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WEEKLY SUMMARY

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Wildlife diary and news for Dec 26 - 31 (Week 52 of 2011)

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This summary does not include any New Year's Day reports but I have added my own list of species seen at the end (after 'Other Wildlife')

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Red-throated Diver: A lot were moving west along the English south coast this week with a peak count of around 103 in the Rye Bay area on Dec 27. On that day other sightings included 40 passing Worthing and 17 at Selsey Bill

Black-throated Diver: One seems to have been in the north of Southampton Water all week while on Dec 27 singles were seen in both Pagham and Christchurch Harbours. The only flock (10 birds) was off the Cornish coast at Gorran Haven near Mevagissey, just west of St Austell Bay

Great Northern Diver: On Christmas Eve there were three in the south of Langstone Harbour and four in Southampton Water with another four in Dorset at Studland Bay

Pacific Diver: A bird of this species was off Penzance in Cornwall from Jan 8 to Mar 14 and it may have returned - there was a 'possible' sighting off St Austell on Dec 26. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Loon for more about the species which is rare in Britain

Red-necked Grebe: Singles seem to be resident both in Chichester Harbour and Studland Bay and both birds were reported on Dec 24

Black-necked Grebe: No reports from Langstone Harbour this week and the number seen at Studland Bay was down to six but a small flock of ten was new in Portland Harbour and Torbay in Devon still had at least four

Cattle Egret: The Warblington bird was still there on Dec 30

Great White Egret: According to Lee Evans on Dec 28 there are now 15 of these in this country (and have been since Nov 30)

Glossy Ibis: Also in Lee Evans latest summary he tells us he is only aware of five currently in the UK, two of them being in the Kent Stour Valley

Spoonbill: The Poole Harbour flock of 15 birds was seen again at Brownsea Island on Dec 29 one day after Lee Evans had reported that the largest flock in Britain was the 9 birds at Isley Marsh in north Devon (showing that he is not 'all knowing')

Bewick's Swan: Last week I reported a total of 178 at Slimbridge as a result of their method of listing the birds seen at the several different lakes at the site - they gave 140 on one and 38 on another but I think the 38 were actually part of the 140 which had moved between the lakes as the report for Dec 27 just lists 140+ on 'the Rushy' (but I may be wrong as their method of reporting does not give consolidated totals for the site and seems to be a list of 'off the cuff' counts to attract visitors to come and see for themselves)

Black Brant: On Dec 24 one was on Hayling Island at Tournerbury Marsh

Egyptian Goose: 67 were at Eversley on the Hants/Berks border on Dec 28 (there were 174 there on Oct 5)

Blue-winged Teal: The female/immature bird which has been on the Longham Lakes (northern fringe of Bournemouth) since Dec 3 was still there on Dec 29

Ring-necked Duck: A male was found in the Chard Junction/Forde Abbey area of west Dorset and two were there from Dec 25 to 29 at least

Ferruginous Duck: One was a newcomer to the Blashford Lakes at Ringwood on Dec 30 and was still there on Dec 31 - it is thought to be a pure blood Ferruginous, not a hybrid

Goldeneye: These have been seen this week in small numbers in Langstone Harbour, Portsmouth Harbour (Cams Bay) and at the Blashford Lakes where one of the males was already displaying as if winter was over. Peak count was of 13 in the Kent Stour valley

Smew: One of my favourite winter birds but a very uncommon visitor to Hampshire - in recent years the most likely place to find one anywhere near Havant has been at the Chichester gravel pit lakes where I have (in the past) been lucky enough to see one of the males whose plumage gives the bird its alternative name of 'White Nun' (to see why have a look at http://www.flickr.com/photos/73441567@N00/474966008/?q=smew white nun ). So far this winter we have only had 'redhead' females (photo of one alongside a male at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smew ) and the nearest has been one on the Blashford lakes near Ringwood with another not far away on the Longham Lakes which are on the northern fringe of Bournemouth. Others have been at Dungeness and Rye Harbour but I think these too have all been redheads and the only males I have heard of this winter have been two at Newark in Nottinghamshire.

Red-breasted Merganser: No shortage of these now with counts of up to 42 seen from the Milton shore of Langstone Harbour this week

Goosander: This week's reports have come from the Lewes area of Sussex and Longham Lakes in Dorset (singles at both sites) with Hampshire doing best with up to 95 roosting at the Blashford Lakes on Dec 27 (during the day these disperse to a number of different ponds in the New Forest area). Another 11 could be seen in the north of Hampshire at Bramshill plantation on Dec 28. Sadly this species has become the latest target of the 'Brussels Bureaucrats of Birding' who have decided that the name Goosander should be banned and that we should call the bird 'Common Merganser'.

Rough Legged Buzzard: Lee Evans tells us that he was aware of 12 of these still in the UK on Dec 28, and this week I have seen reports of the birds at Burpham near Arundel and in the Folkestone area

Avocet: The number in Langstone Harbour (Broom Channel area visible from the Eastern Road bridge) was up to 36 on Dec 24 and by Dec 27 there were 8 in Pagham Harbour (no news from Nutbourne in Chichester Harbour)

Golden Plover: There were 3000 reported at Rye Harbour on Dec 30 but only 200 in Pagham Harbour, 300 in the Alton area of East Hants, and just 46 at Titchfield Haven this week

Knot: On Dec 27 there were 47 at Nore Barn on the Emsworth shore and around 120 in Pagham Harbour

Sanderling: The high tide roost at Black Point at the mouth of Chichester Harbour had 150 on Dec 27

Green Sandpiper: On Dec 27 I found the bird in the concrete channelled Hermitage Stream running through the Stockheath area of Leigh Park standing within inches of where I had seen it on Nov 16. Further upstream (just below Middle Park Way roadbridge) many birds were using the shallow water of the stream as the best place to take their daily bath.

Iceland Gull: One was seen in Portsmouth Harbour on Dec 27 and was seen again twice on Dec 28 (no further reports)

Sandwich Tern: Two were seen in Langstone Harbour entrance area on Dec 24 and five were in the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour on Dec 28 but it may be that these wintering birds based in the Solent harbours take quite long day trips outside the harbours as one was seen flying west past Worthing on Dec 27

Guillemot: This week these have been seen not only in the harbour entrances but also well 'inland' - in Chichester Harbour one was in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester and in Southampton Water one was off Hythe. On Dec 24 Portland Bill had a distant sighting of a Black Guillemot

Ring-necked Parakeet: Singles seen in both Chichester (Dec 27) and Lymington (Dec 30) but with no clue as to whether these had escaped from captivity in those areas or had flown from the over-crowded population in London

Long-eared Owl: One was seen roosting in the Exminster marshes beside the Exe estuary in Devon on Dec 27 and 28 but is thought to have been disturbed by birders hoping to photograph it

Great Spotted Woodpecker: Three reports of drumming heard at dfferent places in Sussex on Dec 25 and 27 prompted an earlier report of one heard in Alexandra Park at Hastings on Dec 11

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Also three reports of these - on Dec 26 one was seen travelling with a Tit flock at Avington in the Itchen valley north of Winchester; on Dec 30 a male was watched for 10 minutes in St Leonard's Forest near Horsham and also on Dec 30 one was seen in the New Forest (I think in the Denny Wood area)

Woodlark: On Dec 30 one was singing in the Ashdown Forest near Crowborough

Shorelark: Very few in southern England so far this winter but one which turned up at Swalecliffe on the north Kent coast on Nov 14 was stilll there on Dec 22

Rock Pipit: These are normally difficult to spot when creeping about in seaweed spread over a large area of shore but on Dec 26 I walked along the South Moors shore at Langstone at the top of a very high tide which left no more than a metre of seaweed exposed between the seawall on which I was walking and the water and this allowed me to see three separate birds along that stretch of shore.

Waxwing: No great news of these birds but anyone wishing to keep up with their appearances when they do reveal their presence can do so through a twitter site at @waxwingsuk - the only three birds I am aware of this month were in a typical site (a Waitrose carpark in Newark, Notts, but they flew off west soon after being spotted on Dec 22)

Dunnock: Their song has become much more frequently heard in the Havant area this week

Blackbird: Just one report of song this week 'somewhere in Sussex' heard on Dec 29 at 6:30 am in the dark

Mistle Thrush: One in full song from a Brighton town chimney pot on Dec 27. Of interest to me were two sightings of a single bird in the pony field south of Wade Court and seen from Wade Lane - hopefully it may show on Jan 1

Goldcrest: Song heard at Durlston on Dec 26. Also singing there was a Coal Tit - here in Havant Blue and Great Tits have been heard singing fairly frequently

Firecrest: One was seen in Leigh Park Gardens here in Havant on Dec 30 close to where it had been seen on Nov 20. Although not reported since Dec 18 the best place to find these beauties has been Abbotsbury in Dorset where 13 have been found on two days this month

Carrion Crow: The Weston Shore area near Netley south of Southampton remains a prime roost site for these birds and on Dec 24 the count there was of 370

Siskin: On Dec 30 a small flock of around half a dozen finches seen near the north end of the Billy Trail in Havant (opposite Fairfield School) may have been Siskin to judge by their 'complaining' calls though I did not have my bins with me to confirm this

Snow Bunting: There were still 4 at East Head in Chichester Harbour on Dec 24 (3 on Dec 27) while the regular two remain at Widewater in the Worthing area

Vagrants: Lee Evans gives the total of bird species seen in the UK this year as 451 - have you seen more?

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Nothing to report

Butterflies:

Nothing to report

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/

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found at Folkestone on Dec 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1799.php

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum seen nectaring on Pansies in Westbourne village near Emsworth on Dec 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

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

2258 The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii seen at Folkestone on Dec 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1105

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2258.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris): A queen was seen nectaring in Clanfield (north of Waterlooville) on Dec 24

Cave spider (Meta menardi): Not local and very uncommon but if you wish to extend your knowledge of spiders you can see two photos of this species taken in a cave in Staffordshire by Graeme Lyons on Dec 30 - see http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NQXWChRXwAM/Tv2hbLfmg7I/AAAAAAAACKI/bp9FRXqLdLs/s1600/DSCN6672.JPG and http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AjKHL8ii2g8/Tv2hj-4LYMI/AAAAAAAACKU/7AC8z4LgmnE/s1600/DSCN6678.JPG

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Lesser Celandine: Found flowering in two new places (one in Emsworth, one in Havant) this week

Marsh Marigold: Plants at Langstone South Moors which had been flowering on Oct 10 were flowering again on Dec 26

Common whitlowgrass (Erophila verna): My best find of the week was of this starting to flower in Havant on Dec 30. Last winter I did not see the first flowers until Jan 26 so this winter they are nearly a month early. To see them for yourself turn right from North Street in Havant into Waterloo Road just before entering the Rail Station forecourt, take the pavement on the north side and go past the first building (Morris Crocker offices) to their carpark entrance and then look along the base of the fenceline separating the pavement from the carpark - the flowers which I saw were near the foot of the second concrete fence post after the entrance.

Blackthorn: One bush already had flowers at the extreme east end of 'new' footpath connecting Southmoor Lane to the South Moors. The bush was in fact a little further east than where the path turns south and was on the north side

American Willowherb: A surprise find on Dec 26 was of one healthy plant with several flowers growing in the grounds of the Social Services building on the west side of the carpark on the Billy Trail immediately south of the East Street bridge in Havant. The plant may have ceased flowering but was just south of the parking ticket machine.

Hazel: The first catkins had started to open by Dec 26 on the tree overhanging the bus stop in the layby on the west side of the only road to Hayling (just south of the junction with Mill Lane at Langstone)

Grey Alder: By Dec 30 many catkins were open on a tree overhanging the entrance to the Prince George Street carpark which you pass when driving to the Waitrose underground carpark in Havant

Goat Willow: Two or three golden 'pussypaw' catkins were open on Dec 26 on a tree which overhangs the entrance to the South Moors nature reserve from Southmoor Lane in Havant (the tree is just outside the metal gate into the reserve)

Hemlock Water Dropwort: A big plant had come into full flower beside the Hermitage Stream where it passes the outflow of water from the Bedhampton springs when I was there on Dec 27 but it can only be seen if you walk to the end of the outflow channel (in which Hybrid Water Speedwell was still flowering) and look down into the stream edge.

Butcher's Broom: Brian Fellows and I have been discussing how to separate male and female plants of this strange plant (which often has hermaphrodite plants showing characteristics of both sexes - many male plant have a few female berries though a true female is normally covered with them). The best source of information that I have come across is a paper which can be downloaded as a pdf if you go to http://www.springerlink.com/content/n46pr12242117211/ (there is a download link below the main title of this paper).

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Slow-worm: A second-hand report of one seen outside the Westbourne Church Hall near Emsworth on Dec 27 does not mention the reptile's state of health. Normally the species would be in hibernation by now but it is possible that this one had not felt it was yet cold enough to hibernate and it might have been out seeking food (though the site given - outside the church hall - suggests it was in a tarmaced car parking area where it was perhaps more likely to have been left by a cat which had found it in hibernation, played with it as with a mouse caught as prey, and then left as inedible)

Fungi: Little of great interest this week but a find by Graeme Lyons is worth a mention. On Dec 30 he was in Staffordshire exploring Thor's cave in the Manifold valley and, when far enough in for no natural light to penetrate he came across a large and un-named fungus which you can see at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dNhSDuv0sn8/Tv2iN4wv84I/AAAAAAAACLI/bcnOXRr6b6c/s1600/DSCN6670.JPG

My own New Year's Day finds:

Route was from central Havant west to Broadmarsh then east along the shore via Langstone, Emsworth and Thorney Island to Nutbourne before coming home along the A259

BIRDS (48 species)

Little Grebe    Goldeneye    Herring Gull

Cormorant    Moorhen    Great Blackback Gull

Cattle Egret    Coot    Wood Pigeon

Little Egret    Oystercatcher    Collared Dove

Grey Heron    Avocet    Pied Wagtail

Mute Swan    Grey Plover    Wren

Canada Goose    Lapwing    Dunnock

Brent Goose    Dunlin    Robin

Wigeon    BlackTailed Godwit    Blackbird

Gadwall    Curlew    Song Thrush

Teal    Redshank    Blue Tit

Mallard    Greenshank    Great Tit

Shoveler    Green Sandpiper    Magpie

Pochard    Turnstone    Carrion Crow

Tufted Duck    Black Headed Gull    House Sparrow

Goldeneye    Common Gull    Chaffinch    Goldfinch

FLOWERING PLANTS (50 species)

Meadow Buttercup    Grey Alder    Oxford ragwort

Lesser Celandine    Goat Willow    Guernsey fleabane

Common fumitory    Dog's mercury    Ox eye daisy

Yellow corydalis    Annual mercury    Daisy

Charlock    Petty spuge    Winter heliotrope

Hedge mustard    Cow parsley    Yarrow

Shepherd's purse    Bur chervil    Scentless mayweed

Common whitlowgrass    Fools parsley    Creeping thistle

Sweet violet    Hogweed    Dandelion

Common chickweed    Wild carrot    Hawkweed oxtongue

Common storksbill    Strawberry Tree    Bristly oxtongue

White melilot    Greater periwinkle    Smooth sowthistle

Black medick    Red dead nettle    Prickly sowthistle

American willowherb    White dead nettle    Butcher's broom

Small nettle    Japanese Honeysuckle    Red Hot Poker

Ivy    Red valerian    Summer snowflake

Hazel    Common ragwort

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Dec 19 - 25 (Week 51 of 2011)

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BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Large numbers moved south into the English Channel this week. On Dec 18 reports of Red Throated from six continental sites potentially totalled 2302 birds with a definite count of 1344 at one of them in the Netherlands. On the same day another report was of 1800 off the Suffolk coast. Six were seen off Selsey that day and 100 were seen passing Dungeness of Dec 19 (when Durlston logged 25). 37 were off Portland on Dec 20 and on Dec 21 one was seen off the mouth of Chichester Harbour. Few Black-throated were seen but two went past Portland on Dec 18 and one was in the north of Southampton Water on Dec 19. 20 were seen together off Portscatho near Falmouth on Dec 20. Great Northern were the least numerous with a peak count of 13 at St Ives in Cornwall on Dec 18 but two were seen in the south of Langstone Harbour on Dec 20, 21 and 22 while the long staying bird was still in Southampton Water on Dec 22. A count of 272 'diver species' passing Pegwell Bay in Kent on Dec 21 shows that there are more on their way south.

Great Crested Grebe: After last week's report of a raft of 1484 birds off the Netherlands on Dec 14 the first reports of big numbers on this side of the Channel came this week with 550 off Dungeness on Dec 20 and 400 there next day.

Red Necked Grebe: One remains near the mouth of Chichester Harbour with sightings reported on Dec 10, 17, 21 and 22. Another is in the Studland Bay area of Dorset, last reported on Dec 22

Slavonian Grebe: Ten were present at Portscatho near Falmouth on Dec 20 and 2 were off Selsey Bill on Dec 18 with one seen nearby in Chichester Harbour on Dec 22 with a single off Lymington on three days this week

Black-necked Grebe: The group of 11 seen in Langstone Harbour from the Oysterbeds on Dec 17 were probably still there this week - I saw at least 4 from Budds Mound on Dec 20. The biggest reported count during the week was of 10 in Portland Harbour on Dec 21 with 8 in the Torbay area of Devon on Dec 21 but only 3 in the Studland Bay area on Dec 18

Shag: One or two are probably spending the winter in or near the entrance to Langstone Harbour but the last report I have seen was of one there on Dec 19

Cattle Egret: Last week it seemed that there were only two of these in Britain - one on Thorney Island and the other in Norfolk - but both may have moved this week. The Thorney bird has moved about 4km west to join the cattle on Warblington Farm between Havant and Emsworth (first spotted by Kevin Stouse leading a HOS walk party on Dec 18 and likely to stay for some time - last seen on Dec 23) while the Norfolk bird has not been reported but one did appear in Dorset (at East Holme near Wareham) on Dec 20

Glossy Ibis: Two have been in the Kent Stour valley since Dec 18 but it seems there are no others in southern England this week (not sure if any are lurking at Dungeness)

Spoonbill: A flock of 15 was still to be seen in Poole Harbour on Dec 18 but these seem to be the only ones in southern England

Bewick's Swan: The number at Slimbridge was up to 178 on Dec 23 with 6 at Harbridge near Ringwood and 7 by the River Adur in Sussex on Dec 22. A flock of 24 was on the Amberley Wild Brooks area south of Pulborough on Dec 19 and 21 but has not been reported since

Whitefront Goose: 161 were at Slimbridge on Dec 23

Red-breasted Goose: The Exe estuary bird was still there on Dec 22

Brant: Just two reports this week - one was at Weymouth (Littlesea area) on Dec 18 and the other was among Brent in the East Head carpark in Chichester Harbour on Dec 22. None have been reported in Langstone Harbour so far this winter.

Red Crested Pochard: Five were seen on the Blashford Lakes back on Nov 6 but apart from those this week has brought the first reports for the winter from the Wimborne area of Dorset (one on Dec 21) and Rye Harbour (two on Cstle Water on Dec 22)

Scaup: Two paid a fleeting visit to Budds Farm in Havant on Dec 19 and three were at Abbotsbury in Dorset on Dec 20 with one seen at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Dec 22

Surf Scoter: The regular bird was at Dawlish Warren (Exe estuary) on Dec 22 while the other wintering bird was at Penzance that day

Smew: Dec 18 brought a surprise report of one (redhead) at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood but there have been no other reports from there or anywhere other than the Dungeness/Rye Bay area which is as far west as they are normally seen nowadays

Goosander: Reports from eight sites this week but none so far from the Solent harbours other than a report of three in Langstone Harbour on Oct 23 (probably a mistaken id for Mergansers) and a more credible report of one on the Thorney Island Great Deeps on Nov 1 which was not refound. Maybe some sightings have not been reported as a result of a decision by the ornithological equivalents of 'Brussels Bureaucrats' who have recently published a revised list of 'internationally agreed English names for birds' that has been embodied in the Mapmate recording system and has resulted in the rejection of records for both Goosander and Marsh Harrier - these are now known to that system as Common Merganser and Western Marsh Harrier. So far the British Ornithologists Union, maybe on advice from David Cameron, are sticking to Goosander and Marsh Harrier (not sure where Nick Clegg stands on this issue).

Rough Legged Buzzard: On Dec 19 Lee Evans told us that 15 of these young birds are still in the UK after a very successful breeding season in Europe/Asia. The Folkestone bird was still present on Dec 22 and the Burpham bird near Arundel was seen on Dec 21

Great Bustard: Two reports this week of a bird with a radio transmitter around its neck at sites close to Weymouth - a bird with a similar transmitter was reported at Langton Matravers near Swanage on Nov 21 and 22. No current reports of the bird tagged 06 which was near Thurlstone in south Devon from Nov 26 to Dec 2

Knot: There may have been a wave of new arrivals in southern England this week with a report of 1500 on the north Kent shore at Seasalter on Dec 21 co-onciding with an increase of numbers at Emsworth (16 seen at Nore Barn on Dec 20)

Jack Snipe: A tale of an incompetent Sparrow Hawk and a lucky Jack Snipe came from the Arundel wetlands trust reserve on Dec 18. The Jack Snipe was on the ground when a Sparrowhawk plunged onto it and gripped its body in a non-lethal grasp whereupon a Crow dived at the hawk and caused it to fly off, releasing the apparently undamaged Snipe which also flew off in a different direction.

Black-tailed Godwit: These have been present in increasing numbers at Pulborough Brooks since Oct 30 when just 5 were present. The ten reports which I have picked up since then had reached a count of 63 on Dec 7 but shot up to around 140 on Dec 23. So far I have not seen any other reports from the inland sites such as Titchfield Haven and the lower Avon valley to which the birds generally move after Christmas.

Whimbrel: The wintering bird in the west of Chichester Harbour was seen again on Dec 22 in the old boating lake at North Common on Hayling Island (adjacent to Northney Marina). Ths Fishbourne Channel bird has not been reported since Nov 27

Ring-billed Gull: One seen at Radipole (Weymouth) on Dec 18 and 21. The Gosport bird has not been reported since Dec 17

Iceland Gull: One was seen near Lands End in Cornwall on Dec 16 and there was another sighting at Teignmouth (near Exmouth) in Devon on Dec 21 - is it fanciful to think these were the same bird heading east towards the Hamphire coast?

Guillemot: By Dec 23 more than 300 were on or near the breeding ledges at Durlston and most of the birds were acquiring breeding plumage - just one was in the Chichester Harbour entrance area on Dec 22 (two Razorbills were also there)

Little Auk: Latest sighting was of one at Durston on Dec 19 (there was also a Puffin there on Dec 23)

Desert Wheatear: Last report of a Northern Wheatear was last week in Devon on Dec 16 but a Desert Wheatear was still in Northumberland on Dec 19

Yellow Browed Warbler: I was surprised to see in Lee Evans round-up of rare birds in the British Isles on Dec 19 that he was only aware one in the whole area

Hume's Leaf Warbler: The bird which has been in the Littlesea area of Weymouth since Nov 26 was trapped by a ringer on Dec 21 giving Martin Cade a chance to take a close up photo which appears on the Portland website above the Dec 21 entry.

Great Grey Shrike: A second bird reached Hampshire around Dec 18 to be seen on Half Moon Common (some 3 km north of Cadnam) and what was probably a third bird appeared in the Bishops Dyke area (between Beaulieu and Beaulieu Road station) on Dec 21

Hawfinch: 28 were seen leaving the Blackwater Arboretum in the New Forest on Dec 18 and on Dec 19 one was seen in an unexpected place (on Butser Hill near Petersfield). On Dec 22 two were back at a regular winter site at Mercer's Way in Romsey

Snow Bunting: A group of three which have been at East Head in Chichester from Nov 11 to Dec 22 (at least) made a very brief trip into Hampshire on Dec 21 when they landed on the causeway leading to Black Point and almost immediately flew back to East Head

Corn Bunting: A flock of more than 75 were still in the Burpham area of the Arun valley on Dec 21 where a large flock has been present since Oct 6

Lesser Kestrel: Late news of a male at Zennor in Cornwall on Nov 1 has only just been published - Lee Evans says it is only the second record for Cornwall after one in May 1968

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

No reports from anywhere this week

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

The most unexpected sighting was of a Painted Lady seen at the QE Country Park near Petersfield on Dec 22. Other than that there were six reports of Red Admiral on Dec 22 from Gosport to Broadstairs in Kent with one sighting of Speckled Wood in Gosport on Dec 15 and one sighting of a White butterfly seen at 50 yards distance (maybe a Large White, maybe a female Brimstone) on the slopes of Portsdown Dec 22

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/

0819 Scrobipalpa costella found at Portland on Dec 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2763

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0819.php

998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana found at Portland on Dec 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

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

1157 Crocidosema plebejana found at Portland on Dec 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1600

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

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found at Lindfield near Haywards Heath on Dec 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1100

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1631.php

1638 Fox Moth Macrothylacia rubi - a caterpillar of this species found at Lindfield near Haywards Heath on Dec 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1999

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1638.php

1775 Mottled Grey Colostygia multistrigaria found at Portland on Dec 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6191

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1775.php

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found at Fareham on Dec 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1799.php

1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata found at Lindfield near Haywards Heath on Dec 21- see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=123

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1862.php

1923 Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria found at Durlston on Dec 22- see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1757

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1923.php

1932 Spring Usher Agriopis leucophaearia found at Durlston on Dec 22- see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5099

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1932.php

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta found at Portland on Dec 23- see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5348

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2092.php

2187 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi found somewhere in Sussex on Dec 21- see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3947

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2187.php

226A? Black-spotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginosa found at Sandwich Bay on Dec 22- see http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?print=1&a=2991 and scroll down to relevant section

This species was new to Britain when one was found at Dartford in Kent on November 8 this year so the current find at Sandwich was only the third for Britain - so far UK Moths and Hants Moths do not have entries for the species and Bradley and Fowler code 226A is merely one I made up to create an entry in my own database

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found at Portland on Dec 22- see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5855

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

The most unexpected sighting this week came from Durlston which reported a Caddis Fly seen on Dec 22 - no hint of the species so maybe there is one that likes to join the Fungus Flies which I regularly swallow at this time of year as I cycle through the small clouds which flutter in any beams of sunshine reaching us through the leafless trees. Google pointed me to http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2009/12/30/caddisfly-found-in-the-snow-snow-sedge-perhaps/ which shows that some Caddis Flies do appear in winter (at least in the US). A more comprehensive account of Caddisfly life cycles can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caddisfly which points out that the larvae can survive for long periods in very cold water - what it does not explain is the mechanism by which these larvae all emerge together though I suppose that, given that those larvae have very accurate biological clocks, the fact that, since the adults only survive for a single day, mating and egglaying is only likely to occur between males and females which happen to emerge on the same day and thus the biological clocks which govern the life span of the larvae are all started, and all end, together. This still leaves unsolved the mystery of how those super-accurate biological clocks work, especially in the case of those Cicadas with 13 to 17 year (species dependent) duration and which are accurate to within one day over that length of time. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magicicada )

PLANTS

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So far this month I have recorded 129 plant species in flower and I feel sure that the real total of 'out of season' flowerings is much greater. I have included the list of plants found in the Rye Bay area and pubished by Barry Yates at http://rxwildlife.org.uk/category/all-latest-news/plants/ - these include the following which I am not aware of in the Havant area ... Wall Germander, Scarlet Pimpernel, Black Mustard, Ragged Robin, Selfheal, Dyers Greenweed, Spurge Laurel, Corky-fruited Water Dropwort, Purple Viper's Bugloss and Betony. Interesting finds in the Havant area have been ....

Welsh Poppy: a garden escape by the Billy Trail in the Langstone area seen on Dec 21

Common Fumitory: Still flowering by the new carparking bays on Budds Mound on Dec 20

Sweet Violet: A few still to be seen in St Faith's churchyard on Christmas Eve

Musk Mallow: Still flowering on Portsdown outside the Driving Test centre on Dec 22

Round-leaved Cranesbill: Also on Portsdown on Dec 22

Yellow-flowered Strawberry: One or two flowers still out in Juniper Square, Havant

Small Nettle: Still flowering on Budds Mound in Havant on Dec 20

Burnet Saxifrage: Seen on Portsdown with Wild Parsnip and Alexanders on Portsdown on Dec 22

Yellow Wort: A single plant, with another of Small Scabious, on Portsdown on Dec 22

Hybrid Water Speedwell: New flowers just opening in the water channel taking surplus water from the Bedhampton Springs into the Hermitage stream on Dec 21

Ploughman's Spikenard: Seen on Portsdown with Ox-eye Daisies on Dec 22

Tansy: Seen with Musk and Spear Thistle on Portsdown on Dec 22

Butcher's Broom: Although coming into general flowering at this time of year I have, in recent years, had no difficulty in finding the first flowers in September or even earlier (this year, by diligent searching of the prickly stems, I found the first flowers on Aug 5). Knowing that this plant has separate male and female plants I have been puzzled not to find distinctive flowers on the female (berry bearing) plants. This week I again searched both books and the internet for a description of what female flowers might look like but found no information on this subject. Extending my search to the plants themselves I have concluded that male flowers are those which look like purple and white 'Passion Flowers' with their petals held flat against the cladodes (pseudo-leaves) from which they grow whereas the female flowers are all white (showing no purple) and hold their petals in a cup shape which I have in the past ignored as a stage in the opening of flat, male type, flowers.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Common Seal: On Dec 17 twelve were seen hauled out on the mud of the Emsworth Channel in Chichester Harbour where it passes the southern part of Thorney Island. One was seen in Langstone Harbour entrance near the Hayling Ferry on Dec 21

Bats Two flying at Durlston on the evening of Dec 21 at Durlston were probably Pipistrelles that may not have yet gone into full hibernation

Fungi: Many clusters of medium sized fungi found on Budds Mound at the south end of Southmoor Lane in Havant on Dec 20 were probably what is named Lyophyllum loricatum in Roger Phillips 1981 book (this name seems to have gone out of use since then and I am not sure of the current equivalent). See my Diary pages for Dec 20 and 22 for more about this find. On Dec 21 I found a cluster of what I think were Brick Caps on a Willow overhanging the Langbrook stream at the west end of Mill Lane at Langstone and with them was a big specimen of Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus) of which smaller examples can still be seen further east in the lane where I first noticed them on Nov 28. Jelly Ear (which I still think of as Jew's Ear) is a common fungus usually found on Elder trees but it has only just begun to appear this winter - the first two reports were both on Dec 18 and come from Portsdown and Durlston.

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Dec 12 - 18 (Week 50 of 2011)

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BIRDS

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Red-throated Diver: We are again missing out on divers on our side of the Channel - 2 off Selsey and 2 off Portland plus 1 off Titchfield Haven summed up the sightings reported on the English shore this week while the French had 108 off Normandie on Dec 12 and 441 off Le Clipon near Dunkirk on Dec 17 (the total of reports from 7 French sites that day was 871 birds)

Black-throated Diver: We had more of these but only 5 at Selsey on Dec 13 with 12 at two Belgian sites on Dec 17

Great Northern Diver: This was our most numerous diver according to the reports I have picked up. On Dec 16 Dorset had a total of 12 (six of them in Weymouth Bay) while a single bird was in Langstone Harbour entrance channel on Dec 16 and 17 plus one at Sandy Point on Dec 17 and another single in Southampton Water throughout the week

Great Crested Grebe: 42 had been off the Brownwich Cliffs (west of Titchfield Haven) on Dec 10 but no English flocks were reported this week whereas a Netherlands site had 1484 on Dec 14 (increasing to a potential 2403 birds when adding the number reported at a second site)

Red-necked Grebe: Three reports of singles on our side of the Channel this week - one off Eastbourne on Dec 11, one off the mouth of Poole Harbour on Dec 14 and one at Sandy Point (Hayling Island) on Dec 17

Slavonian Grebe: 8 were off Pagham Harbour on Dec 10 when 1 was in the north of Langstone Harbour seen from Budds Mound and another was off Lymington. On Dec 13 four were at Stokes Bay (Gosport) with three singles at Dorset sites on Dec 14 plus 2 off Beer (East Devon just west of Lyme Regis in Dorset) on Dec 16 and an estimated 4 off Sandy Point (Hayling) on Dec 17

Black-necked Grebe: 12 were off the Hayling Oysterbeds on Dec 10 with 11 still there on Dec 17 but these were outnumbered by 49 in Studland Bay (near the mouth of Poole Harbour) on Dec 10 and by 38 in Carrick Roads at Falmouth that same day.

Manx Shearwater: A single out of season bird was off Portland on Dec 16 (no substantial numbers have been in the English Channel since the beginning of October and they are not expected back until March or April)

Cormorant: These are now acquiring breeding plumage and birds with 'judge's wigs' and white 'thigh roundels' have been seen at Emsworth this week. The grey head markings have once again raised the question as to whether grey headed birds are of the continental sub-species to which the answer is that they may be but the only sure way of separating the sub species is by observing the size and shape of the yellow 'gular patch' at the base of the bill (and even that test fails in a good percentage of the birds). See http://www.paxton-pits.org.uk/id.htm for the best account of how to separate the subspecies using a diagram at the bottom of that page. Reading this I learnt that the amount of grey on the head can increase with age but this applies to both subspecies and the grey still remains breeding plumage, not to be seen throughout the year as our age-related grey hair is. One point of difference that I have seen elsewhere is that continental birds favour inland tree nests whereas British birds prefer the sea cliffs but that, I think, is a matter of necessity as there are few available cliffs along the European north shore east of France and nowadays many British birds also fly inland to nest on trees or pylons.

Shag: One was back in the Langstone Harbour entrance on Dec 16 with two there on Dec 17 and these may be expected to remain in that area for the winter.

Cattle Egret: Until Dec 18 the only news of this species for this week came in Lee Evans round-up of UK bird news on Dec 11 when he said there were only two Cattle Egrets in the country - one in Norfolk and 1 on Thorney Island (where I again failed to see it on Dec 12). Then, just as I had settled down to write this summary, Kevin Stouse rang me to say that he was watching two Cattle Egrets with the Warblington Farm cattle in the field which has a path across it connecting Warblington cemetery to the shore. I dashed down to have a look and, looking over the field gate at the south end of Church Lane where it turns into the church carpark, I saw two birds with the cattle. One was clearly a Cattle Egret with a short stubby yellow bill but the other, while smaller than an adult Little Egret which was also there, had a long thin greyish bill making it a juvenile Little Egret in my book. So I have at last broken my duck and got Cattle Egret on my year list thanks to Kevin.

Great White Egret: Lee Evans, in his Dec 11 round up, told us that there were 15 of these birds in the UK as a whole and on Dec 15 Dungeness reported that their two birds had possibly become three with other south coast birds at the Blashford lakes in Hampshire and another at the Oare Marshes in north Kent

Glossy Ibis: The Christchurch Harbour bird has not been reported since Dec 6 and this week the only news (from the RBA website on Dec 16) was of two birds in the UK - one in Essex and one at Leighton Moss in Lancashire where it had arrived on Dec 13

Spoonbill: Just one report this week of 15 birds at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Dec 11

Bewick's Swan: New arrivals at Slimbridge increased the number there to 145 on Dec 17 while the group of 5 in the Blashford Lakes area near Ringwood were still there until Dec 16 (the absence of reports since then may mean they moved on to Slimbridge to help swell their Dec 17 total)

Black Brant: The first to be reported in Chichester or Langstone Harbours this winter was at West Wittering for the WeBS count on Dec 10 but has not been reported again this week.

Red Breasted Brent Goose: The young bird which arrived with Brent at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 18 was there until Oct 28 but then moved to the Exe estuary arriving there on Nov 7 after being seen at Weymouth and Abbotsbury on Oct 30 and 31. It has been in the Exe estuary until Dec 14 at least.

Ruddy Shelduck: The single bird which has been seen in Pagham, Langstone and Chichester Harbours since Oct 14 was last reported at Ella Nore (near West Wittering in Chichester Harbour) on Dec 10

Goosander: The number using the Blashford Lakes as their winter base and roost (many of them fly off each day to feed in smaller ponds in the New Forest and elsewhere) was up to 76 on Dec 1 and reached at least 98 on Dec 14

Goshawk: At least one nest in the New Forest has been visible to the public via a remote camera in recent years and successful breeding there now seems to have increased the population of Goshawks in the surrounding area so it is not surprising that one Goshawk has been seen this week lookng for its supper at the huge Redwing roost at Long Beech Inclosure (between Fritham and Cadnam) while what is probably a different bird was photographed recently at a private site in the lower Avon valley (see http://www.chog.org.uk/Features/Goshawk%20in%20the%20Avon%20Valley.htm )

Common Crane: In his Dec 11 round up of UK bird news Lee Evans told us that he know of 31 Cranes in Norfolk, 8 in Cambridgeshire and 7 in Suffolk with others elsewhere and this week the 'others elsewhere' included a group of three moving around in Hampshire. On Dec 16 they were seen in the Test valley south of Mottisfont and on Dec 17 they were seen again in the Beaulieu area of the New Forest.

Avocet: By Dec 17 there were more than 450 in the Exe estuary and there have been sightings of smaller numbers at other sites - Langstone Harbour had 24 near Kendall's Wharf on Dec 17 and Christchurch Harbour had 6 on Dec 14 and 16

Whimbrel: Wintering birds have been reported since the end of October at Lymington, Eling (north end of Southampton Water) and at the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester but by far the most reliable place to see one seems to North Common at Northney on Hayling Island where one has been reported six times since the start of October in the old boating lake immediately east of the Northney Marina - it was last seen on Dec 17

Spotted Redshank: Since Nov 24 three of the sightings at Nore Barn on the Emsworth shore have been of 2 birds, the most recent being on Dec 13. 9 or 10 can still be expected on the Lymington shore and one was still at the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester on Dec 14

Little Gull: There are still plenty of these to be seen on the French side of the Channel - at Pointe de Hoc in Normandie there were 540 on Dec 11 and 4771 on Dec 12

Iceland Gull: What seems to be the first in southern England this winter was at Sennen in Cornwall on Dec 16. The first to reach the Netherland was there on Dec 4.

Black Guillemot: One was seen in St Austell bay (Cornwall) on Dec 12 (one had been off Portland as early as Oct 30) but I was most interested in a photo of one taken in Scapa Flow by Steve Copsey while he was on HMS York defending us from a Russian naval task force supposedly en route to the Mediterranean but having to shelter in the lee of northern Scotland to avoid the superior force of the weather. Not being familiar with the species I was surprised to see how much white there is in its winter plumage. A visit to the Three Amigos website at http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo will show you the photo but will also (as you scroll down the the Dec 16 entry) take you past Mark Cutts entry showing the finer points of Redwing juvenile plumage and show you an elderly Goldcrest (at least 3 and a half years old so nearing the record age for a Goldcrest)

Little Auk: Among the birds still passing over England on their way south one was seen at Ttichfield Haven on Dec 11 when others were seen off Pagham Harbour and at Eastbourne

Great Spotted Woodpecker: The first report of drumming came from the Hamble river valley in the Sarisbury area on Dec 12 (a Lesser Spotted had already been seen drumming in north Hampshire on Dec 1)

Swallow: A juvenile was still to be seen in the Thanet area of Kent on Dec 15 (I wonder if anyone is taking bets on a Christmas Day Swallow?)

Pied Wagtail: Two more roost sites were reported this week, both on Dec 15. One was of at least 100 birds at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, the other of around 200 birds at Eastleigh airport (birds seen in the carpark at 6am warming up for a dawn take off)

Waxwing: Lee Evans Dec 11 round up of UK news mentions a flock of 70 somewhere in Suffolk but the only other report this week is of one bird at a Netherlands site on Dec 17

Wheatear: A very late bird was still to be seen in the Seaton area of Devon (just across the county boundary from Lyme Regis in Dorset) on Dec 16, and a Desert Wheatear was still in Northumberland on Dec 15.

Redwing: The large night roost at Long Beech Inclosure in the New Forest which was first reported on Nov 28 reached its highest count of 9655 birds on Dec 16. Among the raptors which attend the roost is a regular Peregrine but Kestrel and Goshawk have also been there

Chiffchaff: Brief song was heard from a bird in the Chandlers Ford area near Eastleigh on Dec 17

Brambling: No large flocks in south Hampshire so far but at least 3 were seen in the West Dean Woods near Chichester on Dec 10

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Unsurprisingly none seen this week

Butterflies:

Red Admiral was the only species reported this week with just one seen near Eastbourne on Dec 12. A late report for Dec 9 from the Lymington area was of three of the butterflies enjoying fallen apples in the company of Fieldfares

Moths:

The only report I have picked up for the week is of a Death's Head Hawkmoth found dead in a garden near Eastbourne at dawn on Dec 12 in a place where it was not seen the previous evening so assumed to have flown in overnight

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Large Willow Aphid (Tuberolachnus salignus): Another fascinating observation by Graeme Lyons to be found in the Dec 15 entry headed 'Check out this freaky aphid!" on his blog at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/ Graeme found the insects concerned within 100 yards of the Sussex Wildlife Trust HQ at Henfield and it seems that they are not uncommon on the trunks of Willow Trees in winter months but their lifestyle is very unusual to say the least. For a formal account see the Natural History Museum website at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/insects-spiders/common-bugs/aphid-watch/index.html and among the facts that you will learn from this are that this 5mm long mini-beast is the fastest runner in its class; that it is at its most active in snow and frost in January (when all other aphid species have disappeared, leaving only their eggs to over-winter); that no males of this species have ever been seen; that they are found on the tree bark or on the ground moving from tree to tree but never on the leaves where you would expect to find aphids feeding on the juices to be found most easily in the soft parts of the tree; and finally that, while these creatures are relatively easy to find in the winter, none have ever been seen between March and July and no-one knows where they go in this period. Photos can be seen on both websites referred to above.

Yellow Dung Flies: Seen by Brian Fellows on Hogweed flowers at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Dec 15

Walnut Orb Weaver spider (Nuctenea umbratica): Richard Roebuck found three of these female spiders on Oak trees in the Henfield area on Dec 15 and his photo of one can be seen at http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/sightings.html after you have scrolled down past the initial barrage of adverts. Most of the large female orb web spiders that we see in autumn sunshine have now vanished, leaving their tiny spiderlings to wait for spring but Dick Jones says of this species that females (up to 14 mm long) can be found all year round concealed under the bark of trees and that the species is common everywhere. Further pictures and info can be found at http://www.eurospiders.com/Nuctenea_umbratica.htm It is also worth a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuctenea_umbratica which says that this spider's bite can cause a nasty itch.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Lesser Celandine: I had already seen these in flower on Hayling as early as Nov 11 and subsequently seen one in Havant on Dec 7 but this week I saw them at two further sites on Dec 16 and 17. On Dec 16 the first flower was open on the bank of the Lymbourne stream just south of the A27 Havant bypass (and those at Bound Lane in Havant were still flowering). On Dec 17 I found another plant flowering in a Langstone garden

Pale Flax: Still flowering at Durlston on Dec 16

Ivy: Still flowering and attracting flies in the Hollybank Woods at Emsworth on Dec 17

Japanese Spindle (Euonymus japonicus): The hard cases which have been protecting the developing fruit of this plant began to split from Dec 10, revealing the colourful orange coloured arils (fruits)

Among other flowers seen this week were Sweet William, Fatsia Japonica, Yucca and Narcissus in gardens and Winter Heliotrope, Cow Parsley, Hogweed, Feverfew, Yellow Corydalis, Wavy Bittercress, Greater Knapweed, Prickly Lettuce, Cats Ear, Nipplewort, Japanese Honey Suckle, Common Ramping Fumitory, Smooth Hawksbeard and Thyme-leaved Speedwell in the wild

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Weasel: These animals show little regard for humans and will take advantage of opportunities we unknowingly create for them without a word of thanks. On Dec 12 the first birder to enter one of the hides at Pulborough Brooks had the close company of a Weasel which brought a dead mouse into the hide, stashed it behind a loose board, and went off to do more shopping for his forthcoming Christmas dinner - all without apparently noticing the human observer.

Common Starfish (Asterias rubens) and Common Cockles: The Rye Bay website marine section ( http://rxwildlife.org.uk/category/all-latest-news/other/ ) has entries by Barry Yates showing two results of recent storms which have washed up hundreds of marine creatures to the benefit of gulls and shorebirds

Fungi: Nothing unusual this week - Brian Fellows found a Shaggy Parasol in the 'Westbourne Open Space' at Emsworth and found the Wood Blewitts still flourishing at Brook Meadow while I still have Meadow Waxcaps on my Havant garden lawn and found a cluster of 'pretty' Honey Fungus on a log beside Wade Court Road (see my Diary page entry for Dec 17 for photos)

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Dec 5 - 11 (Week 49 of 2011)

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BIRDS

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Divers: A substantial flock of 279 Red-throated arrived on the Netherlands shore on Dec 4 and has now dispersed to bring small numbers to sites all along the south coast though the only reports from the Solent this week have been of one off Titchfield Haven and one off Milford in the west. The highest count of Black-throated was 4 at St Ives in Cornwall though there were singles at Christchurch Harbour and off Portland. Cornwall also had the highest count of Great Northern with 6 at St Ives but we did have 2 at the mouth of Chichester Harbour on Dec 10 while one has remained in Southampton Water and two were off the Lymington area on Dec 4

Great Crested Grebe: The first report for this winter of the usual flock in the Solent between Titchfield Haven and Warsash was of 42 off the Brownwich cliffs on Dec 10 but these cannot compete with the total of 1718 off the Netherlands on Nov 30 (down to 579 on Dec 10)

Red-necked Grebe: One has been just inside the mouth of Chichester Harbour from Dec 5 to 10 and other singles were off Pagham Harbour and Christchurch Harbour during the week while another has been in Torbay (Devon)

Slavonian Grebe: The usual winter flock off the mouth of Pagham Harbour has increased to 9 birds on Dec 9 when one was off East Head within Chichester Harbour and three more were off Lymington

Black-necked Grebe: The only reports this week have been of up to 8 in Torbay (Devon) but I suspect that up to 50 have been in Dorset waters at Studland and inside Poole Harbour. None have been reported in Langstone Harbour since Nov 13. In Cornwall there were 38 in Carrick Roads at Falmouth on Dec 10

Great White Egret: Cuckmere Haven near Beachy Head was a new site for this species when one (possibly two) were seen there on Dec 3

Bewick's Swan: The Slimbridge website mentioned that 65 were there on Nov 25 but the species is not mentioned again until Dec 10 when 101 were present (with ten having arrived on the previous night). At Pulborough Brooks a party of six arrived, exhausted by flying into headwinds, and they were still there on Dec 10

Ruddy Shelduck: A bird seen at Ella Nore near West Wittering in Chichester Harbour on Dec 10 may be the bird that was seen in Pagham and Langstone Harbours, and then several times in the Nutbourne/Bosham area, between Oct 14 and 29

Blue-winged Teal: One was in the Scillies between Sep 18 and Nov 27 but then seems to have moved to Bournemouth where it was seen on the Longham Lakes from Dec 3 to 8 at least

Ferruginous Duck: A 'genuine' male was at the Fishlake Meadows in Romsey on Dec 4 while a hybrid was on the Longham Lakes north of Bournemouth on both Dec 3 and 4. No further mentions of the hybrid 'Fudge Duck' at the Budds Farm pools in Havant since Nov 30

Scaup: One was on the Longham Lakes on Dec 3 and a Lesser Scaup was reported by the RBA site to have arrived at a Somerset site on Dec 9

Eider: The first report of a flock (25 birds) off Titchfield Haven this winter came on Dec 9 (up to 55 have been in the west Solent off Lymington, reported on Nov 17)

Smew: One arrived at Dungeness on Oct 25 and three were there on Dec 2 but a report of 2 redheads on Castle Water at Rye Harbour suggests that more have arrived (another two were reported in the Netherlands on Dec 8)

Rough-legged Buzzard: On Dec 5 there were definitely two together at Burpham near Arundel and at least one was still there on Dec 9 but the bird which arrived at Folkestone on Nov 1 has not been seen since Dec 2

Woodcock: These continue to arrive on our south coast in ons and twos (e.g.singles at Dungeness on Dec 2 and 6) but an influx of more than 20 to the Scillies on Dec 4 was unusual

Black-tailed Godwit: The number at Pulborough Brooks was up to 63 on Dec 7 but I have not yet seen any reports of them in the Hampshire Avon Valley nor at Ttichfield Haven in the last couple of months.

Whimbrel: A wintering bird has been seen at Northney on Hayling Island on Oct 2, Nov 4, 6, 13 and Dec 9 - I think it is usually seen in the old boating lake (its walls laong ago breached by the sea) at North Common

Curlew: A single full albino bird currently in Pagham Harbour was last seen from Church Norton on Dec 9

Spotted Redshank: One (occasionally two) continue to appear fairly regularly at Nore Barn (Emsworth) by the stream which runs into the Harbour east of the wood but the news this week is that the number of birds on the Lymington Marshes reached 10 this week on Dec 7

Phalaropes: Grey Phalaropes can still be seen at several sites but it was unusual to have a single Red-necked bird with a Grey at an Ayrshire site on Dec 7. At least one Grey has been at Chesil Cove (Weymouth) from Dec 4 to 10 with two there on Dec 9

Pomarine Skua: A surge of these has been off the near continent this week with a peak of 255 off the Netherlands on Dec 4, 156 on Dec 5 and 65 on Dec 7

Little Gull: Another spate of these brought 2031 off the Pointe de hoc in Normandie onDec 10

Iceland Gull: This week hs brought the first reports of this species for the current winter. Singles were seen at different Netherlands sites on Dec 4 and 9 with one off the Yorkshire coast on Dec 5

Glaucous Gull: Two were in the Sangatte area near Calais on Dec 9 and two were off the Yorkshire coast on Dec 10 (one had been seen there on Dec 5

Sandwich Tern: 17 were seen together in Chichester Harbour on Dec 3 while on Dec 6 there were still 220 on the Normandie coast across the Channel

Auks: On Dec 4 one Netherlands site had 6278 mixed Guillemot and Razorbill and adding the numbers from seven other nearby sites would give a total of 18,261 birds

Black Guillemot: Singles had been seen of Portland on Oct 30 and Nov 5 with another there on Dec 10

Little Auk: Flamborough Head in Yorkshire reported 115 on Dec 10 and other counts from nine other sites gave a total of 203. Locally one was at Titchfield Haven on Dec 11 when another flew south past the mouth of Pagham Harbour heading for Selsey.

Puffin: Flamborough also recorded 30 Puffins on Dec 10

Short-eared Owl: Top scoring sites this week have been Beeding Brooks on the R Arun in West Sussex on Dec 3, Waltham Brooks on the Arun near Pulborough with 5 on Dec 5, the Whitsbury area just north of Fordingbridge with 4 on Dec 3 when Farlington Marshes had 2.

Kingfisher: An unusual incident was seen in the Cuckmere valley near Beachy Head on Dec 10 when a Kingfisher flying over water was pursued by a Crow and had to 'belly flop into the water to evade capture'.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: One clearly seen at Bramshill Plantation near Fleet in north Hants was drumming on Dec 1

Swallow: Singles were seen on Dec 7 in the Thanet area of Kent and at Bude in Cornwall and there was another sighting at Bude on Dec 9

Waxwing: Three birds were seen near an East Grinstead housing estate by the A264 east of Crawley on Dec 6

Wheatear: One was still present at Seaton in Devon on Dec 8

Ring Ouzel: Still at least two at Penzance on Dec 6

Fieldfare: I broke my duck with a single at Farlington Marshes on Dec 5 (my first single Redwing was with it!)

Redwing: The highest reported count at the Long Beech Inclosure roost site near Fritham in the New Forest remains 8770 on Dec 2 but a count of 7160 was reported this week on Dec 7. The roost has become known to at least one Peregrine and two Sparrowhawks which are there each evening to collect their suppers. The first report of Redwing within the Havant area comes from Staunton Country Park 'Top Field' on Dec 10 (I guess the Top Field is the one with what looks like a stone bandstand on your right as you head north from the Middle Park Way entrance, just before the path goes downhill into Hammonds Land Copse) - Mapref SU 723093

Garden Warbler: The bird which was in a Penzance (Cornwall) garden on Nov 30 was seen again on Dec 5

Great Tit: One was singing at Durlston on Dec 6 and I heard one in Havant on Dec 10

Twite: It's worth keeping your eyes open for 'Linnets with yellow bills' as four Twite were seen at Turnworth (not far north west of Blandford) in Dorset on Dec 9 and three had reached the Thanet area of Kent on Nov 25 (87 were seen in the Netherlands on Nov 28)

Crossbill: A party of five including two males were seen in Stansted Forest on Dec 10 (probably in the Larch plantations west of the Forestside road)

Snow Bunting: Three were still at East Head in Chichester Harbour on Dec 4 and two were at Widewater (Lancing near Worthing) on Dec 5 while one was well inland at Cadman's Pool near Fritham in the New Forest on Dec 6

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Species reported this week:

Migrant Hawker (one still to be seen in Somerset on Dec 3), Common Darter (three reports this week with five seen in the New Forest - still egglaying - on Dec 3 and the last in Norfolk on Dec 7)

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Red Admiral (eight reports this week with the last two on Dec 10 in the Brighton area), Speckled Wood (just one seen at Gosport on Dec 3)

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/

0998 Light Brown Apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) several at Portland on Dec 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

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

1395 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella also at Portland on Dec 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1793

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1398.php

1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata at Pegwell Bay in Kent on Dec 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4948

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

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata flying in the Southampton Lords Wood area on Dec 1 despite heavy rain - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1799.php

1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata one at Portland on Dec 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=123

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1862.php

1933 Scarce Umber Agriopis aurantiaria trapped at Saltwood in the Folkestone area on Dec 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1799

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1933.php

2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba found at Portland on Dec 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=117

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2107.php

2258 The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii found at Pegwell Bay in Kent on Dec 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1105

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2258.php

2259 Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula found at Saltwood (Folkestone) on Dec 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1112

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2259.php

2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa found at Portland on Dec 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1731

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2306.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found at Portland on Dec 4 and at Folkestone on Dec 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5855

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Cave Fly (Scoliocentra villosa): Reported on Graeme Lyons blog for Dec 4 when he found one in a winter bat roost cave somewhere in Sussex (his photo at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7vN4I6p_8Eg/Ttu6UeaxE0I/AAAAAAAACDg/AEXGbdjlHkA/s1600/Cave+027.JPG and another can be seen at http://www.diptera.info/photogallery.php?photo_id=2705 )

Yellow Meadow Ant (Lasius flavus): On Dec 8 the Durlston Rangers blog mentioned that the cattle on the reserve had broken open several anthills in order to lick the soil inside, apparently deriving minerals from the soil

Lesser Bloody Nosed Beetle (Timarcha goettingenis): When Graeme Lyons was on Ditchling Beacon on Dec 9 he found one of these still active despite a fierce chill wind and lots of rain

Bronze Shieldbug (Troilus luridus): Found sunning itself on a Silver Birch tree in an East Sussex wood on Nov 27

Green Shieldbug nymph (Palomena prasina): Also found in the same wood on Nov 27

Cave spider (Metellina merianae): Also found by Graeme Lyons in the Sussex Bat Roost cave on Dec 4 - a comprehensive series of photos covering every aspect of this spider can be seen at http://www.eurospiders.com/Metellina_merianae.htm

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

The 15 species listed here are the more surprising finds out of the full list of 108 species found flowering since Dec 1

Lesser Celandine: After seeing a dozen plants flowering beside Bound Lane on Hayling back on Nov 15 (reported there on Nov 11) I found a single bright flower in Havant outside the Eastern Road cemetery on Dec 7

Common Fumitory: Still flowering beside the new carpark on top of Budds Mound (overlooking the Budds farm pools) on Nov 28. Common Ramping Fumitory was still flowering (just) outside the New Lane allotments in Havant on Dec 7

Common Dog Violet: Reported flowering in the Rye Bay area on Dec 4

Sweet Violet: Still flowering at St Faiths Church in Havant

White Campion: Flowering at Broadmarsh on Dec 5

Dyers Greenweed: Flowering in the Rye Bay area on Dec 4

Common Vetch: Flowering on the Langstone South Moors shore on Nov 28

White Melilot: Still flowering at Broadmarsh on Dec 5

Dog Rose: Last report was from Thorney Island on Dec 3

Spurge Laurel: Starting to flower at Seddlescombe in the Hastings area on Dec 4

Bur Chervil: A patch of this just starting to flower on Dec 5 in a ditch around the western carpark at Broadmarsh was the most surprising of my own finds this week - photos on the Dec 5 page of my diary at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm

Wild Primrose: These were out in force on the Isle of Wight back on Nov 27 and more were seen in the Rye Bay area onn Dec 4

Cowslip: What was probably a cultivated species (which flowers earlier than the wild ones - but not this early!) was flowering in a Waterlooville garden on Dec 5

Wall Germander: Flowering in the Rye Bay area on Dec 4

Harebell: Another very unexpected flower in December this was found by Graeme Lyons flowering on the Sussex Downs (Ditchling Beacon) on Dec 9

Orchid leaves: What I think were the leaves of both Bee and Pyramidal orchid were to be seen at several points beside the Havant to Portsmouth cycleway where it passes the Chalkdock area of Langstone Harbour on Dec 5

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fish migration: As one of those who knows very little about what goes on below the surface of the sea I was interested in the news from Durlston that Cod and Whiting are starting to re-appear in Dorset waters as these fish move south to warmer waters for the winter - presumably as cold blooded creatures they do not feel the chill themselves but find that as the waters cool so do their food supplies diminish.

Fungi:

Black Earthtongue: The first of Graeme Lyons discoveries this week made on Malling Down near Lewes - although he could not be sure of the species you can see his photo of it in his Dec 6 blog entry at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/ A similar species, which I assume to be Trichoglossum hirsutum, lives under my garden lawn but, as is the way with fungi, it has not fruited this year so I have not seen it above ground

Brick Tuft (Hypholoma leteritium): Also to be seen in Graeme's blog (Dec 4) is this commoner species seen by him at an undisclosed location in Sussex (secret because it was near a winter bat roost cave)

Cup Fungus (Sowerbyella radiculata): This rarity (only the third known occurrence in Dorset) was seen at the Portland Bird Observatory on Dec 10 - photo with Dec 10 entry at http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/aa_latestnews.htm

Stinking Dapperling (Lepiota cristata): This got a mention in last week's summary when it was found near Woodlands Lane (east of Stansted Park) and a few week's ago I found a mass of it outside the Havant Borough Council site in Southmoor Lane. You can see a good photo of this fairly common species at http://www.uoguelph.ca/~gbarron/GILL%20FUNGI/LIGHT/lepiot4.jpg

Stubble Rosegill (Volvariella gloiocephala): This was also mentioned in last week's summary after I had found it on Budd's Mound (above the sewage works pools at the end of Southmoor Lane in Havant) and you can see a photo showing the 'pseudo volva' enclosing the base of the stem at http://www.bioimages.org.uk/html/p2/p22904.php

Wood Blewitt (Lepista nuda): Last week I demonstrated my ignorance of fungi (and the difficulty of naming them from a single photo) when I argued that Brian Fellows photo of a troop of these which had appeared on a recently cleared bramble patch at Brook Meadow in Emsworth had caps that were far too 'amethyst' in colour to be Blewitts (which in my experience can have brightly coloured 'blue' stems and gills but have caps with a mainly brown tinge. To prove they were Blewitts Brian added a second photo to his website showing the indubitable underside of a Blewitt and both photos can be seen in the Dec 4 entry at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm

Honey Fungus (Armillaria mellea): This is now to be seen everywhere and my only reason for mentioning it is that frost this weekend had changed the colour of several whole troops of apparently fresh specimens from their distinctive 'honey colour' to jet black - another example of the many pitfalls in the way of the proper identification of fungi by amateurs

Saffron Bolete (Leccinum crocipodium): A single example of this was found by myself on Dec 10 in the grass on the west side of the short road called Seafields connecting Warblington Road at Emsworth to Beacon Square. My photo can be seen in the Dec 10 entry at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm where there is a link to a further photo of the species. This find also raises the subject of 'fungal hotspots' - why should this short stretch of road produce so many varied species of fungi? I suspect part of the answer is that it has managed to evade poisoning by the chemicals we apply to our fields and gardens and so managed to sustain the conditions that favoured fungi in the past - and talking of the past I suspect that Oak trees once grew where the houses along Seafields Road now stand and have left some of their decaying material in the ground to sustain the Saffron Bolete which is normally associated with them. Another example fungi living on material that is hidden to our eyes has been the appearance this week of a cluster of Honey Fungus in grass at Danbury Court in Emsworth where no trees are visible nowadays.

How fungi made Earth fit for humans: In my Dec 7 Diary entry I picked out one aspect of the fascinating BBC 4 programme entitled "After Life: The Strange Science of Decay" - the section which I mentioned then was on the extraordinary features of Slime Moulds which I learnt are the largest single celled organisms to be found on Earth and amongst whose abilties is that they are better at constructing an efficient transport network (in their case to carry food that they find scattered on the surface they cover to where it is needed for sustaining the cell) than are the human designers of railway systems connecting the parts of large connurbations. Another of their abilities is that they generate electrical pulses which (when the fungal cell is placed on a computer chip controlling the motors which drive and steer a wheeled frame similar to those which drive Daleks) drive it in the methodical fashion that they employ in their own search for food. Another thing brought out in this programme is that, for a geologically long period in the early history of the Earth, the fungi which had developed to recycle most dead material were unable to break down wood and this meant that living trees were absorbing carbon dioxide through their leaves but fungi were unable to break down the wood of dead trees in order to release the carbon back into the atmosphere - not only was the earth becoming cluttered with dead wood but the atmosphere was changing to a mixture that could not support animal life. When fungi eventually learnt to recycle wood they genuinely did 'save the planet' for human life to develop!

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Nov 28 - Dec 4 (Week 48 of 2011)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Red-throated Diver: The best place to see these is currently The Hague (near Rotterdam) in the Netherlands on the sea off the part of the town known as Scheveningen where a flock of 448 on Nov 27 grew to 1083 on Nov 28 and then to 1131 on Dec 12. These are just the counts at the Scheveningen site but on Nov 28 the 1083 there was only part of an overall total of 2680 birds at four sites. The best we could do locally this week was just one off Christchurch Harbour on Nov 29 and one off Pagham Harbour on Dec 2. No Black-throated reported this week but one Great Northern was in Southampton Water with other singles off the mouth of Chichester Harbour, Christchurch Harbour, Pagham Harbour, Beesands in Devon (between Dartmouth and Start Point) and with two in the west Solent off Lymington

Great Crested Grebe: The biggest flock of these as also on the sea off The Hague with 951 reported off De Vulkaan on Nov 30

Slavonian Grebe: A traditional winter site for these is off the mouth of Pagham Harbour and 11 had been there on Nov 26 but only 3 were there on Dec 2. This week's hotspot for them on our south coast was the West Solent with 4 off Lymington on Dec 2. Runner up was the Broadmarsh area of Langstone Harbour with 2 seen on Nov 30

Black-necked Grebe: The total in Studland Bay plus the adjacent part of Poole Harbour was up to 49 on Nov 29 but the only report from the Solent Harbours this week was of 3 in the Fareham Creek area of Portsmouth Harbour

Shag: Since one was seen inside the mouth of Langstone Harbour on Nov 7 there have been no further reports from that area and this week's news is of 25 on the sea off Christchurch Harbour (probably local birds that breed on the Isle of Wight)

Cattle Egret: Lee Evans latest bulletin on Nov 30 said there were two of these in Britain, one of them being the bird at Thornham Marshes on Thorney Island

Great White Egret: Birds remain at the Blashford Lakes and at Dungeness but there has also been a small flurry of reports from new sites this week. One flyng over the West Moors area of Dorset on Nov 30 could have been the Blashford bird taking a day trip (it was back at Blashford on Dec 3) but it may have been part of an influx as on Nov 30 the RBA daily bulletin reported a total of 15 birds in Britain. Dec 2 brought a report of one in a sheep field at Barnham (north of Bognor Regis) and Dec 3 brought news of one over the M27 just west of Southampton and another (maybe the same) at Titchfield Haven

Bewick's Swan: No big movements but on Dec 3 a party of 5 (including one juvenile) turned up at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood, hopefully to remain in the Ibsley area through the winter as a token remnant of the regular flock that used to spend the winter there (182 were there in the 1989/90 winter)

Brent Goose: The presence of some 600 birds feeding on the Warblington Farm fields between Langstone and Emsworth on Dec 2 marked a new stage in the winter routine of these local birds

Shelduck: Another sign of the progress of winter in the Langstone area was the sight of 18 Shelduck visible from the Ship Inn at Langstone on Dec 3 (in past winters the count from here has usually risen to around 100 in January)

Pintail: There are plenty of these now in southern England (e.g. 110 at Pulborough Brooks on Dec 2) but the sight of the first four back on the Emsworth shore on Nov 30 was another local milestone

Fudge Duck (Pochard x Ferruginous hybrid): Martin Gillingham was the first to report the return of this regular winter visitor to Budds Farm pools on Nov 18 and Martin saw the bird again when he visited the pools on Nov 30

Surf Scoter: The bird which flew west through the west Solent and Poole Harbour on Nov 21 seems to have ended up at Polzeath (near Wadebridge and Padstow on the north coast of Cornwall) where one was seen on Dec 3

Smew: The number at Dungeness RSPB on Dec 2 had risen to 3

Red-breasted Merganser: A flock of 16 were fishing off Langstone village on Dec 3 while a total of 78 could be seen in Langstone Harbour from the Milton shore on Nov 27

Goosander: The roost flock at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood was up to 76 on Dec 1

White-tailed Sea Eagle: A sighting of one at Eemshaven on the Netherlands coast where it meets the German border near Emden could be an indication of one heading our way. Last winter's local bird which was in the New Milton area of Hampshire through January and then in the Basingstoke area from Feb 23 to Mar 13 eventually got cold feet about crossing the North Sea when it reached the Norfolk coast at the beginning of April and settled down in Lincolnshire until the beginning of August. There was one final report of it over Tangmere near Chichester on Aug 18 but there has been no news of it since then though there have been eight reports of the species on the near continent

Rough-legged Buzzard: The bird in the Arun valley near Burpham was still around on Dec 2 though it was only one of 12 that Lee Evans told us were in Britain on Nov 30

Osprey: I thought the report of one still in Bedfordshire on Nov 16 would be the last for the year but on Dec 2 one was seen flying north west over the Tesco store at Kingsbridge on the southernmost tip of Devon. With such a mild winter could that have been the first spring arrival in Britain? (not serious)

Avocet: The only report I have picked up this week is of 18 at Farlington Marshes on Dec 2, increasing to 19 on Dec 3

Golden Plover: A flock of 200 was on Gander Down (Cheesefoot Head area east of Winchester) on Nov 27 and 100 were at the Bunny Meadows along the River Hamble just upstream of Warsash on Nov 29 but I personally was pleased to see just 22 on the mud east of Langstone village on Dec 3

Little Stint: A bird wintering in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester was seen again on Nov 27 where the R Lavant flows into the harbour. It was seen there previously on Nov 8. A wintering Whimbrel was also there in Nov 27

Purple Sandpiper: The number at Southsea Castle was up to 10 on Dec 1 but other reports this week include 20 at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 29 and 29 at Penzance in Cornwall on Dec 2

Black-tailed Godwit: Recent rain may have encouraged some to move inland to feed on worms in wet grassland and this is reflected in counts at Pulborough Brooks of 21 on Nov 30 and 28 on Dec 2. There had been 20 there on Nov 15 but prior to that the highest count there this autumn was 6

Spotted Redshank: The single bird which frequents the Nore Barn stream at Emsworth was joined by a second bird twice this week

Grey Phalarope: 7 were present in Britain on Nov 25 and the total in Britain and the near continent may have been 18 on Nov 27. Two were reported on Dec 2

Black-headed Gull: Several of these now have almost complete 'black heads' as they grow their spring plumage

Sandwich Tern: More than usual seem to be wintering in the Solent Harbours this year and on Dec 3 a flock of 17 were seen together inside the mouth of Chichester Harbour

Little Auk: A count of 164 at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on Nov 28 dropped to just 6 there on Nov 29

Puffin: See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-16010963 for the story of a Puffin found on Nov 30 cowering at the foot of some steps at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester having failed to locate the A & E entrance. It was taken to the Hart Wildlife Rescue Centre near Alton but sadly died on Dec 3

Stock Dove: There have been fewer than usual reports of Stock Dove flocks in southern England this autumn. On Oct 31a flock of 40 were at Cissbury Ring near Worthing, Christchurch Harbour reported 16 heading west overhead on Nov 6 and Durlston had 89 over on Nov 17. This week Tony Gutteridge saw a flock of 80 on the Warblington Farm fields between the farm and Pook Lane

Little Owl: Tony Gutteridge also told me that the Warblington Farmer (Henry Young) had recently seen a Little Owl on the roof of his barn at dusk on more than one recent evening

Short-eared Owls: The bonanza of these continues and on Nov 27 two more were seen coming in off the sea at Rye Harbour. On Dec 2 Brian Fellows watched one hunting by day over the Eames Farm fields west of the road to Thorney village and north of the Great Deeps on Thorney Island. Also on Dec 2 one was hunting Farlington Marshes and was still there on Dec 3 having been joined by a second bird. Also on Dec 3 the group at Waltham Brooks at Pulborough had increased to 5. Several sites have now reported 5 Owls hunting together but the target to beat remains the 6 at Barnham Levels (north of Bognor) on Nov 22

Common Swift: One was over the Scillies on Nov 22 and another was seen at Truro in Cornwall on Nov 25

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: On Dec 1 one was drumming (and seen well) at Bramshill Plantation near Fleet in north Hampshire

Swallow: 5 were at Folkestone on Nov 25 and there were singles in Devon on Nov 27, in Cornwall on Dec 1 and at Portland on Dec 2

House Martin: The last report I know of was of one over the North Foreland in Kent on Nov 26

Waxwing: Three reports this week, all from the north of England. On Nov 28 a flock of 31 were in the Bradford area of Yorkshire, on Nov 30 just 1 was at Bolton in Lancs, and on Dec 2 two were seen near Halifax in Yorkshire

Dunnock: The only Dunnock song I know of this week came from two birds at Nore Barn wood in Emsworth on Dec 2. Robin and Song Thrush are singing daily, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, and Wren can be heard occasionally while other species that you may hear are Skylark, Goldfinch, Goldcrest, Coal, Blue and Great Tits and Yellowhammer (one heard at Stansted East Park on Dec 3). One songster forgetten from the above list is of course Cetti's Warbler and at least one Dartford Warbler was singing in the New Forest on Nov 27

Wheatear: A Northern Wheatear was still to be seen in Devon on Dec 2 and there was a Desert Wheatear still in Shropshire on Nov 26

Redwing: Flocks of Fieldfare are now commonplace though there has been no cold weather to drive them into gardens so far but an estimate of 8770 Redwing in the Janesmoor Plain area of the New Forest (between Fritham and the A31) on Dec 2 was noteworthy.

Garden Warbler: A report of one in a Penzance garden on Nov 30 suggests that others may also have stayed on as a result of mild weather

Blackcap: Four reports of these newly seen in gardens show that the winter birds from central Europe have definitely arrived. More than one report mentions them feeding on apples but the Lewes garden which attracted most (3 males plus 3 females) had a grapevine with grapes on offer as their food

Great Grey Shrike: One has been in the Burley/Ringwood area of the New Forest for some time but on Dec 3 another turned up on Half Moon Common between Cadnam and West Wellow to the north. On Nov 25 the RBA News had reports of 10 birds in the UK

Reed Bunting: Of local interest only a group of four were seen in the southeast shore field of Warblington farm on Dec 2

Gyrfalcon: Less local, but indicative of coming cold weather, was the first Gyrfalcon of the winter reported by Lee Evans on Nov 30 to have arrived on Orkney

Escapees: A number of Sussex birders suddenly took an interest this week in the Laysan Duck seen at Pagham Harbour back on Nov 20 - the general tenor of their comments was that the species is not uncommon in captivity in Sussex, it breeds easily and can be bought from several dealers

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker (last seen on Nov 27 in the New Forest and Norfolk), Migrant Hawker (in the New Forest on Nov 27 and at Edburton on the Sussex Downs on Dec 1), Common Darter (seen in Norfolk and Gloucestershire on Nov 27 and at Pegwell Bay in Kent on Nov 30)

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Brimstone (last on the Isle of Wight on Nov 27), Red Admiral (still flying in Sussex on Dec 3)

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 buttons 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/

1932 Spring Usher Agriopis leucophaearia found at Wadhurst near Crowborough on Nov 19 (does not normally fly until Feb) - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5099

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1932.php

1933 Scarce Umber Agriopis aurantiaria possible id of many male moths flying around West Sussex trees (on which wingless females were present) on Nov 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1799

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1933.php

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum feeding on plants at West Chiltington near Pulborough on Dec 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

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

2187 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi found at Wadhurst near Crowborough on Nov 27 (does not normally fly until Mar) - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3947

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2187.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Shieldbugs: The Nov 27 entry on the Rye Harbour website reports both an adult Bronze Shieldbug (Troilis luridus) and a nymph Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) found in an East Sussex wood on Nov 27 - see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/category/all-latest-news/insects/ for photo

Stag Beetle larva: When chopping wood for the fire at his home on Portsdown on Dec 2 John Goodspeed found at least one of these larvae but does not say whether it survived the chop!

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Traveller's Joy (aka Old Man's Beard): This is still abundant in seed but I was surprised to see it in fresh flower on Portsdown Hill on Dec 1 (see my Diary entry for that day for more detail and photos of this and other finds on Portsdown that day including Musk Mallow, Tansy, Musk and Spear Thistles, Field Forget-me-not, Ploughman's Spikemard, Ox-eye Daisies, Burnet Saxifrage, Small Scabious, Yellow-wort, Wild Parsnip and Round-leaved Cranesbill)

Field Pennycress: I thought this had been eliminated from the Juniper Square site in Havant where I found a mass of flowering and seeding plants on Feb 28 this year but two or three plants were once again flowering there on Dec 2

Violets: Sweet Violets were flowering in Havant and Emsworth this week while Dog Violets were among a list of species still flowering at Rye Harbour and thereabouts on Dec 4 (see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/category/all-latest-news/plants/ entry for Dec 4)

Small-flowered Cranesbill: Still flowering in Juniper Square at Havant on Dec 2

Cherry Plum blossom: Reported to be out in a Seagull Lane garden at Emsworth on Nov 30

Dog Rose: Still bearing a few flowers at coastal sites around Havant and Emsworth up to Dec 3 at least

Cow Parsley: Four fresh plants were flowering close to Warblington Farm on Dec 2

Wild Primrose: Brian Fellows found a cluster of these flowering at Walter's Copse at Newtown on the Isle of Wight on Nov 27 and they were also seen in the Rye Harbour area on Dec 4

Wall Germander: This is included in the list of plants flowering in the Rye Harbour area on Dec 4, as is Dyer's Greenweed

Common Broomrape: A very unexpected find flowering in an Emsworth garden on Nov 28

Common Teazel: Several freshly flowering plants were found in the Broadmarsh area at Havant on Nov 24 and more were seen near Rye Harbour on Dec 4

Cultivated Daffodils: Some plants growing as a crop in fields in the Posbrook area near Titchfield were already starting to flower on Nov 30

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Hare: The Havant Wildlife Group saw one on Dec 3 in the fields north of Woodlands Lane (which runs from the east end of Stansted East Park to Walderton)

Smooth Newt: Brian Banks is the first to report a Newt returning to his garden pond at Northiam (on the A28 just south of the R Rother as the road comes north from Hastings). He says this is later than usual but understandably so as it has been so dry that his pond has almost dried out - the arrival of the Newt co-incided with the first heavy rain.

Three-spined Stickleback: The Quarry Lake at Rye Harbour currently has lots of these in saline water and on Nov 27 Barry Yates listed the bird species (from Little Grebe to Egrets and Redshank) feasting on them but all taking care to swallow them head first to prevent the spines sticking in their throats. To see Barry's video of a Little Grebe enjoying the feast go to http://rxwildlife.org.uk/category/all-latest-news/birds/ (entry for Nov 27)

Fungi: Last week I was puzzling over the identity of an Amanita species which Brian Fellows had found at the Chichester lakes and on Nov 28 I thought I had found two more examples of the same species on the mound above the Budds Farm pools in Havant but when I sought help from Dr Stuart Skeates of the Hampshire Fungus Recording Group he told me that the species found at Chichester was Amanita vaginata (Grisette) but that what I had found was Volvariella gloiocephala (Stubble Rosegill) making me realise that my enthusiasm to prove that the two were the same had led me to commit the common crime of emphasising the similarities between the two finds while ignoring the differences! On Dec 1 while on Portsdown I took photos of two fungi that were abundant there - the Yellow Fieldcap Bolbitius vitellinus and the very common Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare - and these can be seen on my Diary page for Dec 1. I also found and photographed a Field Blewitt Lepista saeva. Another local find by the Havant Wildlife Group on Dec 3 in fields east of Stansted Park was of the Stinking Dapperling Lepiota cristata. On Nov 30 my Diary page has a photo of a Meadow Waxcap Hygrocybe pratensis which had just appeared on my lawn.

Very much more interesting this week have been the fungal finds, made with the help of Howard Matcham, by Graeme Lyons in a wood called Ladies Winkins whose location I have failed to discover but it is near Stane Street where that Roman Road sets out from Chichester on its way to London. The find which was of most interest to me was of a version of the very common Honey Fungus called Dark Honey Fungus Armillaria ostoyae which is a specialist in killing conifers and you can see Graeme's photo of it at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4K121FCu1IM/TtSWDBEPEBI/AAAAAAAACBo/YlwcA3eN2wI/s1600/Fungi+day+128.JPG - you may not find this species in your books but it is apparently the species which I have long heard of as a fungus occurring in the USA and thought to be the biggest living organism in the world covering 2,200 acres of Oregon (see a piece in The Independent newspaper at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/oregons-monster-mushroom-is-worlds-biggest-living-thing-710278.html ). Graeme might rate another of his finds higher as it was of a species only known (so far) to occur at one place in the whole of Europe - the Ladies Winkins wood. This is called Jumillera cinerea and an uninspiring photo of it can be seen at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ImmbpN_7Iqg/TtJwuZz8aWI/AAAAAAAACAA/7DvJFEDRRFE/s1600/Fungi+day+020.JPG

Graeme describes and has photos of several other fascinating fungi in his blog at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/ where you can see and read about the Christmas Cake Mushroom (Graeme's suggested name for Agaricus macrocarpus), Tricholoma scioides (no English name but called the Dark Knight by Graeme), Velvet Toughshank (not, I think, to be confused with the Velvet Shank which appears in times of hard frost), Blushing Wood Mushroom Agaricus silvaticus, Terracotta Hedgehog Hydnum rufescens, Dead Moll's Fingers Xylaria longipes (not to be confused with Dead Man's Fingers Xylaria polymorpha), Ramaria flaccida (no English name that I can find), Dusky Puffball Lycoperdon nigrescens, and some normal Wood Mushrooms Agaricus silvicola. If you are still keen for more scroll on down through pictures of mosses and international moss expert Howard Matcham and you will see Graeme's photos of a pretty fungus which I also found this this week on logs outside the small meadow close to the west end of Mill Lane at Langstone - the Wrinkled Peach Rhodotus palmatus.

After writing the above summary I found that Brian Fellows had updated his Emsworth Wildlife website with news and a photo of a very colourful fungal find made today (Dec 4) at Brook Meadow - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-222-wood-blewitt-sglp-bm-04.12.11.jpg I have only seen the photo but I will suggest to him that bright Amethyst colour of the caps looks much more like that of an Amethyst Deceiver than of any Blewitt (these can be brightly coloured below but not on the cap). See http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/laccaria-amethystina.php for a typical picture of the Deceiver and for a good example of a Wood Blewitt see http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/lepista-nuda.php or for Field Blewitt see http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/lepista-saeva.php Having spoken to Brian he says he has other photos which look much more like what I think of as a Wood Blewitt and that he will add one to his website so see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm before making up your mind!

I have now now seen the second picture and fully agree that it is a Wood Blewitt though I still think the first picture has cap colours that look just like the Amethyst Deceiver photo in the above link - just shows how difficult fungus identification from photographs can be.

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Nov 21 - 27 (Week 47 of 2011)

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BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Red-throated Diver: A massive new arrival on Nov 26 brought 1068 of these to two sites in the Netherlands after 102 had been seen at one site on the Normandie coast of France on Nov 25.

Little Grebe: A count of more than 40 on the lagoon at Pagham village on Nov 26 suggests that we should soon be seeing full winter flocks at regular sites along the coast such as the outflow of the Hermitage stream into Langstone Harbour at Broadmarsh and, on the other side of Farlington Marshes, the area where Broom Channel flows in the Portscreek channel

Great Crested Grebe: 65 were seen off the Hayling Oysterbeds on Nov 20

Slavonian Grebe: Another regular winter flock has started to form off the mouth of Pagham Harbour with 3 birds seen there on Nov 22 and around 11 on Nov 26

Black-necked Grebe: There were 31 in the Studland area (including 6 inside Poole Harbour) on Nov 22 and Nov 23 brought the first report from Portland Harbour where 5 were seen

Bittern: Titchfield Haven had its first of the winter on Nov 25 and Hatch Pond in Poole Harbour has had 3 since Nov 19

Cattle Egret: There has been no mention of the Thornham Marshes bird on Thorney Island since Nov 15 but on Nov 24 a 'new' bird turned up at Christchurch Harbour but did not stay there

Glossy Ibis: Single birds remain at Dungeness and at Christchurch Harbour up to this weekend

Spoonbill: There were still 11 at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Nov 25

Whitefront Goose: Pulborough Brooks has had 12 this week while Pett Level near Rye Bay had 13 on Nov 20 and Abbotsbury had 5 on Nov 25

Greylag Goose: Two 'white' geese seen with 160 Canadas on Farlington Marshes this week appear to be mutant Greylags

Shelduck: There were more than 80 at Farlington Marshes when I was there on Nov 24 and when I was at Langstone Pond on Nov 25 I could see six on the mud off Pook Lane (the first I have seen there of what should become a regular winter flock which has in past winters had up to 100 birds)

Ferruginous x Pochard hybrid (aka Fudge Duck): The first report for this winter of what may be the bird that has been seen each winter on the Budds Farm Pools at Havant since the autumn of 1999 was there on Nov 18 but there have been no more reports so far

Scaup: A male bird has been at Rye Harbour on Nov 13 and 25 and another was on Leythorne Lake close to the Bognor Road roundabout on the Chichester bypass on Nov 25 (but was not seen there on Nov 26)

Long-tailed Duck: One remains at the Dungeness RSPB reserve and a newcomer was in Poole Harbour on Nov 25

Common Scoter: Two females were off the Hayling Oyterbeds on Nov 18 and 20

Surf Scoter: One which was seemingly still en route to its winter destination was seen in the Lymington area and at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 21

Velvet Scoter: Three were in Poole Harbour from Nov 19 to 25 and four were at Exmouth in Devon on Nov 23

Bufflehead: The long staying bird at Helston in Cornwall was still there on Nov 26 (arrived Oct 27)

Goldeneye: There has been a general arrival this week with a count of 14 on the Blashford Lakes at Ringwood on Nov 21 after 9 were in Langstone Harbour and 2 were seen at Newtown Harbour (Isle of Wight) on Nov 18. On Nov 26 six were in Pagham Harbour and one at the Chichester gravel pits

Smew: One redhead was still at the Dungeness RSPB site on Nov 26 (arrived Oct 25)

Red-breasted Merganser: 75 were in Langstone Harbour on Nov 20 when 40 were in Chichester Harbour. Portsmouth Harbour had 35 on Nov 23

Water Rail: A large number of these fly long distances to spend the winter along the south coast and the newcomers inevitably interact with those resident here leading to an increase in their vocal disputes. On Nov 21 I heard the 'Pik pik' calls of one coming from an overgrown section of the Langbrook stream here in Havant and on Nov 25 I heard two loudly interacting in the same way from the bank of Ivy Lake at Chichester, then that evening at Langstone Pond I heard the loud 'screams' of one, again unseen

Great Bustard: News from the team which have been introducing Russian Bustard chicks to England, releasing them on Salisbury Plain, appeared on the Devon Birding site this week and I read that there are currently 17 Bustards in the wild in England. This year’s released birds have been out for eight weeks now, and most are starting to roam more widely around their original release sites. Some however have been rather more adventurous than others! Black Six, named after the numbered black wing tag she carries, was last seen by project staff on the day of her release. She spent a couple of weeks on a neighbouring farm, but then went off the radar. At dawn on 5th November, a Great Bustard was seen flying south from Portland Bill in Dorset, and then the following lunchtime we received a report of Black Six in a field at South Huish, near Kingsbridge in Devon. She flew north an hour later. This week [21 November 2011] we received a report of another bustard, this time without wingtags, but with a radio transmitter, on land owned by The National Trust near Langton Matravers in south Purbeck (Dorset). They certainly are getting around”

Conservationists are looking forward to seeing where the bustards will fly to next, but are appealing to the public for help.

Trace Williams Great Bustard LIFE Manager for RSPB said: “Of the 17 birds in the wild we are able to track nine directly as they have radio and satellite transmitters. The remaining birds however have no transmitters so we need people who see them, and notice the very visible numbered wing tags, to let us know by calling 01980 671466.”

Investigating further on my own I found that the project started in 2004 and in 2009 an introduced pair nested in the wild and raised the first two chicks to hatch here while contributing to the European monetary crisis by securing a grant of £1.8 million from the European Union. For those who want to keep in touch with the project their website is as http://greatbustard.org/

Avocet: Poole Harbour had more that 600 wintering birds on Nov 22 while the number in the Exe estuary had halved from 240 on Nov 17 to 120 on Nov 20 - maybe they had moved further west as 60 were at Saltash on the Devon/Cornwall boundary that day. Farlington Marshes had 9 birds during the week but the number at Nutbourne Bay was up to 25 with 9 or 10 in Pagham Harbour

Purple Sandpiper: The number at Southsea Castle was 4 on Nov 18 when 9 were at Christchurch Harbour (increasing to 11 on Nov 26) but this week's winner has been Brighton Marina with up to 18

Wilson's Snipe: One of these trans-Atlantic vagrants from Canada has been in the Scillies since Oct 5 and this week it has been photographed (though in an un-natural pose!) - if you want to see it go to the entry for Nov 24 at http://www.scilly-birding.co.uk/

Black-tailed Godwit: The Nore Barn site at the west end of the Emsworth shore has been doing will this week with a site record count of at least 186 (maybe 200) birds there to have their legs scanned for rings and their bills watched for 'water squirting'

Spotted Redshank: Also at Nore Barn the Spotted Redshank poplation doubled from 1 to 2 on Nov 24

Sandwich Tern: I had thought that by now the only Terns left in the English Channel would be the relatively small number intending to stay the winter with at most a dozen together at any one site but on Nov 26 Ouistreham on the Normandie coast had 117 of them. Normal end of passage seems to have occurred on Oct 9 when 80 were seen at Dungeness after counts of 770 on the French coast on Oct 7 and 713 there on Oct 2. Since then the biggest count I have pcked up was of just 12 in Langstone Harbour on Nov 3

Short-eared Owl: The bonanza of these continues and this week both the Rodmell area of the Sussex Ouse and the Barnham Brooks between Arundel and Bognor have both had 5 flying concurrently with 6 at Barnham on Nov 22. Surprisingly only one has been reported at Farlington Marshes (on Nov 21) - I noticed that two were hunting Watership Down near Basingstoke that day but there was no mention of them hunting Rabbits!

Swift: These are still to be seen in England with one over Truro in Cornwall on Nov 25

Skylark: On Nov 24 one was singing contiuously over Farlington Marshes

Shorelark: One was at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 22, staying till Nov 23

Swallow: Surprisingly I have not heard of one being seen since Nov 23 (and no House Martins since Nov 16)

Waxwing: The only report I have picked up this week is of 36 in Fife (Scotland) on Nov 23

Wheatear: The last report I have seen was of one in Poole Harbour on Nov 22. Two Desert Wheatears were still with us (one near Lands End on Nov 21 and the other in Torbay on Nov 22)

Ring Ouzel: Last two reports for this year (?) came Cornwall on Nov 20 (2 females at St Ives) and Nov 22 ( a young male at Zennor)

Fieldfare: On Nov 19 584 flew over the Aldershot area and a flock of 200 were at Titchfield Haven with another 200 in the west of the New Forest on Nov 26

Song Thrush: One continues to sing daily around my garden and they can be heard at many other southern sites

Redwing: The biggest flock I have seen reported this week was only 60+ at Rye Harbour on Nov 19 (with 58 at Furze Hill near Ringwood on Nov 22)

Blackcap: Three or four reports of birds newly arrived in south coast gardens show that the continental birds which will winter with us have now arrived and started to settle

Hume's Warbler: This tiny Warbler from Asia should be wintering in India but one arrived in the Wyke Regis area of Weymouth on Nov 23 (still there on Nov 26) and has been attracting a lot of attention from birders (including many from Hampshire). It looks similar to the Yellow-browed Warbler but is a little smaller, has only one wingbar and makes a two syllable call unlike the high pitched 'dog whistle' call of the Yellow-browed (which has double wingbars)

Chiff-chaff: On Nov 21 birds were singing in Southampton and in Torquay, the first to be heard since one at Emsworth on Oct 1. Also on Nov 21 seven birds were already settled in Eastleigh sewage farm for the winter.

Willow Warbler: A late bird was in the Scillies on Nov 19 - the first report I have seen since Oct 13

Pied Flycatcher: A late bird was seen in the Scillies on Nov 15 (followed on Nov 20 by the latest ever Red-breasted Flycatcher)

Snow Bunting: At least two birds were still at East Head (mouth of Chichester Harbour) on Nov 20 and on Nov 23 Sandwich Bay took the 'biggest flock' prize with 36 birds

Little Bunting: One was trapped and ringed at a private site in West Sussex called 'The Mumbles' on Nov 19 and was still there on Nov 26. Those who missed the first report of it on the SOS website may have been puzzled as to where the site is but the first news did include the location as near Steyning

Vagrants: On Nov 21 Lee Evans told us of a Blackpoll Warbler at Tunbridge Wells in Kent which was discovered as it happened to fly over an 'off duty' birder mending his garden gate - luckily the birder had his bins with him and left his gate untended as he tracked down the strange calls he was hearing and also luckily the bird stayed around for a second birder to be summoned to corroborate the sighting - a first for Kent and only the 44th for Britain

Escapes: When Caroline French from Emsworth visited the Sidlesham Ferry Pool (Pagham Harbour) on Nov 20 she noticed an unusual duck there which no one else has reported. She eventually identified it as a Laysan Duck, a species whose world population in the wild is no more than 500, all to be found on a single island (Laysan) of the Hawaii group. As with the Nene Goose, also from Hawaii, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust has been breeding it in captivity since 1959 and the bird at Sidlesham is probably an escape from their Arundel reserve. Photo can be seen on http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm site entry for Nov 22

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

See Vagrant Emperor below

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker (three reports this week with the last on Nov 25 in the New Forest), Migrant Hawker (one report from Suffolk on Nov 18), Vagrant Emperor ( one report of a moribund insect on the pavement of a street in Coventry), Common Darter (last sighting was of three in the New Forest on Nov 25

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

All very late but nothing dramatic

Species reported this week:

Brimstone (one report from the Isle of Wight on Nov 20), Large White (one report from Portsdown on Nov 23), Red Admiral (reports from 8 sites during the week, last on Nov 25), Peacock (one at Portland on Nov 22), Comma (one at Pulborough Brooks on Nov 20 and another that day near Alton in East Hants), Speckled Wood (three reports, last from Portland on Nov 22)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note that further info for all species can be found on Mike Wall's HantsMoths website using the second link given for each species.

Note also that a key to the meaning of the colours used in the HantsMoths Flighttime Guides can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found at Edburton (north of the Sussex Downs) on Nov 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1100

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1631.php

1720 The Gem Orhtonama obstipata also at Edburton on Nov 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2530

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1720.php

1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata also at Edburton on Nov 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4948

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

1771a Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata seen at Bexhill on Nov 2 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1541

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1771a.php

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found at Edburton (north of the Sussex Downs) on Nov 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1799.php

1923 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found at Folkestone on Nov 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1757

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1923.php

1935 Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria found at Edburton (north of the Sussex Downs) on Nov 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=212

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1935.php

2026 The Vapourer Orgyia antiqua (male) found in Thanet (Kent) on Nov 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=544

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2026.php

2087 Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum found at Folkeston Kent on Nov 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=298

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2087.php

2227 The Sprawler Brachionycha sphinx found at Edburton (north of the Sussex Downs) on Nov 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1801

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2227.php

2256 The Satellite Eupsilia transversa found at Portland on Nov 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1797

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2256.php

2261 Red-headed Chestnut Conistra erythrocephala found at Portland on Nov 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3327

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2261.php

2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa found at Portland on Nov 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1731

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2306.php

2321 Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha a late specimen in Thanet on Nov 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=52

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

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma a late migrant at Folkestone on Nov 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1134

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Nothing to report this week

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Narrow-leaved Pepperwort: A very unexpected new flowering by the Langstone roundabout in Havant on Nov 21

Pale Flax: Still flowering by the Hayling Coastal Path on Nov 23

Common Flax: Still flowering by the Broadmarsh-Farlington Marshes cycleway on Nov 24

Sweet Violet: A general re-flowering in Havant St Faith's church yard on Nov 21

Round-leaved Cranesbill: A mass flowering at the Chichester gravel pits lakes on Nov 25

White Melilot: Still flowering at Broadmarsh on Nov 24

Dog Rose: Still flowering on the Langstone South Moors shore on Nov 23

Meadow Sweet: One freshly flowering plant at Langstone South Moors on Nov 23

Japanese Spindle: Fruit cases starting to split at Brook Meadow in Emsworth to show the orange colour of the Aril fruits on Nov 22

Upright Hedge Parsley (Torilis japonica): A single fresh plant starting to flower at the Chichester gravel pit lakes on Nov 25

Stone Parsley: At least three freshly flowering plants at Farlington Marshes on Nov 24

Fools Water Cress: Flowering in the Langbrook Stream (below the A27 at Havant) on Nov 21

Black Horehound: Still flowering in Havant on Nov 21

Wood Sage: Still flowering in Hollybank Woods at Emsworth on Nov 24

Field Forget-me-not: An unexpected fresh flowering in the Hollybank Woods on Nov 24 (both Water Forget-me-not and Tufted Forget-me-not also flowering by the Langbrook stream in Havant on Nov 21)

Teazel: Several fresh flowering plants in the Broadmarsh area on Nov 24

Fleabane: One roadside plant still flowering in the Broadmarsh area on Nov 24

Goat's Beard: A single unexpected plant flowering in the Broadmarsh area on Nov 2

Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum): Newly flowering beside Mill Lane at Langstone (across the lane from the West Mill) - never seen flowering before mid-February in previous years

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Roe Deer antlers: If you saw Autumnwatch this week you will have seen young Jake and his collection of bones and today I found that his website ( http://jakes-bones.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-roe-deer-antlers-grow.html had the answer to a question posed by an entry for Nov 19 on the Durlston website telling us that a Roe Buck there was .. "sporting a fine set of antlers and now fully moulted from his smart chestnut summer coat into a thicker, but more sombre, winter attire.". This suggested to me that the buck had already grown new antlers and the question in my mind was about the time of year at which Roe drop their antlers and grow a new set. Jake's answer is .. "Roe deer antlers grow at a different time to red deer antlers. Roe antlers start growing around December, stop growing in April or May, and fall off around November. When I was watching the roe deer in December, the antlers were like small furry lumps. Different roe deers antlers grow at different speeds, but you can still see them getting bigger through the spring." So I have to assume that the Roe at Durlston was wearing a new coat with an old hat - i..e. last season's antlers which will soon fall off.

Water Vole: We know there is a population of Water Voles on the River Ems where it runs through Brook Meadow at Emsworth with others in the stream running past Fishbourne Church into the Fishbourne Channel of Chichester Harbour, and the Hampshire Biodiversity Action Plan http://www.hampshirebiodiversity.org.uk/pdf/PublishedPlans/WaterVolejjDTPdark.pdf tells us that, while there has been a serious decline in their numbers throughout Britain, Hampshire still has good populations in the catchment areas of all the main rivers of the county. In July of this year the BBC ran a story as part of a 'Million Ponds' project to create new ponds throughout Britain, focussing on the creation of ten ponds in the Alton area of East Hampshire which it was hoped (among other things) would create new habitat for Water Voles in that part of the county, and I guess that these voles can be found in the Meon Valley as they certainly can in the Itchen Valley but I am not aware of any other sites where they can be seen in the Havant area so I was very excited when, just after sunset on Nov 25, I saw an animal which looked very like a Water Vole swimming across Langstone pond within three metres of where I was standing - see my Diary entry for that day for the full story which leaves unanswered the question as to whether this was a Vole or a Rat.

Ray's Bream: The Nov 24 entry in the bird news from Reculver on the north Kent Coast ( http://www.kentos.org.uk/Reculver/headerpage11.htm ) includes a photo of a freshly dead fish washed up on the shore - not, you may think, an attractive subject but I think you may change your mind when you seen its extremely elegant shape and imagine it alive.

Fungi: On Nov 24 Brian Fellows found Fly Agaric in the Hollybank Woods at Emsworth and I have seen far too many species (mostly having names unknown to me!) to list here but two specimens did attract my attention this week. When walking around Farlington Marshes on Nov 24 I came on a couple of mustard yellow, funnel-shaped fungi with decurrent gills growing in open grassland near the stream - if they had been in woodland (especially with conifers) I would have said they were either the table delicacy, Chantarelle, or the dangerous look-alike, False Chantarelle, but here in the grass I could not think what they might be. Another species absorbing a lot of my time was found on Nov 21 at the Chichester gravel pit lakes by Brian Fellows and which I thought might be a deadly Death Cap - I went to see it for myself on Nov 25 and you can see my photos and read what I thought of it in my Diary entry for Nov 25. I now think it is unlikely to be a Death Cap but that it probably is one of the 600 known species of Amanita that can be found worldwide, and in the process of studying it I learnt that fungi which emerge from the ground encased in a 'universal veil' (which usually leaves fragments of that veil sticking to the cap - e.g. the white flecks on the red cap of the Fly Agaric) do not all have the 'open bag' remnant of the veil (called a Volva) left around the base of the stem - in some, as in this case, the bag collapses and sticks to the stem and is thus less easy to spot.

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Nov 14 - 20 (Week 46 of 2011)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: All three regular species are now fairly common in southern waters but a count of 68 Black-throated off Cap Gris-nez on Nov 12 (with a total of 81 of them reported on Trektellen from five sites that day) is worth a mention as is Lee Evans news on Nov 19 of .. "A cracking summer adult WHITE-BILLED DIVER just beginning to moult remains for at least its third day off of Peninerine Beach on South Uist (Outer Hebrides)"

Red-necked Grebe: Of local interest one was in Southampton Water on Nov 14 and 15

Slavonian Grebe: On Nov 14 these were off Thanet (2) and in Christchurch Harbour (1) and another was off Broadsands (close to Brixham in south Devon) on Nov 18. One was off Farlington Marshes in Langstone Harbour on Nov 19 and 20

Black-necked Grebe: Two were in Langtone Harbour on Nov 13 and one was in Southampton Water on Nov 14

Bittern: Reported from 11 south coast sites this week with two at Hatch Pond (Poole Hbr) and Marazion (Penzance) and a single at Brading Marsh (Isle of Wight)

Cattle Egret: The long staying bird was still at the Thornham Marshes on Thorney Island on Nov 15 (with another at Blakeney in Norfolk)

Glossy Ibis: The Christchurch Harbour bird was still there on Nov 17 and others seen this week were at Plymouth (roosting with Egrets on Drakes Island) and at Stodmarsh in Kent

Bewick's Swan: The number at Slimbridge was up to 76 on Nov 19

Red-breasted Goose: The dubious juvenile remains in the Exe estuary (Devon) and was last seen consorting with Brent but a new adult bird appeared in Essex on Nov 16 - both still present on Nov 18

Pintail: 28 were on the Thorney Deeps for the WeBS count on Nov 12 (when 364 were at Pointe de hoc on the Normandie coast) and on Nov 14 there were 30 in Langstone Harbour with 78+ in the Devon Exe estuary on Nov 17

Eider: The number in the west Solent off Lymington was up to 55 on Nov 17

Bufflehead: The long staying female/juvenile which arrived on Oct 26 was still at Helston in Cornwall on Nov 19

Goldeneye: Just one was in Chichester Harbour for the Nov 12 WeBS count and on Nov 14 there were 9 at the Blashford Lakes and one in Southampton Water

Red-breasted Merganser: These have now arrived in strength with 46 in Langstone Harbour (at the Kench) on Nov 12 when 72 were on the Suffolk Coast.. Five were off north Hayling on Nov 13 and 55 were seen from East Head in Chichester Harbour on Nov 17 (when 51 had reached the Exe estuary)

Osprey: I thought we had seen the last of this species until next spring but on Nov 16 one was still hppily resident and fishing at the RSBP HQ at Sandy in Bedforordshire

Common Crane: When I saw that a flock of 24 had been seen circling over Wickham (just north of Fareham) and then heading north up the Meon valley at 3pm on Nov 17 with no other reports of similar sightings anywhere within 50 miles I did wonder if the report was accurate but when I came to check this weeks birding news from Cornwall I was very surprised to see that this group of 24 had been in the Wadebridge area on the north coast of Cornwall since Nov 12 and had remained there for three days before flying east over over Devon (seen at Exbourne near Okehampton on Nov 17). These are of course in addition to our resident flock of 30 that have been based in Norfolk since at least 2006. Other reports of Cranes in England this week are of a single near Abbotsbury in Dorset since Nov 6, a party of 8 in Cambridgeshire on Nov 8, and a group of 6 which arrived at a farm on The Lizard in Cornwall on Nov 16 and was still there on Nov 18

Avocet: The winter flock at the Exe estuary numbered 240+ on Nov 17 (280+ had been reported on Nov 7) and some of the birds flying west to join them have stopped off in our area and are likely to stay unless the weather turns much colder. As usual one flock has settled in the Broom Channel west of Farlington Marshes in Langstone Harbour and these numbered 27 on Nov 13 and 22 on Nov 14. Another regular stopping off place is Nutbourne Bay in Chichester Harbour where the first was seen on Nov 12 and by Nov 17 there were at least 17 there. A party of 13 were in Pagham Harbour on Nov 1 but none seem to have settled there yet.

Ringed Plover: 100 of these were caught and ringed with both metal and colour rings at Black Point (mouth of Chichester Harbour) recently and one of them has been seen more than once in nearby Emsworth Harbour where it was reported to be shaking its leg as if uncomfortable with one of the rings - this behaviour has apparently been reported elsewhere with similarly ringed birds but I never remember hearing similar reports about a Ringed Plover (known as 'all the reds' as it had colour rings on both legs) that was present for several consecutive winters in Eastney Lake at the mouth of Langstone Harbour. I don't know the facts of this case but I believe the recent ringing is in reponse to a decline in Ringed Plover numbers and a wish to get more information about the factors leading to that decline.

Purple Sandpiper: A single was seen at Southsea Castle on Sep 7 and 8 but no more have been reported there until three were seen on Nov 16, presumably part of a wave of new arrivals that brought 11 to Brighton marina on Nov 14 (the Southsea bird may have moved on west as Christhchurch Harbour had 6 on Nov 17)

Black-tailed Godwit: The Chichester Harbour WeBS count on Nov 12 found 472 at the Thorney Deeps and the number feeding at Nore Barn near Emsworth was up to 140 on Nov 15. If you are interested in the recent discussion on the subject of why these birds have occasionally been seen using their bills like water pistols to squirt jets of water have a look at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/x-black-tailed-godwit.htm for some expert opininon that does not advance the discussion very much

Bar-tailed Godwit: The Nov 12 WeBS count found 450 on the Pilsey Sands in Chichester Harbour and there has one sighting of 10 near the Northney marina on Nov 13.

Spotted Redhank: Fears that the 'easy to watch' bird that has spent a good many winters at Nore Barn on the Emsworth shore had found somewhere else to spend its time have been allayed this week as it has been there at the expected time (two or three hours before and after high tide) on Nov 13, 15, 16 and 17 at least

Green Sandpiper: Another 'easy to see' bird comes to the Hermitage Stream in Leigh Park each winter and was back there again on Nov 16, seen downstream of the first footbridge upstream of Barncroft Way (map rep for where I saw the bird then is SU 71126 07288)

Grey Phalarope: These are still passing through and on Nov 16 one dropped in at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood. On Nov 13 and 14 one was at Pegwell Bay in Kent and another has been in the Scillies

Terns: As expected at least two Sandwich Terns are wintering near the mouth of Chichester Harbour and another two have been seen at the Kench in Langstone Harbour but Nov 13 brought a surprise with a Black Tern at Lodmoor (Weymouth)

Little Auk: On Nov 12 we were told that one had been at Brighton Marina for at least a week - maybe it is still there

Woodpigeon: These continue to mystify with huge numbers moving over random places with no apparent start or end point to their journeys. This week's hot spot was Durlston where 54,500 flew over on Nov 17 (89 Stock Doves went with them)

Ring-necked Parakeet: A party of 15 broke their vow never to leave the London area and flew over Crawley near Gatwick airport on Nov 16

Short-eared Owls: The number arriving in our southern counties continues to rise. By Nov 19 both the Lewes Brooks and the Barnham Brooks near Arundel each had 5 birds hunting and another report of five came from the Thorney Island Deeps area on Nov 13. Waltham Brooks near Pulborough had 4 on Nov 15 as did Beeding Brooks on the Adur just north of Shoreham. Not to be outdone Durlston claimed 6 there on Nov 17 but I think they were just passing. Another familiar site for winter owl watching is Bransbury Common near Andover and it entered the fray on Nov 19 with counts of 3 Short-eared, 1 Barn Owl and 1 Great Grey Shrike

Swifts: A probable Common Swift was seen over Sinah Warren stables on Hayling Island early on Nov 18 (others had been over Cornwall on Nov 12 and the Channel Isles on Nov 14). On Nov 19 a Pallid Swift was seen over Titchfield Haven

Swallow: The latest I am aware of were 2 over Sandwich Bay on Nov 17 but others had been seen elsewhere on each of the three preceding days

House Martin: One over St Leonards (Hastings) on Nov 16 was not too surprising but a flock of 50 over the Royal Military canal at Hythe (Folkestone) that day was

Waxwing: On Nov 16 Lee Evans told us of 28 in Fife (Scotland), 60 in Northumberland and 23 in the Midlands at Stafford. In addition a party of 6 has been in the Ramsgate area of Kent since Nov 16

Black Redstart: There are plenty of these in southern England at the moment but an Eastern Black Redstart is currently attracting special attention as it is of a race normally found in central Asia, wintering in western India, but has turned up on the beach at Margate in Kent. If you want to see it I suggest http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/Belvide84/23523 rather than some of the Twitcher pages found higher up the hit list. As Lee Evans was writing the news of its arrival, and the fact that it was only the second to reach Britain, he heard news of another arriving in a Vicar's garden on Holy Isle in Northumberland

Common Redstart: Two reports of females seen at Farlington Marshes on Nov 13 and at Bexhill near Hastings on Nov 15 come some six weeks after the last reports of the species in England and suggest to me that the birds seen were in fact Black Redstarts

Wheatears: A Common (Northern) Wheatear was still to be seen at Portland on Nov 19 but a rarer and smarter Desert Wheatear was at Dungeness on Nov 15 with another on the south Devon Coast at Mansands (Brixham area) on Nov 18 and 19. Lee Evans tells us of others at Skomer (Wales) and Titchfield (Norfolk) on Nov 16

Ring Ouzel: One was at Durlston on Nov 13 and another was at St Ives in Cornwall on Nov 14

Blackbird: On Nov 13 Brian Fellows heard subsong from one at Brook Meadow in Emsworth, possibly provoked by the intrusion of continental birds into his home territory? (50 new arrivals were at Dungeness on Nov 12)

Fieldfare: On Nov 14 a total of 665 were seen flying over Timsbury in the Test Valley and there were reports of more than 100 seen at various Hampshire sites on Nov 12, 13 and 15 - plenty around in the south. Not so many Redwing reports this week but a roost of some 1000 was found in the New Forest on Nov 12 with 160 birds at Linwood near Ringwood on Nov 13

Dartford Warbler: One was heard singing in flight near Burley in the New Forest on Nov 13

Pallas Warbler: Singles seen on the Isle of Wight on Nov 13 and at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 14

Yellow-browed Warbler: One provided excitement at Pulborough Brooks on Nov 16 and 17

Goldcrest: A flock of 20 at Durlston on Nov 13 was outdone by one of 40 at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 14 - another was singing at Pulborough Brooks on Nov 16

Firecrest: Abbotsbury in Dorset had a flock of 14 on Nov 13 and at least five other sites had multiple birds this week including the QE Country Park at Petersfield and the West Dean Woods near Chichester

Willow Tit: A report of one at Faccombe in the north of Hampshire shows they are still hanging on in the county

Penduline Tit: One at the Oare Marshes in north Kent on Nov 16

Tree Creeper: One provided local excitement by turning up at Nore Barn wood on the Emsworth shoreline on Nov 13 (maybe a first for the site?)

Great Grey Shrike: In addtion to the established birds in the Burley area of the New Forest and in Ashdown Forest one was seen on Nov 15 near Arne in Dorset

Bullfinch: Last week I reported the ringing at Reculver in north Kent of three Bullfinches of three different subspecies, one of them very much larger than the others. This big bird of the northern subspecies (Pyrrhula pyrrhula pyrrhula) weighed 31.8 gms last week (the other two were around 21 gms) and this week the northern bird was recaptured and found to now weigh 35 gms - it also gave a 'toy trumpet' call said to be the signature tune of its tribe.

Snow Bunting: The flock at Sandwich Bay numbered 33 birds on Nov 15 (with 31 at Reculver on Nov 16). Locally you can expect to see these birds at East Head in Chichester Harbour and there were 4 there on Nov 15

Vagrants: Among this week's twitcher menu the star item is a small thrush called a Veery seen on the Isle of Muck in the Scottish Highland region on Nov 16. Its home is along the Canada/US borders and among its specialities it makes a mud-cup nest but sites it on the ground. Its interest to Lee Evans was that it became tick number 450 on the roll of species seen in Britain and Ireland this year.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

The most unexpected report was of a late Vagrant Emperor at Pett Level by Rye Bay on Nov 13

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker seen at Crawley in Sussex on Nov 15, Migrant Hawker last seen at Rye Harbour on Nov 18, Vagrant Emporer female seen at Pett Level in East Sussex on Nov 13, Black Darter seen at Thursley in Surrey on Nov 13, Common Darter - three records on Nov 17 from Gloucestershire, Cumbria and Hampshire where one was at Hook/Warsash

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

A fresh male Holly Blue seen on Ivy in Fareham on Nov 13 must have emerged nearly a month after the last previous report of one seen in the Gosport area on Oct 19. Also of interest was a female Red Admiral egglaying at Goring in Sussex on Nov 15

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow at Southbourne Undercliff in Bournemouth (where there is an established resident colony) on Nov 12, Brimstone seen at Petersfield, Basingstoke and near Eastbourne on Nov 13, Holly Blue at Fareham on Nov 13, Red Admiral at many locations up to Nov 17 in Havant, Painted Lady at Portland on Nov 17 after others at Bournemouth and Bracklesham on Nov 12 and 13, Small Tortoiseshell on south Hayling on Nov 15 and Rye Harbour on Nov 18, Peacock somewhere in Sussex on Nov 15, Comma near Worthing on Nov 16, Speckled Wood latest on Hayling on Nov 15, Meadow Brown reported to have been seen on Portsdown on Nov 9 - as this was 17 days after the latest previous report I wonder if this could have been a worn Speckled Wood?

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note that further info for all species can be found on Mike Wall's HantsMoths website using the second link given for each species.

Note also that a key to the meaning of the colours used in the HantsMoths Flighttime Guides can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in a Welsh kitchen on Nov 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1100

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1631.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma migrant still arriving at Gosport on Nov 15- see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1134

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2441.php

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

The only species to get a mention here this week is a Marmelade Hoverfly Episyprhus balteatus which got its picture into the Portsmouth NEWS on Nov 19 after it was photographed in a Portsmouth North End garden recently and submitted to the paper described as a wasp to fill the daily amateur photo slot. This Hoverfly can be seen, like some Bumblebees, flying on warm days right through the winter.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Lesser Celandine: A dozen plants were flowering in a south Hayling Bound Lane roadside ditch on Nov 11, the earliest ever that I know of.

Common Ramping Fumitory: Still flowering at the New Lane allotments in Havant on Nov 15 though the Weasel's Snout that also grows there has all gone to seed.

Pale Flax: One flower still to be seen by the Hayling Coastal Path on Nov 15 and other plants still flowering at Durlston on Nov 18

Sweet Violet: One flower seen in a totally natural environment under brambles on North Common, Hayling, on Nov 15

Black Medick and Spotted Medick: Both flowering on Portsdown on Nov 16

Hawthorn: Just three flowers seen on a tree in the Stockheath area of Leigh Park which usually bears flowers at this time of year - sadly the tree had just been subject to a vicious pruning

Cow Parsley: Newly flowering plants found this week at both Brook Meadow in Emsworth and at south Hayling

Alexanders: On Nov 16 I went to Portsdown to see the exceptionally early flowering plants which Brian Fellows had found flowering on Nov 11 and found six plants in full flower

Strawberry Tree: The specimen at Northney Church on Hayling had many flowers on Nov 15

Primulas: Some which had been planted for butterfly nectar on Heyshott Down in West Sussex (to support Duke of Burgundy butterflies) were flowering on Nov 16 suggesting that wild Primroses might be out in some places

Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria): Still flowering on Nov 15 by the entrance to the Hayling Golf Course where I had found it in flower on Nov 1

Twiggy Mullein (Verbascum virgatum): I am awaiting expert confirmation of a find I made on Nov 15 on North Common on Hayling which I think is this species. See my Diary entry for Nov 18 for more about this find and the photos which I then took

Pale Toadflax: Still flowering on Sinah Common, south Hayling, on Nov 15

White Comfrey: The first autumn flowering I have seen this year was on south Hayling on Nov 15. Common Comfrey was also flowering at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Nov 13 but it has been seen at various sites in Sept and Oct

Narrow-leaved Ragwort: The plant at Farm Lane, Nutbourne still had flowers on Nov 17

Black Walmut: On Nov 19 Brian Fellows was given a Black Walnut fruit and, like me, was not aware of the difference between this tree (Juglans nigra) and the Common Walnut (Juglans regia) which thrives in the local soil around Havant (I have a specimen in my garden). Brian noted some facts about the Black Walnut in his diary entry for Nov 19 (see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm ) but I wanted to know more and first checked the Collins Field Guide to Trees by Alan Mitchell which tells me that the leaves of the Black Walnut are quite distinct from those of the Common, having nine or more pairs of thinner toothed leaflets in each spray compared to the three or four pairs of broader, entire leaves of the Common. It also tells me that the bark of the Common is grey but that of the Black is black and the Black can grow to 30 metres where the Common does not grow beyond 23 metres. For a visual display of these characteristics got to http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/BlackWalnut.html

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Mink: Reculver (north Kent) bird news for this week mentions a first ever sighting of a Mink in their coastal marshes. I hope this was just a stray youngster searching for a territory and does not indicate any spread of these unwanted predators whose numbers were, I thought, declining as a result of raft trapping techniques.

Pipistrelle Bat: One was seen to have a narrow escape from a Sparrowhawk that was hunting at dusk (presumably after birds going to roost, not specifically after bats). Pipistrelles were also the probable species involved in an unusual request for help which I was asked to pass on to a bat expert this week - the request came from the owner of riding stables where several horse owners had found small bats falling out of the horse blankets which they had left hanging over stable doors when they returned from a ride and went to put the blankets back on the horses - I hope the cause of this strange choice by the bats of a place to settle can be remedied to prevent further distress to the bats (and maybe the horse owners).

Common Lizard: Three were still basking in the sun at Goring (near Worthing) on Nov 15

Fungi: As might be expected the number of species encountered was up on previous weeks but before naming them I heard (on Radio 4 Saving Species programme) that some mycologists are using a new technique to identify species. This consists of taking a Hammer and a roll of Toilet Paper out on their forays - having found your unknown fungus you place some tissue on a hard surface, put the fungus on top and bash it to pulp with your hammer, then 'pot' the paper to prevent contamination until back in your lab you analyze its DNA. Sounds like the end of the road for the amateur but no doubt we will continue to muddle on and give the fungi whatever names we think right.

One step which I have taken in this direction is to add a new species to my database under the code XFNG with the English name of Fungus Catchall. The first species to go under this code comes from Graeme Lyons (the Sussex Wildlife Trust ecologist who does such a wonderful job of letting us amateurs into the world of the professional). In his Blog entry for Nov 15 ( http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/ ) he tells us .. "perhaps one of the strangest life forms I have ever seen was this Glue Fungus Hymenochaete corrugata, the dark fruiting bodies literally glue dead branches to living branches (particularly of Hazel)." To go directly to his picture of it see http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nwItpPrf-UU/TsKfiwU9MDI/AAAAAAAAB-o/ZE-GUH1atLA/s1600/Minute+Pantswort+008.JPG but a regular browse through his whole blog always brings up something of interest. The fungi he has come across this week in West Sussex include one species as yet un-named which has some similarity to a Yellow Stainer Mushroom but which has a much stronger yellow colour in its cap when damaged and a different 'jizz' to the proportions of its cap to stem etc. With it at Ebernoe he found a pristine example of an Agaricus species which is listed by Roger Phillips but which I have never seen called the Lilac Mushroom A. porphyrizon. Graeme's next photo is of a species which I have seen called The Goblet Pseudoclitocybe cyathiformis. This is one of several found in Hoe Wood which I suspect is adjacent to the Woods Mill HQ of the Sussex Wildlife Trust at Henfield but my attempts to track it down led me to a Woodland Trust wood at Colchester in Essex. The species here were Clouded Funnel (aka Clouded Agaric) Clitocybe nebularis, Common Funnel Clitocybe infundibuliformis, Aniseed Funnel Clitocybe odora, Butter Cap Collybia butyracea and Wood Blewit Lepista nuda.

My own finds this week, in addition to the fine display of Waxcaps which persist on my lawn, were Clouded Funnel (aka Clouded Agaric) Clitocybe nebularis on Sinah Common (Hayling Island), Fleecy Milkcap Lactarius vellereus at Northney (Hayling), Stubble Rosegill Volvariella gloiocephala (a fieldful of this near West Town station on Hayling), Shaggy Ink Cap Coprinus comatus near Langstone Bridge, Fairy Inkcap Coprinus disseminatus on North Common (Hayling), and Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon in woodland on Portsdown.

Other fungi reported this week were more Shaggy Parasols seen by Brian Fellows at Warblington Farm here in Havant, Field Blewitt Lepista saeva at Durlston, and Sulphur Tuft seen in an Emsworth garden

A late addition to our list of current fungi comes from the Portland Bird Observatory where the Mousepee Pinkgill Entoloma incanum was seen on Nov 18. This was a first for Portland and only the fourth record for Dorset. The picture can be seen at http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_entoloma_incanum_2_181111_500.jpg

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Nov 6 - 13 (Week 45 of 2011)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: On Nov 7 Christchurch Harbour had 14 Red-throated present during the day, St Austell Bay in Cornwall had two Black-throated plus four Great Northern on the same day and County Wexford in Ireland had a lone White-billed Diver, also on Nov 7

Grebes: The only English record of a Red-necked was of one at Dungeness on Nov 7 (when there were another eight across the channel off France). Slavonian were seen in Pegwell Bay (Kent) and near Plymouth on Nov 9. Three Black-necked were in Langstone Harbour near the Oysterbeds on Nov 12 but the Dorset flock in Swanage Bay shot up from 7 birds on Nov 4 to 31 on Nov 12 and one also arrived that day at Dungeness (one other had been near Torquay on Nov 7)

Bittern: Six reports this week - one from each south coast county except Hampshire!. The Devon bird was found in Paignton Zoo.

Squacco Heron: Not a south coast bird but if you are not familiar with this species one has recently been giving a good TV performance to 500 twitchers at the Attenborough nature reserve on the River Trent at Nottingham - see
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-15535987

Cattle Egret: The last reported sighting of the Thornham Marshes bird on Thorney Island was on Nov 7 when it ws last seen flyng away north east (but may well have returned)

Little Egret: A roost count of the Langstone Pond birds on the evening of Nov 9 recorded 132 birds

Great White Egret: My impression that the number in this country is increasing is supported by Lee Evans who on Nov 8 said there were then more than 11 birds present in England (and his list did not include the Hampshire Blashford Lakes bird)

Glossy Ibis: The Christchurch Harbour bird was still there on Nov 11 and another was in the Pett area near Rye Bay on Nov 8 while a third southern bird has been at Drakes Island in Plymouth Sound. Lee Evans also mentions one in Yorkshre and another in Essex - another was in the Kent Stour Valley on Nov 6

Spoonbill: There were still 14 in Poole Harbour on Nov 10

Bewick's Swan: The Slimbridge site has not yet got more than 21 birds but on Nov 11 one Netherlands site had 316 with another 11 at a nearby site

Whooper Swan: Not many of these so far - on Nov 8 a family of four landed near Pett Level and a loner landed at Christchirch Harbour on Nov 6 (making a lot of noise about the fact that was lost!). Another 8 were seen in Yorkshre on Nov 7 but the biggest count so far haas been on 21 in Belgium on Nov 11

Red-breasted Goose: The bird that was chased away from Christchurch Harbour by genuine Brent on Oct 28 has lost even more of its claim to be a genuine wild bird by now consorting with Canada Geese at Exminster Marshes in Devon

Greylag Goose: These are as common as Canada Geese in most of England but we do not often see them in south east Hampshire so there may be some interest in reporting that a flock of 18 landed at the RSPB reserve islands in Langstone Harbour on Nov 12

Shelduck: We may soon be seeing an increase in the number returning to the Solent area for the winter - this thought comes from reports of birds moving west at three sites on Nov 6 (54 at the South Foreland in Kent, 105 at Sandwich Bay and 103 in the Calais area of the French Coast.

Wigeon: Another wave of these is now reaching us - on Nov 6 154 went past Folkestone and also that day 3088 were reported across the channel on the French coast in Normandie. By Nov 10 the number at the Lower Test Marshes was up to 350 and by Nov 12 the number at the mouth of the Langbrook stream (just west of Langstone Bridge) was up to the normal winter complement of around 45

Long-tailed Duck: The bird that was on the Budds Farm pools from Oct 29 to Nov 5 has not been reported since but others have been seen at Dungeness on Nov 6 and 9 while two were seen together in Shoreham Harbour on Nov 7 before flying on west

Common Scoter: The female which I saw in the Hayling Oysterbeds on Nov 1 may still be aound as a similar bird was seen there on Nov 12

Velvet Scoter: The number in the English Channel increased to 18 off Cap Gris-nez on Nov 5 and 6 and one was in Christchurch Harbour on Nov 7

Pintail: The number in the Lymington area was up to 60 on Nov 7 but nothing on our side of the channel to match the 680 in the Calais area of northern France on Nov 6

Goldeneye: No big arrival but by Nov 10 there were 6 at the Blashford Lakes with preceding sightings at Sandwich Bay, Dungeness and Pett Level during the week. Nov 12 brought singles to Southampton Water (and to Bewl Water near Crowborough)

Smew: First mention of this species for the winter came on Nov 12 with single redheads at Dungeness and Bewl Water

Eider: The flock off the Lymington area was up to 44 on Nov 12

Red-breasted Merganser: There had been a count of 15 in Langstone Harbour as early as Nov 3 but by Nov 6 the number off Dungeness was up to 88 and by Nov 8 there were 6 in Pagham Harbour with 15 off Christchurch Harbour on Nov 10. Counts on Nov 12 were 46 at The Kench in Langstone Harbour and 81 at Dungeness with a smaller party of 12 in the channel off Warblington between Langstone and Emsworth

Goosander: The number at the Blashford Lakes was up to 44 on Nov 12 from 33 on Oct 23

Rough Legged Buzzard: One was still in the Burpham (Arundel) area and another at Folkestone this week as a resullt of an excess population of voles on the continent this summer

Osprey: What was probably the last to be seen in England this year was over Climping (near Bognor) on Nov 7

Crane: One Belgian site had 1857 birds on Nov 6 and a few have spilled over to England giving reports of 8 in Cambridge on Nov 8, 1 or 2 in Dorset and one on Nov 10 by the R Test where it crosses the M27 near Southampton

Great Bustard: The first bird to set out on its winter holiday from Salisbury Plan (carrying the 06 tag) was in South Devon (Thurlstone Bay) on Nov 6

Avocet: The number which had arrived at the Exe estuary by Nov 7 was over 280 with others en route (9 at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 10, 7 at Farlington Marshes on Nov 7 and one at Nutbourne Bay in Chichester Harbour on Nov 12

Golden Plover: The flock at Rye Harbour was nearing 3000 by Nov 12 when a much smaller flock was again on the mud of the Emsworth Channel in Chichester Harbour off the Great Deeps

Woodcock: Reports of 31 birds arriving from the continent this week include one seen near the Hayling Coastal Path near West Town Station and another on the Kent coast near Dover being caught by a Peregrine but escaping when the Peregrine was attacked by seagulls. On Nov 8 Portland had 4 few arrivals and Durlston had 3.

Spotted Redshank: The bird which has been almost a fixture in the Nore Barn stream at the west end of the Emsworth shoreline for several winters has been seen several times this winter but much less regularly than usual and this week it only turned up once - probably it has found better feeding elsewhere

Curlew: Recent rainfall has moistened the ground making the Warbington Farm fields into a possible feeding area for Curlew for the first time this winter and they were first seen back there on Nov 7

Guillemot: A mixed flock of some 3,500 Auks was off the Brittany coast of Fance on Nov 5 and 6 and I am wondering if it is the arrival of these birds from further north that influences our local breeders to return to return to their nest ledges at this time of year. At any rate Durlston reported that their Guillemots were back on the ledges on Nov 10 and I think they will continue to 'defend them' against intruders throughout out the winter. I have no positive evidence that the winter visitors make any attempt to muscle in on these breeding ledges but I have been made aware that that several species of seabird do base themselves at their proposed breeding sites long before they intend to use them as nests, and then abandon the nest area over the last few weeks before they actuall start to nest, and I supppose it would make sense to defend their nests while the 'strangers' are still around but to leave the nests at the same time that the visitors leave for their own breeding area, taking the opportunity to move to good feeding areas and stoke up for the breeding season, then return to the nests at the last minute

Woodpigeon: The inexplicable autumn flights of vast numbers of Woodpigeon have continued through this week. On Nov 6 the village of Little Haldon in the Teignmouth area of Devon was the location of a report of more than 126,400 pigeon flying north overhead. As I understand it these are supposedly Scandinavian birds making their way south west to winter in Spain or beyond but the reported observations do not seem to support this. In the first place why were these birds going north, not south (OK they could have discovered at dawn that they were out over open sea and headed for Dartmoor to rest during the day, but if so one would expect to find some evidence of their continuing journey next night (or day) but I have never been made aware of any such continuity (the facts suggest that the birds are travelling in several parallel universes - appearing in ours at random intervals, and giving the impression that several parties of birds are travelling in parallel but each party is making unco-ordinated jumps between the universes.

Turtle Dove: On Nov 6 one was found at Polgigga (between Lands End and Penzance) which is thought to be an Oriental/Rufous Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientatlis) - the species which was in an Oxfordshire garden from Feb 16 to May 9 earlier this year

Owls: On Nov 8 a Long-eared was caught in a Heligoland trap at Sandwich Bay but the majority of owls currently being reported ar newly arrived Short-eared (one of which was seen harrying a Barn Owl on the Isle of Wight on Nov 4 I hope this does not become a habit!). 21 reports of Short-eared this week include up to 5 at Portland, another 5 at Rodmell near Lewes. and one or two on Hayling on Nov 9 and 12 (one hunting over th Golf Course and another seen at Sandy Point)

Swifts: Back on Nov 4 a Pallid Swift was reported over Lee Farm on the Sussex Downs but it is now thought that it may have been a rarer Needle-tailed Swift. Two Common Swifts (maybe the same) were seen at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 10 and Portland on Nov 11 and Christchurch Harbour had a Pallid Swift on Nov 4 while the week ended with a sad tale of yet another Pallid which was found on the ground, weak and emaciated at Langton Herring on Nov 12. Martin Cade drove over to callect this bird and on the way back to Portland it was warmed up and dried out by the car heater so when back at Portland in warm sunshine it was strong enough to fly and feed itself but sadly it was almost immediately taken by a local Sparrowhawk.

Kingfisher: Local sightings this week included one on the R Ems in Brook Meadow at Emsworth and more that one sighting along the 'canal' between the Great and Little Deeps on Thorney Island

Hoopoe: The bird at Climping near Bognr was seen from Nov 6 to 10 at least

Swallow: Still being seen daily with 5 at Durlston on Nov 12

House Martin: The last report I have seen was of one at Sandy Point on Hayling on Nov 9

Rock Pipit: Wintering birds have been around for a month or more but there may have been a wave of new arrivals this week. Two were on the Langstone South Moors shore on Nov 12 with three more at the Kench that day.

Waxwing: The first I know of in southern England flew through Ramsgate station on the morning of Nov 7 as a local birder was waiting for his train to work and on Nov 8 Lee Evans reported recent arrivals in Norfolk.

Wren and Dunnock have both been heard to sing this week as have Song Thrush Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Starling and over course Robin

Ring Ouzel: Two were still in Dorset and one at Dungeness on Nov 11

Blackbird: Plenty of continental arrivals this week - Nov 6 brought 1275 to Dungeness, and 300 to Folkestone. On Nov 7 there were 250 at Dungeness and 120 at Sandwich Bay on Nov 8 followed by 43 at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 10

Fieldfare: 1800 were in Cornwall on Nov 6 and 600 were in the Kent Stour valley on Nov 7 with 145 in the New Forest on Nov 12

Redwing: Around 1000 were roosting in the New Forest on Nov 12

Mistle Thrush: Three were at Warblington Church near Havant on Nov 12

Late Warblers: A Barred Warbler was on the Sussex Downs at Cissbury Ring on Nov 12, a Common Whitethroat was in Dorset that day and a Garden Warbler was at Durlston where 5 Blackcaps were seen (Nov 12)

Hume's Leaf Warbler: One in Shetland on Nov 8 became species no 448 to be seen in Britain + Ireland this year (a new record for Lee Evans annual year list) - another appeared in Norfolk next day.

Goldcrest: Pleny of these around but I think a flock of 40 at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 12 was a shared record with Dungeness which had 40 on Oct 30

Bullfinch: Plenty around this winter (current English record is 118 at Durlston on Nov 1) but I learnt this week of a 'new to me' Northern subspecies (Pyrrhula pyrrhula pyrrhula) with a winglength of 98 mm against the 80 mm of our normal birds and weighing 31.8 gms vs 21.5) This giant was caught and ringed on the north Kent coast on Nov 9

Lapland Bunting: One was at Sandy Point on Hayling on Nov 5 (8 others at different sites this week)

Snow Bunting: These have been pouring into England this week - the record count was 39 at Sandwich Bay on Nov 8 with smaller number at at least 14 other sites including 5 at East Head in Chichester Harbour on Nov 11

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker (last seen on Nov 6 in Cornwall), Migrant Hawker (Last on Nov 12 at Lower Test Marshes), Common Darter (last at Sinah Gravel Pit on Hayling on Nov 12

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Large White (last at Portland on Nov 12), Small White (last at Gosport on Nov 4), Red Admiral (last at Warblington near Havant on Nov 12), Painted Lady (last was a newly arrived migrant on Southsea Beach on Nov 6)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note that further info for all species can be found on Mike Wall's HantsMoths website using the second link given for each species

1716 The Vestal (Rhodometra sacraria) trapped at Portland on Nov 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6173

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

1498 Amblyptilia punctidactyla - an uncommon plume moth found in Hove on Nov 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2677

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1498.php

1720 The Gem Orthonama obstipata - found at Dungeness on Nov 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2530

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1720.php

1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata - at Folkestone on Nov 9 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=26

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1764.php

1771a Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata - at Edburton on the Sussex Downs on Nov 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1541

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1771a.php

1795 November Moth Epirrita dilutata at Edburton on Nov 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5984

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1795.php

1984 Hummingbird Hawkmoth - still flying at Durlston on Nov 7

2087 Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum - at Edburton on Nov 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=298

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2087.php

2203 White-speck Mythimna unipuncta - at Portland on Nov 5 - http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=700

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2203.php

2208 The Cosmopolitan Mythimna loreyi - at Dungeness on Nov 5 - http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=885

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

2227 The Sprawler Asteroscopus sphinx - at Edburton on Nov 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1801

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2227.php

2245 Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae - at Folkestone on Nov 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1764

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2245.php

2375 Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa - at Folkestone on Nov 8 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1770

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

2400 Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera - at Portland on Nov 5 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2527

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

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Drone Fly Eristalis tenax: One photographed by Brian Fellows at Brook Meadow on Nov 9

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Lesser Celandine: Flowering by the roadside of Bound Lane, south Hayling, on Nov 11 - I have never come across the first flowers before mid-December in previous years

Soapwort: Still flowering in Havant on Nov 7

Dog Rose: Many flowers on plants at two sites near Langstone, both on the harbour shoreline - seen on Nov 11 and 12

Burnet Saxifrage: Still flowering in Havant cemetery on Nov 7 but area likely to be mown soon

Alexanders: I have never seen this flowering before March in previous years but Brian Fellows found it flowering beside the London Road coming down the south facing slope of Portsdown on Nov 11

Sharp-leaved Fluellen: Still one flower to be found in the Warblington Farm arable field behind Conigar Point on Nov 11

Field Woundwort: Also flowering in the same field on Nov 12

Small Scabious: Still flowering on Portsdown on Nov 11

Narrow-leaved Ragwort: Not a local find a a Kent birder came on a new site for the species at the South Foreland on Nov 6

Winter Heliotrope: Now coming into general flowering in the Havant area

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

White Squirrels: These are regularly seen in the Portsdown and Portsmouth area and this week as many as three were thought to have been seen together in a small urban wood called 'The Dell' at Purbrook on the north facing part of Portsdown

Fungi:

Best Fungus news and pictures once more come from Graeme Lyons (see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/ ) for Phleogena faginea and Scarlet Waxcaps. Graeme also gives a source for what sounds like a useful key for identifying waxcaps at http://sxbrc.org.uk/news/waxcaps

Species seen and identified locally this week were:

Snowy Waxcap (Hygrocybe virginea)

Parrot Waxcap (Hygrocybe psittacina)

Drab Bonnet (Mycena aetites

Orange Mosscap (Rickenella or Mycena fibula)

Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris)

Bell-shaped Mottlegill (Paneolus campanulatus)

Brown mottlegill (Panaeolina foenisecii)

Meadow Puffball (Vascellum pratense)

Apricot Club (Clavulinopsis luteoalba)

Stinking Dapperling (Lepiota cristata)

Glistening Inkcap (Coprinus micaceus)

Shaggy Parasol (Macrolepiota rhacoides)

ENDWEEK

(Skip to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Oct 31 - Nov 6 (Week 44 of 2011)

(Skip to previous week)

Overview

Note: Do not use the link to Skip to Bird News as the news is all in the Highlight section below - just scroll on down!

(Skip to Bird News)

Bird news highlights:

Items which have appeared on the internet since my last full scan and update of my own records include the news that the Long-tailed Duck which has been on Budds Farm pools here in Havant since Oct 29 flew out into Langstone Harbour on the afternoon of Nov 5 when a Wryneck was seen on the Fishery Creek shore of Hayling Island (west of Black Point) and a Black Brant was further up the east shore of the Island in the Mill Rythe area. Also on Nov 5 came the first report of a Shag inside Portsmouth Harbour and a Great Northern Diver in the west Solent off Park Shore. A local first for the Emsworth area was a sighting of a Firecrest in the Nore Barn woodland. On Nov 6 the Hoopoe was still being seen at Climping, just east of Bognor, and five Short-eared Owls were still hunting the banks of the Sussex Ouse at Rodmell near Lewes. Thousands of Woodpigeons were on the move over Hampshire and Dorset - e.g. 3255 over Barton on sea west of Lymington on Nov 5.

Black-necked Grebe: By Nov 4 there were 7 Black-necked Grebes in Studland Bay

Cattle Egret: I have not seen any reports of the Thorney Island bird since Oct 30 but it was roosting at the Little Deeps with 78 Little Egrets on the evening of Oct 29

Great White Egret: I continue to be amazed by the large number of these which are reported at continental sites with virtually no reports of Litte Egrets coming from the continental side of the Channel while on this side of the channel the situatiion is reversed. I find it difficult to believe that this will remain true indefinite1y and maybe this week marks the start of a changing pattern with news from Lee Evans that on Oct 31 five Great Whites were roosting togther at Frampton in Gloucestershire while two flew east over Thorney Island on Oct 29 and one was reported at Venford reservoir in Devon on both Oct 26 and 27 as well as the 'resident' bird at the Blashford Lakes. Other reports from English sites since Oct 1 have come from the Worthing area, Reculver and Oare Marshes in north Kent, Dungeness, Wadebridge in Cornwall, the Axe and the Exe estuaries in Devon, and Lands End (to maintain the balance we must add that recent continental reports include reports on Oct 23 potentially totalling 226 birds at 38 continental sites and with a defininite count of 24 at a single site, another set of reports on Oct 24 showing a potential total of 176 birds at 29 sites including one with 13 birds, and a third set on Oct 28 totalling 112 birds at 17 sites including one with 35). As I feel sure that many Little Egrets do come and go across the Channel I have wondered if Little Egrets were so common on the continent that they were never reported but a search of Trektellen has discovered no more than 20 reports from half a dozen sites, but with no counts of more than 8 birds (most of just one bird)

Glossy Ibis: This week's reports show one remaining at Christchurch Harbour, a juvenile seen once near Plymouth, one in the Kent Stour valley, one flying east over Beachy Head and one arriving in Yorkshire on Oct 31

Bewicks Swan: Still only 3 at Slimbridge but a total of up to 15 had arrived at the Belgian sites by Nov 3

Whooper Swan: Twelve were seen at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on Oct 31 and more than 20 had been seen at other English sites earlier in the month but Slimbridge has only seen two of them and they seem to have moved on.

Brent Geese: The Dark-bellied birds are now with us in large numbers and are already happily feeding on winter wheat in several places but the only Pale-bellied that I know of have been four in the Weymouth area which seem to have flown east to appear in the Gosport area after Oct 29 (no more that 2 seen together). In additiion to a couple of Brant in the Weymouth area (not seen after Oct 26) we have news of just one seen at Mill Rythe (east Hayling) on Nov 5. The single Red-breasted juvenile which turned up at Christchurch Harbour (appanently coming with migrant Brent) on Oct 21 was chased off by the Brent and flew to Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on Oct 30 before being seen over Abbotsbury on Oct 31

Goldeneye: Just one new bird has appeared on the Blashford Lakes on Nov 3 and one more was at Dungeness on Nov 4

Red-breasted Merganser: The first small flocks are at last starting to appear with 19 at Dungeness on Nov 3, 15 in Langstone Harbour (Milton shore) on Nov 3 and 10 in Portsmouth Harbour on Nov 4

Goosander: One redhead was a surprise sight in the Thorney Great Deeps on Oct 29 and maybe the same bird was seen there on Nov 1

Rough-legged Buzzard: On Oct 29 there were six of these over one Netherlands site (maybe a total of 13 over 5 sites that day) and several have come further west into England (latest were one over Sheppey in Kent on Nov 1 and one over Folkestone on Nov 4)

Osprey: Last reports from England were of one over Weymouth and another over Otter Head close to Budleigh Salterton in South Devon, both on Oct 30

Quail: An unexpected report of one in Devon, also at Otter Head on Oct 30

Crane: Large scale movments on the continent with over 1000 birds at one Netherlands site on Oct 4 (potential total of 2559 at 15 sites) and 2755 at one Belgian site on Oct 5 when potentially there were 6783 birds at 20 sites. The only recent report in England was of just 2 over the Pevensey Levels on Oct 31

Avocet: At least 87 had reached the Exe estuary by Oct 30 and on Nov 1 there were 13 at Church Norton (Pagham Harbour) and 5 at Langstone Harbour

Stone Curlew: At least one migrant was passing south through Sussex on Oct 30 giving two reports - one of a bird by the R Stour near Lewes and another in the Coombes Corner area where the R Adur turns south to head through the Downs

Golden Plover: A flock of around 300 was in the upper section of the Emsworth Channel (off the Great Deeps) on Oct 30 and a similar size flock was in Pagham Harbour off Church Norton on that same day

Woodcock: At least four birds reported in southern England this week - one in south Devon (Thurlstone Marsh) on Oct 27, one at Climping (east of Bognor) on Oct 29, one near St Adhelms Head in Dorset on Nov 4 and one at Durlston on Nov 5

Black-tailed Godwit: The Exe estuary flock was up to around 600 on Oct 30, when there were 180 in the Emsworth area, and the Lymington shore had 254 on Nov 1. On Nov 4 there were more than 150 in the Broadmarsh area of Langstone Harbour

Curlew: Nov 3 saw a leucistic bird returning to the Oare Marshes on north Kent for the fifth successive year showing that its lack of camouflage has not rendered it a target for predation.

Ring-billed Gull: The 'Cockle Pond' bird (named Waldo for his association with Walpole Park at Gosport) was back this year on Oct 23 and was seen again on Oct 30 and Nov 5

Sandwich Tern: 12 were off the Milton Shore of Langstone Harbour on Nov 3 and three were off Mill Rythe in Chichester Harbour on Oct 29 - I suspect these are all intending to stay for the winter

Common Tern: One was at Lymington on Nov 1, 3 were at Berry Head (Brixham) in south Devon on Nov 2, and one was still passing Dungeness on Nov 3

Black Tern: A late bird was at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 30 but it may have lost its sense of direction as one was seen at the Longham Lakes on the northern fringe of Bournemouth on Nov 1

Auks: 512 were off Dungeness on Nov 3 and 200 were off Brixham in Devon on Nov 2. A Black Guillemot (Tystie) was off Portland on Oct 30 and a Little Auk off Dungenesss on Oct 31 with another off Brixham in Devon on Nov 2

Stock Dove: No big flocks in southern England yet - recent reports have been of 62 on the Suffolk coast on Oct 30 and 40 on the Downs above Worthing on Oct 31

Wood Pigeon: Recent reports of movement over southern England have included 18,800 over Ascot (Berkshire) on Nov 2 (plus others giving a potential total of 26,804 over 5 English sites that day) and 3255 over Barton on sea west of Lymington on Nov 5. A late Turtle Dove was at Portland that day

Short-eared Owl: Seemingly there have been a lot more that usual in southern England for the time of year (and I noticed one report on Nov 4 of a Barn Owl being chased from its hunting territory at Brading Marshes on the Isle of Wight by one of the Short-eared invaders). Normally these Owls appear in ones and twos but this week we have had 6 hunting together at Rodmell near Lewes, another six together at Portland, and at least 5 over the Pevensey Levels near Eastbourne. On Nov 1 the Netherlands had a potential total of 10 Owls over 4 sites (one having 7 birds).

Swifts: Southerly winds seem to have blown several Swifts of three species over England this week. Reports of Common Swifts came from south Devon, the Testwood Lakes near Southampton, and Sandwich Bay in Kent (2 birds seen distantly). Pallid Swifts were reported from Dorset, Wales, Northumberland and Kent, and an Alpine Swift was claimed on the Sussex Downs on Nov 4

Hoopoe: On Nov 4 a resident living near the Climping shore (east of Bognor) saw a Hoopoe back where it have been last winter but local birders did not locate it until Nov 5 when it was elusive around Kent's Farm but it was still there on Nov 6

Wryneck: Three late sightings - on Oct 30 one was in Christchurch Harbour, on Nov 1 one was at the very end of Berry Head near Brixham in Devon and on Nov 5 one was on the south Hayling shore (north side!) at a slipway at the north end of Nutbourne Road (SZ 742 987)

Shore Lark: There have been nine reports of these at continental sites since Oct 9 (including a flock of 40 at a Netherlands site on Oct 24) but there have been only two sightings in southern England so far - one of a single bird at the QE 2 Reservoir in London on Oct 26 and one of 4 flying over Pegwell Bay in Kent on Nov 4

Swallow: Still being seen at Durlston on Nov 5 with House Martin in Kent on Nov 4

Pied Wagtail: The first local indication of a night roost in Havant was on Oct 31 when I saw several landing at dusk on the roof of the West Street multi-storey carpark but then seemingly moving to a main roost on the roof of McIlroy's store in West St - others flew on south over this area

Whinchat: Still being seen on Oct 31 at Rye Harbour and Sandwich Bay, then on the Scillies on Nov 2 and near St Alban's Head in Dorset on Nov 3

Ring Ouzel: Two were still at Beachy Head on Nov 4

Song Thrush: A very brief snatch of song was heard from the Warblington Farm fields on Nov 2 - last year song was heard on Nov 13 and 26

Mistle Thrush: First autumn song heard by Brian Fellows in Stansted Forest on Nov 1

Pallas' Warbler: Around a dozen reports this week from Dungeness to the Scillies - the nearest to Havant was at Church Norton (Pagham Hbr) on Nov 4

Firecrest: Plenty of these around - one birder in Devon came on 15 in a walk around his village - and locally one was photographed on Nov 5 in the Nore Barn wood at the west end of the Emsworth shore

Marsh Tit: These seem to be vanishing from the south coast at the Willow Tits have done so it was good to hear of two seen on Kingley Vale (north of Chichester) on Oct 29

Great Tit: Brief song heard in Havant on Nov 1 and 3

Great Grey Shrike: One seems settled in the New Forest between Burley and Ringwood while others are being seen in Ashdown Forest and at Smeathorpe Airfield (between Honiton and Taunton in Devon)

Magpie: If you go to http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm and scroll down to the Nov 2 entry you will see a photo of a Magpie holding a piece of pasta in its bill with its breast plumage in an unusual state. Brian Fellows asked for suggestions as to the reason for this plumage state but my rather facetious suggestion that it had acquired the look by diving into something very mucky to pull out the pasta was not taken very seriously so if you have a better suggestion do send it to Brian who currently thinks that this is 'juvenile plumage'. Having seen many young Magpies, including a family group of three which visited my garden daily last spring, I have always found their plumage to be an even brighter black and white that that of their parents and the only differences between the adult and young is that the latter are smaller and have distinctly shorter tails. My own serious suggestion about this bird is that it had been bathing in a deep pool of water just moments before the photo was taken, leaving its breast feathers disarranged and discoloured by the water (and also because we are seeing the underside of them and the down that is normally hidden beneath them) - I seem to remember a similar problem of identification arose a year or so ago with a photo of (I think) a Greenfinch which had also been bathing at Brook Meadow and had its plumage similarly discoloured and deranged while the plumage was still wet. (Brian's email address is given at the top of his Wildlife Diary page)

Bullfinch: These have been much more numerous than usual this autumn but Nov 1 brought an extreme example of this when Durlston reported a count of 118 passing through

Snow Bunting: This week has brought reports of this species from nine south coast sites including one on Saxon Down (the high ground immediately east of Lewes) on Oct 30 and another at St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, on Nov 2

Corn Bunting: On Oct 31 one was singing at Cissbury Ring on the Downs above Worthing and on Nov 1 a flock of 80 was at Burpham by the R Arun near Arundel

Vagrants: Among this week's unexpected visitors was an Eastern Crowned Warbler (only the second for Britain) caught in ringer's nets in Hertfordshire on Oct 30. Other twitching interest this week lies in the number of Shrike species seen - in addtion to at least six Great Grey and one Red-backed the following have been reported (I'm somewhat confused by the names and cannot be sure that each is a separate species!) .. Steppe Grey (=Saxaul?), Brown, and Daurian (a subspecies of Isabelline or vice versa?)

Insect News highlights:

A Queen Hornet trying to hibernate in a house bedroom was unusual as was a Dark Bush Cricket still striulating at this time of year - lots more in the main section below

Plant News highlights:

Finds of Moth Mullein on South Hayling and Blackthorn in flower near Titchfield were the highspots of the week but a total of 113 plant species in flower in November is good going

Other News highlights:

Fungi: These are at last responding to the rain. On Nov 4 I found a large group of Shaggy Parasols 'in bud' on the bank of the approach road to the Broadmarsh Slipway and also found a mature Field Mushroom there while my own mossy lawn had Parrot and Snowy Waxcaps, Apricot Club (Clavulinopsis luteoalba), Pink Domecap (Calocybe carnea), and Collared Parachute (Marasmius rotula). In the Warblington area I came on The Miller (Clitopulus prunulus). From Kent came a report and photo of Sessile Earthstar (Geastrum fimbriatum) and from Ebernoe near Midhurst reports of Beech Jellydisc (Neobulgaria pura) and Lemon Disco (Bisporella citrina)

White Grey Squirrels were seen this week both in the Purbrook area on the northern side of Portsdown and in Kingston cemetery in the heart of Portsmouth

A family group of a female Roe Deer with two well grown kids grazing peacefully at the southern foot of the A27 embankment where it crosses the River Ems was photographed this week and can be seen in Brian Fellows website (Oct 30th entry on http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm )

An unusual find on the Camber Sands (Rye Bay on the Kent/Sussex border) on Oct 23 was the corpse of a juvenile Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) - a photo of it is at http://rxwildlife.org.uk/category/all-latest-news/other/ and general info about this normally deep water species is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_shark

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Nothing to add to what has been said in the highlights above

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Vagrant Emperor: None seen in the British Isles but there is news on the internet (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/39280703@N08/6289450178/in/photostream/ ) of a new surge building up in Portugal, possibly about to fly north

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter,

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Red Admiral has been the only species seen in any number this week

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Small White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock and Speckled Wood

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

1052 Dark-streaked Button (Acleris umbrana) trapped at Rye Town on Nov 4 - id of this not yet confirmed but if it is it will be around the sixth record for Sussex. For photo and details see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5427

Note that further info for all species can be found on Mike Wall's HantsMoths website by noting the UK Moths species number (e.g.1052 for the above species) and replacing the **** in the following web address with it - thus http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/****.php would become http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1052.php

1716 The Vestal (Rhodometra sacraria) trapped at Portland on Nov 1 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6173

1745 The Mallow (Larentia clavaria) trapped at Gosport Stokes Bay on Oct 30. See http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1776

1771a Cypress Carpet (Thera cupressata) also trapped by Tony Tindale at Stokes Bay on Oct 30 with photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1541 and on Tony's website at http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/23401/Oak+Rustic+at+Stokes+Bay+.html

1797 Autumnal Moth (Epirrita autumnata) trapped at Folkestone on Oct 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3090

1923 Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria) trapped at Durlston on Nov 4 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5676 and select both male and female photos (males have the feathery antennae)

Hummingbird Hawkmoth: Still being seen at Portland and Ventnor (Isle of Wight) - presumably as migrants

2087 Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum) trapped at Folkestone on Nov 4 see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=298

2203 White-speck (Mythimna unipuncta) trapped at Portland on Oct 30 see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=700

2232 Black Rustic (Aporophyla nigra) trapped at Durlston on Nov 4 see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6029

2241 Red Sword-grass (Xylena vetusta) trapped at Portland on Nov 4 see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2738

2246a Oak Rustic (Dryobota labecula) Trapped at Stokes Bay by Tony Tindale on Oct 30 see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5610 and http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/23401/Oak+Rustic+at+Stokes+Bay+.html

2261 Red-headed Chestnut (Conistra erythrocephala) trapped at Portland on Nov 1 see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3327

2263 Red-line Quaker (Agrochola lota) trapped at Durlston on Nov 1 see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1128

2272 Barred Sallow (Xanthia aurago) trapped at Folkestone on Oct 30 see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1735

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Mesembrina meridiana House Fly: Seen at Durlston on Nov 1. The orange patches on its wings make this fairly common large fly easy to recognize - for more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesembrina_meridiana - better photos can be seen at http://www.naturespot.co.uk/species/mesembrina-meridiana

Hornet: John Goodspeed found one in the bedroom of his house on Portsdown Hill on Nov 1 suggesting to me that it was a Queen looking for somewhere to hibernate

Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae): Seen braving strong winds at Durlston on Nov 1 - probably one of the last to be seen this year. For info see http://www.bwars.com/colletes_hederae_map.htm

Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius): Still to be seen at Durlston on Nov 4. For info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geotrupes_stercorarius

Harlequin Ladybirds: These have been seeking hibernation sites recently on warm days (as have other Ladybird species) - to help distinguish them see http://www.harlequin-survey.org/recognition_and_distinction.htm

Dark Bush Cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera): I was surprised to read on the Sussex Butterfly Conservation website that this species could still be heard on Nov 1 calling at night in the Lewes area - I think it would take younger ears than mine to pick up the high frequency sounds!

Uncommon Spiders: Thanks once more to Graeme Lyons I have been made aware of a money spider species (Erigone dentipalpis) which has the unusual feature of having thorn like spikes on its palps which must make sex rather uncomfortable for the females. See http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/11/money-pit.html#links

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

The weather has enabled me to see 113 species of wildflower in bloom so far this month - some of them get a mention here.

Common Ramping Fumitory is still out at the New Lane allotments in Havant along with Weasel's Snout

Pale Flax: In flower both by the Hayling Coastal Path and at Durlston

Turkish Tutsan was flowering by the Brockhampton Stream on Nov 4 (and Perforate St John's Wort elsewhere)

Viola tricolor: One plant was a lucky addition to my list when I found it in a Havant pavement edge (not planted there!)

Soapwort: still flowering near the Park Road North bridge over the railway near Havant Station. White and Red Campion also both out in the town.

Small-flowered and Hedgerow Cranesbill (normal and white flowered forms) all seen

Tufted Vetch, Common Vetch and White Melilot all seen in the Broadmarsh area

Blackthorn: I have seen this flowering in the Havant area at this date in past years but this year the only report of it is from the Brownwich area west of Titchfield Haven (seen by Richard Carpenter)

Dwarf Spurge still flourishing in the Warblington Farm arable fields this week with Fools Parsley and the Rayed form of Groundsel

Cow Parsley flowering in at least three places

Yellow-wort (one plant) flowering this week but no Common Centaury seen

Cock's Eggs: abundant flowers still on Sinah Common (Hayling)

Moth Mullein was a surprise beside the Ferry Road on south Hayling (immediately west of the Golf Course approach road)

Pale Toadflax also in full flower on Sinah Common

Grey Field Speedwell found in Havant and Blue Fleabane at Broadmarsh

Winter Heliotrope: 16 flowerheads came into bloom in central Emsworth this week (A259 roadside just west of the town centre roundabout)

OTHER WILDLIFE

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Nothing to add to the highlights above

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Oct 24 - 30 (Week 43 of 2011)

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Overview

(Skip to Bird News)

Bird news highlights:

Late News: A Stone Curlew was by the R Adur just north of the Sussex Downs on Oct 30 and a Snow Bunting was just east of Lewes on Oct 30. Local news was of the Thornham Marshes Cattle Egret again roosting with 78 Little Egrets on Oct 29 when a redhead Goosander was on the Great Deeps. In Dorset the Red-breasted Goose from Christchurch Harbour arrived at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on Oct 30

Black-necked Grebe: In the past few winters Studland Bay in Dorset seems to have become the favoured wintering site for this species while the number in Langstone Harbour has much dimished and I see that Studland has recorded its first back this week (six of them) while the only Hampshire record since last winter has been the single summering bird at the Blashford Lakes. Dorset has also had a single Slavonian Grebe on Oct 22 (only stayed for one morning and may have flown to Jersey where one appeared on Oct 27)

Bittern: These are now breeding in south east England and so can be found there year round but some are now starting to move into the south west for the winter - one was at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on Oct 18, another near Penzance in Cornwall on Oct 21 and a third at Hatch Pond in Poole Harbour on Oct 23

Cattle Egret: I have recently failed on two occasions to see the Thornham Marshes bird which arrived on Thorney Island on Aug 14. The last sighting I know of was on Oct 21 and I see that one arrived on the Axe estuary in Devon on Oct 22 ... latest news is that it is still there roosting with the Little Egrets but maybe feeding with a different set of cattle.

Pale-bellied Brent: The first two of the winter on the south coast were at Weymouth on Oct 13, increasing to four there on Oct 24. Those four have not been reported since Oct 26 but on Oct 29 the first two to reach Hampshire were seen at Gilkicker (Gosport).

Red-Breasted Goose: The single juvenile which arrived at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 18 in company with newly arrived Brent has recently been subject to aggressive behaviour from the Brent and has not been seen since Oct 28. (Latest news is of its arrival at Ferrybridge/Weymouth on Oct 30)

Ruddy Shelduck: The bird which seems to have been moving around Pagham, Langstone and Chichester Harbours since Oct 14 was in Nutbourne Bay on Oct 21 and 21, then seen near Cobnor Point on Oct 22, and most recently has been with Brent at Bosham (up to Oct 29 at least).

Major influx of winter duck: This week has brought more that 1600 Wigeon at Pulborough Brooks on Oct 27, 400 Teal at Lymington on Oct 29, more than 146 Pintail at Exmouth on Oct 25, 60 Pochard at Slimbridge on Oct 26 and 24 Mergansers at the Kench in Langstone Harbour on Oct 24

Newly arrived duck this week have included an unexpected local sighting of a single Long Tailed Duck at the Budds Farm pools here in Havant in on the evening of Oct 29 (still there on the norming of Oct 30). Another unexpected sighting was a Bufflehead at The Lizard in Cornwall on Oct 26, then moving to Helston on Oct 29 (for a photo go to http://www.cornwall-birding.co.uk/ and scroll down to the Oct 28 entry). Another good sighting this week was an early sighting of the first Smew at Dungeness on Oct 25.

Rough-legged Buzzards have been arriving on the east coast this week and Lee Evans has reported them at ten different UK sites this week as the result of 'a recent explosion of Field Voles in Scandinavia'

Hobbies were still present in southern England this week with one seen at Dungeness on Oct 26 and another at Fleet in northern Hampshire on Oct 28

Coot numbers have shot up on the south coast this week with counts of 266 at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 23 and 1358 at the Blashford Lakes on Oct 24

Avocet have at last been showing signs of moving to winter quarters this week - 45 had arrived at the Exe estuary by Oct 23 and on Oct 28 there were 8 in Pagham Harbour and 5 in Langstone Harbour

Auks have been arriving in the English Channel in force this week with peaks of 830 Guillemots and 195 Razorbills at Dungeness after a count of 4000 mixed Auks on the French coast at Cap Gris-nez on Oct 20

Woodpigeons and Stock Doves have still been on the move this week with over 100,000 recorded over 10 continental sites on Oct 22 but only 2000 seen in southern England (Fleet area) on Oct 24

Long and Short-eared Owls: A Long-eared Owl was over Christchurch Harbour on Oct 28 (maybe from the Isle of Wight population?) and several local Short-eareds have been seen in the Fareham/Stubbington area, Hamble Common, Southampton Docks and at the Hayling Oysterbeds (Oct 29) with a count of seven over Christchurch Harbour on the same day as the Long-eared.

Swifts: Singles were over Ferring(Worthing) on Oct 28 and Timsbury (Romsey) on Oct 29 after singles were over Belgium on 27th and the Netherlands on the 28th. We have also had an Alpine Swift in Essex on Oct 25/26th and a Pallid Swift over Norfolk on Oct 26

Shore Lark: One was an unexpected sight at the QE 2 Reservoir in London on Oct 26 a couple of days after 40 were at a Netherlands site on Oct 24

Sand Martin: Three were over Dungeness on Oct 22 and the same three were probably in Belgium next day (previous last for England were over Durlston on Oct 10). Both Swallows and House Martins were still in England on Oct 29.

Richard's Pipit: One at Sandy Point on Hayling on Oct 28. Less common birds in England this week were Tawny and Olive-backed Pipits in the Scillies, a Pechora Pipit in Shetland, and a Red-throated in the Scillies

Rock Pipit: Of local interest the first three Rock Pipits were on the Langstone South Moors shore on Oct 22

Dipper: An unusual report from Devon on Oct 22 was of a Dipper singing loudly enough to be heard above the morning rush hour traffic in the centre of Newton Abbot.

A Dunnock was singing at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Oct 21 - the first I have heard of since July 26 and first before the normal resumption of song in early December though I see there was a similar single burst of song heard in Emsworth on Oct 5 last year, maybe a defensive response against the arrival of continental birds for the winter? (I see that a 'flock' of 16 Dunnocks was in a Southampton garden on Oct 27 and that Oct 28 brought a peak count of 92 in total at three German sites to prove that they are on the move)

Robins are also arriving in force - 60 were at Dungeness on Oct 28 after counts of 38 and 30 there in the previous few days

Ring Ouzel: The massive passage of this autumn seems to be tailing off but there was still one at Beachy Head on Oct 27 and a potential total of 47 at 8 continental sites on Oct 29

Blackbird: Twice this week I have seen small groups passing through my garden after 95 arrived at Dungeness on Oct 25. Also of interest Chris Packham this Friday tried to talk himself out of his faux pas of the previous week when he appeared to say that all male Blackbirds had yellow bills from birth - his excuse was that he was thinking of some contiental race in which the adult males do have black bills - that would explain Lawrence Holloway's annnual claim in past years at this time of year that the 'the black billed continental Blackbirds have arrived in Bognor'. Checking on the internet I see that male British birds are supposed to retain pale or orange bills in their first winter but Scandinavian male birds have genuine black bills in their first winter

Pallas' Warbler: On Oct 27 the RBA reported a total of 10 birds in the UK, presumably including the one that was at Sandy Point on Hayling in Oct 24/25

Yellow-browed Warbler: Singles were seen at six southern England sites this week but that included a sickly bird at Birling Gap on Beachy Head whose eye were closing.

Goldcrest: Plenty of these now around - on Oct 24 one was singing from a pine tree about 100 yards from my house in Havant

Firecrest: These seem to be more numerous than the Goldcrest with a flock of 17 at Abbotsbury in Dorset on Oct 22 and 12 at Dungeness on Oct 26 among others

Blue and Great Tits: The number of these in our gardens is likely to increase after counts of 3500 Blue and 663 Great at a German site on Oct 22

Shrikes: A Brown Shrike was in Argyll on Oct 25, Isabelline Shrikes were in Cornwall and Norfolk, at least one Red-backed was in Cornwall and at least three Great Greys were in southern England this week with up to 14 more on the near continent on Oct 23

Crows: Large number feed on our tidal shorelines nowaday with several hundred roosting in the Netley area south of Southampton all round the year (max count of 350 there on Mar 20 this year). Also in late March there were 280+ at Teignmouth in Devon and Christchurch Harbour had 157 on Oct 12. A smaller flock, often reaching 100 or more, feeds along the Warblington shore between Langstone and Emsworth in winter months, dividing their time between the shore line at low tide and the farm fields at high tide. This week Brian Fellows raises the question as to where they spend their nights and I have to admit that I have no idea but I have seen no evidence of them in the Langstone area when counting Egrets are sunset. I suspect they fly inland to woods but they may well travel long distances (birds from the winter roost somewhere near Fareham Creek regularly travel as far as the New Forest to feed)

Brambling: Small numbers have been in southern England since Oct 1 when two appeared at Arne in Dorset but a count of 86 at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 28 may mean that large flocks will soon reach us

Common (Mealy) Redpolls: Lesser Redpoll is the common species in southern England both for breeding and wintering but this autumn there has been a big influx of Mealies. For one example of the numbers see Sam Bailey's blog at http://www.horshamringers.blogspot.com/ in which his Oct 22 entry describes how out of 134 Redpolls caught that morning 112 of them were Mealies

Bullfinch: These too have been seen in exceptional numbers in southern England this autumn - on Oct 28 the Durlston site recorded 39 of them with a total of up to 42 at 8 sites that day

Snow Bunting: These have been seen in ones and twos at eight southern England sites this week, one being on the Lymington marshes

Reed Bunting: A count of 172 passing through Christchurch Harbour on Oct 28 may mean that we will all see more of them soon

Vagrants: Last week I included a link to what I thought was an image of the Scarlet Tanager which turned up in Cornwall on Oct 20 and them moved to the Sillies on Oct 22 but I see that the bird in Cornwall and then in the Scillies is a young first winter male which does not have the scarlet plumage but is dressed in pale yellow and grey. To see a photo of the actual bird go to http://www.scilly-birding.co.uk/ and scroll down to the photo in the Oct 22 entry. This week's best Vagrant is a Pied Wheatear in Gloucestershire which you can find at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pied_Wheatear and http://blx1.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob11470.htm .

Late News: A Stone Curlew was by the R Adur just north of the Sussex Downs on Oct 30 and a Snow Bunting was just east of Lewes on Oct 30. Local news was of the Thornham Marshes Cattle Egret again roosting with 78 Little Egrets on Oct 29 when a redhead Goosander was on the Great Deeps. In Dorset the Red-breasted Goose from Christchurch Harbour arrived at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) on Oct 30

Insect News highlights:

This week's highlight was an Azure Dragonfly found and phtographed in Scotland on Oct 25. Dan Powell starts his account of the species by saying .. "Regarded by many as the Holy Grail of Dragonflies. Discovering your own Azure is a joy equivalent to that of a birder on finding a Golden Oriole." This find seems to have been accepted by the British Dragonfly Society but it must raise questions in some minds for, as far as I can see, the species is only on the wing in June and July. Photos and a brief description can be seen at http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/azure-hawker but this does not mention the flight time which is given as June and July in both my Dragonfly field guides.

Migrant Hawkers, Common Darters and Willow Emeralds (26 of them at one Suffolk site) were the only other dragonflies reported this week

Butterfly species seen during the week were Brimstone, Large - Small - and Green-veined White, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue and many Red Admirals (47 enjoying Ivy at one Isle of Wight site on Oct 22), plus Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell (just one seen in the Netherlands), Peacock, Comma and Speckled Wood and one fresh Meadow Brown were all seen during the week

For moth news see the main section below

Plant News highlights:

Nothing to add to the plant reports below

Other News highlights:

Pointed Snail (Cochlicella acuta) colony on Thorney Island. When at the west end of the Thorney Great Deeps on Oct 24 I had a careful look along the foot of the inside of the seawall, checking the first metre of the slope up from the level track over the stretch from the fence above the water inlet pipes to the military fence. I had made a similar check here in mid-July and again at the end of August but only found at most 20 live snails on hot days when I expected the snail population to be at its most visible (clinging to plant stems well above the ground level at which the temperature would be highest and most likely to 'fry' the snails in their shells if they stayed on the ground). This week's check was much more encouraging, finding many shells well distributed along the first half of the section from the inlet pipes to the military fence. This check had been assisted by mowing of the lower slopes, and admittedly all the shells I found were empty (so possibly they have lain there for several years and do no reflect this years population) but I suspect the shells did mark the end of this years generation and that a good number of eggs or very tiny snails are also present to grow into next years generation. I have also been encouraged this year by finding a new population where the River Lavant flows into Fishbourne Channel and to hear of them at Durlston

Lack of fungi. I did see my first two clumps of Honey Fungus in Havant this week and the pair of Dryads Saddles in Wade Court Road are still in a healthy state but walking for more than an hour around Havant Thicket on Oct 28 I was astonished only to find a single Deceiver there at this time of year - maybe this weeks rain will bring up a good show next week.

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Nothing to add to the Highlights above

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Nothing to add to the Highlights above

Butterflies:

Nothing to add to the Highlights above

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Old World Webworm (Hellula undalis) was trapped at Folkestone on Oct 24; for photo and details see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3890

Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella): Still arriving as a migrant at Folkestone on Oct 28; for photo and details see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1793

Fox Moth caterpillars (the common Wooly Bear species) were numerous in Durlston grassland on Oct 29

Red-green Carpet was trapped at Folkestone on Oct 24; see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4948

November Moth - first of the year trapped at Folkestone on Oct 24; see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5984

Winter Moth - first trapped at Folkestone on Oct 28; see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

Convolvulus Hawkmoth still arriving at Durlston on Oct 27; see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1750

Hummingbird Hawkmoth - still among the incoming migrants at Portland on Oct 29 but one war trying to hibernate in the shelter of a door arch in the Thanet area of Kent on Oct 24 (still there next day)

Ruby Tiger caterpillar - one caterpillar found heading for a hibernation site at Emsworth on Oct 24 and identified through a very comprehensive website at http://www.ukleps.org/morphology.html (well worth exploring) to find this caterpillar go to the web page then FIND (CTRL + F) Ruby Tiger to go to the text (picture is below text)

The Delicate - another migrant still arriving at Portland on Oct 29; see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1808

Cosmopolitan - another immigrant at Portland on Oct 29; see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=885

Flame Brocade - at least the 8th of a string of rare migrants seen this autumn since Sep 30 was at Portland on Oct 26; see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=856

Dewick's Plusia - another uncommon migrant which has been seen this year at Hayling, Rye Town and most recently on Oct 29 at Portland; see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3608

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Orb web spider Gibbaranea gibbosa - hardly this weeks sighting as this species was found in May when Graeme Lyons was showing Ray Mears facets of the Sussex Down for an ITV programme only broadcast this week (and still available on ITV Player). However it is a relatively common spider on trees and bushes in spring and early summer and has a very distinctive shape ('upward pointing breasts'). See http://www.eakringbirds.com/eakringbirds3/arachnidsinfocusgibbaraneagibbosa.htm

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Pale Flax: Among this week's oddities was a single flower of this at Durlston on Oct 29

White-flowered Hedgerow Cranesbill: The plants at the Havant Bus Station were still flowering this week

Spindle Fruits: Brian Fellows found a colourful crop of fresh fruit ('arils') on a Spindle bush in the Nore Barn woodland this week - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm and scroll down to the entry for Oct 28. Later in that entry is a photo of the Japanese Spindle bush at Brook Meadow in Emsworth - as yet that has no colouful fruits but if you contiue to scroll down to the entry for Oct 27 you will see a photo some of those fruits after dissection to reveal the developing colour inside the fruit cases

Wild Clary: On Oct 24 a few flowers could still be seen on the plants in the Christopher Way 'wayside' in Emsworth

Devils Bit Scabious was still providing bright colour on a few plants in Havant Thicket on Oct 28

Winter Heliotrope: The single flower which appeared at Wade Court roadside on Oct 21 after a single frost is still in good health but I do not expect to see more until frosts return

At least 65 plant species were in flower this week

OTHER WILDLIFE

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Nothing to add to the Highlights above

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Oct 17 - 23 (Week 42 of 2011)

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Overview

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Bird news highlights:

Whooper Swans: The first two arrived at Slimbridge on Oct 20 after a flock of 13 were seen on the Yorkshire coast as early as Oct 9. Bewicks have been arriving on the continent since Oct 13 (up to 24 seen in Belgium) but none have yet been reported from Britain

Brent Goose: The last milestone in the process of settling in to their winter quarters here was witnessed by Brian Fellows on Oct 21 when he found a flock of 75 feeding on land on a cereal crop in a field adjacent to Nutbourne Bay in Chichester Harbour. There is now a growing body of evidence that Brent have had at least some breeding success (though it may be as low as 6% and that rate would need the adult birds to live for at least 16 years for the number of young to replenish the number which die). Another encouraging sign is that several families have managed to raise 5 young this year. The Black Brant reported so far are just two in the Weymouth area and a photo of one can be seen at http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/bp_black_brant_38_181011_500.jpg showing the thick neck band, dark breast and white flank

Red-breasted Goose: An unringed juvenile arrived at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 18 with a wave of Brent suggesting that it might well be a wild bird rather than a local escape (but where are its parents if it is a juvenile?). The photo at http://www.chog.org.uk/Sightings%20Photos/2011/October%202011/Red-breasted%20Goose%207.jpg shows that the Brent are not happy with its presence - perhaps it has habits that caused its parents to reject it? The evidence for it being a juvenile is shown at http://www.chog.org.uk/Sightings%20Photos/2011/October%202011/Red-breasted%20Goose%205.jpg in the multiple wing bars - an adult should have just two narrow and clear bars

Ruddy Shelduck: One was with Brent at Nutbourne Bay on Oct 20 and 21 and it too may be a wild bird, maybe coming from as far away as Turkey where there is a very large wild population. I suspect that this may be the same bird which arrived at Pagham Harbour on Oct 14 and was then seen at Farlington Marshes on Oct 15 and 16 before moving to Nutbourne. It could well be the same bird which turned up last year at Pilsey on Oct 1 before moving around Chichester, Langstone and Pagham Harbours though the winter until it left on Apr 2

Pochard: These are just starting to arrive in southern England. The first overflew Christchurch Harbour on Oct 15 and on Oct 18 a flock of 143 were seen in the Kent Stour valley followed by a pair on Budds Farm pools here in Havant on Oct 19 and then 10 at Titchfield Haven on Oct 22

Red Breasted Merganser: After several reports of single birds that have probably spent the summer here the first flock was of 12 birds off West Wittering in Chichester Harbour on Oct 15

Rough-legged Buzzard: On Oct 16 a wave of these leaving Scandinavia brought sightings from 52 sites in the Netherlands involving a possible total of 94 birds and some outliers of this movement came through southern England with sightings over the M23 near Gatwick on Oct 20 and in Cornwall on Oct 17

Short-toed Eagle: On Oct 16 a wandering individual was seen the south coast of both Devon and Dorset

Woodcock: Just three sightings in southern England this week show that the winter influx of continental birds has started

Spotted Redshank: The long awaited Nore Barn bird returned to Emsworth on Oct 21

Woodpigeon: Lee Evans reported the arrival in England of the first immigrants from the continent on Oct 18 and 2000 were reported in Lancashire on Oct 19 while Portland reported its first (only 100) that day. On Oct 20 big flocks were seen at seven sites in northern England including 5300 in south Yorkshire

Ring-necked (or Rose-ringed) Parakeet: Christchurch Harbour website on Oct 20 showed a photo of a blue form of this species which I was not previously aware of - see http://www.chog.org.uk/Sightings%20Photos/2011/October%202011/Parrot.jpg (this website gives the species a name I have not come across before, 'Rose-nosed', and in in searching for other instances of that name - which I did not find - I discovered that males of this species have a clear red ring around their necks while females either have no ring or one of a much paler shade, making the Christchurch bird a female)

Short-eared Owl: A large number of migrants have been crossing the channel this week with a peak of 18 at Portland on Oct 16 followed by 9 on Oct 18 and 6 on Oct 20 but these are only three of the 24 reports I have seen. Confusingly the Portland report of Oct 16 mentions that 3 of the birds seen were heading south out over the sea. Locally one was hunting the Milton reclamation area in Southsea for five days from Oct 14 to 18

Woodlark: On Oct 21 one Netherlands site had 162 birds from a potential total of 1001 at 20 continental sites that day. They have also been seen during the week at eight sites in southern England with birds singing at Lavington Common (Pulborough), Latchmore Bottom (New Forest) and Pagham Harbour

Swallow: Still plenty with us at the end of this week - reports for Oct 21 are of 317 over Durlston, 30 over Hook/Warsash and others seen on Thorney Island - 4 were still over Andover, 3 over Hook/Warsash and one over the Arun valley in Sussex on Oct 22 with 6 in the New Forest and 15 more over the Lymington shore. Latest reports of House Martins are of 6 in the New Forest on Oct 22 after 4 over Andover and 1 over Butser Hill (Petersfield) on Oct 17 but some of these are usually still with us when all the Swallows have left. No Sand Martins have been reported in England since Oct 10.

Waxwing: On Oct 20 a site in southern Sweden reported a flock of 830 birds as they began to move south and on Oct 21 at least one was seen in the Netherlands

Dunnock: The first report of song since July 26 comes from Brian Fellows in the Nutbourne Bay area on Oct 21 - I wonder if the song was provoked by the arrival of continental immigrants causing a resident bird to defend its territory?

Robin: There has also been an increase in Robin song in the past week and I see that Sandwich Bay reported an influx of around 60 continental birds on Oct 13 with the Oare Marshes in north Kent reporting the presence of 'masses' on Oct 16 - maybe the song we are now hearing means that the continental birds have infiltrated through Sussex to Hampshire?

Red-flanked Bluetail: No news of one returning to Sandy Point on Hayling (last year one arrived there on Oct 18 and stayed until Oct 23) but up to 9 birds were in Britain over the weekend Oct 15/16 according to Lee Evans (I think all in Kent and Norfolk)

Black Redstart: Although some birds were in southern England through the summer there has been an increase due to the arrival of continental birds since the start of October giving a total of 34 in the Scillies on Oct 16 when singletons were at Stubbington (south of Fareham) and at two Isle of Wight locations after sightings on Oct 15 at Seaford, Pulborough, Portland and Cissbury Ring (Worthing)

Isabelline Wheatear: The first ever seen in Sussex made a one day stand at Crowlink near Eastbourne on Oct 15. This species breeds in Russian and normally heads south to India for the winter. It is slightly larger than our Northern Wheatear but is not easily identified by amateur birders (see Collins Guide)

Ring Ouzel: The deluge of sightings continues but shows signs of drying up - I have picked up 22 reports since Oct 15 with a peak count of 12 on Dartmoor on Oct 17 and more than 8 in Dorset on Oct 19. They have been seen daily up to Oct 22 at Latchmore Bottom on the west fringe of the New Forest and two were still on the Sussex Downs near Firle Beacon on that day.

Blackbird: No large numbers of continental immigrants (peak count of 45 arriving at Sandwich Bay on Oct 15) but I was surprised when Chris Packham was unable to answer a viewers query during this week's Autumnwatch programme - the question was about why a number of Blackbirds had been seen recently with dark (not yellow) bills. That reminded me of my puzzlement a few years ago when Lawrence Holloway seemed to insist that dark bills were indicative of continental origin - as I understand it all Blackbirds have dark bills during their first winter with the males only acquiring the bright yellow in the spring after they hatched

Fieldfare: Now widespread in southern England with a max count of 800 at Seasalter in north Kent on Oct 20 with plenty more to come (a potential total of 63,381 at 7 Netherlands sites on Oct 21). On arrival in England the birds tend to fly north away from the densely populated south coast so it is not suprising that the nearest report to the Havant area this week was of 135 over Butser Hill (Petersfield) on Oct 17

Song Thrush: Only small numbers of migrants reported so far (though there had been counts of 1000 at Pegwell Bay in Kent and 6648 at a Netherlands site back on Oct 8 and 9) but this week's surprise came from the Mediterranean where Mark Cutts found one on board HMS Liverpool on Oct 22 (see http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/23336/Song+Thrush+migration+in+the+Med.html )

Redwing: Again no large flocks yet in south Hampshire - max was 100 at Latchmore Bottom in the New Forest on Oct 16 and 17 with just seven at Portsmouth Dockyard on Oct 16

Pallas' Warbler: Singles at Dungeness on Oct 15 and at Portland on Oct 22

Bearded Tit: For most of the year these birds never see anything outside the reed bed in which they feed, sleep and raise their families but during September and October some bravely set out to seek new homes either in response to post breeding population pressure or the chill of approaching winter - most movements are, I think, within England but there is a small arrival of winter vistors from the continent (perhaps 2 at Dungeness on Oct 15 were 'foreigners'). When the urge to move to a new site begins to influence the birds they can be seen 'high flying' above their home reedbed - flying up high into the air but dropping back into the reeds from which they came - but when the urge becomes stronger than the need for the safety of the home that they know they set off on what may be long distance flights - on Oct 21 at least 9 flew east away from the Thorney Little Deeps.

Willow Tit: A reminder that these still exist in Hampshire came on Oct 19 when the distinctive call of one was heard from the Faccombe area in north Hampshire (one of perhaps two sites in the county that these birds still stay and breed)

Penduline Tit: One appeared in Kent on Oct 15, presumably at the Dungeness RSPB site where it was reported again on Oct 20. A partially read ring on its leg suggested that it had been here last winter.

Isabelline Shrike: One was seen in Suffolk on Oct 14 and then presumably moved to the Cliffe Pools on the Kent coast of the Thames estuary for Oct 15 - 17. I am confused by recent changes in Shrike taxonomy but I think this was a Daurian race bird which has come east from China

Great Grey Shrike: The first reports of this species in southern England come from the North Foreland Golf Course in Kent on Oct 16 and 17, then from Woolmer pond in east Hampshire on Oct 22. At least 4 and maybe 30 were at 20 Netherlands sites on Oct 16

Magpie: I know that some 'bird lovers' think Magpies should be eliminated (and that Larsen traps have been regularly used in the Havant/Emsworth area to catch and despatch them) but I am puzzled as to how one died on the Emsworth Marina seawall on Oct 21. Brian Fellows found it freshly dead and seemingly in good health on Oct 21 and a photo of it on his website ( see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-263-magpie-dead-marina-21.10.11.jpg ) shows some marks on the side of the head which might be the result of pecking by other birds or less likely air gun pellets while the neck feathers show a possible indication of it having had its head in a noose or possibly having had its neck wrung but there is no strong evidence of the cause of death nor why the corpse was found beside a little used path near lots of humans.

Brambling: Christchurch Harbour reported 21 there onn Oct 17 and smaller numbers have been reported from at least four other south coast sites this week but so far no counts to match the 1108 birds at a Netherlands site on Oct 17 with 778 at a different site there on Oct 21

Crossbill: 23 reports from sites in southern England this week have a peak count of 188 arriving at Sandwich Bay in Kent on Oct 19 and around 100 at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 16. Among the latest reports is one of four birds at Northney on Hayling Island on Oct 20. We also have the first report of a single Parrot Crossbill among 22 Common at Sandwich Bay on Oct 16

Bullfinch: More evidence of a large increase in this population comes in a report of 30 Bullfinch seen at Durlston on Oct 16

Snow Bunting: This week one settled on the southern end of the shingle of The Fleet at Weymouth (seen Oct 17 and 20) and two others were in the Bewbush area of Crawley on Oct 21

Yellowhammer: One was singing at Cissbury Ring (Worthing) on Oct 20

Vagrants: A Siberian Rubythroat was alive and well on Shetland on Oct 19 (see http://orientalbirdimages.org/search.php?Bird_ID=2538&Bird_Image_ID=29207&Bird_Family_ID=&p=14 ). That may have been a genuine wild bird but I doubt that was true of a Scarlet Tanager seen on the Scillies on Oct 20 (see this resident of the Americas at http://www.alanmurphyphotography.com/Gallerypages/tanager,bunting,grosbeak/scarlettanager5.htm )

Escapees: On Oct 19 when Steve Wright went to Mengham Infants School on Hayling Island to pick up his daughter he found a Lanner type falcon still wearing its jesses perched in a nearby tree but not thought to be intending to pick up any of the children. There has also been a sighting a Harris Hawk, also wearing jesses, at the Chichester Gravel pits on Oct 9. Should you find raptors in the Chichester/Portsmouth area which appear to be escaped falconers birds ring the Sussex Falconry Center on 01243 512472 and report the sighting as this may help to re-unite the bird with its owner.

Insect News highlights:

Both Dragonflies and Butterflies were out in extraordinary numbers for the second half of October and in particular a very late Ringlet butterfly was found. A good selection of moths, including many late migrants, were recorded and I have been introduced to some new Beetle and Spider species as a result of this week's reported finds

Plant News highlights:

Several unexpected flowering plants for this time of year include Common Flax, Soapwort, Water Chickweed, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, Dyers Greenweed, Moth Mullein and Chamomile were found during the week. Shaggy Soldier was a new addition to the Emsworth village list and the first frost brought out the first Winter Heliotrope flowers of the winter season. I was particularly pleased to find the Rayed form of Groundsel flowers (and Dwarf Spurge) in the Warblington Farm fields and Brian Fellows added Corn Mint to the list for that area and three new Cockspur Thorn trees to his 'Wayside' list

Other News highlights:

On Oct 21 Graeme Lyons joined a Fungus Foray in the Ashdown Forest and mentions nine species which he found there including the Nail fungus that occurs only on the dung of ponies and horses which have fed on un-improved acidic grassland and heathy vegetation. The fruiting bodies are most frequently seen on well-weathered dung, and may not occur on dung that has been heavily disrupted by foraging birds or animals, possibly due to subsequent desiccation - see http://www.arkive.org/nail-fungus/poronia-punctata/image-A2484.html#text=Range which states that, in Britain, this species is restricted to the New Forest and one site in Dorset so Graeme's report of it in the Ashdown Forest extends the range which I was previously aware of. Other species found were Russula vesca (normally known as Bare-toothed Russula but also known to some as 'The Flirt'), Poison Pie (Hebeloma crustuliniforme), the hallucinatory Magic Mushroom aka Liberty Cap (Psilocybe semilanceata) which occurs on the Gipsies Plain south of Havant Thicket and the Pine Fire Fungus (Rhizina undulata) which I have found in the woodland of Havant Thicket - the best photo of a fresh specimen that I have come across is at http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/pictures/showphoto.php/photo/94919/size/big . For Graeme's blog entry see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/10/ive-got-nail-fungus.htm (the title refers to the medical condition in humans known as Nail Fungus)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Most of this week's significant birds have been listed in the Bird Highlights above but there are a few items worth mentioning here ...

White-billed Diver: The first of the winter was off Tiree in Scotland on Oct 18

Cattle Egret: The long staying bird on the Thornham Marshes (Thorney Island) was still present on Oct 21

Glossy Ibis: The two birds at Christchurch Harbour do not seem to have been seen since Oct 15 but new (transitory) singles have been seen in East Sussex and at Titchfield Haven

Canada Goose: On Oct 21 the flock at Pulborough Brooks exceeded 1000 birds (the RSPB must have their goodwill to all birds strained by this)

Wigeon: The count at Pulborough Brooks was 450 on Oct 16 and around 400 in Nutbourne Bay (Chichester Harbour) on Oct 21

Ferruginous Duck: The first arrival for this winter was in Norfolk on Oct 15 - maybe the 'Fudge Duck' will be back at Budds Farm soon?

Common Buzzard: As well as the Rough-legged birds that have been moving south there was a big count of potentially 3312 Common Buzzards at 31 sites in the Netherlands on Oct 16 (one site had 267 of them)

Osprey: One was still over Haywards Heath area on Oct 15 and another was at Titchfield Haven on Oct 19

Hobby: One was at Portland on Oct 15 but an even later bird was seen in Yorkshire on Oct 16

Quail: A late bird was at St Adhelm's Head in Dorset on Oct 16

Water Rail: Up to 8 birds have been at the Milton Common lakes in Southsea this week (Oct 18) and their mass movement to winter quarters was seen on Oct 17 when just two Netherlands sites reported a total of 42 birds

Spotted Crake: One in the Scillies on Oct 15 with a Corncrake also there that day

Golden Plover: Around 200 were seen on the Chichester Harbour mud of the Emsworth Channel near the Great Deeps on Oct 15 but none have been reported on the mud between Langstone and Northney Marina yet

White-rumped Sandpiper: One appeared at Rutland Water on Oct 15 and was still there on Oct 18

Woodcock: Six reports of these moving to winter quarters this week include one in the Thanet area, one at Dungeness, and one near the South Downs Way in Sussex

Spotted Redshank: The famous 'Nore Barn' bird was back at Emsworth for the first time this winter on Oct 21

Grey Phalarope: Four reports this week include one at Reculver on the north Kent coast on Oct 20

Little Gull: Cap Gris-nez in France reported 1274 on Oct 19 and 57 were off the north Kent coast on Oct 20

Sandwich Tern: Six were still in Langstone Harbour off Milton Common in Oct 17 and a single Common Tern was off Mill Rythe on the east coast of Hayling Island on Oct 18 (when another was in Southampton Water)

Little Auk: One was seen at Dungeness on Oct 14 after two were seen at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on Oct 13

Turtle Dove: One was still in the Scilies on Oct 17

Little Owl: Of local interest one was heard calling from trees between the school and the holiday camp at Mill Rythe on Hayling on Oct 18

Kingfisher: Again of local interest there have been sightings this week at Emsworth Town Millpond, at the nearby Little Deeps, at the Leigh Park Gardens lake and at the Budds Farm Pools

Wryneck: Five were still in the Scillies on Oct 16

Tree Pipit: A late bird was at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 15 and a late Yellow Wagtail was there on Oct 21

Bluethroat: One on the Scillies on Oct 17

Whinchat: One was at Sinah Warren (south Hayling) on Oct 16 but the latest so far was at Portland on Oct 19

Wheatear: Two were still on the Hampshire coast (Warblington and Hook) on Oct 21

Grasshopper Warbler: A late bird at Portland on Oct 14

Blyth's Reed Warbler: One in the Scillies on Oct 16 along with a Subalpine Warbler

Dartford Warbler: One had reached Hastings Country Park on its autumn dispersal flight by Oct 18

Lesser Whitethroat: One at Durlston on Oct 14 with a Common Whitethroat at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 21

Blackcap: Birds in the New Forest and at Portsmouth on Oct 18 were probably our summer birds on their way south but three at Dungeness on Oct 20 might be coming the other way

Pallas' Warbler: One at Dungeness on Oct 15

Yellow Browed Warbler: 11 reports this week show that these are now widespread in southern England

Radde's Warbler: Singles in Norfolk and the Scillies this week

Goldcrest: Among this weeks reports are 20 at Durlston on Oct 16, 9 at Butser Hill (Petersfield)n on Oct 17 and 7 at Gilkicker (Gosport) on Oct 15

Firecrest: 16 were at Abbotsbury in Dorset on Oct 15 with smaller numbers at six other sites in southern England this week

Red-breasted Flycatcher: Singles in Cornwall and the Scillies on Oct 16 (maybe the same bird)

Pied Flycatcher: One at St Adhelms Head in Dorset on Oct 14

Red-backed Shrike: One flew over a cafe on the outskirts of Brighton on Oct 15 and another was in the Scillies on Oct 16

Starling: A flock of 2000 roosting at the Romsey Fishlake Meadows on Oct 20 with more arriving from the continent (497 ovr Mile Hill at Fleet in north Hampshire on Oct 21

Rose Coloured Starling: In addition to birds in Cornwall and the Scillies Christchurch Harbour had its first on Oct 19

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

The sight of any dragonflies still flying after mid October is remarkable but the least expected reports were of a Vagrant Emperor and Red-veined Darter, both in the Scillies. Common Darters were the most frequently seen species and were the latest to be reported on Oct 20. Photos of the first two rarities can be seen by going to http://www.surfbirds.com/cgi-bin/gallery/display.cgi?gallery=gallery19 (note that this is a 'push down' gallery and you may find that one or both of the species mentioned is no longer on the first page but you can find them by clicking 'Next 12' at the foot of each page)

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Common Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Vagrant Emperor, Gold Ringed Dragonfly, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Common Blue Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Ringlet: Matthew Oates was at Magdalen Hill Down on Oct 11 and found a fresh male which he thinks was the first example of a second brood emergence in the county. This was two months after the previous last sighting on Aug 10 at Chalton Down north of Rowlands Castle

Butterflies still on the wing in Sussex on Oct 22 were Common Blue, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Small Copper ( this last seen by Barry Collins on Thorney Island). Here in Havant a Large White was flying in my garden on Oct 23

Holly Blues were flying at Testwood Lakes near Southampton on Oct 13 and at Stokes Bay, Gosport on Oct 19

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Meadow Brown, Ringlet

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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Note re Moth entries - a key to the meaning of the colours used in the HantsMoths Flighttime Guides can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php

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1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella

Recorded at Pagham Harbour on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1793

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 26-32 mm. When at rest, this moth has a very elongated and narrow shape, which makes it easily recognisable. A well-known migrant, it can often be found in large numbers at coastal watch-points, and tends to occur in the adult stage between May and September.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1398.php

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1456 Epischnia bankesiella

Recorded at Portland on Oct 17

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=561

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 27-30 mm. The distribution of E. bankesiella, is tied to that of its larval foodplant, golden samphire (Inula crithmoides), growing on sea cliffs in S. and S.W. England and Wales, as far north as Lleyn, where it is well established. Apparently, it does not favour plants on saltings, such as those in S.E. England. The forewing is greyish with darker striations, and the moth adopts an elongated shape when at rest.
The adults fly from dusk onwards in July, and can be attracted to light. Larvae feed in August - September, and again in April - May after overwintering.
The habitation is silk, flecked with frass, which may form a flimsy tube running down the plant. When disturbed, the larva may throw itself from the habitation. Pupation is in a cocoon among detritus in June and early July.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1456.php

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1524 Emmelina monodactyla

Recorded at Pagham Harbour on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=592

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 18-27 mm. One of the commonest of the 'Plume' moths all over Britain, and one of the few to be found in the early part of the year, as the adults occur in all months. Like most of the Pterophoridae, the wings are cleft or divided, but this can be difficult to see, as the moth often rests with the wings rolled up tightly. The wing colour is usually pale brownish, but can be darker. Each pair of spurs on the hind legs has one spur longer than the other. The abdomen has a pale buff dorsal longitudinal band with brown streaks along the midline. It occurs in any suitable habitat where the larval foodplants, bindweeds (Convolvulus and Calystegia spp.), occur. Larvae have also been reported occasionally on Morning glory (Ipomoea), Chenopodium spp. and Atriplex spp. They feed in two overlapping generations on leaves and flowers from late May to September.
The larvae are greenish yellow with a broad green dorsal band, which has a fine discontinuous yellow line along its centre. The dorsal pinacula can be black, or coloured the same as the adjacent integument. Some specimens have ruby red dorsal markings. The pupa varies from green to reddish, sometimes with black markings.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1524.php

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1720 The Gem Orthonama obstipata

Recorded at Portland on Oct 17

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2530

UK Moths comments:Wingspan 18-21 mm. Another continental species, which is a regular migrant to the British Isles, mainly in the south. The species is sexually dimorphic, the male being light brown with a darker central band, and the female slightly larger and darker, with a white spot on each forewing.
It usually appears in late summer and autumn. The larvae feed on various low-growing plants.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1720.php

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1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum

Five reports this week including one of a newly arrived immigrant at Portland on Oct 17 and others at inland sites but none later than Oct 17

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2076 Kent Black Arches Meganola albula

Recorded at Portland on Oct 17

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1031

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 18-24 mm. A species which is restricted to the southern and eastern counties of England, and parts of Wales, generally occupying open woodland and coastal habitats. The species flies at night from June to August, and can be attracted to light. The small, hairy larvae feed on dewberry (Rubus caesius), and overwinter in this state.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2076.php

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2198 Smoky Wainscot Mythimna impura

Recorded at Portland on Oct 21

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5673

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 31-38 mm. Named after the dusky or smoky suffusion on the hindwing, this is a fairly common species over most of the British Isles. It flies from June to August, sometimes later in the south as a partial second brood. Occupying downland, sand dunes and rough grassy areas, the larval foodplants are mainly grasses.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2198.php

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2208 The Cosmopolitan Mythimna loreyi

Recorded at Portland on Oct 17

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=885

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 34-44 mm. Although it can resemble one or two related species such as The Clay (M. ferrago) and White-speck (M. unipuncta), this moth can be told apart by the pure white hindwings. It is an immigrant to the south-west of the British Isles, with varying numbers each year, ranging from just a few to several hundred in exceptional years. The main arrival period is from August to October, though they have been recorded as early as May. Abroad, the species occurs in southern Europe and North Africa, and is thought to feed on grasses.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2208.php

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2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra

Recorded at Durlston on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6029

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 40-46 mm. A rather long-winged species, with little variation from the blackish-brown ground colour and whitish stigmata. The males have white hindwings, the females more dusky. In Britain the species is common in the south, with a scattered distribution northwards, mainly with a western bias, into Scotland, where it is widely scattered throughout. Mainly coastal in Ireland. The adults fly in September and October, occupying heathland and downland, and the larvae feed on low plants such as heather (Calluna) and dock (Rumex), as well as various grasses.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2232.php

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2245 Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae

Recorded at Pagham Harbour on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1764

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 35-45 mm. Although superficially a dull brown species, the typical form of this moth has patches of metallic green scales giving it an attractive sheen in the correct light. A melanic form, ab. capucina is quite common in suburban areas, and shows much less green. An autumn species, flying from September to November, it is fairly common throughout much of Britain, occupying woodland, hedgerows and suburban habitats.
The caterpillars hatch in spring and feed on a variety of trees and bushes, including hawthorn (Crataegus) and blackthorn (Prunus spinosa).

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2245.php

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2251 Flame Brocade Trigonophora flammea

Recorded again at Portland on Oct 18 for the sixth time since Oct 2 (first arrived at Friston near Eastbourne on Sep 30)

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=856

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 44-52 mm. Formerly resident in Sussex, becoming extinct there in the late 19th Century, the species is now resident only in the Channel Islands and elsewhere it is only an immigrant. Adults have appeared, usually at coastal light-traps along England's southern shores, mainly from Hampshire westwards. The normal flight period is October and November, most immigrants turning up in the former month. The caterpillar feeds on low plants such as buttercup (Ranunculus) in the early stages, later preferring such species as ash (Fraxinus) and privet (Ligustrum).

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2251.php

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2262 The Brick Agrochola circellaris

Recorded at Pagham Harbour on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=220

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 33-38 mm. One of several similar, orange-coloured species which emerge during the autumn period, it is distributed widely over much of Britain and is fairly common. It frequents mainly woodland and parkland, and is on the wing from August to October. The larvae feed on the flowers and leaves of wych elm (Ulmus glabra) or poplar (Populus) when young, later feeding on the leaves.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2262.php

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2264 Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta

Recorded at Pagham Harbour on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1106

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 32-36 mm. Distributed throughout Britain, and commonest in the south, frequenting woodland, bushy localities, and moorland in the far north. It flies from September to November, and feeds at various flowers and at sugar. It also comes to light. In the north of its range, the caterpillars feed on heather (Calluna), but further south it generally lives on deciduous trees such as oak (Quercus) and beech (Fagus).

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2264.php

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2267 Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis

Recorded at Durlston on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1736

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 30-35 mm. An autumnal species, flying in September and October, and a regular visitor to the mercury vapour light. The species is quite variable and there are a number of named forms. It occurs most commonly in the southern half of England and Wales, becoming scarcer further north. It is rare in Scotland and Ireland. The larvae feed on low plants when small, later consuming the leaves of various trees and shrubs

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2267.php

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2274 The Sallow Xanthia icteritia

Recorded at Pagham Harbour on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1795

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 27-35 mm. A common species in most of Britain, occupying damp woodland, heathland and marshy places. It is quite variable, with the relatively frequent ab. flavescens having the darker markings almost absent. Like many of its congeners, it flies in the autumn, in September and October and is a frequent visitor to both sugar and light. Again, like similar species, the larvae feed at first on sallow (Salix) catkins, and then later on herbaceous plants.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2274.php

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2321 Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha

Recorded at Portland on Oct 21

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=52

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 45-55 mm. A common species throughout the British Isles, there are frequent melanic specimens, especially in the north. Occurring in a variety of habitats, especially more grassy areas, it is on the wing from July to August, with a later second brood in the south. It is readily attracted to light and one of the commoner species in the moth trap in late summer. The larvae feed on the bases and stems of various grasses.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2321.php

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2353 Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea

Recorded at Durlston on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=167

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 30-35 mm. A common species in England and Wales, but more local in Scotland and Ireland, occupying dry, grassy habitats. There is one generation, flying in August and September, when the species comes to light. The larvae feed underground in the bases of grass stems and amongst the roots.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2353.php

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2400 Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2527

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 30-40 mm. An immigrant species to Britain, mainly around the southern coasts, and occurring most often in the autumn months. It is also found as a larva from time to time on tomato plants, geraniums and other plants brought in from the Mediterranean region, where it can be a pest.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2400.php

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2408 Small Marbled Eublemma parva

Recorded at Portland on Oct 17

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4284

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 14-18 mm. Another migrant species which occasionally arrives along with the Purple Marbled (E. ostrina) Like the former species, larvae are sometimes found in immigration years, these feeding on common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica) and ploughman's-spikenard (Inula conyzae). Most migrants have arrived in June and July, and mainly in the south of England.

Hants Moths photo and comment at FACE = "Arial" FACE="Arial" SIZE=2>http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2408.php

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2436 Dewick's Plusia Macdunnoughia confusa

Recorded at Rye town on Oct 17 with the comment that the species was first found by A J Dewick in Essex in October 1951. Rare vagrant until the last decade. Now well established with four colonies in Sussex alone

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3608

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 32-38 mm. This moth is a vagrant to Britain, having occurred only a few dozen times, mostly attracted to light on the south and east coasts. August is the optimum month for this species, but records have occurred between July and October. On the continent it is double-brooded, and the larvae feed on a range of plants, most commonly nettle (Urtica dioica).

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2436.php

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2477 The Snout Hypena proboscidalis

Recorded at Pagham Harbour on Oct 15

UK Moths photo at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1136

UK Moths comments: Wingspan 25-38 mm. A common species throughout Britain, this moth can often be found in numbers around dusk, flying over patches of the foodplant, nettle (Urtica dioica). It is on the wing from June to August, and again later in the autumn, and is a common occurrence at the light-trap. It occurs on waste ground, gardens, woodland and other places where nettle occurs.

Hants Moths photo and comment at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2477.php

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For more local moth photos go to Tony Tindale's latest blog entry at http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/23347/Beaded+Chestnut%2C+Large+Wainscot%2C+Satellite+and+a+sixth+MV+Lamp.html

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Beetles: For a couple of beetles found by Graeme Lyons in Sussex see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/10/25mm.html for Psammoecus bipunctatus and http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/10/east-hastings.html for a rare weevil called Cathormiocerus myrmecophilus and for another found at Durlston on Oct 17 see http://www.arkive.org/ground-beetle/pterostichus-aterrimus/

Spiders: A jumping Spider called Pseudeuophrys lanigera was found at Peasmarsh near Hastings on Oct 14 - see http://www.eakringbirds.com/eakringbirds3/arachnidsinfocuspseudeuophryslanigera.htm and for Zilla diodia found at Woods Mill by Graeme Lyons at Woods Mill (Sussex Wildlife Trust HQ) during his lunch break on Oct 17 see http://www.nicksspiders.com/nicksspiders/zilladiodia.htm and if you want to see other species of orb web weavers go to http://ednieuw.home.xs4all.nl/Spiders/Araneidae/Araneidae.htm Another species found by Graeme Lyons at Hastings Country Park on Oct 19 was Zygiella atrica - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zygiella_atrica

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Common Flax: Three plants of this were a surprise find alongside the cycleway between Broadmarsh and Faflington Marshes on Oct 19 - two were in bud and one had its large dark blue flower open

Soapwort: Another unexpected find in Havant on Oct 18 was of new flowers on the plants just north of the Park Road North railbridge on its east side

Water Chickweed: Another big surprise was to find this still flowering at Prinsted Bay seawall on Oct 17 (see my diary page for the day for more detail)

Dyers Greenweed: Also unexpected on Oct 17 was fresh growth and flowering of this plant in the north east corner of Thornham Marshes.

Cockspur Thorn: Three new specimens were added to the Emsworth Waysides plant list by Brian Fellows on Oct 17 - I have not seen them but I believe that if I wanted to find them I should go to the junction of Southleigh and Horndean Roads, then walk north on the east side of Horndean road expecting to find the trees after the end of the houses where they are replaced by fields called Spencers Field

Dog Rose: Still flowering - I found a single flower beside the east end of Thornham Lane on Oct 17 and another single flower in the southfacing field edge of the Warblington Farm field that is on your right as you walk south from Nore Barn wood.

Dwarf Spurge: I found my first for the year on Oct 21 among the stubble in the biggest field of Warblington Farm on the north side of the path from Nore Barn to Warblington Church

Cow Parsley: On Oct 21 I passed three new flowering plants between Warblington Farnyard and the Old Rectory on Pook Lane

Moth Mullein: Three plants were growing (one with a yellow flower, the others with buds still to open) by the old farmyard just west of the gate into the field containing the abandoned market garden plot at Prinsted - seen on Oct 17

Round and Sharp-leaved Fluellen: Both were flowering (just!) on Oct 21in Warblington Farm fields that have been harvested

Corn Mint: Brian Fellows found some of this flowering in fields north of the Nore Barn wood on Oct 17. I have found Water Mint (which has its flowers in a teminal whorl at the top of its stem) in several damp (and some not so damp) areas around Havant but have not been in the area where Brian made his find of plants with multiple whorls of flowers up their stems.

Rayed Form of Groundsel: Found on Oct 21 in the big Warblington Farm field between Nore Barn and Warblington Church where I have found it in past years - see my Diary page for that day for more detail and a photo

Shaggy Soldier: Lots of this flowering in the abandoned Prinsted Market Garden plot on Oct 17 and a few more plants found by roadside kerb stones at the junction of Queen Street with the A259 in Emsworth - seemingly a new addition to the Emsworth village flower list

Narrow-leaved Ragwort: This unusual alien was still flowering at its Farm Lane site in Nutbourne on Oct 17

Winter Heliotrope: First flower of the winter season was out at Wade Court in Langstone on Oct 21 - true to form the first day after the first frost of winter had triggered it into growth.

Chamomile: On Oct 18 John Goodspeed found this flowering by the Tennis Courts at Purbrook Heath playing fields

The above are the more significant plants seen flowering this week but several others get a mention if you read through my diary pages

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Nothing to add to the comments on Fungi in the Highlights section at the head of this page

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Oct 10 - 16 (Week 41 of 2011)

(Skip to previous week)

Note that while I have in the past often stayed up after midnight on a Sunday to make this summary as complete as possible for Monday morning reading I have decided that from now on I will stop work at 11pm on the Sunday and will post an incomplete summary if necessary but I still intend to complete the work on Monday, posting a complete version not later than Monday evening for Tuesday. This week the part not completed is the section on Moths and Other Insects which both require a lot of research and careful writing to make them useful to readers

Overview

(Skip to Bird News)

Bird news highlights:

Brent Geese return with young: First to arrive were probably Pale Bellied birds (9 in the Scillies on Sep 12 and 1 in North Devon on Sep 14) but our Dark Bellied birds were first seen on Sep 15 when small numbers were seen at Dungeness, north Kent and France. No flocks exceeded 100 birds until Sep 25 when 1142 were reported off Germany and on Sep 26 Chichester Harbour had a flock of 230 and on Sep 28 there were 110 in Portsmouth Harbour and 172 in Langstone Harbour. By Oct 1 the Langstone Harbour flock was up to 500 and 235 had reached Exmouth in south Devon. The first juveniles were reported among a flock of 33 in Christchurch Harbour on Oct 6 and by co-incidence another flock of 33 at Bosham in Chichester Harbour on Oct 11 also had 8 young with family size up to 3 juvs. These Bosham birds also marked the stage at which the newly arrived birds overcame their fear of human activity and came to feed along the busy northern shore of the harbour. The first statistically significant measure of breeding success came on Oct 12 when two separate flocks, each of 2000 birds, were counted at Seasalter on the north Kent coast, each of them having 6% of juveniles. A higher but less significant percentage (roughly 14%) was reported from Christchurch Harbour on Oct 14 when 14 juvs were seen among a flock of 103 geese and on that day an even more optimistic estimate came from the Lymington shore where 11 juvs were seen in a flock of just 24 birds (but in that count was a single family with 5 juvs). Next stage in the winter cycle will come when the geese start to feed on land - hopefully we will have had some rain to encourage growth of grass and cereal crops by the time they exhaust the eel grass in the harbour.

First Brant is back: On Oct 13 the first Brant of the winter, with 2 Pale-bellied Brent, arrived at Littlesea in Weymouth

Migration routes: As a human I automatically envisage a map of the areas over which birds must fly to get from their breeding areas to winter quarters and this map-based route-planning habit causes me to assume that the passage birds seen along our south coast at this time of year have come from further north in the British Isles and are just waiting for suitable weather to cross the channel in order to continue a straight line route to their destination. What I see when looking at the internet reports that are now available to us forces me to realise that bird movements are not governed by the sort of knowledge based planning that humans use but are driven by a combination of an inner urge to keep moving in a general direction modified by two factors which (not having the background knowledge that we have) are the only things to influence their behaviour - these are (a) the landscape and (b) the weather. One thing that has made me reflect on this is that the majority of reports from Sandwich Bay at this time of year are of passage birds flying north and if you look at an atlas you will see that birds flying in a southwesterly direction along the north coast of Europe may well (particularly when flying at night or in cloudy conditions) not make the sharp turn south to follow the French coast after passing Calais and Cap Gris-nez but will fly on to hit the Kent coast. Birds on a more southerly route will reach Dungeness and then follow the English south coast west while those that were flying north of the continental coastline will hit our coast in the Sandwich/Pegwell Bay area where the birds would have to make a left turn of more than 90 degrees to follow our coast down to Dover - the easier change of direction is to the right, taking them north and then west along the north Kent coast, then up the Thames valley and an overland route back to our south coast. This is just one example of the sort of decision that will influence the routes followed by birds on passage.

Autumn vagrants: This may prove to be the best week of the year for vagrant birds in Britain. Some which have caught my eye have been the Isabelline Wheatear in the Beachy Head area, a live Rufous-tailed Robin in Norfolk, a moribund (now dead) Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Liverpool, a Lanceolated Warbler on Fair Isle and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Orkney, plus an Eleonara's Falcon in Scotland (Lothian) and a 'very convincing report', according to Lee Evans, of a Sooty Falcon at Birling Gap on Beachy Head

Insect News highlights:

At least eight dragonfly and fourteen butterfly species were still on the wing but Red Admirals showed distinct signs of reverse migration (flying south in the hope of reaching warmer climes)

For Moth news I have tried a new format which I hope will encourage some non-moth-ers to become interested in these insects. The aim is to select some of the species reported during the week and to provide basic information about the species (copied for UK Moths and other websites) with links to pictures of the species

I have also tried to do the same for 'Other Insects'

Plant News highlights:

Autumn sunshine has given us 160 species still in flower this week. Among those noted in the Plant News below some that I think are of special interest are four not normally flowering at this time of year - Marsh Marigold, Yellow Iris, Cherry Plum and Cornsalad. One that only flowers in October is Chinese Mugwort. Two plants that I personally am pleased with are Ray's Knotgrass and Japanese Honeysuckle, both if which I have seen before but have only discovered their names this week

Other News highlights:

This week we have two interesting contributions from Graeme Lyons - one about Dormice in the West Dean Woods near Chichester and the other about Bird's Nest Fungi in Ebernoe church yard neat Midhurst

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: 14 reports of Red-throated this week including one from Germany where 68 birds were seen at 3 sites. Nine reports of Black-throated include one in Christchurch Harbour and several round the Kent coast, with six reports of Great Northern including one in the Solent off Stokes Bay at Gosport.

Grebes: Little Grebes have started to appear on coastal waters - two were in the Warblington Farm stream outflow south of the church with newly arrived Wigeon on Oct 15. A Black-necked was seen going south at Pegwell Bay in Kent on Oct 9 and a Slavonian was on the French Normandie coast on Oct 10 while there were three reports of Red-necked from the Yorkshire coast during the week

Shag: No reports from the mouth of Langstone Harbour yet this winter but a flock of 20 landed on the sea off Selsey on Oct 12

Cattle Egret: The Thornham Marshes bird was still present on Thorney Island on Oct 15

Little Egret: The number roosting at Langstone Pond has started to diminish as winter inevitably approaches and I only counted 100 there on Oct 13

Great White Egret: Reports fom southern England this week include two newcomers at the Axe estuary in Devon and single resident birds at Dungeness and in Cornwall plus late news of one at the Oare Marshes in north Kent where it was said to be eating a Mole. The number of birds on the near continent seems to be increasing with totals this week of 33 birds on Oct 9, 49 on Oct 13 and 69 on Oct 15 - these all came from a maximum of 16 sites, but on Oct 14 Trektellen had reports totalling 390 bird from 51 sites!

Glossy Ibis: The three birds that seemed settled at Christchurch Harbour have been down to two since Oct 12 but two were still there on Oct 15 (one did make a brief appearance at the Exe estuary on Oct 14) and one remains faithful to the Stithians reservoir in Cornwall. By Oct 15 there were also 3 in Suffolk and one in Cleveland

Swans: On Oct 13 a total of 24 Bewick's arrived at three sites in Belgium and on Oct 14 there were 19 at two Netherlands sites - none at Slimbridge yet though the first seven Whitefront geese arrived there on Oct 14. Thirteen Whoopers were reported at a Yorkshire site on Oct 9 (with six more at two other sites), six more reach Flamborough Head on Oct 10 and eight were at a lake in the Manchester area on Oct 13

Geeese: Just over 1000 Bean Geese reached 4 sites in the Netherlands on Oct 14 but only a couple of Pinkfoots were reported in England (in off the sea at Pegwell Bay in Kent, then flying on west) this week after nearly 14,000 arrived in Aberdeen on Oct 6. Plenty of Whitefronts reached the Netherlands starting with 17,500 on Oct 13 with 9,000 more on Oct 14 and 5,700 on Oct 15 and the Netherlands also welcomed 3,000 Greylag on Oct 13 and 4,000 more on Oct 14 (with a single Snow Goose reported on Oct 13). Barnacles also reached the low countries in force (9.200 on Oct 9, 3300 on Oct 12 and 14,700 on Oct 14) and two of these wild birds flew into Pegwell Bay on Oct 12 but a single Barnacle flying west through the Solent on Oct 9 seems less likely to have been wild. I have commented on the Brent and their young, plus the arrival of the first Brant (at Weymouth on Oct 13), in the Highlights above. Three reports of Egyptian Geese (max of 121 birds) in the Netherlands were probably not winter arrivals and the same probably applies to a single report of just two Bar-headed in Belgium on Oct 13

Duck: This week Wigeon began to turn up at last and on Oct 8 Pagham Harbour had 40 birds while Clamerkin Lake (Newtown, IoW) had 47. On Oct 10 I saw my first 5 on the Budds Farm pools at Havant and on Oct 15 there were 9 in the outfall of the Warblington Castle stream between Langstone and Emsworth. On Oct 13 Christchurch Harbour had more than 200. Also on Oct 13 Dungeness saw 60 flying west and at dusk that evening as I was counting Egrets at Langstone Pond a V shaped skein of around 30 duck (probably Wigeon) flew west high over north Hayling heading for Langstone Harbour. On Oct 9 51 Gadwall were new at Hook/Warsash and on Oct 8 a count of 25 Pintail in Pagham Harbour was the first notable arrival of the species in the local area (though there had been 30+ in Devon on Oct 1). On Oct 14 one Garganey was still in Christchurch Harbour and on that same day one site in the Netherlands had a count of 321 Scaup increasing to a massive 1175 birds at the same site next day. Eider also saw a big increase on Oct 13 with 3589 at one German site. A single Goldeneye was at Pegwell Bay in Kent on Oct 9 and precursors of the Mergansers began to appear on the south coast with one at Sandwich Bay in Kent on Oct 9, two at Seaford on Oct 10 (two passing Climping that day were presumably the same birds), and four were off the Normandie coast on Oct 14. Oct 9 also saw the count of Goosander at the Blashford Lakes shoot up to 23 (though only 2 were reported there on Oct 14)

Raptors: The last Honey Buzzard went over Portland on Oct 10 after one had flown over Eastleigh near Southampton on Oct 9. The two long staying Black Kites were still in Cornwall on on Oct 15 and a diffent bird was reported over Ferndown near Bournemouth on Oct 11 while this week brought a suggestion that our Red Kite population has reached a point where some are heading into Europe - I have no information about the numbers of these birds to be found in Europe but I was surprised totals in the Low Countries of 60 birds on Oct 14 and 56 on Oct 15 (plus 17 at three sites in Czechoslovakia on Oct 9). Coming the other way were 11 White-tailed Eagles at a Swedish site on Oct 12 with 8 at four sites in the Netherlands on Oct 14. A single Hen Harrier in the New Forest on Oct 12 was the first reported there since June but more may be on the way as there has been a significant increase of them in the Low Countries since Oct 9 when 48 were at 26 sites followed by 182 at 49 sites on Oct 14. Another increase among continental raptors came with a report of 18 Goshawks at 5 Netherlands sites on Oct 14 (11 of them at one site) while Oct 14 also brought lots of Sparrowhawks to the Netherlands (1387 at 29 sites with one site having 186 of them) and also on Oct 14 one site in Germany had 930 Buzzards with a possible total (ignoring double counting) of 7380 at 47 sites. Naturally there were Rough-legged Buzzards also on the move giving reports of 149 at one Swedish site on Oct 12 and of 44 at 24 Netherlands sites on Oct 14. I was about to say that the last Osprey had been seen in Hampshire on Oct 1 but a quick search shows that one was in the Lymington area at 5pm on Oct 15 - others had been seen in Sussex (Weir Wood) on Oct 10 and in Cornwall on Oct 12. A Red-footed Falcon was at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 9 and three others were reported on the continent this week. Also in the UK this week were an Eleonora's Falcon in Scotland and an unconfirmed Sooty Falcon near Beachy Head (this species does not normally get closer to us than Egypt and should currently be heading south from the Middle East to Madagascar - I'm not sure if one has ever been recorded in Britain). Plenty of Merlin sightings this week including a local one at Hoe Cross in the Meon valley while Belgium had a possible total of 92 birds at 40 sites on Oct 14. Hobbies were seen at Andover on Oct 10 and in the New Forest on Oct 13. A postscript to this summary is the sighting of a Short-toed Eagle at Orcombe Point (near Exmouth in south Devon) at midday on Oct 16

Common Crane: The only reports from England this week are of 2 at Dungeness on Oct 8 and maybe the same two over Rye Harbour on Oct 13 but just across the Channel Oct 13 brought a count of 1697 at one German site and another count of 1009 birds at Berlin on Oct 14

Waders: By Oct 14 the number of Avocet in the Exe estuary was up to 39 (last January there were 580 there and I see that in February Poole Harbour had 1200 so there are plenty more yet to reach the west country). The Golden Plover flock in Chichester Harbour numbered 200 at West Wittering back on Oct 4 but this week a flock of 250 were well up the Emsworth Channel (off the Great Deeps area) and we may soon be seeing them from Langstone when the tides are right for them to settle on the mud for their daytime snooze after nocturnal feeding in fields. I had my personal first encounter with around 50 Sanderling in the Black Point high tide roost on Oct 13 and Rye Harbour reported a Purple Sandpiper there on Oct 9 (the species being uncommon there so still noteworthy whereas most waders have now settled into their winter sites and so are no longer exciting enough to report). Another uncommon vistor to Rye Harbour this week was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper and in the Scillies a Wilson's Snipe was even more uncommon. Soon to attract attention in southern England will be continental Woodcock - so far I have only heard of one arriving at Bockhill near the South Foreland in Kent on Oct 8 but they were seen at one or two Netherlands sites on Oct 14 and 15. On Oct 12 the Scillies had the first Upland Sandpiper for the year but Emsworth birders are still waiting for the return of 'their' Spottted Redshank which should turn up in the coming week (last year it arrived on Oct 19). Back in the Scillies the Lesser Yellowlegs and the Least Sandpiper were still present.

Skuas: On Oct 9 Dungeness recorded 41 Pomarine, 40 Arctic and 193 Bonxies and on that day a single Long-tailed was off the Suffolk coast

Gulls: On Oct 12 a Swedish site had 1033 Little Gulls that may be coming our way but there has been little excitement along our south coast this week. One highlight was a great photo of a first winter Caspian Gull taken at the Axe estuary in Devon on Oct 14 (to see it go to http://www.devonbirds.org/Birdnews and click the link to 'Devon Bird News' then scroll down the page which this invokes - you should be able to go direct to http://devonbirdnews.blogspot.com/ but I have had difficulty with doing this). The resident Glaucous Gull is still at Dungeness but a couple of early winter visitors have been reported - one at Cowes (Isle of Wight) on Oct 10 and another in the Netherlands on Oct 7, 9 and 10.

Terns: In addition to the Sandwich Terns that will stay with us for the winter the only birds reported were an Arctic off Snady Point (Hayling Island) on Oct 9 and 3 of them at Dungeness on Oct 13, a single Little Tern at Pegwell Bay in Kent on Oct 9 and a Black Tern at Cowes (IoW) also on Oct 9

Little Auk: Two were seen at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on Oct 13

Wood Pigeons: This week brought the first signs of the great Woodpigeon invasion we experience each autumn with its unanswered questions about where the birds come from and where they go to. Oct 9 was the clear start of the flocking season over in Germany with a report of 227,000 birds at four site, one of them having 113,000. By Oct 13 the centre of this activity had moved to the Netherland with 340,000 birds at 13 sites while next day there were 714,000 birds at 28 sites. Over in England the only pigeons to attract attention were Stock Doves with reports from Weir Wood in north Sussex of 'more than usual' there on Oct 12 following a report of 26 + on Oct 11. On Oct 13 a single Belgian site had 173 birds.

Turtle Dove: The last I know of in England was one at Portland on Oct 13

Cuckoo: A juvenile was still in the Scillies on Oct 8 and one was in Belgium on Oct 10

Owls: Both Long and Short-eared have been seen on the move. Only one Long-eared has been reported from the Netherlands but there have been 12 reports of Short-eared including one at Church Norton in Pagham Harbour on Oct 10. Peak count was on Oct 14 when 36 birds were reported from 18 sites in the Netherlands

Kingfisher: These are now settling down in winter quarters with one bird based in the Emsworth ponds and harbour area and another in the Hermitage Stream/Budds Farm area west of Havant

Wryneck: Reports this week from the Scillies (up to 7 there on Oct 12) and Cornwall. Last report was from Climping at the mouth of the R. Arun on Oct 14

Woodlark: Recent warm sunshine has caused several reports of these in full song (one report from Cuckfield near Haywards Heath on Oct 12 suggested that each field there had its own singing bird) - others were singing in the New Forest and at Pagham Harbour while on Oct 14 news from Belgium was of 230 birds at 22 sites

Skylark: Almost everyone interested in birds must have heard one or more Skylarks heading west low overhead this week and on Oct 14 a total of 31,378 birds were seen at 19 sites in the Netherlands

Hirundines: The last report of Sand Martins in England was of 24 at Durlston on Oct 10 but 830 Swallows and 90 House Martins were still passing over there on Oct 14

Rock Pipit: I have not yet hear of any back on the Langstone Harbour shores but they are now being seen in small numbers all along the south coast and on Oct 13 Dungeness reported 5 there as their first autumn birds

Water Pipit: One on the Lymington shore on Oct 14 seems to have been the first of the autumn on the English south coast

Buff-bellied Pipit aka American Pipit (Anthus rubescens): What seems to have been accepted as an individual of this species was seen at Newhaven on Oct 9 and refound there on Oct 12 but not I think seen since though there have been others present this week in Shetland and the Scillies

Dipper: One was reported at the Holmsley gravel pit reserve in the south west of the New Forest on Oct 10 but as far as I know it was only seen by the finder - maybe it will turn up again at Romsey?

Dunnock: On Oct 14 I was surprised to find a couple of these noisily exploring the shoreline vegetation at Broadmarsh in Langstone Harbour and I later discovered that a Netherlands site had reported 47 there that day. Clearly a number of continental birds do come to us for the winter and I suspect that my two were new arrivals, as may have been one which surprised Brian Fellows last week by its presence and noisy calls at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Oct 7 last week (the day after Brian's bird was seen there was a flock of 150 at a Netherlands site). Oct 13 also brought a report of a total of 427 Robins at 5 sites (one site having 118 birds)

Bluethroat: One in the Scillies on Oct 12

Red-flanked Bluetail: Last year one turned up at Sandy Point (Hayling Island) on Oct 18 and stayed for at least 5 days - maybe it will return this year as on Oct 13 there were 5 separate individuals of this species in the UK, one of them giving great pleasure to a ringer at Reculver in north Kent when he found it in his nets and was able to handle it

Ring Ouzel: This week has brought 28 reports of these birds including two seen on Portsdown just above the Paulsgrove chalk pit and others all along the south coast. In the Netherlands on Oct 13 a total of 54 birds were reported at 21 sites and I suspect that the majority of those seen in England were of continental origin which had arrived in England as a result of weather conditions that had diverted them from a more normal passage route through France. Also arriving from the continent were some of the Blackbirds and Thrushes that will stay here for the winter (Maybe some of the Ouzels will do so - I clearly remember seeing one that wintered in the New Forest in the 1980s). Dungeness saw the arrival of 175 Blackbirds on Oct 13 and had reported 130 Song Thrushes on Oct 9

Fieldfare: After the first arrivals in England on Oct 8 and 9 there was a surge of new birds on Oct 13 when 1470 flew in over Pegwell Bay in Kent and were seen at many sites including 120 birds at Lachmore Bottom in the New Forest - Portland reported their first arrival that day.

Song Thrush: The number arriving at Pegwell Bay on Oct 8 was estimated at 1000 but reports from the Netherlands that day indicated some 16,000 at 16 sites there and I suspect the majority of those pushed on across the Channel.

Redwing: These began to pour into southern England via Kent on Oct 8 when there were some 28,000 at 15 sites in Belgium and birders in Kent estimated that some 24,000 arrived in the Pegwell Bay area. Another surge came on Oct 13 with a build up of around 20,000 in the Netherlands and reports of them arriving at sites all round Kent and 280 being seen at Farnborough (perhaps these had come round north Kent and up the Thames estuary before turning south to look for the south coast as the Thames began to narrow)

Blackcap: One (probably one of our summer birds) was still to be seen on Thorney Island on Oct 12 when 239 of his 'colleagues' were seen at a site in Portugal.

Pallas' Warbler: One was at Reculver in north Kent on Oct 13

Yellow-browed Warbler: Thirteen reports this week from Kent to Cornwall and the Scillies but none in Sussex or Hampshire

Goldcrest and Firecrest: Increased numbers noted at several south coast sites as continental birds arrive. One good local report was of 2 Firecrests in the Leigh Park area of Havant on Oct 12 with one of them singing. On |Oct 13 20 Goldcrests were present in the Sarisbury area by the River Hamble west of Fareham

Flycatchers: Single Spotted Flycatchers were at Church Norton (Pagham Harbour) on Oct 10 and on the north shore of Weymouth Bay on Oct 13. In the Scillies a Red-breasted Flycatcher was present on Oct 11. Late Pied Flycatchers were in Cornwall on Oct 12 and north Kent on Oct 14

Tits: We may not think of Blue or Great Tits as long distance migrants but on Oct 12 some 510 Blue and 150 Great Tits were seen leaving Sweden before the winter sets in. Maybe they will soon join our local Tit flocks.

Isabelline Shrike: Last week a bird that should have been in Asia was in Shetland and this week it (or another) had flown south to appear in Suffolk on Oct 14

Red-backed Shrike: Just one this week in the Scillies on Oct 12

Great Grey Shrike: Seven continental reports this week gives hope that some will soon arrive in southern England. By Oct 14 there were 21 birds at 17 sites in the Netherlands

Chaffinch: On Oct 9 the total at 61 Netherlands sites was 879,012 birds but the biggest number reported in England so far was just 1200 arriving at Dungeness on Oct 13 (many others will of course have flown over our coastal sites without being counted!)

Brambling: Also on Oct 9 there were 7,000 of these at three continental sites but that day only one was seen at Dungeness and on one Oct 10 Pegwell Bay had just 14. On Oct 12 one had got as far west as Paulton's Park near Romsey and on Oct 14 singles were seen at Christhchurch Harbour and Durlston

Greenfinch: Many of these have suffered from disease in the last year or so and numbers are much lower than they used to be but on Oct 14 Christchurch Harbour counted 530 of them

Goldfinch: These are flourishing and on Oct 14 Christchurch Harbour had 3,400 while Durlston had 1315 on Oct 12

Siskin: These are also numerous with 1200 at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 14

Linnet: Top count this week was 1725 at Dungeness on Oct 10

Crossbill: As this winter's influx builds up four sites had counts of more than 100 birds with 164 at Pegwell Bay in Kent setting a new record for that site. Smaller numbers were seen almost everywhere.

Bullfinch: These are also doing well this winter and this week five English sites reported flocks of from 10 to 13 birds

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Common Hawker: Only one seen this week at Carnoustie in Scotland and that one was moribund

Common Darter: More than 100 were still present at a Norfolk site on Oct 14

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Common Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Black Darter, Common Darter, Emerald Damsel, Small Red Damsel

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Red Admiral: Up to 70 heading south at Dungeness on Oct 9 and migrants still heading south down the Arun valley on Oct 14

The list of species seen is still holding up but the number of sightings of species that will overwinter as adults is limited by the fact that when they emerge from the pupa their first task is to find somewhere to spend the winter so most of them are only on the wing for less than a day.

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Meadow Brown.

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Note re Moth entries - a key to the meaning of the colours used in the HantsMoths Flighttime Guides can be found at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php

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1678 Blair's Mocha Cyclophora puppillaria

Several trapped by George Spraggs at Hayling West Town in early October

Wingspan 28-36 mm. This is a continental species, and is only a rare immigrant to the British Isles. There have been a hundred or so records since the first in 1946, most of which have occurred on the south coast, although some have turned up inland and further north.

See George's photo at http://www.bird-watching.co.uk/blog.htm (entry for Oct 8)

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=378

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1678.php

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1716 The Vestal Rhodometra sacraria

Trapped at Dungeness on Oct 13 and at Portland on Oct 14

Wingspan 22-28 mm. The Vestal is a migrant species, mainly occurring in southern England in varying numbers. In good immigration years, several hundred may appear, and some may turn up almost anywhere in Britain. The amount and intensity of the pink pigmentation is somewhat variable, as can be seen from the photographs. The species breeds in southern Europe and North Africa, and the caterpillars live on knotgrass (Polygonum), dock (Rumex) and other low plants.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6173

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1716.php

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1745 The Mallow Larentia clavaria

Trapped at two sites in Kent on Oct 9 and 12

Wingspan 36-40 mm. Distributed throughout England and Wales and into southern Scotland, this species is commoner in the south. It also occurs locally in Ireland. Occupying a range of suburban habitats, waste ground and ditches or riverbanks, the adults are on the wing during September and October

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1776

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1745.php

===========================

1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata

Trapped in Kent on Oct 12

Wingspan 24-30 mm. A common and remarkably variable species, which is found throughout Britain in a wide range of habitats. There are two broods, flying in May and June, and again from August to October, sometimes later.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=26

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1764.php

===========================

1768 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata

Trapped by Fareham Moth Group in Botley Woods on Oct 9

Wingspan 28-36 mm. Fairly common throughout Britain, this species shows rather more variation than the similar Pine Carpet (Thera firmata). There are two generations, with moths flying from May to July, and again in September and October

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=785

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1768.php

Tony Tindale's blog entry and photos at http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/23124/Grey+Pine+Carpet+and+Frosted+Orange+at+Botley+Wood.html

===========================

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum

Seen this week at Portland (Dorset) Eastleigh (Hants) Brighton (Sussex) and Thanet (Kent) 111 reports noted by me since Feb 24 this year. The report from Kent on Oct 13 was of one found 'sluggish on a garden path'

Wingspan 40-50 mm. An immigrant species which sometimes occurs in large numbers. A large influx occurred in the summer of 2000, when moths were observed in parks and gardens all over Britain. The species is again quite common in 2006.

It flies in the sunshine and hovers in front of flowers, sipping the nectar with its long proboscis, very much like the hummingbird which gives it its name.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1984.php - this species now regularly overwinters so flight time gude is out of date

===========================

2028 Pale Tussock Calliteara pudibunda

This report was of a caterpillar seen by Tony Wooton crossing a footpath at Arundel on Oct 9 (presumably heading for a place to pupate) Tony's photo can be seen at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-274-pale-tussock-caterp-TW-09.10.11.jpg

Wingspan 40-60 mm. Fairly common in England and Wales, local in Ireland, both the adults and larvae are quite hairy. The moths fly in May and June and are attracted to light.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1095

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2028.php

===========================

2054 Crimson Speckled Utetheisa pulchella

I have picked up four reports of this magnificent rare immigrant - seen at Beachy Head on Oct 4, Dungeness on Oct 5, Portland on Oct 9 and Gribbin Head in Cornwall on Oct 14 For details and a photo of the Portland find see http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/latest_oct2011.htm (entry for Oct 9)

Wingspan 29-42 mm. A spectacular species, but unfortunately only a sporadic migrant to this country with around 100 records in the last century. The species occurs naturally in the Mediterranean and North Africa, and most immigrants are presumed to have originated there. Moths may turn up at any time during the summer or autumn, but most records are from the southern counties or offshore islands.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6045

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2054.php

===========================

2119 Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia

Recorded at Dungeness on Oct 12

Wingspan 45-56 mm. A migrant species in Britain, varying in numbers, but usually coinciding with arrivals of other European migrants. It can occur almost anywhere in Britain, but is generally more common in the south, and though most frequent in September and October, has appeared in all months. The upperwing is quite variable, and the hindwings are semi-translucent, giving the appearance of a pearly sheen.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=791

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2119.php

===========================

2202 L-album Wainscot Mythimna l-album

Recorded in Thanet (Kent) on Oct 9

Wingspan 30-35 mm. One of the more distinctively-marked of the wainscots, this species is restricted to the southern counties of England from Cornwall eastwards to Kent. It is easily attracted to sugar, and also comes to light. The adults fly in two generations; in July and again in September and October. Its favoured habitats are damp coastal habitats such as brackish ditches. The overwintering caterpillars feed on a range of grasses.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1035

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2202.php

===========================

2240 Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri

Recorded in Thanet (Kent) on Oct 12

Wingspan 39-44 mm. A recent colonist, being first discovered on the Isle of Wight in 1951, the species has spread rapidly northwards and is now found fairly commonly throughout much of England, with records from as far north as Cumbria. It flies in October and November, and occupies especially suburban habitats, where ornamental varieties of certain conifers abound. The larvae feed on cypress, especially Lawson's cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), and Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii), consuming mainly the flowers.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1859

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2240.php

===========================

2245 Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae

Recorded in Botley Woods near Fareham by Tony Tindale and Fareham Moths Group on Oct 7

Wingspan 35-45 mm. Although superficially a dull brown species, the typical form of this moth has patches of metallic green scales giving it an attractive sheen in the correct light. A melanic form, ab. capucina is quite common in suburban areas, and shows much less green. An autumn species, flying from September to November, it is fairly common throughout much of Britain, occupying woodland, hedgerows and suburban habitats.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1764

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2245.php

Tony Tindale's blog entry and photos at http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/23124/Grey+Pine+Carpet+and+Frosted+Orange+at+Botley+Wood.html

===========================

2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina

Trapped by Richard Roebuck in the Henfield area of Sussex on Oct 9

Wingspan 35-40 mm. One of our most beautiful moths, especially when freshly emerged, this species frequents woodland and parks, and is widespread, though thinly scattered over most of Britain. Pinned specimens in identification guides have often lost the attractive green colour, fading to a brownish yellow. It flies in September and October and comes to light in small numbers. The larvae feed on oak (Quercus), at first on the buds and flowers, later on the leaves.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1764

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1103.php

See Richard's photo with the Oct 9 entry on http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/sightings.html

===========================

2251 Flame Brocade Trigonophora flammea

The first for this year turned up at Friston (Eastbourne) on Sep 30 and was famous enough to appear in local BBC TV News. Since then it has been recorded at Portland on Oct 2, 5,8 and 14

Wingspan 44-52 mm. Formerly resident in Sussex, becoming extinct there in the late 19th Century, the species is now resident only in the Channel Islands and elsewhere it is only an immigrant. Adults have appeared, usually at coastal light-traps along England's southern shores, mainly from Hampshire westwards. The normal flight period is October and November, most immigrants turning up in the former month.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=856

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2251.php

For Martin Cade's photo go to the end of the entry for Oct 2 at http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/latest_oct2011.htm

===========================

2260 Dotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginea

Trapped at Staplecross near Hastings on Oct 9 by Alan Martin - see Oct 9 entry at http://rxwildlife.org.uk/category/all-latest-news/insects/moths/

Wingspan 30-35 mm. A very local species, occurring mainly in the south and south-east of England, but occasional scattered occurrences elsewhere. It inhabits woodland and heathland, flying in October and November, after which it hibernates and appears again in early spring.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3804

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2260.php

===========================

2267 Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis

Five of these were trapped at Durlston in Dorset on Oct 11

Wingspan 30-35 mm. An autumnal species, flying in September and October, and a regular visitor to the mercury vapour light. The species is quite variable and there are a number of named forms. It occurs most commonly in the southern half of England and Wales, becoming scarcer further north. It is rare in Scotland and Ireland.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1736

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2267.php

===========================

2271 Orange Sallow Xanthia citrago

Trapped at Folkestone on Oct 12 - although common this is a pretty moth and worth a look

Wingspan 28-33 mm. Distributed over the greater part of Britain, this moth has a preference for woodland, parkland and suburban areas, where its foodplant, lime (Tilia spp.) is established. It flies in August and September, and comes to light as well as sugar.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=211

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2271.php

===========================

2273 Pink-barred Sallow Xanthia togata

Another common but pretty species trapped at Henfield in Sussex on Oct 9

Wingspan 27-30 mm. A widespread and fairly common species over much of the British Isles, frequenting mainly damp woodland and marshy areas. It is single-brooded, flying in September and October, when it will visit sugar as well as artificial light.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6366

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2273.php

===========================

2364 Frosted Orange Gortyna flavago

Trapped by the Fareham Moth Group in Botley Woods on Oct 9. For Tony Tindale's photo go to http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/23124/Grey+Pine+Carpet+and+Frosted+Orange+at+Botley+Wood.html

Wingspan 35-40 mm. An attractive moth, which occurs fairly commonly throughout England and Wales; less commonly in Ireland and Scotland. Its favoured haunts are woodland, waste ground and marshes, where it can be found on the wing from August to October. The larvae feed internally in the wide stems of such plants as thistle (Carduus spp) and burdock (Arctium), also pupating within the stem.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1759

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2364.php

===========================

2387a Clancy's Rustic Platyperigea kadenii

Trapped by George Spraggs at Hayling West Town in early October - for George's blog see http://www.bird-watching.co.uk/blog.htm (one of the two UK Moths photos was also taken by George and it also appears in HantsMoths)

Wingspan c.30mm. This species, unknown in Britain until 2002 when one turned up in Kent, has since become a fairly regular arrival in southern moth-trapping localities. In September and October 2005 dozens were recorded at Dungeness, Kent. The species has been given the vernacular name Clancy's Rustic after Sean Clancy, who caught the first individual in 2002.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3895

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2387a.php

===========================

2400 Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera

This immigrant was trapped at Thanet in Kent on Oct 9

Wingspan 30-40 mm. An immigrant species to Britain, mainly around the southern coasts, and occurring most often in the autumn months.

It is also found as a larva from time to time on tomato plants, geraniums and other plants brought in from the Mediterranean region, where it can be a pest

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2527

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2400.php

===========================

2403 Bordered Straw Heliothis peltigera

Another immigrant trapped at Folkestone (Kent) on Oct 13

Wingspan 34-42 mm.A migrant species, which varies in numbers from year to year, with large numbers in some years and absent in others. In a good migration year, larvae are often recorded, especially in southern coastal districts. It is quite variable, and it is suggested that the paler individuals derive from desert origin, these often arriving with Saharan 'dust storms'. June to August is the main arrival period, and southern England the most frequent location.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1650

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2403.php

===========================

2436 Dewick's Plusia Macdunnoughia confusa

Another of George Spraggs good records - trapped at Hayling West Town around Oct 8 - see http://www.bird-watching.co.uk/blog.htm

Wingspan 32-38 mm. This moth is a vagrant to Britain, having occurred only a few dozen times, mostly attracted to light on the south and east coasts. August is the optimum month for this species, but records have occurred between July and October.

UK Moths photos at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3608

Flight-time guide and more info at http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2436.php

===========================

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Chrysolina hyperici: Reported at Durlston on Oct 14. See http://bugguide.net/node/view/50149 for pictures and the fact that the species likes to eat Hypericum (St Johnswort) and for this reason has been imported into North America to control the spread of St Johnswort there

===========================

Dark Bush Cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera): A late and unusual find of one inside a moth trap in the Rye town area on Oct 13

===========================

Thickjawed orb weaver (Pachygnatha degeeri): Noted by Graeme Lyons in the Ebernoe area near Midhurst on Oct 15. See http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/10/avian-themed-fungal-ticks.html in which Graeme mentions the spider and its missing palp at the end of his entry. Also see http://www.eurospiders.com/Pachygnatha_degeeri.htm and scroll down the pictures to find close-ups of the palps which Graeme mentions

===========================

Rabbit Hutch Spider (Steatoda bipunctata): Another spider brought to out attention by Graeme Lyons. See http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/10/palps.html and http://www.eurospiders.com/Steatoda_bipunctata.htm then scroll down the latter to see photos of the female sexual organ (epigyne) and the male organ (palp)

===========================

Four-spot orb weaver (Araneus quadratus): Yet another spider - this one brought to our attention by Tony Tindale who found it in the Hook/Warsash area on Oct 9. Tony's photo can be seen at http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/23124/Grey+Pine+Carpet+and+Frosted+Orange+at+Botley+Wood.html below his moth photos and more about the species can be seen at http://www.eurospiders.com/Araneus_quadratus.htm

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Marsh Marigold: A single flower was open at the Langstone South Moors orchid field on Oct 10. Last year was the first in which I have witnessed autmn flowering of this species but maybe it will become normal in future?

Creeping Yellow-cress: This was in flower at Broadmarsh in Havant on Sep 2 but the roadside area where it grew was subsequently mown so I was pleased to see the flower re-appearing in Oct 14

Sea Rocket: Still flowering at Black Point on Hayling Island on Oct 13

Common Milkwort: I was pleased to find single plants still flowering on both Portsdown and Hayling Island this week

Pale Flax: Still flowering at Durlston on Oct 14

Common Dog Violet: On Oct 9 a work party at the butterfly reserve (Park Corner) near Eastbourne found and photographed a plant in full flower

Sea Spurrey: Both Greater and Lesser species were found in full flower this week

Small Flowered Cranesbill: This too was in healthy flowering at Havant on Oct 10

Least Yellow Sorrell: When I checked the Langstone site (where plants cover a 100 yard stretch of pathside) I could only see a single flower open in Oct 15

Hairy Vetchling: Two of the Broadmarsh 'mountain' plants were still flowering on Oct 14

Sickle Medick: Despite close mowing of its roadside site on Portsdown this summer flowers could still be seen on Oct 12 but worryingly no seeds were found - maybe this is the last year that this plant will feature in Hampshire.

Cherry Plum: When in the Hook area near Warsash on Oct 13 Tony Wootton took a photo of a Cherry Plum shoot covered with open flowers plus the distinctive green twigs of its fresh fresh growth

Dog Rose: Many flowers still to be seen on bushes otherwise covered with red hips on Oct 10 and 15 at Langstone South Moors and the Warblington farm shore

Ray's Knotgrass: When on the Hayling Island Sandy Point shingle shore on Oct 13 I found fresh flowers on what I had previously thought to be the rare Sea Knotgrass but close checking showed me that this was in fact Ray's Knotgrass and that the very rare plant grows on sand, not shingle. See my diary for more.

Sharp-leaved Fluellen: I found this in flower on Oct 15 in the Warblington Farm field immediately behind Conigar Point and at the same time saw that the field has been prepared for a new crop to be sown following the recently harvested Sweetcorn - this means that the variety of wild plants that I expect to see in the field after harvest (including many plants of Dwarf Spurge) will not appear this year and may be lost from the field's seed bank

Green Field Speedwell: A good find (with flowers and seed capsules) in grass alongside Bracklesham Road leading to the Hayling Island Sailing Club when I was there on Oct 13

Basil Thyme: The biggest plant I have ever seen, covered with flowers, was on Portsdown (Portchester Common) on Oct 12

Japanese Honeysuckle: What is presumably a long established garden escape grows on the northwest side of the Hayling Billy line just north of where it passes the line of the footpath from the Royal Oak at Langstone to the centre of Havant but I had not identified the species until this week

Cornsalad: I have never seen this growing, let alone flowering, at this time of year before but I found at plant flowering in Havant on Oct 11

Chinese Mugwort: The plants by the cycleway at Broadmarsh only flower in October. They were still in bud on Oct 1 but had all started to flower by Oct 14

Yellow Iris: Several plants had fresh flowers on the Langstone South Moors on Oct 10

The plants listed above are only part of the 160 species seen in flower this week

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Dormice: One Oct 14 Graeme Lyons joined volunteers checking some 50 Dormouse boxes located in the West Dean Woods north of Chichester and you can read his blog entry at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/10/furry-ginger-thing-with-spine.html which also has photos showing the 'yellow neck' of a Yellow-necked Mouse and comparing it to a Wood Mouse

Pipistrelle Bat: Several of these were active in the Langstone Pond area when I was counting Egrets on Oct 13 and I was greatly impressed by the flying skill of one hunting the Wade Lane area as I cycled back up it in the dark - I was aware of the bat's presence but totally unprepared for its very close pass across my face when I distinctly felt the movement of the air disturbed by its wings as it momentarily blotted out my field of view

Fungi: Also on Oct 13 as I cycled down Wade Court Road on my way to Langstone Pond I passed a young specimen of Dryad's Saddle growing from a roadside log on the east side of the road just north of South Close (on the other side). For something more exciting go to http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/10/avian-themed-fungal-ticks.html where Graeme Lyons has a photo of a group of Fluted bird's nest (Cyathus striatus) fungi on a log in Ebernoe Churchyard near Midhurst. The photo shows some of the 'eggs' in the base of one of the 'nests' and these eggs are a fascinating example of nature evolving the most efficient design for this life form. The purpose of all fungal fruiting bodies is to spread spores for the survival of the species and the majority of fungi do this in one of two ways - they either drop their spores from gills (as in the edible mushroom) or they shoot them from devices similar to hypodermic syringes (as in the apparently lifeless 'King Alfred's Cakes' which, if taken at the right time and place on a sheet of black paper under a glass dome, will 'magically' generate a circle of white spores on the black paper around the fungus). The Bird's Nest Fungi have a different solution to this need to spread their spores - first they grow a bowl shaped structure and place their spores in small bundles in the 'eggs' sitting at the bottom of the bowl then they wait for rain. The bowl shape guides a raindrop down the side of the bowl and under the eggs at the bottom - this forces the egg up into the air but the design takes account of the fact that the spores have to be mature before they are released so the egg is connected to the base of the bowl by the equivalent of an elastic band. Until the spores are mature this will pull the egg back into the nest despite the rain - when they are mature the 'elastic band' will break and allow the egg to fly upward but it has a further function - the section of band still attached to the egg is designed to catch on anything such as a leaf of a plant overhanging the nest, leaving the egg to burst at a good height for wind dispersal of the spores, all achieved without the need to grow a large, tall mushroom structure. The only other fungus I have noted this week was seen after mowing the lawn when I discovered that I had exposed the remnants of Clavulinopsis luteoalba (Apricot Club) which grows like tiny yellow fingers among the grass.

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Oct 3 - 9 (Week 40 of 2011)

(Skip to previous week)

Overview

(Skip to Bird News)

Bird news highlights:

This week has brought an invasion of Glossy Ibis and the start of the major arrival of Wild Geese in the UK while Oct 7 saw massive numbers of seabirds in the English Channel (mainly on the French side!) The week has also given the Twitchers a prize in the form of the first Sandhill Crane to be seen in England while ordinary birders have had their first chance to witness the arrival of winter thrushes (especially Redwing) from the continent.

Insect News highlights:

Tegenaria House Spider: I am grateful to Brian Fellows for making me aware that my knowledge of the big and common House Spider which I have always known as Tegenaria gigantea is now called T. duellica, especially as my faithful source of information about Spiders (Dick Jones' 'Countrylife Guide to Spiders') begins its account of the genus by saying .. "The domestic species are relatively easy to identify although there has been considerable confusion in their names, especially T. gigantea which has been known as T. atrica and T. saeva" .. so now, to avoid this confusion, it has been given a new name!! Not quite, and if you want to know more go to http://wiki.britishspiders.org.uk/index.php5?title=Tegenaria_gigantea_saeva
and see the section on Distribution and Habitat which shows a map of England with T. gigantea occcupying England and T. saeva Wales and the West Country - this was the result of the two slightly different spider species having allied themselve to two different human groups in pre-historic times and then being carried into this country with the household possessions of the humans. The rest of this webpage is also well worth reading, especially the section on House Spiders in Medicine

For more fascinating and essential information about spiders see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider and don't miss the bit about mating. I suspect that most general naturalists will be aware that female spiders of all species are larger than the males and would prefer to eat the male rather than have sex, so the males have take great care how they approach the female. The Wikipedia article tells me male spiders can determine by 'smelling' her web that the female which built the web is of his species and that she is sexually receptive, but he still needs to approach cautiously, plucking her web to tell her that he is a male here to mate and not a prey item. In some species he will already have captured prey and wrapped it up very tightly in the hope that the prey will divert her attention from himself as a prey item, and that the unwrapping of the prey will give
him time to perform his business and make a getaway before she has finished her meal.

Assuming he gets close enough to her he still has to go though a multistage process to inseminate her with his sperm. The first stage is to spin a small web onto which he will ejaculate his sperm. He then moves position so the his head end is near the sperm-laden web and he picks up the sperm with his 'palps' - the things which look like 'boxing gloves on long thin arms' which are positioned on either side of his mouth (outside and separate from the fangs with which he injects poison into his prey). The tips of the palps are a form of syringe which he loads with sperm and then ejects it into the female's
genital opening (the epigyne) located below her abdomen.

Wikipedia tells us .. "Males of the genus Tidarren amputate one of their palps before maturation and enter adult life with one palp only. The palps are 20% of male's body mass in this species, and detaching one of the two improves mobility. In theYemeni species Tidarren argo, the remaining palp is then torn off by the female. The separated palp remains attached to the female's epigynum for about four hours and apparently continues to function independently. In the meantime the
female feeds on the palpless male".

To complete this story it so happens that Graeme Lyons has also been investigating spider mating in his blog this week and I am indebted to him for a picture of a female spider's sexual organ (the epigyne which we have referred to above). His picture of the Crab Spider which he was trying to identify can be seen at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CK78NePIBWE/TpBVgqISlSI/AAAAAAAABpM/fGrGc4IogFg/s1600/Xysticus+007.JPG and his photo of the spider's epigyne (the bit that looks like a wet Pig's Nose in the centre of the picture) can be seen at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RIMuYUYNlx0/TpBV3Pk8wmI/AAAAAAAABpQ/td-HxwKk0f4/s1600/Xysticus+020.JPG

Plant News highlights:

Nothing dramatic this week but I was made aware of a new species of Michaelmas Daisy and was pleased to find the first 'winter Cow Parsley' in flower and to find new sites for Common Calamint and Weasel's Snout

Other News highlights:

Wood Mouse 'castles': See http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2011/10/05/des-res/#more-15171 for Barry Yates' account of the origin of a pile of around 1,000 small pebbles which appear to have been placed in front of the entrance to a Wood Mouse breeding tunnel to conceal and defend it (though Barry's last picture shows that it is no defence against Badgers after the Honey in a Bumblebee Nest after the mice have handed over their tenure of the hole to the Bees).

See http://www.wildlifebritain.com/fieldmouse.php to avoid argument over Barry's use of the name 'Long-tailed Field Mouse' and my preference for 'Wood Mouse'

Barry knows (from the video included in his web entry) that the tunnel is being used by the Mice and he says that there are many such piles of pebbles in the same area (where shingle is present below a very thin layer of soil) and he suggests that the piles are the deliberate work of the mice, which I find hard to believe. I can see that the mice will excavate quite a few pebbles when digging their tunnels but surely not enough to make the pile shown in his photo, though I suppose that they might be accumulated over several years by several pairs of mice having to re-excavate the nest tunnel (which must be prone to subsidence in this soil) but we are still left with the problem of the 'cairn building' skill needed - to achieve a pile of this size and shape each pebble would need to be carried to the top of the existing pile and as far as I can see there is no evidence for this in the video showing the mice carrying nest material into the tunnel

Hibernation and digestion: See the Other Wildlife main section re Adders and Slow-Worms for thoughts regarding the problems of goiing into hibernation with a full stomach

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Red-throated were reported from two sites in Kent and from Poole Harbour, the Dorset coast and around the Scillies this week while up to five Black-throated were off the Netherlands on five days this week. One Great Northern was in Chichester Harbour on Oct 6 and others were seen in Kent, Dorset and Cornwall with up to four off the Yorkshire coast on Oct 8

Grebes: The first Little Grebe of the winter appeared in Emsworth's Slipper Mill Pond on Oct 6 - I find it hard to imagine these bird's taking the long distance flights which some must make each autumn and spring - and what may be the first long distance passage Black-necked Grebe of the autumn appeared to Arlington Reservoir in the Sussex Cuckmere Valley on Oct 2. Some of this species spend the summer here in the south and appear in 'winter quarters' very early (e.g. the current Blashford Lakes bird which has been there since July 24) while others (maybe failed breeders elsewhere) appear early but pass on (e.g. one at Dungeness on July 22, one at Weir Wood reservoir near Crowborough on Aug 1, and others at Paghm Harbour on Sep 3 and at Abbotsbury in Dorset on Sep 4). Another indication of Grebe passage to winter quarters comes this week with reports of Red-necked at Dungeness on Oct 6, and at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 8 when up to five were seen in the Netherlands. Oct 3 brought a report of a Slavonian Grebe just setting out on its southward journey, seen in East Lothian in Scotland.

Shearwaters: Just two Great Shearwaters were seen at Pendeen in Cornwall on Oct 6 and on Oct 7 there were up to 1650 Sooty and 473 Manx and 657 Balearic off the northern coast of France. Also on Oct 7 up to 182 Leach's Storm Petrels were seen off the Netherlands

Night Heron: One was seen in Dorset by the R Stour south of Bladford on both Oct 4 and 5

Cattle Egret: The Thornham Marshes on Thorney Island bird was still present on Oct 7 when it went to roost with 139 Little Egrets in the copse near the Little Deeps

Great White Egret: On Oct 1 one flew south over the Angmering area near Worthing and the Blashford Lakes bird was last seen on Oct 2 when one flew over Reculver on the north Kent coast. Also on Oct 2 there were up to 91 present at 29 sites in the Netherlands

Glossy Ibis: What seems to have become a regular influx of Spanish birds into England started this year on Sep 4 when five birds flew over Yorkshire but the invasion proper started on Sep 30 when 7 birds landed on the Isle of Wight with singles appearing that day at Christchurch Harbour and in Glamorgan. Most of the Isle of Wight birds left next day but one was still seen on Oct 7. On Oct 3 Lee Evans reported a flock of 11 in Ireland and on Oct 5 RBA reported at total of 24 birds in the UK. On Oct 4 one bird appeared at the Stithians Reservoir in Cornwall and was still there on Oct 8. Christchurch Harbour has had a regular flock of three birds since Oct 1 to Oct 8 at least - they feed on small crabs found in the grass of intertidal areas.

Spoonbill: A flock of 28 has been at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour since Sep 30 while a few other less settled birds have been seen at Pulborough Brooks (3 on Oct 2). in Cornwall (1 on Oct 4) and in Devon (1 on Oct 8)

Whooper Swan: Three were seen on their way south off Yorkshire passing Spurn Head on Oct 4 and one seems to have arrived at the Axe estuary in Devon (near Seaton on the border with Dorset) on Oct 7

Wild Geese: At least 21 Bean Geese had arrived in the Netherlands on Oct 3 and fve more were in Belgium next day. Pink Foot Geese have been arriving in the UK since Sep 13 with a report of 25,000 in Aberdeenshire on Sep 2 and on Oct 8 a group of 6 were seen in Kent at Pegwell Bay. White Fronts have been seen in the Netherlands since mid-September with a count of 15,443 on Oct 2 but so far I have not seen any reports from UK sites. The first 25 Barnacle Geese were seen on the Yorkshire coast on Oct 8 but I suspect that three seen at Titchfield Haven that day were from the many feral flocks ever present in southern England. Brent Geese of both races are now with us for the winter, including 9 Pale Bellied birds that were at Marazion near Penzance in Cornwall on Oct 6. Also of interest on Oct 5 there were still 174 Egyptian Geese in the Eversley area on the Hants/Berks border

Wigeon: These are at last starting to arrive in force with a total of 1798 birds seen at 5 sites on Oct 2, 930 of them on the Yorkshire coast. On Oct 8 at 400 arrived in England (205 at Pegwell Bay in Kent with a smart male Scaup among them

Garganey: A late female was at Lower Tamar Lake on the Devon/Cornwall boundary on Oct 7

Scaup: Four were seen at Flamborough Head (Yorkshire) on Oct 5 and three singles were seen on Oct 8 - the male at Pegwell Bay and females at the Blashford Lakes and in Yorkshire

Eider: The flock off Lymington decreased frpm 43 to 32 birds on Oct 5 but the single bird which had been seen in Chichester Harbour back on Sep 10 became a flock of 9 there on Oct 6

Red Breasted Merganser: No newcomers yet in the Solent harbours but hopefully they will appear soon as the first four of the autumn reached the Exe estuary in Devon on Oct 1 and a flock of 67 was at a Netherlands site on Oct 8

Goosander: Although there has been up to 8 birds at the Blashford Lakes since early September they were presumably local breeders and a doubling of the number there up to 16 on Oct 8 may well indicate the arrival of birds from the north

Raptors: What may have been the last Honey Buzzards were seen this week (one in the Scillies on Oct 6 and one in the Netherlands on Oct 7). Three Black Kites remain in Cornwall but the Burpham Pallid Harrier has not been reported since Oct 3 though others remain in the UK (three in the Shetlands on Oct 4 and one at Tempsford in Bedfordshire on Oct 2 and 3 - the latter was of personal interest being in the Parish of which my father in law was Rector and within half a mile of the church where I was married). Hen Harriers were seen at Dungeness and in Devon this week and Sparrowhawks were still moving on the continent with 47 seen at one Netherlands site on Oct 8. One Osprey was still fishing in Chichester Harbour on Oct 6 (south of Thorney Island) but most have now left us (only four birds reported from English sites this week). At least six Merlins were seen in southern England (Portland, Christchurch, Lymington, Selsey, Romsey and Sandy Point on Hayling Island) but on Oct 8 reports from the near continent show a total of 66 birds with 26 all at one site. At least three Hobbys were in southern England (including one at Farlington Marshes on Oct 3).

Partridges: A West Sussex gamekeeper told birders looking for the Harrier at Burpham this week that 2000 Partridges (Red-legged and Grey) had been recently released in that area so no doubt we will soon be seeing more escapees from the shoots, weighting the odds heavily against any Greys seen being genuine wild birds.

Quail: On Oct 4 single Quail were still to be seen in Cornwall and the Scillies and on Oct 7 one was flushed at the Pevensey Levels near Eastbourne

Water Rail: What were probably newly arrived winter visitors were reported at Farlington Marshes on Oct 2 and at Portland Bill on Oct 4

Sandhill Crane: The trans-Atlantic vagrant which arrived in Scotland on Sep 16, wind driven by Hurricane Katia, and which has successfully kept one step ahead of the twitchers on its erratic journey south was cornered by many telescopes and TV cameras at Boyton Marshes on the Suffolk Coast on Oct 5. Some good photos of the bird can be seen at http://mikewatsonsdiary.blogspot.com/2011/10/sandhill-crane.html

Rare Waders: 2 Dotterel were still to be seen in Cornwall on Oct 5 and 200 Golden Plover were at West Wittering in Chichester Harbour on Oct 4 (when 400 were on the north Kent coast) - by Oct 6 more than 300 were back in Devon with others at more than half a dozen southern sites. The Scillies also had a single American Golden Plover. Also on Oct 6 a Semi-Palmated Sandpiper and a Pectoral were in Cornwall and the Solitary Sandpiper was still in the Scillies with a Least Sandpiper and three (maybe four) Buff-breasted. Also in the Scillies was a Wilson's Snipe that should have been in Canada, and in Cornwall two Long-billed Dowitchers were present with a Lesser Yellowlegs. Two Spotted Sandpipers could be seen - one at Chew Valley Lake and the other at the Plym estuary - and Grey Phalaropes could still be seen at both ends of southern England (as total of 10 in the Scillies and one in north Kent)

Other Waders: 100 Knot were at West Wittering in Chichester Harbour on Oct 4 and single Little Stints were at Pulborough Brooks. Blashford Lake and Lymington. Three Curlew Sandpipers were at Farlington Marshes on Oct 3 but none have been reported since then. Dunlin were getting into winter mode with 4000 at Pilsey Sands (Thorney Island) on Oct 6 and a single Jack Snipe was at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 3. More than 600 Black-tailed Godwits were in the Exe estuary on Oct 8 and other reports were of 40 in Pagham Harbour on Oct 2, 74 in Emsworth Harbour area on Oct 4, 160 in Yarmouth Harbour (IoW) on Oct 5 while on Oct 6 the number in Emsworth Harbour was up to 82. Three Bar-tailed Godwit and one Whimbrel were off North Common on Hayling Island on Oct 2. The number of Spotted Redshank on the Lymington shore was up to six by Oct 7 with at least one at Farlington Marshes and two in Pagham Harbour during the week, but the regular bird at Nore Barn on the Emsworth shore has not yet shown up - last year it arrived on Oct 19 and in 2009 it was there on Oct 21 but in 2008 it did not arrive until Nov 8. The Greehshank count at Farlington Marshes was up to 33 on Oct 3 (nowhere near the 85 at the Thorney Deeps on Sep 2)

Skuas: Plenty of these this week, mainly on continental shores - peak counts were of 318 Pomarine on the French coast on Oct 8, 1421 Arctic off France on Oct 7 (when Dungeness had just 15), 73 Long-tailed off France on Oct 7 and 2907 Bonxies there that day

Gulls: One Little Gull remained at Hook near Warsash until Oct 5 at least but over on the Swedish coast Oct 5 gave a count of 775 (all at one site). Max count of Sabine's was of 67 on the French coast on Oct 7 with 5 at Pendeen in Cornwall on Oct 6. A single Bonaparte's Gull at Weir Wood reservoir in north Sussex from Oct 3 to 7 was unexpected, as perhaps was a count of 138 Common Gulls at Alresford Pond near Winchester on Oct 8. Maybe a little more expected was a total of 3000 Lesser Blackbacks coming to roost at the Eversley pits on the Hants/Berks border on Oct 1 ( on Oct 7 a total of 2995 was reported from two Netherlands sites). The 'perpetua' Glaucous Gull at Dungeness was still there on Oct 8 so a 'new' bird in the Netherlands on Oct 7 may be a genuine winter arrival

Terns: On Oct 7 there were still 770 Sandwich Terns to be seen off the French Normandie coast with 605 Common. Two Arctic Terns were at Dungeness that day and a single Little Tern was off the Netherlands. One Black Tern was last seen at Warsash on Oct 1 but on Oct 7 one was off the north Kent coast and three were in the Scillies.

Auks: A mixed bag of 2219 Razorbills and Guillemots was off Cap Gris-nez near Calais on Oct 7 and up to four Little Auks were off the Low Countries on Oct 7 and 8

Passerines:

Ring-necked Parakeet: Oct 7 brought an unexpected report of 135 of these normally static birds streaming south over Pegwell Bay in Kent

Cuckoo: Also unexpected on Oct 6 was a very late juvenile Cuckoo in the Scillies

Swift: What may well have been our last Common Swift was heading south over Pegwell Bay in Kent on Oct 6. Also this week we have had a Pallid Swift in Yorkshire and an Alpine Swift in Shetland, both on Oct 2

Wryneck: At least 21 different birds reported this week including 10 in the Scillies and 2 at Christchurch Harbour

Woodlark: One was singing over ploughed fields near Haywards Heath on Oct 3 while continental reports on Oct 2 gave a total of 198 birds on the move

Skylark: These were moving west across southern England during the week (I even heard one over my Havant garden) but the biggest count was of just 136 over north Kent suggesting that the birds on the move were of continental origin

Sand Martin: Very few now left so the max count was just 30 over Durlston on Oct 5. Durslton also had the peak count of 2050 Swallows on Oct 6 and 1100 House Martins on Oct 5

Tree Pipit: Farlington Marshes had 7 on Oct 1 which turned out to be the peak count for the week

Meadow Pipit: Christchurch Harbour had 2,700 over on Oct 5 but could not match a total of 22,368 at 12 continental sites on Oct 8

Yellow Wagtail: By the end of the week all sites were down to single figure counts but Gilkicker at Gosport managed a total of 15 on Oct 1

Grey Wagtail: I am now hearing winter resident birds in Havant almost daily and saw one at the Homewell spring pool on Oct 4

Wren: These have been heard singing intermittently in both Havant and Emsworth this week

Dunnock: On Oct 7 Brian Fellows heard one calling in Brook Meadow at Emsworth - as these have been on the move at continental sites since Sep 15 (and a Netherlands site reported a count of 150 on Oct 8) I am not sure if the Brook Meadow bird was a resident objecting to newly arrived continental invaders or in fact a newly arrived continental bird checking for opposition to its intention to settle down there for the winter.

Robin: 'Many migrants' were reported arriving at Sandwich Bay as early as Aug 24 and another small influx brought 40 there on Oct 1 so I suspect that many of the birds now quietly singing there winter songs in our gardens have crossed the channel to be there.

Nightingale: A late departing bird was at Portland on Oct 2 (another had been trapped and ringed in Cornwall on Sep 30)

Black Redstart: Another sign of the arrival of continental birds has been the sudden increase in reports of Black Redstarts since the beginning of Sept (11 were seen at Folkestone on Sep 30 and since then they have appeared all along the south coast (and inland - one was in a Crowborough town garden on Oct 8)

Common Redstart: What may have been the last for this year was at Seaford Head in Sussex on Oct 2

Whinchat: At least 8 birds seen this week

Stonechat: A flock of 25 arrived at Portland on Oct 2 - maybe intending to head on over the sea.

Wheatear: Portland had 75 as late as Oct 4 and Lymington had 7 on Oct 8

Ring Ouzel: 16 reports this week inclcluding one eating blackberries at Budds Farm in Havant on Oct 3 and another playing hide-and-seek with birders in Church Norton churchyard from Oct 4 to 8. Oct 8 brought a wave of departing birds giving a total of 92 birds at 22 Belgian sites plus at Pegwell Bay in Kent

Fieldfare: A total of 2003 were at 5 Netherlands sites on Oct 8 but only a few seem to have reached England (a few seen in Kent on Oct 8 and just 1 seen at Andover on Oct 9 when only 247 were reported on the continent)

Redwing: At least 24,200 passed over Kent on Oct 8 and on Oct 9 at least 500 (probably 700) went over the Fleet/Farnborough area in Hampshire. Plenty still to come as it looks as if there were still 100,000 on the near continent on Oct 9

Other thrushes: On Oct 9 it looks as if 150+ Mistle Thrushes and 12,000 Song Thrushes were queueing up on the continent to supplement those that have already crossed the water to England. Many fewer Blackbirds and are in the queue so far.

Warblers: Very few still waiting to leave us - the odd Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat, one Garden Warbler seen in Devon and one Blackcap at Church Norton but there was some excitement with the first Pallas' Warbler of the autumn at Durlston on Oct 6 while single Yellow-browed Warblers were seen at four sites in Kent and the Scillies - locally a Chiffchaff was singing at Emsworth

Flycatchers: Spotted were seen up to Oct 5 at Pagham with one in the Fareham area on Oct 2 and Pied were still at Portland on Oct 7 and in Cornwall on Oct 8

Bearded Tit: These remain active with more than 100 in the Kent Stour Valley on Oct 1 and others reported from Farlington Marshes and Titchfield Haven later in the week.

Marsh Tit: A report of two in Slindon Wood near Arundel on Oct 6 reminds me how rare these now are along the south coast - this is the first report of the species I have seen since March 20 (As for Willow Tits they have only been reported from just one wood in East Hampshire this year)

Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike: This visitor from China was in the Shetlands on Oct 4 and 5

Red-backed Shrike: Singles seen at four sites this week (Kent, Dorset, Cornwall and the Scillies)

Great Grey Shrike: Several now present on the near continent but none in England snce the isolated report of one in the New Forest on Sep 18

Jay: A report of 10 newly arrived birds at Pegwell Bay in Kent suggests that we will soon be seeing them streaming west through southern England.

Rose-coloured Starling: One was in the Lymington area on Oct 3 but has since been lost in a big flock of Common Starlings

House Sparrow: A count of 75 leaving a thick hedge in Gosport on Oct 6 confirms the previous week's reports from Havant and Emsworth that the birds are back from their autumn holiday in the countryside

Tree Sparrow: A few (around 15), presumed to be of continental origin, have been seen at Durlston and in Thanet (Kent) this week

Chaffinch: Now on the move in a big way. Over here there were 1255 over Durlston on Oct 7 while on the continent one site reported 35,866 on Oct 8 when the total at 27 sites was 201,893

Brambling: Already seen at six sites in southern England with a max of 12 at Pegwell Bay in Kent on Oct 8 (when a single site in the Netherlands reported a flock of 800)

Siskin: Now very widespread and plentiful in southern England with counts of several hundred over at least seven sites

Linnet: Also numerous with a max count of 1530 at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 8

Twite: Three reports this week - on Oct 2 five were in the Yorkshire area, on Oct 7 eight were in Fife (Scotland) and on Oct 8 a Netherlands site reported 52

Lesser Redpoll: Several reports with a max of 96 at Durlston on Oct 7 and the first Mealy Redpoll seen in the Netherlands on Oct 8

Crossbill: 19 reports with a max of 122 at Sandwich Bay (newly arrived?) on Oct 8

Hawfinch: These are now on the move with 106 total at 7 German sites on Oct 3 and a party of 4 moving along the Test valley near Romsey on Oct 6

Lapland Bunting: Several in the west country with one at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 5

Snow Bunting: These have been present in Cornwall since Sep 29 but this week one also appeared in Kent

Corn Bunting: A flock of 40 was in the Burpham area near Arundel on Oct 6

Vagrant: This weeks vagrant was a Siberian Blue Robin found dead on Shetland on Oct 3

Escapee: An Eagle Owl at Sancreed in Cornwall on Oct 2 (These birds have colonised Yorkshire so I suppose it is possible this one is an attempt to extend their range!)

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Vagrant Emperor: The tenth report of this migrant in Britain this year comes from Cornwall on Oct 3 (First for the year was at Portland on Apr 23)

Willow Emerald: A new site for this species was discovered in Suffolk on Oct 2 by a birder there to see the Sandhill Crane

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Common Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Vagrant Emperor, Gold Ringed Dragonfly, Black Darter, Common Darter, Emerald Damselfly, Willow Emerald, Small Red-eyed Damsel, Blue-tailed Damsel and Common Blue Damsel - not a bad list for October

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Clouded Yellow: As well as 11 migrants (one of them a helice) at various sites there were 11 of these butterflies at their established resident site on the Southbourne Undercliff in Bournemouth on Oct 2 and one of them was egglaying

Duke of Burgundy: A very unexpected sighting of a fresh specimen on Old Winchester Hill in the Meon Valley on Oct 2 I see that a second brood is not unheard of ...

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Adonis Blue. Holly Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Meadow Brown, Small Heath

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Glow-worm: A very late sighting of a Glow-worm still glowing came from Durlston on Oct 5 - sadly this is bad news as it means that a male has not found her and her life will have been in vain

False ladybird (Endomychus coccineus): One reported at Peasmarsh near Hastings on Oct 6 - see http://www.uksafari.com/falseladybirds.htm for a picture and details of this unusual species which does not eat aphids but lives on a diet of fungi

Chrysolina hyperici: This small black leaf beetle was found at Durlston on Oct 8 - apparently it has been introduced to Australia to eat up and excess of St John's Wort plants

Southern Oak Bush Cricket (Meconema meridionale): This is alien species which arrived in France in the 1990s and was first seen in England in 2001 - it has now extended north to Nottinghamshire. Find out more at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/species-of-the-day/evolution/meconema-meridionale/index.html - this tells us that the new arrival survives by eating other insects but does not tell us if it is likely to harm our native species

Tegenaria duellica: I learnt this 'new to me' name for the common House Spider from Brian Fellows - see Insect Highlights above for the wealth of information about spiders and their mating habits which this led me to discover

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Small-flowered Cranesbill: I was pleased to find two plants of this in fresh flower in Juniper Square here in Havant on Oct 4

Cow Parsley: Another good find on Oct 4 was a single plant of Cow Parsley in full flower at Brook Meadow in Emsworth

Weasel's Snout or Lesser Snapdragon (Misopates orontium): A good find on Oct 3 was a single plant of this in flower at a new site - I have found it for years at the New Lane allotments in Havant but never anywhere else. This week's find was only in the Havant Cemetery next door to the allotments but still gave me a pleasant surprise

Common Calamint: After my unexpected find of this plant flowering on the edge of the Stantsted estate on Sep 19 I was still excited to find another specimen on the north face of Portsdown on Oct 3

Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy: A find of this in Emsworth by Brian Fellows on Oct 5 made me aware of a species that I think I have seen in the past but never actually recognised as a separate species.

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Common Dolphin: More than 100 were seen off the Scillies on Sep 29 and 8 Bottle-nosed were off Christchurch Harbour on Oct 5

Fin Whale (aka Common Rorqual): Threee were in the Bay of Biscay off the north coast of Spain on Oct 4.This is the second largest whale species after the Blue Whale and can grow to 27 metres long. It is also the fastest swimmer and although they do not often turn up in European waters they do roam widely in the temperate oceans of the world. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fin_whale for more.

Brown Rat: Patient watching of the River Ems flowing through Brook Meadow at Emsworth has revealed the presence of many Rats and expert opininon from Graham Roberts is that they are a threat to water voles (can kill young voles, can take over the Vole's tunnels and can carry diseases that kill Voles) so efforts will be made to reduce the Rat population (though both trapping and poisoning could be as harmful to voles as to rats - one suggestion is to use traps baited with grain, which will not attract Voles, and placed away from the waterside frquented by the voles)

Wood Mouse: See Highlights above for a strange story from Rye Harbour

Adder and Slow-Worm: Both were still active at Folkestone on Sep 30, enjoying late sunshine before going underground for their winter sleep. The Autumnwatch programme this week made me aware of a practical consideration in respect of hibernation which I had not been aware of - I was aware in connection with Bats that, however much their metabolism is slowed down during hibernation, they still have to wake up for a mid-winter fly-around to defecate if they are not to poison themselves with a build up of toxins in their bodies but I had not thought through the same problem as it relates to snakes which take in whole animals and digest them slowly over a lengthy period - it would be dangerous to the individual snake and to those hibernating close to it if it went into hibernation immediately after ingesting a mouse-sized meal - the snake itself would suffer poisoning from the indigestible parts of the mouse and those hibernating with it could suffer the effects of an explosion if gasses built up to a critical point within the 'full stomached' snake. These are very unscientific thoughts but they seem to call for closer investigation!!

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Sep 26 - Oct 2 (Week 39 of 2011)

(Skip to previous week)

Overview

(Skip to Bird News)

Apologies for brevity of this Summary. A powercut at 7pm meant that I lost all that I had written earlier in the day and had to start again

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Two Red-throated off Portland on Sep 30, one Black-throated off Dungeness on Sep 24 and one Great Northern off Land's End on Sep 28

Great Crested Grebe: 26 off the west Hayling shore on Sep 28 and 46 in the Chalk Dock area of Langstone Harbour on Oct 1

Cattle Egret: The long staying bird at the Thornham Marshses on Thorney Island (which arrived on Aug 14) was still there on Sep 29

Little Egret: The roost count at Langstone Pond on Sep 28 was of 166 birds (198 there on Sep 14 was probably the year peak). 144 roosted at north Thorney Island on Sep 23

Great White Egret: The regular bird at the Blashford Lakes was seen on Sep 26 and 29. Elsewhere in England two arrived at Radipole (Weymouth) on Sep 28, another two at the Axe estuary in south east Devon, and on Sep 30 one turned up at Marazion near Penzance in Cornwall. These arrivals reflect bigger movements on the continent where 28 were seen at just one of 30 sites reporting the species. On Sep 28 17 sites reported an overall total of 69 birds (max 14 at one site)

Grey Heron: Also increasing numbers on the continent with three sites reporting a total of 112 birds on Oct 1 (max at one site was 79)

Glossy Ibis: A mini-invasion on Sep 30 brought seven to Brading on the Isle of Wight, one to Christchurch Harbour and one to Glamrogan in Wales

Spoonbill: The number at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour was up to 28 on sep 30 and on Sep 28 three continental sites had a total of 65 birds (one of them in the Netherlands had 40)

Pinkfoot Geese: On Sep 23 Strathbeg in Aberdeen had an arrival of more than 25,000 birds and on Sep 25 at least 101 flew south past Flamborough Head into England

White Front Goose: None reported from English sites yet but on Sep 27 four Netherlands sites had 1 total of 439 birds

Dark-bellied Brent: By Sep 25 there was a total of 1142 birds at two sites in Germany and on Sep 28 Christchurch Harbour had 11, Langstone Harbour had 172 and Chichester Harbour had 400. By Oct 1 the Exe estuary had 235 and at least 3 had reached the Scillies while Langstone Harbour had more than 500 seen from west Hayling

Shelduck: Since the start of September these have gradually been starting to return from their summer moult and to join the few adults left here through the summer. Normally they do not settle on our local shores until mid-October at the earliest though a few may make one day stands on their way west but this year a flock seems to have settled on the Nore Barn shore west of Emsworth with 20 seen there on Sep 27 and 34 on Sep 28

Wigeon: These are late in arriving locally this autumn with the highest count this week being of 78 in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 25. Maybe they have overshot us and flown on west as the Exe estuary had over 300 on Oct 1

Red-breasted Merganser: Four arrived in the Exe estuary on Oct 1 but very few have been seen elsewhere

Pallid Harrier: The bird which has been in the Arun valley area since Sep 17 was still present on Oct 2. It is only one of at least 6 juvenile which have arrived in Britain this autumn, including one in Somerset

Osprey: Two were in Langstone Harbour on Sep 27 and two others in Chichester Harbour on Sep 30

Spotted Crake: The first of the autumn arrived in the Scillies on Sep 26

Common Crane: Two flew over Rye Harbour on Sep 27 and maybe they landed in the Pevensey Levels near Eastbourne where two have been seen from Sep 27 to Sep 30 at least

Sandhill Crane: Just one of these has been in Britain since Sep 16 (first seen in Scotland) and this week it has been flying south reaching Northumberland and Yorkshire on Sep 29. By Oct 1 it had reached Lincolnshire

Semi-palmated Sandpiper: This has been Hampshire's rarity of the week remaining on the Lymington shore from Sep 24 to Oct 1. Another has been in the Seaton area of east Devon

Grey Phalarope: The number in England has diminished with only Eastbourne, Tresco in the Scillies and Ivy Lake at Chichester having single birds this week. Sadly the bird on Ivy Lake at Chichester vanished in a splash of water while it was being watched on Sep 25 and is assumed to have been taken by a Pike

Sabine's Gull: These two have left our shores - the last that I know of was at Sturt Pond near Lymington on Sep 29

Auks: Both Guillemots and Razorbills have been seen on the south coast this week but all reports are of singles, including a Guillemot among the boats at Itchenor in Chichester Harbour on Sep 25 and a Razorbill in Portsmouth Harbour on Sep 29

Turtle Dove: Singles were at Folkestone and Durlston on Sep 29

Cuckoo: No reports from Britain but one was in Belgium on Sep 29

Tawny Owls: Several reports this week from several sites in Sussex of Owls calling noisily before dawn - they seem to be claiming territories earlier than ususal - maybe it has been a good breeding season and many young are in the market

Swift: The last to be reported in England was at Portland on Sep 25 after one was seen on Portsdown on Sep 24

Wryneck: 13 reports this week with the latest being in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 30

Swallow: Still plenty in England with 22,000 over Christchurch Harbour on Sep 28

House Martin: 11,500 arrived in the Thanet area of Kent from the continent and flew on west into England on Sep 26 reminding us that the large number of birds that fly along our south coast at this time of year have not necessarily bred in Britain. No reports of Sand Martins anywhere this week!

Yellow Wagtail: 60 were in the Hook/Warsash area on Sep 24 but numbers dropped off during the week with the only report on Sep 30 being of 2 over Christchurch Harbour

Grey Wagtail: Some of the passage birds that have been on the move since August seem to be settling down for the winter in Havant - on Sep 28 I heard one over Waitrose in Havant and the next day one flew over my garden

Dunnock: At least 144 were on the move in Germany on Sep 25 and I suspect we will sooon be seeing and hearing them back in our gardens as they recover from their moult and/or fly here from the continent for the winter

Black Redstart: These too are starting to be noticed as they move to winter quarters. This week one was in the Scillies on Sep 27 and another at Church Norton (Pagham Harbour) on Sep 30 while four were reported at a Netherlands site on Oct 1

Ring Ouzel: This week one was at Beachy Head on Sep 27, another at Dungeness on Sep 28 and one at Pagham Harbour on Sep 30

Blackbird: One Netherlands site had a group of 15 on Sep 25 and a different site had 31 on Sep 26 (maybe all heading for our gardens?)

Fieldfare: One Netherlands site had 3 on Sep 29 and the total at two sites on Oct 1 ws 4 birds

Song Thrush: On Sep 27 two Netherlands sites had a total of 200 birds and by Oct 1 the number on the move was up to 476 (all at one site)

Redwing: Five continental reports of birds on the move but the max count was no more than 6 birds

Mistle Thrush: At least 56 were on the move in the Belgium on Sep 25 and in Devon there was an unexpected flock of 45 near Kingsbridge on Sep 28

Blyth's Reed Warbler: One trapped at Portland on Sep 27

Yellow Browed Warbler: After 16 arrivied in Shetland on Sep 20 there has been one in Cornwall on Sep 27, one at Folkestone on Sep 28 and now one at Sandwich Bay on Sep 30

Goldcrest: Christchurch Harbour had 55 on Sep 29 as migrant arrivals build up

Bearded Tits: More than 15 were 'high flying' over their Thornham Marshes reedbeds as they summoned up the nerve to fly off into the unknown on Sep 30 while at Lymington that same day four were high flying and four more were seen flying away east

Golden Oriole: Ivan Lang (Pagham Harbour warden) is confident that he heard one fly overhead as he was checking his moth trap on Sep 27

Red-backed Shrike: One was at Lodmoor (Weymouth) from Sep 24 to 30 and another was seen near Land's End in Cornwall on Sep 29

Great Grey Shrike: Although one was reported in the New Forest on Sep 18 there have been no more reports of it. This week one bird was seen in Germany and 2 in Belgium

Woodchat Shrike: One was in the Scillies this week

Rose Coloured Starling: One was at Dungeness on Sep 23, one in the Scillies on Sep 28, one in Cornwall on Sep 29 and another is said to have spent the week before Oct 1on Lundy

House Sparrow: Both in Emsworth and in Havant this week brought the noisy chatter of House Sparrows back to gardens with dense shrubbery as they return from their autumn holiday in the local fields where grain crops have been harvested

Chaffinch: Their autumn passage has now got under way with a report from Germany of a total of 53150 birds at four sites

Brambling: The first autumn bird in southern England was at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 26 but so far no more than 15 birds have been reported from continental sites

Greenfinch: A count of 580 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 29 is the first to exceed 100 birds anywhere in southern England this autumn

Siskin: These are now being heard all across southern England but the peak count so far is of 930 birds at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 29

Twite: The first in England this autumn were 5 in Cumbria on Oct 1

Snow Bunting: The first in southern England was at Sennen in Cornwall on Sep 29 and 30 while another was seen in north Yorkshire on Oct 1

Reed Bunting: The first count to exceed 12 birds this autumn was of 109 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 28

Wild Turkey: One that knew that Christmas was coming and had made its escape was seen near Paham Harbour on Sep 24.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Red-veined Darter: One seen on Sep 28 by Paul Winter at the Badminston Pits near Calshot (New Forest area) was the firs to be reported since Aug 15

Willow Emerald Damselfly: Earlier reports this year never exceeded 14 insects but a visit to Alton Water at Tattingstone in Suffolk on Sep 25 recorded more than 100 insects

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Common Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Gols Ringed Dragonfly, Black Darter, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Emerald Damselfly, Willow Emerald Damselfly, Small red-eyed Damselfly, Small Red Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Red Admiral: These were flying south at most places this week and at Portland Bill they were watched heading out over the sea.

Grayling: Just one seen this week at Browndown near Gosport on Sep 26

Gatekeeper: One reported at Durlston on Sep 29 was the first anywhere since Sep 10 (also at Durlston)

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Small Copper. Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma. Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

Death's Head Hawkmoth: The first and only report for this year is of one landing among people sunbathing on Southsea Beach on Sep 24. The full text of the entry on the Hampshire Butterfly Conservation website read .. "Sophie Venables reports from Southsea beach (SZ667985) where the following observations were made: 'Death's head' hawkmoth (1). "I am reporting this as it seemed such an unusual find - I've never seen one before and noticed its dramatic size and appearance. It appeared on the dark strap of a camera bag and was drawn to dark colours, including my young son's shorts, climbing up his leg to get to them which unnerved him rather! My friend has a photograph which he will try to send to you independently.".

The first of a mini-invasion of Flame Brocade moths reached Friston near Eastbourne on Sep 30 and on Oct 1 more than ten were caught at the same site while another arrived at Portland

Another first for the year was a Dusky-lemon Sallow at Folkestone on Sep 29

Another prized first on Sep 29 was a Clifden Nonpareil somewhere in Sussex

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Volucella zonaria: One of these large Hoverflies seen at Durlston on Oct 1

Colletes hederae (Ivy Bee): This recent colonist of southen England was noted at Durlston for the first time this autumn on Sep 27

Stenus solutus (Rove Beetle species): This is one of more than 1000 Rove Beetle species but this one has a unique way of getting out of trouble if it ever hapens to fall into water - the surface tension supports its weight but does not give the beetle a chance to 'walk' to the water's edge. To get there it squirts a special detergent liguid from its back end and this creates a difference in the surface tension behind and in front of the beetle. By repeating the detergent squirting it can propel itself across the water in the direction it is pointing. Thanks top Graeme Lyons for this information.

Western Conifer Seed Bug: Five more reports of newly arrived immigrants at coastale sites from Dungeness to Durlston this week

England's biggest spider: Another fascinating nugget of information from Graeme Lyons decribes how he found the Sussex Site (Pevensey Levels) for this spider (Dolomedes plantarius) which is even bigger than the Dolomedes firmbriata Raft Spider that can be found in the New Forest. See Gaeme's blog entry at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/09/facehugger.html and for information about the spider go to http://www.dolomedes.org.uk/

Wasp Spider (Argioppe bruennichi): I am delighted to see that Brian Fellows in Emsworth has just come across a female Wasp Spider still guarding the egg sac in which she has laid her eggs. Brian remarks that this was the first time he has seen one of these spiders without its distinctive web but she has put all her energy into spinning the intricate 'Chinese Lantern' container for her eggs and and now that it complete she has no further job in life and will not feed again - soon she will become a 'dead parrot'

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Plenty of plants still in flower but nothing new this week - the only new flower I was hoping for was Chinese Mugwort at Broadmarsh where it never flowers before October. When I checked in on Oct 1 there were plenty of healthy plants covered with unopen flower buds but none yet flowering. My count of flowering species this week was 151

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Common Seal: 14 were on the mud off Thorney Island on Sep 23 and 13 were seen there on Sep 30

White Squirrel: A pure white Grey Squirrel was seen in the Purbrook area on the north slope of Portsdown Hill on Sep 26 - not a great surprise to local naturalists as similar white (I think albino) animals have been seen in the greater Portsmouth area from time to time over more than 20 years. They seem able to live a normal life and do not die earlier than normal Greys.

Fungi: A list of species found this week includes: -

Fly Agaric - one in Havant Thicket on Sep 27

Pink Domecap (Calocybe carnea) - continuing to flourish in my Havant garden

The Deceiver - several in Havant Thicket on Sep 27

Blackening Waxcap - several in my Havant garden lawn

Pink Waxcap (Hygrocybe calyptriformis) - one I have not yet come across found in Ebernoe Churchyard near Midhurst by Graeme Lyona

Parrot Waxcap - another regular still present on my garden lawn

Fleecy Milkcap - Two large mature specimens in Havant Thicket on Sep 27

Primrose Brittlegill (Russula sardonia) - a colourful specimen with dark red cap, rose pink flushed stem and custard yellow gills found in Havant Thicket

Stubble Rosegill: One found in grass beside the Brockhampton Stream (west side of Budds Farm at Havant) - usually seen in arable fields after the harvest

Alder Scalycap (Pholiota alnicola): Found by John Goodspeed in the Hookheath Nature reseve (northern foot of Portsdown) on Sep 30

Weeping Widow: Also found by the Brockhampton stream

Chanterelle: This culinary prize found by Graeme Lyons in the Ebernoe area on Sep 29

Penny Bun/Cep: Two in Havant Thicket on Sep 27

Dryad's Saddle: A fresh specime growing from wood below the surface of the Hayling Coastal path on Sep 28

Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex): An unexpected find by Graeme Lyons in the North Laines area of Brighton - growing under a Kiwi Tree in the garden of a restaurant

Common Bird's-nest (Crucibulum laeve): Found in a compost bin among growing Potatoes in the Thanet area of Kent on Sep 28

Dog Stinkhorn (Caninus mutinus): One found in the Ebernoe area of West Sussex on Sep 29

ENDWEEK

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