe comes in a count of 736 at one site on the French Mediterranean coast on Aug 12 (there were still 44 at a Belgian site on Aug 10)

Glossy Ibis: One was at Farlington Marshes on Aug 11 and maybe the same bird was briefly at the Barnham Levels (between Bognor and Arundel) on Aug 14

Sacred Ibis: One was at Hickling Broad in Norfolk on Aug 14 - as far as I know the only other sighting in the UK this year was at Exmouth on May 26.

Brent Goose: The first winter arrivals can be expected in less than four weeks (last year they were first seen along the south coast on Sep 15 with 81 in Chichester Harbour on Sep 18) and before they arrive the summering birds that have remained here appear 'out of the woodwork' - last year 11 appeared in the Thorney Channel of Chichester Harbour on Aug 12 after being seen only twice during the summer (10 in the Fishbourne Channel on May 10 and 11 at Ella Nore on July 19 before the same 11 were seen in the Thorney Channel on Aug 12). This year 13 were in the Fishbourne Channel on May 24 & 29 with no further sightings until this week when 13 were in the Thorney Channel on Aug 13. With seemingly less chance to hide in Langstone Harbour just one bird managed to pop up on July 8 but nevertheles a group of 7 were seen on Long Island on Aug 13.

Returning Wildfowl: Wigeon are back at several sites (max 7 at Thorney Deeps on Aug 17 with 4 at Farlington Marshes on Aug 13 and 2 each of the following sites - Pagham Harbour on Aug 9, Christchurch Harbour on Aug 13, Hook/Warsash On Aug 17). 60 Teal were at Sidlesham Ferry (Pagham) on Aug 13 with smaller numbers seen there since the beginning of August and smaller numbers are already at several sites though none on the scale of the Normandy (France) site which had 153 on Aug 12.

Garganey: The RBA service gave a total of 52 currently in the UK on Aug 15 and since then there have been two at Lymington, one at Titchfield Haven and one at Alresford Pond

Red-breasted Merganser: A summering bird has been seen at least six times at Northney on Hayling between July 23 and Aug 14

Honey Buzzard: Ten reports this week mainly from the near continent were 31 were seen at a single Belgian site on Aug 14 while on Aug 18 reports from 6 sites gave a potential total of 44 birds

Marsh Harrier: Aug 12 was a big day for these to be on the move with 32 seen at one Netherlands site and a potential total of 70 if we sum the reports from 7 sites

Osprey: 22 reports this week with up to three seen together on Thorney and two seen together in Langstone Harbour on two days. Others have been seen at Titchfield Haven, Southampton Water, Christchurch Harbour, the Adur at Shoreham, with others seen at flyovers elsewhere.

Eleonora's Falcon: For the twitchers one gave a prolonged display of insect catching at Porthgwarra in Cornwall on Aug 11

Quail: These seem to have left the UK but three were still reported in the Netherlands on Aug 17

Spotted Crake: A juvenile was at Marazion near Penzance in Cornwall from Aug 12 to 16 with others seen at more than four continental sites between Aug 14 & 18. Local excitement came on Aug 18 when one was seen on the main lake at Farlington Marshes where it was still present on Aug 19

Little Crake: A report of one posted on Trektellen got into my database until I checked on the location of the reporting site and found it was in Georgia on the Black Sea coast (the site is called 'Choroki delta' which I at first thought was in Germany as my data collection process abbreviated the country to 'GE' which I find to be used for both Germany and Georgia taking the first two letters of each) Trektellen has lots of good things reported from this site!

Black-winged Stilt: Two were in Somerset on Aug 10 and one flew over the Pett Levels near Rye Bay on Aug 15

Avocet: One at Farlington Marshes on Aug 13 seems to be the first there since Feb 25 and presumably marks the start of the autumn movement of these birds west to winter in Devon

Stone Curlew: Two reports of these birds now on their way south. On Aug 14 two were heard calling to each other by night at Crawley as they followed the M23 south to the coast (maybe). The other report came from Upotttery Airfield in Devon where one was seen for most of the day on Aug 12 despite stock car racing on the runways. Another bird was seen at a quieter site (Newtown Harbour on the IoW) on Aug 17

Dotterel: Just two reports this week on Aug 14 and 16, both of single birds in the Netherlands

Golden Plover: Flocks now building up on the south coast with one seen at Lymington, and one at Farlington Marshes, 14 at Pilsey on Thorney Island, 4 in Pagham Harbour, 130 at Rye Harbour and 500 on the Oare Marshes at Faversham in Kent

Grey Plover: The Thorney Isle WeBS count on Aug 17 recorded 200 while a flock of 110 in Pagham Harbour on Aug 14 included many summer plumaged birds. By Aug 18 there were 83 on the Lymington shore

Little Stint: The RBA service reported a total 20 in the UK on Aug 15

Curlew Sandpiper: RBA reported a UK total of 61 birds on Aug 15 but this presumably included 23 at Hayle in Cornwall, 6 at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) and 3 on the Lymington shore

Dunlin: The Aug 17 WeBS count on Thorney Island included a count of 2500 Dunlin on the Pilsey sands

Snipe: Although the highest count from an English site this week was no more than 30+ it is clearl that large numbers are now on their way back with 640 seen at a single Netherlands site on Aug 12

Greenshank: The Aug 17 WeBS count found 96 at the Thorney Great Deeps (I heard my first off Langstone when counting Egrets that evening)

Grey Phalarope: The first autumn birds seen in the UK (all singles) were in the Highlands on June 24, in Yorkshire on July 20 and now at Spurn Point on Aug 16

Black Tern: It looks as if Aug 15 marked the peak of autmn passage for these birds with RBA reporting a total of 178 in the UK of which 15 were off Titchfield Haven and 17 at Reculver on the north Kent coast

Cuckoo: Ten reports this week, all singles and presumably juveniles

Nightjar: Still three reports from southern England this week, the last being one at Baddesley near Romsey on Aug 16

Swift: Sixteen reports this week with some seen each day up to Aug 17 when the last report was intrguingly of a single bird emerging from a probable nest site in Romsey. Checking again as I write this I see that there were 18 Swifts over Titchfield Common on Aug 9

Alpine Swift: One was at Newquay in Cornwall on Aug 17 & 18. On the night of Aug 17 it attempted to roost on the third floor balcony of a hotel but was frightened off by a passing Peregrine.

Wryneck: Seven reports this week, mainly on the near continent although RBA reported a total of 3 in the UK on Aug 15

House Martin: More than 100 were hawking over Hambledon village in the Meon valley on Aug 17

Fieldfare: There have been seven reports from the near continent since July 24 when just one was seen in the Netherlands. By Aug 17 a total of six birds were seen at three sites and on Aug 18 24 birds were seen at 5 sites - looks as if winter is rapidly approaching!

Aquatic Warbler: Singles had been seen in Devon and Cornwall on Aug 10 & 12 and the latter date also saw one at Portaland with another two at a French site.

Wood Warbler: Seven autumn passage reports from Christchurch Harbour, Portland and Sandwich Bay were making me wonder if more than usual had been breeding in England this summer but on Aug 14 a bulletin from Lees Evans on his website ( http://rarebirdsinbritain.blogspot.co.uk/ ) included the following .. "A fair scattering of Pied Flycatchers have been appearing at East and South Coast coastal localities, as well as a number of Wood Warblers, whilst Black and Arctic Terns have been passing through in sizeable numbers.".. indicating that the birds were probably not of British origin

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Southern Migrant Hawker: Other than a 'probable' in Essex on July 15 the first definite report came on Aug 8 from Essex and after this reports came in daily

Lesser Emperor: There have now been five reports of this rare migrant since the first on July 22 - three were from Folkestone and Dungeness but on Aug 11 one flew inland to Tundry Pond near Fleet

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Common Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Southern Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Lesser Emperor, Gold Ringed, Keeled Skimmer, Broad Bodied Chaser, Four Spotted Chaser, Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Beautiful Demoiselle, Emerald Damsel, Scarce Emerald Damsel, Red Eyed Damsel, Small Red Eyed Damsel, Large Red Damsel, Blue Tailed Damsel, Scarce Blue Tailed Damsel, Common Blue Damsel, Azure Damsel

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Dingy Skipper: Two reported from the Cuckmere Valley in Sussex on Aug 14 were the first to get a mention since June 25 making me wonder if they were misidentified but I see that last year a second brood was on the wing from July 15 to Aug 19

Brown Hairstreak: The first were out on Aug 5 in both Hampshire and Sussex but the main emergence started on Aug 10 when 17 were seen at Shipton Bellinger near Andover with others at three Sussex sites

White Letter Hairstreak: Just one sighting this week at the ex-IBM site in Portsmouth where the first of the year was seen on June 17

Adonis Blue: The second brood started to appear on Aug 5 and by Aug 12 there were 23 seen at Shoreham Mill Hill.

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Brown Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue. Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Marbled White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Now that a Sussex Moths site is available at http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/ you can also see the Sussex status of a species by doing the following

1 Refer to the URL given in my link to the page giving the Hantsmoths data for the species (e.g. http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0955.php ) and note the 'moth number' - here 955 (ignore any leading zeroes but include any single letter suffix preceding the '.php')

2. Use the following link to access the Sussex Moths site - http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0015 Orange Swift Hepialus sylvina found in Dorset on AUG 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4203

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0015.php

0174 The Triangle Heterogenea asella found in Hampshire on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=564

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0174.php

0431 Yponomeuta sedella Grey Ermine found in Dorset on AUG 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4729

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0431.php

0452 Ypsolopha nemorella Hooked Smudge found in Dorset on AUG 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6551

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0452.php

0465 Plutella porrectella Grey-streaked Smudge found in Dorset on AUG 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1880

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0465.php

0792 Mirificarma mulinella Gorse Groundling found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1718

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0792.php

0883 Mompha raschkiella Little Cosmet found in Dorset on AUG 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5995

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0883.php

1021 Flax Tortrix Cnephasia asseclana found in Dorset on AUG 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=958

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1021.php

1048 Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana found in Dorset on AUG 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3485

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1048.php

1112 Saltern Marble Bactra robustana found in Dorset on AUG 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3762

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1112.php

1134 Small Birch Bell Epinotia ramella found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6398

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1134.php

1138 Washed Purple Epinotia nisella found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5072

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1138.php

1299 Dark Grass-veneer Crambus hamella found in Dorset on AUG 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3741

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1299.php

1323 Waste Grass-veneer Pediasia contaminella found in Dorset on AUG 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2418

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1323.php

1368 Diamond-spot Pearl Loxostege sticticalis found in Dorset on AUG 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1163

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1368.php

1408 Olive-tree Pearl Palpita vitrealis found in Dorset on AUG 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1165

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1408.php

1413 Gold Triangle Hypsopygia costalis found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=128

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1413.php

1435 Scarce Oak Knot-horn Conobathra tumidana found in Kent on AUG 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1626

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1435.php

1438 Thicket Knot-horn Trachycera suavella found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6569

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1438.php

1495 Crescent Plume Marasmarcha lunaedactyla found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=531

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1495.php

1501 Triangle Plume Platyptilia gonodactyla found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1848

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1501.php

1665 Grass Emerald Pseudoterpna pruinata found in Dorset on AUG 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=497

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1665.php

1678a Jersey Mocha Cyclophora ruficiliaria found in Dorset on AUG 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4890

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1678a.php

1734 July Belle Scotopteryx luridata found in Dorset on AUG 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4466

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1734.php

1749 Dark Spinach Pelurga comitata found in Dorset on AUG 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4907

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1749.php

1755 The Chevron Eulithis testata found in Hampshire on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3477

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1755.php

1774 Beech-green Carpet Colostygia olivata found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=570

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1774.php

1842 Plain Pug Eupithecia simpliciata found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1023

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1842.php

1883 Yellow-barred Brindle Acasis viretata found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1140

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1883.php

1905 Horse Chestnut Pachycnemia hippocastanaria found in Hampshire on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=764

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1905.php

1912 August Thorn Ennomos quercinaria found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3939

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1912.php

1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn Ennomos alniaria found in Dorset on AUG 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4302

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1913.php

1938 Bordered Grey Selidosema brunnearia found in Hampshire on AUG 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5888

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1938.php

1964 The Annulet Charissa obscurata found in Dorset on AUG 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=412

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1964.php

2082 Garden Dart Euxoa nigricans found in Dorset on AUG 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=858

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2082.php

2093 Sand Dart Agrotis ripae found in Sussex on AUG 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=969

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2093.php

2142 Beautiful Yellow Underwing Anarta myrtilli found in Hampshire on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=304

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2142.php

2159 Dog's Tooth Lacanobia suasa found in Dorset on AUG 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=437

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2159.php

2225 Minor Shoulder-knot Brachylomia viminalis found in Dorset on AUG 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=867

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2225.php

2245 Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae found in Dorset on AUG 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1764

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2245.php

2293 Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica found in Dorset on AUG 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=55

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2293.php

2303 Straw Underwing Thalpophila matura found in Sussex on AUG 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4798

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2303.php

 

 

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Flesh Fly (Sarcophaga carnaria): A close-up photo of one taken by Tony Wooton at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Aug 17 (see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-008-flesh-fly-bm-TW-16.08.12.jpg ) spurred me to find out more about Flesh Flies in general and Wikipedia told me that there were some 2500 species in this world wide family but a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sarcophaga.carnaria.jpg confirmed that we had the right species name. What was news to me was that all these flesh flies speed up the process of digesting rotten meat but cutting out the process of laying eggs and waiting for them to hatch - the eggs normally hatch within the adult fly so that as soon as they find meat they can deposit hungry larvae directly on to it. A different species, Sarcophaga Haemorrhoidalis, is a particularly speedy finder of corpses and its larvae are used in forensic science to determine the time of death in murder cases

Devils Coach Horse (Staphylinus olens): The first report of one of these distinctive Rove Beetles came from the Downs above Worthing on Aug 12

Speckled Bush Cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima): This is apparently a fairly common species which can be found in gardens or urban situations but I had never come across one until I did so indirectly through a photo which Brian Fellows took on Aug 13 on some 'waste land' adjacent to Emsworth Rail Station which has been taken into the care of the Emsworth Waysides project. The unique shape of the ovipositor, the virtual absence of wings, and the 'speckling' on the body all confirmed its id - see the photo at http://www.emsworthwaysides.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-012-speckled-bush-cricket-rail-13.08.12.jpg

Wasp Spider (Argioppe bruennichi): We are now entering the season during which these lovely creatures become obvious to the human eye. Five were discovered at Dungeness on Aug 14 and two at Newtown Harbour (IoW) on Aug 17

Spitting Spider (Scytodes thoracica): This beast only measures 6mm (body length) but if you want to find one read what Graeme Lyons has to say about it and see his photo at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/spitting-image.html

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Hairy Buttercup: I always have difficulty in separating Hairy from Bulbous Buttercup in the spring but I learnt this week that the Hairy Plants do not start to flower until June which is the last month in which Bulbous normally flower so anything flowering before June is probably Bulbous and anything flowering after the beginning of July is probably Hairy

Soapwort: This started to flower on Milton Common in the Southsea area on Aug 12

Knotted Pearlwort: This is a rarity in Hampshire and does not occur in the south east of the county so I have never come across it but I see it was out at Rye Harbour this week on Aug 18

Many Seeded Goosefoot: My first encounter with this for the year was among the many wild flowers at the Emsworth Rail Station 'wasteland' just acquired by the Emsworth Waysides Project

Sainfoin: I thought this had ceased flowering by now and was surprised to find a freshly flowering colony on Portsdown on Aug 14 (it started flowering on May 30 this year)

Slender Hare's Ear: I found a couple of plants not yet in flower at the Langstone South Moors seawall site on Aug 13 and then found a good show of plants in flower along the north west sea wall of Thorney Island on Aug 16

Amphibious Bistort: Many plants of this never seem to flower but some were flowerring at two local sites this week - on Aug 13 Brian Fellows found some in the Fishbourne Church Fields near Chichester and on Aug 14 I found a lot in flower at the abandoned 'Prinsted Market Garden plot'

Autumn Gentian: Although this has been flowering at Durlston since July 27 I did not find my first on Portsdown until Aug 14

Hairy Bindweed: On Aug 14 Brian Fellows found some in flower alongside Appledram Lane (close to Fishbourne Church near Chichester) where it has been established for years and by chance I found some (or a close hybrid version) on the lower slopes of Portsdown, adjacent to the Wymering housing near the QA Hospital, on the same day. My specimen had the large 'candy striped' flowers and showed some 'wings' along the flower stems but I could not see any hairs on either flower or leaf stems

Small Toadflax: Several plants of this were in flower at the Emsworth Rail Station 'wasteland' this week

Round-leaved Fluellen: After two substantial recent finds of Sharp-leaved Fluellen at both Emsworth and Havant I could find no trace of Round-leaved Fluellen at Warblingon cemtery (where it has been relatively abundant for many years) but I did eventually find just two flowering plants at the cemetery on Aug 16

Marsh Cudweed: This was one of the unexpected finds at the Emsworth Rail Station site on Aug 13

Violet Helleborine: These had started to flower at Stansted Forest by Aug 17

Autumn Ladies Tresses: I found just one perfect specimen in flower on Portsdown on Aug 14 and on Aug 18 Barry Yates published a photo of one ( see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/alt.jpg ) on the Rye Harbour website with the comment that there were more than usual there this year

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Mink: A photo on the Seasalter (north Kent) birding website for Aug 13 caught my eye for two reasons - one was that according to the accompanying text the Mink was being driven dangerously near a busy road by a goup of five Magpies and the second was that the photo was supposed to show that the Mink had several sheep ticks attached to its body. See if you can see them - http://www.kentos.org.uk/Seasalter/IMG_5243.mink.jpeg

Common Seal: The number seen in the Thorney Island colony was 21 on Aug 12 - a new record for the site though with no info as to whether the increase in numbers had been achieved by migration from elsewhere or by local population increase (i.e. local born pups)

Noctule Bat: When counting Egrets coming to roost at Langstone Pond just before dusk on Aug 17 I also watched a large bat hunting high over the pony field north of the pond - I'm pretty sure it was a Noctule for various reasons discovered by random investigation of the bat literature which says that Noctules start hunting before sunset, fly higher than other species (above tree top height and away from the trees) and that no other species share these characteristics. This or a similar bat has been seen there on several previous warm evenings.

Pointed Snail (Cochlicella acuta): When at the sea wall west of the Thorney Island Great Deeps on Aug 16 I could again find no more than one of these molluscs where in the past they could be found in tens - see my photo at http://ralph-hollins.net/SPNTSite.jpg

Slug Species: A photo (taken by Malcolm Phillips) which appeared this week on Brian Fellows Emsworth website - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-009-toad-slug-bm-MP-16.08.12.jpg - shows a Toad inspecting a slug but the only characteristic that might help to identify the slug species was that it had longitudinal brown banding along its body and at that time the only British slug species that I was aware exhibited this banding was the Great Grey Slug (Limax maximus) which has been in the news recently, partly though a find of one two metres up a tree in Havant Thicket and partly because there is a current request from the Natural History Museum for people to report all sightings of the Great Grey - see http://www.opalexplorenature.org/LeopardSlug which tells us how to identify the species and gives us a reason for the recent sighing of one up a tree trunk (to mate the pair climb a tree and use their unusually thick and strong mucus to lower themselves on ropes of this mucus until they are both dangling freely in mid-air which enables them to undergo the contortions necessary for the exchange of sperm between the appropriate orifices). Note that all Slugs are hermaphrodite (each is both male and female) which adds to the complication of their sex lives if both are to benefit from the mating. Wikipedia tells us more (including the complication known as Apophallation) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slug#Reproduction

Going back to the slug photographed on Brook Meadow my guess was that it was a Great Grey because of the banding shown on its body (I had seen what I thought was similar banding in other photos on the internet) but I see from the Natural History Museum identification features that Great Grey has varied dark and light patterning on its body but never has continuous banding and Caroline French has come up with a plausible alternative species name of Dusky Slug from a DEFRA website ( http://adlib.everysite.co.uk/adlib/defra/content.aspx?doc=178453&id=178456 ) showing eleven UK Slug species among which is a Dusky Slug (Arion subfuscus) which is a more likely candidate for the one which start my search for a name. My thanks to Caroline for extending my knowledge of Slugs.

Fish: During my regular scan of the internet for interesting current news I found a mention by north Kent birders at Reculver of how (on Aug 8) they watched sea 'boiling' just below the tideline as Mackerel chased Whitebait. After the Mackerel had eaten their fill of the smaller fish a broad line of dead whitebait was left just above the tideline where Whitebait, desperate to escape the jaws of the Mackerel, had thrown themselves out of the water to perish on the beach (where their nutritional value would not be wasted by gulls and other hungry creatures). Another fish species was mentioned in the Durlston website - this was the Small-headed Clingfish (Apletodon dentatus aka Cornish Sucker Fish) which is described and illustrated at http://www.glaucus.org.uk/sucker.htm . More regular reports of Ocean Sunfish came from south Devon where one Basking Shark was seen this week. From the Scillies came a report of five more Blue Sharks being caught and tagged during a boat trip on Aug 13

Fungi: Just one sighting in my garden of a small orangey waxcap with a striate flat cap which I think was Hygrocybe ceracea

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Aug 6 - 12 (Week 32 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Crested Grebe: We have all heard of seabirds dying as a result of getting involved with fishing tackle (and, further from home, of the giant floating island of plastic which has built up in the Pacific ocean), and from time to time anti-litter campaigns focus on the way in which some Postmen discard the rubber bands used to separate mail during the delivery process, but this week the Postmen seem to have been targetting the Great Crested Grebe. See http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/bridled-grebe.jpg - the photo was taken by Barry Yates at Rye Harbour on Aug 12

Shearwaters: This has been a week for seeing Shearwaters off the Cornish and Devon coasts. Cory's Shearwater had not been reported in UK waters until July 12 when one was logged in the Scillies but the maximum count in the following week was no more than 4. After that there were no more reports until Aug 2 and on Aug 3 the Scillies reported 120 of them and Cornwall saw 115 off Lands End (presumably the same birds). The same pattern is true of Great Shearwater sightings - four singles seen between July 2 and 17 with 22 seen off Lands End on Aug 3. A few of both species are probably still around. Sooty Shearwater is more widely and frequently seen with sightings off northern Britain as early as May 14 with several in June but no more than 3 were seen together until July 15 when Cornwall recorded 13 at Pendeen before there were 29 off Lands End on Aug 3. This week a 'feeding frenzy' of more than 1000 Manx Shearwaters has been seen off south Devon and 'Aug 3 effect' on Balearics brought a report of 760 from the Channel Isles

Storm Petrels: Plenty of these still around off the West Country with a peak count of 250 from one boat trip around the Scillies on July 30

Little Bittern: One was in Wales in April and another spent most of June in the London Lee valley (before it was seized with Olympic White Water canoeing fever causing the latest report to come frome the quieter French countryside (one at the Lac de Marcenay on Aug 7

Night Heron: The bird which has been in the Lymington area since at least June 2 was still there on June 11

Little Egret: It would seem that these have 'gone out of fashion' among birders with no one bothering to make an official count of the Langstone Pond birds during the 2011 breeding season and with Rye Harbour (which reported ten more or less monthly roost counts during 2011) only publishing its second for this year during the week (18 on Feb 2 and at least 49 on Aug 10). It is inevitable that we cannot record (or digest) all that it known about every species but it is interesting to 'a dedicated follower of fashion' to observe whats 'U' and what is 'non-U' (do you remember that controversy?). One bit of information that I (as an Egret enthusiast) would like to know more about is the casual remark from the Scillies that the presence of 10 Egrets on the Islands on Aug 3 'marks the start of their return to the Islands' .. last year they remarked on a count of 14 there on Sep 1 as the 'usual autumn influx' and I am wondering if, like human birders, the Egrets have a season in which they 'go birdwatching' in the Scillies (no doubt this phenomenon is just part of the post-breeding dispersal of this species)

White Stork: The number already leaving northern Europe is gradually increasing day by day - 36 on Aug 4, 37 on Aug 6 and 44 on Aug 10

Glossy Ibis: I suspect I have ignored reports of these from the continent but I see that the presence of one in the Netherlands on Aug 7 is the first to go into my database from a continental site following 146 from the Uk so far this year. Perhaps one of the reasons it caught my eye was that it co-incided with the first report of a Sacred Ibis for the year (in the Netherlands on Aug 10) - none of those so far in the UK

Mute Swan: The small moult flock at the Broadmarsh Slipway here in Havant which numbered just 18 on July 26 and grown to 21 on Aug 6. The only large moult flock that I am aware of remains the one in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester which had 128 on July 30.

Teal: 44 were back at Pulborough Brooks on Aug 7 and 20 were in Pagham Harbour on Aug 9 (with 102 at Ousistreham in Normandy on Aug 7)

Shoveler: More than a dozen were back at the Exe esturay in Devon on July 30 but across the Channel in France Ouistreham had 37 on Aug 7 and a Netherlands site had 106 Pochard on Aug 4

Goosander: Another manifestation of autumn wildfowl was seen on Aug 7 when a flock of 8 juvenile Goosanders appeared in Christchurch Harbour (now doubt recently fledged from nests not far up the Hampshire Avon or the Dorset Stour)

Honey Buzzard: These are now being seen on the move almost daily on the continent with a peak of 10 seen together (and maybe 23 in total) reported on Aug 5

Montagu's Harrier: One lucky birder saw one flying south 'fast and low' over Broomy Plain in the New Forest on Aug 9 - he was certainly luckier than the birder who, many years ago, was killed on the Cranborne road in Dorset when foolishly walking line abreast across the narrow country road at dusk after visiting a Montagu's nesting site in the Sixpenny Handley area - I was not present on that occasion but had been there a couple of days earlier and often thought about it subsequently when leading nature walks - for some reason when people are in a group pursuing their own interest they entirely lose their normal sense of being part of a community in which they have to look after their own safety, and respect the rights of others, (as can be witnessed in the way twitchers will break through hedges or trample down crops, or in the antipathy between birders and dog-walkers). I was remineded of this recently when a rare bird turned up in an open cast mining area and Lee Evans had to reminde twitchers that it was both an offence and dangerous to hitch a lift across country on an industrial motor-driven belt installed for moving the extracted minerals.

Osprey: These will be moving over the south coast for some time yet (last year the final sighting was not until Dec 2 at Kingsbridge in Devon) and they can currently be expected at Thorney Island, Titchfield Haven, the Lymington shore and the Cuckmere valley in Sussex with chance sightings possible almost enywhere (one was over Basingstoke on Aug 5 and another over Cheriton at the head of the River Itchen on Aug 4)

Merlin: The first back on the south coast was seen in the Cuckmere valley on Aug 1 and this week one was at West Wittering (mouth of Chichester Harbour) on Aug 8 with another in the Rye Bay area (at Winchelsea) on Aug 9

Hobby: My last record of one last year came from Fleet in Hampshire on Oct 28 but many are already heading south - locally one flew over Northney on Hayling Island on Aug 5 and Dorset reported 6 different birds at 4 sites on Aug 10

Quail: Although these are still being reported in the Netherlands up to Aug 10 the last report from southern England (the Downs north of Worthing) was on Aug 2

Spotted Crake: There were reports of spring passage through the UK in May and June but the autumn passage which we expect seems to have started on Aug 11 with a young bird seen near Penzance in Cornwall

Coot: Autumn dispersal seems to have started this week - I found the only numerous bird on the Budds Farm pools here in Havant was Coot when I was there on Aug 6 and somewhere on the internet this week I saw another reference to their return to winter quarters (I thought it came fron Cliff Dean who is well known for his love (?) of this species when he has to count them at Pett Level but I cannot pin the blame on him)

Dotterel: Another bird that is maybe now starting to leave us - more than 20 reports of spring passage ceased on May 26 and now, on Aug 5, we have the first sighting of the species on its way south (but still in the western Isles)

Golden Plover: These have already reached the south coast and Rye Harbour already has a daytime roosting flock of 28 birds (the species feeds by night and sleeps by day). The Rye count was made on Aug 8 when a Trektellen count of 76 birds came from a Netherlands site.

Lapwing: These started to return from breeding some time ago (100 were back at Rye Harbour by June 17, 85 were at Sidlesham Ferry pool on July 20 and 438 were logged at a Netherlands site on Aug 9) but I have yet to see one on my local Langstone shore, however a flock of 10 has been in the Northney marina area just across the water since Aug 2

Pectoral Sandpiper: One has been seen on the Hampshire Solent shore at the traditional undiclosed site where it was seen on Aug 9

Curlew Sandpiper: One or two have been regularly seen on the Lymington shore since July 23 and two were there on Aug 11 with other recent sightings at Rye Harbour and the Oare Marshes in north Kent

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: One which had been vsiting Britain spent its last night at Portland, clocking in there on the evening of Aug 9 before flying off west at dwan on Aug 10

Wood Sandpiper: These have been providing interest at five sites this week with Pulborough Brooks and the Lymington shore being the best bets for a casual sighting but the peak count of of 5 was at the Exminster Marshes in Devon on Aug 7

Skuas: In addition to Pom. Arctic and Great a couple of Long-tailed showed up this week - one came into Christchurch Harbour on July 29 and the other was seen in Aug 3 near Lands End

Sabine's Gull: One or more adults have given rise to nine sightings around England since June 30 with the most recent sighting probably the work of two birds. One was seen between Aug 2 and 5 in the Scillies, Devon and Cornwall, the other at Rye Harbour and Dungeness on Aug 4 and 5

Bonaparte's Gull: One was seen around Princes Lake in Eastbourne on Aug 4, 5 and 6

Great Black-backed Gull: The pair which nested for the first time on a raft in the Slipper Mill Pond at Emsworth this year, and were first seen there on Apr 22, were not to be seen there after Aug 2 when they seem to have moved away with their two young (a third chick had succumbed, maybe to cold and rain, on June 8). Despite their murderous reputation they were only once seen making a violent attack on other birds (driving off a pair of Herring Gulls that may have had thoughts of sharing the nest site on May 15) though they did try to dissaude humans from using the paths on either side of the pond for a brief period (I think when the eggs were being laid). Surprisingly they seemed happy to let Coots and Cormorants share the raft.

Common Terns: I am not au fait with the current breeding status of gulls and terns in Sussex and I had the impression that when the Black Headed Gulls finally gave up their attempts to nest on Stakes Island in Chichester Harbour and moved en masse to the Langstone Harbour islands in 1997 the Common Terns had also abandoned the site but when I walked round Cobnor Point this week the noise and activity on the island seemed to indicate that some Common Terns had bred there this year and I see from the 2010 Sussex Bird Report that there was still some attempted breeding up to that year - I have the impression that it is the Chichester Lakes site which the Common Terns have abandoned, not Stakes Island. For those not familiar with the history of Stakes Island my version of that story is that the gulls made the move to Langstone after many years of failed breeding caused by the nests being washed away by high tides despite many years of winter work parties under the direction of Joan Edom shoveling shingle to maintain a nesting area above the high watermark - I see from Anne de Potier's contribution to the SOS 50th anniversary Newsletter that she had been involved in this work as far back as 1979.

Tawny Owl: The Olympics have brought much excitement to the nation but not nearly as much pleasure as I received last night (Aug 10) from hearing through my open window, well after dark, the quavering calls of a Tawny Owl coming from the trees lining the Billy Trail rail line at the bottom of my garden. In the 1970s the Owls were regularly heard from late summer through the winter but this was the first time I have heard one from the house in more than 30 years (though they have been heard by other less than half a mile away - south of the A27 - within the last few years)

Departing Migrants: Time is short today as a result of the Olympics but the following species have been on the move this week: Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Nightjar, Swift, Sand Martin, Swallow, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Nightingale, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear, Grasshopper Warbler, Aquatic Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher.

Nightjar: Something that seems to happen to someone each autumn is that they wake up to find a Nightjar sitting on their garden fence, happily sleeping in the believe that their cryptic plumage makes them invisible. This year on Aug 10 it was a birder living in the Durrington area of Worthing who found one on his garden shed roof.

Common Swift: These won't be with us much longer but on Aug 9 around 500 were seen to leave at Portland and 700+ were seen that day over the Penzance area of Cornwall. We also had an Alpine Swift in Norfolk on Aug 6

Sand Martin: Dungeness saw 330 leaving on Aug 4 (after 200 on Aug 1 and 50 on Aug 2) and Christchurch Harbour had a night roost of 700 departing birds on Aug 6 with several hundred leaving from Portland on Aug 8

Swallow: The only roost reported this week was of a paltry 250 birds at Thurlestone Bay (South Devon) on Aug 4

Yellow Wagtail: The first hint of any mass departure came on Aug 11 when Rye Harbour reported a flock of 80 birds

Wheatear: The first autumn bird to be seen on Thorney Island was not there until Aug 6 but elsewhere the tempo increased with 30 birds in the Cuckmere valley on Aug 8 and 30 more seen at Portland on Aug 9

Aquatic Warbler: This week saw the first mention of this autumn visitor - three reports from the continent followed by one bird in south Devon on Aug 10

Melodious Warbler: The first autumn vagrant for Britain was at Portland on Aug 9

Wood Warbler: Reports from Sandwich Bay, Portland and Christchurch Harbour

Willow Warbler: First count of more than 100 at Beachy Head on July 28 increasing to 225 at Christchurch on Aug 9

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Migrant Hawker: Sightings have become widespread this week (including two in my Havant garden)

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer, Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly and Azure Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Brown Hairstreak: Aug 5 brought first of the year reports from the Adur valley in Sussex and Shipton Bellinger near Andover in Hampshire

Chalkhill Blue: Something has clearly caused a massive increase in the number of these emerging this year. See below the list of this week's species for a couple of paragraphs taken from the Sussex Butterfly Conservation website in which two eminent authorities on Sussex butterflies (Neil Hulme and Michael Blencowe) express their opinions of the size and cause of this year's extravagnza.

Adonis Blue: The summer brood began to emerge on Aug 5 at Durlston and on Aug 9 in Sussex

Purple Emperor: I commented last week on the apparent increase in the numbers of places where these butterflies could be seen but I must add one serendiptous sighting in our local area - on Aug 9 Barry Collins (the Chichester Harbour warden for Thorney Island) went to look over the roadside fence of the Brickkiln Pond on the southern fringe of Stansted Forest and was rewarded with a male Emperor actually landing on his head. This is a typically 'unkown site' to many who worship the Emperor but I have heard of the butterflies being seen there for many years going back to when John Rowe was the Forester and Michael Prior had not appeared on the scene. More recently you may recall some sightings at Stansted last year with one sighting near the chapel on July 16 but the most impressive report relates to 27 July 2010 when Michael Blencowe wrote .. "Tuesday was a big day for me! As many of you know I have never seen a Purple Emperor before. Of course I've had many opportunities to join Neil on one of his walks but I always wanted to find my own and, as I've told many people, I hoped that one day one would land right in front of me. On Tuesday 27th July 2010 that's exactly what happened. Not just one - but two Purple Emperors came tumbling out of the sky right front of me! The unfortunate thing was, however, that I was travelling at 45mph at the time, driving down a road adjacent to Stansted Forest. I glimpsed two large butterflies as they fell fighting from above. Before I could slam on the brakes they were sucked under the car! As I gazed into the rear view mirror I saw one fly off apparently unharmed. The other was flat on the road but righted itself - and I swear I saw it dust itself off - and that's when I saw that unmistakable profile. It too took flight and was gone. Unbelievable! We put the hazard lights on and leapt from the car and stared up into the canopy at the amazing sight above. We were directly below a Master Tree with three Emperors soaring, fighting and attacking the odd passing bird. Next day Neil joined us and a fourth, a female, was located. Neil explained that the previous day I had almost killed a male and female - female Emperors have been known to tumble from the sky to evade the advances of a male. It could have ended tragically for all three of us - but luckily we all lived to tell the tale - and mine is of my first Purple Emperor; seen in my rear view mirror."

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper. Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brown Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue. White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Marbled White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet

Chalkhill Blue explosion (copied from the Aug 3 entries on the Sussex BC website)

Neil Hulme writes: Michael Blencowe and Mike Mullis have now completed their much more exhaustive survey of the entire Friston Gallops grassland area, much of which is improving as the result of a change in the cutting regime, following discussions between the Forestry Commission and Butterfly Conservation. Their total figure of 820,000 Chalkhill Blues does not surprise me, and I suspected that the number just at the northern end of the site might be in the order of half a million, but initially didn't want to venture such a figure without some corroborative evidence.
In such a poor year for most butterflies, why are we seeing such an abundance of Chalkhill Blues? I suspect that the ultimate size of the potentially largest colonies is often limited by the availability of suitable food-plants, with droughting and competition for resources being a common scenario in most summers. This year we are all-too-aware of the conditions that will have led to
exceptionally lush growth of the horseshoe vetch, for once capable of supporting a veritable army of Chalkhill Blue caterpillars.
Of related interest, in the last week or so we have had reports of Chalkhill Blue males well off the Downs, at Hailsham Country Park, Horam and Coggins Mill near Mayfield.

Mike Mullis writes: So how many Chalkhill Blue butterflies were there on the day? Estimates are always going to be highly speculative but there are certainly a phenomenal number up there at the moment. Neil H. came up with a conservative count of 200,000+ on his Thursday visit but yesterday's search covered a bigger area and who am I to doubt Michael's frantic use of the calculator back at his patio table, based on our joint-estimates of m2 densities over various paced-out grassland zones across the whole area. His final figure on the day was 800,000+ with well over 200+ mating pairs but the peak total for this colony will be very difficult to accurately calculate and there may be losses after any torrential downpours. So if the sun comes out this week-end, feel free to start counting again .. but do tread carefully! I agree with Neil that the most likely reason for these incredible numbers is the dire wet spring/summer of 2012 so every cloud has at least had a silver - or rather chalkhill blue  lining on the Downs of East Sussex. This year's abnormal rainfall has undoubtedly produced an abundance of leafy Horseshoe Vetch growth so the larval survival rates have been considerably higher than normal when the plants presumably get rapidly stripped of foliage in dryer years. It will be interesting to see if the imminent emergence of Adonis Blues bears this theory out

Michael Blencowe sums up: Yesterday Neil Hulme contacted me to say that numbers at the north end of the Gallops were exceptional and today, armed with a tape measure, I walked up to Gallops and joined Neil & Eric Hulme and Mike Mullis to witness this spectacle. There were incredible numbers of Chalkhill Blues up there however, as we reached The Gallops the heavens opened in typical summer 2012 style and we ended up getting a right good soaking. Despite this we still saw thousands of Chalkhill Blues and it was clear that 2012 was going to be a really special year at this site. After we dried off Mike and I decided to survey the entire site and estimate the numbers of Chalkhill Blue present here. The weather conditions were breezy and overcast and most of the butterflies only flew when they were approached. The site is around 250,000 metres square and we walked up and down it (twice) estimating the number of Chalkhill Blues in a number of compartments. Chalkhill Blues were present in all areas of the site - in most years they are concentrated at the north and south ends. There are now pockets of great Chalkhill Blue habitat across the site where the butterflies averaged around 5 per square metre. However at their usual favoured site (on the slopes above Butchershole Bottom car park) they have reached plague proportions! I have never seen so many butterflies in my life; at one point there was a blizzard of Blue all around me, I had to raise my arm over my face to get through! I estimated 15 per square metre in one corner of this area! When we returned home we did the maths and our rough calculations estimated that there are 827,897 Chalkhill Blues at Friston Gallops - and this I think is an under-estimate! There must be well over a million butterflies spread across this site.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0642 Batia unitella found in Dorset on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5065

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0642.php

0954 Eupoecilia angustana found in Dorset on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6393

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0954.php

0955 Vine Moth Eupoecilia ambiguella found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3417

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0955.php

1262 Cydia amplana found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1958

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1262.php

1292 Calamotropha paludella found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1334

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1292.php

1305 Agriphila tristella found in Dorset on AUG 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=159

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1305.php

1421 Large Tabby Aglossa pinguinalis found in Dorset on AUG 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1581

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1421.php

1437 Acrobasis consociella found in Dorset on AUG 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1556

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1437.php

1441 Oncocera semirubella found in Sussex on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=609

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1441.php

1443 Pempelia genistella found in Sussex on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2534

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1443.php

1464 Gymnancyla canella found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4482

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1464.php

1486 Apomyelois bistriatella found in Dorset on AUG 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3612

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1486.php

1640 The Drinker Euthrix potatoria found in Hampshire on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2149

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1640.php

1830 Wormwood Pug Eupithecia absinthiata found in Dorset on AUG 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=508

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1830.php

2029 Brown-tail Euproctis chrysorrhoea found in Sussex on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1598

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2029.php

2341 Cloaked Minor Mesoligia furuncula found in Dorset on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=513

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2341.php

2342 Rosy Minor Mesoligia literosa found in Dorset on AUG 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1881

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2342.php

2361 Rosy Rustic Hydraecia micacea found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=208

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2361.php

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Hoverflies: The following species found at Rye Harbour this week can be seen on the RX website by visiting both http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/8/11/hemp-agrimony.html and http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/8/10/castle-water-hide.html The first entry features the eyecatching Volucella zonaria hoverfly (fairly common for a species that relies on the small pools of water that occur in natural cavities in old trees to provide the life support system for raising its young) and the second entry has photos of a Barn Owl and a text which mentions three more hoverflies - Helophilus trivittatus, Eristalis sepulchralis and Eristalis arbustorum. Sam Smith has included a photo of Helophilus trivittatus, for Eristalis sepulchralis see http://micropics.org.uk/Syrphidae/Eristalis/sepulchralis/eristalis%20sepulchralis.htm and for Eristalis arbustorum see http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/eristalis-arbustorum

Glow-worm: On Aug 9 three were still glowing on the old 'Downslink' track in the Adur valley near Henfield

Prickly Stick Insect: This 5 inch long insect from New Zealand was a surprise find on Aug 6 hiding in a garden conifer tree at Brixham in South Devon. This item caught my eye as at the start of last winter an end of season check on Beach Huts on Hayling Island discovered a lonely Indian Stick Insect left abandoned in one of the huts and at that time I learnt that various species of these Stick Insects have now adapted to life in the south of England and that some Cornish gardens have a large and thriving population (often unknown to the owners of the property!)

Bee Killer (Philanthus triangulum): This species gets its first mention for the year after a sighting at Rye Harbour on Aug 6. These insects do kill bees and carry their bodies off to feed their young and can be found on Hayling and Thorney Islands among other south coast sites with sandy soil in which the adult insects dig holes in which to lay their eggs before stuffing the hole with a tasty bee as food for the larva. For more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beewolf

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Indian Balsam: Although this may be an invasive alien which many people would like to see removed from Britain I still enjoy my first sight of this colourful plant each year and this week I not only saw it in a regular spot (Chidham village) but found that it had spread upstream in the Hermitage Stream at Bedhampton to dominate the point where the overspill from the Portsmouth Water Company enters the stream.

Marsh Mallow: I found this flourishing at Cobnor Point in Chichester Harbour on Aug 9 and co-oncidentally learnt during the week that the plant has its own moth species (2363 Marsh Mallow Moth Hydraecia osseola)

Dwarf Gorse: As I remarked in my Diary entry for Aug 10 this is the only Gorse species currently in flower giving you a chance (if you visit Havant Thicket) to learn to distinguish it from the Common Gorse that will soon resume flowering after its short summer break

Caucasian Stonecrop: This started to flower this week in the Havant New Lane cemetery where it was originally planted but which would be difficult to eradicate now

Ivy: Just a sign of the times was the very first hint of flower buds devoping on Ivy this week

Tamarisk: Another sign of the passing seasons was the opening of new flowers on the shoreline Tamarisks around the local harbours

Small toadflax (Chaenorhinum minus): Brian Fellows made the first find of this plant for the year on Aug 8 on waste ground adjacent to Emsworth Rail Station. Graeme Lyons found it in Sussex last year but I have not seen it myself since 2007

Lesser skullcap (Scutellaria minor): I did manage to find this again in Havant Thicket this week but had some difficulty in accessing the site which is 'off the beaten track' - see my diary for Aug 10

Devils' Bit Scabious: This also started to flower this week and was found in Havant Thicket on Aug 10

Goldenrod: The wild species, not the Canadian garden species, had started to flower in Havant Thicket on Aug 10

Early Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea): This garden escape seemed to be well established at Nutbourne Farm Lane when I first noticed it last year and was flourishing there on Aug 9 (see my Diary page for details)

Common Waterplantain: Although this has probably been flowering for some time I did not see it until this week

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Sea life: Last week we discovered that the Seawatch-Sw project had been wound up after the 2011 summer season but warm water and the holiday season neverthless continue to bring those with an interest in sea-life into contact with the undersea fauna, especially of the south west penninsula of the British Isles, and this week I have seen the first report for the year of a Pilot Whale in the Scilly Isles area which also reported Hawksbill Turtle as well as the Leatherbacks. Sunfish and Blue Sharks were also present while four Basking Sharks were seen together off Porthgwarra at Lands End

Froglets, Slugs and Adders: For those staying at home here in southern England one unusual creature had its photo taken two metres up a tree in Havant Thicket - this was a Great Grey (or Leopard) Slug which can grow to 8 ins (20 cm) long and can vary in colour from pure white (exceptional) to various dark spotted pale colours as in the current photo to be seen at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-020-leopard-slug-hav-th-04.08.12.jpg If you want to see one Havant Thicket may be a good place to look as that is where I had my only encounter with this creature (on 30 Aug 2008) but it was on the ground! For more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limax_maximus Two much commoner creatures reported this week have been baby Frogs which are now leaving their ponds and may be encountered anywhere, and a Black Adder seen near Friston Forest in the Eastbourne area (Botley Woods near Fareham was in the past said to be a good place for them) - they are just a colour variant of the normal Adder. One memory which I have concerning Frogs leaving their birth ponds may be worth bearing in mind if global warming brings hotter summers in the future - a well cared for wildlife pond in a Hayling garden was surrounded by a wide stretch of brick paving which the emerging froglets took some time to cross before they could hide in the garden flowers, but one summer their emergence co-incided with a heat wave with the result that every last froglet fried before it could reach the shade.

Fungi: Still no great excitement - this week just two Blackening Waxcaps pushed up through my garden lawn but did not like what they saw and went back below ground (more likely some surface dweller liked the look of them and ate them)

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for July 30 - Aug 5 (Week 31 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Crested Grebe: It seems only a couple of weeks ago that the TV News was showing us pictures of water reservoirs within a few inches of reaching the 'Empty' mark and Graeme Lyons was complaining of the heat, when trying to carry out a plant survey on the Amberley Wild Brooks, using the phrase .. "the only shade out there was that cast by the horseflies" yet by Aug 2 a survey of the birds breeding on Bewl Water near Crowborough in Sussex spoke of the unusually high water level supporting 84 breeding pairs of Great Crested Grebe with 66 of those pairs still sitting.

Balearic Shearwater: It seems very few years ago that I was first made aware of this species through the setting up in 2007 (I think mainly due to Russell Wynn of the National Oceanograhphic Centre at Southampton) of the Seawatch SW project whose aim (copied from their website at http://www.seawatch-sw.org/ ) was .. "to better understand the distribution and behaviour of migratory marine megafauna, both for scientific and conservation purposes. The priority is the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater"... Checking the BTO Birdfacts page I see that the species is still classed as Critically Endangered (likely to become extinct within 50 years) and is so rare that the BTO does not have a photo of one of the birds, but going to the Seawatch SW site I see that that project has now been wound up after getting sufficient volunteers to look for the birds, find there are lots of them, and so save them from extinction. Not only did they get a photo of the species but on 3 Sep 2011 they counted more than 2000 of them flying past Gwennap Head near Lands End in Cornwall. My review of the status of the species today was triggered by a Trektellen report of 760 of the birds seen off Jersey on Aug 3 this year after a count of 24 off Berry Head in Devon on Aug 1

Night Heron: It seems that the bird which was present on the Lymington shore from June 2 to 19 has re-appeared there, being seen on Aug 3 and 4

Little Egret: Langstone Pond is a year round centre for Little Egrets but their number varies greatly from month to month. The beginning of August marks the change from use of the pond as a breeding site (this year around 24 nests were occupied and it is probable that at least that number of juveniles were raised) to a transition camp for up to 200 birds (last year the highest evening roost count was 198 with an all time high in the past of 228). Good numbers remain until winter makes fishing in the harbours difficult (not just through strong winds and low temperatures but more importantly by reducing the time available for fishing as the period when the tide is too high for fishing becomes a significant portion of the reduced daylight hours) when the birds move inland or head south. By mid-February thoughts of breeding bring them back and by mid-April most of the nests will have been built though egg-laying probably does not occur until the weather suggests that conditions will provide enough food for the young. When the eggs (up to six) are laid they require three weeks incubation and when they hatch the birds remain in the nest for four weeks and then remain around the nests (dependent on their parents for food) for about another four weeks. One final fact about the Langstone Pond site is that it seems to be the only place in the UK where Egrets nest without the previous existence of a Grey Heron nest site. This week on Aug 3 I made the first evening count of birds coming in to roost and although I did not stay until it was too dark to see the birds I counted a total of 75 birds

Spoonbill: A single bird has been at Lodmoor (Weymouth) from July 22 to Aug 2 - although it was not reported as a juvenile at first I assume it has been a post breeding dispersal bird.

Mute Swan: Last week I commented on the absence of reports of summer moult flocks of Swans so on July 30 I went to the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester and found the expected (but unreported) flock of at least 128 birds

Returning Wildfowl: Although a few birds of most of the species that we see in the winter months have stayed to breed it is now several months since most of us have seen Wigeon, Teal, or Shoveler but there have been sightings during the past ten days of Wigeon (singles at Pagham, Exmouth and Christchurch), Gadwall (3 at Christchurch and 75 at a Netherlands site), Teal (up to 7 at Sidlesham Ferry and others at Pulborough and Christchurch), Pintail ( one female at Titchfield Haven), Shoveler (12+ at Exmouth, 14 at Pagham inc 2 juvs, 5 at Pulborough), Pochard (1 at Thorney Little Deeps on July 22), Eider (one in Chichester Harbour on Aug 3), Red-breasted Merganser (one off Northney in Chichester Hbr from July 23 to Aug 2) and there are still a few departing Garganey to be seen at Exmouth, Wadebridge in Cornwall, Brownsea Island in Poole Hbr and one passing at Sandwich Bay

Honey Buzzard: Signs that these are already heading south come from reports of ten birds in total at four sites in the Netherlands on Aug 1

Osprey: Two present on Thorney Island on Aug 2 and others this week at Titchfield Haven and at the Arlington Reservoir in the Cuckmere valley (where one appeared to be a juvenile learning how to fish)

Merlin: One seen at the Pannell valley near Rye Bay on May 25 was said to be the latest to depart from Sussex this century and now one seen at the mouth of the Cuckmere river near Seaford is the joint earliest to return this century (equalling the early date of one seen on 1 Aug 2009)

Quail: One has been heard on the Downs north of Worthing up to Aug 2 and one was at the Lizard in Cornwall on Jul 27(one other report from the Netherlands on Aug 2)

Spotted Crake: Reports of up to 2 in the Netherlands on Aug 2 and 4

Baillons Crake: Lee Evans tells us that there was a mini-invasion of these during June with up to 9 birds in the UK (none on the south coast)

Black-winged Pratincole: The first to reach Britain since 1996 was on Lewis (western isles) on Aug 2 according to RBA

Sanderling: 300 were on the Pilsey sands in Chichester Harbour on Aug 2

Little Stint: One has been on the Lymington shore since July 25 and on Aug 1 there may have been 3 there - on Aug 2 one was also seen on Thorney Island

White-rumped Sandpiper: One was reported on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on July 31

Pectoral Sandpiper: One seen on the Lymington shore on July 29 and July 30 with others in Cornwall on July 30 and Aug 2

Curlew Sandpiper: Several now passing through with reports from Lodmoor (Weymouth), Lymington, Pagham Harbour, Christchurch Harbour and Wadebridge in Cornwall with 5 at a Netherlands site on Aug 1

Dunlin: These are now widespread but a count of 4000 at Thorney Island on Aug 2 was remarkable

Buff Breasted Sandpiper: It is quite a few years since I saw one on the Hayling Island Golf Course but I still take an interest in reports of the species and this week one was in Cheshire at Frodsham on July 30

Long-billed Dowitcher: One was at Slimbridge on the Severn estuary from July 26 to 30 at least

Whimbrel: Plenty of passage birds around at the moment with a flock of 40 on Thorney Island on Aug 2 (95 at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on July 31)

Long-tailed Skua: In a year in which other Skua species (Arctic, Pom and Great) have all been seen in every month so far a clear sighting of a Long-tailed actually within Christchurch Harbour on July 29 was a good record - only the sixth that I have picked up for Britain this year and the first for the south coast.

Sabine's Gull: One seen off Rye Harbour on Aug 4 was only the third for south east England this year after one at Sandwich Bay on Jan 31 and one at Folkestone on June 30. The only others that I know off have been off the Scillies and South Devon in July, at Flamborough Head on July 31 and off south Devon on Aug 2

Little Tern: It sounds as if the population of some distant breeding colony making a mass exodus from Britain happened to pass through Chichester Harbour on Aug 2 when a flock of 23 were seen from Thorney Island and a family group of three were seen across the water at Ella Nore (parent feeding two young)

Cuckoo: Singles (presumably juvs) seen at Fleet Pond on July 29 and at Sandwich Bay on Aug 1

Short-eared Owl: It now looks as if one may have stayed at Farlington Marshes through the summer, managing the evade being reported for long periods. Dates on which one has been reported there have been May 3, 6, 7, June 10, 15, 27, July 16, 24, 26 and 31. Some of the gaps between sightings might be accounted for if the bird moved to and from Thorney Island where it would be more likely to escape detection - dates for reports from Thorney Island were May 2, 17, and June 12 none of which conflict with Farlington reports. It is equally feasible that the reports from both sites represented a string of different birds moving north from the continent and pausing for a day or two on our south coast.

Bee eater: One was reportedly heard but never seen at Titchfield Haven on July 29

Departing summer visitors: The violent changes in our weather and the continuing decline in the availability of insect food has caused many birds to head south early though it may still have the effect of lengthening the 'departure window' if the weather improves and some birds stay on for a second or third attempt at nesting. Some Swifts seem to have been leaving for a long time (though we must remember that they do not breed in the first two years of their life and so are free to head south when they feel like it). Kingfishers are now starting to appear on the coast (some of them may be juveniles, others adults frustrated by floods). Sand Martins started to appear at Portland as early as June 25 but a more determined movement has been seen at Dungeness this week with 200 resting before their channel crossing on Aug 1 (when 135 flew south over Christchurch) and another 50 there on Aug 2. On July 29 there was a night roost of 100 departing Swallows at Thurlstone Bay in south Devon and on July 31 Farlington Marshes had a similar roost of 600. Very few Yellow Wagtails have been reported but there have been small parties at several south coast sites while Grey Wagtails seem to have started moving to winter sites (one was seen in the canalised Hermitage Stream near Bedhampton station in Havant on July 31) but one in Guestling Wood near the River Rother in East Sussex was heard singing on Aug 1 as if thinking of a second attempt at breeding. Nightingales have been seen at Beachy Head and Dungeness (with flocks of 21 and 35 passage birds already reported in the Netherlands). Single Redstarts have appeared at the coast in both Dorset and Hampshire while there have been 13 reports of Whinchat since the first autumn bird was seen on the Sussex Downs on July 22. No mass movement of Wheatears yet but singles have been seen this week at Portland, Pagham Harbour, Farlington Marshes, Christchurch and Pulborough. The first Grasshopper Warbler was back at Durlston on July 20 since when others have been seen at Pagham, Portland, Christchurch, south Devon and Beachy Head. Sedge and Reed Warblers continue to move south with Lesser Whitethroats and Garden Warblers newly appearing on the coast this week. On Aug 3 we were told that 70% of the Blackcaps recently ringed at Beachy Head were adults indicating a poor breeding season. Also now heading south, in addition to the Willow Warblers and Chiff Chaffs, have been several Spotted and at least one Pied Flycatcher.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Common Hawker: Although these are normally on the wing from late June the first report of them that I have picked up was dated July 26 (though there were more than 100 flying at the Welsh site reporting them)

Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus): First report from Cliffe Pools RSPB site on the penninsula north of Rochester in Kent on Aug 1

Willow Emerald Damselfly: More than 15 were seen at Reculver on the north Kent coast on Aug 3. This species was rare in Britain until 2009 when it began to invade south east England. This year, after one odd report from south Wales on June 20, the first report was of 5 at Felixstowe on July 23 with one at Reculver on July 24 before the current sighting

Species reported this week:

I have not noted all the species reported this week but the records are there for all to see on the British Dragonfly Society Latest Sightings page at http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/latest-sightings

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Chalkhill Blue: Reports seem to indicate that this has been a very good year for the species with large numbers at all usual sites and 'unbelievable numbers' at Butchershole Bottom (north of Friston Forest in the Eastbourne area) - one observer had the following to say (on the Sussex Butterfly Conservation website) about a visit to this site .. "Following the recent report, I popped down to Butchershole at Friston Forest this morning. I have heard of such things before, but nothing could have prepared me for my first experience of quite an extraordinary sight. Literally thousands of Chalkhill Blues many in very good condition . A quite extraordinary sight of butterflies sat all over the ground warming up in the overcast conditions. When there were small gusts of wind the air was full of clouds of butterflies just like leaves whipped up by a breeze. I and several other people were absolutely amazed at the profusion of Chalkhills. I counted near on 40 males on one piece of dog pooh" (Who said dog walkers were a nuisance?)

Purple Emperor: Reports this year show that this butterfly is much more widespread than we are led to believe by the tradition that they can only be seen by going to a small number of hallowed sites where the butterflies will only show themselves if you take them an offering of stinking rotten Asian shrimp paste. I am not in the least questioning the fact that they congregate round special 'master trees' for breeding purposes but it does seem that there are more of these than has been recognised in the past and also that these strong flyers do not hesitate to use their wings to explore the country at times when they are not on breeding duty. So far this summer I have seen sightings reported from 17 separate sites (i.e. including the Straits Enclosure and Goose Green, etc all within one Alice Holt Forest site) which include unexpected places such as the King Street in Emsworth (where a female landed on the tarmac to permit close inspection on Aug 4) and a small garden at Nyewood (south of Rogate in the Petersfield/Midhurst area), Wiston Village north of Worthing and the Chineham area of Basingstoke. They have also been seen in untypical habitat at Graffham Down near Midhurst and Pitt Down near Winchester while several reports have come from sites near to Havant (Havant Thicket, Southleigh Forest, Creech Woods near Denmead and Huntbourn Wood west of Portsdown) and others from Botley Woods and Rownhams Wood in the Southampton area.

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairsteak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood. Wall Brown, Marbled White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

One species not included in the list below (because it is so new to Britain that it does not have an entry on the UK Moths website) is Harpella forficella of which the second known in Britain (first was seen last year) was caught by Dave and Penny Green on July 27 somewhere in Sussex when out celebrating their wedding anniversary with a spot of moth trapping. You can see a photo of the species at http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/harpella-forficella-photo_lat-5224.html and it does get a mention on the Hants Moths website but with no photo or other information. Wikipedia tells us it is a member of the 'Concealer Moth' family and that it is a common species on the continent

0228 Monopis weaverella found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=898

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0228.php

0308 Parornix finitimella found in Kent on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6139

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0308.php

0411 Argyresthia goedartella found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6625

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0411.php

0427 Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0427.php

0438 Swammerdamia pyrella found in Kent on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4681

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0438.php

0455 Ypsolopha scabrella found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5320

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0455.php

0706 Agonopterix nervosa found in Kent on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2431

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0706.php

0765 Teleiodes vulgella found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4716

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0765.php

0857 Peach Twig Borer Anarsia lineatella found in Kent on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6081

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0857.php

0946 Aethes rubigana found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1326

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0946.php

1006 Epagoge grotiana found in Kent on AUG 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3448

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1006.php

1039 Strawberry Tortrix Acleris comariana found in Kent on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=543

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1039.php

1052 Acleris umbrana found in Sussex on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5427

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1052.php

1067 Celypha cespitana found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4588

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1067.php

1109 Lobesia littoralis found in Dorset on AUG 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4550

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1109.php

1183 Epiblema foenella found in Sussex on JULY 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2125

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1183.php

1309 Agriphila geniculea found in Kent on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4775

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1309.php

1316 Catoptria falsella found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1837

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1316.php

1348 Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4185

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1348.php

1358 Evergestis pallidata found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1292

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1358.php

1440 Trachycera marmorea found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3611

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1440.php

1454b Dioryctria sylvestrella found in Kent on JULY 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2248

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

1666 Large Emerald Geometra papilionaria found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=118

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1666.php

1718 Oblique Striped Phibalapteryx virgata found in Kent on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3340

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1718.php

1811 Slender Pug Eupithecia tenuiata found in Kent on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6354

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1811.php

1838 Tawny Speckled Pug Eupithecia icterata found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3099

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1838.php

1884 The Magpie Abraxas grossulariata found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=64

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1884.php

2027 Dark Tussock Dicallomera fascelina found in Dorset on JULY 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=659

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2027.php

2033 Black Arches Lymantria monacha found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1737

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2033.php

2165 Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea found in Kent on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4273

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2165.php

2297 Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea found in Dorset on AUG 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=196

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2297.php

2311 Double Kidney Ipimorpha retusa found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4906

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2311.php

2319 Lunar-spotted Pinion Cosmia pyralina found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1348

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2319.php

2358 Saltern Ear Amphipoea fucosa found in Kent on JULY 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1624

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2358.php

2466 The Blackneck Lygephila pastinum found in Sussex on JULY 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4828

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2466.php

2484 Pinion-streaked Snout Schrankia costaestrigalis found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5399

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2484.php

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Great Green Bush cricket: Adults started to appear on Aug 1 when I found four females on Portsdown and they also appeared at Durlston

Grey Bush Cricket (Platycleis albopunctata): This gets its first mention for the year from Durlston on Aug 1. For a photo see http://www.naturspaziergang.de/Heuschrecken/Platycleis_albopunctata.htm and click on the photo to get a fighteningly large full screen version but do not expect to learn from it how to separate several very similar species

Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius): A rarity seen by Graeme Lyons at the Pevensey Levels on Aug 1 and so rare that it has its own website - see http://www.dolomedes.org.uk/ and if you want to know even more see http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal.php/p/Notes%20on/s/Dolomedes%20plantarius

Wasp spider (Argiope bruennichi): I reported my own first encounter with this lovely creature last week but this week it gets a mention from Durlston but under their private name for it - Tiger spider

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Mare's Tail: My first sight of this for the year came at Fishbourne Mill Pond near Chichester on July 30 though the plants were too far out in the water to tell if they were flowering. The only other local site that I know of for this plant is Aldsworth Pond north of Emsworth but there is now so much tree growth round the pond that it is difficult to see them.

Dittander: Lots of this flowering beside the Fishbourne Channel on July 30.

Tall Tutsan (Hypericum x inodorum): I came across this for the first time in my life when in the base of the Paulsgrove Chalk Pit at Portsmouth on Aug 1 and I noticed large yellow flowers packed with long prominent stamens struggling to show themselves above the bramble bush in which they were growing. For a photo see http://www.aphotoflora.com/af_hypericum_x_inodorum_tall_tutsan.html

Horse Chestnut: A sign of approaching autumn was the first fallen Conker under a Horse Chestnut tree seen on Aug 2

Corn Parsley: My first sighting of this in flower was in the Fishbourne meadows near Chichester on July 30

Russian Vine: My first sight of this common garden escape in flower came on Aug 2

Rock Sea Lavender: This uncommon plant which is marked as extinct in the Hants Flora was reported flowering at Durlston on July 31

Brookweed (Samolus valerandi): This plant, which requires a site with a mixture of salt and fresh water and occurs at several places on the Hampshire coast, was abundant in the marshy SSSI field of the Warblington Farm when I was there on Aug 2

Blue Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina): I had never seen this in my life before I came on two specimens growing on the top of Portsdown near Fort Southwick on Aug 1 - you can seen my photo at http://ralph-hollins.net/BluePimp.jpg

Sharp-leaved Fluellen (Kickxia elatine): I have been saddened by the failure of Round-leaved Fluellen to appear this year at a previously reliable site in the Warblington Cemetery but as I was walking home from the cemetery on Aug 2 I was surprised and delighted to find a mass of Sharp-leaved Fluellen in full flower beside the main road into Havant from Emsworth. It had replaced a Broom bush recently removed from a council planting of Rose of Sharon and Fuchsia bushes at the junction of the Emsworth road with Meadowlands.

Blue Water Speedwell: When I was visiting the Fishbourne Meadows on July 30 I saw a plant of what I am pretty sure (by the small number of flowers in each raceme) was the pure species growing in the stream nearest to Fishbourne village

Gipsywort: First flowers seen on plants at Langstone Mill Pond on Aug 3

Field Woundwort: First plants found by Brian Fellows on July 30 in the gutter of the cycleway entering the A27 underpass (close to the A259/A27 interchange) from the Emsworth side. From their location it seems likely that these plants were an unintentional benefit from the dumping earlier this year of road building materials just uphill of where the plants were found allowing seeds brought with the materials to be washed down into the gutter by recent rain.

Clustered Bellflower: First flowers this year found on Portsdown on Aug 1

Common Ragwort: Arguments for and against the practice of pulling Ragwort (balancing possible harm to horses against benefit to insects) are well put in a webpage which I read about on the RX website - see http://www.buglife.org.uk/conservation/campaigns/Ragwort

Marsh Ragwort: My first sight of this came rather belatedly in the Fishbourne Meadows on July 30

Canadian Fleabane: First flowering noticed in Havant on Aug 1

Tansy: First plants seen in full flower were on Portsdown on Aug 1

Dwarf Thistle: My first find of plants in flower was on Portsdown on Aug 1 (Carline Thistle also seen but not in flower)

Lesser Burdock: First flowers seen at Fishbourne on July 30

Saw Wort: First flowering at Durlston on July 31

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Sika Deer: One seen at Durlston on Aug 2 was evidence of their continuing spread. Although there is a large and well established population in the Arne area on the shore of Poole Harbour they had not been seen in the Swanage area until quite recently

Hedghog: To see one lumbering up my garden path on the evening on Aug 1 was a pleasant surprise. I have very occasionally found their droppings in my garden this is the first sighting that I can recall.

Grey Squirel: The carpet of chewed unripe Hazel nuts on my lawn makes me wonder how a species that shows so little care in looking after its own food resources can continue to thrive

Sunfish and Basking Shark: July 30 bought one of each to the waters off Cornwall and Devon respectively

Goose Barnacles: On Aug 2 a wooden pallet washed up on the shore at Dungeness was covered with these molluscs. For a general view of the colony on its pallet see http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/images/Goose%20Barnacles%201%20020812%205393.jpg and for a close up of the 'filters' which they extend to catch food particles from the water see http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/images/Goose%20Barnacles%203%20020812%205379.jpg Before consulting Wikipedia I was aware of the ancient belief that Barnacle Geese hatched, not from eggs but from these Barnacles which grew on a mythical Barnacle Tree but I had forgotten that .."Since barnacle geese were thought to be "neither flesh, nor born of flesh", they were allowed to be eaten on days when eating meat was forbidden by religion."

Bait digging with Hoovers: Those of us who live around the Solent Harbours are very familiar with the sight of bait diggers using forks or spades to collect marine worms from the harbour mud at low tide but until today I had never heard of hoovers being used to suck up the worms. All I now know about the pactice comes from Cliff Dean's blog describing his experiences in the Rye Bay area - see http://rxbirdwalks.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/p1060076.jpg for Cliff's photo of one of these 'luggers' at work (the question of where the power comes from remains unanswered) but for a never failing source of interest add http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/ to your Favourites

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 23 - 29 (Week 30 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Northern Diver: This is not a species normally expected in the English Channel in July but one was off Portland on July 25 (and probably the same one off Durlston on July 26)

Storm Petrel: Another unexpected bird for high summer - on July 21 four were seen off Dorset in Lyme Bay and on July 23 there were 24 off the Lands End area while the night of July 24 saw 32 off them trapped (presumably tape lured) at The Lizard

Mute Swan: Summer moult flocks are now building up but the numbers are much smaller than in past years. In Langstone Harbour where I can remember counting over 100 in the Broadmarsh area there were just 18 on July 26; off Emsworth Mill Pond where you could expect 200 there seems to be no flock this year and recent reports from the north of the Bosham Channel and from the Fishbourne Channel do not mention the species. The only area currently commenting on Swan numbers is Southampton were there are at least 85 on the Itchen

Garganey: On July 23 there were said to be at least 7, maybe more, on the Pulborough Brooks

Pochard: One unexpected report this week was of a Pochard on the Thorney Little Deeps, presumably just an isolated passage bird heading west following the four which arrived at Blashford last week and the group of 15 which were seen at a Netherlands site on July 24

Eider: These are perhaps heading our way in large numbers - a count of 1022 of them at a German site on July 22

Velvet Scoter: Already off the English east coast were three of these seen at Scarborough on July 26

Goldeneye: Another oddity seen on July 23 was a single Goldeneye off Portland

Red Breasted Merganser: The summering bird that was in Langstone Harbour on July 17 seems to have moved east under Langstone Bridge to be seen off Northney marina area on July 23 and 26

Honey Buzzard: These seem to be heading south already - six of seven reports since July 20 are of more than one bird (all of them over the near continent)

Red Kite: One bird which was hatched and tagged in Hampshire in 2010 first flew north to the Chilterns, then east to Kent and is now to be seen on the Sussex Downs south of Pulborough

Quail: The only site reporting any this week is Cissbury Ring area north of Worthing (three reported on July 26)

Golden Plover: One summer plumaged bird was at Christchurch Harbour on July 23 and 24 and a flock of more than 40 were back on the Oare Marshes in north Kent on July 26

Grey Plover: The first specific mention of returning summer plumaged birds on the south coast come from the Lymington shore where 2 of 5 birds were in full black and silver on July 22

Knot: Six summer plumaged Red Knot were reported at Pagham Harbour back on June 2 - they may not even have left us at that date but by July 22 there were reports of red birds at both Lymington and Christchurch Harbour

Sanderling: Although some of these may not have left us this summer the WeBS count of 218 on the Pilsey Sands (Chichester Harbour) on July 23 must show that they have started to return.

Little Stint: One has been back on the Lymington shore since July 25

Curlew Sandpiper: One of these has also been back at Lymington since July 23 (with four of them at the Oare Marshes in Kent on July 25)

Purple Sandpiper: Two were unexpectedly on the Devon shore at Brixham on July 24 (one there on July 26) and I suspect that these may have been forced to return early from Scandinavia where summer snowfall has prevented many birds from nesting.

Dunlin: Looking for evidence of an early return of other small waders I see that this year's July WeBS count on Thorney Island was higher last year (102) than this year when only 68 were recorded (I know that individual statistics can be meaningless)

Terek Sandpiper: An adult bird was seen briefly feeding on the banks of the River Adur (just south of the Tollbridge near Shoreham) on the evening of July 24 by Chris Corrigan. The only others to confirm the sighting before the bird flew off were Paul and Bridget James. As far as I know this is the only record of the species in the UK this year and the first since one in Northumberland in July 2011.

Common Sandpiper: These have been seen in many places since return passage started in mid-June. Christchurch Harbour had 22 of them on July 8 but Sandwich Bay had an impressive count of 106 on July 22 (I see that on the outward passage one Netherlands site had 117 on May 18)

Turnstone: It was suggested that the presence of 20 on the Devon shore at Brixham on July 26 may have been the result of heavy late snow in Scandinavia preventing the birds from nesting there this year but I also see that 15 birds seen on the shore of Southampton Water on July 22 included 3 which had been colour ringed by Pete Potts in Iceland (though the year in which they were ringed was not stated)

Common Gull: These are now trickling back to the Channel shores - three were at the mouth of Southampton Water on July 15 and two were at Fishbourne (IoW) on July 20 while an enthusiastic report of a pair back at the Arlington Rervoir in Sussex on July 24 said .."a pair of common gulls, gorgeous with their yellow bills (pic attached), the male even singing a while!" Music, you might say, is in the ear of the listener!

Little Tern: A final report on breeding attempts at Weymouth (Ferrybridge) can be summed up by saying that "all nests failed including six retries" (not for want of trying on the part of volunteers who, among other things, kept the local Kestrels so stuffed with food that they never thought of having tern chick on their menu).

Black Tern: Return passage seems to have been underway since June 28 and it stepped up a notch this week with a flock of six being seen at Reculver on the north Kent shore on July 27

Cuckoo: The only reports this week have been of juveniles

Short-eared Owl: One may have been at Farlington Marshes from July 16 to 26 and (presumably a different bird) was hunting the Selsey West Fields on July 21

Wryneck: After the first report of a returning bird in Norfolk on July 10 we have one this week from northern France - they should be turning up on the south coast soon...

Sand Martin: Departing migrants have already been seen at Portland this week, along with Swallows, Yellow Wagtails, Wheatears, Grasshopper Warblers, Sedge, Reed and Willow Warblers

Nightingale: First report of a migrant at Whitbread Hollow (Beachy Head) came on July 22 (a juvenile was at Dungeness on July 15)

Common Redstart: Two were at Christchurch Harbour on July 26 (about ten days after the first were seen there)

Whinchat: Following the bird seen at Havant Thicket last week one was at Newlands Farm south of Fareham on July 23 and others this week have been on the Downs in Sussex and the Isle of Wight

Fieldfare: The first reached the Netherlands on July 24 with three at the same site on July 27

Mistle Thrush: Two more reports of summer flocks - 25+ in the Cuckmere valley on July 23 and 9 at an IoW site near Newport on July 26

Wood Warbler: Two reports of departing migrants - one from Belgium on July 23 and one from Christchurch Harbour on July 26

Red-back Shrike: One was seen by several people in the Cheriton area near the sources of the R Itchen on July 26

House Sparrow: A personal observation is that the few which have nested in houses near mine in Havant set off on their summer holidays with their children this week and have now become what I call Corn Sparrows

Escapees: Probably in this category, but conceivably a vagrant, was a Marbled Duck seem in the Hartley Witney area of north Hampshire (near Fleet) on July 21. After writing this I checked the internet and found that the BTO 'Status in the UK' for the species is 'Doesn't Occur'

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Migrant Hawker: The first report for this year is of 2 or 3 seen at Hampton Wick Pond near Kingston on Thames on the morning of July 24

Lesser Emperor: First report came on July 22 from Folkestone followed by a second sighting at Dungeness on July 25. If you are not familiar with this species, which has been visiting Britain since 1996, see http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/lesser-emperor

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly, Lesser Emperor Dragonfly, Gold Ringed Dragonfly, Hairy Dragonfly (late), Downy Emerald, Black Tailed Skimmer, Keeled Skimmer, Broad Bodied Chaser, Four Spotted Chaser, Scarce Chaser (near Southampton), Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red Veined Darter, Common Darter, Beautiful Demoiselle (but no reports of Banded Demoiselle), Emerald Damselfly, Scarce Emerald Damselfly, Willow Emerald, Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly, Scarc B;ue Tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Northern Damselfly,

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Silver Spotted Skipper: First of the year seen on July 22 at Beachy Head

Clouded Yellow: Very few reports (less than 20) so far this year since the first at Portland on Mar 29 but this week brought one to Lewes, one to Durlston and one on a special mission to visit me in the Staunton Country Park at Havant on July 24

Large Tortoiseshell: After six reports between Mar 10 and Apr 2 (including one seen by Brian Fellows in Havant), there have been no more until July 22 when one was seen speeding north through the New Forest.

Wall Brown: After just 33 reports of the spring brood between Apr 2 and June 13 the first of the second brood was reported at Durlston on July 27

Grayling: These have at last been seen in Hampshire (Browndown on July 20 and New Forest on July 22) and in Susssex (Windover Hill near Eastbourne on July 22)

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Large Skipper, Wood White (second brood), Clouded Yellow, Brimstone. Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Large Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Marbled White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0220 Nemapogon clematella found in Kent on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1583

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0220.php

0424 Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=388

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0424.php

0428 Willow Ermine Yponomeuta rorrella found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5908

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0428.php

0553 Coleophora striatipennella found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5835

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0553.php

0639 Bisigna procerella found in Kent on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2404

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0639.php

0732 Eulamprotes unicolorella found in Kent on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6738

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0732.php

0870 Oegoconia quadripuncta found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3869

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0870.php

0873 Blastobasis adustella found in Dorset on JULY 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=707

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0873.php

0971 Pandemis cinnamomeana found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3758

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0971.php

0976 Archips oporana found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3447

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0976.php

1037 Acleris holmiana found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2245

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1037.php

1036 Acleris forsskaleana found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4795

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1036.php

1197 Eucosma campoliliana found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5460

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1197.php

1210 Pine Shoot Moth Rhyacionia buoliana found in Kent on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6534

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1210.php

1294 Crambus pascuella found in Dorset on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5050

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1294.php

1325 Platytes alpinella found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6568

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1325.php

1331 Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella found in Kent on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=934

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1331.php

1332 Scoparia subfusca found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2620

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1332.php

1345 Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata found in Hampshire on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6245

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1345.php

1354 Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata found in Dorset on JULY 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1181

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1354.php

1367 Pyrausta cingulata found in Sussex on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5626

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1367.php

1378 Phlyctaenia coronata found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=84

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1378.php

1396 Mecyna flavalis found in Sussex on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6420

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1396.php

1405 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=129

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1405.php

1439 Trachycera advenella found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=163

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1439.php

1442 Pempelia palumbella found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2617

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1442.php

1470 Euzophera pinguis found in Dorset on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1847

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1470.php

1513 White Plume Moth Pterophorus pentadactyla found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5547

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1513.php

1637 Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=975

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1637.php

1656 Satin Lutestring Tetheella fluctuosa found in Hampshire on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4899

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1656.php

1657 Common Lutestring Ochropacha duplaris found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6350

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1657.php

1672 Sussex Emerald Thalera fimbrialis found in Kent on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5628

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1672.php

1708 Single-dotted Wave Idaea dimidiata found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=120

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1708.php

1767 Pine Carpet Thera firmata found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3085

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1767.php

1804 Barred Rivulet Perizoma bifaciata found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=512

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1804.php

1812 Maple Pug Eupithecia inturbata found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1121

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1812.php

1835 White-spotted Pug Eupithecia tripunctaria found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1021

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1835.php

1887 Clouded Border Lomaspilis marginata found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=23

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1887.php

1907 Bordered Beauty Epione repandaria found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1740

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1907.php

1924 Orange Moth Angerona prunaria found in Hampshire on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4460

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1924.php

1961 Light Emerald Campaea margaritata found in Hampshire on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=75

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

1987 Bedstraw Hawk-moth Hyles gallii found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1111

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1987.php

2019 Chocolate-tip Clostera curtula found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=848

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2019.php

2030 Yellow-tail Euproctis similis found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5424

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2030.php

2031 White Satin Moth Leucoma salicis found in Kent on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1532

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2031.php

2038 Muslin Footman Nudaria mundana found in Dorset on JULY 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=414

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2038.php

2044 Dingy Footman Eilema griseola found in Kent on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=417

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2044.php

2051 Four-spotted Footman Lithosia quadra found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=466

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2051.php

2057 Garden Tiger Arctia caja found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2229

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2057.php

2067 Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=862

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2067.php

2081 White-line Dart Euxoa tritici found in Dorset on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4495

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2081.php

2090 Crescent Dart Agrotis trux lunigera found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=851

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2090.php

2112 Least Yellow Underwing Noctua interjecta found in Kent on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=201

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2112.php

2176 Antler Moth Cerapteryx graminis found in Hampshire on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=179

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2176.php

2196 Striped Wainscot Mythimna pudorina found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1034

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2196.php

2279 The Sycamore Acronicta aceris found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=453

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2279.php

2292 Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae found in Kent on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5916

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2292.php

2300 Old Lady Mormo maura found in Kent on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3308

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2300.php

2312 The Olive Ipimorpha subtusa found in Hampshire on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5078

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2312.php

2335 Slender Brindle Apamea scolopacina found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=130

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2335.php

2352 Dusky Sallow Eremobia ochroleuca found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3354

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2352.php

2353 Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=167

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2353.php

2360 Ear Moth Amphipoea oculea found in Hampshire on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5493

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2360.php

2377 Fen Wainscot Arenostola phragmitidis found in Dorset on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=854

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2377.php

2436 Dewick's Plusia Macdunnoughia confusa found in Hampshire on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3608

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2436.php

2475 Waved Black Parascotia fuliginaria found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=629

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2475.php

2485 Marsh Oblique-barred Hypenodes humidalis found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1041

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2485.php

 

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Leptogaster cylindrica (Robber fly): On July 23 Chris Bailey at Rye Harbour had the long awaited pleasure of watching a spider being eaten by a fly. For the full story with pictures see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/22/a-reversal-of-fortunes.html and for more colourful insect pictures from Rye Harbour see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/22/metallic-eyes.html

Ichneumon in a Portsdown Kitchen: On July 24 John Goodspeed had an unexpected visitor in his kitchen which he thinks was the Ichneumon Lissonota senosa of which you can see a photo at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/Lissonota.setosa.-.lindsey.jpg

Stag Beetle: Only the third report for the year so far to my knowledge has been of one in an Emsworth garden on July 22 - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-025-stag-beetle-garden-CF-24.07.12.jpg

Rose Chafer: First report of the summer comes from Durlston though that individual was not photographed - another can be seen at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-rx/images/1049/centonia-aurata-03_52490_1.jpg

Glow-worms: More than 80 were seen by John Goodspeed in Havant Thicket on July 24

Crab Spider: A pure white crab spider was not well disguised as a predator lurking on a flowerhead of Black Knapweed (seen on Portsdown on July 24) and this set me to wonder how long it takes for these spiders to change colour so as to merge with their background. I do not have a scientific answer to this question but I gather that, unlike some underwater creatures such as Cuttlefish and Octopus which can adpt to match a varied background almost instantaneously (I understand that their skin is covered with many cells, each of a different colour, and that each cell can be turned on or off by the animals nervous system) the colour adaption system used by the Crab Spiders requires several days to become effective and operates by the secretion of pigments from glands in their bodies (and this offers a very limited range of possible colours) - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misumena_vatia#Color_change

Wasp Spider (Argiope bruenicchi): I came on the first of these for this summer in Havant on July 28 - see my diary page for July 28 at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Creeping Yellow Cress: First flowers found at Broadmarsh (old playing fields) on July 26

Proliferous Pink: A good show of more than 50 flowering plants on Hayling Island (Sinah Common) on July 25. See my diary entry for that day at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm

Dyers Greenweed: Flowering at the Saltmarsh Lane shore (west Hayling) on July 25 where I do not remember seeing it in past years

Dwarf Gorse: First flowers for the year in Havant Thicket on July 24

Hairy Vetchling: Still flowering on the Broadmarsh mountain on July 26 after removal of the horses which I thought might eliminate this rarity.

Wild Angelica: First flowers seen at Emsworth Brook Meadow on July 26

Slender Hare's Ear: A good show of plants at Hayling's Saltmarsh Lane shore on July 25 though no flowers yet

Sea Holly: In flower at Black Point on Hayling on July 25

Rock Sea Lavender: Reported as flowering at Durlston on July 27

Yellow Loosestrife: Lots flowering in the Thicket Lawn area south west of the Leigh Park Gardens Lake in Havant on July 24 but a check of the calyces of the plants growing by the northeast entrance to Hammonds Land Coppice (also within the Staunton Country Park area) show they are Dotted Loosestrife.

Autumn Gentian: Reported as in flower at Durlston on July 27

Skullcap: First three plants flowering by the Lumley Stream at Emsworth on July 27

Betony: First flowers seen at Havant Thicket on July 24

Bugloss: First seen growing from wildflower seed at Warblington Cemetery on June 16 but not seen in a more natural setting at Black Point on Hayling until July 25

Danewort: First flowers at the Havant site on July 24

Ploughman's Spikenard: Reported as flowering at Durlston on July 27 - almost certainly out on Portsdown by then

Golden Samphire: First general flowering at Langstone Harbour (Broadmarsh) on July 26

Sea Aster: First flowers seen on Thorney Island on July 27

Guernsey Fleabane: Flowering in Havant by July 23 (Canadian Fleabane also out)

Sneezewort: Newly flowering at several places in Havant Thicket on July 24

Annual Beard Grass: Although I do not normally record grasses I did take note of what appeared to be a large colony of this growing as a casual along the dusty roadside of Harts Farm Way across that road from the Havant Amenity Tip on July 27 (many of the plants already dead)

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Boxing Hares: On July 21 a birder on the Sussex Downs remarked on a pair of Hares 'boxing' out of season.

Leatherback Turtles: The first of the summer had been seen from a boat off Cornwall on July 4 and on July 25 two more were seen there.

Pointed Snails: For ten years or more I have been trying to get naturalists to take an interest in the small colony of Pointed Snails to be found on the Thorney Island seawall at the west end of the Great Deeps and this week it seems that one person on the Wildlife Trust Wednesday evening walk did so - but only to raise a doubt in my mind as to my identification of the species! Pointed Snails (Cochlicella acuta) are uncommon (not great rarities) and occur in isolated colonies around the south and west coasts of England, usually being found in dry places such as sand dunes. Following the reclamation of the north of Portsmouth Harbour to build the M27 into Portsmouth I became familiar with a colony which found its shoreline habitat turned into part of the IBM carpark and in hot summers the tiny snails could be found in their hundreds on the low wooden posts along the boundary between the tarmac and the surrounding 'waste land' - they climbed the posts to cool off in any slight breeze blowing over the ground on which (out of the breeze and exposed to the sun) the molluscs were in danger of frying in their shells. At other sites such as the Thorney seawall, where there are no posts, the snails climb plant stems, though when the vegetation at ground level is dense enough to provide shade from the sun's heat there is no need to leave the ground where the snails can escape detection. The best way to find them here (which I do not recommend) would be to take a stout rake and clear the living plants, and the accumulated detritus below them, away to leave a patch of bare dry earth - a careful search of the 'arisings' should reveal all stages of the snails life history, growing each year from tiny eggs to molluscs carrying shells which eventually complete 9 steeply conical whorls and reach a height of 15mm, and in addition to the living creatures there will be many more empty shells of their forebears.

My 'mollusc bible' is a Shire Natural History book by A A Wardhaugh devoted to 'Land Snails of the British Isles' describing 47 species, but only one of them from the Genus Cochlicella. Whoever made this week's find tried to identify it using Google and this is where the doubt arose in my mind as a second Cochlicella species (C. barbara) exists. In fact there could be even more confusion for the first three suggestions returned by Google in response to 'Pointed Snail' are 1) a link to the Wikpedia page describing Cochlicella acuta, 2) a link to an Australian website describing both C. acuta and Cochlicella barbara (Small Pointed Snail) which is a problem causing species in Australia but which can be found in south west of the British Isles, and 3) a link to 'runescape.wikia.com' which seems to be a popular computer game in which .. "The bruise blue snelm (pointed) is an item required for a level 2/3 clue (medium and hard) which caused this item's price to reach over 3k each. One pointed blue snail in Mort Myre Swamp is often found north-west/east of the Fairy ring." My opinion is that (a) The Thorney snail is C. acuta and that (b) Wardhaugh's approach to identification of snails by measuring the height and width of an adult snail's shell and counting the number of whorls in the shell is a good start to getting the name right. As always I am grateful for the new knowledge this observation has added to my store of wisdom.

Armed Bullhead (Agonus cataphractus): This small fish (also called a Pogge or a Hook Nose) is another creature newly brought to my attention this week by Cliff Dean who has been taking advantage of the hot weather to go Shrimping in the shallow water of Rye Bay/Hastings (see http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/low-tide-high-tide/ ) If you are puzzled by Cliff's surprise that many people rush into the sea barefoot you should see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weever and learn to beware of the Lesser Weever which is common around our shores and which buries itself in the sand waiting for you to tread on the very poisonous spines which project up from its back (see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1300878/Dozens-swimmers-poisoned-weever-fish-warm-weather-leads-population-explosion-British-waters.html for a dramatic account of the danger to humans)

Rays, Tope and Cuckoo Wrasse: The Durlston Rangers Diary entries for July 24 and 26 describe more sea monsters confronting the fearless holiday maker during their annual encounter with the sea. Undulate, Cuckoo and Thornback Rays are currently being caught off Swanage. Also being seen are Tope (our version of the Great White Shark), and Cuckoo Wrasse (a fish species in which the males turn blue with excitment in the spring causing Cornish fishermen to name them after the bluebells in the woods). For a photo of a Cuckoo Ray see http://www.oceaneyephoto.com/photo_411461.html

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 16 - 22 (Week 29 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Seeing a report of seven Red-throated Divers off the Yorkshire coast on July 16 my first thought was that these birds had abandoned their northern breeding area and were heading south but a closer look at my records shows that the same report of seven birds has been made at the same site (Barmston/Fraisthorpe in East Yorkshire) on May 18, June 26 and now July 16 suggesting that a group of non-breeding birds had decided to spend the summer there where they were found in each monthly WeBS count. No other species reported this week - just a single lone Red-throated off the Netherlands on July 15.

Red-necked Grebe: One seen off Sangatte Plage (near Calais) on July 17 has also been around since April. There were still at least two birds off the Netherlands as late as Apr 29 but since then the only reports I have seen have been of singles on May 18, June 13 and July 17 though each report comes from a different site (two in the Netherlands and now this latest one from France).

Fulmar: I am not familiar with the breeding status of these birds in Devon but I suspect that reports of e.g. 56 off Start Point on July 16 are less unexpected than the report of 8 off Christchurch Harbour on July 18

Fea's Petrel aka Cape Verde Petrel (Pterodroma feae): The first sighting for this year of one off County Cork in Ireland on July 16 gave Lee Evans the 387th species for his 'Britain and Ireland' year list. I notice that Lee classes this species with the 'Soft plumaged Petrels' while the Wikipedia entry for the species says "Fea's Petrel (Pterodroma feae) is a small seabird in the gadfly petrel genus, Pterodroma. It was previously considered to be a subspecies of the Soft-plumaged Petrels"

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea): The first of these to be seen in British waters this year was in the Scilly Isles area on July 12 since when there have been five more reports with the birds moving progressively east past Cornwall to Devon - the latest report comes from a boat off Start Point in Devon on July 16

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis): Five reports so far with the first off the Scilly Isles on July 2. This has also been seen in Devon and Cornwall but I see one had reached the North Sea and was off Flamborough Head on July 13

Sooty Shearwater: These have been around since mid-May and sightings are now widespread with peak counts of 13 off Pendeen in Cornwall on July 15 and 11 off Whitburn, Co Durham, on the east coast on July 21

Manx Shearwater: Last week there was an unusual sighting of 14 off Sandy Point on Hayling Island but this week sees the birds back where they belong, no further east than Dorset (Portland reported 800 on July 16 and Devon reported 3776 on that day - though admitting there might have been some double counting!)

Balearic Shearwater: Peak count of 11 comes from Portland on July 16 with none further east

Storm Petrels: The Scilly Isles have now had four reports of Wilson's Storm Petrel with the first on June 13 and the peak on July 12 when more than three were seen. European Storm Petrels continue to appear in the western channel with a peak count of 60+ off the Scilly Isles on July 16. Devon has had 40+ off Start Point on July 17 and Cornwall has had 30 off Helford on July 15

Little Egret: Langstone Pond continues to attract these birds - on July 12 there were still juveniles in at least five nests but when I passed in mid-morning on July 20, with the tide no more than half way up to a moderate high (leaving plenty of scope for the birds to fish) there were around 40 birds scattered around the pond area (away from the nests) and very few at the water's edge anywhere in the area or down the west coast of Hayling.

Great White Egret: The only report I have seen this week comes from the RBA news for July 19 which says that there are at least 5 birds still in Somerset where they are said to have bred this year.

Grey Heron: As the flood waters retreat many fish have been stranded and on July 21 Pete Hughes noted 14 Herons, 12 Little Egrets and 3 Cormorants were enjoying a bonanza on the recently flooded areas of Pulborough Brooks

White Stork: I have by now noted 41 reports of Storks in Britain this year, twelve of them relating to the group of three that spent the period from June 21 to 30 based in the Lidsey (Bognor) area of Sussex. They next appeared on the Devon/Dorset boundary near Templecombe from July 16 to 18 to be reported on July 20 as 'Common Cranes' flying over Rampisham in Dorset - no doubt we will hear more of them. Going back to normal Stork behaviour I see that the end of their continental breeding season is hinted at by reports of migrants gathering in the Netherlands prior to departure - 12 on July 18 and 23 at the same site on July 20

Glossy Ibis: The Pagham Harbour bird was still being seen on July 20 and other recent reports have come from the Kent Stour valley on July 17 and from Minsmere in Norfolk on July 13

Brent Goose: The first report that I have seen of summering birds in Langstone Harbour came on July 8 when one was seen at Farlington Marshes followed by a more normal report of six there on July 17. Over on the Isle of Wight one was seen at Newtown Harbour on June 1 and is probably still there while somewhere in Chichester Harbour there are probably the thirteen birds seen in the Fishbourne Channel on May 24 and 29.

Pochard: A report of nine Pochard, including two ducklings, at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood on July 17 indicates that there has been breeding in Hampshire but the five birds left (after discounting the pair that were seen at Blashford on May 6 and their two ducklings) may be returnees from 'foreign parts' as four Pochard were seen circling over Christchurch Harbour on July 15 but did not settle there

Red-breasted Merganser: A single female was seen at Farlington Marshes on July 17 and is the first to be reported in Langstone Harbour since April but I suspect that, like the summering Brent which have just decided to reveal their presence, the Merganser has been hiding in the harbour since the spring.

Marsh Harrier: The presence of two juveniles at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on July 19 (after one had been seen on July 17) shows that the birds have bred there again this year but so far no news from nearby Radipole where a pair had four young last year (in addition to two young at Lodmoor)

Osprey: Birds returning south have this week been seen at Arlington Reservoir in the Cuckmere Valley, at the Thorney Island Deeps (and in the Chichester Harbour channels on both east and west sides of Thorney), at the Fishlake Meadows by the River Test at Romsey, and at the Axe estuary in Devon.

Quail: Still being heard up to July 16 at Sandwich Bay, on the downs north of Eastbourne (Alfriston area), and near Cissbury Ring north of Worthing.

Sanderling: Many of these have remained along our south coast this year but those that did depart earlier are now returning. A flock of 28 at Sandy Point on Hayling on July 15 were noted as returning birds and five days later (on July 20) a flock of 205 were seen there

Black-tailed Godwit: The first to return from Iceland seem to have reached Chichester Harbour around July 15 when 72 appeared in the Emsworth Channel. Also this week Pete Potts reported on his annual trip to Iceland, saying .."Iceland has had a good summer with little rain and plenty of sunshine which has helped the breeding season in some areas, it was certainly a much better season than 2011 (when the land was covered with volcanic ash). However, in some core areas very few pairs were found with chicks, no fledged chicks and no flocks were seen on fields suggesting an early departure."

Med Gull: Following their general failure to breed this year all along the south coast I have the impression that many of the birds have moved east to try their luck in future years around the North Sea while those that have remained along our Channel coast are currently enjoying a nomadic life seeking food in inland fields. The latest magnet for them has been a flooded maize field in the Sidlesham village area north of Pagham Harbour and on July 20 a count showed that 482 birds had gathered there.

Common Gull: These are now starting to return to the channel coasts with three seen at the mouth of Southampton Water (Lepe) on July 15 and two seen on Fishbourne Beach (IoW) on July 20. Other gulls are also moving into winter flock mode with a flock of 40 Great Blackbacks seen at the Kench (south of Langstone Harbour) on July 16 and 40+ Lesser Blackbacks mobbing a fishing boat off the south Devon coast on July 21.

Little Tern: Until this week I had been hoping that the number of these being seen in and near to Pagham Harbour implied that they had had some success in breeding on the shingle around Church Norton but on July 21 these hopes were shattered by the news that (as everywhere else) there had been no breeding success there.

Cuckoo: One bird seen in the Netherlands on July 15 may have been the last adult to leave the northern breeding area. The species has not, however, vanished from the news as this week has brought two reports of juveniles - on July 13 two young were seen in the Scilly Isles and on July 19 two juveniles were being fed by Meadow Pipits at the Lizard in Cornwall. A check on the BTO's Cuckoo migration tracking site shows that just one of their tagged birds was refusing to leave Scotland and was still at Troon on the Ayrshire coast on July 18

Short-eared Owl: I have eleven records of these still in southern England during June, including one at Farlington Marshes on June 27. The first half of July produced just one report of an owl hunting the Lymington Marshes but a photo supposedly taken on July 16 shows one still lurking in the grass at Farlington Marshes

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: An unexpected report of a juvenile calling (presumably to its parents) in a Chandlers Ford garden on July 20.

Sand Martin: On July 19 Portland reported a single departing bird and on July 20 a report of an Osprey over the Thorney Great Deeps mentioned the presence of many Sand Martins there, presumably gathering for the journey south

Yellow Wagtail: Singles seen at both Durlston and Christchurch Harbour on July 20 were regarded as the start of departure by the species

Nightingale: A count of 42 at a site in France on July 21 also tells of departure

Redstarts: A pair of Black Redstarts (said to be one of only 20 pairs breeding in Britain) successfully fledged their chicks in a chalet on Farnborough airfield this week and thus allowed the Farnborough Air Show to continue. If you want to see the well appointed chalet that had been reserved for the birds go to http://www.creationdesign.co.uk/news/?p=1011 Common Redstarts have not been accorded similar hospitality and have been heading south since July 8 when a pair were seen on Luccombe Down, IoW, followed by singles at Christchurch Harbour on July 17 and 20

Whinchat: The first to be seen heading south was near Lewes in Sussex on July 12 and the second has now been seen on the Gipsies Plain (south of Havant Thicket) on July 19

Wheatear: July 15 saw one back on the Lymington shore with another as 'first of the autumn' at Portland. Durlston had to wait until July 20 for its first southbound bird.

Grasshopper Warbler: The first departing birds were seen on July 20 at both Durlston and Christchurch Harbour

Willow Warbler: Portland, Durlston and Christchurch all reported their first migrants on July 20 with a peak of five at Durlston while a flock of 32 had been seen in the Netherlands on July 12 (with 28 Chiffchaffs) and another of 23 in Belgium on July 21

Golden Oriole: Also heading south on July 21 were 7 Golden Orioles at a Netherlands site

Red Backed Shrike: One turned up in the London area (just north of Heathrow) on July 12 but if you want to see these in a more natural setting have a look at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/07/18/baltic-birding-red-backed-shrikes-at-paljassaare-tallinn-estonia/ to get Steve Copsey's view of them as part of his naval deployment to the Baltic on HMS York

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Southern Migrant Hawker(Aeshna affinis): On the basis that it is too early for a normal Migrant Hawker a dragonfly seen in Essex on July 15 was reported as a probable Southern Migrant Hawker - see http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/southern-migrant-hawker to learn how this Mediterranean species has started to appear in Kent and Essex since 2006

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Southern Migrant Hawker, Scarce Chaser

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Small White: A second brood of these was first reported from Gosport on July 13

Small Copper: A second brood of these started to appear on July 8

Chalkhill Blue: These have been on the wing since July 11 and are now widespread in Sussex but by the end of this week I had only seen one report of them in Hampshire (on July 15 at Chalton Down, just north of Rowlands Castle)

Purple Emperor: The first report for the year came from Rownhams Wood near Southampton on July 4, a day before the first sighting in the Alice Holt Forest near Farnham. Since then the species has been seen at Southwater Country Park at Horsham, Botley Woods north of Fareham, Graffham Down near Midhurst, Wiston near Worthing, Huntbourn Wood northwest of Portsdown and Bentley Wood west of Stockbridge. Peak count so far reported was 8 at the Alice Holt Forest on July 15

Grayling: I remain puzzled why the first sighting of this species should be as early as June 9 (in Glamorgan) with 'good numbers' reported in Devon this week, yet in Sussex (where the species seems to be worshipped as a major god) none have yet been seen (last year the first in Sussex was on July 19 but the majority of sightings did not come until August)

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Medow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0147 Nemophora metallica found in Hampshire on JULY 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=895

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0147.php

0284 Caloptilia rufipennella found in Dorset on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=902

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0284.php

0290 Caloptilia semifascia found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2976

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0290.php

0640 Batia lunaris found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6390

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0640.php

0844 Syncopacma larseniella found in Sussex on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2658

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0844.php

0862 Juniper Webber Dichomeris marginella found in Kent on JULY 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=712

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0862.php

0879 Batrachedra pinicolella found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0879.php

0977 Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana found in Dorset on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=157

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0977.php

1011 Pseudargyrotoza conwagana found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6239

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1011.php

1020 Grey Tortrix Cnephasia stephensiana found in Kent on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=387

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1020.php

1030 Eana incanana found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=959

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1030.php

1044 Acleris ferrugana found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4972

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1044.php

1079 Piniphila bifasciana found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4534

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1079.php

1205 Bud Moth Spilonota ocellana found in Dorset on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4856

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1205.php

1205a Spilonota laricana found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6377

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1205a.php

1225 Pammene obscurana found in Dorset on MAY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3554

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1225.php

1382 Anania verbascalis found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1842

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1382.php

1388 Udea lutealis found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1884

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1388.php

1455 Dioryctria simplicella found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2403

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1455.php

1510 Merrifieldia leucodactyla found in Sussex on JULY 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4035

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1510.php

1681 Clay Triple-lines Cyclophora linearia found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1017

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1681.php

1715 Plain Wave Idaea straminata found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=747

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1715.php

1726 Large Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe quadrifasiata found in Kent on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5607

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1726.php

1919 Purple Thorn Selenia tetralunaria found in Hampshire on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5727

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1919.php

2026 The Vapourer Orgyia antiqua found in Dorset on JULY 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=544

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2026.php

2037 Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata found in Dorset on JULY 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=193

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2037.php

2077 Short-cloaked Moth Nola cucullatella found in Dorset on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1668

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2077.php

2170 Varied Coronet Hadena compta found in Kent on JULY 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3844

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2170.php

2295 Marbled Green Cryphia muralis found in Dorset on JULY 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=323

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2295.php

2391 Silky Wainscot Chilodes maritimus found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1040

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2391.php

2421 Scarce Silver-lines Bena bicolorana found in Sussex on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5338

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2421.php

2423 Oak Nycteoline Nycteola revayana found in Dorset on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5374

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2423.php

2469 The Herald Scoliopteryx libatrix found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5101

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2469.php

 

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Volucella zonaria: This impressive hoverfly was first seen this year at Durlston on July 6 and has now been reported again on July 15 near Eastbourne

Sand Bee (Dasypoda hirtipes): This unusual bee has been reported at Peasmarsh near Hastings under the approriate name of Hairy Bee - see photo at http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/Dasypoda-hirtipes.jpg For info about the species see http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=bee/melittidae/dasypoda-hirtipes

Beetles:

Paracorymbia fulva (Longhorn beetle): Seen at Rye Harbour on July 16 - for pictures and species info see http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/tawny-longhorn-beetle and for the original RX website entry see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/16/paracorymbia-fulva.html

Strangalia maculata (Longhorn beetle): Several of these were found on Hogweed umbels at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on July 20 -see Brian Fellows photo of one at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-030-beetle-strangalia-bm-20.07.12.jpg

Stag Beetle: Six were found in a Havant garden (Denvilles area) on July 14 - other than a report of a single male in the Henfield area of Sussex on June 15 this is the only other report of this declining species that I have seen this year. Last year I only picked up three reports following six reports in 2009, eight in 2008, five in 2007 (but one of these was of the emergence of 15 beetles), and eight in 2004 when reports included one beetle killed by a Magpie, others by Tawny Owl and Cat with others being just reports of corpses or 'body parts'. Another significant cause of their demise is the removal of decaying tree stumps from both gardens and farmland - as the larval stage of these beetles requires them to survive for four years or more (minimum of two years) in the same decaying wood in which the eggs were laid they are extremely exposed to unintentional elimination during this stage. Another danger comes when they have finished eating wood as they then emerge from their dead wood and pupate in nearby soil which may be part of a cultivated garden flowerbed. For more info see http://maria.fremlin.de/stagbeetles/lctable.html

Lesser Stag Beetle: One was found in a garden on the lower slopes of Portsdown (Bedhampton area) on July 19

Glow-worms: An evening walk in Havant Thicket on July 18 found 44 glowing females while a similar search for them at Durlston on the evening of July 19 found 111

Dicranocephalus spurgebugs: Two similar species of these were seen on Portland sometime in the past moth - one (agilis) being an uncommon but known resident on the island (where it feeds on Portland Spurge) while the other (medius) was a new species for the island when found this summer. For photos and info see http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Stenocephalidae/dicranocephalus_agilis.html and http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Stenocephalidae/dicranocephalus_medius.html

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Nottingham Catchfly: This has always had a tenuous foothold on the Hayling Sinah beach and when I first saw it on June 18 this year I could only see the usual dozen or so scattered plants but when I re-visited on July 12 I found a much more impressive show - probably more plants than I have ever seen there.

Sand Spurrey: Having been made aware of its presence in the gorse on the north side of Hayling Golf Course by Brian Fellows' discovery of it last year I made a thorough search of the area when there on July 12, finding more than a dozen of the tiny flowers (not nearly as many as were there last year at the same date but no doubt more will appear when the sun does)

Little Robin: When I was at the Sinah beach on July 12 I made a cursory search of a likely area but found no sign of Little Robin. Later that same day I bumped into the Hayling Coastal Conservation Group carrying out a botanic survey and discovered that they had earlier (June 23) carried out a detailed survey of a four metre wide strip running south from the Golf Club fence to the sea and had found one substantial patch of Little Robin only 5 metres from the seaward end of this strip. It would seem that the relentless advance of grasses over the shingle has forced this plant south and I hope to discover it again when I am next there.

Strawberry Clover: This had started to flower at the southern end of Langstone Bridge on July 12

Rough Clover: I had my first sight of this in flower besied Ferry Road on south Hayling on July 12

Lucerne: This has been in flower since mid June but on July 21 it seems that the Havant Wildlife Group noticed the colour variation in the flowers of 'Lucerne' on the seawall of Paulsgrove Lake (north or Portchester Castle) but did not realise that this was the hybrid known as Sand Lucerne which has been established there for many years

Japanese Spindle (Euonymus japonicus): The tiny white flowers of this shrub had started to open on July 17

Stone Parsley: The white flowers on this also started to open on July 17

Rock Samphire: This was also starting to flower on July 17

Fennel: Brian Fellows was the first to find this flowering on July 17 at Emsworth

Cocks Eggs (Salpichroa origanifolia): A large colony of this has become established over many years on Sinah Common immediately south of Staunton Avenue and had started flowering for this year on July 12

Verbascum Macrocarpum: In Sept 2007 I found several tall Mullein plants growing on North Common at Hayling Island but no one in Hampshire seemed able to name them so specimens were sent to Vic Johnstone (Keeper of the national collection of Verbascums) and he at first said he could not name them but eventually told us that they were Verbascum macrocarpum which he had found in a Turkish Flora - as far as he knew they were unkown anywhere in Europe. In order to add the plant to the British List he attempted to grow new plants from seeds taken from the Hayling plants but they failed to germinate and the species was forgotten. Now, five years later, the species has re-appeared on North Common and this year there are five specimens - they were first noticed on July 8 when they were small and were thought to be Dark Mullein plants but when I saw them on July 20 one plant was around 2 metres tall and none of them could be mistaken for any regular British species.

Pale Toadflax: The lone colony of this which can be found on Hayling Island (among |Gorse near the Inn on the Beach) had started to flower on July 12

Harebell: First sighting of these lovely flowers for the year comes from the Fort Cumberland area of Eastney in Portsmouth on July 18 where they were seen by Brian Fellows.

Danewort (Sambucus ebulus): This started to flower at its Havant site (by the Hayling Billy Trail between Grove Road and Lymbourn Road) on July 22 but was not included in last week's Summary.

Teazel: The first flowers on this were seen at North Common on Hayling on July 20

Common Fleabane: At least one plant has fully opened it flower in my garden this week (on July 20)

Golden Samphire: This had been reported in flower on the north Kent marshes on July 5 but the first flower that I know of locally was open in the Langstone area on July 17

Mugwort: The first plant that I found in flower was seen on July 17 having lost the glossy whiteness of its flower buds in exchange for the dull, dead look of its brown petalled flowers

Chicory: The first find of this in flower was made at Portchester on July 21 by the Havant Wildlife Group

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Great Crested Newt eggs: Although few people will be searching for newt eggs in July a look at a piece by Brian Banks on the RX website may give you a good clue to detecting the presence of Great Crested Newts in future years. These newts lay their eggs singly, attaching each to underwater vegetation, then folding the vegetation over to conceal the presence of the egg and protect it until it emerges as a larva. Brian's photos of vegetation that has been folded in this way show you a clue to the presence of the newts which persists long after the egg has hatched. See http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/15/ghosts-of-spring-past.html

Sea creatures around the Scillies: This week's bird news from the Scilly Isles has two mentions of Sunfish, two of Blue Sharks and one of a Basking Shark.

Fungi: An elegant all white stalked 'mushroom type' fungus called a White Dapperling (Leucoagaricus leucothites) put in its first appearance on Portland on July 18. This is a fungus that I used to find regularly on the IBM HQ site at Portsmouth in the 'good old days' when fungi had less fanciful names and this one was called Lepiota leucothites. Another, stranger, fungus appeared in Emsworth this week and the finder was very puzzled as to what he had in his garden. Brian Fellows took a photo of it and was equally uncertain (see the photo at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-031-white-slug-vickers-cap-19.07.12.jpg ) but the most likely suggestion is that this is the 'plasmoidal' stage of a slime mould called Enteridium lycoperdon a photo of which can be seen at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Enteridium_lycoperdon,_(Bull.)_M.L._Farr,_1976_(Reticularia_lycoperdon).JPG This photo is taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slime_mold where you can read about 'plasmodia' (some way down this web page)

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 9 - 15 (Week 28 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Shearwaters: Singles of the Great Shearwater which was first reported last week off the Scillies and Devon had by July 13 reached the Yorkshire coast at Flamborough Head and a single Sooty Shearwater was off Whitburn in Co Durham on July 10. Manx Shearwaters are currently numerous off Portland though the 400 seen there on July 12 is nothing compared to the 10,000+ off north Cornwall on June 8 or the storm driven 3000 off Start Point in south Devon on July 2 (14 of these came as far east as Sandy Point on Hayling Island on July 11). Balearic Shearwater numbers off Portland also reached a high of around 30 birds seen on both July 8 and 9

Storm Petrels: These are still present in the English Channel but in decreasing numbers (10+ seen from a boat off south Devon on July 7) and late news from the Scillies is that a two more Wilson's Storm Petrels were seen on July 2 following the first on June 13

Gannets: It seems that larger than usual numbers of these have been rushing up and down the Channel for several months but I have not recorded the numbers as I was unable to associate them with any regular annual pattern but maybe these reports are telling us that the Gannets are struggling to find sufficient fish in the normal areas and what we are seeing is a pattern of hungry birds desperately seeking new fishing grounds (though it could equally be that Gannets are thriving and there are now too many for the normal fishing grounds to sustain).

Cormorant: A report of 1332 gathered at one Netherlands site on July 10 is also unusual for the time of year - counts of up to 1500 birds are not unusual in winter months but not high summer - are they too hungry or have they failed to breed?

Shag: One bird whose troubles were all too obvious to J J Goodridge when he was at Eastney near the Langstone Harbour entrance on July 13 was a young Shag which had swallowed a fishing line whose end was still attached to something underwater, effectively chaining the Shag to a small area around the buoy on which the bird was perched - when it attempted to fly off it was soon brought up short as the line reached its limiting length. See the photos illustrating this at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/thefinancialbirder/2012/07/13/abundant-wildlife-around-eastney-harbour-entrance/ I recall a similar tragedy when I was working at the IBM Portsmouth HQ and saw a Herring Gull fly to the IBM Lake trailing an empty plastic bag after the bird had put its foot through the handle of the bag while feeding on the rubbish tip just across the M27. While the bag was empty the bird could still fly, though with extra drag, but as soon as it had landed on the lake the bag filled with water, the weight of which prevented the bird from taking off again and gradually dragged the bird underwater as its strength ebbed with its desperate struggles.

Bittern: One, sometime two, Bitterns were reported at Lodmoor (Weymouth) from Jan 26 to Mar 30 this year and now there is a report of just one there on July 10 - I wonder if there is a mate and young lurking in the reeds?

Great White Egret: On July 5 one was seen in Cornwall, on July 11 one was reported somewhere in Cheshire, and on July 14 another was seen flying west over Portsmouth Dockyard

Glossy Ibis: The two birds which arrived in fields north of Pagham Harbour on May 6 seem to have split up - just one of them has been seen at the Sidlesham Ferry Pool on at least four occasions since June 19, most recently on July 9, 10 and 14

Tufted Duck: These seem to breed later than other ducks and although they have been seen in pairs since April the first report of ducklings that I have seen is dated July 12 at Woolmer Pond in east Hampshire

Peregrine: What were thought to the female and three of the four juveniles from Chichester cathedral were seen at Pagham Harbour on July 12. The female caught and ate a Wood Pigeon, giving a few scraps to one of the juveniles but apparently ignoring the other two.

Quail: This week's news is of just one at the Pevensey Levels near Eastbourne, one at Sandwich Bay and at least three on the downs south of Pulborough

Corncrake: One was heard at Prussia Cove near Penzance in Cornwall on July 7 reminding me of the July day in the mid 1980s when I was given the intact corpse of a Corncrake which had killed itself by flying into a power line not far west of St Mary's Church in south Hayling and been found in a field of cabbages. After showing it to a group of birders I was leading at Pagham Harbour it was given to the Hampshire County Museum Service and is still, I think, one of the exhibits in the county collection (after being stuffed!)

Golden Plover: The last of these moving north in spring were seen on May 20 at both Portland and Worthing. This week seems to have brought the first returning birds heading south - a group of six in Belgium on July 8. Also on July 8 a long distance traveller turned up in the Kent Stour valley where it was only seen by one observer but confidently enough described to be accepted by the average birder as a Pacific Golden Plover (a species which, with the American Golden Plover which more commonly reaches Britain as a vagrant, was until recently lumped under the general name of Lesser Golden Plover). You can judge the reliablity of the report from the following account which appeared in the July 8 entry on http://www.kentos.org.uk/Stodmarsh/Julysightings2012.htm - in it Martyn Wilson said .. "While dodging the rain today I was returning to the Water Meadows after sheltering at the Tower hide and stopping at Paddyís Bench to scan for Waders I came across a fully summer plumaged adult Lesser Golden Plover on the far side at 7.50am. It was very black from the face to the undertail with a slim white border between the black body and the head/mantle and back/wing colouration stopping halfway along the line of the wing. A lapwing chased it off and it flew towards me landing on the nearest wet edge and, in doing so showed the diagnostic greyish brown underwing markings. Another Lapwing didnít seem to like it and chased it again this time making fly over and out of sight towards the Marsh hide where itís long legs could be seen trailing just beyond the tail. Sadly, because of the rain, my camera was tucked away in my bag on my back with its rain cover on so, no pictures but I believe it to be a Pacific Golden Plover. There was no further sign of it by midday even with the help of half a dozen other birders looking."

Black-tailed Godwit: The large number of early returning waders, and the variety of species, has been unusual enough to secure a slot in the BBC News this week. Some indication of the local impact of this can be be gauged from a couple of random examples - first the unusually large number of Black-tailed Godwits seen around the mouth of the rivers at Christchurch in Dorset with 125 there on July 12 and 149 on July 14, second the early arrival of Whimbrel with six seen heading west over Sandy Point on Hayling on July 11. Another example that is not local comes from RBA which reported a total of 35 Wood Sandpipers spread across 7 counties on July 6

Mediterranean Gull: Following on last weeks news of where some of the failed breeders have gone there is a report this week from Barry Collins of 250 seen on July 11 hawking for insects over Lucerne fields on the south of Thorney Island and July 12 brought a report of 12 at the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester.

Black-headed Gull: When I visited the Hayling Oysterbeds on July 12 the only report of fledged juveniles which I had then seen came from Christchurch Harbour where the first young bird had flown in on July 8 so I was expecting to see a good number of young birds still around their nests at the Oysterbeds but in fact could only see two in a cursory scan. Since then I have seen that several young birds flew up from the Oysterbeds on July 9 when threatened by an overflying Buzzard, and also on July 9 the first juvenile flew into Thurlstone Bay in south Devon, but my overall impression is that, despite the large number of adults which took over every available nest site at the Oysterbeds, very few fledged young have resulted.

Terns: On July 2 the Rye Harbour website told us that 600 pairs of Sandwich Tern had attempted to nest there but the adults had not been able to find enough food to feed their young (I think because of the rough seas made fishing difficult) and by July 11 the news from Portland was of 79 Common Terns already heading determinedly west showing that they had abandoned thoughts of breeding . Also from Portland there was news of a promising start to the Little Tern breeding season at Ferrybridge where last year's round the clock guard of the nests had prevented predation by all but one Hedgehog which had slipped in under the radar and eaten a few eggs. This year cold and wet weather meant that 35 of 50 eggs laid did not hatch and only 9 chicks had fledged while 6 pair where re-laying eggs.

Black Tern: The eastward spring movement seems to have ceased on June 14 and the return passage to have started on July 7 when one was seen at the Oare Marshes in North Kent followed by a couple seen on the French Normandy coast on July 8 when one also appeared at Farlington Marshes. Also on July 8 a single White-winged Black Tern arrived at Lodmoor (Weymouth) where it stayed till at least July 10

Cuckoo: One adult was still to be heard calling at the Oare Marshes in north Kent on July 12 and I see that if you want to follow the attempts by the BTO to track Cuckoo migration you can do so at http://www.bto.org/science/migration/tracking-studies/cuckoo-tracking

Pallid Swift: One was watched for 2 minutes on July 12 hawking over the river at Titchfield Haven. The distinctive features noted were its broad rough edged wing, slow flight and wing flaps.

Wryneck: What seems to be the first southward bound Wryneck for the year was at Minsmere in Norfolk on July 10

Sand Martin: Seemingly another species already leaving us, though the only evidence so far is a report of three birds seen at Portland Bill on July 10 and lumped in their report for the day as part of "a mixed bag of early migrants/dispersing youngsters".

Common Redstart: On July 3 Sandwich Bay caught their first autumn passage bird (a juvenile) on its way south and on July 8 a pair of early migrants were seen on the Isle of Wight.

Whinchat: The first reported on the south coast this autumn was by the R. Stour near Lewes on July 12

Willow Warbler: Christchurch Harbour reported their first departing migrant on July 14 - Portland had already reported a bird heading south on June 25 and Sandwich Bay had seen their first autumn bird on July 6

Chough: The Cornwall Birding Website ( http://www.cornwall-birding.co.uk/ ) has news this week of a good year for Chough breeding in the county - 5 nest with a total of 18 fledged young - and an address for news of this species at www.cornishchoughs.org (this site is difficult to navigate but when you apparently reach the end of the only page if you run your mouse over the seemingly meaningless jumble of characters at the right side of the page they become tags which will take you to various different news items (some of these can also be accessed by tabs at the head of each page)

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Common Darter: A report from a Norfolk garden on July 6 reads: ... "24 Common Darters emerged from a Norwich garden wildlife pond in the pouring rain! It had rained heavily overnight and during the morning, but despite the persistent rain 24 Common Darters had emerged! Several had been effected by the constant rain, and when the weather improved in the afternoon some could not fly away because their wings had stuck together! I managed to help some of them by separating their wings and they all managed to fly away!"

Species reported this week:

Norfolk Hawker, Broad Bodied Chaser, Common Darter, Small Red-eyed Damselfly,

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Orange Tip: The last regular report of this species for which I have a record is dated June 13 but this week a second hand report of one seen in the Henfield area of Sussex on July 8 was posted.

Chalkhill Blue: The first and so far only report of this species comes from the area north of Friston Forest near Eastbourne on July 11

Meadow Brown: Everyone has at some time seen tiny red mites/ticks on the bodies of these butterflies but I read this week in the Three Amigos blog (a piece dated July 8 by Mark Cutts about a visit to Portsdown in search of butterflies) that .. "on one of the last butterflies I saw, a heavily damaged Meadow Brown, I could see that some small red ticks were attached to its body. Steve Copsey has reported on these previously. They are Tromidium breei and studies have shown that they have no adverse effects on their host species." One reason why they are not lethal to the butterflies is that they do not attach themselves permanently to the butterfly - they wait on a flowerhead until a butterfly lands there, get onto its body and take a drink of its blood, then leave the butterfly when it next lands.

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Large Skipper, Wood White, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Ringlet.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0164 Cistus Forester Adscita geryon found in Sussex on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1670

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0164.php

0418 Apple Fruit Moth Argyresthia conjugella found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6074

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0418.php

0462 Ypsolopha sequella found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=736

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0462.php

0484 Epermenia aequidentellus found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4731

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0484.php

0515 Coleophora albitarsella found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3754

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0515.php

642a Metalampra italica found in Kent on JULY 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6291

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0642a.php

0658 Carcina quercana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=468

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0658.php

0718 Ethmia dodecea found in Kent on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4151

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0718.php

0779 Bryotropha affinis found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1833

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0779.php

0868 Helcystogramma rufescens found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=931

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0868.php

0889 Mompha divisella found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4282

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0889.php

0926 Phalonidia manniana found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6133

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0926.php

0945 Aethes cnicana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3582

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0945.php

0950 Aethes francillana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1953

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0950.php

0951 Aethes beatricella found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=462

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0951.php

1083 Marbled Orchard Tortrix Hedya nubiferana found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2823

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1083.php

1120 Ancylis mitterbacheriana found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2876

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1120.php

1169 Gypsonoma dealbana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5045

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1169.php

1216 Cherry-bark Moth Enarmonia formosana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=591

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1216.php

1234 Pammene regiana found in Dorset on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4743

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1234.php

1236 Pammene fasciana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1394

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1236.php

1306 Agriphila inquinatella found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=501

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1306.php

1356a Evergestis limbata found in Kent on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1578

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

1386 Opsibotys fuscalis found in Hampshire on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6413

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1386.php

1390 Udea prunalis found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=137

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1390.php

1397 Mecyna asinalis found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1122

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1397.php

1399 Dolicharthria punctalis found in Dorset on JULY 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3331

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1399.php

1415 Orthopygia glaucinalis found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1099

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1415.php

1426 Lesser Wax Moth Achroia grisella found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=546

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1426.php

1441 Oncocera semirubella found in Kent on JULY 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=609

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1441.php

1445 Pempelia formosa found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2455

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1445.php

1452 Phycita roborella found in Kent on JULY 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5082

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1452.php

1465 Nephopterix angustella found in Sussex on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5111

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1465.php

1483 Phycitodes binaevella found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4614

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1483.php

1488 Agdistis bennetii found in Kent on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3610

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1488.php

1504 Platyptilia pallidactyla found in Hampshire on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2705

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1504.php

1664 Rest Harrow Aplasta ononaria found in Kent on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3282

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1664.php

1690 Small Blood-vein Scopula imitaria found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=255

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1690.php

1705 Dwarf Cream Wave Idaea fuscovenosa found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2178

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1705.php

1705 Dwarf Cream Wave Idaea fuscovenosa found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2178

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1705.php

1731 Chalk Carpet Scotopteryx bipunctaria found in Sussex on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5946

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1731.php

1732 Shaded Broad-bar Scotopteryx chenopodiata found in Hampshire on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4600

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1732.php

1757 The Spinach Eulithis mellinata found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=99

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1757.php

1758 Barred Straw Eulithis pyraliata found in Dorset on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6709

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1758.php

1777 July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1777.php

1782 The Fern Horisme tersata found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1372

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1782.php

1793 Cloaked Carpet Euphyia biangulata found in Dorset on JULY 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3540

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1793.php

1813 Haworth's Pug Eupithecia haworthiata found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1019

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1813.php

1839 Bordered Pug Eupithecia succenturiata found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=112

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1839.php

1870 Chimney Sweeper Odezia atrata found in Hampshire on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3567

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1870.php

1894 Latticed Heath Chiasmia clathrata found in Hampshire on JUNE 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=66

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1894.php

1921 Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=127

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1921.php

1962 Barred Red Hylaea fasciaria found in Sussex on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=56

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1962.php

2009 Maple Prominent Ptilodon cucullina found in Kent on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=616

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2009.php

2035 Round-winged Muslin Thumatha senex found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=415

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2035.php

2047 Scarce Footman Eilema complana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2230

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2047.php

2049 Buff Footman Eilema depressa found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3121

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2049.php

2068 Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula found in Hampshire on JULY 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2195

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

2076 Kent Black Arches Meganola albula found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6429

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2076.php

2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe found in Kent on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2700

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2111.php

2110a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing Noctua janthina found in Kent on JULY 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2885

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

2136 The Gothic Naenia typica found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=133

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2136.php

2255 Feathered Ranunculus Polymixis lichenea found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=319

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2255.php

2268 The Suspected Parastichtis suspecta found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6033

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2268.php

2318 The Dun-bar Cosmia trapezina found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=59

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2318.php

2336 Double Lobed Apamea ophiogramma found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5070

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2336.php

2343a Lesser Common Rustic Mesapamea didyma found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3711

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

2345 Small Dotted Buff Photedes minima found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2764

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2345.php

2368 The Crescent Celaena leucostigma found in Dorset on JULY 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=172

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2368.php

2410 Marbled White Spot Protodeltote pygarga found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1044

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2410.php

2422 Green Silver-lines Pseudoips prasinana found in Kent on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2761

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2422.php

 

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Chrysops caecutiens: This Horse Fly has a taste for human blood and was knocked to the ground by a colleague of Graeme Lyons when discovered to be drinking his blood, allowing Graeme to capture it (on July 6 in the Ambersham area of West Sussex) and take the photo which can be seen at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jTG0Id3H9bA/T_aygONzT6I/AAAAAAAADCE/oPGyBglRe44/s400/pyranaeus+019.JPG

Lejops vittatus: This is an uncommon hoverfly species only found in association with Sea Club Rush with which it was found and photographed at Rye Harbour on July 14. For the photo see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/rxlejopsDsc01867.jpg

Tachina Grossa: Two specimens of this giant Horse Fly were seen at Dungeness on July 9 and you can discover the horrors of this 2 cm long hairy fly at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachina_grossa

Hornet: Surprisingly the first two reports of these have only appeared this week - one was seen in Botley Woods north of Fareham on July 1 and the other at Dungeness on July 9. For an excellent site telling you all you ever wanted to know about European Hornets go to http://www.vespa-crabro.de/hornets.htm (this does not cover Oriental Hornet species which can be twice the size of the European species but you can learn about the Japanese Giant Hornet at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespa_mandarinia_japonica

Beetle species in this week's news:

Heath Dumble Dor (Trypocopris pyranaeus): Seen by Graeme Lyons on Iping Common near Midhurst on July 5 - see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/natural-history-burn-out.html and skip down to the photo of the beetle and the account of how Graeme batted this monster to the ground with his bare hand in order to discover its identity.

Platydracus fulvipes ( a Rove Beetle): This is pictured and described by Graeme Lyons in the same blog entry as the Dor beetle above

Leptura 6-guttata (a Long Horn Flower Beetle): This is the name used by Richard Jones to name a beetle he found on July 8 near Fort Cumberland in the Eastney area of Portsmouth and until writing this summary on July 15 I had not been able to find a photo of the species but now have one at http://www.anitamadelin.com/?attachment_id=156 and another at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gails_pictures/5951110782/

Cymindis axillaris (Ground Beetle): The photo of this notable species, found at Rye Harbour (Castle Water) on July 10, is tucked in at the end of an entry about spiders (scroll down and you will find it at http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/10/ticking-along.html )

Black Belly Diving Beetle (Dytiscus semisulcatus): For a photo of a very large diving beetle found by chance not in a pond but on the lawn of a garden in the Hastings area see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/12/sedlescombe-beetles.html - this entry also has a photo of a very small Mallow leaf beetle (Podagrica fuscicornis) found in the same garden.

Bloodsucker Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva): These have just started to appear on the flower umbels of plants such as Hogweed and the first to report them was Brian Fellows on his Emsworth Community website - see his picture of them on Hogweed in Brook Meadow at Emsworth, taken on July 13, at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-037-soldier-beetles-bm13.07.12.jpg

Longhorn Beetle (Strangalia maculata): First report of this common species comes from the Straits Inclosure Woodland (part of Alice Holt Forest near Farnham) courtesy of the Hants Butterfly Conservation website - taken on June 30, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/chorusinthedawn/7474394002/in/photostream

Speckled Bush-Cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima): First report comes from Mark Cutts who found one on Portsdown on July 8 and photographed it to appear in the Three Amigos Blog. To see it got to http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/07/11/portsdown-hill-in-search-of-blues/ and scroll down to find the Cricket well camouflaged among Kidney Vetch

Great Green Bush Cricket (Tettigonia viridissima): It is many years since I last saw one of these but I did come across a not-fully-grown one on Portsdown on July 9. Hopefully I will come across a fully developed one later in the summer and get a photo! On that same outing I also came across several Dark Bush Crickets.

Roesels Bush Cricket (Metrioptera roeselii): Richard Jones encountered several of these in the area around Fort Cumberland when he was in the Eastney area of Portsmouth on July 8 - for a photo go to http://www.martinparrsnaturepics.com/page3.htm and scroll down to the last but one line of images, then click the photo of the cricket in the left hand column. The fierce looking 'weapon' on her tail end shows she is a female and will use this to pierce a plant stem before using it as an extension to her body down which she will roll her eggs into the safety of the plant stem.

Slender-horned Leatherbug (Ceraleptus lividus): Found near Portland Bill on July 10 this strange looking bug was the first to be seen on Portland and only the fourth for Dorset - for photos of this individual see http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_slender_horned_leatherbug_a_100712_450.jpg and http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_slender_horned_leatherbug_b_100712_500.jpg Contrary to my expectation this is not a recent invader of Britain but is a scarce resident of dry habitats in southern England. For more info and photos see http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Coreidae/ceraleptus_lividus.html

Harvestman species: The first of these insects belonging to the Order Opilones, and not directly related to Spiders, was found at Durlston on July 14. There are 27 species to be found in northwest Europe and you can see a typical example at http://www.arkive.org/harvestman/leiobunum-rotundum/

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Sickle Medick: A single plant, thought to be the only example of this species in Hampshire, has been flowering for ten years or so beside a slip road taking northbound traffic from the Portsdown Hill Road to join the northbound London Road over the hill. In recent years there have been fears that the plant might be eliminated by roadside grass cutting but there was a healthy growth in full flower when I saw it for the first time this year on July 9

Large Flowered Evening Primrose: The first flowers of this were seen on July 9 in both Emsworth and on Portsdown Hill

Upright Hedge Parsley: The first find of this in flower this year was made on Portsdown on July 9

Burnet Saxifrage: Another first flowering for the year found on Portsdown on July 9

Black Bindweed: Another first for the year found in an arable field on Portsdown on July 9

Blue Water Speedwell: The genuine version of this plant, not the common hybrid, was flowering in Brook Meadow at Emsworth on July 13

Red Bartsia: First flowering reported at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on July 13 (a day earlier than Durlston reported its first!!)

Basil Thyme: A good show of this on Portchester Common (Portsdown Hill) for its debut on July 9

Marsh Woundwort: First flowering for the year in Emsworth on July 9

Spotted Hawkweed (Hieracium maculatum): First flowers seen on Portsdown on July 9

Danewort (Sambucus ebulus): First flowers of this, seen at the colony by the Hayling Billy trail where it passes the end of Grove Road in Havant, on the evening of July 15 (too late for inclusion in my normal system for recording species in my standard sequence, hence its appearance at the end of the list)

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Dolphins: Bottlenosed Dolphins are a regular feature of English Channel waters (last year they were reported in each month of the year though mainly from March to October with numbers ranging from 3 or 4 up to 40). This week a pod of 35 were off Jersey in the Channel Isles on July 12 but the report which caught my attention was of 6 White-beaked Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) in the North Sea off Whitburn in Co Durham. This species is not often reported in the English Channel but it is a common species in our latitude and is most numerous in the eastern North Atlantic, being found from the east of the USA to the Baltic. The animals range from 7 to 10 feet long and are described as social and acrobatic. The dorsal fin is hook shaped with the point bent backward. You can watch a video of them at http://www.arkive.org/white-beaked-dolphin/lagenorhynchus-albirostris/video-00.html and that source tells us that the 'beak' (or snout) is by no means always white - it is usually a mixture of shades of black and white and can be all black. To see the shape of the dorsal fin and the beak go to http://www.arkive.org/white-beaked-dolphin/lagenorhynchus-albirostris/image-A14608.html though this photo has some strange reflections and the impression of the parts below water should be ignored!

Fungi: These are at last beginning to respond to the plentiful rain and mild temperature. Walking down Portsdown Hill past the QA Hospital on July 13 I noticed several species though I did not examine them or take specimens - one was the size of a small field mushoom but had a dark brown cap with distinctive radial splits revealing white flesh suggesting to me the common Tricholomopsis platyphylla while another tall and stout specimen with all its parts whitish in colour reminded me of the Clouded Agarics that normally appear later in the summer. Richard Jones, the Portsdown Hill warden for Portsmouth City, has also been impressed by the show of fungi around his base in Fort Widley. He does not claim to be an expert on fungi but says that 'by the main path south of the Fort' there is a large display of what he believes to be Hygrocybe persistens (Persistent Waxcap) which I have not come across before but which is very similar to the common Blackening Waxcap but which, unlike that, does not rapidly turn colour from yellow to black but 'persists' in its yellow colour - see http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Hygrocybe_persistens_qtl1.jpg and also (for a comparison with Blackening Waxcap) see http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/hygrocybe-conica.php Richard has also found a bright red waxcap which I guess is the Scarlet Hood that you can see at http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/hygrocybe-coccinea.php

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 2 - 8 (Week 27 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Crested Grebe: On July 2 there were still 184 (including 66 breeding pairs) of these on Bewl Water near Crowborough but by July 6 three were on the sea off Christchurch Harbour and half a dozen were on the water of Langstone Harbour as they start their autumn dispersal.

Slavonian Grebe: One was in the Exe estuary area of south Devon on June 30 but I think this individual has stayed there through the spring

Black-necked Grebe: Devon also has had one of these in partial summer plumage in Thurlestone Bay (southern tip of the county) for over a week

Great Shearwater: The first to be seen this year was off Start Point in Devon on July 2, earlier than usual. These do not normally appear in the central or eastern parts of the English Channel but are not uncommon passage birds around the south-west counties. See http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Great_Shearwater or the RSPB fact sheet at http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/g/greatshearwater/index.aspx and a rather poor and very noisy video of one in flight at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe2eu43UyMU

Balearic Shearwater: These have been seen off Portland on five days this week with a max count of 15 on July 1

Storm Petrel: More than 20 were off south Devon on July 4 with smaller numbers on several days

Night Heron: RBA had a report of one in Surrey on July 1 ...

Squacco Heron: ... and also one of these in Norfolk on June 30

Little Egret: Passing Langstone Pond at low tide on July 6 when there were no adult birds present I could see at least four nests were still occupied with well grown juveniles (two in one of the nests) which will probably fledge within the next week

Purple Heron: One was present in the Kent Stour valley lakes for at least three days from June 29

White Stork: The three birds that have been roaming round West Sussex since June 22 were last reported over the Kingley Vale/Stoughton area on June 30

Glossy Ibis: Two birds were reported in the Pagham Harbour north walls area from May 6 to 28 (after which one was seen at Farlington Marshes from June 5 to 16) and now one was back at Pagham on June 30

Mute Swan: Last week I reported a summer moult flock on the River Itchen in the Bitterne area of Southampton had grown to 37 birds by June 27 and this week on July 6 the number was up to 52

Shelduck: When I visited the west end of the Thorney Great Deeps on July 5 I could only see 9 Shelduck on the water but, with the tide having just reached its high point, Redshank and Oystercatchers were flying in low to roost on the banks of the Deeps and high above them were several waves of larger birds (around 70 in total) which appeared to be all Shelduck heading east. As they did not land in my view I am not sure if they were also driven by the tide (no reason why they should be) or were already on their summer flight to moult off the German coast (see http://www.birdsofbritain.co.uk/bird-guide/shelduck.asp )

Wigeon: A single drake stayed on at the Oare Marshes in north Kent when the majority of our wintering birds left to breed elsewhere but on July 5 it was joined by four newcomers which appear to be the first post-breeding arrivals. Small numbers of Teal, Pintail and Shoveler also seem to have arrived in England this week while over in the Netherlands on July 3 there were 'remarkable' reports of 53 Pochard and 81 Tufted Duck all at one site. On July 4 there was also a single newly arrived Long-tailed Duck at Spurn Point in Yorkshire while July 5 saw the arrival of 4 Goldeneye and 12 Red-breasted Merganser in the Netherlands

Marsh Harrier: The sight of a newly fledged juvenile flying at Rye Harbour on July 6 was probably no great surprise with several pairs breeding nearby in Kent but I was surprised to see a report of a single bird (age not stated) over Langstone Harbour on June 27 (I have not heard of one there since Apr 2)

Osprey: Reports of one at Fowey on the south coast of Cornwall on July 4 and 5 could be the first sign of this species starting to head south after failing to breed

Merlin: The Havant Wildlife Group feel confident that they saw a Merlin (as well as more than one Hobby) chasing Swallows at Thursley when they were there on July 7 which would make this the first Merlin to return to the south this 'autumn'. Last year the first returning bird was reported on July 25 with the main return starting on Aug 14

Grey Partridge: A local sighting on July 6 of a pair with four or five tiny chicks is good news indicating successful breeding in the wild but they were seen in a location where the survival of the young is doubtful. Those who know the 'Wickor Bank' sea wall running south past the west end of the Little and Great Deeps on Thorney Island will know that it is a well used dog-walking route, and for at least 400 metres of it any flightless bird is trapped in a narrow strip of land bounded by the sea on the west and the canal joining the two Deeps on the east. Unfortunately the adult Partridge had led their fightless young into this section and when the family was accidentally disturbed by Richard Somerscocks the adults flew to safety over the canal but had to leave their young on the seawall track where any dogs (Richard did not have any) would have had no trouble in catching them - we hope the family survived.

Quail: Reports this week from Cissbury Ring on the Downs above Worthing, from Martin Down south of Salisbury, from Burpham village near Arundel, and surprisingly from the disused but not yet built on Daedalus airfield at Lee on the Solent west of Gosport

Ruff: Three reports of birds (presumably on post-breeding return passage) - one of 11 birds at a Netherlands site on July 3, one of a single at a different Netherlands site on July 5, and one of two birds at the Oare Marshes in north Kent, also on July 5. Other wader species now returning from breeding, but often difficult to distinguish from non-breeding birds that have remained in southern England, include Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank and Greenshank

Green Sandpiper: Plenty of these now on passage with a peak total this week of 48 birds at 3 Netherlands sites on July 5

Wood Sandpiper: One seen at Sandwich Bay on July 5 and a report of 11 at a Netherlands site on July 5 (these were among the 48 Green Sandpiper and I have recently seen some controversy suggesting that 'spotty' juvenile Green Sands can be misidentified as Wood Sands).

Common Sandpiper: These seem to have started to return on June 21 and this week migrants have been seen at eight sites with a peak count of 15 at Christchurch Harbour on July 4 (and my first single at the Thorney Great Deeps on July 5)

Red-necked Phalarope: RBA reported one in Suffolk on July 2 which seems to have been the ninth returning female to touch down in Britain after abandoning her offspring to the care of males

Med Gull: On June 13 a flock of 176 were seen over Thorney Island causing me to speculate on what these gulls get up to when their breeding season is washed out and they have time on their hands (or wings). Further wandering flocks were seen in north Kent (76 birds over Reculver on June 25) and near Chichester (75+ birds in the Fishbourne area on June 27) and now Peter Gammage has found a flock of 151 (with other gulls) in fields north of Hambledon in the Meon Valley on July 7

Little Gull: If you have ever wondered where all those Little Gulls go at the end of their passage through the English Channel it seems we have sent the Navy to find out - our special reporter Steve Copsey has been sent to the Baltic on HMS York and is currently sending us daily reports on the bird life seen while on a joint exercise with the Russian Navy. Go to http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ and scroll down past the contributions of the other two Amigos (Mark Cutts and Tony Tindale, both currently confined to the Portsmouth area) to read the various contributions from Steve concerning Little Gulls, Golden Orioles and breeding Fieldfares to be seen with their young in the city parks.

Sabines Gull: An unexpected bird in the English Channel at this time of year, one has been seen off Folkestone on June 30 and south Devon on July 4

Herring Gull: While I know of at least one pair that have raised young in Havant this year (two chicks from a nest in Brockhampton Lane) and have seen other pairs seemingly prospecting rooves in Beechworth and Grove Roads I have wondered where the birds would locate a nest on these steeply sloping rooves. This week Brian Fellows has found the answer when he visited a house in Selangor Ave at Emsworth where another pair have also raised two young - their nest is wedged behind the chimney stack (see his photo in the July 3 page of his diary at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm ). Brian's Diary also features another pair of gulls which have nested in Emsworth for the first time this year - a pair of Great Blackbacks which have raised two young on a raft in the Slipper Mill Pond.

Iceland Gull: At one time Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were only seen in southern England during winter months but last year Glaucous became a year round feature at Dungeness and this year there have only been five weeks when I have not recorded a report of Iceland Gull somewhere on the south coast. This week an Iceland Gull was seen in Portsmouth Dockyard on July 4 and one was there on June 4 with one at the Blashford Lakes on Apr 24 and the last of a series of sightings at Broadmarsh/Budds Farm and Portsmouth Docks was noted on Mar 31. Another was in the Newhaven area throughout April, and May has had a series of sightings starting in Cornwall then moving through Devon to Dungeness. This change to permanent residence on the south coast, affecting arctic bird species, seems to have started with the Glaucous Gull that was at Dungeness throughout last year - perhaps they think its not worth going back north if global warming means there will be no snow or ice there when they arrive, on top of which our human depletion of fish stocks means that the birds can be more certain of a food supply from us humans and our rubbish if they stay down south.

Gull-billed Tern: One made a one day visit to Lodmoor (Weymouth) on June 29

Roseate Tern: Two were at Lodmoor on July 4 after one had been at Rye Harbour on July 3 and 4

Cuckoo: An adult was still to be seen at Christchurch Harbour on July 5

Short-eared Owl: One was at Farlington Marshes on June 27 and one was hunting the Lymington marshes on July 5

Bee Eater: Just one this week in Cornwall on July 5

House Martin: A report of a flock of 80 over the River Itchen just south of Winchester on July 4 made me reflect that the species is being made to look more numerous than normal because the lack of insect food has caused the birds to abandon nesting (which spreads them more widely across the country) and come together in big flocks where there is some hope of finding a meal.

Mistle Thrush: At the start of this year I was coming to think that Mistle Thrushes were birds of the past but having a pair apparently once more nesting here in the Wade Court area at Langstone and recently hearing of several small post-breeding flocks I feel that all is not lost (just 8 at Eastleigh on May 25, then 14 in the Findon valley at Worthing on June 17, increasing to around 30 in one field at Warninglid near Crawley on June 26 and now 20 on Badminston Common on the edge of the New Forest on July 2)

Yellow-browed Warbler: One reported at St Just in Cornwall on July 6 seems to me to be either a very out-of-season bird or a case of mistaken identity

Willow Warbler: Definite signs of these summer visitors already starting to depart. Last week we reported the first departing bird had been seen at Portland, then on June 30 a flock of 32 birds was seen at a Netherlands migration site and now on July 6 Sandwich Bay had its first bird heading south.

Golden Oriole: Also presumably now heading south one of these was in north Kent on June 24, another heard singing and calling at Bosham near Chichester on June 27 and two at a Netherlands site on June 30

Raven: If you go to http://www.sos.org.uk/index.php?option=com_jobline4&Itemid=10&task=view&id=19132 you will see a photo of a pair of Ravens taken by Alan Kitson in the Cuckmere valley on July 7 showing a distinct brown tinge to the head and neck plumage of both birds which are said to be adults. I seem to recall hearing of a brown plumaged corvid (maybe a Jackdaw?) in Sussex sometime in the past but cannot at the moment remember where, when or even what species but what I do know is that there is a species called Brown-necked Raven listed in Collins Bird Guide but unless these two have been blown north by recent winds bringing Saharan sand to Britain that species is strictly limited to desert areas. I suspect the answer to the question of the birds identity lies in the fact that Collins also tells us normal Ravens can occasionally show this variation in the neck feathers.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenia): This species is normally retricted to six widely separated areas of Britain (and one in southern Ireland) and the Havant area lies midway between its two south coast areas, one around the New Forest and the other stretching east from mid-Sussex into Kent and north to the Thames Valley. The species normally flies from early May to early July and being near the end of its flight period (and in a period of strong winds) may help to account for why a female was photographed in the Hollybank Woods (just north of Emsworth) on June 30

Black Darter: First report for the year from Surrey on July 1

Ruddy Darter: First report from Rye Harbour on or before June 29

Red Veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombei): This is a frequent migrant which has not yet established any permanent colonies in Britain but a report on July 5 of an invasion of at least 15 individuals at a Norfolk site shows it is having another go this year.

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Downy Emerald, Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red-veined Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Azure Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Gatekeeper: Last year the first was seen on June 2 but this year I had not heard of any when I saw my own first in Havant on July 4 (with others seen elsewhere on July 5). Nationally I see the first was seen on June 19 this year (the Butterfly Conservation national list of first sightings can be seen at http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/text/853/first_sightings_2012.html - maybe I will have to add this site for my weekly trawl for news).

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, White Admiral, Red Admiral, Painted Lady (just two seen at Arundel on June 30), Small Torotoiseshell, Comma, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0449 Ash Bud Moth Prays fraxinella found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=730

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0449.php

0644 Borkhausenia fuscescens found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1647

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0644.php

0905 Blastodacna hellerella found in Dorset on JULY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1381

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0905.php

0939 Aethes tesserana found in Dorset on JUNE 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6129

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0939.php

0972 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2395

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0972.php

1047 Acleris schalleriana found in Dorset on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5018

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1047.php

1201 Eucosma cana found in Dorset on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=506

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1201.php

1414 Synaphe punctalis found in Dorset on JUNE 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2255

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1414.php

1428 Bee Moth Aphomia sociella found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1331

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1428.php

1509 Stenoptilia pterodactyla found in Sussex on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1590

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1509.php

1634 The Lackey Malacosoma neustria found in Dorset on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3946

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1634.php

1766 Blue-bordered Carpet Plemyria rubiginata found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=503

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1766.php

1789 Scallop Shell Rheumaptera undulata found in Kent on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4663

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1789.php

1816 Toadflax Pug Eupithecia linariata found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1020

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1816.php

2016 Dusky Marbled Brown Gluphisia crenata found in Kent on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2682

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2016.php

2197 Southern Wainscot Mythimna straminea found in Dorset on JULY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5090

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2197.php

2198 Smoky Wainscot Mythimna impura found in Dorset on JULY 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5673

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2198.php

2204 Obscure Wainscot Mythimna obsoleta found in Dorset on JULY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1036

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2204.php

2301 Bird's Wing Dypterygia scabriuscula found in Dorset on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=757

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2301.php

2314 Dingy Shears Parastichtis ypsillon found in Dorset on JULY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5069

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2314.php

2323 Reddish Light Arches Apamea sublustris found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1038

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2323.php

2364 Frosted Orange Gortyna flavago found in Dorset on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1759

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2364.php

2387a Clancy's Rustic Platyperigea kadenii found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3894

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2387.php

2404 Eastern Bordered Straw Heliothis nubigera found in Dorset on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4450

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2404.php

 

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Volucella zonaria Hoverfly: First of these large Hoverflies seen at Durlston on July 6. If you are not familiar with this impressive species have a look at http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/archive/showphoto.php?photo=138410 (scroll down to the main photo)

Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum): This species only arrived in England in 2001 and is now widespread and fairly common throughout the British Isles but not many people will have seen a pair of them mating as happened in Emsworth on July 5 where it was photographed by Brian Fellows' son and subsequently shown on Brian's website - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-043-bumblebees-mating-05.07.12.jpg For more info or to contribute sightings to a national survey go to http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=content/bombus-hypnorum-mapping-project To be confident of identifying the species note that it is the only British species with the combination of an orange coloured thorax, a black abdomen and a white tail

Beetles at Rye Harbour: Two unusual small beetles seen at Rye Harbour this week have appeared on the Rye Bay website - the first on the old format website, the second on the new format. On June 27 the old site featured a rare beetle (Dibolia cynoglossi) whch feeds on the rare plant Red Hemp Nettle (the name suggests it might also feed on Hounds Tongue) - for this one see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/23/rare-plant-rarer-beetle/ - and on July 3 the new format showed a small weevil that feeds on Viper's Bugloss - see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/3/a-weevil-by-another-name.html Note that in this entry Barry Yates says that this Weevil is under consideration for introduction to Australia to save that continent from Patterson's Curse which is the name the Australians have given to a plant (Purple Viper's Bugloss or Echium plantagineum - not our common Vipers Bugloss) that has spread out of control over the continent and poisons cattle and horses which eat it. It seems that long ago a family called Patterson became homesick for the garden plants they had left behind in Europe and imported some which unintentionally escaped.... (The alternative name of Calamity Jane may refer to the homesick wife of this family)

Glow-worm: Last week we had the first report of these 'glowing' on the Isle of Wight on June 23. This week we have the second report that I have seen - it comes from Rye Harbour on July 3

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Travellers Joy or Old Man's Beard: I saw the first flowers on this at Marlpit Lane near Funtington on July 5

Rough Poppy (Papaver hybridum): John Goodspeed reported this in flower on Portsdown on June 27

Tutsan: First flowers in Havant on July 2

Hollyhock: First garden escapes were flowering in Emsworth on July 5

Long stalked Cranesbill (Geranium columbinum): Until last year I was only aware of one site for this in our local area (north of Rowlands Castle in the fields of Old Idsworth Farm along the south side of Huckswood Lane) but last year I heard of another site among the gravel pits east of Marlpit Lane where Peter Raby had found the species. My attempt to find the species there last year failed but further help from John Norton helped me to find the site this year and you can read my account of where they are in my diary page for July 5.

Strawberry Clover: This will soon be widespread but I found the first plants in flower at the south end of Langstone Bridge on July 6

Bush Vetch: Last year I found this in flower before April was out but this year I still have not seen it and the first report for the year comes from Durlston on July 5

Meadow Sweet: First flowers seen by the Langbrook stream in Havant on July 2

Dropwort: Found flowering on Portsdown on June 27

Enchanter's Nightshade: First flowers in Havant on July 2

Fool's Parsley: First flowers in Havant on July 3

Pepper Saxifrage: First flowers reported at Durlston on July 7

Fools water cress (Apium nodiflorum): First flowers seen in the Langbrook stream at Havant on July 2

Water Dock: This extra large species of Dock was flowering in Langstone Pond on July 2

Redshank: First flowers seen in Havant on July 3

Lax-flowered Sea Lavender: First flowers at Langstone on July 2 (I seem to have failed to record the first flowering of Common Sea Lavender which I feel sure is also in flower)

Creeping Jenny: This plant grows wild in my garden and was in full flower (perhaps encouraged by the rain) by July 2 so I guess it will also be flowering in the Warblington Farm Marsh (SSSI) field east of the cemetery

Vervain: This was seen in flower both at the Bridge Road carpark site in Emsworth and along the ERA track on north Thorney Island, both on July 5

Deadly Nightshade: This downland speciality was first seen in flower on July 6 by John Goodspeed at the Hawkley Warren site north of Petersfield

Dark Mullein: Also a first find for John Goodspeed on July 2 at North Common open space on Hayling Island

Moth Mullein: A couple of plants flowering at the Marlpit Lane sandpits on July 5. Last year I found several plants of this growing less than half a mile east of this site - also found last year in Prinsted (Market Garden site), and beside the Ferry Road on Hayling so it appears this is becoming common in the wider Havant area

Brooklime: First flowers for the year seen in the concrete stream channel along the southern edge of Havant Park on July 3

Common Cow-wheat: Seen flowering at Cowes on the IoW by Brian Fellows on July 2, reminding me that I used to find this each year in the unmade section of Prospect Lane on the north side of Whichers Gate Road in Rowlands Castle but nowadays I do not know of any site for it in the Havant area

Marjoram: Durlston was the first site to report the flowering of this on July 6

Wood Sage: I first found this in flower on July 5 but am pretty sure it will have been seen by others well before that date

Round-headed Rampion: Another first flowering recorded by John Goodspeed at Old Winchester Hill in the Meon Valley on July 4

Common Valerian: Also first reported by John Goodspeed as flowering on the lower slopes of Portsdown below the Viewpoint Carpark on June 27

Field Scabious: First report from Durlston on July 5

Narrow-leaved Ragwort: Flowering beside Farm Lane at Nutbourne in Sussex on July 5 (I gather that there are two motorway verge patches of this invader now established in Hampshire by the M3 near Eastleigh and on the M27 near Hedge End).

Golden Samphire: Already flowering at Oare Marshes in north Kent on July 5

Shaggy Soldier: Flowering on July 6 on the Emsworth roadside where it was first found last summer (on, I think, Aug 29)

Common Cudweed: Found on June 27 flowering on the Portsdown 'Top Field' by John Goodspeed

Welted Thistle: A mass of this in flower at Marlpit Lane on July 5

Cotton Thistle: The giant plant growing in a garden on the north side of Westbourne Road where it passes over the River Ems was starting to flower on July 4

Prickly Lettuce: Starting to flower on July 3

Fragrant Orchid: First report of flowering by John Goodspeed at Old Winchester Hill on July 4

 

 

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Leatherback Turtle: The first report for this year was one seen on July 4 from a boat off Penzance in Cornwall

Common Thresher Shark (Alopias vulpinus): Thresher Sharks have a very elongated top tail fin with which they stun prey fish using a 'threshing' movement (this fin can also be dangerous to sub-acqua divers) This is the only species which we are likely to see and only one or two turn up each summer but they are impressive creatures (up to 32 foot long). For a video of one threshing its tail as seen from a fishing boat off Devon in Aug 2011 see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-14375548 The first to be reported this year was off south Devon on July 3

Cuttlefish bone: The first which I have seen on the Chichester Harbour shore had been washed up on July 3 but I suspect these bones have been coming ashore for some time as a massive wreck of them washed up on Cornish beaches in mid-May (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-13451208 ). Trying to find confirmation of the time of year when they breed and subsequently die I came on http://www.pznow.co.uk/marine/cuttlefish.html which showed me what their eggs look like (a bunch of withered black grapes) and also made me aware that three species are involved. Don't be misled by the title of this website into thinking it is based in Poland - Pznow seems to be an old cornish name for Penzance!

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


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To see Summaries for July to September 2008 go to JUL-SEP 2008 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for April to June 2008 go to APR-JUN 2008 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for January to March 2008 go to JAN-MAR 2008 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for October to December 2007 go to OCT-DEC 2007 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for July to Sept 2007 go to JUL-SEP 2007 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for April to June 2007 go to APR-JUN 2007 SUMMARIES

To see Summaries for Jan, Feb and Mar 2007 go to JAN-MAR 2007 SUMMARIES


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