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WEEKLY SUMMARY

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Wildlife diary and news for Dec 31 - Jan 6 (Week 1 of 2013)

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BIRDS

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Divers: 41 Red-throated were off Sandwich Bay on Jan 4 with 9 in Christchurch Harbour on Dec 31 and 7 in Stokes Bay at Gosport on Jan 2 but for numbers the Netherlands had 2768 in one flock on Dec 29 and 2842 on Jan 4. The Netherlands was also the only place to report more than one Black-throated (and they only had 2 on Jan 2) but England had singles at ten sites including Nutbourne Bay in Chichester Harbour, Hayling Bay and Stokes Bay. Top scoring English site for Great Northern was Portland Harbour with 8 followed by 5 in Mounts Bay (Cornwall), Chichester Harbour entrance with 3 and Langstone Harbour entrance with 2

Grebes: On Jan 3 there were 6238 Great Crested off the Netherlands (2276 in one raft) and on Jan 1 Dungeness recorded 1260 with 210 at Sandwich Bay and 110 in Southampton Water off Netley on Jan 5 (the latter raft had built up during the week from 42 on Dec 30 with 50 on Jan 1). Jan 3 brought a potential total of 14 Red-necked at five Netherlands sites and on that day there were singles at the Chichester Harbour entrance and off Lymington. Portland Harbour had 7 Slavonian on Jan 1 when one was in Langstone Harbour with another 2 at Selsey Bill. Jan 4 saw 3 off Lymington and Jan 5 saw 2 in Southampton Water. With no reports from the Swanage/Poole Harbour area Langstone Harbour regained the lead with 14 Black Necked on Jan 5 closely followed by 13 in Portland Harbour on Jan 1

Shag: One was diving by the Hayling Ferry in the mouth of Langstone Harbour on Jan 1 and what was probably a different bird was in the Chichester Harbour entrance on Jan 4

Bittern: Singles seen at seven sites, including Titchfield Haven, during the week with 2 at the Blashford Lakes

Great White Egret: What used to be thought of as the Blashford Lakes regular now spends all its time at Bickerley Common, south of Ringwood and on the west bank of the river. This is not an area that I am familiar with so I was interest to read the account of a visit there by Mark Cutts and Tony Tindale (two of the Three Amigos) at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2013/01/05/glossy-ibis-at-bickerley-common-hampshire/ From the heading you will gather that they also saw the Glossy Ibis but I was more interested to learn that the birds are at a Nature Reserve set up by the Raymond Brown group based in Ringwood (presumably after working out the minerals in their quarries there) I have often seen their lorries but have now visited their website at http://www.raymondbrowngroup.co.uk/ to learn more about them

Glossy Ibis: The bird which has been at Bickerley Common since Dec 2 is still there but took a day off on Jan 1 to fly south to Christchurch Harbour (where the Avon joins the Stour as it reaches the sea)

Spoonbill: The flock of around 15 which has been in Poole Harbour all year was still there on Jan 1

Bewick's Swan: There was still one family of four in the Adur Valley on Jan 3 but it looks as if the others that have been there are now in the Pulbough area where 14 were seen on Jan 1

Whooper Swan: Just one in the Dorset Frome valley seems to be the only one in southern England this week with no more than 14 at three sites on the continent

Red-breasted Goose: The Farlington Marshes bird remains in the area but unpredictably flies to various sites in Portsmouth

Pintail: A total of 230 was at the Blashford Lakes on Jan 1 and small groups of two or three have been seen in passing at various sites including the Emsworth shore but I have heard no more about the 400 that were seen in the Avon valley on Dec 27. Jan 5 brought a welcome sign that more may soon be seen in the Langstone and Chichester Harbours when 22 turned up at Farlington Marshes.

Scaup: In addition to the small flock of up to 9 that have been in the Abbotsbury area of the Fleet in Dorset one or two have been seen on several days this week in Langstone Harbour though the plumage of one bird has puzzled experienced birders - however on at least two days they were seen on the Lagoon at the Hayling Oysterbeds allowing close examination

Eider: Two have been in Langstone Harbour this week and maybe the same two have been cruising around the east Solent

Goldeneye: Numbers are at last increasing with 11 reported in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester on Jan 2 and up to 3 have been in Langstone Harbour

Smew: Four were at Rye Harbour on Dec 29 and on Jan 5 a redhead was on the River Test at Romsey

Goosander: A male was at a new site (Warnham pond) at Horsham on Jan 2 and the night roost at Bramshill Plantation on the Hants Berks border was up to 21 birds at dusk on Jan 3

Goshawk: One of the luckiest New Year's Day sightings was a Goshawk seen (by an experienced observer) over Fleet at 08:15 when it became only the third species on his daylist after Robin and Blackbird

Common Crane: Another unexpected species on a Sussex birder's NYD list was a single Crane seen on Walland Marsh (just in Kent a little east of Rye)

Avocet: Proof the these have not left the Exe estuary came with a count of 400 there on Dec 30. On Dec 31 a flock of 20 were in the Sidlesham Ferry Pool (Pagham Harbour) and on Jan 1 a flock of 27 were at the north end of the Thorney Channel in Chichester Harbour. Langstone Harbour has had a flock of up to 16 in the Broom Channel which runs up the west side of Farlington Marshes before becoming the Portscreek channel

Knot: On Dec 30 there were estimated to be 8000 on the north Kent coast at Seasalter and on Jan 2 a flock of 150 were in the Emsworth Channel visible from Emsworth with 180 at Rye Harbour on Jan 4

Purple Sandpiper: 12 were at Shoreham Fort on Dec 30 and 11 at Newhaven Pier on Dec 31 while 7 were at Southsea Castle on Jan 5

Jack Snipe: One was in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester on Dec 30 and two were in the Itchen Valley country park on Jan 2

Black-tailed Godwit: Dec 30 found more than 700 in the Exe estaury and Jan 3 brought a count of 3000 from the Avon valley south of Ringwood but none seemed to be left in the Solent Harbours (one seen at the Hayling Oysterbeds on Jan 1 may have been injured and unable to fly off with the rest)

Bar-tailed Godwit: 292 were seen on the Langstone Harbour south west shore on Jan 4 sending me to check the sort of figure to be expected here in January - On 14 Jan 2012 the WeBS count for Pilsey was 500, in early Feb 225+ were in the south of Langstone Harbour and the March WeBS count for Pilsey was 360

Whimbrel: Single wintering birds seen this week were at Redbridge (the top of Southampton Water), in Fishbourne Channel near Chichester, and at Farlington Marshes.

Common Sandpiper: One seen in the Redbridge/Lower Test Marshes area and 4 together by the Itchen at Riverside Park in Southampton

Ring-billed Gull: The Gosport bird remains faithful to its Gosport base

Common Gull: Numbers have gone up everywhere along the south coast both on the shore and inland - e.g. 500 in Portsmouth Harbour on Jan 1 and 400 at Exton in the Meon Valley that day

Kittiwake: We are also seeing more of these with 500 off Portland on Dec 29 when 56 were at Milford near Lymington. On Jan 1 Selsey had 46

Waxwing: The flocks of 100 or more remain in the north of England but a good number of small flocks have been moving through Sussex this week with very few in Hampshire - the only reports I have seen for this county are of 30+ at Farnborough, 10 in the New Forest and 3 at Basingstoke. On Jan 1 the Isle of Wight had just 3 birds enabling Robin Attrill to score what was probably the highest daylist of 119 species

Song Thrush: These have been been heard singing daily since Christmas Day and by Jan 5 a walk down the Langbrook Stream from Havant to Budds Farm gave me the impression that one was singing every 200 yards. As well as Robin, Woodpigeon and Collared Dove are now in full song with Blue Tit and Starling heard daily plus occasional bursts from Great and Coal Tit but so far Brian Fellows is the only person to have heard full Dunnock song. In appropriate habitat Cetti's Warbler is now a regular singer

Dartford Warbler: So far these have been under no threat from the cold and one has been seen this week in the Point Field at Farlington Marshes (along with two Stonechat)

Chiffchaff: Surprisingly few reports of wintering birds - just three this week - one at the Lymington Marshes, one at Church Norton (Pagham Harbour) and one at St Catherine's Hill near Winchester

Firecrest: Five reports of these this week including one at Brook Meadow in Emsworth and one at the main road end of Mill Lane in Langstone

Twite: The first I have heard of in Hampshire this winter was at Longwood Warren (near the foot of Cheesefoot Head east of Winchester) on Jan 4

INSECTS

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Butterflies:

Surprisingly there were reports this week

Species reported this week:

Red Admiral: Seen at seven different sites between Dec 23 and Jan 3 (six of them in Hampshire)

Painted Lady: Seen at four sites - one in Hampshire, two in Sussex and one in the Isle of Wight. One seen on Jan 5 was said to be flying straight and fast as if on migration

Small Tortoiseshell: One at Shoreham on Jan 1

Peacock: One at Durlston in Dorset on Jan 1

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded this week:

0461 (Variable Smudge), Ypsolopha ustella found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5036

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0461.php

0692 (Ruddy Flat-body), Agonopterix subpropinquella found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2483

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0692.php

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana found in Dorset on JAN 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

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

1045 (Rusty Birch Button), Acleris notana found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3452

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1045.php

1052 (Dark-streaked Button), Acleris umbrana found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5427

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1052.php

1053 (Sallow Button), Acleris hastiana found in Dorset on JAN 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5580

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1053.php

1342 (Narrow-winged Grey), Eudonia a found in Dorset on JAN 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5073

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

1395 Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis found in Dorset on JAN 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=181

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1395.php

1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella found in Dorset on JAN 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1793

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

1497 (Beautiful Plume), Amblyptilia acanthadactyla found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6337

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1497.php

1524 (Common Plume), Emmelina monodactyla found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=592

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1524.php

1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata found in Dorset on JAN 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4948

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

1775 Mottled Grey Colostygia multistrigaria found in Dorset on JAN 04 - 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 in Dorset on JAN 04 - 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 in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=123

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

1926 Pale Brindled Beauty Phigalia pilosaria found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5098

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1926.php

1935 Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=212

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

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon found in Dorset on JAN 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=226

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2091.php

2190 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica found in Dorset on JAN 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2001

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2190.php

2243 Early Grey Xylocampa areola found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6184

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2243.php

2259 Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula found in Dorset on JAN 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1112

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

2385 Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua found in Dorset on JAN 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2805

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

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found in Dorset on JAN 03 - 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

Large White butterfly caterpillars: 33 active on Purple Broccoli plants at Eastbourne on Dec 28 (and moved to the shelter of a Greenhouse)

Beetles: Graeme Lyons noticed numerous small beetles of several species in flight at the Sussex Wildlife Trust Henfield HQ on Jan 5

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Plants seen in flower this week were:-

Creeping Buttercup, Lesser Celandine, Charlock, Hedge Mustard, Shepherd's Purse, Sweet Violet, Herb Robert, Gorse, Common Nettle, Small Nettle, Ivy, Hazel, Grey Alder, Dog's Mercury, Sun Spurge, Cow Parsley, Hogweed, Wild Carrot, Ivy Leaved Toadflax, Common Field Speedwell, Red Deadnettle, White Deadnettle, Water Forget-me-not (single last flower!), Garden Forget-me-not, Japanese Honeysuckle, Oxford Ragwort, Groundsel, Ox-eye Daisy, Daisy, Winter Heliotrope, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sowthistle, Butcher's Broom (35 Species)

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fox: An unexpected bonus during my New Year's Day birdwatch was to have a very healthy looking red Fox sunbathing at the edge of a field in which I was watching a Green Sandpiper around a pool of flood water.

Humpback Whale: After two reports of sightings off the Netherlands on Dec 4 and 20 there was another report on Jan 4

Water Vole: The first to be seen in the River Ems at Brook Meadow this year was reported on Jan 3 but this date was beaten at Pulborough Brooks on Jan 1 and at Woodmill on the River Itchen (northern fringe of Southampton) on Jan 2

Fungi: Velvet Shank toadstools were seen on a tree overhanging the Langbrook Stream where Mill Lane meets the Langstone South Moors on Jan 5. Jew's Ears (aka Jelly Ears) were seen at Durlston on Dec 31

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Dec 24 - 30 (Week 52 of 2012)

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BIRDS

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Divers : Plenty of Red-throated this week with as many as 24 to be seen off Selsey Bill on Dec 28 and around 20 in Christchurch Harbour on Dec 24 with just 1393 seen off The Hague in the Netherlands on Dec 26. The only place to see more than one Black-throated was Anstruther in Scotland with 3 on Dec 27 but singles were seen at Sandy Point (Hayling Island) on Dec 23, Christchurch Harbour on that day and Dec 24, with one in the Stokes Bay are of Gosport on Dec 27 and 28. On Dec 23 Torbay in Devon had 10 Great Northern and on Dec 24 there were 11 at Gerrans Bay (south Cornwall) while on Dec 27 Selsey Bill had 5, Portland Harbour had 4 and there was one in Southampton Water - on Dec 28 one even came into the mouth of Langstone Harbour.

Grebes : No mention of the east Solent Great Crested this week but there were 33 in the Torbay area of Devon on Dec 23 and 55 off Folkestone on Dec 27. Single Red-necked were heading west past Selsey Bill on Dec 27, Weymouth Bay in Dorset on Dec 26 and Gerrans Bay in Cornwall on Dec 23. Portland Harbour had the most Slavonian (but only 4 on Dec 27 with Selsey Bill coming second with 3 on Dec 23). Dorset had no counts of Black-necked higher than 31 on Dec 21 when 21 were in Portland Harbour and another 10 in the Studland area, and this was topped by Cornwall where 35 were reported in Carrick Roads (Falmouth) on Dec 23. Devon reported no more than 3 in Torbay on Dec 24

Balearic Shearwater : There were plenty of these in the English Channel in the first half of October but only the occasional single has been seen since Oct 19 until this week when more than 3 were in Carbis Bay (Cornwall) on Dec 28 and one got as far east as Portland on Dec 27

Leach's Storm Petrel : One at Selsey Bill on Dec 27 was rarity of the week there

Bittern : Seen this week at Titchfield Haven (two birds), Marazion and Falmouth in Cornwall, Rye Harbour, and the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood (two).

Great White Egret : RBA told us on Dec 27 that there were at least 9 in the UK and five of these seem to have been at Dungeness RSPB with another being the regular at Bickerley Common/Blashford Lakes beside the Hampshire Avon

Glossy Ibis : The only one reported this week was the regular at Bickerly Common (just south of Ringwood in the Avon Valley) which has been there since Dec 2 (possibly the same bird which flew in over Christchurch Harbour on Oct 25 but headed north to spend some time in Pembrokeshire before returning to the Hampshire Avon - I have no facts to back up this conjecture)

Spoonbill : The flock of up to 16 which have been in Poole Harbour since mid-November have not been reported since Dec 17 but the single bird seen in the Scillies since Dec 4 suddenly increased to four on Dec 18

Bewick's Swan : A herd of 10 which appeared in the Adur valley near Henfield on Dec 18 had become 17 birds since Dec 24 though they have not been reported since Dec 28

Red-breasted Goose : The Farlington Marshes bird was still present on Dec 27 as was the Sussex bird in the Adur valley

Pintail : The Avon valley flock south of Ringwood had increased from 100 on Dec 21 to 400 on Dec 27

Red Crested Pochard : One made a monthly appearance at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood on Dec 24 (it had been there on Nov 23)

Scaup : A male flying west past Selsey Bill on Dec 28 was an unexpected tick there

Eider : A male was off East Head in the mouth of Chichester Harbour on Dec 28 - the first report from inside the harbour since the end of November when two were seen there on a couple of days

Smew : A redhead has been reported at the Longham Lakes north of Bournemouth on both Dec 21 and Dec 24 when there were also seven at the RSPB Dungeness reserve

Goosander : Up to 45 were at the Blashford Lakes in November but there have been no reports from there in December until Dec 24 when 64 were seen (I suspect these birds disperse during the day and do not re-appear to roost until most visitors have left). Another first report for this winter of a regular roost at Bramshill Plantation on the Hants/Berks border comes from John Clark who saw 17 there on Dec 28

Marsh Harrier : Up to 4 seen at Titchfield Haven this week

Hen Harrier : One seen around Arne to the west of Poole Harbour and possibly two in the New Forest with one seen over Yew Tree Heath near Beaulieu Road Station and another over Ocknell Plain nine miles north west as the Harrier flies

Kestrel : A good many years ago I was surprised to see a Barn Owl mugged of its vole prey at Amberley Wild Brooks by a Kestrel which flew straight at and crashed into the Owl in it attempt to snatch the vole from the Owl's talons as soon as the Owl become airborne with its meal. I mention this because a similar snatch and grab was seen on Dec 21 this week at the Pevensey Levels near Eastbourne, the only difference was that the Kestrel's victim here was a Short-eared Owl (which learnt its lesson, staying on the ground to eat a second vole and not taking off to expose itself to the Kestrel for a second time).

Merlin : As I was going through this weeks reports on the internet it occurred to me that there seemed to be a shortage of Merlin sightings this winter so I attempted to capture all current reports of this species for this week but could only find two from Dorset (Christchurch Harbour and Wool), one from Cornwall (Bodmin Moor), two from Sussex (one at The Burgh where the Arun cuts through the South Downs and one at Rye Harbour). The only Hampshire report was not from the sort of open site such as Farlington Marshes where this species is usually present - though rarely seen - but from a town rooftop in Havant West Street rousing my scepticism (could this have been a Kestrel) as there was no backing info about the bird's plumage or behaviour (other than perching on a roof) to support this unusual claim.

Avocet : On Christmas Day a flock of 37 were in Broom Channel of Langstone Harbour (between Farlington Marshes and the Eastern Road into Portsmouth) but there were no reports from Sussex and the nearest were 316 in Poole Harbour at Brownsea Island

Purple Sandpiper : The number seen at Southsea Castle this winter reached 10 on Dec 7 but all other counts there have been in single figures until this week when 17 were seen on Dec 23, not quite matching counts at Christchurch Harbour of 18 on Dec 28 and 24 on Dec 19 though we did exceed any recent Sussex counts (12 at Shoreham on Dec 15 and 10 at Newhaven on Nov 13)

Ruff : Dec 27 brought 4 to Pagham Harbour North Walls (uncommon there) and 2 to Bisterne in the Hampshire Avon valley

Woodcock : Hampshire was the only county to report sightings this week with two flushed deep in the Botley Woods north of Fareham and one at Longwood Warren near Cheeesefoot Head to the east of Winchester

Blacktailed Godwit : A couple of probable record counts this week were made on Dec 27 with 1070 at Pagham Harbour North Walls and 4000 in the Hampshire Avon valley at Bisterne (these were balanced by a notable shortage of the birds in Chichester Harbour)

Med Gull : Also in short supply in Langstone Harbour at this time of year but at least two were present in the Eastney Lake area - not sure where the birds are currently to be found, the last report which I felt of sufficient interest to note was of 176 at Weymouth (Ferrybridge) on Oct 30. I can only find 21 reports of Hampshire sightings since the end of October and other than four seen at the mouth of the R Itchen in Southampton on Dec 29 and three on the flooded University fields (just south of the Milton reclamation on the south east shore of Porstsea Island), two at Sandy Point, Hayling Island, on Nov 25 and two further up the Itchen in Southampton (Riverside Park) on Nov 30, these were all of single birds.

Ring Billed Gull : The Gosport bird was around the Cockle Pond on Dec 25 and 26

Common Gull : A flock of more than 261 were seen around Newlands Farm (between Fareham and Stubbington) on Dec 25 while another bird got into the news this week when it was captured on film at the Arundel Wildfowl Reserve on Dec 22 swallowing a large Eel that looked to big to fit into the bird's crop (see the photos in Brian Fellows diary entry for Dec 22 at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm or for a short cut to the first of these photos go to http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x904-common-gull-eel-1-RT.jpg )

Sandwich Tern : On Dec 27 5 were seen at the mouth of Chichester Harbour and 1 at Christchurch Harbour but the total still on the French Normandie coast at Ouistreham on that day was still 102

Guillemot : Locally one was seen at Sandy Point on Hayling Island on Dec 23 and three were in Southampton Water (Weston Shore) on Dec 27.

Razorbill : Again of local interest among the thousands of Auks currently in the English Channel area were one at Sandy Point and 9 in Southampton Water this week

Black Guillemot : One of these (often called 'Tysties') was in Portland Harbour on Dec 26

Short-eared Owl : I have already mentioned that one was hunting the Pevensey Levels this week when it was robbed of its prey by a Kestrel. Another Sussex bird was at Lewes Brooks, one was in Dorset at Wyke Down near Cranborne Chase and two were not far away in Hampshire at Whitsbury in the Fordingbridge area

Buff-bellied Pipit : A Boxing Day present for the twitchers was the arrival of a second American vagrant Buff-bellied Pipit at the Queen Mary Reservoir near Heathrow to join the first which has been there since Dec 14 (I wonder when birds will learn to stow away in the undercarriage of transatlantic aircraft? there must be room for them but could they withstand the cold and lack of oxygen?)

Dipper : An even better Christmas present for Hampshire birders was found by Simon Woolley on Dec 30 when cycling up the Avon valley from Ringwood towards Fordingbridge and turning off the busy A338 on the minor loop road which runs alongside the Avon at Bickton. I have fond memories of this place from when I lived at North Gorley during the war and the river at Bickton (the pool below the second weir upstream from the Mill) was the swimming pool used by us local children in the summer after we had enjoyed the Yellow Wagtails nesting on the watermeadows on the west side of the river (I think these were the last to be properly managed as working Water Meadows in the UK before the academics and conservationists started to run them as 'living museums' such as the Harnham Water Meadows near Salisbury and the Iron Age Village near Petersfield). A less pleasant memory is of seeing a carthorse dead (from old age and hard work) on the main road to Fordingbridge at the cross roads where you turn off to Bickton wth the wagon it had been pulling standing with empty shafts on the road. I haven't made a detailed check but I think it is quite a few years since a Dipper was last seen in Hampshire - the last record I can find is of one by the River Test near Overton in December 2003, preceded by one in the Test valley in 1997. There were three sightings by the Test in 1996 while 1995 brought one to the Meon Valley as well as one in the Test Valley but this search has not unearthed my memories of the years in which breeding by the Test at Romsey occurred. Before I learnt that it was a waste of time trying to make suggestions for the improvement of the annual Hampshire Bird Report I thought it would be a good idea to include a mention of every bird on the Hampshire list in every issue with a one line entry telling you the year in which that bird was last seen in the county so that you could quickly turn to that volume to see the detail (and of course that entry would point you back to the year of the previous sighting) but I was told that the extra cost of all that paper made the suggestion impossible to put into effect (I reckon the objective could be achieved at the cost of no more than one additional page per year as you only have to do it for those species which do not get an annual mention and it would have the double benefit of presenting the full list of Hampshire species in each year's report and save the work of searching through every volume which I had to do in this case to find the last Dipper entries listed above)

Waxwing : On Dec 21 RBA had reports from 43 counties with flocks of 211 in Gloucestershire, 100 in each of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, 93 in Yorkshire and 90 in Essex and on Dec 24 they were reported in 37 coutnies with a flock of 470 in Yorkshire. Here in the south most reports came from Sussex with a flock of up to 20 in Eastbourne and 11 at Lewes plus 10 at Hastings (Fairlight), 20 at Hailsham and 15 at Pease Pottage near Crawley but there were 15 to be seen at the North Camp railway station in Farnborough (Hants), 43 at a Tesco store at Swalecliffe on the north Kent Coast and 12 in Folkestone and one lost bird seemed to be stuck in the Scillies with only 3 reported in Dorset and none in Devon or Cornwall

Fieldfare : On Dec 28 two reports showed birds coming back into Hampshire - a flock of 100 were seen in the Northington area near Alresford and 70 were on the Solent shore at Chilling near Warsash (neither accompanied by Redwings)

Great Grey Shrike : Two new birds seem to have reached Britain but are currently to be found in Surrey and Oxon respectively

Magpie : A night roost of around 200 birds was seen at Southampton Common on Dec 23

Hawfinch : I see that up to 14 birds were seen entering the New Forest roost on Dec 23

Foreign Birds : As Steve Copsey continues with the Navy's Ice Patrol around the Antarctic he was almost due south of Cape Horn this week and the only 'new' birds he had to show us through his photos were Pale-face Sheathbills and Snow Petrels . Follow his Blog at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ or see a couple of his photos directly at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2012/12/Snow-Petrel-1-Gerlache-Straits-Antarctica-10-Dec-20121.jpg and http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/files/2012/12/Pale-faced-Sheathbills-1-Lemaire-Channel-10-Dec-2012.jpg

Vagrants : The Rose-breasted Grosbeak which arrived on the Scillies on Dec 18 was still there on Christmas Day but the website on which I was hoping to point you to a photo of the bird seems to have morphed into a commercial one so the best I can do is to point you to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose-breasted_Grosbeak

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies :

Unsurprisingly no reports this week

Butterflies :

Surprisingly there were reports this week

Species reported this week :

Brimstone : One seen flying near Fleet in north Hampshire on Dec 22

Red Admiral : Four reports of butterflies active on Dec 21 and 22 at Gosport and Fleet in Hampshire and at Worthing and Polegate (near Eastbourne) in Sussex

Peacock : One also seen on Dec 21 near the head of the Ems valley in Sussex - this was reported locally and included in last weeks summary where the other sightings above did not appear on the internet in time for me to mention them last week although that is when they were seen.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week :

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded this week :

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana found in Dorset on DEC 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

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

1044 (Rusty Oak Button), Acleris ferrugana found in Dorset on DEC 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4972

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1044.php

1047 (Viburnum Button), Acleris schalleriana found in Dorset on DEC 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5018

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1047.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in Dorset on DEC 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1100

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

1769 Spruce Carpet Thera britannica found in Dorset on DEC 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=696

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1769.php

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found in Dorset on DEC 24 - 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 found in Dorset on DEC 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

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

2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra found in Dorset on DEC 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6029

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

2258 The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii found in Dorset on DEC 22 - 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 in Dorset on DEC 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1112

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

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found in Dorset on DEC 24 - 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

Hummingbird Hawkmoth : Although included in the moths above this day flying migrant deserves a special mention for being still active (a few now regularly hibernate in this country) seen on Dec 23 flying at Portland (and this potentially a migrant in December!)

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Just one new species flowering this week - Lesser Celandine - but there were still plenty of wild plants in flower including Cow Parsley and a white flowered variant of Hedgerow Cranesbill . I have put photos of these on my Diary pages and you can see them in the entries for Dec 24 and 27 at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm. Other plants seen during the week included more Sweet Violets out in St Faith's churchyard plus White Comfrey, Yellow-flowered Strawberry, Ivy-leaved Toadflax and Wood Avens

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Slugs : Matthew Oates appeared on TV this week with a brief review of Wildlife in 2012 for BBC News and declared that this had been 'The year of the Slug' but did not mention that this had been the year in which what is probably the best known British Slug ( Arion ater , the big one which can be found in most gardens, usually dressed in black but sometimes in other brighter colours), had been driven from England to seek refuge in the Scottish Highlands by a look-alike invader from Spain called Arion vulgaris . For a balanced account of that species see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_slug but even that source admits that it is one of the 100 worst alien species in Europe and illustrates one of its bad habits with a photo of it engaging in cannibalism (eating one of its own species). For less balanced views just put "Spanish Slug species" into Google and read what British Newspapers have printed about it this summer. The Independent says "14 Sep 2012 – A plague of “super-slugs” has arrived in the UK from Spain, ... species which threatens to eat its way through our crops and native slug species." The Daily Maily writes of "Monster Spanish Slugs that feast on dead rabbits .." The Daily Telegraph refers to the species as "Slimy and Savage" while the Mirror Online tells us that "Giant mutant slugs from El: Spanish beasts invade Britain and threaten to wipe out local species." To put this invasion into perspective Wikipedia tells us that the first of these ivaders was found in Britain as long ago as 1954 and to show that this is not a premeditated attack on the British and their way of life the species has now been recognized as a pest in most European countries including Sweden.

Antarctic Whales : Steve Copsey is still reporting on Antarctic wildlife from on board HMS Protector and this week he tells us about the Killer Whales (Orca) and Antarctic Minke Whales (a variation on the Minke Whales of the northern hemisphere) seen in the Gerlache Strait which runs between a couple of large ice-covered islands (called Anvers and Brabant) and the northern tip of a long promontory reaching out from the Antarctic continent to Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. Follow Steve on the Three Amigos website at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/

Water Voles : Nearer home Brian Fellows reports the latest ever winter sighting of an active Water Vole by the River Ems at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Dec 26. See Brian's website at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ or just see Andy Brook's excellent photo of the vole having a late vegetarian Christmas dinner at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x903-water-vole-bm-AB-26.12.12.jpg

Fungi : Going back to Matthew Oates brief review of the wildlife year he told us that while the autumn had been wet enough for a good display of fungi it had not been warm enough so I thought I would mention that before writing this on Sunday morning (Dec 30) a lone new toadstool had appeared on my lawn (possibly Laccaria laccata which is given the English name of Deceiver from the variablity of the shapes and colours it can take) to accompany the remains of the last two Meadow Waxcaps which can still be seen.

Greenpeace and inshore fishing quotas: For those who still think that we can save the natural world (which is essectial to support our human life with both food and friendship) from the power of global capitalism and the self-defeating human urge for 'MORE' of everything, Barry Yates has made available on the Rye Bay website a 5 minute video produced by Greenpeace illustrating the inevitable death of the small inshore fishing fleet which is still to be seen in action around Rye Bay, its boats marked with the RX registration from which Barry's website gets its name (http://www.rxwildlife.info/ ) - you can also see the video directly at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SLmY_gVHeAw#!

ENDWEEK

(Back to Start of Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Dec 17 - 23 (Week 51 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers : Plenty of Red-throated now in the English Channel and southern North Sea - biggest count was of 3244 off a Netherlands site on Dec 21 when 130 were seen off Folkestone and 15 off Portland. Cornwall was the best place to see Black-thoated with 5 in St Austell Bay which also had 10 Great Northern (the week's peak count). No one reported the Pacific Diver this week.

Grebes : No news of the Great Crested in the east Solent but there were 20 near the mouth of Chichester Harbour. Over on the continent one Netherlands site reported 3589 but that was well down on the 5845 reported last week. The only reports of Red-Necked were of one in Poole Harbour and 2 at Falmouth in Cornwall. Poole Harbour had 4 Slavonian and 1 was off Puckpool on the Isle of Wight but no one reported any off Pagham Harbour. Dorset remained the place to see Black-necked with 41 in Studland Bay, another 11 inside Poole Harbour and 18 in Portland Harbour.

Shag : Dec 18 brought the first news of one just inside Langstone Harbour but we have a long way to go to match the 350+ that were in Falmouth Roads on Dec 17. At Durlston the birds were starting to show breeding crests.

Little Egret : Warmer weather seems to have brought a few more back to the coast - walking around Langstone on Dec 17 I came across a total of at least 9 and there were four in the Nutbourne/Prinsted area on Dec 21

Glossy Ibis : The single bird remained in the Avon valley at Bickerley Common south of Ringwood

Swans : Small numbers of both Bewicks and Whoopers were seen in Sussex but the flock of 25 Bewicks at Burpham in the Arun valley seem to have moved on

Red-breasted Goose : The one which likes to be in the company of Brent was still at Farlington Marshes on Dec 17 but has not been reported since but the one that favours the company of Greylags and Canadas was still in the Adur valley on Dec 18

Shelduck : These are now a common sight all along the south coast but the highest reported number (204) came from the Kingsbridge estuary in south Devon on Dec 18

Pintail : There are now at least 100 in the Avon valley south of Ringwood and this week there were 85 at Pulborough Brooks. Locally there were 6 off the Emsworth Western Parade shore and probably some in the Nutbourne Bay area though when I was there on Dec 21 the tide was at its lowest and the birds were distant and difficult to see with the sun behind them.

Smew : Hampshire had its first of the winter with a redhead at the Blashford Lakes on Dec 21

Red-breasted Merganser : These are now a regular sight in the Solent Harbours

Goosander : No reports so far from the Solent Harbours but they are now widespread on smaller inland waters with reports this week of 2 on Tundry Pond in north Hampshire, 1 on a lake at Petworth and 7 in the Padstow area of Cornwall

Avocet : No reports from Langstone or Chichester Harbour this week but in Devon there were substantial flocks on both the Exe (250+) and the Tamar (297) - both on Dec 16

Godwits : Extensive flooding every where in southern England has brought millions of worms to the surface of fields and attracted Godwits away from the harbour mud to easy pickings inland. On Dec 21 Brian Fellows could only find 6 Black-tailed in an area of Chichester Harbour off Emsworth where there have normally been more than 100 birds. A more unexpected effect of this worm bonanza may have been the cause of Trevor Carpenter's report of unusually large numbers of both Bar-tailed Godwit and Knot at Farlington Marshes on Dec 16 - the Bar-tails were in flight over the marshes but many of the Knot were uncharacteristically on the grass. Also on Dec 16 I see that more than 199 Bar-tails were on the Bowling Green Marsh beside the Exe estuary.

Whimbrel : By now any passage migrants will have passed through so any current sightings must be classified as winter visitors and this week these include two seen on Eling Great Marsh at the north end of Southampton Water, one in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester and one photographed in flight over Emsworth Harbour on Dec 17 showing the short, sharply curved bill and prominent eye-stripe of a Whimbrel

Little Gull : These are still on passage and 23 flew west past Dungeness on Dec 20

Herring Gull : Last week Barry Yates at Rye Harbour was impressed by the capacity of a Herring Gull to swallow three full sized Starfish in quick succession (See photos at http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2012/12/10/greedy-herring-gull.html ) and this week a similar illustration of Herring Gull swallowing capacity appeared on Brian Fellows website (see his entry for Dec 22 at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm showing photos of a Herring Gull managing to swallow a large eel)

Sandwich Tern : Three seen at the mouth of Langstone Harbour on Dec 18 with another two seen from East Head just inside the mouth of Chichester Harbour. A few days earlier (Dec 15) one was at Forton Lake near the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour

Auks : Plenty of these now in the English Channel with a report of 7355 passing Hope's Nose at Torquay on the south Devon coast on Dec 19

Kingfisher : On Dec 17 I disturbed one from a regular fishing post on the metal flap which allows an over flow of waste water to escape from the Budds Farm sewage works into the Brockhampton Stream and thus into Langstone Harbour. The Kingfisher flew downstream into the harbour area and may have continued east under Langstone Bridge for at roughly the same time that day one was seen in the Langstone village area. This same pattern may well have accounted for a sighting that I had at Langstone on Dec 4 when one flew from the seawall aound Langstone Pond - at the time I could not think where the bird had come from and concluded that it was probably a new arrival at the coast from distant inland waters.

Pied Wagtail : When these arrive on the south coast each winter they often use the coastal reed beds as a night roost, following the Swallows and Sand Martins which had used them on their way south but as winter advances and the reed beds become colder and windier the birds move to more sheltered and warmer places. We had an example of a night roost in a town last week when 150 birds were seen using a conifer bedecked with Christmas lights outside the Boots shop in Fleet and in past winters I have found them around the Tesco store in Havant and heard of them settling on the lagging around hot steam pipes at either the Oil Refinery or the Power Station at Fawley on Southampton Water (I was told that the heat there made the birds so drowsy that you could go and pick them up in your hands!). This week's reports includes one of several dusk sightings of birds arriving in the West Street pedestrianised area of Havant but without confirmation of where the birds eventually settled (maybe near the Bus Station to the north or the multi-storey carpark to the south). This is not the first winter in which the birds have been seen in this area but no one so far has tracked them down so maybe it is just a pre-roost assembly area. There is similar inconclusive evidence of a roost in the general area of the Town Millpond in Emsworth and at Newlands Farm south of Fareham.

Waxwing : Still widespread and numerous in England with the bigger flocks moving gradually south but not yet reaching the south coast in great strength - on Dec 19 RBA said they were present in 33 counties with 220 birds in Nottinghamshire as the biggest concentration followed by 180 in Gloucestershire. In the south it seems that Devon had the most birds but the biggest number I saw reported there was only 21 at Torquay on Dec 17 but there were up to 8 in Susex at Lewes and smaller numbers in Kent (Stour Valley, Folkestone and Sandwich Bay), Sussex also had 24 in Hove on Dec 21, the Isle of Wight had 2 briefly on Dec 19, Dorset had at least one at Portland on Dec 18 and the only report from Hampshire came from Farnborough on Dec 23 where 18 birds had found a supply of berries at the North Camp railway station and so may stay over Christmas

Fieldfare : No big flocks in southern England, the best being 300 using the Stour Valley as a roost area, and only one was seen in the Havant area during the week (Wade Court area of Langstone on Dec 18)

Redwing : Even fewer reports this week with 20+ in north Cornwall being the highspot

Great Grey Shrike : One turned up at Wyke Down in the north east corner of Dorset on Dec 16

Hawfinch : Three reports this week are of nine birds in the West Dean Woods north of Chichester, five at the Mercer's Way site in Romsey and two at Eastleigh Lakeside

Snow Bunting : There were probably some on the north Kent Coast but the last report there was of 6 at Swalecliffe on Dec 15. One remained at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) during the week and 8 were at Sandwich Bay on Dec 21

Foregn Birds : For those interested in Antarctic species Steve Copsey continues to supply photos from points on the route of HMS Protector to take up its duties as the Navy's Ice patrol vessel. Species mentioned this week on http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ are Black-bellied Storm-petrels, Chinstrap Penguin, Cape Petrels, Subantarctic Skuas, Kelp Gulls, Gentoo Penguins and Antarctic Shags (eating volcano cooked Krill at Deception Island), Southern Fulmars and Wilson’s Storm-petrels . Another of the Three Amigos, Mark Cutts, wrote of the Sooty Terns, Masked Boobies and Brown Noddy seen on Ascension Island where he joined an Army Ornithological Society expedition

Vagrants : One of the many reported on the RBA site was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak seen on the Scillies from Dec 18 to 20 at least - this American vagrant gets its family name from the big Hawfinch like beak which they have. Find out more about it in its normal habitat from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose-breasted_Grosbeak and about its few appearances in Britain from http://blx1.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob18870.htm

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Brimstone : One seen in Romsey on Dec 18

Red Admiral : Three reports - one at Worldham near Alton on Dec 16, one at Lewes on Dec 17 and what was almost certainly another in Havant on Dec 17 (seen by me but only from the underside as it flew over)

Peacock : One seen in Inholmes Wood near Stoughton at the source of the River Ems to complete an unusual mid-December trio

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana found in Kent on DEC 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

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

1395 Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis found in Dorset on DEC 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=181

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1395.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in Kent on DEC 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1100

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

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found in Kent on DEC 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

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

2259 Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula found in Kent on DEC 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1112

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

2264 Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta found in Dorset on DEC 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2264.php

Other Insects

Selected sightings this week:

Hornet : What sounds as if it must have been a very late Hornet was seen in the North End area of Portsmouth on Dec 14

Honey Bee : Two seen gathering pollen in the Folkestone area on Dec 16

Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) : These are becoming a regular sight on warm winter days in recent years and this week they were seen in Folkestone on Dec 16 and in Emsworth on Dec 17

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Bryophytes : Graeme Lyons latest blog entry at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/tom-ottley-crew.html describes how he met the new recorder of Mosses for Sussex (Tom Ottley) at Malling Down near Lewes and was shown four tiny moss species including one which Tom had recorded as new to the county earlier in the week (possibly previously overlooked as it was no more than 1 mm high and growing beneath other species!)

Goat Willow : A foretaste of spring was seen on Dec 17 near the Southmoor Lane entrance to the Langstone South Moors where at least two trees had shed the leathery outer coating of their flower buds to reveal the layer of silvery hairs still tightly covering the stamens that have yet to emerge and welcome early insects

Cow Parsley : In addition to the plants that have been flowering for some time beside Park Road South in Havant (outside Bosmere School) I found another cluster of flowering plants on Dec 17 beside the Brockhampton Stream where it passes the old Corn Wharf

Sticky Groundsel : Another good find on Dec 17 was this plant still flowering in Juniper Square near to where Yellow -flowered Strawberry blossoms can still be seen

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Wild Boar : An entry on the Rye Bay website (http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2012/12/17/boar.html ) described how Brian Banks had been out on the Walland Marsh area on Dec 17 and had found signs of Wild Boar in this area where he was not aware of their presence though they are well established in woodland on both sides of the Kent/Sussex border since some escaped from a farm near Tenterden in the 1980s. If you want to know more about these animals in Britain have a look at http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/uk-wildboarinbritain.html#cr which lists the areas in which populations are known to be established and for pictures of the species in Britain see http://www.britishwildboar.org.uk/ Although the size and extent of the population in Britain is not known in detail the animals appear to be extending their range and it is very likely that they will invade our urban areas to find food in our rubbish bins as they have done on the continent (Several culls have been organised to deal with this problem in Berlin). An article in The Guardian last March gives a pretty comprehensive account of the current situation - see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/04/trouble-return-wild-boar-britain

Humpback Whale : One was seen off the Netherlands on Dec 20 and another had been seen in the Antarctic by Steve Copsey on Dec 16 (see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/12/20/deception-island-part-5-departure-humpback-whales-and-chinstrap-penguin/ )

Pipistrelle Bat : One seen flying around in Brighton just before sunset on Dec 17 may have been making one of the mid winter flights which hibernating bats make in order to prevent a build up of poison in their bodies or may have been confused by this autumn's weather pattern and not yet settled into its winter sleep

Yellow Slug (Limax flavus) : On Dec 14 my kitchen drain was overflowing and I set about the regular chore of clearing the build up of material which had blocked the grill at its base. The first part of this operation is to take away the bricks which I have placed over the open drain to stop leaves blowing into it and in the 'frog' - the hollow in the top of the brick - of one brick I found a medium sized slug which I identified as a Yellow Slug - see http://adlib.everysite.co.uk/resources/000/178/456/yellow_slug.jpg and http://adlib.everysite.co.uk/adlib/defra/content.aspx?doc=178453&id=178456 ) This species was new to me and I now think that it was this species that I saw on the bird table in my garden on Sep 11 and at the time thought was a Leopard Slug and that its small size was due to its young age.

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of Current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Dec 10 - 16 (Week 50 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers : Sightings of a single Red-throated in the entrance to Chichester Harbour and eleven of them in Portland Harbour give little idea of the number currently present in the English Channel area - on Dec 12 there were 780 off Calais, on Dec 9 there were 1308 off the Suffolk coast and on Dec 8, when Folkestone reported 162 passing there and Sandwich Bay had 173, Trektellen reported a total of 3884 at five sites (with 1074 seen at just one of the five). The highest count of Black-throated was just 9 (Netherlands) with 6 at one Cornish site, 2 off Selsey Bill and one at the Chichester Harbour entrance. Jersey (Channel Isles) had the peak count of 12 Great Northern with smaller numbers at 8 English south coast sites. As first reported last week the Pacific Diver was still in the Penzance area of Cornwall

Grebes : The raft of Great Crested off the Brownwich Cliffs (near Titchfield Haven) had 134 birds on Dec 13 but on Dec 14 two Netherlands sites had 7,291 between them. A single Red-Necked was off the Isle of Wight on Dec 12 while the count of Slavonians off Pagham Harbour was 19 on Dec 11 and 51 Black-Necked were in Studland Bay on Dec 8 (with another 18 in Portland Harbour that day). Dec 16 brought a sighting of 10 Black-necked at the Hayling Oysterbeds (along with 6 Goldeneye ) - previous reports from the Oysterbeds area this winter have been: 2 on Nov 2, 3 on Nov 17, 12 on Nov 23 and 13 on Dec 6

Shag : None reported inside Langstone Harbour yet but one was just outside off Eastney on Dec 5

Little Egret : These have almost vanished from the Solent Harbour shores but in Havant on Dec 11 three were seen on the small stream running from the Havant Thicket area through Great Copse in Leigh Park before joining the Hermitage Stream in the Stockheath area of Leigh Park. Further inland there were six in the cress beds at Alresford near the source of the R Itchen

Great White Egret : Trektellen reported a total of 173 at 15 Netherlands sites but in southern England the only regular sighting was of the Blashford Lakes bird, currently based on the Hampshire Avon at Bickerley Common just south of Ringwood. Elsewhere two were roosting at Rye Habour on Dec 13 and one was on a pond near Robertsbridge north of Hastings on Dec 12 and another was at the Alresford cress beds in Hampshire on that day.

Glossy Ibis : One remains at Bickerly Common near Ringwood and another four flew over Essex on Dec 10

Spoonbill: The flock of 15 remains in Poole Harbour

Bewick's Swan : At least 23 were still at Burpham near Arundel on Dec 13 with up to 176 in the Netherlands

Whooper Swan : Up to 27 in the Netherlands and two in Devon

Red-breasted Goose : The Hampshire bird has been seen at more than one site in Portsmouth during the week but was back on Farlington Marshes on Dec 15 and 16. What is almost certainly a different bird was seen in Sussex (near Beeding on the R Adur) on Dec 13 (one day only) in company with Greylags and Canadas (suggesting that it has not come from the Arctic although it is said to be fully winged, un-ringed and eating voraciously as if it had just finished a long flight). I note that the Hampshire bird was not reported on Dec 13

Egyptian Goose : A flock of 23 flew north over Christchurch Harbour on Dec 10 suggesting they might be new arrivals from the near continent though the locals assumed they were from the Avon valley (the highest number recorded in Hampshire this year is shown as 15 in the Avon Causeway area on Oct 11 though there could be much bigger flocks in Berkshire)

Shelduck : 25 were on the mud off Warblington (east of Langstone) on Dec 10 when another 16 were on the mud off north Hayling - this was my first indication that birds have settled on the Langstone/Warblington shore this winter. On Dec 11 Newtown Harbour on the Isle of Wight had 50 which may have been new (though there were 41 there on Oct 27 - maybe just transient?)

Gadwall : An indication of the huge increase in numbers of this species (from their status of being as rare as Smew in the 1950s to sometimes outnumbering Mallard today) came from a report of 150 on the sea off Folkestone on Dec 6 (noted as a site record)

Pintail : A count of 100 in the Avon Valley south of Ringwood on Dec 12 was the largest number seen in southern England this winter (with the exception of up to 150 at Exmouth as early as Oct 31)

Scaup : Nine were reported at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset on Dec 12 (I see the same number were there on Dec 6)

Long-tailed Duck : Three have been on the Fleet in Dorset since Dec 10 (and one in the Exe estuary with another in Cornwall this week)

Smew : Seven reports this week with a peak count of 13 in the Netherlands on Dec 13 and 5 at the Dungeness RSPB reserve on Dec 11 followed by 2 at Rye Harbour on Dec 13

White-tailed Eagle : Last year one attracted much attention in the New Milton area of Hampshire at the start of the year and was so reluctant to leave England that it could still be seen in Lincolnshire in August but none were seen here at the year end. This year one arrived over Folkestone on Feb 14 (seeking its Valentine?) but headed north to Norfolk before returning to the continent a week after arriving. I'm still hoping one will return to Hampshire but the only report of one in England so far comes from Norfolk on Dec 10 ...

Marsh Harrier : Four were seen at Titchfield Haven on both Dec 9 and 14 (not yet up to the count of 13 roosting in the Kent Stour Valley on Dec 6) while at Farlington Marshes the species remains an occasional visitor with one passing over on both Dec 12 and 13.

Hen Harrier : The New Forest survey on Dec 8/9 found 7 at five sites

Rough-legged Buzzard : No return so far of the bird that was in the Arun valley around Burpham last winter, staying up to mid-April after arriving on Nov 9. This week one was reported in the UK but at Anglesey in Wales on Dec 12

Great Bustard : In Week 47 I reported that the Bustard seen flying south over Durlston on Nov 18 had reached France and was likely to spend the winter there while another which made its get away from Salisbury Plain on Nov 4 had been found in an exhausted state, also in France, had been brought back to England to recuperate. This week one flew over Portland on Dec 10 leaving me to wonder if this was the Nov 4 escapee now recovered from its first attempt and making a second bid for the good life in France.

Avocet : There were 40 in Langstone Harbour off Farlington Marshes on Dec 13 and 6 were seen at the Chichester Harbour entrance on Dec 8 but I guess neither of these flocks have yet settled for the winter. Over in Devon, where 250 were seen in the R Tamar (west of Plymouth) on Dec 5, the absence of any reports of Avocet from the Exe estuary had almost convinced me that the Avocet had abandoned the Exe in favour of the Tamar but on Dec 11 there was one report of 300+ on the Exminster marshes

Lapwing : Still relatively few of these in England but over in the Netherlands one site reported what looks like a binary count of 11,101 on Dec 8 when the total at 15 sites there was 47,992

Woodcock : Still crossing the Channel in small numbers with three at Sandwich Bay on Dec 13 and two at Rye Harbour on the same day

Black-tailed Godwit : The number in the Avon valley was up to 2,500 (at Bisterne) on Dec 12

Whimbrel : Bob Chapman had one on Baker's Island in Langstone Harbour on Dec 15 which he has reported on Going Birding but which I first read about in his Blog at http://solentreserves.wordpress.com/ (I recommend that anyone interested in south Hampshire wildlife add this to their 'favourites')

Herring Gull : Gannets are traditionally one of the greediest bird species but a Herring Gull at Rye Harbour has been putting in a challenge for the greediest bird title by wolfing down three large starfish in rapid succession - see Barry Yates photos at http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2012/12/10/greedy-herring-gull.html

Swallow : What seems likely to be the last sighting of 2012 was of one at Stoke Gabriel near Paignton in Devon on Dec 8

Pied Wagtail : This species does not usually feature on Christmas Cards but a roost of 155 birds in a tree adorned with Christmas lights outside Boots shop in Fleet could possibly feature in that firm's sales campaign next Christmas

Waxwing : 29 reports this week come from Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset and Devon but not Cornwall and my impression is that the birds are constantly on the move for lack of food and I suspect that a sighting of three in the Dorset village of Tolpuddle could be an excuse to think of them as the new Tolpuddle Martyrs. The sad prospect for them if they stay in England prompted me to check on the Trektellen 'Migration Pattern' to see if any were heading south or west on the continent but that site indicates that England is their sole winter destination with no sightings south or west of the Channel Isles.

Dunnock : Robin, Wren, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon and some Tits can be heard singing at this time of year and I think I have heard Dunnock three times this week but on all three occasions the 'musical box' was turned off within seconds of being turned on, leaving me wondering if I really heard Dunnock song or just imagined it. Checking on last years records I see that there were five such isolated bursts heard in November and early December with regular song from Dec 18 on.

Black Redstart : One of these was heard singing at Truro in Cornwall on Dec 5

Blackbird : This week I came on the clearest statement I have so far seen of why some birders claim to be able separate Continental from British Blackbirds at this time of year. Charlie Fleming posted the following on the Devon Bird News site on Dec 12 ... "It's my understanding that our UK Blackbirds develop their yellow beaks in the first winter whereas winter visiting Blackbirds from the continent retain their dark beaks until the following spring. This last few days there has been quite a noticeable influx of Blackbirds in front of my private hide on the outskirts of Exeter. Several of these birds have dark beaks and are noticeably different somehow. Can anyone confirm this to me or have I been misled?" ... However the question remains un-answered.

Wheatears : A single Northern Wheatear was reported on Dec 8, seen at West Bay on the Dorset coast near the Devon border, and a Desert Wheatear was still in Aberdeenshire on Dec 14

Melodious Warbler : One was reported from the Mundham area south of the Chichester lakes on Dec 10

Dartford Warbler : I am pleased to see that the New Forest survey on Dec 8/9 found a total of 109 Dartford Warblers - last year the totals found by the survey were down to 19 on Nov 27 and 10 on Dec 18

Great Grey Shrike : Only two have so far arrived in the New Forest to be found by the Dec 8/9 survey and the same number were present last December but there were four around in Dec 2010

Bullfinch : I cannot recall any previous year in which Bullfinch were regularly reported in flocks but a sighting of 13 in a loose flock on Bransbury Common near Andover on Dec 15 caused me to check on the seemingly large number of flock sightings this year - what I found was that 10 had been seen in two groups of five (so maybe families?) near Crawley on Jan 8, 12 were near Midhurst on Jan 31, a flock of 14 was in Beckley Woods near Hastings on Jan 31 when another flock of 12 were in Eartham Wood east of Arundel. In the autumn 13 were at Start Point in Devon on Oct 20, 14 were at Dibden Bay on Southampton Water on Oct 28, 25 were at Durlston on Oct 30, 15 were at St Catherine's Hill at Winchester on Nov 1, 13 were at Berry Head in Devon on Nov 6, 15 were at one Netherlands site on Nov 11, 10 were again at Dibden Bay on Nov 11 with 13 there on Nov 17, also on Nov 17 the Netherlands hit the jackpot with 63 at one site , and finally 17 were in a loose flock at the Weir Wood reservoir near Crowborough on Nov 25 before the Dec 15 flock of 13 on Bransbury Common. I have not included the multiple site totals returned by the two recent New Forest surveys but they were 34 birds at 10 sites in November and 50 birds at 14 sites in December

Foreign Birds : Those who do not already follow the Three Amigos blog may be interested to know that they can extend their knowledge of birds they are unlikely to see in southern England through the eyes and cameras of the three Portsmouth based Naval birders who write the blog at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ Of the eight blog entries for the current week seven come from Steve Copsey on board the Navy's Ice Patrol vessel HMS Protector as it heads south into the Antarctic from the Falkland Islands - the eighth comes from Mark Cutts who has been auditing stores in the Falklands and this week has joined the Army Ornithological Soc monitoring Sooty Terns on Ascension Island on his way home. The birds seen by Steve have been Great Albatross, Southern Royal and Wandering Albatross off Falklands; Cape Petrels and Antarctic Prions in Drake’s Passage; Antarctic Petrels and Cape Petrels off South Shetlands; Snow Petrel and Adelie Penguin off King George Is; Light-mantled Sooty Albatross off South Shetlands; Southern Giant Petrels, Subantarctic Skuas and Chinstrap Penguins on South Shetlands. The third member of the trio is Mark Cutts, currently based in Portsmouth and as I write this he is the first of the bloggers to be encountered on their website describing with a couple of superb photos the American vagrant Buff-bellied Pipit he saw at the Queen Mother Reservoir near Heathrow on Dec 15

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies :

Species reported this week :

Just one sighting of a single Common Darter in Norfolk on Dec 8

Butterflies :

Species reported this week :

No sightings this week!

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths :

Selected sightings this week :

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded this week :

1395 Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis found in Dorset on DEC 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=181

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1395.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in Dorset on DEC 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1100

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

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found in Dorset on DEC 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

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

1923 Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria found in Dorset on DEC 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1757

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

2190 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica found in Dorset on DEC 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2001

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2190.php

2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra found in Dorset on DEC 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6029

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

2259 Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula found in Dorset on DEC 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1112

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

2264 Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta found in Dorset on DEC 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2264.php

2267 Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis found in Dorset on DEC 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1736

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2267.php

Other Insects

Selected sightings this week :

None

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Lesser Celandine : I normally find the first flowers of this around mid-December and on Dec 16 I found one bud that will surely open next week at the junction of New Lane and Eastern Road in Havant (just outside the cemetery wall)

Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) : I have not seen this in flower since Nov 8 but several flowers could be seen on a bush beside the Hayling Billy trail in the Langstone area on Dec 13

Nothing else new or surprising but this week's sightings bring my month list of species in flower (excluding the Celandine) to 55. Also excluded, but very nice to see, was the
first fresh Camellia flower in a Hayling Island garden

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Sea Mouse (Aphrodita aculeata) : On Dec 15 160 of these were found washed up on the tideline at Folkestone. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_mouse ) tells me these are 15 cm long worms which burrow head first into a sandy seabed at depths of up to 2,000 metres when not crawling about scavenging on the sea bed. It also tells me that they get the name Aphrodite because of the resemblance of their underside to human female genitalia but they are of more practical use to us through the structure of the hairs on their upperside which could show us how to create more efficient optical fibres - this is briefly described in the Wikipedia entry but you can read more about it at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1099278.stm

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Dec 3 - 9 (Week 49 of 2012)

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BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers : 80 Red-throated headed west past Dungeness on Nov 30 and 1005 were off the Netherlands on Dec 2 - later in the week 14 were off Portland with another 286 off the Normandie coast. Peak count came from the Netherlands on Dec 5 with 1362 off Westkepelle. Black-throated remained scarce with just 2 off Rye Harbour on Dec 3, 1 at the Chichester Harbour entrance on Dec 6 and 1 passing Durlston on Dec 7 - late news is of one (in company with a Great Northern) in the mouth of Chichester Harbour on Dec 8. The peak count of Great Northern was 15 in Mounts Bay off Penzance in Cornwall but there were up to 5 in Portland Harbour and singles were seen off Southsea Castle, in Southampton Water and off Pagham Harbour. No more sightings of last week's White Billed Diver in the North Sea but the Mounts Bay area off Penzance celebrated the return of the Pacific Diver which has wintered there each year except one since 2007

Grebes : The Scottish Western Isles had one for the twitchers on Dec 7 when a Pied-billed Grebe was seen but down here the most exciting report was that the raft of Great Crested on the Solent off Brownwich Cliffs (west of Titchfield Haven) reached a count of 80 on Dec 4 (there were 143 there on 3 Jan 2011 and 232 on 11 Jan 2010). A single Red-necked was in Portland Harbour for much of the week and the small flock of Slavonian off Pagham Harbour had more than 6 birds on Dec 1. No reports of Black-necked in Langstone Harbour but there were up to 17 in Portland Harbour and 49 in the Studland Bay area

Bittern : Reports from eight sites including the first of this winter at Burton Mill Pond near Pulborough

Great White Egret : What is probably the 'Blashford Lakes regular' has been downstream at Bickerley Common this week but there have been sightings of two possible new comers - one flying north at Ferring Rife at Worthing, another at Hengistbury Head (Christchurch Harbour) - plus a probable regular at Dungeness

Glossy Ibis : One has been in the Hampshire Avon valley just south of Ringwood from Dec 3 to 8

Spoonbill : Poole Harbour remains the only place to see these with up to 15 at Holes Bay towards the end of the week

Bewick's Swan : Several small groups have settled in recently including 16 at Burpham close to Arundel - I think these are separate from the seven that were on Amberley Wild Brooks last week. A group of four were on the Adur north of Henfield on Dec 4 but have not been reported again and a different four were in north Kent (Reculver and the Stour valley) while up to 35 have been seen at two Netherlands sites

Canada Goose : Brian Fellows was very surprised to find there were none at Baffins Pond in Portsmouth when he was there on Dec 4 - he was told that they are nowadays rare there other than during the July moult period

Black Brant : One was seen at Bembridge Harbour on the Isle of Wight on Dec 3 and this may account for the absence of regular sighting from the Witterings/Langstone Harbour areas this winter.

Red-breasted Goose : The Langstone Harbour/ Portsmouth bird also seems to have been wandering around the area and has only been reported once this week - on the Southsea Cricket Pitch near the Canoe Lake on Dec 2

Shelduck : The Dungeness website was not updated for several days last week so I have only now seen that it did observe the return of Shelduck with counts of 85 passing on Nov 28 and 48 on Dec 30. 24 were seen in the Emsworth area on Dec 4 but the birds do not seem to have settled for the winter yet.

Mandarin : A single drake was with Mallard at Christchurch Harbour on Dec 6 giving further evidence that these birds are currently spreading from their London area and Forest of Dean strongholds. On Oct 27 a group of 28 were seen at Sutton Waldron in Dorset with a single bird flying past Durlston that day and during November a bird turned up on Fernyhurst Lake in the Rownhams area of Southampton but the big eye-opener was the discovery of a flock of more than 80 in the Hembury Woods area of south Devon (near Buckfast Abbey) and I see that at the time I wrote that one reason why numbers in this country are increasing (now more than 7,000 beeding birds) is that their flesh tastes horrible and so they are not shot.

Smew : Last week I reported the arrival of the first Smew of the winter, not in Kent but in off the sea in Devon. This week there are two more reports - on Dec 2 one arrived in Yorkshire and on Dec 5 a total of 13 were at three sites on the near continent.

Goosander : These are starting to pop up across southern England with reports from Portland, Shoreham, Reculver on the north Kent coast, Lodmoor in Dorset, the Lower Tamar Lake near Plymouth, Weir Wood reservoir in north Sussex, Petworth Lake near Pulborough, Sandwich Bay and Lakeside Park at Eastleigh. Max count was 10 at Plymouth.

Buzzard : One unexpectedly seen in the grounds of the Langstone Technology Park at Havant on Dec 4 may have been an escaped captive bird.

Avocet : On Dec 3 a flock of 200 had reached Cornwall to be seen at the Tamar estuary on the Devon border - by Dec 5 there were 250 there making me wonder if the Exe estuary flock have decided to move further west (last report from there was of 250 on Nov 13). Local numbers in west Sussex have also increased with reports from Nutbourne Bay (east of Thorney Island) of 40+ on Dec 1 and 31 on Dec 4. On Dec 8 there were 23 in Langstone Harbour Broom Channel ( between Farlington Marshes and the Portsmouth Eastern Road.

Ringed Plover : The Rye Harbour website made us aware of an interesting new BTO web facilty illustrating the global distribution of ringing recoveries of birds ringed in Britain. Have a look at http://blx1.bto.org/ring/countyrec/resultsall/rec4700all.htm (I'm not sure how you get the results for other species - this URL is for Ringed Plover)

Knot : The first flock to be seen off the Emsworth shore this winter was 90 birds on Dec 5 (I know winter birds have been arriving since late August and that there were more than 150 in Pagham Harbour on Nov 19)

White-rumped Sandpiper : The bird which arrived at the Longham Lakes on the northern fringe of Bournemouth on Nov 30 was still there on Dec 8 within reach of amateur twitchers from the Portsmouth area.

Purple Sandpiper : 10 were at Southsea Castle on Dec 7, beating this winter's previous maximum of 8 set on Nov 27 (but not the 22 seen at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 22)

Black-tailed Godwit : This winter's maximum count so f

ar was 1200 in the Avon Tyrrel farm section of the Avon just south of Ringwood on Dec

Common Sandpiper : Reports of up to 2 beside the Itchen in Southampton remind me that I have yet to see any reports of wintering birds in the Langstone or Chichester Harbour areas

Sandwich Tern : A report of 12 in the Chichester Harbour mouth area on Dec 4 (and counts of 164 at Ouistreham on the Normandie coast on Nov 25 with 61 there on Dec 2) suggest that wintering numbers in the English Channel may be higher than usual this winter.

Barn Owl : On Dec 7 one was seen at Titchfield Haven but four were on show in sheep shearing sheds on the Falkland Islands - see Steve Copsey's reports on the Three Amigos blog at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ (the latest entry of which comes from Tony Tindale, 'the Amigo who stayed at home in Fareham' but will be in the Falklands next month). Tony visited the Longham Lakes at Bournemouth this week to see the White Rumped Sandpiper and to show us the habitat there (and in the New Forest) with hs photos.

Short-eared Owl : On Dec 6 two were hunting over the Hayling Golf Course

Swallow : Some still with us until mid-week - sightings this week from Durlston, Gosport, Southsea (one flying out to sea). Latest so far are two at Folkestone on Dec 5

Water Pipit : Sightings this week from Radipole and Lodmoor at Weymouth, Lymington marshes, Coombe Haven at Bexhill (8 there), Brading sewage works on the IoW and Pinglestone cress beds at Alresford near the River Itchen

Waxwing : More are arriving on the south coast each day giving me 52 reports spread from Cornwall to Kent during the week. On Dec 8 a flock of 17 flew across the Chichester Harbour entrance, one was in the Bedhampton area of Havant and 6 were in Stubbington (between Fareham and Gosport) but the biggest flock in Hampshire so far was of 56 at Elvetham Heath in the north near Fleet.

Robin : Both Brian Fellows in Emsworth and myself in Havant have seen Robins already behaving as paired couples with no aggression between them. Maybe the same applies to their cousins the Black Redstarts , a male of which was heard singing at Truro (Cornwall) on Dec 5

Fieldfare : I heard my first of the winter from my Havant garden on Dec 2 as a small party (including a Mistle Thrush) made their way south down the Hayling Billy ex-rail track. In Kent the Stour Valley night roost was estimated to have 4,000 birds at the start of December increasing to an estimated 10,000 on Dec 6

Song Thrush : The bird that was singing its heart out around my Havant garden daily from Nov 14 to Dec 1 has not been heard since. Other than the occasional Robin and Starling the only species I have heard singing this week have been Wood-pigeon and Collared Dove saying a brief thank-you for the return of sunshine after frosty nights.

Corn Bunting : A flock of more than 30 by the River Arun in the Burpham area close to Arundel seems to have been the first substantial winter flock in West Sussex

Foreign Birds : Steve Copsey's accounts of birds seen in the Falklands this week mention Red-backed Hawk, Ruddy Headed Goose, Black-crowned Night Heron, King Shag, Rock Shag, Gentoo Penguin, Falkland Skua, Turkey Vulture and Southern Caracara - keepup with the action and the photos at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/

Escapes and Domestics : Visiting Baffins Pond in Portsmouth on Dec 4 Brian Fellows found a group of around 10 ducks that were new to him and discovered they were a species of 'Call Duck' (the name came from their one-time use as decoys to attract wildfowl into nets though nowadays they are kept for ornamental purposes). Brian has photos of some on his website ( http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x919-call-ducks-fem-baffins-05.12.12.jpg ). To find out more go to http://www.callducks.net/index.html which says "Call ducks are cute. They are the 'toy' ducks of the domestic waterfowl breeds". The term Call Duck does not refer to a species but to a set of species used for a common purpose (as does Terrier in relation to Dogs)

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Species reported this week:

No reports since a Migrant Hawker on Nov 26

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

One Brimstone seen near Basingstoke on Dec 7 with a Red Admiral at the same place that day. Also this week one Peacock on Dec 4 in the Candover valley south of Basingstoke

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

The only reports I have seen have been in Dorset and were as follows ...

Dec 2 1045 Rusty Birch Button / Acleris notana

Dec 2 1631 December Moth / Poecilocampa populi

Dec 2 1760 Red-green Carpet / Chloroclysta siterata

Dec 2 1799 Winter Moth / Operophtera brumata

Dec 2 2102a Radford's Flame Shoulder / Ochropleura leucogaster One trapped at Portland was only the third after seen there after records in Nov 2001 and Nov 2004

Dec 2 2232 Black Rustic / Aporophyla nigra

Dec 3 2264 Yellow-line Quaker / Agrochola macilenta

Dec 2 2267 Beaded Chestnut / Agrochola lychnidis

Dec 2 2306 Angle Shades / Phlogophora meticulosa

For photos and further details go to http://ukmoths.org.uk/ and enter the moth number in the search box at the top of the page - local info can be seen by going to http://www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/speciesData.php or http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/ and entering the moth number on the first page (though you have to make an additional second stage selection for Hants Moths)

Other Insects:

Selected sightings this week:

Yellow Dung-fly (Scathophaga stercoraria) : On Dec 3, as last winter, Brian Fellows found one of these on a Hogweed umbel at Brook Meadow in Emsworth searching for smaller insects to eat

Common Wasp : On Dec 4 Brian Fellows found a few Wasps, Flies and Hoverflies still visiting Ivy Flowers on a south facing hedge near Nore Barn at the west end of the Emsworth seafront

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Among the few flowering plants seen this week in the Havant and Emsworth area were Hedge Mustard, Lesser Swine Cress, Broad Leaved Willowherb (one last flower), Common Nettle, Pellitory of the Wall, Ivy, Annual Mercury, Cow Parsley (three plants in flower beside Park Road South outside Bosmere School in Havant), Fools Parsley, Stone Parsley, Hogweed, Hemlock Water Dropwort, Common Field Speedwell, Red and White Dead Nettles, Water Forget-me-not, Groundsel, Guernsey Fleabane, Daisy, Winter Heliotrope, Yarrow, Scentless and Scented Mayweed, Dandelion, Prickly Lettuce, Cat's Ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Hawkweed Ox-tongue, Bristly Ox-tongue, Smooth and Prickly Sow-thistle, plus Butcher's Broom.

Also reported at Rye Harbour was an impressive show of Henbane seed heads while on Portsdown Bee Orchids were building up their reserves for next summer's flowering by exposing their leaf rosettes to the winter sunshine as the vegetation previously covering them died back

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Humpback Whale : First mention of this species that I am aware of with 2 off the Netherlands on Dec 4

Brown Rat : One photographed in the act of climbing a tree at Brook Meadow also on Dec 4 (but a less rare occurrence than the Humpback Whales!)

Brown Hare : Another species that is rarer than the Brown Rat. A sighting of two at Atherfield on the Isle of Wight on Dec 3 was only the ninth observation I have picked up this year. I am glad to see that the previous report came from Thorney Island back on Aug 15 and that they have also been seen in the Stansted/West Marden areas. I also see that while 'boxing' was noted in March it was also seen in mid-July (is out of season sex becoming fashionable or was the quarrel about something else?)

Cod and Bass : On Dec 6 the Durlston Rangers Diary told us that large Bass and Cod, currently migrating to winter spawning grounds (coming in from the Atlantic and heading for the North Sea where they spawn between January and April), are currently coming inshore to feed up en route. Wikipedia tells me that .. "Spawning of northeastern Atlantic cod occurs between January and April (March and April are the peak months), at a depth of 200 metres (660 ft) in specific spawning grounds at water temperatures between 4 and 6 °C (39 and 43 °F). Around the UK, the major spawning grounds are in the middle to southern North Sea, the start of the Bristol Channel (north of Newquay), the Irish Channel (both east and west of the Isle of Man), around Stornoway, and east of Helmsdale." It also tells me, without giving any source for its information, that .. "Prespawning courtship involves fin displays and male grunting". This comes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cod#Life_cycle

Fungi : My only note for the week is of the appearance of Velvet Shank fungi on a tree trunk overhanging the Langbrook stream just south of the footbridge connecting Mill Lane at Langstone to the South Moors

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Nov 26 - Dec 2 (Week 48 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Cold weather brought 1241 Red-throated to a Netherlands site on Nov 26 and on Nov 28 there were 32 passing Reculver on the north Kent coast - max on the south coast was 7 at Portland. Up to 18 Black-throated were on the north French coast and 7 in St Austell Bay (Cornwall) - Hampshire had just one reported at Milford. Surprisingly very few Great Northern were reported but there were 10 in Portland Harbour and on Nov 28 a White-billed Diver was seen passing Flamborough Head in Yorkshire

Grebes: A flock of 61 Great Crested on the sea off Brownwich Cliffs near Titchfield had a wintery feel to it but not yet up to the 604 off a Netherlands site. Two Red-necked Grebes were off Cornwall, one in Portland Harbour and another was seen from West Wittering on Nov 29. By Nov 30 the flock of Slavonian on the sea off Pagham Harbour was up to 10. On Nov 25 the number of Black-necked in the Studland/Poole Harbour area was 47 and on Nov 30 there were 14 in Portland Harbour with 17 at Falmouth on Nov 29

Little Egret: Numbers in the Havant area have plummeted this week - on Dec 1 I saw just one - and the only two other reports for this week are both from inland - one from Longparish near Andover and one "in the middle of suburban Farnborough where it was disturbed by a dog-walker"

Cattle Egret: The first report since Oct 30 came from Devon on Nov 29

Spoonbill: Poole Harbour remains the only area where these can be seen with up to 15 seen in the Arne area this week

Bewicks Swan: Ten were seen at Pagham Harbour on Nov 29 and seven arrived at the Amberley Wild Brooks near Pulborough on Dec 1 (maybe travelling there via Fleet Pond were seven were an unusual sight on Nov 29). I wonder if the birds at Pagham included those which usually spend their winter nights at the Chichester lakes (disappearing to nearby feeding sites each day)

Whooper Swan: Four of these were in Kent during the week and another four were on the Devon/Cornwall boundary at Tamar Lake on Nov 28

Red-breasted Goose: The almost certainly wild bird which was at Farlington Marshes from Oct 25 to Nov 25 seems to have moved to Portsea Island and has been seen at least twice on the grassland beside Tangier Road set aside by Portsmouth City as a Brent Goose refuge. The second bird which appeared in Cumbria on Nov 16 was still there on Nov 30 but on Nov 28 a third bird was reported in Cornwall

Shelduck: Although these have been returning from the southern North Sea shores since mid-September it is only now that the majority are moving here for the winter - a flock of 479 arrived on the northern French coast on Nov 28 and on Nov 29 Sandwich Bay had 114 while on Nov 30 Thurlestone Bay in south Devon had their first Shelduck since July and Christchurch Harbour commented that 'the main body is now returning'. Another sign of the times came in the Six O'Clock BBC News when one of the photographs shown before the weather was of a flock of Shelduck flying past Emsworth.

Long-tailed Duck: Among greatly increased number of nearly all wildfowl species this week I noticed that a male Long-tailed Duck had been seen in Chichester Harbour from East Head on Nov 30

Smew: Another sign of the arrival of winter was the first sighting of a Smew on Nov 27 - not in Kent or on the east coast but at Berry Head near Brixham in south Devon

Red-breasted Merganser: A flock of 30 in Chichester Harbour off West Wittering on Nov 29 shows that they are now here in full strength (though so far no one has seen more than 9 Goldeneye together!)

Avocet: We have come to expect up to 20 to be in Nutbourne Bay (east of Thorney Island) in winter months so I was surprised to see that a flock of 40+ had been seen in that area on Dec 1 - the question is were they just in transit or will the stay?

White-rumped Sandpiper: A report of one at Longham Lakes (on the northern fringe of Bournemouth) on Nov 30 was unexpected at this time of year - there had been one in Staffordshire in mid-November and three or four throughout the UK in Sep and Oct but I see they winter in South America and the only ones I have heard about recently are in the Falklands Islands (mentioned in Steve Copsey's current Three Amigos blog)

Whimbrel: The first two reports of wintering Whimbrel (since the last migrants on Sep 15) came from Southampton Water (near the Fawley Refinery) on Nov 30 and from the Fishbourne Channel at Chichester on Dec 1

Spotted Redshank: There seem to be a few more than usual this winter with Lymington Shore flock up to 9 on Nov 25 (though I see there were 10 there on Dec 7 last year), and 2 at Nore Barn, Emsworth since Oct 27 where only one had been seen for several years. Now we have a report of 4 at Snow Hill in the West Wittering area on Nov 29

Sand Martin: A very late single bird (the first since Oct 27 in Sussex ) was at West Bexington in Dorset on Nov 30

Swallow: On Dec 1 one was at New Milton in Hampshire, two were at Newquay in Cornwall and one was in the Wembury area of Plymouth. On Nov 30 three were at Folkestone with sightings in Dorset on Nov 27, in Kent on Nov 25 and on the Isle of Wight on Nov 24

House Martin: One in Folkestone on Nov 29 and one in the Netherlands on Nov 25

Waxwing: By the end of this week these had been seen in every southern county and a flock of 400 on the Stonelees Golfcourse (between Margate and Sandwich on the East Kent coast) seemed to promise more to come. Here in Havant the nearest I have heard of was one in Wickham (in the Meon Valley north of Titchfield Haven) on Nov 30 but other sightings have been at Basingstoke and Winchester

Black Redstart: Reports on Nov 25 and 26 seem to indicate that on Hayling Island a Black Redstart is back on the Eastoke promenade just east of the Sandy Point reserve

Blackbird: On Nov 29 at least 100 migrant Blackbirds were still arriving on Portland with other species

Fieldfare: Of local interest Dec 2 brought both Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare within earshot of my Havant garden but I have still to see a Redwing there.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Species reported this week:

Common Darter - on Nov 23 three were seen at a Berkshire site and one was in the Farnborough area

Migrant Hawker (or maybe Southern Hawker) - the only report for Nov 26 comes from East Devon and reads .. "Today at approx 12.30pm a thud sounded on our Conservatory glass and when I looked outside there was a Dragon Fly - identified I think as a Southern Hawker [perhaps Migrant Hawker this late in the year? - Ed], clearly stunned it just sat there on the patio until it started flapping its wings and crawling around"

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Red Admiral - just one seen on the Hampshire shore near New Milton on Nov 27, Peacock - one seen at Farnborough on Nov 23 ......

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

1041 (Ashy Button), Acleris sparsana found in Dorset on NOV 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=813

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1041.php

1395 Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis found in Dorset on NOV 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=181

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1395.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in Dorset on NOV 30 - 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 Orthonama obstipata found in Dorset on NOV 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2530

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

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found in Sussex on NOV 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

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

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Hoverflies and other insects were still being attracted to ivy flowers exposed to warm sunshine at Nore Barn in Emsworth on Nov 29, where a late Garden Cross spider was still on its web, and at least one Common Wasp was in my garden on the colder morning of Dec 2. What I found more interesting was a report from Tony Wilson in Edburton at the foot of the Sussex Downs saying that he has seen very few Ladybirds attempting to use his house as their winter residence this autumn. In recent years he has had up to 800 of these squatters. I too have hardly seen any around my house this autumn where I could previously hosted more than 100 - I had put this down to better defences since I have had double glazing fitted but perhaps there is something else going on with Ladybird populations (in addition to a very insect-unfriendly start to the year)

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Traveller's Joy (aka Old Man's Beard) was flowering on Portsdown on Nov 30

Stone Parsley: just one cluster of these plants was still bearing flowers in east Havant on Dec 1

Burnet Saxifrage: A couple of young plants were only just starting to flower on Portsdown on Nov 30

Sticky Groundsel: One fresh young plant had just started to flower on Dec 1 in a Havant site where I have not seen it before

Winter Heliotrope: continues to flower in Havant and Emsworth

Black Knapweed: was another unexpected late flowerer on Portsdown on Nov 30

Three-cornered Leek: Brian Fellows made the first find of this 'Winter Bluebell' in Westbourne village on Nov 30. As usual I had to check the difference between this and the confusingly named 'Summer Snowflake' which started to flower in Mill Lane at Langstone on Nov 21 last winter but which I have not seen yet this winter. My method of separating them is to look at the flower petals - the Three-cornered Leek has faint green vertical lines running down the flowers where the Summer Snowflake has more prominent green 'blobs' at the tip of each petal

Nostoc commune: This alga looks very similar to some types of seaweed but as it grows on land I call it 'Landweed'. I have only found one colony this week and have photographed and commented on it in my notes on the wildlife of the Havant Cemetery - see my observations for Nov 28 at http://ralph-hollins.net/Cemeteries.htm

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fish: On Nov 30 Derek Mills photographed a Merganser on Thorney Great Deeps with a bony fish in its bill which was giving it a problem of how to swallow it without damaging itself internally. Brian Fellows published the photo and asked for help in identifying the fish, receiving two different answers: John Bogle thought it was a Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua) and Mark Tutton that it was a Scorpion Fish (Taurulus bubalis). If you want to make your own mind up and learn a little more about what goes on under the surface of our local waters have a look at Brian's Diary entry for Dec 1 at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm For my own interest I looked at pictures of Ruffe but could not see the structure protecting the gills of the fish which is apparent in Derek Mills photo whereas the photo of the Scorpion fish seen at http://www.carolscornwall.com/On%20the%20Beach/Fish-Taurulus%20bubalis24-05-09.jpg had more than enough armour. I think I favour the latter which is common around British shores though maybe it is happier in rock pools than in the deeper, muddier wates of the deeps. One fact which I learnt is that these Scorpion Fish do not have swim bladders and so sink to the bottom as soon as they stop swimming - that's no problem for them as their lifestyle is to lay on the bottom and wait for small prey (prawns and the like, rarely fish) to come within reach. For a much more comprehensive account of the species go to http://www.glaucus.org.uk/bullhead.htm

Fungi: This week brought a greater variety of fungi in the local area and you can see some that I found in Havant and Warblington cemeteries by visiting http://ralph-hollins.net/Cemeteries.htm For more colour go to http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2012/11/27/grassland-fungi.html to see the Scarlet Waxcaps found at Rye Harbour on Nov 27 (I think the other two species show are Bolbitius vitellinus (Yellow Cowpat toadstool) and the Snowy Waxcap (Hygrocybe nivea)) A less eye-catching species, but which is normally very common in the heathland of the Hollybank Woods at Emsworth, is the Common Earthball of which Brian Fellows found just one when he was there on Nov 28 (photo at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x926-cm-puffball-hollybank-28.11.12.jpg )

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Nov 19 - 25 (Week 47 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Nov 21 brought a report of 631 Red-throated off one site in the Netherlands (with a potential total of 1389 from three continental sites on that day) and on Nov 22 Sandwich Bay had 14 while on Nov 20 Folkestone reported 11 and on Nov 19 at least 8 were off Dorset. On Nov 18 watchers at Selsey Bill saw 1 Black-throated and on Nov 19 there were 2 off Portland (one was also off Sandwich Bay). Great Northern were seemingly just as scarce with Southampton Water doing as well as other sites with just one seen on Nov 20 and 24 though later in the week 16 were off Torbay in Devon on Nov 23 (Late news from the Scillies shows that they still had 10 on Nov 1)

Grebes: At least one Red-necked was seen from England (Selsey on Nov 18 and Portland Harbour on Nov 23). The flock of Slavonian in the Church Norton/Selsey area reached 8 on both Nov 18 and 23 - two more were in Southampton Water on Nov 24. Black-necked showed their preference for Dorset by putting 63 on show there on Nov 23 (11 in Portland Harbour and 52 in the Poole Harbour/Studland area) though Langstone Harbour also did well that day with 12 seen off the Oyster Beds

Storm Petrel: We might have expected a lot of these during this week to justify their association with storms but I have only seen one report (of 3 off Durlston on Nov 21, the first sighting on the south coast since Oct 7 when 11 were seen from Berry Head in Devon).

Spoonbill: One flew west over Thorney Island on Nov 19 but probably continued west to Poole Harbour which seems to be the only site on the south coast to have a small resident flock of around a dozen birds.

Black Brant: Three are currently being reported in the central south coast area: one remains at Ferrybridge (Weymouth), a second in the north of Pagham Harbour while a third has been reported on Portsea Island (usually at an 'undisclosed location' though it has been seen at the Tangier Road area set aside by Portsmouth City as a Brent Goose feeding area and on the Southsea seafront cricket pitch).

Red-breasted Goose: The presumed wild bird has not been reported at Farlington Marshes since Nov 18 (when a second probably wild bird turned up in Cumbria associating with Barnacle geese). I hope that the reason that no-one has mentioned the Farlington bird this week is that it is now 'old hat' and that to mention its continuing presence is to lower your standing as a birder by reporting it as if you had not seen it before.

Shelduck: Small flocks have been passing through Chichester and Langstone Harbours for some time as they head west to winter sites but on Nov 19 I saw around a dozen feeding on mud around north Hayling, looking as if they were happy to stay there for the winter.

Pintail: These too are now seeming to settle down for the winter - on Nov 18 there were 21 at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood, on Nov 19 there were 6 in Newtown Harbour on the Isle of Wight and on Nov 21 there were 80 in the Hampshire Avon valley where it flows into Dorset. Also during this week the Blashford Lakes had 220 Shoveler and 50 Pochard

Goldeneye: Still no substantial numbers - highest reported count is of just 8 at the Blashford Lakes on Nov 17

Hooded Merganser: The Pagham Harbour bird which arrived in the first week of November has not been seen since Nov 17 and is presumed to have helped to prove its genuine vagrancy by moving on

Buzzard: These are normally thought of as non-aggressive to other birds, limiting their diet to carrion, worms and the occasional rabbit, but on Nov 18 one of them in the Black Down area near Haslemere on the east Hants/west Sussex border got fed up with the Jackdaws that were mobbing it, lunged at and caught one the Jackdaws, and let it fall to the ground dead or dying.

Quail: A captive bred bird, perhaps from a farm which supplies Quail Eggs to supermarkets (or maybe a butterfy farm where Quail are kept to control the numbers of unwanted insects) made a break for freedom recently and turned up at the Portland Bird Observatory on Nov 18 after crashing into the roof of a nearby house during the previous night and being taken into care by the householder. It survived its crash and flew off strongly when released next morning

Coot: Large numbers of these have already flown, from inland sites where the water may soon freeze, to ice free seaside waters (and no doubt more will follow when it does become cold). On Nov 23 Brian Fellows noticed that this winter passage had brought at flock of around 40 Coot into Emsworth Harbour though he was unable to separate those regarding Sussex as their winter home from those which had been heading for Hampshire as the county boundary follows the centreline of the narrow Emsworth Channel in which they were milling around

Great Bustard: The scheme to re-introduce these birds to Britain has been running since 2004, importing eggs from Eastern Europe and Russia to be hatched here and then released on Salisbury Plain. I have looked through the Project's website ( http://greatbustard.org/ ) but cannot find any figures for the current population of these birds but I did learn that the bird which had been seen flying south over Durlston on Nov 18 did reach northern France as others have done in previous years, returning of their own accord next spring in some if not all cases. I also read that another adult bird had left on Nov 4, reaching the west coast of France two days later - it was found in an exhausted state and has been brought back to Wiltshire. The organisers of the Project already put something in the birds food which is supposed to deter them from flying off but it did not work in this case! Perhaps the cause of this bird's departure was dsitubance by the Great Bustard Morris Group from Swindon - to learn more about them follow the link from the Bustard site to the dancers Facebook page to learn more

Knot: Riding around the Broadmarsh area of Langstone Harbour on Nov 23 at low tide I thought, from their apparent size and ponderous feeding behaviour, that there were a lot of Knot in the harbour and I see that the number reported in Pagham Harbour broke the 100 mark with 150+ reported on Nov 19, increasing to 340 on Nov 22 (and what I think was the first of the winter on the Emsworth shore was at Nore Barn on Nov 9).

Black-tailed Godwit: An unconfirmed estimate that there were more than 1000 now feeding on the lower Avon valley north of Christchurch was made on Nov 21 when an actual count of the birds in just one section of that valley (arund the Avon Causeway) was reported as 650. In Devon there are more than 750 in the Exe estuary and even inland at Pulborough Brooks there were around 100 on Nov 18

Sandwich Tern: I would have expected that birds intending to migrate south would have done so by now, leaving small numbers to spend the winter in the English Channel area so I was surprised to see a count of 60 from a French site on the Normandie coast on Nov 24

Auks: Thousands of Razorbills and Guillemots are now in the English Channel and southern North Sea and among the reports was one of a Tystie (Black Guillemot) in the Brixham area of the south Devon coast on Nov 20. The week has also brought sightings of single Little Auk at Brixham on Nov 19 and at Selsey Bill on Nov 22

Barn Owl: I have long been aware that drowning is almost as common a cause of Barn Owl death as is being hit by motor vehicles (in summer the only source of water for drinking or bathing in their rural territories is often the cattle troughs in fields and unless a sloping plank is in the trough the owl gets into the water, its feathers - which are not waterproof - become waterlogged and it drowns). Knowing this I was very surprised to read that, in heavy rain on Nov 21, a Barn Owl was seen in the Martin village area (north west of Fordingbridge) standing forlornly in a roadside puddle.

Kingfisher: Of local interest on Nov 23 one was back on the Brockhampton stream, perched on the metal flap through which excess storm water is discharged from Budds Farm sewage works into Langstone Harbour

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: These are not normally seen until they start their territorial calls and drumming in the early spring but one has been showing well at Pulborough Brooks recently and this week one has been in the trees overhanging the River Alver near the Gosport Wildgrounds nature reserve with another at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood

Skylark: Many have been arriving in southern England from the continent since the end of September - my starting point is a report of 10 at Sandwich Bay on Sep 20 followed by 300+ in south Devon on Oct 5. On the continent two Netherlands sites each reported more than 2000 passing over on Oct 11 and 12, increasing to 23,406 at one site on Oct 19. With this background it seems odd that no flocks of more than 100 were seen in Hampshire until Nov 20 and when I visited Warblngton Farm on Nov 22 I did not put up more than a dozen from the wheat stubble.

Swallow: These were still being seen daily in southern England until Nov 23 when one was seen at Durlston (and I don't expect it will be the last of the year)

Waxwing: On Nov 22 the Rare Bird Alert (RBA) organisation received reports totalling 3,430 birds in the UK but this is almost certainly an undercount at those reports came from just 35 counties whereas on Nov 18 RBA had reports from 51 counties but gave no total for the number of birds involved. Although most remain in the north at least one was in a Devon garden on Nov 22 and 2 were in the Basingstoke area on Nov 20 with 9 near Sandwich in Kent on Nov 19 and 22 flew over Folkestone heading south west on Nov 18

Desert Wheatear: One was an unexpected sighting on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent on Nov 18 and 19

Ring Ouzel: Singles were reported in Cornwall and the Scilles on Nov 18 to be the last that I know of in England

Fieldfare: An impressive roost of an estimated 22,000 birds was in the Kent Stour Valley on Nov 22

Redwing: There have been reports of their calls heard over Hampshire after dark this week but the only reported sighting of any significance in the county was a flock of around 50 on Abbotstone Down (near Alresford, upstream of Winchester) onNov 23

Subalpine Warbler: A young bird has been at St Just in west Cornwall from Nov 17 to at least Nov 21

Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana): The 12th bird of this species to be recorded in Britain and the first since October 2004 was spotted by a birder called Roger Card who was lucky to have his camera ready when a 'little brown job' arrived in the weedy edge of a well used footpath in the Folkestone area on Nov 18. No one else has seen this bird and without the photos the bird would not have been identfied and recorded. To get backgound on this species see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Desert_Warbler and to see Roger's photos go to http://www.freewebs.com/folkestonebirds/index.htm

Blackcap: On Nov 19 a Brian Fellows was told that a Blackcap had been singing recently in an Emsworth garden, seemingly the first winter song.

Nuthatch: Of local interest one has been visiting bird feeders in a garden at Wade Court (Langstone)

Great Grey Shrike: Still only one in the New Forest and one at Morden Bog in Dorset but on Nov 21 RBA reported a newcomer in Essex

Chough: Following the death of one in the Scillies on Nov 2 there is better news of one on Lundy Island since Oct 30 which may have arrived from Ireland or Wales and gives hope that a new colony will establish itself on Lundy without human interference

Tree Sparrow: A flock of around 20 birds was at Arlington Reservoir near Beachy Head on Nov 18 - possibly from the established colony on the nearby Pevensey Levels but more likely to be continental birds. A more surprising report dated Nov 23 is of one visiting a garden bird table at Kingsbridge in south Devon

Bullfinch: Bigger than expected numbers have been seen in many places this year and this trend continues with a report of 13 at Dibden Bay (Southampton Water) on Nov 17. Evidence of a similar population increase on the continent comes from a report of 63 at a Netherlands site, also on Nov 17

Snow Bunting: Reports of ones and twos at five south coast sites in recent weeks increased on Nov 23 when a new pair were found at Langney Point on the Eastbourne seafront

Foreign Birds: Steve Copsey, on board the Navy's Ice Patrol vessel HMS Protector, is continuing his voyage to the Antarctic and has been reporting his sightings between Tristan da Cunha and the Falklands. Anyone interested in his sightings and photos of Southern Royal Albatross, Spectacled Petrel, Slender Billed Prion, Blue Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Southern and Northern Giant Petrel plus Wandering Albatross and Cape Petrel should read his reports at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Species reported this week:

Migrant Hawker (just one in Norfolk on Nov 18), Common Darter (5 reports on Nov 18 totalling 8 insects in Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Sussex and Northhamptonshire),

Butterflies:

Species reported this week:

Brimstone (two in the Brighton area on Nov 17), Red Admiral (18 reports covering 33 insects during the week with the last on Nov 23), Peacock (one in Pagham area on Nov 18), Comma (3 reports from Gosport, Petersfield and Haywards Heath area - last on Nov 18), Speckled Wood (2 reports from Gosport - last on Nov 18)

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0461 (Variable Smudge), Ypsolopha ustella found in Dorset on NOV 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5036

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0461.php

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

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

0819 (Winter Groundling), Scrobipalpa costella found in Kent on NOV 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2763

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

1041 (Ashy Button), Acleris sparsana found in Dorset on NOV 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=813

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1041.php

1044 (Rusty Oak Button), Acleris ferrugana found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4972

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1044.php

1047 (Viburnum Button), Acleris schalleriana found in Dorset on NOV 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5018

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1047.php

1053 (Sallow Button), Acleris hastiana found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5580

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1053.php

1056 Acleris lipsiana found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3633

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1056.php

1395 Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=181

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1395.php

1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella found in Dorset on NOV 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1793

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

1497 (Beautiful Plume), Amblyptilia acanthadactyla found in Sussex on NOV 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6337

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1497.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in Dorset 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

1716 The Vestal Rhodometra sacraria found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6173

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

1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4948

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

1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=26

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

1767 Pine Carpet Thera firmata found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3085

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1767.php

1768 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=785

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1768.php

1769 Spruce Carpet Thera britannica found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=696

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1769.php

1771a Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata found in Dorset on NOV 16 - 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 found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5984

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

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found in Dorset on NOV 16 - 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 in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=123

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

1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=14

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1906.php

1923 Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1757

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

2087 Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=298

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

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon found in Dorset on NOV 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=226

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2091.php

2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=117

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

2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes found in Kent on NOV 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2109

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

2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=121

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2126.php

2195 The Delicate Mythimna vitellina found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1808

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

2202 L-album Wainscot Mythimna l-album found in Dorset on NOV 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1035

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2202.php

2203 White-speck Mythimna unipuncta found in Dorset on NOV 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=700

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

2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra found in Dorset on NOV 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6029

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

2240 Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1859

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2240.php

2245 Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1764

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

2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2247.php

2246a Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5610

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2246a.php

2256 The Satellite Eupsilia transversa found in Dorset on NOV 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1797

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

2259 Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1112

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

2264 Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta found in Dorset on NOV 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2264.php

2267 Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1736

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2267.php

2272 Barred Sallow Xanthia aurago found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1735

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2272.php

2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa found in Dorset on NOV 16 - 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 in Dorset on NOV 16 - 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:

Drone Flies and Honey Bees were seen in the Emsworth area. Lesser Bloody Nosed Beetles were on the downland at Durslston and if you follow the link below to Other Wildlife news you will find a report of a stridulating grasshopper, a Common Darter, a seven-spot Ladybird and wasps seen in Shoreham Beach on Nov 18 along with the Wall Lizards that were the reason for that entry in that section Other reports were of caterpillars that will probably remain active for some time yet.

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

I am aware of 46 plants species flowering this week some of the more interesting are listed below.

Common Fumitory: One in full fresh flower at Warblington Farm on Nov 22

Black Mustard: Still flowering at Emsworth Marina on Nov 19

Sweet Violet: Following the first seen in Havant on Oct 25 I found more fresh flowers at both the Oysterbeds and North Common on Hayling on Nov 19

Common Mouse-ear: The first I have seen in flower since Oct 12 were out by the west Emsworth A27 underpass on Nov 22

Ribbed Melilot: A fresh plant flowering at Broadmarsh on Nov 23 was unexpected

Ornamental Cherry: Not a wild flower but nevertheless a welcome sight was the first tree flowering in Warblington cemetery (with a group of white alabaster angels hanging among the blossom)

Dwarf Spurge: This autumn's massive growth of this species in the Warblington Farm Conigar Point field was still looking fresh on Nov 22

Strawberry Tree: The first fresh flowers were out on the Northney Village Church tree (Hayling Is) on Nov 19 ( and near my home in Havant a small tree planted a few years ago in a garden had even more blossom)

Field Woundwort: One or two of the plants discovered by Brian Fellows on July 30 growing in the cycle path gutter near the west Emsworth A27 underpass were still showing fresh flower buds on Nov 22

Sea Aster: A battered elderly plant still had flowers on Hayling Island on Nov 19

Blue Fleabane: An equally elderly plant found in the Broadmarsh area on Nov 23 still had fresh flowers

Spear Thistle: Creeping Thistle flowers are still fairly common but I only found one Spear Thistle plant flowering near the Hayling Oysterbeds on Nov 19

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Cetaceans: Although I have not been recording sightings of these for some time I noticed a report for Nov 22 on the Devon Birding site from a birder seawatching from Berry Head (which is the end of the southern arm of |Torbay) on the south Devon coast saying that the strong winds meant that there were few birds but going on to say .. "the cetaceans where brilliant! At least 6 Harbour Porpoise often surfing the waves and some leaping clear of the water, then a pod of 8 Bottle-nosed Dolphins with a medium sized calf moved south and better still two White-beaked Dolphins feeding off the end of the headland about 600m offshore initially, although they were underwater much of the time they stayed in the area for 20+minutes from 0950hrs before moving off south." Another part of the cetacean story this week comes from the Camber Sands on the shore of Rye Bay where, on Nov 17 a dead Porpoise was washed up - no details as to cause of death

Roe Deer: Deer populations have been increasing for many years - when I first started exploring wildlife on Hayling Island in the early 1980s I never saw Roe Deer but nowadays they are commonplace, regularly seen from houses bordering the north Hayling open fields. This week I was made aware of new area where they are being regularly seen among an even busier human population on the south west slopes of Portsdown in the abandoned (?) fields of the 40 Acres Farm close to where the A3M meets the A27

Noctule Bat: Nov 20 seems a late date for any bat to be regularly appearing to hunt at dusk but the Devon Birding news reports what is thought to be a Noctule being still a regular sight over the disused Upottery Airfield on the north west side of the A30 a little north east of Honiton

Wall Lizards: Another late sighting of these comes from Shoreham on the Sussex coast where Richard Roebuck (a regular contributor to the Sussex Butterfly News) reports seeing more than 80 (mainly young) of these Lizards in warm sunshire at midday on Nov 18. As Richard's report gives such a good impression of the wildlife to be seen on the Shoreham seafront in mid-November (contrasting with the weather we have experienced later in the same week) I feel I must quote his entry in full ...

"After a frosty start Sunday was nice and warm and at Shoreham Beach shingle reserve temperature was 12 degrees C with lovely warm sunshine. Insect life was surprisingly busy with the following seen, garden ants, male wasps nectaring, grasshopper stridulating, Seven-spot Ladybird, hover-flies, Buff-tale Bumble Bees, male Common Darter, Silver Y (2) Angle Shades moth 1, unidentified micros (2), Wall Lizards (mainly young ones 80+). Large White caterpillars 8, various instars on one remaining patch of sea kale. I also saw several <1 cm long hairy caterpillars normally on the kale But found one on a mallow - I think they may be an overwintering early instar as I have seen many before of exactly the same size over the past few months on Sea Kale. it seems rather distinctive, maybe someone knows what it is? A large patch of the Hot n Tot fig, is a reminder of the relatively mild climate at this habitat. I hoped I would see a Red Admiral on the wing but alas no. (Richard Roebuck)"

If you are wondering what Hot n Tot Fig may be translate that modern-speak into ancient English to become Hottentot Fig and see http://invasivespeciesireland.com/most-unwanted-species/established/terrestrial/hottentot-fig to learn what the descendants of St Patrick are doing to defend Ireland from this menacing invader (and hopefully to drive it, like the Snakes, from the Emerald Isle)

Cellar Snail (Oxychilus alliarius): When checking out the 'arable weeds' in the harvested field behind Conigar Point on the Warblington Farm I noticed a moderately sized 'flat-shelled' snail which I mentally noted as a probable Rounded Snail (Discus rotundatus) but which I now think may have been a Cellar Snail (these are common and not confined to Cellars!). Sadly I did not measure it, smell it for the scent of Garlic, nor turn it over the check the size of its 'umbilicus' (the hole in the centre of the whorls of the shell named for its suppsed resemblance to our 'tummy button') so I cannot have any confidence in naming it as any one of five similar species named in the identification table at the back of my Shire Natural History series booklet on Land Snails of the British Isles by A A Wardhaugh

Fungi: I have so far been unable to name one species which was fairly common in the Warblington Farm Conigar Point field on Nov 22 despite having taken measurements, examined a specimen in detail and obtained a good spore print - I think it is a Hebeloma species but will have to visit the site again to see if the thick slimy mucus covering the caps of the specimens I saw was natural to the species or the result of the unusual weather conditions! One species I did identify was the common Tawny Funnel Cap found in leaf litter beside Daw Lane on Hayling Island on Nov 19 and another that I was previously unfamiliar with was the whitish grey jelly like species (like a white form of Black Bulgar) covering the barkless trunk of a small fallen tree in Pook Lane at Warblington on Nov 22 - this seems to be Mollisea cinerea (now having the English Name of Common Grey Disco). On my lawn more Meadow Waxcaps have appeared during the week bu nothing new.

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Nov 12 - 18 (Week 46 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: 13 Red-throated were off Folkestone on Nov 9 but this does not indicate the scale of the build up of these birds in the southern North Sea during the week which is revealed by the Trektellen website - on Nov 11 it records 149 at one Netherlands site (205 if you add in those seen at a second site without any check on double counting), on Nov 14 the single site total was 219 (with a potential 222 from two sites), and on Nov 17 the single site figure was 420 with a potential 727 if you add in those seen at a second site). Black-throated were much less common with single birds seen at seven sites (one of them Scotney Court at |Rye Harbour). Great Northern were more widespread with reports from nine sites including singles in Southampton Water, Portland Harbour and on the sea off Church Norton in Sussex - the Channel Isles were the only place to report multiple birds with a potential total of 16

Grebes: Red-Necked increased to a potential 3 in the Netherlands plus 2 at Christchurch and 1 in Portland Harbour. Slavonian were seen in singles in Langstone Harbour, Portland Harbour, Southampton Water and off Penzance while the usual winter flock off Pagham Harbour had started with 3 there on Nov 11 and 2 were in Christchurch Harbour on Nov 16. The first two Black-necked had been in Langstone Harbour (off the Hayling Oysterbeds) on Nov 2 and this week there were 9 there on Nov 11 but Dorset still remains in the lead with 12 off Studland on Nov 15 (37 had been there on Nov 4). Devon still had 5 in Torbay on Nov 12. This week's surprise was one seen in the Southwick Canal at Shoreham on Nov 17

Little Egret: Back on Sep 24 Langstone Pond had 45 Egrets there during the daytime high tide (and a night roost of 106 on Sep 6). This autumn peak diminishes rapidly as winter approaches and last winter it seemed that only 7 birds regarded the pond as their home but it may be that this winter even fewer can be seen there - during the very high tide on Nov 16 I could only see two Egrets there

Glossy Ibis: The only mention of this species in this week's news comes from Lee Evans who, on Nov 9, declared that there was only one Ibis in the UK (in Wales). Lee also told us that there were only 12 Great White Egrets in the kingdom

Spoonbill: At least 11 were still in Poole Harbour this week with another four in Cornwall

Black Brant: Two of these were at Weymouth from Oct 18 to Nov 3 since when only one has been reported there. Maybe one of them flew east to appear in Poole Harbour on Nov 6 but if it continued east there is no certainty as to where it went next as on Nov 12 one appeared in the Portsmouth area and another in the north of Pagham Harbour. Both these birds were reported again in Nov 13 and were still present on Nov 17 (Pagham) and Nov 16 (Portsmouth)

Red Breasted Goose: Still being seen at Farlington Marshes on Nov 17 where it has been since Oct 25

Hooded Merganser: The female (possibly a young male) which has been in the north of Pagham Harbour since the beginning of November was still there on Nov 17 and is now regarded as a genuine wild vagrant from across the Atlantic

Rough-legged Buzzard: One seen in Norfolk on Nov 15 is not the first of the winter - one was reported in Essex on Oct 9 but nothing more has been heard of it (by me) since.

Common Crane: The bird which arrived at Amberley Wild Brooks on Nov 11 was still there on Nov 17 (having survived a shoot in the area) but the one at Rye Harbour from Nov 9 to 12 has not been reported again

Avocet: The first birding boat trip of the winter down the River Exe on Nov 13 saw 250 Avocet. Locally a small flock seems to have settled in Chichester Harbour east of Thorney Island, being seen in Nutbourne Bay (the end of the Thorney Channel) on Nov 3 (around 20 birds which probably continued west to be seen at Farlington Marshes on Nov 6), Nov 10 (15 birds) and Nov 13 (14 birds)

Woodcock: Continental birds continue to arrive all along the south coast. This week there have been sighting in Bognor (flying over), Durlston, Portland, Dungeness, Romsey and Fareham

Woodpigeon: It looks as if the autumn movement is now over. The only English sites to report them this week were Dungeness with 810 over on Nov 12 and 630 on Nov 14 and Torbay in Devon with more than 1500 over on Nov 11. Across the channel Jersey reported 10,700 on Nov 11, 5,800 on Nov 12 and 5,210 on Nov 13

Ring Necked Parakeet: The sight of 24 flying west over Lewes may indicate that a few are leaving the overcrowded population in London.

Little Owl: Young birds do wander in search of new territories each autumn but I think there was some exaggeration in describing one seen at Dungeness this week as a 'grounded migrant'

Short-eared Owl: One was still based at Farlington Marshes this week but two seen over the Thornham Marshes (east end of the Thorney Great Deeps) and one sitting on the fence of the Hayling Golf Course may have been new arrivals from the south

Hoopoe: One was a 'one day wonder' at Portland on Nov 15

Swallow: Seen at 11 English sites this week. The two latest reports have been from Devon on Nov 16 (two birds coming in off the sea to fly north up the Exe estuary) and Sussex on Nov 17 (five birds heading east over Seaford)

House Martin: Not reported in England since Nov 11 when two were over Durlston.

Waxwing: Back on Nov 9 RBA News reported a total of 4,274 in the UK (spread over 35 counties) but although I have seen no higher total I suspect the number is still rising - on Nov 12 RBA reported a single flock of 1000 birds at the Kyle of Lochalsh in Scotland. To encourage you to keep your eyes open for them see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x936-waxwings-findhorn-RS-16.11.12.jpg - this was taken in the north of Scotland and sent to Brian Fellows who put it on his website where he posed the question - "Will they be seen in Emsworth?" My answer is that I think it very likely that they will - this week's sightings include some from Basingstoke, Exeter, Dungeness and Cornwall while early sightings in late October included Hailsham in East Sussex, Reculver on the north Kent coast and the Scilly Isles and in early November they were seen in Cornwall, Folkestone, Sandwich Bay and Dorset. As with nearly all our winter visitors the majority cross the North Sea but a fair proportion follow a land route across Europe and finally cross the English Channel to our south coast

Wheatear: Three late departers were in the Poole Harbour area on Nov 11

Ring Ouzel: Another late bird was one of these at Durlston on Nov 15

Fieldfare: All species of Thrush are still on the move but the largest numbers I have seen reported have been of Fieldfare with around 2800 in the Netherlands on Nov 12 and I suspect that a flock of more than 270 seen on Butser Hill near Petersfield on Nov 15 may have been part of that mass as it spread out in search of good places to settle for the winter - other parts were recorded on Nov 15 at Portland (70), Dungeness (10), Berry Head in Devon (270+) and Durlston (210)

Song Thrush: One bird apparently satisfied that it has reached its winter destination and is happy to settle there is a single Song Thrush which has been singing its heart out around my house here in Havant each morning and evening since the afternoon of Nov 14 (Also in the Havant area I have been told of a Blackbird in subsong this week)

Firecrest: Both Gold and Fire-crests seem to be more numerous than usual this winter and a search of Southampton Common this week found 36 Firecrests there and here in Havant 2 were found in trees around the carpark on the Billy Trail adjacent to the Havant Arts Centre

Great Grey Shrike: Just one was found in the New Forest on Nov 10 during the second of the Forest wide bird surveys of this winter. It was in the Beaulieu Road station area where it arrived on Nov 6

Spanish Sparrow: The single bird which was found in the Newchurch area of the Isle of Wight on Nov 4 seemingly disappeared but was refound in the same area on Nov 11

Brambling: These have been arriving in southern England since Sep 27 when singles appeared at both Folkestone and Christchurch Harbour. There have been well over 100 reports of them since then (including an arrival of 2000 in Yorkshire on Oct 22) and some have already settled down in gardens (e.g. 5 in a Chandlers Ford garden near Eastleigh on Nov 11 and 14)

Snow Bunting: This week's reports include sightings at Folkestone, Pett (Rye Bay), Cornwall (near Lands End), Dorset, Dungeness, Seaford and Rye Harbour

Foreign Birds: The BTO Migration Blog ( http://btomigrationblog.blogspot.co.uk/?dm_i=NXK,10KUS,3UEDCR,33J08,0 ) tells us that large numbers of Pine Grosbeak are leaving Denmark and may be heading our way while Steve Copsey (engaged in Naval duties around Tristan da Cunha in the south Atlantic) has been keeping us up to date with his bird sightings via the Three Amigos Blog ( http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ ) Currently the first entry in the blog is an account by Tony Tindale of his visit to Pagham Harbour to see the Hooded Merganser but that is followed by Steve's photos of Tristan Albatross, Broad-billed Prion, Antarctic Tern and Antarctic Skua.

Vagrants: A couple of sightings which caught my eye in the RBA News ( http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/RealData/dailysummary.asp ) were of a Cedar Waxwing in Ireland on Nov 10 and a Black-bellied Dipper in Norfolk on Nov 15

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

All sightings are now remarkable

Species reported this week with latest dates:

Southern Hawker (female in Devon on Nov 13), Migrant Hawker (one on Isle of Wight on Nov 14), Common Darter (13 on the Isle of Wight on Nov 14 - one still egg laying)

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

All sightings are now remarkable

Species reported this week with latest dates:

Brimstone (female near Crowborough on Nov 13), Red Admiral (five seen in Sussex on Nov 3), Small Tortoiseshell (one active near Eastbourne on Nov 11), Comma (one in Sussex on Nov 13), Speckled Wood (one in Gosport on Nov 11)

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded this week:

 

0664 (November Tubic), Diurnea lipsiella found in Kent on NOV 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2575

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0664.php

1041 (Ashy Button), Acleris sparsana found in Dorset on NOV 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=813

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1041.php

1044 (Rusty Oak Button), Acleris ferrugana found in Dorset on NOV 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4972

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1044.php

1157 (Southern Bell), Crocidosema plebejana found in Kent on NOV 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1600

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

1461 (Dark Spruce Knot-horn), Assara terebrella found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6453

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1461.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in Dorset on NOV 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1100

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

1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata found in Dorset on NOV 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=26

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

1937 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria found in Kent on NOV 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=582

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1937.php

2195 The Delicate Mythimna vitellina found in Dorset on NOV 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1808

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

2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina found in Dorset on NOV 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2247.php

2256 The Satellite Eupsilia transversa found in Kent on NOV 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1797

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

2259 Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula found in Dorset on NOV 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1112

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

2274 The Sallow Xanthia icteritia found in Dorset on NOV 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1795

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2274.php

2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa found in Kent on NOV 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1731

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

2375 Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa found in Dorset on NOV 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1770

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

2389 Pale Mottled Willow Paradrina clavipalpis found in Dorset on NOV 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2389.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found in Kent on NOV 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1134

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

2477 The Snout Hypena proboscidalis found in Dorset on NOV 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1136

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

 

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Water Boatman: One still active on a Portsdown pond on Nov 10

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

A total of 101 plant species have been found in flower during November and some of the more unexpected seen this week are listed here

Oilseed Rape: Found in Emsworth on Nov 16

Wild Radish: Also in Emsworth on Nov 16

Pale Flax: One flower seen at Durlston on Nov 17

Yellow-flowered Srawberry: Several still flowering in Juniper Square (Havant) on Nov 15

Wood Avens: One plant flowering in Havant on Nov 15

Cow Parsley: Two plants flowering in Havant (Park Road South) on Nov 15

Wild Parsnip: Flowering at Durlston on Nov 17

Hemlock Water Dropwort: Flowering in Emsworth on Nov 15

Red Bartsia: Flowering in Emsworth on Nov 16

Balm: Flowering in Emsworth on Nov 16

Wood Sage: Flowering in Hollybank Woods (Emsworth) on Nov 14

Field Forget-me-not: Flowering in Emsworth on Nov 16

Field Scabious: Flowering at Durlston on Nov 11

Common Fleabane: Flowering at Emsworth on Nov 16

Golden Samphire: Flowering at Emsworth on Nov 11

Michaelmas Daisy: Both Common and Narrow Leaved flowering in Emsworth on Nov 16

Winter Heliotrope: On Nov 16 the first flowers of this for this winter were seen in both Langstone and Emsworth

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fungi: More Fly Agaric were seen in the Alver Valley at Gosport on Nov 15 and more Honey Fungus were seen in Emsworth on Nov 10. First sightings of species in the Hollybank Woods at Emsworth on Nov 14 were of Trooping Funnel (Clitocybe geotropa), masses of Russet Toughshank (Collybia dryophila), tiny Foetid Parachute (Micromphale foetidum) - I did not detect any nasty smell from this - and the pretty Milky Bonnet (Mycena lactea). Photos of these can be seen in my diary entry at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#1411 Another newcomer this week was the tiny black Hairy Earthtongue (Trichoglossum hirsutum) peeping through the grass and moss in my garden lawn on Nov 16

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Nov 5 - 11 (Week 45 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: This week there were two Red-throated in Portland Harbour and at least one in the Scillies but the arrival of more from the north was shown by a report of 86 at a Netherlands site on Nov 10. Black-throated numbers also increased with the first report of a 'flock' of 8 in St Austell Bay (Cornwall) where the number is likely to grow through the winter. One of these was off the Park Shore east of Lymington on Nov 4 and single Great Northerns were off the Lymington shore on both Nov 7 and 9

Grebes: Small winter flocks of Great Crested have been seen this week at Fleet Pond (11), Chichester gravel pits (14) and on the sea off Church Norton (9) while the first single I have seen on the water off Langstone Pond was there on Nov 5. At least one Red Necked was seen from the French Normandie coast on both Nov 5 and 10. Two Slavonian were in Hayling Bay on Nov 7 and in Pagham Harbour on Nov 10 while others have been seen this week in Cornwall and Dorset. The first in Langstone Harbour was seen from Farlington Marshes on Nov 10. The flock of Black-necked off the Studland beaches had 29 birds on Nov 6 with at least another 3 in the Torbay area of Devon

Bittern: Sightings this week at Hatch Pond in Poole Harbour (1), Radipole (1) and East Bexington (1) in Dorset, at Rye Harbour (1) in Sussex and at Blashford (1) and Titchfield Haven (1) in Hampshire

Little Egret: A further sign that the Langstone Pond trees may have been abandoned as a night roost came on Nov 5 when I was passing at dusk and saw two Egrets fly over without stopping and just one perch on a tree-top to assess whether it would have company for the night before flying down to a sheltered perch (I assume it flew off to north Thorney though I did not wait to see it leave). The Thorney Island (Little Deeps east) roost had 75 birds on Oct 28.

Mute Swan: Two flying past Langstone Pond on Nov 5 were the first I can recall airborne since the adults settled down to nesting in the spring though I suspect some have been flying for a month or more (e.g. to get in and out of the fenced Budds Farm pools where the full family of two adults and five cygnets were again present on Nov 8)

Whooper Swan: A group of six that have been in the Scillies since Oct 18 increased to 17 on Oct 28 when there were 28 in Yorkshire. Oct 29 brought a count of 40 from Spurn on the Yorkshire coast. On Nov 3 five flew over Folkestone but there is no news yet of the family that spent several winters at the Chichester Lakes up to 2010 but were not reported in 2011

Greylag Goose: A flock of 450 grazing by the R Adur near Bines Bridge (north of Henfield) was more than twice the size of the previous largest flock in Sussex (206 in 1992 at Weir Wood Reservoir near Crowborough)

Red-Breasted Goose: The bird that has been at Farlington Marshes since Oct 25 was still there on Nov 10 and it remains the only one currently in southern England

Mandarin Duck: In the past the only place where I recall these being present in big numbers was Virginia Water on the southern edge of Windsor Great Park so I was surprised to see a report on Nov 8 of more than 80 on a lake in the Hembury Woods (near Buckfastleigh in south Devon). Checking on their current status the RSPB website gives a total of 7,000 birds breeding in England and the BBC says that the Forest of Dean is the best place to see them (they like to breed in trees overhanging small ponds or streams). One reason for the growth of their wild population is that they taste horrible and consequently are not shot.

Pochard: The highest count reported this autumn before Nov 7 was just 39 in the Kent Stour Valley (Chichester pits had at least 30 on |Nov 6) but on Nov 7 Rye Harbour had 180 and on Nov 8 I saw my first four back at Budds Farm pools in Havant

Ferruginous Duck: No reports so far this autumn of the Langstone Harbour 'Fudge Duck' but on Nov 7 Rye Harbour reported the arrival of a similar hybrid

Goldeneye: After the arrival of 3 at the Blashford Lakes on Oct 28 singles were seen in Devon, Dorset and the Isle of Wight before the end of October. So far November had brought two to the Pagham Lagoon on Nov 3 and five to Langstone Harbour on Nov 7 but we are still waiting for the influx that normally occurs before the end of October.

Hooded Merganser: What is probably a genuinely wild young female (though it could be a first winter male) has been in the north of Pagham Harbour since the week of Oct 29 to Nov 4 and may have been propelled here by 'Superstorm Sandy'. The last reported sighting was on Nov 9 and it was not found on Nov 10. Discussions about its origin have revealed that the 'male of unknown origin' that has been in the Weymouth area since June 2008 is still to be seen at Radipole

Red-breasted Merganser: A flock of 101 arrived in the Netherlands on Oct 5 and another wave brough 127 there on Oct 12 after 16 had been seen in Portsmouth Harbour on Oct 10. Plenty of smaller groups seen since then with a flock of 126 in Langstone Harbour on Nov 7

Goosander: By Nov 9 the number at Blashford Lakes had risen to 45 but the only sign of passage birds over the English Channel coast was of one flying south east over Christchurch Harbour on Nov 6 - this bird may have been a northener overshooting but may equally be one of the local breeding population

Osprey: Last week I assumed that we had seen the last for this year but reports seen this week show that one was near Plymouth on Oct 4 and one was in the Netherlands on Oct 6

Hobby: A very late report of one in the Gosport area on Nov 8 (previous last in England was at Rye Harbour on Oct 25)

Common Crane: One at Rye Harbour on Nov 9 seems to have been the last of a movement which brought a reported total of 5720 in Belgium on Oct 27

Avocet: By Nov 2 more than 190 were already in the Exe estuary in Devon and on Nov 3 a party of 20 were seen in Nutbourne Bay (east of Thorney Island) where some have spent the winter in past years. A further report of 15 at Nutbourne on Nov 10 may or may not be of the earlier flock (in between these two reports came one of 14 birds west of Farlington Marshes which may have been some of the Nutbourne birds continuing west)

Golden Plover: The flock of 95 seen on the River Hamble at the Bunny Meadows on Oct 26 had grown to 197 on Nov 6 and on Nov 7 there were 39 at Lymington Marshes, 70 at Horsebridge (on the R Test just south of Stockbridge), and 200 at Maiden Castle in Dorset (the flock there had grown to 515 on Nov 9)

Lapwing: Of local interest the first to arrive back on the Langstone village shore were there on Nov 3

Knot: Also of local interest the first to be seen on the Emsworth shore this winter was there on Nov 9

Purple Sandpiper: The number at Southsea Castle was up to 4 on Nov 10

Snipe: I saw one at the Langstone South Moors 'orchid field' for the first time this winter on Nov 8

Little Gull: A few seen along the south coast (e.g.17 at Pagham Harbour on Nov 10) after a surge of passage birds brought a count of 2100 at Cap Gris-Nez on Nov 5

Sabines Gull: Just one in the Scillies on Nov 3

Bonaparte's Gull: One at Dawlish Warren in south Devon seen on Nov 6 and 9

Ring-billed Gull: The Gosport bird is still there - last seen on Nov 11

Common Gull: More than 1000 were reported in the Fishbourne Channel at Chichester on Nov 8 and I still find it odd that the string of counts which have come from this site since Oct 12 (when 500 were reported) remain consisently far higher than those from anywhere else in southern England and all come from the same observer

Lesser Blackback: The night roost at the Blashford Lakes was of only 3000 on Nov 9 (against 4500 on Oct 30) but the numbers agree with counts made there by more than one experienced observer over several years.

Stock Dove: A peak count of 450 over Christchurch Harbour on Nov 5

Wood Pigeon: I think no-one fully understands the annual massive Wood Pigeon movement which is seen along the south coast but I was surprised to see on what appears to be an authoritative blog on the subject of bird migration written by the BTO's chief Press Officer (Paul Stancliffe) that .. "Every year sees this migration spectacle but it is unclear where these birds are coming from or going to. They seem to appear along the east coast and the Pennines, but aren’t seen coming in off the sea. They travel south and upon reaching the south coast head west as far as Dorset. Once there they seem to disappear" This has probably been true in the past but this year the birds have certainly been seen in huge numbers on the south Devon coast. On November 5 Mark Thomas of the RSPB was in Torquay to appear in court for the prosecution of egg thieves but went out for an early breath of fresh air and during an hour from 07:15 to 08:15 he counted 40,000 Wood Pigeons passing SW overhead. Next day (Nov 6) the hotspot was Poole in Dorset with a count of 47,902. It is possible that the movement is now over for this year but that idea is based on the very slender evidence that when I woke up on the morning of Nov 10 the small crowd of Woodpigeons that have been in my garden for several weeks waiting to be fed had vanished.

Swift: One seen at Church Norton (Pagham Harbour) on Nov 9 was the first I have heard of anywhere since one was in Belgium on Oct 19 and the first in England since one was at Brighton on Oct 9

Bee Eater: One that was in Dorset from Oct 28 to 30 may have moved north to County Durham where it was seen on Nov 6 and 7

Hoopoe: Presumable unconnected reports of these in Dorset, Somerset and the Shetlands on Nov 3 followed by one in Norfolk on Nov 6

Swallow: Sightings this week have been - On Nov 5 up to 6 at four sites in Kent, East Sussex and Dorset; on Nov 6 up to 12 at nine sites in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset; on Nov 7 counts of 90 at Dungeness and 43 at Sandwich Bay, 12 at Durlston and 4 in Cornwall; on Nov 8 there were 18 at Durlston, 11 at Portland and one at the Goodwood House stables near Chichester; Nov 9 brought 5 to Black Point on Hayling Island and on Nov 10 there were 46 at Durlston

House Martin: Four were seen at several sites including Chichester on Nov 6 with four at Pett Level on Nov 7 and a dozen over Eastbourne on Nov 8. Nov 9 saw two at Black Point on Hayling Island and on Nov 10 there were two at Durlston

Yellow Wagtail: A late report of 5 in the Itchen Valley Country Park north of Southampton on Nov 8

Pied Wagtail: On Nov 8 a flock of 95 were seen heading to a night roost at Southampton airport

Waxwing: On Nov 6 the BTO Bird Migration Blog claimed that there were then 2000 in the UK and on Nov 7 RBA said the biggest number were 250 in the Highland region of Scotland with 150 each in Lothian and Kinross, 130 in the Western Isles and 100 in Cleveland - that only accounts for 630 leaving over 1,300 scattered over England and Wales but of these I have only seen reports accounting for just over 100 (but including 2 in Cornwall). A good photo of one at Sandwich Bay on Nov 2 can be seen at http://www.sbbot.co.uk/galleries/avian/images/Waxwing2Nov12SRay.jpg Latest news is of 8 near Basingstoke on Nov 11

Whinchat: One was still at Radipole in Dorset on Nov 9

Wheatear: The last I know of in England was at Sandwich Bay on Nov 6

Ring Ouzel: The last in England seems to have been at Portland on Nov 6

Blackbird: On Nov 6 a total of 2246 arrived in the British Isles including 1900 at Spurn Point in Yorkshire and another 949 arrived on Nov 7 including 625 at Hunstanton in Norfolk.

Fieldfare: This week saw a further influx on Nov 6 of 2000 per hour on the north Kent coast

Redwing: The only large arrival noted this week was of 2179 at Widnes in Lancashire (near Liverpool) on Nov 9 - these had presumable just crossed the Pennines after crossing the North Sea

Mistle Thrush: Nov 6 brought the first report of several guarding the village church Yew tree from Redwings at Isfield (upstream of Lewes)

Blackcap: Wintering birds have been appearing in gardens since at least Nov 1 when three birds arrived in a Dartmoor garden, and of local interest Brian Fellows found a female bathing in his Emsworth garden on Nov 10

Pallas' Warbler: A 'probable' was seen at Durlston on Nov 4, only the second for this winter after one seen in Folkestone on Oct 21

Firecrest: Searches of Southampton Common on Nov 8 and 9 turned up a total of 22 apparently there for the winter

Penduline Tit: After recent sightings in the Scillies, at Dungeness and at the Oare Marshes in north Kent, this week brought sightings of up to three at Stodmarsh in the Kent Stour Valley on Nov 6 and 8

Great Grey Shrike: One arrived in the Beaulieu area of the New Forest on Nov 6 and another arrived at Morden Bog in Dorset (just west of Poole Harbour) on Nov 7

Chough: One which flew from Cornwall to the Scillies on Oct 30 was found dead on Nov 2

Raven: A count of 49 at Painswick in Gloucestershire on Nov 8 is presumably of a roost site

Spanish Sparrow: A bird found on a garden feeder at Newchurch, Isle of Wight, on Nov 4 was seen again on Nov 5 but not since

Greenfinch: Flock sizes are increasing with 235 at Christchurch Harbour on Nov 5 and 300 at Pagham Harbour on Nov 10. Numbers of other finches such as Goldfinch and Linnet now seem to be decreasing

Foreign Birds: If you want to become more familiar with southern species seen by Steve Copsey around Tristan da Cunha (and its capital called Edinburgh of the Seven Seas) go to http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ and scroll down to the entries for this week starting with 'Seabirds at Tristan da Cunha' posted on Nov 8 (and ending with the entry posted on Nov 6) in which you fill find text and pictures of Rufous-chested Dotterel, Two-banded Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, Yellowlegs (Great & Lesser), American Golden Plover (Falklands) and Tristan Albatross (South Atlantic)

Vagrants: The BTO Migration Blog tells us on Nov 6 to look out for an influx of Pine Grosbeaks which are massing in record numbers over in Norway

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Common Darter: Pairs still mating and egglaying on Isle of Wight on Nov 6

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker (latest in IoW on Nov 6), Migrant Hawker (latest in Cornwall on Nov 4), Common Darter (latest 2 in Sussex on Nov 9 after 1 in Emsworth on Nov 8 and 19 in IoW on Nov 6)

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Painted Lady: One at Peasmarsh near Hastings on Nov 9

Small Tortoiseshell: Maybe last of year at Shoreham on Nov 5

Species reported this week:

Brimstone, Small White, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded during past week:

0464 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella found in Dorset on NOV 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5084

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0464.php

0656 Tachystola acroxantha found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5195

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0656.php

0697 (Brindled Flat-body), Agonopterix arenella found in Dorset on NOV 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5763

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0697.php

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

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

1395 Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=181

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1395.php

1524 Emmelina monodactyla found in Kent on NOV 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=592

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1524.php

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in Kent on NOV 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1100

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

1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata found in Dorset on NOV 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4948

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

1767 Pine Carpet Thera firmata found in Kent on NOV 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3085

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1767.php

1768 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=785

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1768.php

1769 Spruce Carpet Thera britannica found in Kent on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=696

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1769.php

1771a Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata found in Kent on NOV 08 - 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 found in Kent on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5984

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

1799 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata found in Kent on OCT 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

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

1923 Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria found in Kent on NOV 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1757

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

1984 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum found in Sussex on NOV 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2198

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

2087 Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=298

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

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=226

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2091.php

2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=117

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

2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=121

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2126.php

2227 The Sprawler Asteroscopus sphinx found in Dorset on NOV 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1801

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

2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra found in Kent on NOV 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6029

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

2237 Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus found in Kent on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5016

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2237.php

2240 Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri found in Kent on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1859

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2240.php

2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina found in Dorset on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2247.php

2262 The Brick Agrochola circellaris found in Dorset on NOV 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=220

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2262.php

2263 Red-line Quaker Agrochola lota found in Kent on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1128

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2263.php

2264 Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta found in Kent on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2264.php

2267 Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis found in Kent on NOV 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1736

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2267.php

2270 Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa found in Dorset on NOV 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1774

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

2272 Barred Sallow Xanthia aurago found in Dorset on NOV 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1735

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2272.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found in Dorset on NOV 07 - 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:

Caterpillars: Buff Ermine moth - what seems likely to be one of this species was seen on the wall of Brian Fellows house in Emsworth for several days this week - that is the only difficulty in identifying it since it should now be pupating in leaf litter.

Caterpillar poster: The Sussex Moth Group is planning to publish a poster showing all 45 species of Butterfly caterpillar to be found in Sussex but will not complete it until July of next year. Anyone with top quality photos of these caterpillars on their foodplant is asked to send them to caterpillars@bignature.co.uk

Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae): Still active at Durlston on Nov 6 along with several Hoverfly species

Brown-banded Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum): Still active in Brian Fellows Emsworth garden on Nov 8

Granary weevil (Sitophilus granarius): See http://www.rxwildlife.info/sightings/2012/11/7/an-unusual-weevil.html for an account (with photo) of how this species (normally found indoors in granaries) was found recently on a saltmarsh at Rye Harbour

Southern Oak Bush Cricket (Meconema meridionale): This species first appeared in Britain in 2001 and has spread widely since then, making its latest appearance at Folkestone on Nov 4 (where the announcement of its presence was accompanied by the question of how this flightless insect could have crossed the channel and spread widely here in England). For the answer see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/species-of-the-day/evolution/meconema-meridionale/distribution-habitat/index.html

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Sweet Violet: Two weeks ago I announced the find in Havant St Faith's churchyard of the first Sweet Violet flower of the new season, seemingly surprisingly early as I usually don't find them until Christmas time. This week I think I have discovered why I do not see them until later - the reason being that the flowers are attractive to Pigeons and Sparrows for the sugars in them and when few are emerging they tend to get eaten up as soon as they open (later their opening outpaces the hunger of the birds and some are left for us to enjoy). This theory is backed up by the fact that I saw one flower on Oct 25 and two on Oct 31 by which time the Pigeons had realised that they were good to eat and so when I next visited there were none to be seen.

Dove's Foot Cranesbill: Seen flowering by the Brockhampton stream in Havant on Nov 8 two months after my previous sighting of this common species

Ash die-back: For information about this and to find out how to report cases go to http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara (by way of an aside I see on this evening's Countryfile programme that Larch trees are the latest species to be undergoing a fungal attack making me wonder if there will be any trees left in Britain when Global warning brings about the demise of the Beech in southern England - we were warned to expect this some years ago as a result of higher temperatures drying out the upper layers of the soil which the shallow rooted Beeches rely on for their nourishment)

Hemlock: I was surprised to find a tall specimen covered with fresh flowers on Nov 8

Stone Parsley: Similary I came of several plants of this with fresh flowers on Nov 8

Greater Periwinkle: I had not seen this in flower since Aug 9 until I saw a single flower in Havant on Nov 8

Common Toadflax: I thought we had seen the last of this in flower on Oct 20 but came on a single flowerhead on Nov 5

Wall Speedwell: Another suprise this week was to see tiny blue flower buds on this species in Havant on Nov 7

Borage: This normally ceases to flower in September but I came on a cluster of plants in full flower in a 'semi-wild' Havant garden on Nov 5

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Mink: On Nov 6 a strange noise coming from a reed bed on the north edge of the Pevensey Levels turned out to be a Mink chewing up an Eel

Grey Seal: The onset of winter is possibly causing these to extend their hunting range - on Nov 9 one turned up unexpectedly at Christchurch Harbour

Fungus: On Nov 8 Durlston reported the colourful Scarlet Hood Waxcap seen on downland turf and Coral Spot on trees. Here in Havant another large cluster of Honey Fungus was found in Emsworth this week

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Oct 29 - Nov 4 (Week 44 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Late news not included in the summary below: On Nov 3 a party of 20 Avocet were seen in the Nutbourne Bay area east of Emsworth and were later reported as a flock of 19 at Stanbury Point on the east side of Thorney Island and also on Nov 3 a Hoopoe was seen at Studland in Dorset. Also on Nov 3 what I think are the first Lapwing to return to the Langstone village shore were seen and on Nov 4 the Red-breasted Goose was still at Farlington Marshes

Divers: Red-throated are now widespread in southern England with reports from seven sites and a max count of 7 in Christchurch Harbour on Oct 31. Black-throated were only seen once on the southern English coast (two of them at Dungeness on Oct 26 but on that same day there were 26 at Le Clipon near Calais just across the Channel. Great Northern were only seen at three southern English sites but Oct 27 brought a White-billed Diver to the North Sea shore at Whitburn in Co Durham

Grebes: The first substantial flock of Great Crested for the winter on English Channel water were 110 on the Normandie coast of France on Oct 28 when as many as six Red-Necked were at four Channel Sites. Slavonian were seen at six southern English sites including sightings on Oct 28 at Hengistbury Head (2), Shell Bay in Dorset (2), Lymington area (1). The first two Black-necked in Langstone Harbour were seen from the Oysterbeds on Nov 2 while a flock of 33 were off Knowle Beach at Studland in Dorset on Oct 30 with another two near Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour that day

Cattle Egret: One was at Colyford Marsh, Seaton, in Devon on Oct 28 and 30

Little Egret: Although I have not checked the Langstone Pond night roost since Sep 6 I walked past it at dusk on Oct 22 but could see no Egrets anywhere so it is possible they have ceased to use it as a night roost (though at least 8 were in nearby fields on the afternoon of Nov 1). Proof that they are still using trees near the Little Deeps on Thorney Island comes from Barry Collins who reported a night roost of 75 birds there on Oct 28

Great White Egret: It would seem that a few have arrived in southern England recently after reports of up to 72 in the Low Countries on Oct 27 - that day brought a newcomer to Itchenor (Christchurch Harbour) and another to the Cuckmere Valley in Sussex (neither stayed) while the fifth ever to be seen in the Scillies was there on Oct 25

Red-breasted Goose: The bird which arrived at Farlington Marshes on Oct 25 was still there on Nov 4 and seems to be the only one currently in southern England

Shelduck: These are still 'dribbling' back into southern England - in this week's news Oct 27 saw 8 passing Dungeness and a flock of in Newtown Harbour (IoW) with another 10 passing Dungeness on Oct 28

Pintail: On Oct 31 there were more than 150 in the Exe estuary in Devon after a potential total of 1615 in the Calais area on Oct 26

Pochard: These are also returning with 39 in the Kent Stour Valley on Oct 28 when 6 were in Christchurch Harbour. On Oct 29 more than 12 were on Ivy Lake at Chichester and Nov 1 Bembridge Pond on the Isle of Wight had 21

Long-tailed Duck: One reached the Dorset coast on Oct 28 and was in Weymouth Bay on Oct 29

Surf Scoter: One has been on the north Devon coast among a flock of Common Scoter for at least three days from Oct 28 to 30

Velvet Scoter: A flock of 14 went past Christchurch Harbour on Oct 28 and a total of 52 were off the Netherlands on Oct 30 (when one was seen at Selsey Bill)

Goldeneye: These are appearing at last - after 30 were seen in the Netherlands on Oct 26 three turned up in Hampshire at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood on Oct 28 and singles have since been seen in Devon, Dorset, Isle of Wight and Kent

Red-breasted Merganser: The first migrant returnees were two at Dungeness on Oct 5 with a surge of 127 in the Netherlands on Oct 12 and since then small numbers have been seen in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset and Devon with one reaching the Scillies on Oct 18. Still no large number - 12 one the Exe estuary in Devon on Oct 23 and 16 in Portsmouth Harbour on Oct 20

Goosander: The number on the Blashford Lakes at Ringwood had risen to 36 by Nov 2 but these may all be ones that have spent the summer locally and one seen flying past Worthing on Oct 27 was going east so may be leaving us rather than arriving from the north

Osprey: Still 2 in the Netherlands on Oct 28 but none in England this week

Merlin: One of the many now with us was killed by a Sparowhawk on the New Forest shore on Oct 30

Hobby: None left in England but one was seen in Belgium on Oct 28

Coot: For those who love these there were 186 in Christchurch Harbour on Oct 28 and no doubt winter flocks are massing on other coastal sites

Common Crane: A total of 4080 was reported in the Netherlands on Oct 27 and part of that movement brought three to fly over Dorset that day

Avocet: The number on the Exe estuary in Devon was up to 190+ on Nov 2 and 11 had been seen in Pagham Harbour on Oct 28 so the first winter flock reported in Chichester Harbour (20 at Nutbourne Bay on Nov 3) was not unexpected

Stone Curlew: A late departing migrant was heard over Portland on Oct 26

Golden Plover: A new peak count of 2,500 wintering birds was reported from north Kent on Oct 29 while nearer home there were 230 in Newtown Harbour (IoW) on Oct 27 and up to 120 have been seen at the Bunny Meadows near the mouth of the River Hamble

Lapwing: The first to be seen on the Langstone village shore were there on Nov 3 but Rye Harbour had a flock of 300 by Nov 1

Purple Sandpiper: The first to be seen at Southsea Castle in Portsmouth were three there on Oct 30 but they have been back on the Kent coast since Oct 13

Spotted Redshank: The single bird which has been returning to Nore Barn on the Emsworth shore since Dec 2004 suddenly become two and then three this week but this is still not in the same league as the Lymington shore where a total of 14 were present on Oct 28. See http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/x-spotted-redshank.htm for details of sightings there

Lesser Black-back Gull: The number spending the night at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood in winter months is always high and on Oct 30 some 4500 had returned there after feeding in fields across a large inland area. With them were around 3500 Black Headed

Sandwich Tern: I think all the migrants have now left and ones seen recently will stay with us through the winter. On Oct 27 one was seen on the Emsworth shore at Nore Barn, on Oct 29 three were in the south of Langstone Harbour and one was in the Harbour mouth on Nov 2 while on Oct 30 one was on the Lymington shore. Porbable late migrants this week were two Common Terns seen in the Netherlands and single Arctic Terns seen at Dungeness on Oct 27 and at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 29

Little Auk: A surge of birds headin south on Oct 27 and 28 brought 534 to our North Sea coast on the 27th and 959 on the 28th

Stock Dove: Counts of more than 100 have come from seversl English sites since Oct 26 with a peak of 420 passing Dungeness on Oct 28

Woodpigeon: On Oct 27 a major passage occurred with 5,000 seen in the Beachy Head area, increasing to 12,000 over Dorset and 20,000 over Devon

Bee Eater: One was seen over Swanage in Dorset on Oct 28 and was seen again nearby on Oct 29 and 30

Wryneck: Two late birds were at Portland on Oct 26

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Singles were seen at Fleet (north Hampshire) on Oct 29 and at the Arundel Wildfowl Reserve on Oct 30 - worth keeping your eyes open elsewhere?

Shore Lark: One seen in the Eastbourne area on Oct 30 (Hailsham and Cuckmere Haven)

Sand Martin: Last seen in England at Worthing on Oct 27

Swallow: We have not seen the last yet - 17 were seen at Durlston on Nov 1, 8 on the north Kent coast on Nov 2 with 7 there on Nov 3 (among many more lesser reports)

House Martin: Fewer than Swallows but still being seen daily to Nov 3 (in Devon)

Yellow Wagtail: What was probably the last was one at Bexhill on Oct 31

Waxwing: After an isolated report in the Netherlands on Sep 26 more regular reports started on Oct 22 with 30 'in the north' (Scotland?) Southern England had its first on Oct 27 in Sussex and another was on the north Kent coast on Oct 28. Oct 30 brought a total of 19 to the Norfolk coast and ten more were in Scotland on Oct 31 with two at Truro in Cornwall on Nov 3

Black Redstart: This week's news includes 16 reports with up to 41 birds in the Scillies on Oct 29 while local reports have come from Hayling Island, the Bedhampton area of Havant and the West Dean Woods north of Chichester

Common Redstart: Lates report is of one at Portland on Nov 2.

Wheatear: The last report I have seen was of one on Hayling Island on Oct 29

Desert Wheatear: The Worthing seafront bird has not been seen since Oct 26 but one turned up in Dorset at the West Lulworth Army Camp on Oct 27

Ring Ouzel: Nine were still seen at 4 sites on Nov 1 and Nov 2 brought reports of two at Durlston and one on Butser Hill near Petersfield.

Blackbird: Vast numbers still fleeing Europe - e.g. a potential total of 4130 birds at 8 Netherlands sites on Oct 28 and more than 350 on the north Kent coast on Oct 29

Fieldfare: Oct 26 saw a potential total of 73,484 at 23 sites in the Netherlands and Oct 29 brought a count of 3,000 from the Kent Stour Valley among many smaller numbers. Most recent was 50 at Thurlestone Marsh in south Devon on Nov 3

Song Thrush: Reports dried up at the end of October but among the last was a report of one in full song at Pett on Rye Bay

Redwing: Among many reports Oct 28 saw 3000 pass over the Aldershot/Fleet area as part of a potential total of 6,090 from four sites that day. Oct 29 brought a report of 400 in the Kent Stour Valley. On Nov 1 there were 40 at St Catherine's Hill at Winchester and on Nov 3 there were at the Exe estuary in south Devon

Blackcap: Two Devon sites (one on Dartmoor) reported their first winter garden Blackcaps slightly earlier than last year on Nov 1 and 2

Bearded Tit: Some autumn migration is under way - on Oct 29 two arrived out of the sky at the north Kent Oare Marshes and on Oct 27 there were 7 newly arrived birds at Christchurch Harbour

Penduline Tit: Some of these have also been on the move with one at Minsmere in Norfolk on Oct 27, one over Dungeness on Oct 28 and maybe that bird arriving at the Oare Marshes near Faversham on Oct 30

Chough: One was added to the Scillies list on Oct 30, presumably after flying from Cornwall (so maybe others are moving in search of new territories for the future?)

Jackdaw: The large numbers still arriving from Europe for the most part go unobserved but a local sighting on Oct 28 was of 350 flying west over Selsey Bill

Rook: An arrival of 46 on the Norfolk coast on Oct 29 shows that these are not as sedentary as most people think

Starling: Just under 50,000 arrived from the continent on each of Oct 28 and 29 while the night roost in south Devon numbered over 250,000 birds on Oct 30

Twite: The number heading south is increasing with reports from 5 sites this week - on Oct 29 there were 16 at a Yorkshire site and another 13 seen at Dungeness

Bullfinch: This year seems to have seen an explosion in their numbers and this week there were 15 on St Catherine's Hill at Winchester on Nov 1, 14 at Dibden Bay on Southampton Water on Oct 28 and 25 at Durlston on Oct 30

Vagrants: One of the more unusual arrivals this week was of an American Bobolink in the Shetlands on Oct 28 while on Oct 27 Portland had a visit from an Egyptian Vulture

Foreign Birds: With two of our local Three Amigos recently birdwatching in the southern hemisphere while on naval duties (Steve Copsey in South Africa and Mark Cutts in the Falklands - Mark is now back and has added photos of the Farlington Red-breasted Goose to their blog) I have listed the various species they have seen recently to encourage more people to visit their blog where they can enjoy excellent photos of most of the species and a good descriptive text - see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/

In South Africa Steve has seen Greater Striped Swallow, Grey-headed Sparrow, Mountain Chat and Masked Weavers and Acacia Pied Barbet, Fairy Flycatcher, Pririt Batis, two Tit-babblers (Chestnut-vented and Layard’s), Southern Pale-chanting Goshawk, Spike-heeled Lark, Karoo Eromomela as well as two desert loving Chats (Tractrac and Karoo), Verreaux’s Eagles pair nesting, African Black Swifts, Rock Martins and a Familiar Chat, Rock kestrel and Yellow-billed Kite, Spotted Thick-knee, Fiscal Flycatcher, Common Fiscal Shrike, Karoo Lark, Cape Sparrow and Bokmakierie plus Grey-winged Francolin, Bank and Crowned Cormorants, Swift and Sandwich Tern, Black-shouldered Kite, Yellow-billed Kite and Black Harrier, Red-knobbed Coot, Cape Shoveler, Great White Pelican, Red Bishop, Brimstone Canary and White-throated Swallow, Spotted Eagle-owl, Thick-billed, Red-capped and Cape Clapper Larks in Karoo Desert, Namaqua Warbler, Common Waxbill, Lark-like Bunting and Karoo Prinia

In the Falklands Mark has seen Magellanic Oystercatcher, Blackish Oystercatcher, Magellanic Snipe with other wader species to follow

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

All sightings are now notable!

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker (latest on Oct 30), Brown Hawker (Folkestone on Oct 30), Migrant Hawker (Essex on Nov 1), Common Darter (Havant on Nov 2), Beautiful Demoiselle (Cornwall on Oct 30)

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Species reported this week:

Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma and Speckled Wood

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

With the moth season going into hibernation I have not limited this weeks species list to 'first of season' reports

0389 Apple Leaf Skeletonizer Choreutis pariana found in Dorset on OCT 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3868

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0389.php

0464 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella found in Dorset on OCT 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5084

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0464.php

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana found in Dorset on NOV 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4388

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

1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella found in Dorset on OCT 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1793

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

1631 December Moth Poecilocampa populi found in Kent on OCT 30 - 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 Orthonama obstipata found in Dorset on OCT 30 - 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 found in Dorset on NOV 02 - 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 found in Kent on OCT 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1813

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

1848 Angle-barred Pug Eupithecia innotata found in Kent on OCT 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3104

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1848.php

2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon found in Dorset on OCT 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=226

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2091.php

2119 Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia found in Dorset on OCT 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=791

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2119.php

2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra found in Dorset on OCT 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6029

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

2237 Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus found in Kent on OCT 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5016

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2237.php

2245 Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae found in Dorset on NOV 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1764

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

2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina found in Kent on OCT 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2247.php

2246a Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula found in Dorset on OCT 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5610

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2246a.php

2255 Feathered Ranunculus Polymixis lichenea found in Dorset on OCT 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=319

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2255.php

2262 The Brick Agrochola circellaris found in Dorset on OCT 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=220

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2262.php

2272 Barred Sallow Xanthia aurago found in Dorset on OCT 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1735

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2272.php

2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma found in Dorset on NOV 01 - 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:

Eristalis pertinax Hoverfly: Brian Fellows got an excellent close photo of this species at Emsworth on Nov 3. A good site for starting to identify a species that you do not recognise is http://www.naturespot.org.uk/content/species-library and another is http://www.uknature.co.uk/ (both of them have a good selection of Hoverfly photos.

Eristalis tenax (Drone fly): This is another Hoverfly species on the wing for most of the year (and hibernating through the winter) - one was flying at Durlston on Oct 30

Hornet: Last sighting that I know of was at Isfield near Lewes on Oct 28 (typically on Ivy flowers)

Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae): Still flying at Durlston on Oct 30

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Pale Flax: Plenty of flowers still to be seen this week (119 species recorded in flower), among them a single flower of Pale Flax seen on Portsdown on Oct 30

Cow Parsley: Freshly flowering plants seen at Warblington on Nov 1 and in Havant on Nov 2

Dog's Mercury: I do not expect to see this in flower until after Christmas but I found more than one plant starting to flower in Pook Lane at Warblington on Nov 1 - see photos at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0111

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Water Vole: A sighting on Oct 27 of a Water Vole munching Water Cress in broad daylight in the central Havant pond beside the main road into Havant from the A27 (opposite the turning into Solent Road where the Havant TESCO is sited) was very surprising but the description did not fit that of a Brown Rat, the only species likely to be confused with Water Vole, so I searched the Internet for evidence that Water Voles do wander away from the places where they are normally seen and found it in a BBC article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19503827 and this confirms that they do occasionally travel long distances. A study of small isolated groups of these Voles in Scotland showed that younger animals which, for whatever reason, feel the need to leave their family and its limited territorial area of few hundred square metres, would wander several kilometres before settling down in a new territory - the longest recorded journey in this limited study was one of 15 kilometres. This study shows that occasional sightings of Water Voles in places where there is no known established colony of them are probably of individual animals engaged in these youthful wanderings and , although not stated in the summary published on the BBC website, the autumn seems the most likely time for such journeys to take place (when young born earlier that year have grown sufficiently to travel and are most likely to feel the urge to do so before they are stuck at home for the winter).

The pond where this sighting was made is a likely place for a Vole to pause in its travels after coming up the Langbrook Stream and, after passing under the A27, taking a right turn off the narrowing main stream north of the 'Water Wheel' into the less polluted water of the minor stream which flows out from the Homewell Spring near St Faith's Church. After coming to a dead end there the Vole might well have turned back and decided to stock up on food while wondering where to go next.

Grey Seal: Birds such as Cormorants and Heron are sometimes seen struggling with eels, trying to get one end of the eel into their bill after which they can eventually swallow it but on Nov 3 an even more titanic struggle was seen on the north Devon coast between a Grey Seal and a metre long Conger Eel - the outcome was not seen

Fungi: Species found this week include a troop of Tricholoma ustale (Burnt Knight) under Willows in the Palmers Road Copse (Brook Meadow) in Emsworth (see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x954-fungi-zz-palmers-rc-bm-29.10.12.jpg ) and some Agrocybe cylindracea (Poplar Fieldcap) on an unnamed tree in the same area (see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-x950-agrocybe-cylindr-02.11.12.jpg ). In my garden lawn Snowy Waxcaps (Hygrocybe virginea) have come up alongside Meadow and Parrot Waxcaps while Parrot Waxaps have also appeared in Havant Cemetery. In Pook Lane at Warblington I came on a good show of Clustered Bonnet (Mycena inclinata) - see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#0111 - later in that same outing I came on what I have called Bramble Oysterling (Crepidotus pubescens) near Nore Barn and a probable old example of Chicken of the Wood (Laetiporus sulphureus) on a big Oak tree.

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Oct 22 - 28 (Week 43 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: The count of 76 Red-throated at a Netherlands site on Oct 13 has not brought similar numbers to the English coast but on Oct 26 there were 10 at Reculver on the north Kent coast. Black-throated only brought one to the north Kent coast and one to Christchurch while reports of Great Northern were limited to singles at Portland (Oct 21) and two in the Scillies (Oct 22)

Grebes: The first Little Grebes I have seen in Langstone harbour this winter were two off the Budds Farm shore on Oct 22 but the variety of species is increasing. A Red-necked was at Dungeness on Oct 26 and two Slavonian were seen at Selsey on Oct 21 with another at Studland in Dorset on Oct 24 - latest news is of one on the Lymington shore on Oct 28. Black-necked were seen at Dungeness and Christchurch while Studland had 14 of them on Oct 24

Bittern: Blashford Lakes had their first of the winter on Oct 25 and Devon had its first on Oct 12

Great White Egret: Nothing special in southern England but Belgium had 14 at one site on Oct 22 when the potential total from 31 continental sites reporting them that day was 193

Grey Heron: I know that this species is semi-migratory but I was surprised to see that Christchurch had 12 comng in off the sea on Oct 22

Glossy Ibis: Two were at Sennen near Lands End on Oct 23 (4 were there on Oct 12) and there has been some movement this week with with one flying over Aveton Gifford in Devon and another over Christchurch

Spoonbill: Two have been moving around in Hampshire - on Oct 23 one flew west over Gosport and on Oct 24 two flew west over Titchfield Haven with maybe the same two flying west over the Blashford Lakes that day

Whooper Swan: One probably remains at the Exe estuary as do six in the Scillies but new arrivals in Scotland totalled 40 on Oct 24 and 31 (after some dispersal) on Oct 25 when there was a newcomer at The Lizard in Cornwall

'Lesser Canada Goose': The first report of a small race Canada Goose in southern England this winter was of one at the Lower Test Marshes near Southampton on Oct 20

Dark-bellied Brent: These are still arriving (1470 past Dungeness on Oct 26) and families with young are usually among the later arrivals (having stopped more often to feed en route) but it seems unlikely that this will turn out to be anything but a poor year for their breeding. So far Brian Fellows count of 7 young among a flock of 41 birds on the Emsworth shore seems to be the most optimistic indicator but again it probably reflects the fact that family groups do not remain in the big flocks that tend to stay out in the middle of the harbours but head to places such as the Emsworth shore where there is more exposed mud with eel grass to feed the youngsters. The WeBS count at West Wittering on Oct 27 recorded a flock of 1160 Brent of which only 14 were young.

Black Brant: Two are probably still in the Weymouth area where one arrived on Oct 10 to be joined by a second on Oct 18. Another arrived in Portsmouth Harbour on Oct 12 and seems to have then flown to Chichester Harbour where it was seen on Oct 14. This weekend an adult was seen at West Wittering accompanied by a couple of hybrids (probably all related to each other) but it is not clear if this group includes the Oct 14 bird.

Red-breasted Goose: The bird which arrived on the north Kent coast on Oct 14 has not been reported there since Oct 23 and it may have flown west to be the bird seen on the Lymington shore on Oct 24 and the absence of further reports from Lymington makes it possible that this individual headed back east on Oct 25 to be seen grazing on Farlington Marshes (from where it flew east into oblivion). Since then the only report has been on one in Argyll (Scotland) which I presume to be a new individual.

Shelduck: The only report for this week is of 28 on the Emsworth shore on Oct 22

Pochard: The arrival of 12 birds at Eastleigh Lakeside site on Oct 23 is as good as it gets (though there were 68 in the Kent Stour valley on Oct 13)

Scaup: One has been lurking at Christchurch Harbour since Oct 1 and at least one has been at the Exe estuary in Devon since Oct 7. More recent news is of three on Ivy Lake at Chichester on Oct 27 after a flock of nine were seen at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on Oct 25

Eider: Numbers increasing slowly with nine on the sea off Pagham Harbour on Oct 23 and eleven at Christchurch on Oct 24, then 110 at Filey Brigg (Yokshire) on Oct 25

Velvet Scoter: On Oct 25 thirteen were off the Yorkshire coast, four off North Kent and three at Christchurch. On Oct 28 four flew east along the north coast of the Isle of Wight

Goldeneye: Still no real arrival off southern England. On Oct 27 one was at the Blashford Lakes (first there) and three were in Pagham Harbour

Red-breasted Merganser: Also very few so far with a maximum of 16 in Portsmouth Harbour on Oct 20 and 12 at the Exe estuary in Devon on Oct 23 when five were in Pagham Harbour (on Oct 24 two were on the sea near Titchfield Haven). Latest news is of 10 in Portsmouth Harbour on Oct 28

Osprey: One was still at Warnham near Horsham on Oct 25

Red Footed Falcon: One was reported at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight on Oct 24 and 25

Hobby: One was still at Rye Harbour on Oct 25

Grey Partridge: Red-legs are well known for appearing in unexpected places but on Oct 24 one was happily searching for food in the small garden of a terraced house at Steyning (north of Worthing). On the previous day the first two autumn arrivals were seen in the Climping area of the coast west of Worthing

Water Rail: Winter birds seem to be turning up at southern sites with two at the Eastleigh Lakes on Oct 24 and one parading outside the visitor area window at the RSPB Pulborough Brooks site on Oct 25 (maybe the same bird that was trained to show itself to visitors there last winter by laying a trail of food for it on the open grass next to a reed bed).

Spotted Crake: The first to be reported since Oct 11 was seen in the Scillies on Oct 24

Common Crane: On Oct 26 one flew over the Cuckmere valley in east Sussex and five flew east along the north Kent shore

Stone Curlew: On Oct 13 one was heard flying over Christchurch Harbour

Golden Plover: The flock at Rye Harbour now numbers over 1000 but only three were at Titchfield Haven this week and just one was at Climping on the west Sussex shore

Lapwing: The biggest counts reported from the south coast this week were 43 at Christchurch Harbour, 40+ on the Exe estuary in Devon and 280 in the whole of the New Forest while just across the water there were potentially 12,000 in the Netherlands and 9,000 in Belgium

Purple Sandpiper: This week's reports were of one in north Kent, two at Brighton marina and one at Folkestone

Woodcock: This week brought reports from eight south coast sites with a peak of 11 in the Scillies on Oct 24. I wonder how many of them were welcomed with gunshot from 'sportsmen'?

Grey Phalarope: On Oct 28 one was seen on the Lymington shore. Also this week one was seen in the Scillies and another on the north Kent coast

Ring-billed Gull: The regular winter resident of the Gosport 'Cockle Pond' arrived back on Oct 21

Common Gull: Reports of more than 500 in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester on Oct 18 followed by 700+ there on Oct 23 suggest that the reporter needs to attend a course on gull identification - these numbers must surely be counts of Black-headed Gulls which are the common species of gull here on the south coast

Black Tern: One was still to be seen at Spurn Head on the Yorkshire coast on Oct 25 (and a Common Tern was in Christchurch Harbour on the same day - will these soon start to winter here with the Sandwich Terns?)

Auk species: Dungeness reported a mixed bag of 428 Guillemots and Razorbills on Oct 25

Little Auk: 5 were seen at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on Oct 25 and on Oct 27one was at Reculver on the north Kent coast (accompanied by a single Puffin)

Stock Dove: We should be seeing more of these soon. On Oct 15 Dungeness was the first site to report a three figure count with just 100. By Oct 27 Folkestone had 150 and Seaford recorded 150+

Wood Pigeon: Plenty of these have already reached southern England (e.g 4120 over Seaford on Oct 24 and around 5,000 there on Oct 27 when Durlston reported 10,000) but on Oct 22 one site in Belgium had 51,750 (and a potential total of 322,843 at 18 sites) after a German site had had 144,235 on Oct 19 (with a 19 site portential total of 943,496)

Ring-necked Parakeets: The onset of winter weather seems to have brought these out of hiding at a couple of 'out of London' sites - Swanage in Dorset reported 11 on Oct 20 and Bexhill near Hastings produced a single on Oct 21

Long-eared Owls: A few of these are now arriving in southern England in addition to the many Short-eared. Two Long-eared were at Portland on Oct 25 after singles had been seen at three other sites (Dungeness, Reculver and Lands End)

Short-eared Owls: Reports from eight sites this week include two birds at the east end of the Thorney Island Great Deeps, two at Farlington Marshes and 8 at Portland

Wryneck: Still one at Lands End on Oct 21 and one at Portland on Oct 24

Skylark: The shortage of these seems to be ending. This week flocks of 120 were seen at Climping, 163 at Christchurch, 175 at Reculver in Kent and 200 at Steyning north of Worthing

Shorelark: One still at Reculver on Oct 24

Sand Martin: 4 at Worthing on Oct 27

Swallow: Latest were 25 at Folkestone on Oct 27 after 160 over Sandy Point on Hayling on Oct 24

House Martin: 41 at Christchurch on Oct 24 and 2 at Seaford on Oct 27

Olive-backed Pipit: On Oct 23 RBA reported sightings in 8 counties and 1 was still in Cornwall and another in the Scillies on Oct 24

Pechora Pipit: There had been one previous sighting on Shetland on Sep 21 before one was seen at Portland on Oct 26. This has probably come for the tundra east of Russia

Rock Pipit: Of local interest two or three were back on the South Moors shore at Langstone on Oct 22. They are now widespread winter residents in southern England

Water Pipit: Singles have now been seen at six sites in southern England including one in the Titchfield area on Oct 21 after one had been seen nearby south of Fareham on Oct 18

Yellow Wagtail: What may well be the last two sightings in England for this year were two birds at Portland on Oct 22 and one at Start Point in Devon on Oct 23

Waxwing: A report of one feeding on Hawthorn Haws in East Sussex near Hailsham on Oct 27 met with some scepticism from me as it was the first report I had seen from anywhere in the British Isles but I subsequently heard that 30 birds had been seen somewhere in the north of the British Isles as early as Oct 22

Robin: These continue to pour into England from the continent, mostly going un-noticed as migrants except where they are seen arriving on the coast (e.g.180 at Sandwich Bay on Oct 22 and 70 at Christchurch on Oct 24)

Red-flanked Bluetail: With memories of the bird that was at Sandy Point on Hayling for several days around Oct 21 in 2010 a report of one in Norfolk on Oct 24 roused hopes of a local repitition which has not yet been reported.

Black Redstart: These have turned up on Hayling - three at Sandy Point on Oct 23 and one at the Inn on the Beach on Oct 24. Others are now widespread in southern England

Common Redstart: Latest sighting was of one at Pagham Harbour on Oct 24

Whinchat: Also still here this week the latest sighting was of two at Sandwich Bay on Oct 25

Stonechat: 148 were found in the New Forest on Oct 20,21 and on Oct 23 there was a Siberian race bird at Birling Gap on Beachy Head followed by another at Portland on Oct 25

Wheatear: The last sighting I have recorded is of one at Hook near Warsash on Oct 24

Desert Wheatear: One was found on the Worthing shore on Oct 24 and was still there on Oct 25. For photos see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/dessertification.html and http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/operation-desert-wheatear.html

Ring Ouzel: No shortage of these with over 20 reports this week including five reports on Oct 25

Blackbird: Among many reports of continental birds arriving Portland reported an estimated 1000 there on Oct 22 - on Oct 23 Sandy Point on Hayling had 80.

Fieldfare: Oct 22 brought a mass invasion of these across the North Sea to Yorkshire where some 9000 were reported - this was in addition to the smaller numbers that have been entering southern England since mid September

Song Thrush: Only 800 arrived in Yorkshire on Oct 22 when 'hundreds' arrived from the south at Portland

Redwing: Around 21,000 came into Yorkshire across the North Sea on Oct 22 while the influx to southern England conitnued (on the foggy morning of Oct 24 many of their corpses were lying on the ground under a south Devon Lighthouse at Slapton Ley)

Mistle Thrush: On the weekend of Oct 20,21 a total of 125 were found in the New Forest and on Oct 23 a total of 27 were found on the shore west of Selsey Bill

Dartford Warbler: The Oct 20,21 survey of the New Forest found 113 there - a very low count to be starting a potentially very cold forthcomng winter

Lesser Whitethroat: One was still at Bishopstoke near Eastleigh on Oct 24

Garden Warbler: The last I know of was one at Portland on Oct 22

Pallas' Warbler: The first and so far only British report for this year is of one at Folkestone on Oct 20 and 21

Dusky Warbler: In addition to one in the Shetlands on Oct 12 one was found in southern England (at Reculver on the north Kent coast) on Oct 22

Goldcrest: Continental birds continue to arrive in large numbers - a peak count of 100 at Dungeness on Oct 20, 80 at Christchurch on Oct 24, 60 at Sandwich Bay on Oct 22 and 55 at Durlston on Oct 22, etc..

Firecrest: Small numbers compared to the Goldcrest - max was 12+ in Dorset (several sites) on Oct 20. One that did reach Portsmouth was found dead on the ground on Oct 25 after flying into a window near the Guildhall (perhaps fleeing a Sparrowhawk?)

Flycatchers: Reports from the Scillies of Pied Flycatcher up to Oct 21, Spotted Flycatcher up to Oct 24 and Red-breasted Flycatcher also up to Oct 24 (which is the latest date currently available online so the birds may still be there)

Daurian Shrike: This Chinese race of Isabelline Shrike arrived at Portland on Oct 23 and was still there on Oct 25

Red-backed Shrike: One was at the Lizard in Cornwall on Oct 20 and 21

Great Grey Shrike: RBA reported one 'somewhere in England' on Sep 25 but it was not seen again. The next was in Shetland on Oct 17 but that's all so far for the UK. Oct 19 seems to have brought a total of 16 into the Low Countries but reports have dried up since then

Hooded Crow: The first of the winter in England was at Spurn Head in Yorkshire on Oct 25

Starling: The season of nightly 'murmurations' has started with more than 10,000 birds at Thurlestone Bay (South Devon) on Oct 25. On Oct 24 more than 6,000 were at Weston-super-mare.

Chaffinch: Weston-super-mare also reported the highest number of these (5,200) on Oct 25 and on Oct 24 Sandy Point on Hayling recorded the arrival of 376 heading north-east

Brambling: 2000 arrved in Yorkshire across the North Sea on Oct 22 but smaller numbers were still coming into southern England (Oct 25 brought 65 to Reculver in north Kent and 58 to Weston-super-mare in Somerset)

Goldfinch: Large numbers still circulating in southern England with a max of 11,550 over Christchurch on Oct 24 (plus 6200 Linnet there that day)

Hawfinch: Reports of birds passing through 9 southern English sites this week including 2 arriving off the sea at Sandy Point (Hayling) on Oct 24

Snow Bunting: One was on Tennyson Down (Isle of Wight) on Oct 22 and 23 while others have been seen at Sandwich Bay, Folkestone and Reculver in Kent, with others in Dorset, Cornwall and the Scillies

Non-British Birds: Followers of the Three Amigos blog ( http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ ) have this week enjoyed photos and news of the following birds in the south Atlantic - Red-billed Tropicbirds, Black-browed, Shy, Wandering and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Ostrich, Cape Cormorant, Cape Bunting, Cape Bulbuls, Cape Robin Chat, Southern Boubou, White-necked Raven, Red-winged Starling, Great Shearwater, Kelp Gull. Wilson's Petrel. White-Chinned Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, African Black Oystercatchers.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Black Darter: One in Anglesey on Oct 21 - first sighting since Oct 6

Red-veined Darter: Two still in Cornwall on Oct 22

Beautiful Demoiselle: One in Cornwall on Oct 25 was the first seen since Sep 3

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Black Darter, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Beautiful Demoiselle

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

None

Species reported this week:

Large White, Small White, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Comma and Speckled Wood

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0321 Phyllonorycter messaniella found in Kent on OCT 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=904

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0321.php

0483 Epermenia chaerophyllella found in Dorset on OCT 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1931

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0483.php

0656 Tachystola acroxantha found in Dorset on OCT 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5195

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0656.php

0994 Clepsis consimilana found in Dorset on OCT 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=588

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

1769 Spruce Carpet Thera britannica found in Dorset on OCT 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=696

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1769.php

1937 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria found in Dorset on OCT 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=582

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1937.php

2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens found in Dorset on OCT 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=224

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

2259 Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula found in Dorset on OCT 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1112

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

2264a Southern Chestnut Agrochola haematidea found in Hampshire on OCT 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2522

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2264a.php

2478 Bloxworth Snout Hypena obsitalis found in Dorset on OCT 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4354

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2478.php

 

Also of interest was a sighting of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on Buddleia at Storrington in Sussex on Oct 22 and another of one dead in a Hampshire Lavender Bush on Oct 24. A good number of these do successfully hibernate in Britain

The Dorset moths website also published a report of an unusual number of Fox Moth caterpillars seen on the Dorset Heaths this week (many of them parasitised)

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Scorpion Fly: One seen on Oct 23 at Swalecliffe in north Kent was was the first I have heard of since June

Drone Fly: This hoverfly regularly hibernates and was happily feeding on Ivy blossom this week up to Oct 27

Ivy Bee: Also enjoying Ivy this week and active to Oct 24 at least

Speckled Bush Cricket: Seen at Dungeness on Oct 23

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Common Polypody: This was added to the Emsworth Brook Meadow list with a find there this week. It was also among many plants recorded at St Faith's Church in Havant on Oct 23 (see http://ralph-hollins.net/Cemeteries.htm#F2310 for an account of the finds with photos)

Sweet Violet: The very first flower of next spring was out in St Faith's Churchyard on Oct 25

Glasswort Species: These are now starting to add a red colour to the mud flats of our harbours

Ash tree dieback: There is probably little we can do about this except express opinions such as those of Cliff Dean in his blog at http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/ash-crash-splash/

Burnet Saxifrage: Three freshly flowering plants in St Faith;s churchyard were a surprise find this week

Cross-leaved Heath: This was still flowering in Havant Thicket on Oct 27

Common Centaury: Also still flowering at Durlston on Oct 27

White Comfrey: A plant still flowering at St Faith's church on Oct 23 enabled me to learn how to differentiate if from 'whte flowered' plants of Common Comfrey

Cleavers (Goosegrass): A single plant flowering at St Faith's church yard on Oct 23

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Stoat: Many years ago I heard the screams of a Rabbit being killed by a Stoat and then watched the Stoat dragging the dead Rabbit away from the scene and I was amazed by the strength and persistence with which the Stoat surmounted the obstacles in its path (such as the trunk of a fallen mature Beech tree) so my eye was drawn to a report in this week's bird news from Devon in which the observer saw a Stoat kill a Rabbit only six feet from where he was standing.

Water Vole: A sighting of two in the River Ems at Brook Meadow brought the tally of reports of this species at that site this year to 199 - who will make the 200th observation?

Black Grey Squirrel: John Goodspeed's website has a report for Oct 20 of a black coated Grey Squirrel at Purbrook Heath in the Waterlooville area. We have had plenty of sightings of white coated Grey Squirrels in the Portsmouth area going back for around 30 years (and even more of black rabbits) but I think this is the first report of a Black Squirrel. I was aware that this variation was not uncommon in parts of east Anglia but when, in response to this new sighting, I checked on the current status of Black Squirrels in England I was surprised to see how widespread they now are. Go to http://blacksquirrelproject.org/node/22 and click 'View Black Sightings' to get a map of the UK showing that they have been seen in (I think) every English County with around 20 sightings in southern Scotland 4 in northern Ireland (and at least four in the Portsmouth area). It also has a link for anyone to report sightings. For more background info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_squirrel which shows that they are common in the USA, and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2093826/Black-squirrel-Nationwide-hunt-100-years-introduced.html which, in true tabloid style, predicts that the Greys are about to be wiped out by the Blacks

Noctule Bat: The RX (Rye Bay) website reports the finding of a dead Noctule under the walls of Camber Castle on Oct 22 - no cause of death is given or suggested. Also in this week's news a cross channel migrant bat (species not given) was seen flying in on the Kent coast.

Newts heading back to breeding ponds: At Northiam (north of Hastings) Brian Banks has recorded Palmate Newts close to a pond towards which they may have been heading although this is a very early date for them to start breeding. Last year Brian found the first Common Newts in a pond on Nov 30 but Palmates did not turn up there until Jan 12.

Lapidary Snail: I am delighted to see that Graeme Lyons has recovered from the exhaustion induced by his race to tick 4,000 species and is now back in the chase (which benefits us all through his blog at http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/ ) The arrival of a Desert Wheatear on the Worthing shore (which became his 4095th species) has helped get him back to his blog as has the excitement of the Fungus season and at the end of the Fungi reported in http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/nice-n-spicy.html is a photo of this snail species which I will be watching out for.

Fungi: We are now fully into the fungus season and this was emphasised by the number of species seen in Havant Thicket on Oct 27 by the Havant Wildlife Group and the increasing number of reports from other sources. The first Fly Agaric was reported on Oct 15 from the Bixley Wood north of Hastings and others were seen this week in the Hollybank Woods north of Emswworth and on Oct 27 in Havant Thicket as were colourful Amethyst Deceiver, Red-cracking Boletus (or was it Boletus chrysenteron?), the less common Bloodred Webcap (Cortinarius sanguineus) and the smaller Yellow Stagshorn (Calocera viscosa) and its black and white version - Candlesnuff Fungus. Other common species in Havant Thicket were the False Death Cap (Amanita citrina) and Sulphur Tuft plus Common Earthball. Not all the fungi found in Havant Thicket could be confidently named and one very small white bracket on a tree stump is probably the Oyster Rollrim (once called Paxillus panuoides but now called Tapinella panuoides)

In central Havant St Faith's Churchyard produced an increasing crop of a Melanoleuca species (for some reason this genus have been given the English name of 'Cavalier') which I think is Melanoleuca arcuata - photos appear towards the end of http://ralph-hollins.net/Cemeteries.htm#F2310 Also among to my local finds this week was the first sight of a large toadstool that should soon be common in fields now bare of their crops and it is called the Stubble Rosegill (once known as Volvariella speciosa but now called V. gloiocephala ). A more interesting find, growing from the wood of a bench overlooking Langstone Harbour from the South Moors shore, was a Gymnopilus hybridus toadstool of which a photo can be seen in my diary entry for Oct 22 (see http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm#2210 )

Other colourful fungi reported by Graeme Lyons from the Ebernoe area of West Sussex are Cordyceps Militaris (Scarlet Caterpillar Club) and Saffrondrop Bonnet (Mycena crocata) - photos of the first appear in http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/nice-n-spicy.html which mentions finding Mycena crocata but to see it go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mycena_crocata.jpg Cordyceps is a genus of many species each of which targets a specific insect species - C. militaris goes for the undergound pupa of a moth species. Another species in the Ebernoe churchyard was the Garlic Parachute (Marasmius alliaceus)

ENDWEEK

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Wildlife diary and news for Oct 15 - 21 (Week 42 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: All three common species are now widespread around southern England

Grebes: Black-necked have been seen at several sites with 11 back in the Studland area of Dorset by Oct 17. One reported on the Emsworth shore of Chichester Harbour on Oct 16 and another single at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 17 were probably part of the movement which brought 11 to Studland and are likely to re-join the others rather than stay where they first landed. Another lone arrival was a Slavonian which was in Arlington Reservoir (Sussex Cuckmere valley) on Oct 19 when a newly hatched chick of a Great Crested was seen in Poole Harbour

Bittern: One seen at Radipole (Weymouth) on Oct 18 is presumably the bird seen there first on Oct 8 but one at Marazion (Penzance) on Oct 18 seems to be the first to reach Cornwall this winter.

Great White Egret: Singles were at Pagham Harbour and in the Avon Valley near Ringwood this week, neither being new arrivals, but more may be on the way as reports from the Netherlands for Oct 19 show that a potential total of 244 birds were seen at a total of 38 sites (by far the highest figure for the year so far)

Dark-bellied Brent: Juveniles started to be noticed among birds arriving this week but the eventual total is likely to be low. Christchurch Harbour had its first juvenile on Oct 18 and the highest reported number of young I have seen so far occurred on Oct 11 when a flock of 398 birds at Seasalter on the north Kent coast contained 11 young but on Oct 13 that site had just 6 young among a flock of 2500 - that same site commented on "a lot more juvs" in its news for Oct 20 (no figures given). On Oct 15 I saw at least one young bird in a flock of 160 distant birds on the Langstone South Moors shore but 900 birds at Ferrybridge (Weymouth) that day had no young among them.

Black Brant: The first two that I know of were at Cap Gris-Nez on Oct 7 and the first in southern England was at Weymouth (Littlesea) on Oct 10 with a second bird arriving there on Oct 18. On Oct 12 there was a possible sighting of one in Portsmouth Harbour but that may have flown east to Chichester Harbour where one was seen near the east shore of Hayling Island on Oct 14.

Red-breasted Goose: The first of the winter was seen on the north Kent coast in the Swale estuary runnng past the Isle of Sheppey on Oct 14 and seemed to be associating closely with Brent so it is a contender for being a wild migrant arrival. For some good photos go to http://www.kentos.org.uk/Seasalter/October12_000.htm

Egyptian Goose: A flock of 31 at the Avon Causeway south of Ringwood on Oct 14 is the biggest count at an English site this year - there were already 15 there on Oct 14 and they may have come from Petworth Lake in Sussex where 15 were present back in July but the additional 16 may have come from the Netherlands where a flock of 55 were seen on Oct 10. A pair seen near Fleet in north Hampshire had proof of their residence in this country by having three very young goslings with them

Shelduck: Back on July 5 I watched a flock of more than 70 flying east over Thorney Island, presumably heading for their moult site on the north German coast and the first sign of returning birds was in a report of 24 in Christchurch Harbour on Sep 1 followed by a sighting of 7 flying west past Dungeness on Sep 13 and then a flock of 38 on the Emsworth shore of Chichester Harbour on Sep 25. On Oct 8 a flock of 121 on the French Normandie coast indicated a more substantial return before on Oct 10 a group of 3 flew west over Climping (near Worthing) and these movements led to the arrival of a flock of at least 40 off Emsworth on Oct 14 with a similar group being seen there on Oct 15. These waves are likely to continue to arrive until the end of December when wintering numbers in the Solent harbours reach their peak.

Wigeon: A big wave of these brought 850 to Pulborough Brooks on Oct 15 when I first noticed 24 back in the mouth of the Langbrook stream at Langstone

Teal: Also on Oct 15 Pulborough Brooks had 550 Teal and the Fishbourne Channel at Chichester had a flock of 50 with small increases at Budds Farm and Langstone Mill Pond

Honey Buzzard: Two late birds flew over Milford (west of Lymington) on Oct 13 and one was still in Belgium on Oct 19

Hen Harrier: A potential total of 31 birds in Belgium on Oct 14 may presage the arrival of more in England - at least one bird has been in the New Forest since Oct 10

Osprey: We have not yet seen the last bird for the year - this week brought sightings of singles over the M27 where it crosses the R Hamble, at Warnham Mill Pond near Horsham and on the Lymington River in the New Forest

Hobby: Singles seen at Pett Level near Rye Bay on Oct 14 and near Titchfield Haven on Oct 19

Dotterel: One was still in the Scillies on Oct 18

Lapwing: Still very few on the Hampshire coast but 100 (probably on their way south) were at Winchester sewage farm on Oct 17 and the first of the autumn (just 10) were at an east Devon site on Oct 19. Signs that this may soon change come from the Netherlands on Oct 19 where one site had 5825 birds and there was a potential total of 12,000 at seven sites

Purple Sandpiper: Singles had been seen in the Netherlands on Sep 14 and Oct 4 with two seen on Oct 7. They reached England on Oct 14 with 1 in the Scillies, followed by 1 at Brighton Marina on Oct 15 and 2 at Newhaven Pier on Oct 16

Woodcock: One or two have been seen in unusual places since the beginning of August but the first to make a lengthy passage flight turned up in the Scillies on Oct 17

Spotted Redshank: There have been almost daily reports of this species in southern England since July 28 with a count of 10 or more at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour since Sep 22 (13 there on Oct 16). The early returning birds are likely to have been females whose work in the breeding areas ends when they have laid eggs in several nests tended by different males. The males and young arrive here a couple of months later, around the end of September, and one of the last to show up is the bird which is now spending its 9th consecutive winter based at Nore Barn on the Emsworth shore. It arrived on Oct 9 but then disappeared again for nine days - maybe exploring the neighbourhood to see if it could find a better place to spend the coming winter or maybe reacting to unusually high tides during those days. Sightings on Oct 19 and 20 suggest it has decided to stay at at its regular site in the stream draining the Maisemore Gardens area on the western flank of the Emsworth built up area

Lesser Yellowlegs: On Oct 14 one was reported to have been seen in the north Hayling bay which houses the Northney marina but there have been no subsequent reports and I wonder if this was a mis-identification of a Greenshank ( as seems to have been the case with one of the same species reported as being at the Testwood Lakes in Totton (west of Southampton) at the beginning of September.

Wood Sandpiper: A late bird was reported on the Lymington marshes on Oct 13 (over a fortnight later than the previous report of one at Rye Harbour on Sep 28)

Iceland Gull: With the exception of August this species has bee reported on the south coast at least once in every month of this year and this week has brought the October report - this time of one passing St Catherine's point on the Isle of Wight on Oct 19

Glaucous Gull: This species has also been reported in the English Channel area in every month up to June with one at Dungeness on Oct 18 and 19 to end the no show period from June 27 until Oct 18

Terns: In addition to the Sandwich Terns which will winter here this week has brought sightings of 2 Common Terns in Christchurch Harbour on Oct 17 and a single Little Tern at Dawlish Warren in south Devon on the same day

Little Auk: The first for southern England this year was one at Portland Bill on Oct 19 - a flock of 20 had been seen off eastern Scotland on Oct 12

Stock Dove: Now moving west into southern England in numbers which peaked with 376 at Dungeness on Oct 14. Reports of smaller numbers (minimum flock of 17) have come from Folkestone (155), Seaford, Durlston, Portland and south Devon on the south coast and from Reculver in north Kent (max 60)

Wood Pigeon: By Oct 18 the number of birds in the Netherlands had reached a potential total of 200,985 including 42,180 at one of the 12 reporting sites. Oct 19 brought news from Germany of up to 934,496 birds at 19 sites including one with a count of 144,235. The biggest count reported in England so far is of 5,070 birds at Black Bank in Staffordshire on Oct 14

Turtle Dove: Two were still to be seen in the Scillies in Oct 18

Long-eared Owl: The first reports of probable migrant arrivals in England for the winter are of one at Dawlish Warren in south Devon on Oct 12 and another single in north Kent on Oct 20

Short-eared Owl: These continue to pour into southern England as they have been doing since mid -August (on Oct 14 Barry Collins announced that one seen on Thorney Island was the first of the autumn there but I see that one had been reported at the Thornham marina back on Aug 24). Other reports this week have come from Martin Down near Fordingbridge, Farlington Marshes, Seaford Head, Fowley Island in Chichester Harbour (5 said to have been seen there on Oct 16), Portland, Reculver (north Kent) and Bembridge (IoW).

Common Swift: At least one bird has been in Belgium this week with reports from three different sites on Oct 14, 18 and 19

Alpine Swift: One over Jersey on Oct 19

Wryneck: One at Portland as late as Oct 14 and one still at Lands End in Cornwall on Oct 20

Skylark: By Oct 19 one Netherlands site was reporting a site total of 23,406 birds with a potential overall total of 267,653 birds at the 60 sites reporting unusual numbers. Over here the highest count I have seen has been 300+ in South Devon on Oct 5 and just 100 (also south Devon) on Oct 20 this week

Shorelark: These have been reported in the Netherlands since Oct 7 but the first to be seen in England was one at Reculver (north Kent) on Oct 20 - for a great photo see http://www.kentos.org.uk/Reculver/images/shore1012marc.jpg

Sand Martin: No English sightings this week (still up to 8 in Belgium)

Swallow: Plenty still in England (14 reports with a peak count of 400 at Dungeness on Oct 19 and 270 at Folkestone on Oct 20)

House Martin: Reported at 12 English sites with a peak of 300 at Dungeness on Oct 19 and 275 at Folkestone on Oct 20

Water Pipit: One at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 14 and one at Newlands Farm (south of Fareham) on Oct 18

Yellow Wagtail: Last three reports so far are of one at Farlington Marshes on Oct 14, two at the Lymington marshes on Oct 17 and one on the Worthing seafront on Oct 18

Grey Wagtail: Local reports of birds back at winter sites came from Nore Barn at Emsworth and from the Havant town area (heard overhead) both on Oct 15

Pied Wagtail: First report of a winter roost is of 363 bird at Hatch Pond in the Poole area on Oct 19

Ring Ouzel: Oct 14 found 10 at Beachy Head and Oct 15 brought a count of 12 from the Black Gutter area of the New Forest near Godshill - these are the peaks from 20 reports this week

Fieldfare: On Oct 15 a flock of 65 was in the north west of the New Forest (Pitts Wood) and on Oct 19 there were 25 in the Millfield area of Basingstoke but also on Oct 19 there were more than 4,000 in the Netherlands

Song Thrush: Peak count in England this week was 60 at Durlston on Oct 13 when one site in the Netherlands had 4,196 and the overall total of 21 sites there was 22,439. The numbers are impressive but far more exciting for me was to hear one bird in continuous song at Warblington Church on Oct 18 - I imagined the bird to be rejoicing at having completed its journey to arrive at what should be a good place to spend the winter while at the same time challenging any local oppostion to put up or shut up.

Redwing: These are now widespread in England and I no longer think it unusual that the majority of winter thrushes that we see in late autumn arrive from the south and move north through England rather than reaching us from the north. The highest count for southern England in this week's figures was 55 at Durlston on Oct 13. In Hampshire a flock of 20 was seen at Farley Mount near Winchester on Oct 19 with at least 6 at Brading on the Isle of Wight that day when one Netherlands site had 24,653 and the potential total of 16 sites over there was 76,062

Subalpine Warbler: One of these was at Portland on Oct 14 - the first for England since June

Barred Warbler: This large warbler species is named for the barring along the edges of its breast, belly and undertail area - it breeds in eastern Europe and winters in East Africa but more than 100 usually reach England each autumn and they are normally seen on our east coast but this year at least one has reached the Scillies and others have been seen at Durlston and Portland and there have been reports from both Devon and Cornwall. A good photo of one standing on sandy ground is among those available at http://www.arkive.org/barred-warbler/sylvia-nisoria/

Lesser Whitethroat: One still to be seen in the Scillies on Oct 14 - Common Whitethroast still there on Oct 18

Yellow-browed Warbler: Seen this week in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire (Sandy Point on Hayling), Dorset and the Scillies (where there is also a Hume's Leaf Warbler ) with others almost certainly still present in Devon and Cornwall

Wood Warbler: One still to be seen at St Just near Lands End in Cornwall on Oct 18

Willow Warbler: Just one reported this week - at Portland on Oct 19

Goldcrest: I am not sure if this is an exceptioal winter for this species but I do not recall flocks of e.g. 150 at Portland and 52 at Soar in south Devon (both on Oct 19)

Firecrest: Two sites had parties of 10 this week (Penberth in Cornwall and Portland) while one bird at Southampton Common on Oct 16 was singing

Great Tit: One of these was singing at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Oct 15 - I suspect that, like the Song Thrush at Warblington, it was happy to have completed a cross channel flight

Great Grey Shrike: The second to reach the UK this winter was in Shetland on Oct 17 (the first was reported by RBA on Sep 25 but I did not record the location). The likelihood of others arriving soon can be judged by the presence of 6 at one Belgian site on Oct 19 with a total of 16 at 10 sites (previous max total this autumn was just 4 birds on Oct 7)

Jay: The invasion of continental birds continues with the arrival of 123 at Hunstanton Cliffs in Norfolk on Oct 15 with another 23 there on Oct 18, 38 at Folkestone on Oct 20 after 37 were seen there on Oct 14, and 8 moving west along the north Kent coast on Oct 20. Although the evidence is not so clear in some other cases I suspect that the count of 40 moving west over the Fleet/Aldershot area on Oct 13 was more likely to be of continental birds than local birds dispersing after breeding.

Jackdaw: On Oct 14 510 birds flew west over the Broadlands estate at Romsey, 662 went west over Sandy Point on Hayling and 1200 were seen at Weston Shore on Southampton water. While some birders consider these to be just part of the re-adjustment of local birds to winter conditions it seems more likely that they are fuelled by the arrival of continental birds that has been going on since the beginning of October. Having arrived here and chosen to settle in traditional night roost woodlands from which they disperse to feed in the morning and to which they return to roost at night it is inevitable that many of these daily movements will be eastward, seeming the deny the westward movement expected of continental birds - e.g. the report on Oct 19 of 1000 Jackdaws flying east over Portsmouth Harbour in 10 minutes

Brambling: 22 reports this week, many of them from English sites, though the highest count from an English site is of 16 at Durlston on Oct 15 compared to counts of up to 5,463 from continental sites

Greenfinch: These are no longer a rarity in southern England and I suspect that the arrival of 300 at the Hunstanton Cliffs on the Norfolk coast on Oct 15 is a clue as to where the increased numbers are coming from

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Willow Emerald: Just four of these were still active in Essex on Oct 13 having been on the wing in England (mainly Kent and Essex) since June 20. These species was effectively new to Britain in 2009

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter and Willow Emerald

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Painted Lady: A note on the Rye Bay website this week gave a pointer to an article on the Butterfly Conservation website which is well worth reading - go to http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/article/9/307/painted_lady_migration_secrets_revealed_.html Researchers at Butterfly Conservation co-ordinated the observations of thousands of ordinary people and used radar to find that during the course of each year Painted Ladies set out from Africa on a northward flight which takes them on a 9,000 mile round trip to near the Arctic Circle and back and discovered that two major factors make this possible. The first is that the butterflies do this in a six stage relay race (those that start from Africa stop off to breed in France and it is their progeny that make the next step into the British Isles and so on). That much was already known but what the current investigation has revealed (using Radar) is that, although the butterflies can sometimes be seen moving in vast numbers at ground level, they mainly cover the ground by flying at an average height of over 500 metres (beyond our unaided eyesight) travelling at up to 30 mph. The numbers involved during the survey year are indicated in the paragraph that says .. "Radar in Hampshire operated by Rothamsted Research revealed that around 11 million high-flying Painted Ladies entered the UK in spring 2009 with 26 million departing in autumn." The reason for this journeying is that if the butterflies stayed in one area for the whole season their caterpillars would eat all the available food - the huge population can only be maintained by moving to a new area for each new generation of caterpillars.

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Large White, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown and Meadow Brown

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata found in Dorset on OCT 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=26

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

1795 November Moth Epirrita dilutata found in Dorset on OCT 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5984

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

1923 Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria found in Kent on OCT 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1757

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

2020 Figure of Eight Diloba caeruleocephala found in Dorset on OCT 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3353

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2020.php

2246a Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula found in Dorset on OCT 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5610

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2246a.php

2263 Red-line Quaker Agrochola lota found in Dorset on OCT 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1128

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2263.php

2264 Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta found in Dorset on OCT 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2264.php

2477 The Snout Hypena proboscidalis found in Dorset on OCT 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1136

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

In addition the 'firsts' listed above there were two sightings of Convolvulus Hawkmoth and at least one Clifden Nonpareil on Dorset while a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was still active in Sussex on Oct 15

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Brown-banded Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum): Several still active at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Oct 18

Dark Bush Cricket: Still active at Durlston on Oct 17

Mediterranean Stick Insect (Bacillus rossius): A fascinating partial story appeared on John Goodspeed's website this week. The story apparently started with a reported find of a Stick Insect in a public toilet on Hayling Island which appeared on John's website a week ago (but that part of the story has now vanished from cyberspace) What we can now see is that an expert on these insects called Paul Brock thinks the insect is of the species named (which is common in the Mediterranean and has for several decades had a viable colony on the north French coast but is unlikely to survive English winters). This is the second Stick Insect to be found on south Hayling - an Indian Green Stick Insect (Carausius morosus) was found in an empty beach hut on 28 Nov 2010 but I have heard no more of that one

Spiked Shieldbug (Picromerus bidens): I understand this is a common species in southern England but I was not previously aware that it enjoys a diet of caterpillars which is no doubt why it raised some concern when one was found at the Magdalen Down Butterfly Conservation reserve this week

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Black Spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum-nigrum): On Oct 17 Brian Fellows noticed that the roadside brick wall of two houses in Emsworth's North Street (Numbers 90 and 90A near the railway station) supported at least four species of Fern. Harts Tongue and Wall Rue were easy to name and the third appeared to be a young male Fern but the fourth was initially a mystery but has now been identified as Black Spleenwort which I have only come across on the Church at Chalton (north of Finchdean) where the mature specimens could be recognised by their black main stems (properly called their 'rhacis'). The young specimens do not show this feature and so could be confused with Sea Spleenwort (although that is supposed to require sea-spray for it to survive a useful website for the identification of Ferns - http://www.ferns.rogergolding.co.uk/index.html has a photo of a specimen happily livng on a brick wall in London)

Cut-leaved Cranesbill: I found a specimen of this flowering in the Havant cemetery on Oct 15, exactly a month after what I thought was to be my last record for the year on Sep 15

Meadowsweet: A freshly flowering specimen by the Langbrook stream in Havant also seen on Oct 15 was the first I had seen since Aug 9

Wild Angelica: A lot of very impressive plants of this flower in Brook Meadow in Emsworth but I thought I had seen the last for the year on Aug 22 only to find new flowers on Oct 10 and 18

Common Centaury: Durlston report that this was still flowering there on Oct 20, long after my last personal record of it on Aug 31

Yellow-wort: Durlston also report this flowering on Oct 16 where my last record of it is for Aug 31

Wood Anemone: An even greater gap between expectation and actuality is found in a report (see under Fungi below) that Wood Anemones were flowering in a wood near Hastings on Oct 15

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Garfish: This 'pipe fish' shaped species is usually found at the surface of the open sea but some must have been washed into a normally landlocked pool at Rye Harbour in the past where they have grown and multiplied. They are now attracting the interest of Little Egrets enabling Barry Yates to take a portrait shot of one of the fish in the bill of an Egret and another magnificently posed photo of three Egrets and three Cormorants arriving for a meal - see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/10/15/fishy-surprise.html

Cuttlefish bones: These are a common enough sight on the shoreline but they are apparently now being used by a group wishing to increase the number of live Cuttlefish and Squid in the English Channel as a form of 'Scratch card' which can win you a £50 prize. Apparently the way to win is hidden in a website called http://www.marlin.ac.uk/cresh/ but with my usual luck I have been unable to find any reference to this potential prize in a quick visit to the site

Fungi: The first Fly Agaric photos for this autumn have appeared on the web - see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/10/15/fascinating-fungi.html (the photos were taken in Bixley Woods near Hastings and the article tells us that Wood Anemones are currently flowering there!). That find was made on Oct 15 and on Oct 16 I found a single specimen of Melanoleuca melaleuca in St Faith's churchyard grass - I tried to find an English Name for this species but M. melaleuca does not appear among the four Melanoleuca species accorded common names (the others are Spring Cavalier, Smoky Cavalier, Common Cavalier and Clouded Cavalier so I guess the one I found should be called the Autumn Cavalier). Also found somewhere in Havant on Oct 15 were a couple of Tawny Funnels and my first Shaggy Inkcap while at Warblington Cemetery on Oct 18 I found hundreds of (appropriately named for the site) Weeping Widows.

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Oct 8 - 14 (Week 41 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: On Oct 13 a Netherlands site counted 76 Red-throated but the highest number at any of the five English sites reporting them was just 4 at Reculver on the north Kent coast (singles were off Christchurch, Durlston and Portland). On Oct 12 Le Clipon near Calais reported 12 Black-throated but the only English south coast report was from Dungeness which had just one. Great Northern only had three reports - 2 birds at Flamborough Head, 1 at Sandwich Bay and 1 at Portland

Grebes: Black-necked have been reported in the Netherlands since mid August and two were at the Blashford Lakes on Aug 26 with another two at the Weir Wood reservoir in Sussex on Aug 29 but there have been no further reports until this week when one was seen in Poole Harbour on Oct 10 followed by one in the Netherlands on Oct 12 with another reported aty the Dungeness RSPB site. One Slavonian ws reported in the Netherlands on Sep 22 with the next report coming from Cornwall on Oct 8

Bittern: The first to move to a southern site for the winter was seen at Christchurch on Aug 21 with a further sighting at Fishlake meadows near Romsey on Sep 20 and another sighting at the Testwood Lakes near Southampton on Sep 21 with no more reports until Oct 9 when one was seen at Radipole near Weymouth followed by one at the Dungeness RSPB site on Oct 12 when one was also seen at Rye Harbour and on the south Devon coast at Beesands Ley

Great White Egret: The Blashford regular ringed bird has been seen in the Avon valley south of Ringwood this week but several others have been seen including one at Pagham Harbour on Oct 10 with other arriving at Christchurch, at Dungeness and in Cornwall on Oct 12. These probably reflect growing numbers on the move in the Netherlands (up to 77 at 27 sites on Oct 7 increasing to up to 107 at 23 sites on Oct 14)

Purple Heron: The sighting of one at Radipole in Dorset from Oct 7 to 11 is probably part of a movement that brought 17 to one Netherlands site on Oct 6

Glossy Ibis: On Oct 6 15 flew over Lands End and a string of other reports from Cornwall may or may not have been part of that influx (no reports elsewhere in England)

Spoonbill: A report of 114 at one Netherlands site on Oct 6 (with a potential total of 277 from 6 Netherlands sites that day) indicates a movement that brought 19 to Poole Harbour on Oct 7 followed by other sightings including singles at Rye Harbour, Christchurch Harbour and Farlington Marshes this week with a group of four in Pagham Harbour

White Front Goose: Several goose species have started to arrive in force this week - after a peak count of 402 White Fronts back on Sep 29 a total of 12584 are in the Netherlands this week (Bean Goose shows a smaller increase from just 19 on Sep 29 to 2209 on Oct 12)

Dark-bellied Brent Goose: The peak of these was seen in France with 11,699 at Le Clipon near Calais on Oct 7 (when the total from 25 sites came to 81,348) but English sites have also been reporting larger numbers this week with 1224 passing Dungeness on Oct 8, 1500 on the north Kent coast on Oct 9 (only 12 of them juveniles) and 170 in Portsmouth Harbour and 120 at Lymington both on Oct 12 (with no young seen in either flock)

Pale-bellied Brent: A flock of 4591 on the French Normandie coast on Oct 10 was the first report to exceed the previous peak of 111

Black Brant: Two were at Cap Gris Nez on Oct 7 and one at Littlesea in Weymouth on Oct 10 with a distantly seen 'probable' in Portsmouth Harbour on Oct 12

Egyptian Geese: A flock of 15 were at the Avon Causeway south of Ringwood on Oct 11 and may have been continental birds but I guess they may be the flock of 15 that were at Pulborough Brooks on July 14 - last year a total of 174 were at the Eversley pits on the Hants/Berks border on Oct 5 and I believe they were English resident birds, not part of the population in the Low Countries.

Pintail: We should be seeing a few more in the near future after counts of 296 in the Netherlands on Oct 7 and 246 in France on Oct 10

Garganey: Late reports of 1 at the Avon Causeway (Dorset side) on Oct 9, 2 at the Exe estuary in Devon on Oct 11 and 1 at Eastbourne (West Rise Marsh) on Oct 12

Shoveler: The Blashford Lakes still hold the highest count so far this autumn with 175 on Oct 4

Scaup: Just three singles on the south coast (Scillies, Exmouth and Christchurch Harbour)

Goldeneye: These normally start to reach us at the end of October but no sign of an arrival yet (4 were in the Netherlands on Sep 23, 1 at Radipole on Oct 2 and 3 in Belgium on Oct 7)

Red Breasted Merganser: These are starting to arrive - 101 were in the Netherlands on Oct 5 and a potential total of 234 were at four sites there on Oct 12 while Oct 11 brougt news of 16 in Portsmouth Harbour (also 2 at Exmouth on Oct 5, 2 at Dungeness on Oct 9 and 3 on the north Kent coast on Oct 11)

Honey Buzzard: A late single at Durlston on Oct 13 after 1 in the Netherlands and 2 in Germany this week

White Tailed Eagle: None yet in England but 1 in the Netherlands on Oct 7 and 1 in Belgium on Oct 13 (in both cases potentially 2 birds as reports were from 2 sites)

Hen Harrier: There have been odd reports of singles for some time but a count of 11 at a Netherlands site on Oct 13 (potential total of 26 from 10 sites) suggests they are on their way

Sparrowhawk: Birds now fleeing northern latitudes brought a count of 900 at one German site on Oct 12

Buzzard: Also on Oct 12 the same German site reported 1245 Buzzards

Rough Legged Buzzard: The same German site also had 12 Rough Legged on Oct 12 but RBA had also reported one in Essex on Oct 9 (there had been one reported in Yorkshire on Sep 26)

Osprey: One was in the Sussex Adur valley up to Oct 7 at least and another was at Warnham Mill Pond near Horsham on Oct 10. The most recent report is of one flying over the M27 where it crosses the River Hamble on Oct 14

Hobby: Reported at 8 English sites this week with the last at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 13. The Portland website has an interesting photo of one apparently trying to enter the observatory building to stay there for the winter and so save itself a long journey - see http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/bp_hobby_17_111012_500.jpg

Avocet: The number on the Exe estuary had reached 59 by Oct 11

Stone Curlew: On Oct 7 one was seen briefly at Berry Head in south Devon and another was in Belgium

Dotterel: What may have been the last for the year was over Reculver in north Kent on Oct 13

Golden Plover: On Oct 9 there were more than 100 in Pagham Harbour (and 1500 at Rye Harbour). Locally there were 150+ at Newtown Harbour (IoW) on Oct 10 and 136 at the mouth of the R Hamble on Oct 12

Solitary Sandpiper: First for this year was on the Scillies on Oct 12

Short-billed Dowitcher: No reports of the Lodmoor bird since Oct 6

Spotted Redshank: The regular Nore Barn bird at Emsworth made its first appearance on Oct 9 and was there again on Oct 10 but has not been seen since

Lesser Yellowlegs: Birdguides carried an anonymous report of one in Chichester Harbour close to Northney Marina (Hayling Island) seen mid-afternoon on Oct 14

Common Gull: After a report of 405 on the Yorkshire coast on Oct 7 there was a sighting of 500 in Fishbourne Channel near Chichester on Oct 12

Little Auk: First for this autumn was a flock of 20 off Anstruther (Fife in Scotland) on Oct 12

Stock Dove: Now starting to reach us from the continent. After 266 reported by three Netherlands sites on Oct 7 we have 26 at Seaford Head on Oct 7 and 45 at Durlston on Oct 12 with flocks of 41 and 90 in Belgium on Oct 8 and 10

Woodpigeon: These also seem to be coming over from the continent. 1000 were seen near Alton on Oct 7, 914 at Seaford Head on Oct 10 with 500 near Titchfield that day while a site in Germany reported 124,855 birds on Oct 11 and a different German site had 37,357 on Oct 12

Turtle Dove: One was still in Cornwall on Oct 9

Cuckoo: One was seen in the Scillies on Oct 8 and singles were in the Netherlands on Oct 7 and 10

Long-eared Owl: One arrived on the south Devon coast (Dawlish Warren) on Oct 12 when two more were seen in the Netherlands

Short-eared Owl: Reports from ten sites in southern England (including Farlington Marshes) this week

Swift: Late reports of one in the Scilllies on Oct 6 and another over Brighton on Oct 9

Wryneck: One was still in Dorset on Oct 13 after others in Cornwall and the Scillies this week

Skylark: No reports from England of flocks bigger than 35 this week there were potentially 8,637 in total at 5 Netherlands sites on Oct 13

Shore Lark: First three reports of the autumn come from the Netherlands this week with at least three birds involved

Sand Martin: Now few left - max count of 30 at Christchurch on Oct 9

Swallow: Plenty still here with a max count of 2500 at Dungeness on Oct 11

Red-rumped Swallow: After a group of 7 were seen near Penzance on Oct 5 one was still in Cornwall (Falmouth) on Oct 8 and other singles were in South Devon and the Scillies on Oct 6. Oct 7 brought one to Seaford Head in Sussex.

House Martin: Oct 7 saw a massive passage over south Devon (estimate of 45,000 House Martins and 5,000 Swallows). Plenty of other reports ending with an estimated 2,560 over north Kent on Oct 13

Yellow Wagtail: Most have now left England - only reports on Oct 12 were of three singles on the Sussex Downs, at Portland and in south Devon. Biggest count during the week was of 64 at Seaford Head on Oct 7

Robin: Many continental birds arriving in England this week - on Oct 8 Portland had around 200 and on Oct 10 Portland reported more than 100 (98 out of 225 birds ringed there that day were Robins)

Black Redstart: These seem to be arriving back at our south coast sites for the winter though none yet on south Hayling

Stonechat: Plenty now along the south coast - five new arrivals were on Sinah Common (Hayling) on Oct 12

White's Thrush (Zoothera dauma): One was regarded as a MEGA when it turned up at St Just in Cornwall on Oct 8. This is the first time I have recorded the species which I see comes from wet coniferous forests in East Siberia and should winter in southeast Asia making it all the more surprising that it is named after Gilbert White. It has a very distinctive 'scaly' plumage

Grey-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus): One on the Scillies on Oct 6 was this year's first for Britain

Ring Ouzel: A massive exodus this week with one Belgian site having 33 of them (out of a potential total of 83 at 19 sites) on Oct 12. In England there was a peak count of 11 at Beachy Head on Oct 13 (with another 5 on the Downs above Worthing). Latest news is of two young birds seen in the Sinah Warren site (south Hayling) on the morning of Oct 14

Blackbird: Plenty of continental birds arriving in England with 50 at Portland on Oct 8, 35 at Sandwich Bay on Oct 9 and 21 at a New Forest site on Oct 10 being the peak counts

Fieldfare: 18 at Basingstoke on Oct 9 was the peak count for England so far

Song Thrush: By Oct 13 one Netherlands site had a count of 4,196 (and a potential total of 22,439 from 21 sites)

Redwing: Plenty of reports from English sites with the peak count being of 565 passing over the Fleet/Aldershot area on Oct 10. An indication of more to come is the report on Oct 12 of 8,034 at one Netherlands site (part of a total of 55,170 at 19 sites, though this may include some double counting). Incoming birds were seen at 12 English coastal sites with a max count of 40 at Portland on Oct 8

Mistle Thrush: Fewer reports than of the other thrushes but Oct 12 brought a report of 16 from the Pevensey Levels area and 43 at one Belgian site

Barred Warbler: Singles were seen at Folkestone on Oct 9, at Portland on Oct 11, and at Durlston on Oct 13 (that one was caught and ringed)

Yellow Browed Warbler: 24 reports from southern English sites this week include one at Sinah Warren (south Hayling) on Oct 9 and one at Peel Common south of Fareham on Oct 10

Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata): The Scillies had their first visit from this north American warbler since 2008 when one appeared there on Oct 11

Spotted Flycatcher: One was at Langstone Mill Pond on Oct 7 and another in Southsea on Oct 10

Red Breasted Flycatcher: One of four reports this week came from Climping on the West Sussex shore on Oct 6

Jay: The massive invasion of continental birds continues - here are a few of the 33 reports this week starting with the arrival of 668 on the Norfolk coast at Hunstanton on Oct 6 (when a potential total of 875 arrived at 9 sites). On Oct 7 more than 40 flew over the Isle of Wight, on Oct 9 Basingstoke had 26 and on Oct 10 37 flew over the Fleet/Aldershot area and by Oct 12 at least 8 had reached south Devon. On Oct 13 there was said to be a continual stream flying west along the Sussex Downs at Cissbury Ring

Jackdaw: There seems to be a similar stream of these arriving from the continent but often passing un-noticed. This seems to have started on Oct 7 with 2000 birds over Brighton and by Oct 10 one Belgian site had 4,035 birds with a potential total of 13,969 at 11 sites

Starlings: These are also arriving - on Oct 13 a total of 19,266 came in at Hunstanton on the Norfolk coast.

Chaffinch: By Oct 13 Durlston has 1115 passing west and 35,100 were in the Netherlands waiting to cross the sea

Brambling: 33 reports this week with 80 at Anstruther in Fife on Oct 12. Portland had 10 on Oct 9 and 15 on Oct 11 while Sandwich Bay had 10 arriving on Oct 13

Greenfinch: After their apparent absence earlier this year it is encouraging to hear of a huge flock at Topsham in Devon on Oct 10 and a count of 205 over East Bexington in Dorset on Oct 13. Locally I found at least ten moving east along the Warblington shore on Oct 10

Goldfinch: These remain the most numerous species in southern England with 1000 at Beachy Head on Oct 7 and 930 over Climping on the west Sussec coast on Oct 10, then 1100 at Folkestone on Oct 11 and 799 at Sandwich on Oct 13

Siskin: The week's peak count for Southern England was 269 at Sandwich on Oct 13

Linnet: Durlston had 870 on Oct 9

Lesser Redpoll: Peak count of 115 at Sandwich Bay on Oct 13

Two-barred Crossbill: Among the ongoing stream of Crossbills arriving through the autumn the first Two-Barred were a group of three at Portland on Oct 11

Reed Bunting: 100 arrived at Dungeness on Oct 9 to be the largest of the week's 8 reports

Vagrants: I use this category to record overseas sightings as well as those seen here and this week two of our Three Amigos have been describing and photographing interesting species seen while on their naval duties. Mark Cutts is still in the Falkands seeing duck species (see http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/10/07/falklands-ships-inspection-steamers/ to learn about Steamer Ducks (flying and flightless) and http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/10/09/falklands-ship-inspection-ducks/ for other duck species including Chiloe Wigeon). Steve Copsey has been ashore on St Helena and has some lovely pictures of Fairy Terns (and the house were Napoleon was exiled) at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/10/12/st-helena-fairy-terns-and-tropicbirds/ and an entry about Wirebirds (and attempts to control the feral cats which prey on them) at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/10/11/wirebirds-on-st-helena-part-2/

A vagrant seen of Co Cork (Ireland) on Oct 12 was a very unexpected South Polar Skua

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Lesser Emperor: One seen on Tennyson Down (Isle of Wight) on Oct 6

Red-veined Darter: One seen at Badminston Common near Calshot in the New Forest on Oct 6 and one at Pennington near Lymington on Oct 7

Species reported this week:

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

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Clouded Yellow: One seen at Hill Head near Titchfield Haven on Oct 10 was the first to be recorded as a pale Helice variant this year.

Species reported this week:

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

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0229 (Yellow-backed Clothes), Monopis obviella found in Dorset on OCT 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2010

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0229.php

0389 Apple Leaf Skeletonizer Choreutis pariana found in Dorset on OCT 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3868

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0389.php

1771 Juniper Carpet Thera juniperata found in Dorset on OCT 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1870

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

2061 Buff Ermine Spilosoma luteum found in Kent on OCT 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2762

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

2087 Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum found in Dorset on OCT 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=298

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

2117 Autumnal Rustic Eugnorisma glareosa found in Kent on OCT 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1734

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2117.php

2119 Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia found in Dorset on OCT 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=791

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2119.php

2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina found in Dorset on OCT 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2247.php

2248 Brindled Green Dryobotodes eremita found in Kent on OCT 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4918

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

2262 The Brick Agrochola circellaris found in Dorset on OCT 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=220

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2262.php

2264 Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta found in Kent on OCT 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2264.php

2274 The Sallow Xanthia icteritia found in Dorset on OCT 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1795

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2274.php

2276 Pale-lemon Sallow Xanthia ocellaris found in Kent on OCT 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2459

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2276.php

2451 Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini found in Dorset on OCT 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=849

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2451.php

Humming-bird Hawkmoth: One feeding from a Buddleia despite pouring rain on Oct 8 and another seen in Dorset on Oct 13

The Merville du Jour seen in Dorset on Oct 8 was a second of the the autumn (not first) after one at Folkestone on Oct 4

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Bombus pascuorum (Brown-banded Carder Bee): Two were feeding from Common Comfrey flowers at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on Oct 12

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Red Oak (Quercus rubra): A young tree on the western edge of St Faith's church yard in Havant has started to show the glorious red colour of its leaves this week

Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes): One of the very few new flowers to be found at this time of year was seen in a Fourth Avenue garden (Denvilles area of Havant) on Oct 8

Mulleins: A walk around the New Lane industrial estate in Havant on Oct 8 discovered a Dark Mullein plant in full flower and a couple of Great Mulleins still showing some flowers

Weasels Snout (Misopates orontium): Also on Oct 8 I found several plants still flowering at the Havant New Lane allotments

Common Comfrey: Of a couple of freshly flowering plants found in Brook Meadow at Emsworth on Oct 12 one had pure white flowers with all the other diagnostic features of Common Comfrey. Stace's Flora says .. "The flowers are often wrongly described as white but except for very rare albinos they are pale creamy yellow or purplish" I suggest that the Brook Meadow plant qualifies as a 'very rare albino'.

Goosegrass (aka Cleavers): The plant which I found flowering in St Faith's churchyard on Oct 1 was still bearing flowers on Oct 12

Cockspur Grass: Plants were flowering in the road called The Twitten off South St in Havant on Oct 10

My total of flowering plant species seen during this week was 79

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Fungi: Parasol Mushrooms are up in the Rye Bay area (and I feel sure elsewhere) and Cliff Dean has a photo of them in his web blog at http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/pett-level-15/ The fungi phtoto comes at the end of an entry which also features a photo of two drink bottles which have Japanese labels causing Cliff to wonder if these have drifted all the way from Japan after hearing the Radio 4 'Costing the Earth' programme which centred on the arrival on the west cost of north America of debris from the Japanese tsunami of Mar 9 in 2011. I suspect the objects Cliff found have a much more local origin (as does the 5000 year old tree root which he also found) but the Radio 4 programme did report the end of the journey of Japanese debris across the Pacific (but not the end of its effect on nature)

Other fungi reported at Durlston this week are the common bracket called Turkeytail (Trametes versicolor), colourful Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia) and Dead Man's Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha)

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for Oct 1 - 7 (Week 40 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Red-throated were seen in north Kent, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall this week with a peak count of just three at Christchurch Harbour but more are on their way as a Netherlands site had 32 on Oct 4. One Black-throated was seen off Seaford Head in Sussex on Oct 4 and one was seen off the Exe estuary on Oct 3 but 5 or 6 were in the North Sea. Great Northern were seen as singles in Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Isles with the most easterly being at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 4 and 5

Shearwaters: Single Cory's and Great were in the Land's End area but there were much larger numbers of Sooty (more than 326 of Start Point in Devon on Oct 2) and Balearic (82 off Start Point that day)

Storm Petrel: One seen in the Scillies on Sep 28 and one in the Netherlands on Oct 5.

Great White Egret: Up to 50 seem to have been on the move in the Netherlands on Sep 30 with perhaps 76 there on Oct 2 but over here the only reports were of the Blashford ringed regular (downstream at Bickerley Common on Oct 4) and of 2 still in the Kent Stour valley on Oct 2.

Spoonbill: 65 were counted at a Netherlands site on Oct 4 when 10 flew over Dungeness. Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour had more than 12 on Oct 2 and one was on the Lymington shore on three days this week while one was seen in Pagham Harbour on Oct 1 and 5

Bewick's Swan: First report that I have seen this autumn is of four in Belgium on Sep 30

Whooper Swan: A total of 9 were at two Yorkshire sites on Oct 4

Geese: 415 Pink Foot were at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on Oct 4 (with another group of 8 in the Scillies) and just 10 Bean Geese were at a Netherlands site on Oct 2

Dark-bellied Brent: On Sep 29 I counted just over 80 in the south of Langstone Harbour but the distance and the way the birds appeared and disappeared as they rose and fell with the waves led me to estimate that there were at least 100 there which remains the highest count for an English site so far (despite reports of 75 in Langstone Harbour on Oct 1 and 80 from the north Kent coast on Sep 27). Oct 5 brought the first 1000+ report (1042) from the Netherland and I expect next week to bring much higher counts from English sites

Pale-bellied Brent: Just three reports this week - 2 in Christchurch Harbour on Oct 1, 3 in the Channel Isles on Oct 5 when one 'lost' bird flew ovdr Dungeness

Garganey: One was still in Poole Harbour on Oct 3 and two were still at the Blashford Lakes on Oct 4

Goldeneye: What seems to be the first to reach southern England this autumn was a single at Radipole (Weymouth) on Oct 2

Red-beasted Merganser: The first five were reported in the Netherlands on Sep 29 followed by a flock of 101 there on Oct 5 when 2 were seen at Dungeness

Goosander: A report of 5 at the Blashford Lakes on Oct 4 was presumably of locally bred birds

Honey Buzzard: Two flew out from Portland on Sep 29 (when one was seen near Arundel in Sussex) and one was over west Cornwall on Sep 30. Last report so far is of one over the Netherlands on Oct 4

Sparrowhawk: One Netherlands site reported 25 over on Sep 30 when three other nearby sites reported counts bringing the potential total to 45

Osprey: Just two reports this week, both of single birds seen on Oct 1 over Dorset and Sussex

Kestrel: On Oct 4 Folkestone reported two arriving in off the sea

Hobby: Still to be seen this week in the Scillies, Cornwall, Dorset, Hampshire and East Kent where one was seen on Oct 6 (another was hunting dragonflies at Badminston Common in Hampshire on Oct 6)

Corncrake: On Oct 1 one was photographed walking along the village street of Malborough (near Kingsbridge in south Devon) - see http://www.devonbirds.org/images/cache/f39217a4cddc4c49f0d5d950f42aa16e.jpg

Dotterel: Singles in Cornwall and the Scillies up to Oct 3 (at least)

Golden Plover: Numbers on the south coast increasing with 250 at Rye Harbour on Oct 6, 131 at Newtown Harbour (Isle of Wight) on Oct 5 when 200 were seen in Gloucestershire

Purple Sandpiper: None reported yet in southern England but one was at a Netherlands site on Sep 14 and maybe the same bird there again at a different site on Oct 4

Jack Snipe: Singles seen this week at Titchfield Haven, Christchurch Harbour and in the Scillies

Short-billed Dowitcher: The young bird still at Lodmoor

Woodcock: Birds on the move seen at Portland and Durlston

Grey Phalarope: One was at Chrsitchurch Harbour on Oct 5 while earlier in the week there had been reports from Cornwall, the Scillies and Suffolk

Red-necked Phalarope: To have a very close look at this less common species go to the Slimbridge website ( http://www.wwt.org.uk/visit/slimbridge/wildlife/latest-sightings/ ) and watch the YouTube video currently on the top of their sightings page

Little Gull: Currently it is well worth watching out for these anywhere along the south coast as the numbers on passage increase - Flamborough Head in Yorkshire reported 1011 there on Oct 1 with 41 seen on Sep 30 and 103 on Oct 3

Great Blackback Gull: A site in the Texel area of the Netherlands reported up to 1799 birds there on Oct 4

Lesser Blackback: A different site in the Netherlands had 1166 on Sep 29

Terns: This week's reports include a late juvenile Litle Tern seen in Pagham Harbour on Oct 5. No more than 4 Common Terns were reported together at Southampton Water on Sep 30 and Christchurch Harbour on Oct 5. Single Black Terns were at Dungeness on Sep 30 and Oct 3 (with 3 still in the Netherlands on Oct 4). Also in the Netherlands a single White-winged Black Tern was seen on Oct 5

Auks: After a report of 88 Guillemots of the French north coast last week Start Point in Devon had 77 Razorbill on Oct 2

Turtle Dove: Four reports this week with the last being one near Titchfield Haven on Oct 4

Swift: Five reports this week with up to three birds in the Stoke on Trent area between Oct 1 and 3. Last report is of 2 birds in Yorkshire on Oct 4

Wryneck: Six reports including one at Newhaven on Oct 2 and one near Lands End in Cornwall on Oct 4

Woodlark: Counts of 69, 77 and 95 from sites in Belgium and Germany suggest that some will be arriving here for the winter and a single bird over the Farnborough airfield on Oct 2, another at Climping on the Sussex coast on Oct 4 plus a report of one bird (among three) in full song at Woolbeding Common near Midhurst could mean that the singing bird was venting his annoyance at the arrival of intruders

Skylark: These too are probably starting to arrive from the continent - on Oct 1 a Belgian site had 144 and on Oct 4 reports of 16 at Sandwich Bay, 12 moving west along the north Kent coast and several singing at Seaford Head near Beachy Head. By Oct 5 Soar in south Devon reported more than 300.

Sand Martin: These are now few and far between - on Oct 1 there were 40 at Weir Wood reservoir in north Kent but the only reports since then are of 8 at Durlston on Oct 2 but only 1 there on Oct 4

Swallow: Plenty of these still with us - 2400 over Durlston on Oct 2 and 1200 over Durlston on Oct 4. I had at least 20 over Havant Thicket on Oct 6.

Red-rumped Swallow: A group of 7 over the Penzance area of Cornwall on Oct 5 and 6 with a single over south Devon (South Milton Ley) on Oct 6

House Martin: 3420 counted over the Farnborough airfield in north Hampshire on Oct 2 and 2000 in the Hampshire Avon Valley on Oct 5 (when 2250 were reported at Christchurch Harbour). Locally on Oct 1 Tony Tupper told me that the birds which had used his nest boxes here in Havant through the summer had ceased to use them as night roosts after Sep 28 after which he has seen no birds.

Richard's Pipit: One was reported at St Catherine's Point (Isle of Wight) on Oct 5 while others have been seen at Sandwich Bay and in Cornwall

Blyth's Pipit: One at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 29 seems to have been the first in England this autumn

Tree Pipit: Still passing over the south coast in ones and twos up to Oct 5 at least

Rock Pipit: One was back on the Titchfield Haven shore on Oct 3 suggesting that others will soon be back at places where they do not breed

Yellow Wagtail: Still to be seen in October at Christchurch Harbour, Lymington shore, Hook near Warsash and Dungeness (200 there on Oct 4)

Common Redstart: Latest sighting so far was one at the Hayling Oysterbeds on Oct 6 after sightings at Titchfield and Gosport on Oct 5 and 4

Whinchat: One seen at Christchurch on Oct 5 was the latest so far

Stonechat: I have in the past assumed that the birds we see along the south coast in winter have come south from breeding in Britain but a count of 12 at Sandwich Bay on Oct 4 suggests that some have come over from the continent

Wheatear: Still 75 at Portland on Oct 4 shows that we have not seen the last

Ring Ouzel: Seven reports this week include on one the Isle of Wight on Oct 5 when two were in the New Forest. One was heard at Durlston on Oct 6

Blackbird: A total of 70 were at near continent sites where they were 'remarkable' and an indication that some have flown over here came from John Goodspeed who found 8 in his small garden on Portsdown on Oct 2

Fieldfare: One in Lancashire on Oct 1 was the fourth to reach Britainsince the first arrived on the Sussex coast on Sep 16 (the other two where at Dungeness and in Dorset confirming that many of the birds we see in the south of England have come north from France, not south as might be assumed)

Song Thrush: These too are starting to come to us from the south starting with 12 at Christchurch Harbour on Sep 30 - this week 6 arrived at Dungeness on Oct 4

Redwing: Birds reported in Yorkshire and Cumbria on Sep 27 and 28 may well have come across the North Sea (or south from Scotland) but birds seen (or heard) this week at Christchurch and Durlston (and those heard over Hove/Brighton on the night of Sep 29) had probably come across the Channel

Mistle Thrush: 28 seen by the R Itchen near Eastleigh on Oct 3 and 30 seen in south Devon on Oct 4 (with another 4 at Folkestone that day) may well have come across the Channel

Grasshopper Warbler: After recent sightings in the Scillies and in south Devon the latest was at Ringstead Bay near Weymouth on Oct 5

Sedge Warbler: Latest so far was one at Portland on Oct 4

Reed Warbler: Still being seen in very small numbers with the latest being two at Dungeness on Oct 5

Barred Warbler: Among more expected sightings in the Scillies and Cornwall one at Dungeness on Sep 29 was the first there since 1996

Lesser Whitethroat: Latest so far were three at Seaford Head (near Beachy Head) on Oct 4

Common Whitethroat: Numbers are now diminishing but singles were seen at five south coast sites this week (last at Durlston on Oct 6)

Garden Warbler: Just two reports this week with the last being at Woolmer Pond near Alton on Oct 6

Blackcap: More than 50 seen at Climping near Worthing on Oct 4 when 77 were counted on the Sussex coast at Seaford Head and 15 at Dungeness (plus 4 at Gosport)

Greenish Warbler: RBA reported one in Kent on Sep 29 and Oct 1 - I think this was one bird at Cliffe on the Thames estuary north of Rochester

Yellow-browed Warbler: Many of these now in the west country (Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Scillies)

Chiffchaff: Plenty still at southeast coast sites with a peak of 300 at Christchurch Harbour on Oct 5

Goldcrest: Peak count also at Christchurch on Oct 5 with 150 birds

Spotted Flycatcher: Seen this week at Pagham Harbour, Eastleigh and Portland

Red-breasted Flycatcher: One on the Scillies on Oct 3 and one at Berry Head in Devon on Oct 5

Pied Flycatcher: At least one in the Scillies up to Oct 3

Red Backed Shrike: One at Portland from Sep 28 to Oct 4 and another at the Lizard in Cornwall from Sep 29 to Oct 4

Great Grey Shrike: The only report from the British Isles was of 2 at unnamed sites on Sep 25. Since then singles have been reported in the Netherlands on Oct 1 and 2

Jay: The invasion of continental birds started with & at Sandwich Bay on Sep 18 since when I have picked up 33 reports from UK sites including the arrival of more than 270 at Cley in Norfolk on Oct 4, 213 over Southampton Water also on Oct 4 (after 150 there on Oct 3), 82 in the Newhaven area on Oct 4, well over 76 in Dorset that day with counts of 54 at Folkestone and the same number at Reculver on the north Kent coast, etc down to one seen over my Havant garden on Oct 6

House Sparrow: A flock of more than 20 was in the Warblington Farm hedges bounding recently harvested wheat crops on Oct 1 but by Oct 5 many were back in a Havant town hedgerow where their chatter can be heard all year round other than the brief harvest time period when they move out into the country and the town falls silent. This year they left the town around Aug 9 when at least one was still visiting my garden while a flock was already in the hedge near Nutbourne Bay

Chaffinch: These started to pour into southern England from around Sep 27 and on Sep 30 there were around 10,000 gathered in the Netherlands for the cross Channel invasion (the total of reports from 22 sites over there that day was 49,340). By Oct 4 a Welsh site was reporting a flock of 1221 and Durlston had a count of 520.

Brambling: These have been arriving in southern England in small numbers wince Sep 27 when one was seen at Folkestone and on Oct 4 Dungeness had 28 birds - latest report is of 2 at Durlston on Oct 6

Greenfinch: The last year or so seems to have seen a very significant fall in numbers of this species so a count of more than 50 at Climping (nr Worthing) on Aug 11 was eye catching. The only significant records I have for September were two from Belgium (counts of 53 and 79) so it is good to see that on Oct 4 Durlston had 15 and on Oct 5 a report from the Chandlers Ford area near Eastleigh was of 16 birds

Goldfinch: These have not suffered the same population collapse and on Oct 5 Spurn Head in Yorkshire recorded 3443 while on Oct 4 Thorpeness in Suffolk had 1140, Durlstn had 600 and Portland had 130 in a smaple 50 minute count

Siskin: Reported by 8 southern sites this week with counts varying from 14 to 275

Linnet: Plenty of these around with a peak count of 1180 at Durlston on Oct 2

Lapland and Snow Bunting: Nowhere with more than single birds of either species

Vagrants: A few of the reports on the RBA website which caught my eye included a Myrtle Warbler in Ireland. This is a small American species which is very similar to Audobon's Warbler (jointly the two are called Yellow-rumped Warblers) and only 20 have been recorded in Britain. Even rarer was an Eastern Kingbird (aka Tyrant Flycatcher) which turned up (from America) on the west coast of Ireland to be the first record of its species for the Western Palearctic. Another species which reached the Scillies was a Sykes Warbler which should now be in India (Britain has less than 20 records)

Naval records: Two of the Three Amigos whose reports can be seen at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ are currently heading south on Royal Navy deployments. Steve Copsey is on the Ice Patrol vessel HMS Protector currently heading south down the west African coast on its way to the Antartic and Mark Cutts is already in the Falklands auditing accounts of naval stores and if you are interested in the birds they are both seeing keep up to date with their blog (which will tell you have to recognize an Imperial Shag)

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Black Tailed Skimmer, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Willow Emeral and Common Blue Danselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Wall Brown: A fresh third brood female was seen on the Sussex Downs just north of Beachy Head on Oct 5 - last previous report was a month ago on Sep 4

Species reported this week:

Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Brown Hairstreak, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown and Meadow Brown

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Now switch to the Sussex Moths tab

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

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0697 Agonopterix arenella found in Dorset on SEP 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5763

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0697.php

2229 Brindled Ochre Dasypolia templi found in Dorset on OCT 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=846

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2229.php

2231 Deep-brown Dart Aporophyla lutulenta found in Dorset on OCT 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1657

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2231.php

2240 Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri found in Dorset on OCT 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1859

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2240.php

2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina found in Kent on OCT 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2247.php

2251 Flame Brocade Trigonophora flammea found in Dorset on OCT 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=856

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2251.php

2258 The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii found in Kent on SEP 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1105

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

2266 Brown-spot Pinion Agrochola litura found in Dorset on OCT 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1743

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2266.php

2267 Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis found in Dorset on OCT 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1736

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2267.php

2272 Barred Sallow Xanthia aurago found in Kent on OCT 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1735

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2272.php

OTHER INSECTS

Selected sightings this week:

Hummingbird Hawkmoth: Three reports this week from Shoreham, Gosport and Portland show that the species is still active and (at Shoreham on Oct 1) was undeterred from feeding by rain. Last report was from Portland on Oct 4, probably another incoming migrant

Earwig: I noticed these in my garden for the first time this year on Oct 4

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Pale Flax: I have been somewhat surprised by the late dates at which this flowers at Durlston. Normally I do not expect to see it in the Havant area after mid-August but this year a report of it still flowering at Durlston on Oct 1 was topped by a personal sighting of two plants in flower on the A27 embankment above the Havant to Portsmouth cycleway along the north of Langstone Harbour

Dwarf Gorse: Lots of this still in flower at Havant Thicket on Oct 6

Dwarf Spurge: Lots seen in the Conigar Point field of the Warblington Farm on Oct 1

Cow Parsley: A single plant in full fresh flower beside Church Lane at Warblington on Oct 1

Brooklime: Re-flowering in the Lavant Stream where it runs through Havant Park in a concrete channel just north ot the bus station in central Havant on Oct 2

Betony: A surprise find still flowering in the Havant Thicket area on Oct 6

Lesser Skullcap: On Oct 6 Brian Fellows found what appears to be a single example of this species (long past flowering) at Brook Meadow not far downstream from the site of a regular colony of the larger Skullcap plants. Hopefully it will show again next year to determine its species. The new find seems to have the size and leaf shape of Lesser Skullcap but the site does not have the acid soil favoured by the Lesser species and it is possible that it is a young and abnormal specimen of the plants less than 100 metres upstream

Devils Bit Scabious: I was surprised and the large number of plants of this species flowering at many plants in the Havant Thicket area when I was there on Oct 6

Sneezewort: I was also surprised to find this still flowering at two places in Havant Thicket on Oct 6

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Roe Deer: On Oct 6 Durlston remarked on a Roe buck still having intact antlers now that his summer rut is over (Fallow are of course in the middle of theirs) but I read that Roe shed their antlers in December and (unlike other Deer species) next years set starts to grow immediately.

Wall Lizard: Recent reports on the Rye Harbour website show that Grass Snakes, Slow Worms and Common Lizards are all still to be seen but it is the Sussex Butterfly Conservation site that confirms that Wall Lizards can still be seen on Shoreham Fort. For a couple of photos taken by Richard Roebuck on Sep 29 see http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/images/WallLizard1ShorehamBeech290912RR.jpg and http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/images/WallLizard2ShorehamBeech290912RR.jpg

Fungi: The fungal season seems to be getting off to a slow start but I have noted nine species and Brian Fellows has found what appears to be another unexpected Chicken of the Woods on a tree in Beacon Square in Emsworth. On my lawn both Meadow and Parrot Waxcaps have appeared along with tiny Orange Mosscaps (Rickenella fibula - was Mycena fibula). On grassland in Havant Thicket I found one example of The Miller (Clitopilus prunulus) with Bell-shaped Mottlegill (Paneolus campanulatus) and on the verge of Harts Farm Way near Broadmarsh I came on my first unmistakeable Sulphur Tuft with a cluster of what looked like Psathyrella spadiceogrisea until I saw that its English name is the Spring Brittlestem and realised this is the wrong time of year for that! Giant Polypore is once again flourishing on tree stumps beside Emsworth Road in Havant (just east of Meadowlands road) and in Havant Park under the elderly Horse Chestnuts (near the toilets) which are also plastered with Ganoderma adspersum

ENDWEEK

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