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Wildlife diary and news for Aug 6 - 12 (Week 32 of 2012)

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BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Crested Grebe: We have all heard of seabirds dying as a result of getting involved with fishing tackle (and, further from home, of the giant floating island of plastic which has built up in the Pacific ocean), and from time to time anti-litter campaigns focus on the way in which some Postmen discard the rubber bands used to separate mail during the delivery process, but this week the Postmen seem to have been targetting the Great Crested Grebe. See http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/bridled-grebe.jpg - the photo was taken by Barry Yates at Rye Harbour on Aug 12

Shearwaters: This has been a week for seeing Shearwaters off the Cornish and Devon coasts. Cory's Shearwater had not been reported in UK waters until July 12 when one was logged in the Scillies but the maximum count in the following week was no more than 4. After that there were no more reports until Aug 2 and on Aug 3 the Scillies reported 120 of them and Cornwall saw 115 off Lands End (presumably the same birds). The same pattern is true of Great Shearwater sightings - four singles seen between July 2 and 17 with 22 seen off Lands End on Aug 3. A few of both species are probably still around. Sooty Shearwater is more widely and frequently seen with sightings off northern Britain as early as May 14 with several in June but no more than 3 were seen together until July 15 when Cornwall recorded 13 at Pendeen before there were 29 off Lands End on Aug 3. This week a 'feeding frenzy' of more than 1000 Manx Shearwaters has been seen off south Devon and 'Aug 3 effect' on Balearics brought a report of 760 from the Channel Isles

Storm Petrels: Plenty of these still around off the West Country with a peak count of 250 from one boat trip around the Scillies on July 30

Little Bittern: One was in Wales in April and another spent most of June in the London Lee valley (before it was seized with Olympic White Water canoeing fever causing the latest report to come frome the quieter French countryside (one at the Lac de Marcenay on Aug 7

Night Heron: The bird which has been in the Lymington area since at least June 2 was still there on June 11

Little Egret: It would seem that these have 'gone out of fashion' among birders with no one bothering to make an official count of the Langstone Pond birds during the 2011 breeding season and with Rye Harbour (which reported ten more or less monthly roost counts during 2011) only publishing its second for this year during the week (18 on Feb 2 and at least 49 on Aug 10). It is inevitable that we cannot record (or digest) all that it known about every species but it is interesting to 'a dedicated follower of fashion' to observe whats 'U' and what is 'non-U' (do you remember that controversy?). One bit of information that I (as an Egret enthusiast) would like to know more about is the casual remark from the Scillies that the presence of 10 Egrets on the Islands on Aug 3 'marks the start of their return to the Islands' .. last year they remarked on a count of 14 there on Sep 1 as the 'usual autumn influx' and I am wondering if, like human birders, the Egrets have a season in which they 'go birdwatching' in the Scillies (no doubt this phenomenon is just part of the post-breeding dispersal of this species)

White Stork: The number already leaving northern Europe is gradually increasing day by day - 36 on Aug 4, 37 on Aug 6 and 44 on Aug 10

Glossy Ibis: I suspect I have ignored reports of these from the continent but I see that the presence of one in the Netherlands on Aug 7 is the first to go into my database from a continental site following 146 from the Uk so far this year. Perhaps one of the reasons it caught my eye was that it co-incided with the first report of a Sacred Ibis for the year (in the Netherlands on Aug 10) - none of those so far in the UK

Mute Swan: The small moult flock at the Broadmarsh Slipway here in Havant which numbered just 18 on July 26 and grown to 21 on Aug 6. The only large moult flock that I am aware of remains the one in the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester which had 128 on July 30.

Teal: 44 were back at Pulborough Brooks on Aug 7 and 20 were in Pagham Harbour on Aug 9 (with 102 at Ousistreham in Normandy on Aug 7)

Shoveler: More than a dozen were back at the Exe esturay in Devon on July 30 but across the Channel in France Ouistreham had 37 on Aug 7 and a Netherlands site had 106 Pochard on Aug 4

Goosander: Another manifestation of autumn wildfowl was seen on Aug 7 when a flock of 8 juvenile Goosanders appeared in Christchurch Harbour (now doubt recently fledged from nests not far up the Hampshire Avon or the Dorset Stour)

Honey Buzzard: These are now being seen on the move almost daily on the continent with a peak of 10 seen together (and maybe 23 in total) reported on Aug 5

Montagu's Harrier: One lucky birder saw one flying south 'fast and low' over Broomy Plain in the New Forest on Aug 9 - he was certainly luckier than the birder who, many years ago, was killed on the Cranborne road in Dorset when foolishly walking line abreast across the narrow country road at dusk after visiting a Montagu's nesting site in the Sixpenny Handley area - I was not present on that occasion but had been there a couple of days earlier and often thought about it subsequently when leading nature walks - for some reason when people are in a group pursuing their own interest they entirely lose their normal sense of being part of a community in which they have to look after their own safety, and respect the rights of others, (as can be witnessed in the way twitchers will break through hedges or trample down crops, or in the antipathy between birders and dog-walkers). I was remineded of this recently when a rare bird turned up in an open cast mining area and Lee Evans had to reminde twitchers that it was both an offence and dangerous to hitch a lift across country on an industrial motor-driven belt installed for moving the extracted minerals.

Osprey: These will be moving over the south coast for some time yet (last year the final sighting was not until Dec 2 at Kingsbridge in Devon) and they can currently be expected at Thorney Island, Titchfield Haven, the Lymington shore and the Cuckmere valley in Sussex with chance sightings possible almost enywhere (one was over Basingstoke on Aug 5 and another over Cheriton at the head of the River Itchen on Aug 4)

Merlin: The first back on the south coast was seen in the Cuckmere valley on Aug 1 and this week one was at West Wittering (mouth of Chichester Harbour) on Aug 8 with another in the Rye Bay area (at Winchelsea) on Aug 9

Hobby: My last record of one last year came from Fleet in Hampshire on Oct 28 but many are already heading south - locally one flew over Northney on Hayling Island on Aug 5 and Dorset reported 6 different birds at 4 sites on Aug 10

Quail: Although these are still being reported in the Netherlands up to Aug 10 the last report from southern England (the Downs north of Worthing) was on Aug 2

Spotted Crake: There were reports of spring passage through the UK in May and June but the autumn passage which we expect seems to have started on Aug 11 with a young bird seen near Penzance in Cornwall

Coot: Autumn dispersal seems to have started this week - I found the only numerous bird on the Budds Farm pools here in Havant was Coot when I was there on Aug 6 and somewhere on the internet this week I saw another reference to their return to winter quarters (I thought it came fron Cliff Dean who is well known for his love (?) of this species when he has to count them at Pett Level but I cannot pin the blame on him)

Dotterel: Another bird that is maybe now starting to leave us - more than 20 reports of spring passage ceased on May 26 and now, on Aug 5, we have the first sighting of the species on its way south (but still in the western Isles)

Golden Plover: These have already reached the south coast and Rye Harbour already has a daytime roosting flock of 28 birds (the species feeds by night and sleeps by day). The Rye count was made on Aug 8 when a Trektellen count of 76 birds came from a Netherlands site.

Lapwing: These started to return from breeding some time ago (100 were back at Rye Harbour by June 17, 85 were at Sidlesham Ferry pool on July 20 and 438 were logged at a Netherlands site on Aug 9) but I have yet to see one on my local Langstone shore, however a flock of 10 has been in the Northney marina area just across the water since Aug 2

Pectoral Sandpiper: One has been seen on the Hampshire Solent shore at the traditional undiclosed site where it was seen on Aug 9

Curlew Sandpiper: One or two have been regularly seen on the Lymington shore since July 23 and two were there on Aug 11 with other recent sightings at Rye Harbour and the Oare Marshes in north Kent

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: One which had been vsiting Britain spent its last night at Portland, clocking in there on the evening of Aug 9 before flying off west at dwan on Aug 10

Wood Sandpiper: These have been providing interest at five sites this week with Pulborough Brooks and the Lymington shore being the best bets for a casual sighting but the peak count of of 5 was at the Exminster Marshes in Devon on Aug 7

Skuas: In addition to Pom. Arctic and Great a couple of Long-tailed showed up this week - one came into Christchurch Harbour on July 29 and the other was seen in Aug 3 near Lands End

Sabine's Gull: One or more adults have given rise to nine sightings around England since June 30 with the most recent sighting probably the work of two birds. One was seen between Aug 2 and 5 in the Scillies, Devon and Cornwall, the other at Rye Harbour and Dungeness on Aug 4 and 5

Bonaparte's Gull: One was seen around Princes Lake in Eastbourne on Aug 4, 5 and 6

Great Black-backed Gull: The pair which nested for the first time on a raft in the Slipper Mill Pond at Emsworth this year, and were first seen there on Apr 22, were not to be seen there after Aug 2 when they seem to have moved away with their two young (a third chick had succumbed, maybe to cold and rain, on June 8). Despite their murderous reputation they were only once seen making a violent attack on other birds (driving off a pair of Herring Gulls that may have had thoughts of sharing the nest site on May 15) though they did try to dissaude humans from using the paths on either side of the pond for a brief period (I think when the eggs were being laid). Surprisingly they seemed happy to let Coots and Cormorants share the raft.

Common Terns: I am not au fait with the current breeding status of gulls and terns in Sussex and I had the impression that when the Black Headed Gulls finally gave up their attempts to nest on Stakes Island in Chichester Harbour and moved en masse to the Langstone Harbour islands in 1997 the Common Terns had also abandoned the site but when I walked round Cobnor Point this week the noise and activity on the island seemed to indicate that some Common Terns had bred there this year and I see from the 2010 Sussex Bird Report that there was still some attempted breeding up to that year - I have the impression that it is the Chichester Lakes site which the Common Terns have abandoned, not Stakes Island. For those not familiar with the history of Stakes Island my version of that story is that the gulls made the move to Langstone after many years of failed breeding caused by the nests being washed away by high tides despite many years of winter work parties under the direction of Joan Edom shoveling shingle to maintain a nesting area above the high watermark - I see from Anne de Potier's contribution to the SOS 50th anniversary Newsletter that she had been involved in this work as far back as 1979.

Tawny Owl: The Olympics have brought much excitement to the nation but not nearly as much pleasure as I received last night (Aug 10) from hearing through my open window, well after dark, the quavering calls of a Tawny Owl coming from the trees lining the Billy Trail rail line at the bottom of my garden. In the 1970s the Owls were regularly heard from late summer through the winter but this was the first time I have heard one from the house in more than 30 years (though they have been heard by other less than half a mile away - south of the A27 - within the last few years)

Departing Migrants: Time is short today as a result of the Olympics but the following species have been on the move this week: Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Nightjar, Swift, Sand Martin, Swallow, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Nightingale, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear, Grasshopper Warbler, Aquatic Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher.

Nightjar: Something that seems to happen to someone each autumn is that they wake up to find a Nightjar sitting on their garden fence, happily sleeping in the believe that their cryptic plumage makes them invisible. This year on Aug 10 it was a birder living in the Durrington area of Worthing who found one on his garden shed roof.

Common Swift: These won't be with us much longer but on Aug 9 around 500 were seen to leave at Portland and 700+ were seen that day over the Penzance area of Cornwall. We also had an Alpine Swift in Norfolk on Aug 6

Sand Martin: Dungeness saw 330 leaving on Aug 4 (after 200 on Aug 1 and 50 on Aug 2) and Christchurch Harbour had a night roost of 700 departing birds on Aug 6 with several hundred leaving from Portland on Aug 8

Swallow: The only roost reported this week was of a paltry 250 birds at Thurlestone Bay (South Devon) on Aug 4

Yellow Wagtail: The first hint of any mass departure came on Aug 11 when Rye Harbour reported a flock of 80 birds

Wheatear: The first autumn bird to be seen on Thorney Island was not there until Aug 6 but elsewhere the tempo increased with 30 birds in the Cuckmere valley on Aug 8 and 30 more seen at Portland on Aug 9

Aquatic Warbler: This week saw the first mention of this autumn visitor - three reports from the continent followed by one bird in south Devon on Aug 10

Melodious Warbler: The first autumn vagrant for Britain was at Portland on Aug 9

Wood Warbler: Reports from Sandwich Bay, Portland and Christchurch Harbour

Willow Warbler: First count of more than 100 at Beachy Head on July 28 increasing to 225 at Christchurch on Aug 9

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Migrant Hawker: Sightings have become widespread this week (including two in my Havant garden)

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer, Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly and Azure Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Brown Hairstreak: Aug 5 brought first of the year reports from the Adur valley in Sussex and Shipton Bellinger near Andover in Hampshire

Chalkhill Blue: Something has clearly caused a massive increase in the number of these emerging this year. See below the list of this week's species for a couple of paragraphs taken from the Sussex Butterfly Conservation website in which two eminent authorities on Sussex butterflies (Neil Hulme and Michael Blencowe) express their opinions of the size and cause of this year's extravagnza.

Adonis Blue: The summer brood began to emerge on Aug 5 at Durlston and on Aug 9 in Sussex

Purple Emperor: I commented last week on the apparent increase in the numbers of places where these butterflies could be seen but I must add one serendiptous sighting in our local area - on Aug 9 Barry Collins (the Chichester Harbour warden for Thorney Island) went to look over the roadside fence of the Brickkiln Pond on the southern fringe of Stansted Forest and was rewarded with a male Emperor actually landing on his head. This is a typically 'unkown site' to many who worship the Emperor but I have heard of the butterflies being seen there for many years going back to when John Rowe was the Forester and Michael Prior had not appeared on the scene. More recently you may recall some sightings at Stansted last year with one sighting near the chapel on July 16 but the most impressive report relates to 27 July 2010 when Michael Blencowe wrote .. "Tuesday was a big day for me! As many of you know I have never seen a Purple Emperor before. Of course I've had many opportunities to join Neil on one of his walks but I always wanted to find my own and, as I've told many people, I hoped that one day one would land right in front of me. On Tuesday 27th July 2010 that's exactly what happened. Not just one - but two Purple Emperors came tumbling out of the sky right front of me! The unfortunate thing was, however, that I was travelling at 45mph at the time, driving down a road adjacent to Stansted Forest. I glimpsed two large butterflies as they fell fighting from above. Before I could slam on the brakes they were sucked under the car! As I gazed into the rear view mirror I saw one fly off apparently unharmed. The other was flat on the road but righted itself - and I swear I saw it dust itself off - and that's when I saw that unmistakable profile. It too took flight and was gone. Unbelievable! We put the hazard lights on and leapt from the car and stared up into the canopy at the amazing sight above. We were directly below a Master Tree with three Emperors soaring, fighting and attacking the odd passing bird. Next day Neil joined us and a fourth, a female, was located. Neil explained that the previous day I had almost killed a male and female - female Emperors have been known to tumble from the sky to evade the advances of a male. It could have ended tragically for all three of us - but luckily we all lived to tell the tale - and mine is of my first Purple Emperor; seen in my rear view mirror."

Species reported this week:

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

Chalkhill Blue explosion (copied from the Aug 3 entries on the Sussex BC website)

Neil Hulme writes: Michael Blencowe and Mike Mullis have now completed their much more exhaustive survey of the entire Friston Gallops grassland area, much of which is improving as the result of a change in the cutting regime, following discussions between the Forestry Commission and Butterfly Conservation. Their total figure of 820,000 Chalkhill Blues does not surprise me, and I suspected that the number just at the northern end of the site might be in the order of half a million, but initially didn't want to venture such a figure without some corroborative evidence.
In such a poor year for most butterflies, why are we seeing such an abundance of Chalkhill Blues? I suspect that the ultimate size of the potentially largest colonies is often limited by the availability of suitable food-plants, with droughting and competition for resources being a common scenario in most summers. This year we are all-too-aware of the conditions that will have led to
exceptionally lush growth of the horseshoe vetch, for once capable of supporting a veritable army of Chalkhill Blue caterpillars.
Of related interest, in the last week or so we have had reports of Chalkhill Blue males well off the Downs, at Hailsham Country Park, Horam and Coggins Mill near Mayfield.

Mike Mullis writes: So how many Chalkhill Blue butterflies were there on the day? Estimates are always going to be highly speculative but there are certainly a phenomenal number up there at the moment. Neil H. came up with a conservative count of 200,000+ on his Thursday visit but yesterday's search covered a bigger area and who am I to doubt Michael's frantic use of the calculator back at his patio table, based on our joint-estimates of m2 densities over various paced-out grassland zones across the whole area. His final figure on the day was 800,000+ with well over 200+ mating pairs but the peak total for this colony will be very difficult to accurately calculate and there may be losses after any torrential downpours. So if the sun comes out this week-end, feel free to start counting again .. but do tread carefully! I agree with Neil that the most likely reason for these incredible numbers is the dire wet spring/summer of 2012 so every cloud has at least had a silver - or rather chalkhill blue  lining on the Downs of East Sussex. This year's abnormal rainfall has undoubtedly produced an abundance of leafy Horseshoe Vetch growth so the larval survival rates have been considerably higher than normal when the plants presumably get rapidly stripped of foliage in dryer years. It will be interesting to see if the imminent emergence of Adonis Blues bears this theory out

Michael Blencowe sums up: Yesterday Neil Hulme contacted me to say that numbers at the north end of the Gallops were exceptional and today, armed with a tape measure, I walked up to Gallops and joined Neil & Eric Hulme and Mike Mullis to witness this spectacle. There were incredible numbers of Chalkhill Blues up there however, as we reached The Gallops the heavens opened in typical summer 2012 style and we ended up getting a right good soaking. Despite this we still saw thousands of Chalkhill Blues and it was clear that 2012 was going to be a really special year at this site. After we dried off Mike and I decided to survey the entire site and estimate the numbers of Chalkhill Blue present here. The weather conditions were breezy and overcast and most of the butterflies only flew when they were approached. The site is around 250,000 metres square and we walked up and down it (twice) estimating the number of Chalkhill Blues in a number of compartments. Chalkhill Blues were present in all areas of the site - in most years they are concentrated at the north and south ends. There are now pockets of great Chalkhill Blue habitat across the site where the butterflies averaged around 5 per square metre. However at their usual favoured site (on the slopes above Butchershole Bottom car park) they have reached plague proportions! I have never seen so many butterflies in my life; at one point there was a blizzard of Blue all around me, I had to raise my arm over my face to get through! I estimated 15 per square metre in one corner of this area! When we returned home we did the maths and our rough calculations estimated that there are 827,897 Chalkhill Blues at Friston Gallops - and this I think is an under-estimate! There must be well over a million butterflies spread across this site.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0642 Batia unitella found in Dorset on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5065

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0642.php

0954 Eupoecilia angustana found in Dorset on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6393

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0954.php

0955 Vine Moth Eupoecilia ambiguella found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3417

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0955.php

1262 Cydia amplana found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1958

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1262.php

1292 Calamotropha paludella found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1334

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1292.php

1305 Agriphila tristella found in Dorset on AUG 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=159

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1305.php

1421 Large Tabby Aglossa pinguinalis found in Dorset on AUG 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1581

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1421.php

1437 Acrobasis consociella found in Dorset on AUG 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1556

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1437.php

1441 Oncocera semirubella found in Sussex on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=609

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1441.php

1443 Pempelia genistella found in Sussex on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2534

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1443.php

1464 Gymnancyla canella found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4482

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1464.php

1486 Apomyelois bistriatella found in Dorset on AUG 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3612

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1486.php

1640 The Drinker Euthrix potatoria found in Hampshire on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2149

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1640.php

1830 Wormwood Pug Eupithecia absinthiata found in Dorset on AUG 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=508

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1830.php

2029 Brown-tail Euproctis chrysorrhoea found in Sussex on AUG 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1598

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2029.php

2341 Cloaked Minor Mesoligia furuncula found in Dorset on AUG 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=513

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2341.php

2342 Rosy Minor Mesoligia literosa found in Dorset on AUG 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1881

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2342.php

2361 Rosy Rustic Hydraecia micacea found in Dorset on AUG 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=208

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2361.php

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Hoverflies: The following species found at Rye Harbour this week can be seen on the RX website by visiting both http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/8/11/hemp-agrimony.html and http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/8/10/castle-water-hide.html The first entry features the eyecatching Volucella zonaria hoverfly (fairly common for a species that relies on the small pools of water that occur in natural cavities in old trees to provide the life support system for raising its young) and the second entry has photos of a Barn Owl and a text which mentions three more hoverflies - Helophilus trivittatus, Eristalis sepulchralis and Eristalis arbustorum. Sam Smith has included a photo of Helophilus trivittatus, for Eristalis sepulchralis see http://micropics.org.uk/Syrphidae/Eristalis/sepulchralis/eristalis%20sepulchralis.htm and for Eristalis arbustorum see http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/eristalis-arbustorum

Glow-worm: On Aug 9 three were still glowing on the old 'Downslink' track in the Adur valley near Henfield

Prickly Stick Insect: This 5 inch long insect from New Zealand was a surprise find on Aug 6 hiding in a garden conifer tree at Brixham in South Devon. This item caught my eye as at the start of last winter an end of season check on Beach Huts on Hayling Island discovered a lonely Indian Stick Insect left abandoned in one of the huts and at that time I learnt that various species of these Stick Insects have now adapted to life in the south of England and that some Cornish gardens have a large and thriving population (often unknown to the owners of the property!)

Bee Killer (Philanthus triangulum): This species gets its first mention for the year after a sighting at Rye Harbour on Aug 6. These insects do kill bees and carry their bodies off to feed their young and can be found on Hayling and Thorney Islands among other south coast sites with sandy soil in which the adult insects dig holes in which to lay their eggs before stuffing the hole with a tasty bee as food for the larva. For more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beewolf

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Indian Balsam: Although this may be an invasive alien which many people would like to see removed from Britain I still enjoy my first sight of this colourful plant each year and this week I not only saw it in a regular spot (Chidham village) but found that it had spread upstream in the Hermitage Stream at Bedhampton to dominate the point where the overspill from the Portsmouth Water Company enters the stream.

Marsh Mallow: I found this flourishing at Cobnor Point in Chichester Harbour on Aug 9 and co-oncidentally learnt during the week that the plant has its own moth species (2363 Marsh Mallow Moth Hydraecia osseola)

Dwarf Gorse: As I remarked in my Diary entry for Aug 10 this is the only Gorse species currently in flower giving you a chance (if you visit Havant Thicket) to learn to distinguish it from the Common Gorse that will soon resume flowering after its short summer break

Caucasian Stonecrop: This started to flower this week in the Havant New Lane cemetery where it was originally planted but which would be difficult to eradicate now

Ivy: Just a sign of the times was the very first hint of flower buds devoping on Ivy this week

Tamarisk: Another sign of the passing seasons was the opening of new flowers on the shoreline Tamarisks around the local harbours

Small toadflax (Chaenorhinum minus): Brian Fellows made the first find of this plant for the year on Aug 8 on waste ground adjacent to Emsworth Rail Station. Graeme Lyons found it in Sussex last year but I have not seen it myself since 2007

Lesser skullcap (Scutellaria minor): I did manage to find this again in Havant Thicket this week but had some difficulty in accessing the site which is 'off the beaten track' - see my diary for Aug 10

Devils' Bit Scabious: This also started to flower this week and was found in Havant Thicket on Aug 10

Goldenrod: The wild species, not the Canadian garden species, had started to flower in Havant Thicket on Aug 10

Early Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea): This garden escape seemed to be well established at Nutbourne Farm Lane when I first noticed it last year and was flourishing there on Aug 9 (see my Diary page for details)

Common Waterplantain: Although this has probably been flowering for some time I did not see it until this week

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Sea life: Last week we discovered that the Seawatch-Sw project had been wound up after the 2011 summer season but warm water and the holiday season neverthless continue to bring those with an interest in sea-life into contact with the undersea fauna, especially of the south west penninsula of the British Isles, and this week I have seen the first report for the year of a Pilot Whale in the Scilly Isles area which also reported Hawksbill Turtle as well as the Leatherbacks. Sunfish and Blue Sharks were also present while four Basking Sharks were seen together off Porthgwarra at Lands End

Froglets, Slugs and Adders: For those staying at home here in southern England one unusual creature had its photo taken two metres up a tree in Havant Thicket - this was a Great Grey (or Leopard) Slug which can grow to 8 ins (20 cm) long and can vary in colour from pure white (exceptional) to various dark spotted pale colours as in the current photo to be seen at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-020-leopard-slug-hav-th-04.08.12.jpg If you want to see one Havant Thicket may be a good place to look as that is where I had my only encounter with this creature (on 30 Aug 2008) but it was on the ground! For more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limax_maximus Two much commoner creatures reported this week have been baby Frogs which are now leaving their ponds and may be encountered anywhere, and a Black Adder seen near Friston Forest in the Eastbourne area (Botley Woods near Fareham was in the past said to be a good place for them) - they are just a colour variant of the normal Adder. One memory which I have concerning Frogs leaving their birth ponds may be worth bearing in mind if global warming brings hotter summers in the future - a well cared for wildlife pond in a Hayling garden was surrounded by a wide stretch of brick paving which the emerging froglets took some time to cross before they could hide in the garden flowers, but one summer their emergence co-incided with a heat wave with the result that every last froglet fried before it could reach the shade.

Fungi: Still no great excitement - this week just two Blackening Waxcaps pushed up through my garden lawn but did not like what they saw and went back below ground (more likely some surface dweller liked the look of them and ate them)

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 30 - Aug 5 (Week 31 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Crested Grebe: It seems only a couple of weeks ago that the TV News was showing us pictures of water reservoirs within a few inches of reaching the 'Empty' mark and Graeme Lyons was complaining of the heat, when trying to carry out a plant survey on the Amberley Wild Brooks, using the phrase .. "the only shade out there was that cast by the horseflies" yet by Aug 2 a survey of the birds breeding on Bewl Water near Crowborough in Sussex spoke of the unusually high water level supporting 84 breeding pairs of Great Crested Grebe with 66 of those pairs still sitting.

Balearic Shearwater: It seems very few years ago that I was first made aware of this species through the setting up in 2007 (I think mainly due to Russell Wynn of the National Oceanograhphic Centre at Southampton) of the Seawatch SW project whose aim (copied from their website at http://www.seawatch-sw.org/ ) was .. "to better understand the distribution and behaviour of migratory marine megafauna, both for scientific and conservation purposes. The priority is the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater"... Checking the BTO Birdfacts page I see that the species is still classed as Critically Endangered (likely to become extinct within 50 years) and is so rare that the BTO does not have a photo of one of the birds, but going to the Seawatch SW site I see that that project has now been wound up after getting sufficient volunteers to look for the birds, find there are lots of them, and so save them from extinction. Not only did they get a photo of the species but on 3 Sep 2011 they counted more than 2000 of them flying past Gwennap Head near Lands End in Cornwall. My review of the status of the species today was triggered by a Trektellen report of 760 of the birds seen off Jersey on Aug 3 this year after a count of 24 off Berry Head in Devon on Aug 1

Night Heron: It seems that the bird which was present on the Lymington shore from June 2 to 19 has re-appeared there, being seen on Aug 3 and 4

Little Egret: Langstone Pond is a year round centre for Little Egrets but their number varies greatly from month to month. The beginning of August marks the change from use of the pond as a breeding site (this year around 24 nests were occupied and it is probable that at least that number of juveniles were raised) to a transition camp for up to 200 birds (last year the highest evening roost count was 198 with an all time high in the past of 228). Good numbers remain until winter makes fishing in the harbours difficult (not just through strong winds and low temperatures but more importantly by reducing the time available for fishing as the period when the tide is too high for fishing becomes a significant portion of the reduced daylight hours) when the birds move inland or head south. By mid-February thoughts of breeding bring them back and by mid-April most of the nests will have been built though egg-laying probably does not occur until the weather suggests that conditions will provide enough food for the young. When the eggs (up to six) are laid they require three weeks incubation and when they hatch the birds remain in the nest for four weeks and then remain around the nests (dependent on their parents for food) for about another four weeks. One final fact about the Langstone Pond site is that it seems to be the only place in the UK where Egrets nest without the previous existence of a Grey Heron nest site. This week on Aug 3 I made the first evening count of birds coming in to roost and although I did not stay until it was too dark to see the birds I counted a total of 75 birds

Spoonbill: A single bird has been at Lodmoor (Weymouth) from July 22 to Aug 2 - although it was not reported as a juvenile at first I assume it has been a post breeding dispersal bird.

Mute Swan: Last week I commented on the absence of reports of summer moult flocks of Swans so on July 30 I went to the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester and found the expected (but unreported) flock of at least 128 birds

Returning Wildfowl: Although a few birds of most of the species that we see in the winter months have stayed to breed it is now several months since most of us have seen Wigeon, Teal, or Shoveler but there have been sightings during the past ten days of Wigeon (singles at Pagham, Exmouth and Christchurch), Gadwall (3 at Christchurch and 75 at a Netherlands site), Teal (up to 7 at Sidlesham Ferry and others at Pulborough and Christchurch), Pintail ( one female at Titchfield Haven), Shoveler (12+ at Exmouth, 14 at Pagham inc 2 juvs, 5 at Pulborough), Pochard (1 at Thorney Little Deeps on July 22), Eider (one in Chichester Harbour on Aug 3), Red-breasted Merganser (one off Northney in Chichester Hbr from July 23 to Aug 2) and there are still a few departing Garganey to be seen at Exmouth, Wadebridge in Cornwall, Brownsea Island in Poole Hbr and one passing at Sandwich Bay

Honey Buzzard: Signs that these are already heading south come from reports of ten birds in total at four sites in the Netherlands on Aug 1

Osprey: Two present on Thorney Island on Aug 2 and others this week at Titchfield Haven and at the Arlington Reservoir in the Cuckmere valley (where one appeared to be a juvenile learning how to fish)

Merlin: One seen at the Pannell valley near Rye Bay on May 25 was said to be the latest to depart from Sussex this century and now one seen at the mouth of the Cuckmere river near Seaford is the joint earliest to return this century (equalling the early date of one seen on 1 Aug 2009)

Quail: One has been heard on the Downs north of Worthing up to Aug 2 and one was at the Lizard in Cornwall on Jul 27(one other report from the Netherlands on Aug 2)

Spotted Crake: Reports of up to 2 in the Netherlands on Aug 2 and 4

Baillons Crake: Lee Evans tells us that there was a mini-invasion of these during June with up to 9 birds in the UK (none on the south coast)

Black-winged Pratincole: The first to reach Britain since 1996 was on Lewis (western isles) on Aug 2 according to RBA

Sanderling: 300 were on the Pilsey sands in Chichester Harbour on Aug 2

Little Stint: One has been on the Lymington shore since July 25 and on Aug 1 there may have been 3 there - on Aug 2 one was also seen on Thorney Island

White-rumped Sandpiper: One was reported on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on July 31

Pectoral Sandpiper: One seen on the Lymington shore on July 29 and July 30 with others in Cornwall on July 30 and Aug 2

Curlew Sandpiper: Several now passing through with reports from Lodmoor (Weymouth), Lymington, Pagham Harbour, Christchurch Harbour and Wadebridge in Cornwall with 5 at a Netherlands site on Aug 1

Dunlin: These are now widespread but a count of 4000 at Thorney Island on Aug 2 was remarkable

Buff Breasted Sandpiper: It is quite a few years since I saw one on the Hayling Island Golf Course but I still take an interest in reports of the species and this week one was in Cheshire at Frodsham on July 30

Long-billed Dowitcher: One was at Slimbridge on the Severn estuary from July 26 to 30 at least

Whimbrel: Plenty of passage birds around at the moment with a flock of 40 on Thorney Island on Aug 2 (95 at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire on July 31)

Long-tailed Skua: In a year in which other Skua species (Arctic, Pom and Great) have all been seen in every month so far a clear sighting of a Long-tailed actually within Christchurch Harbour on July 29 was a good record - only the sixth that I have picked up for Britain this year and the first for the south coast.

Sabine's Gull: One seen off Rye Harbour on Aug 4 was only the third for south east England this year after one at Sandwich Bay on Jan 31 and one at Folkestone on June 30. The only others that I know off have been off the Scillies and South Devon in July, at Flamborough Head on July 31 and off south Devon on Aug 2

Little Tern: It sounds as if the population of some distant breeding colony making a mass exodus from Britain happened to pass through Chichester Harbour on Aug 2 when a flock of 23 were seen from Thorney Island and a family group of three were seen across the water at Ella Nore (parent feeding two young)

Cuckoo: Singles (presumably juvs) seen at Fleet Pond on July 29 and at Sandwich Bay on Aug 1

Short-eared Owl: It now looks as if one may have stayed at Farlington Marshes through the summer, managing the evade being reported for long periods. Dates on which one has been reported there have been May 3, 6, 7, June 10, 15, 27, July 16, 24, 26 and 31. Some of the gaps between sightings might be accounted for if the bird moved to and from Thorney Island where it would be more likely to escape detection - dates for reports from Thorney Island were May 2, 17, and June 12 none of which conflict with Farlington reports. It is equally feasible that the reports from both sites represented a string of different birds moving north from the continent and pausing for a day or two on our south coast.

Bee eater: One was reportedly heard but never seen at Titchfield Haven on July 29

Departing summer visitors: The violent changes in our weather and the continuing decline in the availability of insect food has caused many birds to head south early though it may still have the effect of lengthening the 'departure window' if the weather improves and some birds stay on for a second or third attempt at nesting. Some Swifts seem to have been leaving for a long time (though we must remember that they do not breed in the first two years of their life and so are free to head south when they feel like it). Kingfishers are now starting to appear on the coast (some of them may be juveniles, others adults frustrated by floods). Sand Martins started to appear at Portland as early as June 25 but a more determined movement has been seen at Dungeness this week with 200 resting before their channel crossing on Aug 1 (when 135 flew south over Christchurch) and another 50 there on Aug 2. On July 29 there was a night roost of 100 departing Swallows at Thurlstone Bay in south Devon and on July 31 Farlington Marshes had a similar roost of 600. Very few Yellow Wagtails have been reported but there have been small parties at several south coast sites while Grey Wagtails seem to have started moving to winter sites (one was seen in the canalised Hermitage Stream near Bedhampton station in Havant on July 31) but one in Guestling Wood near the River Rother in East Sussex was heard singing on Aug 1 as if thinking of a second attempt at breeding. Nightingales have been seen at Beachy Head and Dungeness (with flocks of 21 and 35 passage birds already reported in the Netherlands). Single Redstarts have appeared at the coast in both Dorset and Hampshire while there have been 13 reports of Whinchat since the first autumn bird was seen on the Sussex Downs on July 22. No mass movement of Wheatears yet but singles have been seen this week at Portland, Pagham Harbour, Farlington Marshes, Christchurch and Pulborough. The first Grasshopper Warbler was back at Durlston on July 20 since when others have been seen at Pagham, Portland, Christchurch, south Devon and Beachy Head. Sedge and Reed Warblers continue to move south with Lesser Whitethroats and Garden Warblers newly appearing on the coast this week. On Aug 3 we were told that 70% of the Blackcaps recently ringed at Beachy Head were adults indicating a poor breeding season. Also now heading south, in addition to the Willow Warblers and Chiff Chaffs, have been several Spotted and at least one Pied Flycatcher.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Common Hawker: Although these are normally on the wing from late June the first report of them that I have picked up was dated July 26 (though there were more than 100 flying at the Welsh site reporting them)

Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus): First report from Cliffe Pools RSPB site on the penninsula north of Rochester in Kent on Aug 1

Willow Emerald Damselfly: More than 15 were seen at Reculver on the north Kent coast on Aug 3. This species was rare in Britain until 2009 when it began to invade south east England. This year, after one odd report from south Wales on June 20, the first report was of 5 at Felixstowe on July 23 with one at Reculver on July 24 before the current sighting

Species reported this week:

I have not noted all the species reported this week but the records are there for all to see on the British Dragonfly Society Latest Sightings page at http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/latest-sightings

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Chalkhill Blue: Reports seem to indicate that this has been a very good year for the species with large numbers at all usual sites and 'unbelievable numbers' at Butchershole Bottom (north of Friston Forest in the Eastbourne area) - one observer had the following to say (on the Sussex Butterfly Conservation website) about a visit to this site .. "Following the recent report, I popped down to Butchershole at Friston Forest this morning. I have heard of such things before, but nothing could have prepared me for my first experience of quite an extraordinary sight. Literally thousands of Chalkhill Blues many in very good condition . A quite extraordinary sight of butterflies sat all over the ground warming up in the overcast conditions. When there were small gusts of wind the air was full of clouds of butterflies just like leaves whipped up by a breeze. I and several other people were absolutely amazed at the profusion of Chalkhills. I counted near on 40 males on one piece of dog pooh" (Who said dog walkers were a nuisance?)

Purple Emperor: Reports this year show that this butterfly is much more widespread than we are led to believe by the tradition that they can only be seen by going to a small number of hallowed sites where the butterflies will only show themselves if you take them an offering of stinking rotten Asian shrimp paste. I am not in the least questioning the fact that they congregate round special 'master trees' for breeding purposes but it does seem that there are more of these than has been recognised in the past and also that these strong flyers do not hesitate to use their wings to explore the country at times when they are not on breeding duty. So far this summer I have seen sightings reported from 17 separate sites (i.e. including the Straits Enclosure and Goose Green, etc all within one Alice Holt Forest site) which include unexpected places such as the King Street in Emsworth (where a female landed on the tarmac to permit close inspection on Aug 4) and a small garden at Nyewood (south of Rogate in the Petersfield/Midhurst area), Wiston Village north of Worthing and the Chineham area of Basingstoke. They have also been seen in untypical habitat at Graffham Down near Midhurst and Pitt Down near Winchester while several reports have come from sites near to Havant (Havant Thicket, Southleigh Forest, Creech Woods near Denmead and Huntbourn Wood west of Portsdown) and others from Botley Woods and Rownhams Wood in the Southampton area.

Species reported this week:

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

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

One species not included in the list below (because it is so new to Britain that it does not have an entry on the UK Moths website) is Harpella forficella of which the second known in Britain (first was seen last year) was caught by Dave and Penny Green on July 27 somewhere in Sussex when out celebrating their wedding anniversary with a spot of moth trapping. You can see a photo of the species at http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/harpella-forficella-photo_lat-5224.html and it does get a mention on the Hants Moths website but with no photo or other information. Wikipedia tells us it is a member of the 'Concealer Moth' family and that it is a common species on the continent

0228 Monopis weaverella found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=898

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0228.php

0308 Parornix finitimella found in Kent on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6139

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0308.php

0411 Argyresthia goedartella found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6625

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0411.php

0427 Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2103

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0427.php

0438 Swammerdamia pyrella found in Kent on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4681

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0438.php

0455 Ypsolopha scabrella found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5320

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0455.php

0706 Agonopterix nervosa found in Kent on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2431

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0706.php

0765 Teleiodes vulgella found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4716

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0765.php

0857 Peach Twig Borer Anarsia lineatella found in Kent on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6081

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0857.php

0946 Aethes rubigana found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1326

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0946.php

1006 Epagoge grotiana found in Kent on AUG 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3448

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1006.php

1039 Strawberry Tortrix Acleris comariana found in Kent on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=543

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1039.php

1052 Acleris umbrana found in Sussex on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5427

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

1067 Celypha cespitana found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4588

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1067.php

1109 Lobesia littoralis found in Dorset on AUG 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4550

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1109.php

1183 Epiblema foenella found in Sussex on JULY 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2125

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1183.php

1309 Agriphila geniculea found in Kent on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4775

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1309.php

1316 Catoptria falsella found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1837

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1316.php

1348 Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4185

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1348.php

1358 Evergestis pallidata found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1292

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1358.php

1440 Trachycera marmorea found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3611

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1440.php

1454b Dioryctria sylvestrella found in Kent on JULY 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2248

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1454b.php

1666 Large Emerald Geometra papilionaria found in Dorset on AUG 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=118

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1666.php

1718 Oblique Striped Phibalapteryx virgata found in Kent on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3340

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1718.php

1811 Slender Pug Eupithecia tenuiata found in Kent on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6354

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1811.php

1838 Tawny Speckled Pug Eupithecia icterata found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3099

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1838.php

1884 The Magpie Abraxas grossulariata found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=64

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1884.php

2027 Dark Tussock Dicallomera fascelina found in Dorset on JULY 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=659

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2027.php

2033 Black Arches Lymantria monacha found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1737

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2033.php

2165 Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea found in Kent on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4273

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2165.php

2297 Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea found in Dorset on AUG 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=196

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2297.php

2311 Double Kidney Ipimorpha retusa found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4906

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2311.php

2319 Lunar-spotted Pinion Cosmia pyralina found in Sussex on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1348

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2319.php

2358 Saltern Ear Amphipoea fucosa found in Kent on JULY 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1624

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2358.php

2466 The Blackneck Lygephila pastinum found in Sussex on JULY 28 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4828

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2466.php

2484 Pinion-streaked Snout Schrankia costaestrigalis found in Dorset on JULY 31 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5399

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2484.php

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Great Green Bush cricket: Adults started to appear on Aug 1 when I found four females on Portsdown and they also appeared at Durlston

Grey Bush Cricket (Platycleis albopunctata): This gets its first mention for the year from Durlston on Aug 1. For a photo see http://www.naturspaziergang.de/Heuschrecken/Platycleis_albopunctata.htm and click on the photo to get a fighteningly large full screen version but do not expect to learn from it how to separate several very similar species

Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius): A rarity seen by Graeme Lyons at the Pevensey Levels on Aug 1 and so rare that it has its own website - see http://www.dolomedes.org.uk/ and if you want to know even more see http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal.php/p/Notes%20on/s/Dolomedes%20plantarius

Wasp spider (Argiope bruennichi): I reported my own first encounter with this lovely creature last week but this week it gets a mention from Durlston but under their private name for it - Tiger spider

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Mare's Tail: My first sight of this for the year came at Fishbourne Mill Pond near Chichester on July 30 though the plants were too far out in the water to tell if they were flowering. The only other local site that I know of for this plant is Aldsworth Pond north of Emsworth but there is now so much tree growth round the pond that it is difficult to see them.

Dittander: Lots of this flowering beside the Fishbourne Channel on July 30.

Tall Tutsan (Hypericum x inodorum): I came across this for the first time in my life when in the base of the Paulsgrove Chalk Pit at Portsmouth on Aug 1 and I noticed large yellow flowers packed with long prominent stamens struggling to show themselves above the bramble bush in which they were growing. For a photo see http://www.aphotoflora.com/af_hypericum_x_inodorum_tall_tutsan.html

Horse Chestnut: A sign of approaching autumn was the first fallen Conker under a Horse Chestnut tree seen on Aug 2

Corn Parsley: My first sighting of this in flower was in the Fishbourne meadows near Chichester on July 30

Russian Vine: My first sight of this common garden escape in flower came on Aug 2

Rock Sea Lavender: This uncommon plant which is marked as extinct in the Hants Flora was reported flowering at Durlston on July 31

Brookweed (Samolus valerandi): This plant, which requires a site with a mixture of salt and fresh water and occurs at several places on the Hampshire coast, was abundant in the marshy SSSI field of the Warblington Farm when I was there on Aug 2

Blue Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina): I had never seen this in my life before I came on two specimens growing on the top of Portsdown near Fort Southwick on Aug 1 - you can seen my photo at http://ralph-hollins.net/BluePimp.jpg

Sharp-leaved Fluellen (Kickxia elatine): I have been saddened by the failure of Round-leaved Fluellen to appear this year at a previously reliable site in the Warblington Cemetery but as I was walking home from the cemetery on Aug 2 I was surprised and delighted to find a mass of Sharp-leaved Fluellen in full flower beside the main road into Havant from Emsworth. It had replaced a Broom bush recently removed from a council planting of Rose of Sharon and Fuchsia bushes at the junction of the Emsworth road with Meadowlands.

Blue Water Speedwell: When I was visiting the Fishbourne Meadows on July 30 I saw a plant of what I am pretty sure (by the small number of flowers in each raceme) was the pure species growing in the stream nearest to Fishbourne village

Gipsywort: First flowers seen on plants at Langstone Mill Pond on Aug 3

Field Woundwort: First plants found by Brian Fellows on July 30 in the gutter of the cycleway entering the A27 underpass (close to the A259/A27 interchange) from the Emsworth side. From their location it seems likely that these plants were an unintentional benefit from the dumping earlier this year of road building materials just uphill of where the plants were found allowing seeds brought with the materials to be washed down into the gutter by recent rain.

Clustered Bellflower: First flowers this year found on Portsdown on Aug 1

Common Ragwort: Arguments for and against the practice of pulling Ragwort (balancing possible harm to horses against benefit to insects) are well put in a webpage which I read about on the RX website - see http://www.buglife.org.uk/conservation/campaigns/Ragwort

Marsh Ragwort: My first sight of this came rather belatedly in the Fishbourne Meadows on July 30

Canadian Fleabane: First flowering noticed in Havant on Aug 1

Tansy: First plants seen in full flower were on Portsdown on Aug 1

Dwarf Thistle: My first find of plants in flower was on Portsdown on Aug 1 (Carline Thistle also seen but not in flower)

Lesser Burdock: First flowers seen at Fishbourne on July 30

Saw Wort: First flowering at Durlston on July 31

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Sika Deer: One seen at Durlston on Aug 2 was evidence of their continuing spread. Although there is a large and well established population in the Arne area on the shore of Poole Harbour they had not been seen in the Swanage area until quite recently

Hedghog: To see one lumbering up my garden path on the evening on Aug 1 was a pleasant surprise. I have very occasionally found their droppings in my garden this is the first sighting that I can recall.

Grey Squirel: The carpet of chewed unripe Hazel nuts on my lawn makes me wonder how a species that shows so little care in looking after its own food resources can continue to thrive

Sunfish and Basking Shark: July 30 bought one of each to the waters off Cornwall and Devon respectively

Goose Barnacles: On Aug 2 a wooden pallet washed up on the shore at Dungeness was covered with these molluscs. For a general view of the colony on its pallet see http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/images/Goose%20Barnacles%201%20020812%205393.jpg and for a close up of the 'filters' which they extend to catch food particles from the water see http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/images/Goose%20Barnacles%203%20020812%205379.jpg Before consulting Wikipedia I was aware of the ancient belief that Barnacle Geese hatched, not from eggs but from these Barnacles which grew on a mythical Barnacle Tree but I had forgotten that .."Since barnacle geese were thought to be "neither flesh, nor born of flesh", they were allowed to be eaten on days when eating meat was forbidden by religion."

Bait digging with Hoovers: Those of us who live around the Solent Harbours are very familiar with the sight of bait diggers using forks or spades to collect marine worms from the harbour mud at low tide but until today I had never heard of hoovers being used to suck up the worms. All I now know about the pactice comes from Cliff Dean's blog describing his experiences in the Rye Bay area - see http://rxbirdwalks.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/p1060076.jpg for Cliff's photo of one of these 'luggers' at work (the question of where the power comes from remains unanswered) but for a never failing source of interest add http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/ to your Favourites

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 23 - 29 (Week 30 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Northern Diver: This is not a species normally expected in the English Channel in July but one was off Portland on July 25 (and probably the same one off Durlston on July 26)

Storm Petrel: Another unexpected bird for high summer - on July 21 four were seen off Dorset in Lyme Bay and on July 23 there were 24 off the Lands End area while the night of July 24 saw 32 off them trapped (presumably tape lured) at The Lizard

Mute Swan: Summer moult flocks are now building up but the numbers are much smaller than in past years. In Langstone Harbour where I can remember counting over 100 in the Broadmarsh area there were just 18 on July 26; off Emsworth Mill Pond where you could expect 200 there seems to be no flock this year and recent reports from the north of the Bosham Channel and from the Fishbourne Channel do not mention the species. The only area currently commenting on Swan numbers is Southampton were there are at least 85 on the Itchen

Garganey: On July 23 there were said to be at least 7, maybe more, on the Pulborough Brooks

Pochard: One unexpected report this week was of a Pochard on the Thorney Little Deeps, presumably just an isolated passage bird heading west following the four which arrived at Blashford last week and the group of 15 which were seen at a Netherlands site on July 24

Eider: These are perhaps heading our way in large numbers - a count of 1022 of them at a German site on July 22

Velvet Scoter: Already off the English east coast were three of these seen at Scarborough on July 26

Goldeneye: Another oddity seen on July 23 was a single Goldeneye off Portland

Red Breasted Merganser: The summering bird that was in Langstone Harbour on July 17 seems to have moved east under Langstone Bridge to be seen off Northney marina area on July 23 and 26

Honey Buzzard: These seem to be heading south already - six of seven reports since July 20 are of more than one bird (all of them over the near continent)

Red Kite: One bird which was hatched and tagged in Hampshire in 2010 first flew north to the Chilterns, then east to Kent and is now to be seen on the Sussex Downs south of Pulborough

Quail: The only site reporting any this week is Cissbury Ring area north of Worthing (three reported on July 26)

Golden Plover: One summer plumaged bird was at Christchurch Harbour on July 23 and 24 and a flock of more than 40 were back on the Oare Marshes in north Kent on July 26

Grey Plover: The first specific mention of returning summer plumaged birds on the south coast come from the Lymington shore where 2 of 5 birds were in full black and silver on July 22

Knot: Six summer plumaged Red Knot were reported at Pagham Harbour back on June 2 - they may not even have left us at that date but by July 22 there were reports of red birds at both Lymington and Christchurch Harbour

Sanderling: Although some of these may not have left us this summer the WeBS count of 218 on the Pilsey Sands (Chichester Harbour) on July 23 must show that they have started to return.

Little Stint: One has been back on the Lymington shore since July 25

Curlew Sandpiper: One of these has also been back at Lymington since July 23 (with four of them at the Oare Marshes in Kent on July 25)

Purple Sandpiper: Two were unexpectedly on the Devon shore at Brixham on July 24 (one there on July 26) and I suspect that these may have been forced to return early from Scandinavia where summer snowfall has prevented many birds from nesting.

Dunlin: Looking for evidence of an early return of other small waders I see that this year's July WeBS count on Thorney Island was higher last year (102) than this year when only 68 were recorded (I know that individual statistics can be meaningless)

Terek Sandpiper: An adult bird was seen briefly feeding on the banks of the River Adur (just south of the Tollbridge near Shoreham) on the evening of July 24 by Chris Corrigan. The only others to confirm the sighting before the bird flew off were Paul and Bridget James. As far as I know this is the only record of the species in the UK this year and the first since one in Northumberland in July 2011.

Common Sandpiper: These have been seen in many places since return passage started in mid-June. Christchurch Harbour had 22 of them on July 8 but Sandwich Bay had an impressive count of 106 on July 22 (I see that on the outward passage one Netherlands site had 117 on May 18)

Turnstone: It was suggested that the presence of 20 on the Devon shore at Brixham on July 26 may have been the result of heavy late snow in Scandinavia preventing the birds from nesting there this year but I also see that 15 birds seen on the shore of Southampton Water on July 22 included 3 which had been colour ringed by Pete Potts in Iceland (though the year in which they were ringed was not stated)

Common Gull: These are now trickling back to the Channel shores - three were at the mouth of Southampton Water on July 15 and two were at Fishbourne (IoW) on July 20 while an enthusiastic report of a pair back at the Arlington Rervoir in Sussex on July 24 said .."a pair of common gulls, gorgeous with their yellow bills (pic attached), the male even singing a while!" Music, you might say, is in the ear of the listener!

Little Tern: A final report on breeding attempts at Weymouth (Ferrybridge) can be summed up by saying that "all nests failed including six retries" (not for want of trying on the part of volunteers who, among other things, kept the local Kestrels so stuffed with food that they never thought of having tern chick on their menu).

Black Tern: Return passage seems to have been underway since June 28 and it stepped up a notch this week with a flock of six being seen at Reculver on the north Kent shore on July 27

Cuckoo: The only reports this week have been of juveniles

Short-eared Owl: One may have been at Farlington Marshes from July 16 to 26 and (presumably a different bird) was hunting the Selsey West Fields on July 21

Wryneck: After the first report of a returning bird in Norfolk on July 10 we have one this week from northern France - they should be turning up on the south coast soon...

Sand Martin: Departing migrants have already been seen at Portland this week, along with Swallows, Yellow Wagtails, Wheatears, Grasshopper Warblers, Sedge, Reed and Willow Warblers

Nightingale: First report of a migrant at Whitbread Hollow (Beachy Head) came on July 22 (a juvenile was at Dungeness on July 15)

Common Redstart: Two were at Christchurch Harbour on July 26 (about ten days after the first were seen there)

Whinchat: Following the bird seen at Havant Thicket last week one was at Newlands Farm south of Fareham on July 23 and others this week have been on the Downs in Sussex and the Isle of Wight

Fieldfare: The first reached the Netherlands on July 24 with three at the same site on July 27

Mistle Thrush: Two more reports of summer flocks - 25+ in the Cuckmere valley on July 23 and 9 at an IoW site near Newport on July 26

Wood Warbler: Two reports of departing migrants - one from Belgium on July 23 and one from Christchurch Harbour on July 26

Red-back Shrike: One was seen by several people in the Cheriton area near the sources of the R Itchen on July 26

House Sparrow: A personal observation is that the few which have nested in houses near mine in Havant set off on their summer holidays with their children this week and have now become what I call Corn Sparrows

Escapees: Probably in this category, but conceivably a vagrant, was a Marbled Duck seem in the Hartley Witney area of north Hampshire (near Fleet) on July 21. After writing this I checked the internet and found that the BTO 'Status in the UK' for the species is 'Doesn't Occur'

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Migrant Hawker: The first report for this year is of 2 or 3 seen at Hampton Wick Pond near Kingston on Thames on the morning of July 24

Lesser Emperor: First report came on July 22 from Folkestone followed by a second sighting at Dungeness on July 25. If you are not familiar with this species, which has been visiting Britain since 1996, see http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/lesser-emperor

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly, Lesser Emperor Dragonfly, Gold Ringed Dragonfly, Hairy Dragonfly (late), Downy Emerald, Black Tailed Skimmer, Keeled Skimmer, Broad Bodied Chaser, Four Spotted Chaser, Scarce Chaser (near Southampton), Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red Veined Darter, Common Darter, Beautiful Demoiselle (but no reports of Banded Demoiselle), Emerald Damselfly, Scarce Emerald Damselfly, Willow Emerald, Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly, Scarc B;ue Tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Northern Damselfly,

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Silver Spotted Skipper: First of the year seen on July 22 at Beachy Head

Clouded Yellow: Very few reports (less than 20) so far this year since the first at Portland on Mar 29 but this week brought one to Lewes, one to Durlston and one on a special mission to visit me in the Staunton Country Park at Havant on July 24

Large Tortoiseshell: After six reports between Mar 10 and Apr 2 (including one seen by Brian Fellows in Havant), there have been no more until July 22 when one was seen speeding north through the New Forest.

Wall Brown: After just 33 reports of the spring brood between Apr 2 and June 13 the first of the second brood was reported at Durlston on July 27

Grayling: These have at last been seen in Hampshire (Browndown on July 20 and New Forest on July 22) and in Susssex (Windover Hill near Eastbourne on July 22)

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Large Skipper, Wood White (second brood), Clouded Yellow, Brimstone. Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Large Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Marbled White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0220 Nemapogon clematella found in Kent on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1583

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0220.php

0424 Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=388

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0424.php

0428 Willow Ermine Yponomeuta rorrella found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5908

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0428.php

0553 Coleophora striatipennella found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5835

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0553.php

0639 Bisigna procerella found in Kent on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2404

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0639.php

0732 Eulamprotes unicolorella found in Kent on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6738

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0732.php

0870 Oegoconia quadripuncta found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3869

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0870.php

0873 Blastobasis adustella found in Dorset on JULY 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=707

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0873.php

0971 Pandemis cinnamomeana found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3758

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0971.php

0976 Archips oporana found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3447

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0976.php

1037 Acleris holmiana found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2245

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1037.php

1036 Acleris forsskaleana found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4795

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1036.php

1197 Eucosma campoliliana found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5460

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1197.php

1210 Pine Shoot Moth Rhyacionia buoliana found in Kent on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6534

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1210.php

1294 Crambus pascuella found in Dorset on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5050

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1294.php

1325 Platytes alpinella found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6568

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1325.php

1331 Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella found in Kent on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=934

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1331.php

1332 Scoparia subfusca found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2620

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1332.php

1345 Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata found in Hampshire on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6245

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1345.php

1354 Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata found in Dorset on JULY 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1181

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1354.php

1367 Pyrausta cingulata found in Sussex on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5626

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1367.php

1378 Phlyctaenia coronata found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=84

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1378.php

1396 Mecyna flavalis found in Sussex on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6420

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1396.php

1405 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=129

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1405.php

1439 Trachycera advenella found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=163

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1439.php

1442 Pempelia palumbella found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2617

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1442.php

1470 Euzophera pinguis found in Dorset on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1847

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1470.php

1513 White Plume Moth Pterophorus pentadactyla found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5547

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1513.php

1637 Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=975

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1637.php

1656 Satin Lutestring Tetheella fluctuosa found in Hampshire on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4899

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1656.php

1657 Common Lutestring Ochropacha duplaris found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6350

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1657.php

1672 Sussex Emerald Thalera fimbrialis found in Kent on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5628

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1672.php

1708 Single-dotted Wave Idaea dimidiata found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=120

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1708.php

1767 Pine Carpet Thera firmata found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3085

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

1804 Barred Rivulet Perizoma bifaciata found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=512

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1804.php

1812 Maple Pug Eupithecia inturbata found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1121

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1812.php

1835 White-spotted Pug Eupithecia tripunctaria found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1021

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1835.php

1887 Clouded Border Lomaspilis marginata found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=23

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1887.php

1907 Bordered Beauty Epione repandaria found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1740

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1907.php

1924 Orange Moth Angerona prunaria found in Hampshire on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4460

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1924.php

1961 Light Emerald Campaea margaritata found in Hampshire on JULY 27 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=75

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1961.php

1987 Bedstraw Hawk-moth Hyles gallii found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1111

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1987.php

2019 Chocolate-tip Clostera curtula found in Kent on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=848

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2019.php

2030 Yellow-tail Euproctis similis found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5424

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2030.php

2031 White Satin Moth Leucoma salicis found in Kent on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1532

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2031.php

2038 Muslin Footman Nudaria mundana found in Dorset on JULY 19 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=414

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2038.php

2044 Dingy Footman Eilema griseola found in Kent on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=417

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2044.php

2051 Four-spotted Footman Lithosia quadra found in Dorset on JULY 22 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=466

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2051.php

2057 Garden Tiger Arctia caja found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2229

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2057.php

2067 Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=862

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2067.php

2081 White-line Dart Euxoa tritici found in Dorset on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4495

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2081.php

2090 Crescent Dart Agrotis trux lunigera found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=851

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2090.php

2112 Least Yellow Underwing Noctua interjecta found in Kent on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=201

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2112.php

2176 Antler Moth Cerapteryx graminis found in Hampshire on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=179

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2176.php

2196 Striped Wainscot Mythimna pudorina found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1034

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2196.php

2279 The Sycamore Acronicta aceris found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=453

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2279.php

2292 Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae found in Kent on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5916

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2292.php

2300 Old Lady Mormo maura found in Kent on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3308

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

2312 The Olive Ipimorpha subtusa found in Hampshire on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5078

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2312.php

2335 Slender Brindle Apamea scolopacina found in Dorset on JULY 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=130

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2335.php

2352 Dusky Sallow Eremobia ochroleuca found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3354

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2352.php

2353 Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea found in Dorset on JULY 21 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=167

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2353.php

2360 Ear Moth Amphipoea oculea found in Hampshire on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5493

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2360.php

2377 Fen Wainscot Arenostola phragmitidis found in Dorset on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=854

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2377.php

2436 Dewick's Plusia Macdunnoughia confusa found in Hampshire on JULY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3608

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2436.php

2475 Waved Black Parascotia fuliginaria found in Dorset on JULY 23 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=629

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2475.php

2485 Marsh Oblique-barred Hypenodes humidalis found in Dorset on JULY 25 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1041

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2485.php

 

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Leptogaster cylindrica (Robber fly): On July 23 Chris Bailey at Rye Harbour had the long awaited pleasure of watching a spider being eaten by a fly. For the full story with pictures see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/22/a-reversal-of-fortunes.html and for more colourful insect pictures from Rye Harbour see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/22/metallic-eyes.html

Ichneumon in a Portsdown Kitchen: On July 24 John Goodspeed had an unexpected visitor in his kitchen which he thinks was the Ichneumon Lissonota senosa of which you can see a photo at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/Lissonota.setosa.-.lindsey.jpg

Stag Beetle: Only the third report for the year so far to my knowledge has been of one in an Emsworth garden on July 22 - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-025-stag-beetle-garden-CF-24.07.12.jpg

Rose Chafer: First report of the summer comes from Durlston though that individual was not photographed - another can be seen at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-rx/images/1049/centonia-aurata-03_52490_1.jpg

Glow-worms: More than 80 were seen by John Goodspeed in Havant Thicket on July 24

Crab Spider: A pure white crab spider was not well disguised as a predator lurking on a flowerhead of Black Knapweed (seen on Portsdown on July 24) and this set me to wonder how long it takes for these spiders to change colour so as to merge with their background. I do not have a scientific answer to this question but I gather that, unlike some underwater creatures such as Cuttlefish and Octopus which can adpt to match a varied background almost instantaneously (I understand that their skin is covered with many cells, each of a different colour, and that each cell can be turned on or off by the animals nervous system) the colour adaption system used by the Crab Spiders requires several days to become effective and operates by the secretion of pigments from glands in their bodies (and this offers a very limited range of possible colours) - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misumena_vatia#Color_change

Wasp Spider (Argiope bruenicchi): I came on the first of these for this summer in Havant on July 28 - see my diary page for July 28 at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Creeping Yellow Cress: First flowers found at Broadmarsh (old playing fields) on July 26

Proliferous Pink: A good show of more than 50 flowering plants on Hayling Island (Sinah Common) on July 25. See my diary entry for that day at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm

Dyers Greenweed: Flowering at the Saltmarsh Lane shore (west Hayling) on July 25 where I do not remember seeing it in past years

Dwarf Gorse: First flowers for the year in Havant Thicket on July 24

Hairy Vetchling: Still flowering on the Broadmarsh mountain on July 26 after removal of the horses which I thought might eliminate this rarity.

Wild Angelica: First flowers seen at Emsworth Brook Meadow on July 26

Slender Hare's Ear: A good show of plants at Hayling's Saltmarsh Lane shore on July 25 though no flowers yet

Sea Holly: In flower at Black Point on Hayling on July 25

Rock Sea Lavender: Reported as flowering at Durlston on July 27

Yellow Loosestrife: Lots flowering in the Thicket Lawn area south west of the Leigh Park Gardens Lake in Havant on July 24 but a check of the calyces of the plants growing by the northeast entrance to Hammonds Land Coppice (also within the Staunton Country Park area) show they are Dotted Loosestrife.

Autumn Gentian: Reported as in flower at Durlston on July 27

Skullcap: First three plants flowering by the Lumley Stream at Emsworth on July 27

Betony: First flowers seen at Havant Thicket on July 24

Bugloss: First seen growing from wildflower seed at Warblington Cemetery on June 16 but not seen in a more natural setting at Black Point on Hayling until July 25

Danewort: First flowers at the Havant site on July 24

Ploughman's Spikenard: Reported as flowering at Durlston on July 27 - almost certainly out on Portsdown by then

Golden Samphire: First general flowering at Langstone Harbour (Broadmarsh) on July 26

Sea Aster: First flowers seen on Thorney Island on July 27

Guernsey Fleabane: Flowering in Havant by July 23 (Canadian Fleabane also out)

Sneezewort: Newly flowering at several places in Havant Thicket on July 24

Annual Beard Grass: Although I do not normally record grasses I did take note of what appeared to be a large colony of this growing as a casual along the dusty roadside of Harts Farm Way across that road from the Havant Amenity Tip on July 27 (many of the plants already dead)

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Boxing Hares: On July 21 a birder on the Sussex Downs remarked on a pair of Hares 'boxing' out of season.

Leatherback Turtles: The first of the summer had been seen from a boat off Cornwall on July 4 and on July 25 two more were seen there.

Pointed Snails: For ten years or more I have been trying to get naturalists to take an interest in the small colony of Pointed Snails to be found on the Thorney Island seawall at the west end of the Great Deeps and this week it seems that one person on the Wildlife Trust Wednesday evening walk did so - but only to raise a doubt in my mind as to my identification of the species! Pointed Snails (Cochlicella acuta) are uncommon (not great rarities) and occur in isolated colonies around the south and west coasts of England, usually being found in dry places such as sand dunes. Following the reclamation of the north of Portsmouth Harbour to build the M27 into Portsmouth I became familiar with a colony which found its shoreline habitat turned into part of the IBM carpark and in hot summers the tiny snails could be found in their hundreds on the low wooden posts along the boundary between the tarmac and the surrounding 'waste land' - they climbed the posts to cool off in any slight breeze blowing over the ground on which (out of the breeze and exposed to the sun) the molluscs were in danger of frying in their shells. At other sites such as the Thorney seawall, where there are no posts, the snails climb plant stems, though when the vegetation at ground level is dense enough to provide shade from the sun's heat there is no need to leave the ground where the snails can escape detection. The best way to find them here (which I do not recommend) would be to take a stout rake and clear the living plants, and the accumulated detritus below them, away to leave a patch of bare dry earth - a careful search of the 'arisings' should reveal all stages of the snails life history, growing each year from tiny eggs to molluscs carrying shells which eventually complete 9 steeply conical whorls and reach a height of 15mm, and in addition to the living creatures there will be many more empty shells of their forebears.

My 'mollusc bible' is a Shire Natural History book by A A Wardhaugh devoted to 'Land Snails of the British Isles' describing 47 species, but only one of them from the Genus Cochlicella. Whoever made this week's find tried to identify it using Google and this is where the doubt arose in my mind as a second Cochlicella species (C. barbara) exists. In fact there could be even more confusion for the first three suggestions returned by Google in response to 'Pointed Snail' are 1) a link to the Wikpedia page describing Cochlicella acuta, 2) a link to an Australian website describing both C. acuta and Cochlicella barbara (Small Pointed Snail) which is a problem causing species in Australia but which can be found in south west of the British Isles, and 3) a link to 'runescape.wikia.com' which seems to be a popular computer game in which .. "The bruise blue snelm (pointed) is an item required for a level 2/3 clue (medium and hard) which caused this item's price to reach over 3k each. One pointed blue snail in Mort Myre Swamp is often found north-west/east of the Fairy ring." My opinion is that (a) The Thorney snail is C. acuta and that (b) Wardhaugh's approach to identification of snails by measuring the height and width of an adult snail's shell and counting the number of whorls in the shell is a good start to getting the name right. As always I am grateful for the new knowledge this observation has added to my store of wisdom.

Armed Bullhead (Agonus cataphractus): This small fish (also called a Pogge or a Hook Nose) is another creature newly brought to my attention this week by Cliff Dean who has been taking advantage of the hot weather to go Shrimping in the shallow water of Rye Bay/Hastings (see http://rxbirdwalks.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/low-tide-high-tide/ ) If you are puzzled by Cliff's surprise that many people rush into the sea barefoot you should see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weever and learn to beware of the Lesser Weever which is common around our shores and which buries itself in the sand waiting for you to tread on the very poisonous spines which project up from its back (see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1300878/Dozens-swimmers-poisoned-weever-fish-warm-weather-leads-population-explosion-British-waters.html for a dramatic account of the danger to humans)

Rays, Tope and Cuckoo Wrasse: The Durlston Rangers Diary entries for July 24 and 26 describe more sea monsters confronting the fearless holiday maker during their annual encounter with the sea. Undulate, Cuckoo and Thornback Rays are currently being caught off Swanage. Also being seen are Tope (our version of the Great White Shark), and Cuckoo Wrasse (a fish species in which the males turn blue with excitment in the spring causing Cornish fishermen to name them after the bluebells in the woods). For a photo of a Cuckoo Ray see http://www.oceaneyephoto.com/photo_411461.html

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 16 - 22 (Week 29 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Divers: Seeing a report of seven Red-throated Divers off the Yorkshire coast on July 16 my first thought was that these birds had abandoned their northern breeding area and were heading south but a closer look at my records shows that the same report of seven birds has been made at the same site (Barmston/Fraisthorpe in East Yorkshire) on May 18, June 26 and now July 16 suggesting that a group of non-breeding birds had decided to spend the summer there where they were found in each monthly WeBS count. No other species reported this week - just a single lone Red-throated off the Netherlands on July 15.

Red-necked Grebe: One seen off Sangatte Plage (near Calais) on July 17 has also been around since April. There were still at least two birds off the Netherlands as late as Apr 29 but since then the only reports I have seen have been of singles on May 18, June 13 and July 17 though each report comes from a different site (two in the Netherlands and now this latest one from France).

Fulmar: I am not familiar with the breeding status of these birds in Devon but I suspect that reports of e.g. 56 off Start Point on July 16 are less unexpected than the report of 8 off Christchurch Harbour on July 18

Fea's Petrel aka Cape Verde Petrel (Pterodroma feae): The first sighting for this year of one off County Cork in Ireland on July 16 gave Lee Evans the 387th species for his 'Britain and Ireland' year list. I notice that Lee classes this species with the 'Soft plumaged Petrels' while the Wikipedia entry for the species says "Fea's Petrel (Pterodroma feae) is a small seabird in the gadfly petrel genus, Pterodroma. It was previously considered to be a subspecies of the Soft-plumaged Petrels"

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea): The first of these to be seen in British waters this year was in the Scilly Isles area on July 12 since when there have been five more reports with the birds moving progressively east past Cornwall to Devon - the latest report comes from a boat off Start Point in Devon on July 16

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis): Five reports so far with the first off the Scilly Isles on July 2. This has also been seen in Devon and Cornwall but I see one had reached the North Sea and was off Flamborough Head on July 13

Sooty Shearwater: These have been around since mid-May and sightings are now widespread with peak counts of 13 off Pendeen in Cornwall on July 15 and 11 off Whitburn, Co Durham, on the east coast on July 21

Manx Shearwater: Last week there was an unusual sighting of 14 off Sandy Point on Hayling Island but this week sees the birds back where they belong, no further east than Dorset (Portland reported 800 on July 16 and Devon reported 3776 on that day - though admitting there might have been some double counting!)

Balearic Shearwater: Peak count of 11 comes from Portland on July 16 with none further east

Storm Petrels: The Scilly Isles have now had four reports of Wilson's Storm Petrel with the first on June 13 and the peak on July 12 when more than three were seen. European Storm Petrels continue to appear in the western channel with a peak count of 60+ off the Scilly Isles on July 16. Devon has had 40+ off Start Point on July 17 and Cornwall has had 30 off Helford on July 15

Little Egret: Langstone Pond continues to attract these birds - on July 12 there were still juveniles in at least five nests but when I passed in mid-morning on July 20, with the tide no more than half way up to a moderate high (leaving plenty of scope for the birds to fish) there were around 40 birds scattered around the pond area (away from the nests) and very few at the water's edge anywhere in the area or down the west coast of Hayling.

Great White Egret: The only report I have seen this week comes from the RBA news for July 19 which says that there are at least 5 birds still in Somerset where they are said to have bred this year.

Grey Heron: As the flood waters retreat many fish have been stranded and on July 21 Pete Hughes noted 14 Herons, 12 Little Egrets and 3 Cormorants were enjoying a bonanza on the recently flooded areas of Pulborough Brooks

White Stork: I have by now noted 41 reports of Storks in Britain this year, twelve of them relating to the group of three that spent the period from June 21 to 30 based in the Lidsey (Bognor) area of Sussex. They next appeared on the Devon/Dorset boundary near Templecombe from July 16 to 18 to be reported on July 20 as 'Common Cranes' flying over Rampisham in Dorset - no doubt we will hear more of them. Going back to normal Stork behaviour I see that the end of their continental breeding season is hinted at by reports of migrants gathering in the Netherlands prior to departure - 12 on July 18 and 23 at the same site on July 20

Glossy Ibis: The Pagham Harbour bird was still being seen on July 20 and other recent reports have come from the Kent Stour valley on July 17 and from Minsmere in Norfolk on July 13

Brent Goose: The first report that I have seen of summering birds in Langstone Harbour came on July 8 when one was seen at Farlington Marshes followed by a more normal report of six there on July 17. Over on the Isle of Wight one was seen at Newtown Harbour on June 1 and is probably still there while somewhere in Chichester Harbour there are probably the thirteen birds seen in the Fishbourne Channel on May 24 and 29.

Pochard: A report of nine Pochard, including two ducklings, at the Blashford Lakes near Ringwood on July 17 indicates that there has been breeding in Hampshire but the five birds left (after discounting the pair that were seen at Blashford on May 6 and their two ducklings) may be returnees from 'foreign parts' as four Pochard were seen circling over Christchurch Harbour on July 15 but did not settle there

Red-breasted Merganser: A single female was seen at Farlington Marshes on July 17 and is the first to be reported in Langstone Harbour since April but I suspect that, like the summering Brent which have just decided to reveal their presence, the Merganser has been hiding in the harbour since the spring.

Marsh Harrier: The presence of two juveniles at Lodmoor (Weymouth) on July 19 (after one had been seen on July 17) shows that the birds have bred there again this year but so far no news from nearby Radipole where a pair had four young last year (in addition to two young at Lodmoor)

Osprey: Birds returning south have this week been seen at Arlington Reservoir in the Cuckmere Valley, at the Thorney Island Deeps (and in the Chichester Harbour channels on both east and west sides of Thorney), at the Fishlake Meadows by the River Test at Romsey, and at the Axe estuary in Devon.

Quail: Still being heard up to July 16 at Sandwich Bay, on the downs north of Eastbourne (Alfriston area), and near Cissbury Ring north of Worthing.

Sanderling: Many of these have remained along our south coast this year but those that did depart earlier are now returning. A flock of 28 at Sandy Point on Hayling on July 15 were noted as returning birds and five days later (on July 20) a flock of 205 were seen there

Black-tailed Godwit: The first to return from Iceland seem to have reached Chichester Harbour around July 15 when 72 appeared in the Emsworth Channel. Also this week Pete Potts reported on his annual trip to Iceland, saying .."Iceland has had a good summer with little rain and plenty of sunshine which has helped the breeding season in some areas, it was certainly a much better season than 2011 (when the land was covered with volcanic ash). However, in some core areas very few pairs were found with chicks, no fledged chicks and no flocks were seen on fields suggesting an early departure."

Med Gull: Following their general failure to breed this year all along the south coast I have the impression that many of the birds have moved east to try their luck in future years around the North Sea while those that have remained along our Channel coast are currently enjoying a nomadic life seeking food in inland fields. The latest magnet for them has been a flooded maize field in the Sidlesham village area north of Pagham Harbour and on July 20 a count showed that 482 birds had gathered there.

Common Gull: These are now starting to return to the channel coasts with three seen at the mouth of Southampton Water (Lepe) on July 15 and two seen on Fishbourne Beach (IoW) on July 20. Other gulls are also moving into winter flock mode with a flock of 40 Great Blackbacks seen at the Kench (south of Langstone Harbour) on July 16 and 40+ Lesser Blackbacks mobbing a fishing boat off the south Devon coast on July 21.

Little Tern: Until this week I had been hoping that the number of these being seen in and near to Pagham Harbour implied that they had had some success in breeding on the shingle around Church Norton but on July 21 these hopes were shattered by the news that (as everywhere else) there had been no breeding success there.

Cuckoo: One bird seen in the Netherlands on July 15 may have been the last adult to leave the northern breeding area. The species has not, however, vanished from the news as this week has brought two reports of juveniles - on July 13 two young were seen in the Scilly Isles and on July 19 two juveniles were being fed by Meadow Pipits at the Lizard in Cornwall. A check on the BTO's Cuckoo migration tracking site shows that just one of their tagged birds was refusing to leave Scotland and was still at Troon on the Ayrshire coast on July 18

Short-eared Owl: I have eleven records of these still in southern England during June, including one at Farlington Marshes on June 27. The first half of July produced just one report of an owl hunting the Lymington Marshes but a photo supposedly taken on July 16 shows one still lurking in the grass at Farlington Marshes

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: An unexpected report of a juvenile calling (presumably to its parents) in a Chandlers Ford garden on July 20.

Sand Martin: On July 19 Portland reported a single departing bird and on July 20 a report of an Osprey over the Thorney Great Deeps mentioned the presence of many Sand Martins there, presumably gathering for the journey south

Yellow Wagtail: Singles seen at both Durlston and Christchurch Harbour on July 20 were regarded as the start of departure by the species

Nightingale: A count of 42 at a site in France on July 21 also tells of departure

Redstarts: A pair of Black Redstarts (said to be one of only 20 pairs breeding in Britain) successfully fledged their chicks in a chalet on Farnborough airfield this week and thus allowed the Farnborough Air Show to continue. If you want to see the well appointed chalet that had been reserved for the birds go to http://www.creationdesign.co.uk/news/?p=1011 Common Redstarts have not been accorded similar hospitality and have been heading south since July 8 when a pair were seen on Luccombe Down, IoW, followed by singles at Christchurch Harbour on July 17 and 20

Whinchat: The first to be seen heading south was near Lewes in Sussex on July 12 and the second has now been seen on the Gipsies Plain (south of Havant Thicket) on July 19

Wheatear: July 15 saw one back on the Lymington shore with another as 'first of the autumn' at Portland. Durlston had to wait until July 20 for its first southbound bird.

Grasshopper Warbler: The first departing birds were seen on July 20 at both Durlston and Christchurch Harbour

Willow Warbler: Portland, Durlston and Christchurch all reported their first migrants on July 20 with a peak of five at Durlston while a flock of 32 had been seen in the Netherlands on July 12 (with 28 Chiffchaffs) and another of 23 in Belgium on July 21

Golden Oriole: Also heading south on July 21 were 7 Golden Orioles at a Netherlands site

Red Backed Shrike: One turned up in the London area (just north of Heathrow) on July 12 but if you want to see these in a more natural setting have a look at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/07/18/baltic-birding-red-backed-shrikes-at-paljassaare-tallinn-estonia/ to get Steve Copsey's view of them as part of his naval deployment to the Baltic on HMS York

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Southern Migrant Hawker(Aeshna affinis): On the basis that it is too early for a normal Migrant Hawker a dragonfly seen in Essex on July 15 was reported as a probable Southern Migrant Hawker - see http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/southern-migrant-hawker to learn how this Mediterranean species has started to appear in Kent and Essex since 2006

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Southern Migrant Hawker, Scarce Chaser

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Small White: A second brood of these was first reported from Gosport on July 13

Small Copper: A second brood of these started to appear on July 8

Chalkhill Blue: These have been on the wing since July 11 and are now widespread in Sussex but by the end of this week I had only seen one report of them in Hampshire (on July 15 at Chalton Down, just north of Rowlands Castle)

Purple Emperor: The first report for the year came from Rownhams Wood near Southampton on July 4, a day before the first sighting in the Alice Holt Forest near Farnham. Since then the species has been seen at Southwater Country Park at Horsham, Botley Woods north of Fareham, Graffham Down near Midhurst, Wiston near Worthing, Huntbourn Wood northwest of Portsdown and Bentley Wood west of Stockbridge. Peak count so far reported was 8 at the Alice Holt Forest on July 15

Grayling: I remain puzzled why the first sighting of this species should be as early as June 9 (in Glamorgan) with 'good numbers' reported in Devon this week, yet in Sussex (where the species seems to be worshipped as a major god) none have yet been seen (last year the first in Sussex was on July 19 but the majority of sightings did not come until August)

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Medow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0147 Nemophora metallica found in Hampshire on JULY 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=895

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0147.php

0284 Caloptilia rufipennella found in Dorset on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=902

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0284.php

0290 Caloptilia semifascia found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2976

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0290.php

0640 Batia lunaris found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6390

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0640.php

0844 Syncopacma larseniella found in Sussex on JULY 20 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2658

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0844.php

0862 Juniper Webber Dichomeris marginella found in Kent on JULY 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=712

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0862.php

0879 Batrachedra pinicolella found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0879.php

0977 Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana found in Dorset on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=157

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0977.php

1011 Pseudargyrotoza conwagana found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6239

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1011.php

1020 Grey Tortrix Cnephasia stephensiana found in Kent on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=387

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1020.php

1030 Eana incanana found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=959

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1030.php

1044 Acleris ferrugana found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4972

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

1079 Piniphila bifasciana found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4534

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1079.php

1205 Bud Moth Spilonota ocellana found in Dorset on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4856

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1205.php

1205a Spilonota laricana found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6377

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1205a.php

1225 Pammene obscurana found in Dorset on MAY 24 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3554

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1225.php

1382 Anania verbascalis found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1842

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1382.php

1388 Udea lutealis found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1884

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1388.php

1455 Dioryctria simplicella found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2403

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1455.php

1510 Merrifieldia leucodactyla found in Sussex on JULY 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4035

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1510.php

1681 Clay Triple-lines Cyclophora linearia found in Kent on JULY 18 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1017

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1681.php

1715 Plain Wave Idaea straminata found in Dorset on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=747

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1715.php

1726 Large Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe quadrifasiata found in Kent on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5607

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1726.php

1919 Purple Thorn Selenia tetralunaria found in Hampshire on JULY 16 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5727

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1919.php

2026 The Vapourer Orgyia antiqua found in Dorset on JULY 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=544

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

2037 Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata found in Dorset on JULY 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=193

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2037.php

2077 Short-cloaked Moth Nola cucullatella found in Dorset on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1668

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2077.php

2170 Varied Coronet Hadena compta found in Kent on JULY 15 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3844

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2170.php

2295 Marbled Green Cryphia muralis found in Dorset on JULY 13 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=323

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2295.php

2391 Silky Wainscot Chilodes maritimus found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1040

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2391.php

2421 Scarce Silver-lines Bena bicolorana found in Sussex on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5338

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2421.php

2423 Oak Nycteoline Nycteola revayana found in Dorset on JULY 14 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5374

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2423.php

2469 The Herald Scoliopteryx libatrix found in Dorset on JULY 17 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5101

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2469.php

 

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Volucella zonaria: This impressive hoverfly was first seen this year at Durlston on July 6 and has now been reported again on July 15 near Eastbourne

Sand Bee (Dasypoda hirtipes): This unusual bee has been reported at Peasmarsh near Hastings under the approriate name of Hairy Bee - see photo at http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/Dasypoda-hirtipes.jpg For info about the species see http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=bee/melittidae/dasypoda-hirtipes

Beetles:

Paracorymbia fulva (Longhorn beetle): Seen at Rye Harbour on July 16 - for pictures and species info see http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/tawny-longhorn-beetle and for the original RX website entry see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/16/paracorymbia-fulva.html

Strangalia maculata (Longhorn beetle): Several of these were found on Hogweed umbels at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on July 20 -see Brian Fellows photo of one at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-030-beetle-strangalia-bm-20.07.12.jpg

Stag Beetle: Six were found in a Havant garden (Denvilles area) on July 14 - other than a report of a single male in the Henfield area of Sussex on June 15 this is the only other report of this declining species that I have seen this year. Last year I only picked up three reports following six reports in 2009, eight in 2008, five in 2007 (but one of these was of the emergence of 15 beetles), and eight in 2004 when reports included one beetle killed by a Magpie, others by Tawny Owl and Cat with others being just reports of corpses or 'body parts'. Another significant cause of their demise is the removal of decaying tree stumps from both gardens and farmland - as the larval stage of these beetles requires them to survive for four years or more (minimum of two years) in the same decaying wood in which the eggs were laid they are extremely exposed to unintentional elimination during this stage. Another danger comes when they have finished eating wood as they then emerge from their dead wood and pupate in nearby soil which may be part of a cultivated garden flowerbed. For more info see http://maria.fremlin.de/stagbeetles/lctable.html

Lesser Stag Beetle: One was found in a garden on the lower slopes of Portsdown (Bedhampton area) on July 19

Glow-worms: An evening walk in Havant Thicket on July 18 found 44 glowing females while a similar search for them at Durlston on the evening of July 19 found 111

Dicranocephalus spurgebugs: Two similar species of these were seen on Portland sometime in the past moth - one (agilis) being an uncommon but known resident on the island (where it feeds on Portland Spurge) while the other (medius) was a new species for the island when found this summer. For photos and info see http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Stenocephalidae/dicranocephalus_agilis.html and http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Stenocephalidae/dicranocephalus_medius.html

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Nottingham Catchfly: This has always had a tenuous foothold on the Hayling Sinah beach and when I first saw it on June 18 this year I could only see the usual dozen or so scattered plants but when I re-visited on July 12 I found a much more impressive show - probably more plants than I have ever seen there.

Sand Spurrey: Having been made aware of its presence in the gorse on the north side of Hayling Golf Course by Brian Fellows' discovery of it last year I made a thorough search of the area when there on July 12, finding more than a dozen of the tiny flowers (not nearly as many as were there last year at the same date but no doubt more will appear when the sun does)

Little Robin: When I was at the Sinah beach on July 12 I made a cursory search of a likely area but found no sign of Little Robin. Later that same day I bumped into the Hayling Coastal Conservation Group carrying out a botanic survey and discovered that they had earlier (June 23) carried out a detailed survey of a four metre wide strip running south from the Golf Club fence to the sea and had found one substantial patch of Little Robin only 5 metres from the seaward end of this strip. It would seem that the relentless advance of grasses over the shingle has forced this plant south and I hope to discover it again when I am next there.

Strawberry Clover: This had started to flower at the southern end of Langstone Bridge on July 12

Rough Clover: I had my first sight of this in flower besied Ferry Road on south Hayling on July 12

Lucerne: This has been in flower since mid June but on July 21 it seems that the Havant Wildlife Group noticed the colour variation in the flowers of 'Lucerne' on the seawall of Paulsgrove Lake (north or Portchester Castle) but did not realise that this was the hybrid known as Sand Lucerne which has been established there for many years

Japanese Spindle (Euonymus japonicus): The tiny white flowers of this shrub had started to open on July 17

Stone Parsley: The white flowers on this also started to open on July 17

Rock Samphire: This was also starting to flower on July 17

Fennel: Brian Fellows was the first to find this flowering on July 17 at Emsworth

Cocks Eggs (Salpichroa origanifolia): A large colony of this has become established over many years on Sinah Common immediately south of Staunton Avenue and had started flowering for this year on July 12

Verbascum Macrocarpum: In Sept 2007 I found several tall Mullein plants growing on North Common at Hayling Island but no one in Hampshire seemed able to name them so specimens were sent to Vic Johnstone (Keeper of the national collection of Verbascums) and he at first said he could not name them but eventually told us that they were Verbascum macrocarpum which he had found in a Turkish Flora - as far as he knew they were unkown anywhere in Europe. In order to add the plant to the British List he attempted to grow new plants from seeds taken from the Hayling plants but they failed to germinate and the species was forgotten. Now, five years later, the species has re-appeared on North Common and this year there are five specimens - they were first noticed on July 8 when they were small and were thought to be Dark Mullein plants but when I saw them on July 20 one plant was around 2 metres tall and none of them could be mistaken for any regular British species.

Pale Toadflax: The lone colony of this which can be found on Hayling Island (among |Gorse near the Inn on the Beach) had started to flower on July 12

Harebell: First sighting of these lovely flowers for the year comes from the Fort Cumberland area of Eastney in Portsmouth on July 18 where they were seen by Brian Fellows.

Danewort (Sambucus ebulus): This started to flower at its Havant site (by the Hayling Billy Trail between Grove Road and Lymbourn Road) on July 22 but was not included in last week's Summary.

Teazel: The first flowers on this were seen at North Common on Hayling on July 20

Common Fleabane: At least one plant has fully opened it flower in my garden this week (on July 20)

Golden Samphire: This had been reported in flower on the north Kent marshes on July 5 but the first flower that I know of locally was open in the Langstone area on July 17

Mugwort: The first plant that I found in flower was seen on July 17 having lost the glossy whiteness of its flower buds in exchange for the dull, dead look of its brown petalled flowers

Chicory: The first find of this in flower was made at Portchester on July 21 by the Havant Wildlife Group

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Great Crested Newt eggs: Although few people will be searching for newt eggs in July a look at a piece by Brian Banks on the RX website may give you a good clue to detecting the presence of Great Crested Newts in future years. These newts lay their eggs singly, attaching each to underwater vegetation, then folding the vegetation over to conceal the presence of the egg and protect it until it emerges as a larva. Brian's photos of vegetation that has been folded in this way show you a clue to the presence of the newts which persists long after the egg has hatched. See http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/15/ghosts-of-spring-past.html

Sea creatures around the Scillies: This week's bird news from the Scilly Isles has two mentions of Sunfish, two of Blue Sharks and one of a Basking Shark.

Fungi: An elegant all white stalked 'mushroom type' fungus called a White Dapperling (Leucoagaricus leucothites) put in its first appearance on Portland on July 18. This is a fungus that I used to find regularly on the IBM HQ site at Portsmouth in the 'good old days' when fungi had less fanciful names and this one was called Lepiota leucothites. Another, stranger, fungus appeared in Emsworth this week and the finder was very puzzled as to what he had in his garden. Brian Fellows took a photo of it and was equally uncertain (see the photo at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-031-white-slug-vickers-cap-19.07.12.jpg ) but the most likely suggestion is that this is the 'plasmoidal' stage of a slime mould called Enteridium lycoperdon a photo of which can be seen at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Enteridium_lycoperdon,_(Bull.)_M.L._Farr,_1976_(Reticularia_lycoperdon).JPG This photo is taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slime_mold where you can read about 'plasmodia' (some way down this web page)

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 9 - 15 (Week 28 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Shearwaters: Singles of the Great Shearwater which was first reported last week off the Scillies and Devon had by July 13 reached the Yorkshire coast at Flamborough Head and a single Sooty Shearwater was off Whitburn in Co Durham on July 10. Manx Shearwaters are currently numerous off Portland though the 400 seen there on July 12 is nothing compared to the 10,000+ off north Cornwall on June 8 or the storm driven 3000 off Start Point in south Devon on July 2 (14 of these came as far east as Sandy Point on Hayling Island on July 11). Balearic Shearwater numbers off Portland also reached a high of around 30 birds seen on both July 8 and 9

Storm Petrels: These are still present in the English Channel but in decreasing numbers (10+ seen from a boat off south Devon on July 7) and late news from the Scillies is that a two more Wilson's Storm Petrels were seen on July 2 following the first on June 13

Gannets: It seems that larger than usual numbers of these have been rushing up and down the Channel for several months but I have not recorded the numbers as I was unable to associate them with any regular annual pattern but maybe these reports are telling us that the Gannets are struggling to find sufficient fish in the normal areas and what we are seeing is a pattern of hungry birds desperately seeking new fishing grounds (though it could equally be that Gannets are thriving and there are now too many for the normal fishing grounds to sustain).

Cormorant: A report of 1332 gathered at one Netherlands site on July 10 is also unusual for the time of year - counts of up to 1500 birds are not unusual in winter months but not high summer - are they too hungry or have they failed to breed?

Shag: One bird whose troubles were all too obvious to J J Goodridge when he was at Eastney near the Langstone Harbour entrance on July 13 was a young Shag which had swallowed a fishing line whose end was still attached to something underwater, effectively chaining the Shag to a small area around the buoy on which the bird was perched - when it attempted to fly off it was soon brought up short as the line reached its limiting length. See the photos illustrating this at http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/thefinancialbirder/2012/07/13/abundant-wildlife-around-eastney-harbour-entrance/ I recall a similar tragedy when I was working at the IBM Portsmouth HQ and saw a Herring Gull fly to the IBM Lake trailing an empty plastic bag after the bird had put its foot through the handle of the bag while feeding on the rubbish tip just across the M27. While the bag was empty the bird could still fly, though with extra drag, but as soon as it had landed on the lake the bag filled with water, the weight of which prevented the bird from taking off again and gradually dragged the bird underwater as its strength ebbed with its desperate struggles.

Bittern: One, sometime two, Bitterns were reported at Lodmoor (Weymouth) from Jan 26 to Mar 30 this year and now there is a report of just one there on July 10 - I wonder if there is a mate and young lurking in the reeds?

Great White Egret: On July 5 one was seen in Cornwall, on July 11 one was reported somewhere in Cheshire, and on July 14 another was seen flying west over Portsmouth Dockyard

Glossy Ibis: The two birds which arrived in fields north of Pagham Harbour on May 6 seem to have split up - just one of them has been seen at the Sidlesham Ferry Pool on at least four occasions since June 19, most recently on July 9, 10 and 14

Tufted Duck: These seem to breed later than other ducks and although they have been seen in pairs since April the first report of ducklings that I have seen is dated July 12 at Woolmer Pond in east Hampshire

Peregrine: What were thought to the female and three of the four juveniles from Chichester cathedral were seen at Pagham Harbour on July 12. The female caught and ate a Wood Pigeon, giving a few scraps to one of the juveniles but apparently ignoring the other two.

Quail: This week's news is of just one at the Pevensey Levels near Eastbourne, one at Sandwich Bay and at least three on the downs south of Pulborough

Corncrake: One was heard at Prussia Cove near Penzance in Cornwall on July 7 reminding me of the July day in the mid 1980s when I was given the intact corpse of a Corncrake which had killed itself by flying into a power line not far west of St Mary's Church in south Hayling and been found in a field of cabbages. After showing it to a group of birders I was leading at Pagham Harbour it was given to the Hampshire County Museum Service and is still, I think, one of the exhibits in the county collection (after being stuffed!)

Golden Plover: The last of these moving north in spring were seen on May 20 at both Portland and Worthing. This week seems to have brought the first returning birds heading south - a group of six in Belgium on July 8. Also on July 8 a long distance traveller turned up in the Kent Stour valley where it was only seen by one observer but confidently enough described to be accepted by the average birder as a Pacific Golden Plover (a species which, with the American Golden Plover which more commonly reaches Britain as a vagrant, was until recently lumped under the general name of Lesser Golden Plover). You can judge the reliablity of the report from the following account which appeared in the July 8 entry on http://www.kentos.org.uk/Stodmarsh/Julysightings2012.htm - in it Martyn Wilson said .. "While dodging the rain today I was returning to the Water Meadows after sheltering at the Tower hide and stopping at Paddyís Bench to scan for Waders I came across a fully summer plumaged adult Lesser Golden Plover on the far side at 7.50am. It was very black from the face to the undertail with a slim white border between the black body and the head/mantle and back/wing colouration stopping halfway along the line of the wing. A lapwing chased it off and it flew towards me landing on the nearest wet edge and, in doing so showed the diagnostic greyish brown underwing markings. Another Lapwing didnít seem to like it and chased it again this time making fly over and out of sight towards the Marsh hide where itís long legs could be seen trailing just beyond the tail. Sadly, because of the rain, my camera was tucked away in my bag on my back with its rain cover on so, no pictures but I believe it to be a Pacific Golden Plover. There was no further sign of it by midday even with the help of half a dozen other birders looking."

Black-tailed Godwit: The large number of early returning waders, and the variety of species, has been unusual enough to secure a slot in the BBC News this week. Some indication of the local impact of this can be be gauged from a couple of random examples - first the unusually large number of Black-tailed Godwits seen around the mouth of the rivers at Christchurch in Dorset with 125 there on July 12 and 149 on July 14, second the early arrival of Whimbrel with six seen heading west over Sandy Point on Hayling on July 11. Another example that is not local comes from RBA which reported a total of 35 Wood Sandpipers spread across 7 counties on July 6

Mediterranean Gull: Following on last weeks news of where some of the failed breeders have gone there is a report this week from Barry Collins of 250 seen on July 11 hawking for insects over Lucerne fields on the south of Thorney Island and July 12 brought a report of 12 at the Fishbourne Channel near Chichester.

Black-headed Gull: When I visited the Hayling Oysterbeds on July 12 the only report of fledged juveniles which I had then seen came from Christchurch Harbour where the first young bird had flown in on July 8 so I was expecting to see a good number of young birds still around their nests at the Oysterbeds but in fact could only see two in a cursory scan. Since then I have seen that several young birds flew up from the Oysterbeds on July 9 when threatened by an overflying Buzzard, and also on July 9 the first juvenile flew into Thurlstone Bay in south Devon, but my overall impression is that, despite the large number of adults which took over every available nest site at the Oysterbeds, very few fledged young have resulted.

Terns: On July 2 the Rye Harbour website told us that 600 pairs of Sandwich Tern had attempted to nest there but the adults had not been able to find enough food to feed their young (I think because of the rough seas made fishing difficult) and by July 11 the news from Portland was of 79 Common Terns already heading determinedly west showing that they had abandoned thoughts of breeding . Also from Portland there was news of a promising start to the Little Tern breeding season at Ferrybridge where last year's round the clock guard of the nests had prevented predation by all but one Hedgehog which had slipped in under the radar and eaten a few eggs. This year cold and wet weather meant that 35 of 50 eggs laid did not hatch and only 9 chicks had fledged while 6 pair where re-laying eggs.

Black Tern: The eastward spring movement seems to have ceased on June 14 and the return passage to have started on July 7 when one was seen at the Oare Marshes in North Kent followed by a couple seen on the French Normandy coast on July 8 when one also appeared at Farlington Marshes. Also on July 8 a single White-winged Black Tern arrived at Lodmoor (Weymouth) where it stayed till at least July 10

Cuckoo: One adult was still to be heard calling at the Oare Marshes in north Kent on July 12 and I see that if you want to follow the attempts by the BTO to track Cuckoo migration you can do so at http://www.bto.org/science/migration/tracking-studies/cuckoo-tracking

Pallid Swift: One was watched for 2 minutes on July 12 hawking over the river at Titchfield Haven. The distinctive features noted were its broad rough edged wing, slow flight and wing flaps.

Wryneck: What seems to be the first southward bound Wryneck for the year was at Minsmere in Norfolk on July 10

Sand Martin: Seemingly another species already leaving us, though the only evidence so far is a report of three birds seen at Portland Bill on July 10 and lumped in their report for the day as part of "a mixed bag of early migrants/dispersing youngsters".

Common Redstart: On July 3 Sandwich Bay caught their first autumn passage bird (a juvenile) on its way south and on July 8 a pair of early migrants were seen on the Isle of Wight.

Whinchat: The first reported on the south coast this autumn was by the R. Stour near Lewes on July 12

Willow Warbler: Christchurch Harbour reported their first departing migrant on July 14 - Portland had already reported a bird heading south on June 25 and Sandwich Bay had seen their first autumn bird on July 6

Chough: The Cornwall Birding Website ( http://www.cornwall-birding.co.uk/ ) has news this week of a good year for Chough breeding in the county - 5 nest with a total of 18 fledged young - and an address for news of this species at www.cornishchoughs.org (this site is difficult to navigate but when you apparently reach the end of the only page if you run your mouse over the seemingly meaningless jumble of characters at the right side of the page they become tags which will take you to various different news items (some of these can also be accessed by tabs at the head of each page)

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Common Darter: A report from a Norfolk garden on July 6 reads: ... "24 Common Darters emerged from a Norwich garden wildlife pond in the pouring rain! It had rained heavily overnight and during the morning, but despite the persistent rain 24 Common Darters had emerged! Several had been effected by the constant rain, and when the weather improved in the afternoon some could not fly away because their wings had stuck together! I managed to help some of them by separating their wings and they all managed to fly away!"

Species reported this week:

Norfolk Hawker, Broad Bodied Chaser, Common Darter, Small Red-eyed Damselfly,

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Orange Tip: The last regular report of this species for which I have a record is dated June 13 but this week a second hand report of one seen in the Henfield area of Sussex on July 8 was posted.

Chalkhill Blue: The first and so far only report of this species comes from the area north of Friston Forest near Eastbourne on July 11

Meadow Brown: Everyone has at some time seen tiny red mites/ticks on the bodies of these butterflies but I read this week in the Three Amigos blog (a piece dated July 8 by Mark Cutts about a visit to Portsdown in search of butterflies) that .. "on one of the last butterflies I saw, a heavily damaged Meadow Brown, I could see that some small red ticks were attached to its body. Steve Copsey has reported on these previously. They are Tromidium breei and studies have shown that they have no adverse effects on their host species." One reason why they are not lethal to the butterflies is that they do not attach themselves permanently to the butterfly - they wait on a flowerhead until a butterfly lands there, get onto its body and take a drink of its blood, then leave the butterfly when it next lands.

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Large Skipper, Wood White, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Ringlet.

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0164 Cistus Forester Adscita geryon found in Sussex on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1670

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0164.php

0418 Apple Fruit Moth Argyresthia conjugella found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6074

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0418.php

0462 Ypsolopha sequella found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=736

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0462.php

0484 Epermenia aequidentellus found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4731

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0484.php

0515 Coleophora albitarsella found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3754

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0515.php

642a Metalampra italica found in Kent on JULY 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6291

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0642a.php

0658 Carcina quercana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=468

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0658.php

0718 Ethmia dodecea found in Kent on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4151

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0718.php

0779 Bryotropha affinis found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1833

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0779.php

0868 Helcystogramma rufescens found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=931

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0868.php

0889 Mompha divisella found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4282

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0889.php

0926 Phalonidia manniana found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6133

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0926.php

0945 Aethes cnicana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3582

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0945.php

0950 Aethes francillana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1953

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0950.php

0951 Aethes beatricella found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=462

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0951.php

1083 Marbled Orchard Tortrix Hedya nubiferana found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2823

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1083.php

1120 Ancylis mitterbacheriana found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2876

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1120.php

1169 Gypsonoma dealbana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5045

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1169.php

1216 Cherry-bark Moth Enarmonia formosana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=591

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1216.php

1234 Pammene regiana found in Dorset on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4743

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1234.php

1236 Pammene fasciana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1394

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1236.php

1306 Agriphila inquinatella found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=501

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1306.php

1356a Evergestis limbata found in Kent on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1578

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1356a.php

1386 Opsibotys fuscalis found in Hampshire on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6413

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1386.php

1390 Udea prunalis found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=137

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1390.php

1397 Mecyna asinalis found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1122

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1397.php

1399 Dolicharthria punctalis found in Dorset on JULY 07 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3331

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1399.php

1415 Orthopygia glaucinalis found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1099

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1415.php

1426 Lesser Wax Moth Achroia grisella found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=546

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1426.php

1441 Oncocera semirubella found in Kent on JULY 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=609

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1441.php

1445 Pempelia formosa found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2455

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1445.php

1452 Phycita roborella found in Kent on JULY 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5082

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1452.php

1465 Nephopterix angustella found in Sussex on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5111

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1465.php

1483 Phycitodes binaevella found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4614

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1483.php

1488 Agdistis bennetii found in Kent on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3610

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1488.php

1504 Platyptilia pallidactyla found in Hampshire on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2705

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1504.php

1664 Rest Harrow Aplasta ononaria found in Kent on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3282

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1664.php

1690 Small Blood-vein Scopula imitaria found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=255

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1690.php

1705 Dwarf Cream Wave Idaea fuscovenosa found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2178

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1705.php

1705 Dwarf Cream Wave Idaea fuscovenosa found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2178

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1705.php

1731 Chalk Carpet Scotopteryx bipunctaria found in Sussex on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5946

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1731.php

1732 Shaded Broad-bar Scotopteryx chenopodiata found in Hampshire on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4600

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1732.php

1757 The Spinach Eulithis mellinata found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=99

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1757.php

1758 Barred Straw Eulithis pyraliata found in Dorset on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6709

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1758.php

1777 July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=106

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1777.php

1782 The Fern Horisme tersata found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1372

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1782.php

1793 Cloaked Carpet Euphyia biangulata found in Dorset on JULY 10 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3540

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1793.php

1813 Haworth's Pug Eupithecia haworthiata found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1019

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1813.php

1839 Bordered Pug Eupithecia succenturiata found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=112

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1839.php

1870 Chimney Sweeper Odezia atrata found in Hampshire on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3567

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1870.php

1894 Latticed Heath Chiasmia clathrata found in Hampshire on JUNE 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=66

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1894.php

1921 Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=127

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1921.php

1962 Barred Red Hylaea fasciaria found in Sussex on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=56

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1962.php

2009 Maple Prominent Ptilodon cucullina found in Kent on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=616

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2009.php

2035 Round-winged Muslin Thumatha senex found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=415

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2035.php

2047 Scarce Footman Eilema complana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2230

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2047.php

2049 Buff Footman Eilema depressa found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3121

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2049.php

2068 Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula found in Hampshire on JULY 11 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2195

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2068.php

2076 Kent Black Arches Meganola albula found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6429

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2076.php

2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe found in Kent on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2700

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2111.php

2110a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing Noctua janthina found in Kent on JULY 03 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2885

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2110.php

2136 The Gothic Naenia typica found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=133

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2136.php

2255 Feathered Ranunculus Polymixis lichenea found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=319

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2255.php

2268 The Suspected Parastichtis suspecta found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6033

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2268.php

2318 The Dun-bar Cosmia trapezina found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=59

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2318.php

2336 Double Lobed Apamea ophiogramma found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5070

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2336.php

2343a Lesser Common Rustic Mesapamea didyma found in Dorset on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3711

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2343a.php

2345 Small Dotted Buff Photedes minima found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2764

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2345.php

2368 The Crescent Celaena leucostigma found in Dorset on JULY 12 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=172

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2368.php

2410 Marbled White Spot Protodeltote pygarga found in Dorset on JULY 08 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1044

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2410.php

2422 Green Silver-lines Pseudoips prasinana found in Kent on JULY 09 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2761

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2422.php

 

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Chrysops caecutiens: This Horse Fly has a taste for human blood and was knocked to the ground by a colleague of Graeme Lyons when discovered to be drinking his blood, allowing Graeme to capture it (on July 6 in the Ambersham area of West Sussex) and take the photo which can be seen at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jTG0Id3H9bA/T_aygONzT6I/AAAAAAAADCE/oPGyBglRe44/s400/pyranaeus+019.JPG

Lejops vittatus: This is an uncommon hoverfly species only found in association with Sea Club Rush with which it was found and photographed at Rye Harbour on July 14. For the photo see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/storage/rxlejopsDsc01867.jpg

Tachina Grossa: Two specimens of this giant Horse Fly were seen at Dungeness on July 9 and you can discover the horrors of this 2 cm long hairy fly at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachina_grossa

Hornet: Surprisingly the first two reports of these have only appeared this week - one was seen in Botley Woods north of Fareham on July 1 and the other at Dungeness on July 9. For an excellent site telling you all you ever wanted to know about European Hornets go to http://www.vespa-crabro.de/hornets.htm (this does not cover Oriental Hornet species which can be twice the size of the European species but you can learn about the Japanese Giant Hornet at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespa_mandarinia_japonica

Beetle species in this week's news:

Heath Dumble Dor (Trypocopris pyranaeus): Seen by Graeme Lyons on Iping Common near Midhurst on July 5 - see http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/natural-history-burn-out.html and skip down to the photo of the beetle and the account of how Graeme batted this monster to the ground with his bare hand in order to discover its identity.

Platydracus fulvipes ( a Rove Beetle): This is pictured and described by Graeme Lyons in the same blog entry as the Dor beetle above

Leptura 6-guttata (a Long Horn Flower Beetle): This is the name used by Richard Jones to name a beetle he found on July 8 near Fort Cumberland in the Eastney area of Portsmouth and until writing this summary on July 15 I had not been able to find a photo of the species but now have one at http://www.anitamadelin.com/?attachment_id=156 and another at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gails_pictures/5951110782/

Cymindis axillaris (Ground Beetle): The photo of this notable species, found at Rye Harbour (Castle Water) on July 10, is tucked in at the end of an entry about spiders (scroll down and you will find it at http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/10/ticking-along.html )

Black Belly Diving Beetle (Dytiscus semisulcatus): For a photo of a very large diving beetle found by chance not in a pond but on the lawn of a garden in the Hastings area see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/12/sedlescombe-beetles.html - this entry also has a photo of a very small Mallow leaf beetle (Podagrica fuscicornis) found in the same garden.

Bloodsucker Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva): These have just started to appear on the flower umbels of plants such as Hogweed and the first to report them was Brian Fellows on his Emsworth Community website - see his picture of them on Hogweed in Brook Meadow at Emsworth, taken on July 13, at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-037-soldier-beetles-bm13.07.12.jpg

Longhorn Beetle (Strangalia maculata): First report of this common species comes from the Straits Inclosure Woodland (part of Alice Holt Forest near Farnham) courtesy of the Hants Butterfly Conservation website - taken on June 30, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/chorusinthedawn/7474394002/in/photostream

Speckled Bush-Cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima): First report comes from Mark Cutts who found one on Portsdown on July 8 and photographed it to appear in the Three Amigos Blog. To see it got to http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/2012/07/11/portsdown-hill-in-search-of-blues/ and scroll down to find the Cricket well camouflaged among Kidney Vetch

Great Green Bush Cricket (Tettigonia viridissima): It is many years since I last saw one of these but I did come across a not-fully-grown one on Portsdown on July 9. Hopefully I will come across a fully developed one later in the summer and get a photo! On that same outing I also came across several Dark Bush Crickets.

Roesels Bush Cricket (Metrioptera roeselii): Richard Jones encountered several of these in the area around Fort Cumberland when he was in the Eastney area of Portsmouth on July 8 - for a photo go to http://www.martinparrsnaturepics.com/page3.htm and scroll down to the last but one line of images, then click the photo of the cricket in the left hand column. The fierce looking 'weapon' on her tail end shows she is a female and will use this to pierce a plant stem before using it as an extension to her body down which she will roll her eggs into the safety of the plant stem.

Slender-horned Leatherbug (Ceraleptus lividus): Found near Portland Bill on July 10 this strange looking bug was the first to be seen on Portland and only the fourth for Dorset - for photos of this individual see http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_slender_horned_leatherbug_a_100712_450.jpg and http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/wp_slender_horned_leatherbug_b_100712_500.jpg Contrary to my expectation this is not a recent invader of Britain but is a scarce resident of dry habitats in southern England. For more info and photos see http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Coreidae/ceraleptus_lividus.html

Harvestman species: The first of these insects belonging to the Order Opilones, and not directly related to Spiders, was found at Durlston on July 14. There are 27 species to be found in northwest Europe and you can see a typical example at http://www.arkive.org/harvestman/leiobunum-rotundum/

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Sickle Medick: A single plant, thought to be the only example of this species in Hampshire, has been flowering for ten years or so beside a slip road taking northbound traffic from the Portsdown Hill Road to join the northbound London Road over the hill. In recent years there have been fears that the plant might be eliminated by roadside grass cutting but there was a healthy growth in full flower when I saw it for the first time this year on July 9

Large Flowered Evening Primrose: The first flowers of this were seen on July 9 in both Emsworth and on Portsdown Hill

Upright Hedge Parsley: The first find of this in flower this year was made on Portsdown on July 9

Burnet Saxifrage: Another first flowering for the year found on Portsdown on July 9

Black Bindweed: Another first for the year found in an arable field on Portsdown on July 9

Blue Water Speedwell: The genuine version of this plant, not the common hybrid, was flowering in Brook Meadow at Emsworth on July 13

Red Bartsia: First flowering reported at Brook Meadow in Emsworth on July 13 (a day earlier than Durlston reported its first!!)

Basil Thyme: A good show of this on Portchester Common (Portsdown Hill) for its debut on July 9

Marsh Woundwort: First flowering for the year in Emsworth on July 9

Spotted Hawkweed (Hieracium maculatum): First flowers seen on Portsdown on July 9

Danewort (Sambucus ebulus): First flowers of this, seen at the colony by the Hayling Billy trail where it passes the end of Grove Road in Havant, on the evening of July 15 (too late for inclusion in my normal system for recording species in my standard sequence, hence its appearance at the end of the list)

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Dolphins: Bottlenosed Dolphins are a regular feature of English Channel waters (last year they were reported in each month of the year though mainly from March to October with numbers ranging from 3 or 4 up to 40). This week a pod of 35 were off Jersey in the Channel Isles on July 12 but the report which caught my attention was of 6 White-beaked Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) in the North Sea off Whitburn in Co Durham. This species is not often reported in the English Channel but it is a common species in our latitude and is most numerous in the eastern North Atlantic, being found from the east of the USA to the Baltic. The animals range from 7 to 10 feet long and are described as social and acrobatic. The dorsal fin is hook shaped with the point bent backward. You can watch a video of them at http://www.arkive.org/white-beaked-dolphin/lagenorhynchus-albirostris/video-00.html and that source tells us that the 'beak' (or snout) is by no means always white - it is usually a mixture of shades of black and white and can be all black. To see the shape of the dorsal fin and the beak go to http://www.arkive.org/white-beaked-dolphin/lagenorhynchus-albirostris/image-A14608.html though this photo has some strange reflections and the impression of the parts below water should be ignored!

Fungi: These are at last beginning to respond to the plentiful rain and mild temperature. Walking down Portsdown Hill past the QA Hospital on July 13 I noticed several species though I did not examine them or take specimens - one was the size of a small field mushoom but had a dark brown cap with distinctive radial splits revealing white flesh suggesting to me the common Tricholomopsis platyphylla while another tall and stout specimen with all its parts whitish in colour reminded me of the Clouded Agarics that normally appear later in the summer. Richard Jones, the Portsdown Hill warden for Portsmouth City, has also been impressed by the show of fungi around his base in Fort Widley. He does not claim to be an expert on fungi but says that 'by the main path south of the Fort' there is a large display of what he believes to be Hygrocybe persistens (Persistent Waxcap) which I have not come across before but which is very similar to the common Blackening Waxcap but which, unlike that, does not rapidly turn colour from yellow to black but 'persists' in its yellow colour - see http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Hygrocybe_persistens_qtl1.jpg and also (for a comparison with Blackening Waxcap) see http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/hygrocybe-conica.php Richard has also found a bright red waxcap which I guess is the Scarlet Hood that you can see at http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/hygrocybe-coccinea.php

ENDWEEK

(Back to start of current Week)


Wildlife diary and news for July 2 - 8 (Week 27 of 2012)

(Skip to previous week)

BIRDS

(Skip to Insects)

Great Crested Grebe: On July 2 there were still 184 (including 66 breeding pairs) of these on Bewl Water near Crowborough but by July 6 three were on the sea off Christchurch Harbour and half a dozen were on the water of Langstone Harbour as they start their autumn dispersal.

Slavonian Grebe: One was in the Exe estuary area of south Devon on June 30 but I think this individual has stayed there through the spring

Black-necked Grebe: Devon also has had one of these in partial summer plumage in Thurlestone Bay (southern tip of the county) for over a week

Great Shearwater: The first to be seen this year was off Start Point in Devon on July 2, earlier than usual. These do not normally appear in the central or eastern parts of the English Channel but are not uncommon passage birds around the south-west counties. See http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Great_Shearwater or the RSPB fact sheet at http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/g/greatshearwater/index.aspx and a rather poor and very noisy video of one in flight at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe2eu43UyMU

Balearic Shearwater: These have been seen off Portland on five days this week with a max count of 15 on July 1

Storm Petrel: More than 20 were off south Devon on July 4 with smaller numbers on several days

Night Heron: RBA had a report of one in Surrey on July 1 ...

Squacco Heron: ... and also one of these in Norfolk on June 30

Little Egret: Passing Langstone Pond at low tide on July 6 when there were no adult birds present I could see at least four nests were still occupied with well grown juveniles (two in one of the nests) which will probably fledge within the next week

Purple Heron: One was present in the Kent Stour valley lakes for at least three days from June 29

White Stork: The three birds that have been roaming round West Sussex since June 22 were last reported over the Kingley Vale/Stoughton area on June 30

Glossy Ibis: Two birds were reported in the Pagham Harbour north walls area from May 6 to 28 (after which one was seen at Farlington Marshes from June 5 to 16) and now one was back at Pagham on June 30

Mute Swan: Last week I reported a summer moult flock on the River Itchen in the Bitterne area of Southampton had grown to 37 birds by June 27 and this week on July 6 the number was up to 52

Shelduck: When I visited the west end of the Thorney Great Deeps on July 5 I could only see 9 Shelduck on the water but, with the tide having just reached its high point, Redshank and Oystercatchers were flying in low to roost on the banks of the Deeps and high above them were several waves of larger birds (around 70 in total) which appeared to be all Shelduck heading east. As they did not land in my view I am not sure if they were also driven by the tide (no reason why they should be) or were already on their summer flight to moult off the German coast (see http://www.birdsofbritain.co.uk/bird-guide/shelduck.asp )

Wigeon: A single drake stayed on at the Oare Marshes in north Kent when the majority of our wintering birds left to breed elsewhere but on July 5 it was joined by four newcomers which appear to be the first post-breeding arrivals. Small numbers of Teal, Pintail and Shoveler also seem to have arrived in England this week while over in the Netherlands on July 3 there were 'remarkable' reports of 53 Pochard and 81 Tufted Duck all at one site. On July 4 there was also a single newly arrived Long-tailed Duck at Spurn Point in Yorkshire while July 5 saw the arrival of 4 Goldeneye and 12 Red-breasted Merganser in the Netherlands

Marsh Harrier: The sight of a newly fledged juvenile flying at Rye Harbour on July 6 was probably no great surprise with several pairs breeding nearby in Kent but I was surprised to see a report of a single bird (age not stated) over Langstone Harbour on June 27 (I have not heard of one there since Apr 2)

Osprey: Reports of one at Fowey on the south coast of Cornwall on July 4 and 5 could be the first sign of this species starting to head south after failing to breed

Merlin: The Havant Wildlife Group feel confident that they saw a Merlin (as well as more than one Hobby) chasing Swallows at Thursley when they were there on July 7 which would make this the first Merlin to return to the south this 'autumn'. Last year the first returning bird was reported on July 25 with the main return starting on Aug 14

Grey Partridge: A local sighting on July 6 of a pair with four or five tiny chicks is good news indicating successful breeding in the wild but they were seen in a location where the survival of the young is doubtful. Those who know the 'Wickor Bank' sea wall running south past the west end of the Little and Great Deeps on Thorney Island will know that it is a well used dog-walking route, and for at least 400 metres of it any flightless bird is trapped in a narrow strip of land bounded by the sea on the west and the canal joining the two Deeps on the east. Unfortunately the adult Partridge had led their fightless young into this section and when the family was accidentally disturbed by Richard Somerscocks the adults flew to safety over the canal but had to leave their young on the seawall track where any dogs (Richard did not have any) would have had no trouble in catching them - we hope the family survived.

Quail: Reports this week from Cissbury Ring on the Downs above Worthing, from Martin Down south of Salisbury, from Burpham village near Arundel, and surprisingly from the disused but not yet built on Daedalus airfield at Lee on the Solent west of Gosport

Ruff: Three reports of birds (presumably on post-breeding return passage) - one of 11 birds at a Netherlands site on July 3, one of a single at a different Netherlands site on July 5, and one of two birds at the Oare Marshes in north Kent, also on July 5. Other wader species now returning from breeding, but often difficult to distinguish from non-breeding birds that have remained in southern England, include Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank and Greenshank

Green Sandpiper: Plenty of these now on passage with a peak total this week of 48 birds at 3 Netherlands sites on July 5

Wood Sandpiper: One seen at Sandwich Bay on July 5 and a report of 11 at a Netherlands site on July 5 (these were among the 48 Green Sandpiper and I have recently seen some controversy suggesting that 'spotty' juvenile Green Sands can be misidentified as Wood Sands).

Common Sandpiper: These seem to have started to return on June 21 and this week migrants have been seen at eight sites with a peak count of 15 at Christchurch Harbour on July 4 (and my first single at the Thorney Great Deeps on July 5)

Red-necked Phalarope: RBA reported one in Suffolk on July 2 which seems to have been the ninth returning female to touch down in Britain after abandoning her offspring to the care of males

Med Gull: On June 13 a flock of 176 were seen over Thorney Island causing me to speculate on what these gulls get up to when their breeding season is washed out and they have time on their hands (or wings). Further wandering flocks were seen in north Kent (76 birds over Reculver on June 25) and near Chichester (75+ birds in the Fishbourne area on June 27) and now Peter Gammage has found a flock of 151 (with other gulls) in fields north of Hambledon in the Meon Valley on July 7

Little Gull: If you have ever wondered where all those Little Gulls go at the end of their passage through the English Channel it seems we have sent the Navy to find out - our special reporter Steve Copsey has been sent to the Baltic on HMS York and is currently sending us daily reports on the bird life seen while on a joint exercise with the Russian Navy. Go to http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/amigo/ and scroll down past the contributions of the other two Amigos (Mark Cutts and Tony Tindale, both currently confined to the Portsmouth area) to read the various contributions from Steve concerning Little Gulls, Golden Orioles and breeding Fieldfares to be seen with their young in the city parks.

Sabines Gull: An unexpected bird in the English Channel at this time of year, one has been seen off Folkestone on June 30 and south Devon on July 4

Herring Gull: While I know of at least one pair that have raised young in Havant this year (two chicks from a nest in Brockhampton Lane) and have seen other pairs seemingly prospecting rooves in Beechworth and Grove Roads I have wondered where the birds would locate a nest on these steeply sloping rooves. This week Brian Fellows has found the answer when he visited a house in Selangor Ave at Emsworth where another pair have also raised two young - their nest is wedged behind the chimney stack (see his photo in the July 3 page of his diary at http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm ). Brian's Diary also features another pair of gulls which have nested in Emsworth for the first time this year - a pair of Great Blackbacks which have raised two young on a raft in the Slipper Mill Pond.

Iceland Gull: At one time Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were only seen in southern England during winter months but last year Glaucous became a year round feature at Dungeness and this year there have only been five weeks when I have not recorded a report of Iceland Gull somewhere on the south coast. This week an Iceland Gull was seen in Portsmouth Dockyard on July 4 and one was there on June 4 with one at the Blashford Lakes on Apr 24 and the last of a series of sightings at Broadmarsh/Budds Farm and Portsmouth Docks was noted on Mar 31. Another was in the Newhaven area throughout April, and May has had a series of sightings starting in Cornwall then moving through Devon to Dungeness. This change to permanent residence on the south coast, affecting arctic bird species, seems to have started with the Glaucous Gull that was at Dungeness throughout last year - perhaps they think its not worth going back north if global warming means there will be no snow or ice there when they arrive, on top of which our human depletion of fish stocks means that the birds can be more certain of a food supply from us humans and our rubbish if they stay down south.

Gull-billed Tern: One made a one day visit to Lodmoor (Weymouth) on June 29

Roseate Tern: Two were at Lodmoor on July 4 after one had been at Rye Harbour on July 3 and 4

Cuckoo: An adult was still to be seen at Christchurch Harbour on July 5

Short-eared Owl: One was at Farlington Marshes on June 27 and one was hunting the Lymington marshes on July 5

Bee Eater: Just one this week in Cornwall on July 5

House Martin: A report of a flock of 80 over the River Itchen just south of Winchester on July 4 made me reflect that the species is being made to look more numerous than normal because the lack of insect food has caused the birds to abandon nesting (which spreads them more widely across the country) and come together in big flocks where there is some hope of finding a meal.

Mistle Thrush: At the start of this year I was coming to think that Mistle Thrushes were birds of the past but having a pair apparently once more nesting here in the Wade Court area at Langstone and recently hearing of several small post-breeding flocks I feel that all is not lost (just 8 at Eastleigh on May 25, then 14 in the Findon valley at Worthing on June 17, increasing to around 30 in one field at Warninglid near Crawley on June 26 and now 20 on Badminston Common on the edge of the New Forest on July 2)

Yellow-browed Warbler: One reported at St Just in Cornwall on July 6 seems to me to be either a very out-of-season bird or a case of mistaken identity

Willow Warbler: Definite signs of these summer visitors already starting to depart. Last week we reported the first departing bird had been seen at Portland, then on June 30 a flock of 32 birds was seen at a Netherlands migration site and now on July 6 Sandwich Bay had its first bird heading south.

Golden Oriole: Also presumably now heading south one of these was in north Kent on June 24, another heard singing and calling at Bosham near Chichester on June 27 and two at a Netherlands site on June 30

Raven: If you go to http://www.sos.org.uk/index.php?option=com_jobline4&Itemid=10&task=view&id=19132 you will see a photo of a pair of Ravens taken by Alan Kitson in the Cuckmere valley on July 7 showing a distinct brown tinge to the head and neck plumage of both birds which are said to be adults. I seem to recall hearing of a brown plumaged corvid (maybe a Jackdaw?) in Sussex sometime in the past but cannot at the moment remember where, when or even what species but what I do know is that there is a species called Brown-necked Raven listed in Collins Bird Guide but unless these two have been blown north by recent winds bringing Saharan sand to Britain that species is strictly limited to desert areas. I suspect the answer to the question of the birds identity lies in the fact that Collins also tells us normal Ravens can occasionally show this variation in the neck feathers.

INSECTS

(Skip to Plants)

Dragonflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenia): This species is normally retricted to six widely separated areas of Britain (and one in southern Ireland) and the Havant area lies midway between its two south coast areas, one around the New Forest and the other stretching east from mid-Sussex into Kent and north to the Thames Valley. The species normally flies from early May to early July and being near the end of its flight period (and in a period of strong winds) may help to account for why a female was photographed in the Hollybank Woods (just north of Emsworth) on June 30

Black Darter: First report for the year from Surrey on July 1

Ruddy Darter: First report from Rye Harbour on or before June 29

Red Veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombei): This is a frequent migrant which has not yet established any permanent colonies in Britain but a report on July 5 of an invasion of at least 15 individuals at a Norfolk site shows it is having another go this year.

Species reported this week:

Southern Hawker, Downy Emerald, Black Darter, Ruddy Darter, Red-veined Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Azure Damselfly

Butterflies:

Notable sightings this week:

Gatekeeper: Last year the first was seen on June 2 but this year I had not heard of any when I saw my own first in Havant on July 4 (with others seen elsewhere on July 5). Nationally I see the first was seen on June 19 this year (the Butterfly Conservation national list of first sightings can be seen at http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/text/853/first_sightings_2012.html - maybe I will have to add this site for my weekly trawl for news).

Species reported this week:

Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Silver Studded Blue, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, White Admiral, Red Admiral, Painted Lady (just two seen at Arundel on June 30), Small Torotoiseshell, Comma, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet

(Skip to Other Insects)

Moths:

Selected sightings this week:

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

Species recorded for the first time this year/season:

0449 Ash Bud Moth Prays fraxinella found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=730

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0449.php

0644 Borkhausenia fuscescens found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1647

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0644.php

0905 Blastodacna hellerella found in Dorset on JULY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1381

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0905.php

0939 Aethes tesserana found in Dorset on JUNE 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=6129

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0939.php

0972 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana found in Dorset on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2395

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/0972.php

1047 Acleris schalleriana found in Dorset on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5018

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

1201 Eucosma cana found in Dorset on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=506

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1201.php

1414 Synaphe punctalis found in Dorset on JUNE 30 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2255

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1414.php

1428 Bee Moth Aphomia sociella found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1331

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1428.php

1509 Stenoptilia pterodactyla found in Sussex on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1590

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1509.php

1634 The Lackey Malacosoma neustria found in Dorset on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3946

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1634.php

1766 Blue-bordered Carpet Plemyria rubiginata found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=503

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1766.php

1789 Scallop Shell Rheumaptera undulata found in Kent on JULY 05 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4663

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1789.php

1816 Toadflax Pug Eupithecia linariata found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1020

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1816.php

2016 Dusky Marbled Brown Gluphisia crenata found in Kent on JUNE 26 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2682

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2016.php

2197 Southern Wainscot Mythimna straminea found in Dorset on JULY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5090

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2197.php

2198 Smoky Wainscot Mythimna impura found in Dorset on JULY 02 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5673

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2198.php

2204 Obscure Wainscot Mythimna obsoleta found in Dorset on JULY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1036

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2204.php

2301 Bird's Wing Dypterygia scabriuscula found in Dorset on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=757

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2301.php

2314 Dingy Shears Parastichtis ypsillon found in Dorset on JULY 01 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5069

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2314.php

2323 Reddish Light Arches Apamea sublustris found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1038

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2323.php

2364 Frosted Orange Gortyna flavago found in Dorset on JULY 06 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1759

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2364.php

2387a Clancy's Rustic Platyperigea kadenii found in Dorset on JULY 04 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3894

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2387.php

2404 Eastern Bordered Straw Heliothis nubigera found in Dorset on JUNE 29 - see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4450

For the HantsMoths info go to http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/2404.php

 

OTHER INSECTS:

Selected sightings this week:

Volucella zonaria Hoverfly: First of these large Hoverflies seen at Durlston on July 6. If you are not familiar with this impressive species have a look at http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/archive/showphoto.php?photo=138410 (scroll down to the main photo)

Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum): This species only arrived in England in 2001 and is now widespread and fairly common throughout the British Isles but not many people will have seen a pair of them mating as happened in Emsworth on July 5 where it was photographed by Brian Fellows' son and subsequently shown on Brian's website - see http://www.emsworthwildlife.hampshire.org.uk/0-0-043-bumblebees-mating-05.07.12.jpg For more info or to contribute sightings to a national survey go to http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=content/bombus-hypnorum-mapping-project To be confident of identifying the species note that it is the only British species with the combination of an orange coloured thorax, a black abdomen and a white tail

Beetles at Rye Harbour: Two unusual small beetles seen at Rye Harbour this week have appeared on the Rye Bay website - the first on the old format website, the second on the new format. On June 27 the old site featured a rare beetle (Dibolia cynoglossi) whch feeds on the rare plant Red Hemp Nettle (the name suggests it might also feed on Hounds Tongue) - for this one see http://rxwildlife.org.uk/2012/06/23/rare-plant-rarer-beetle/ - and on July 3 the new format showed a small weevil that feeds on Viper's Bugloss - see http://rx-wildlife.squarespace.com/sightings/2012/7/3/a-weevil-by-another-name.html Note that in this entry Barry Yates says that this Weevil is under consideration for introduction to Australia to save that continent from Patterson's Curse which is the name the Australians have given to a plant (Purple Viper's Bugloss or Echium plantagineum - not our common Vipers Bugloss) that has spread out of control over the continent and poisons cattle and horses which eat it. It seems that long ago a family called Patterson became homesick for the garden plants they had left behind in Europe and imported some which unintentionally escaped.... (The alternative name of Calamity Jane may refer to the homesick wife of this family)

Glow-worm: Last week we had the first report of these 'glowing' on the Isle of Wight on June 23. This week we have the second report that I have seen - it comes from Rye Harbour on July 3

PLANTS

(Skip to Other Wildlife)

Travellers Joy or Old Man's Beard: I saw the first flowers on this at Marlpit Lane near Funtington on July 5

Rough Poppy (Papaver hybridum): John Goodspeed reported this in flower on Portsdown on June 27

Tutsan: First flowers in Havant on July 2

Hollyhock: First garden escapes were flowering in Emsworth on July 5

Long stalked Cranesbill (Geranium columbinum): Until last year I was only aware of one site for this in our local area (north of Rowlands Castle in the fields of Old Idsworth Farm along the south side of Huckswood Lane) but last year I heard of another site among the gravel pits east of Marlpit Lane where Peter Raby had found the species. My attempt to find the species there last year failed but further help from John Norton helped me to find the site this year and you can read my account of where they are in my diary page for July 5.

Strawberry Clover: This will soon be widespread but I found the first plants in flower at the south end of Langstone Bridge on July 6

Bush Vetch: Last year I found this in flower before April was out but this year I still have not seen it and the first report for the year comes from Durlston on July 5

Meadow Sweet: First flowers seen by the Langbrook stream in Havant on July 2

Dropwort: Found flowering on Portsdown on June 27

Enchanter's Nightshade: First flowers in Havant on July 2

Fool's Parsley: First flowers in Havant on July 3

Pepper Saxifrage: First flowers reported at Durlston on July 7

Fools water cress (Apium nodiflorum): First flowers seen in the Langbrook stream at Havant on July 2

Water Dock: This extra large species of Dock was flowering in Langstone Pond on July 2

Redshank: First flowers seen in Havant on July 3

Lax-flowered Sea Lavender: First flowers at Langstone on July 2 (I seem to have failed to record the first flowering of Common Sea Lavender which I feel sure is also in flower)

Creeping Jenny: This plant grows wild in my garden and was in full flower (perhaps encouraged by the rain) by July 2 so I guess it will also be flowering in the Warblington Farm Marsh (SSSI) field east of the cemetery

Vervain: This was seen in flower both at the Bridge Road carpark site in Emsworth and along the ERA track on north Thorney Island, both on July 5

Deadly Nightshade: This downland speciality was first seen in flower on July 6 by John Goodspeed at the Hawkley Warren site north of Petersfield

Dark Mullein: Also a first find for John Goodspeed on July 2 at North Common open space on Hayling Island

Moth Mullein: A couple of plants flowering at the Marlpit Lane sandpits on July 5. Last year I found several plants of this growing less than half a mile east of this site - also found last year in Prinsted (Market Garden site), and beside the Ferry Road on Hayling so it appears this is becoming common in the wider Havant area

Brooklime: First flowers for the year seen in the concrete stream channel along the southern edge of Havant Park on July 3

Common Cow-wheat: Seen flowering at Cowes on the IoW by Brian Fellows on July 2, reminding me that I used to find this each year in the unmade section of Prospect Lane on the north side of Whichers Gate Road in Rowlands Castle but nowadays I do not know of any site for it in the Havant area

Marjoram: Durlston was the first site to report the flowering of this on July 6

Wood Sage: I first found this in flower on July 5 but am pretty sure it will have been seen by others well before that date

Round-headed Rampion: Another first flowering recorded by John Goodspeed at Old Winchester Hill in the Meon Valley on July 4

Common Valerian: Also first reported by John Goodspeed as flowering on the lower slopes of Portsdown below the Viewpoint Carpark on June 27

Field Scabious: First report from Durlston on July 5

Narrow-leaved Ragwort: Flowering beside Farm Lane at Nutbourne in Sussex on July 5 (I gather that there are two motorway verge patches of this invader now established in Hampshire by the M3 near Eastleigh and on the M27 near Hedge End).

Golden Samphire: Already flowering at Oare Marshes in north Kent on July 5

Shaggy Soldier: Flowering on July 6 on the Emsworth roadside where it was first found last summer (on, I think, Aug 29)

Common Cudweed: Found on June 27 flowering on the Portsdown 'Top Field' by John Goodspeed

Welted Thistle: A mass of this in flower at Marlpit Lane on July 5

Cotton Thistle: The giant plant growing in a garden on the north side of Westbourne Road where it passes over the River Ems was starting to flower on July 4

Prickly Lettuce: Starting to flower on July 3

Fragrant Orchid: First report of flowering by John Goodspeed at Old Winchester Hill on July 4

 

 

OTHER WILDLIFE

(Skip to Endweek)

Leatherback Turtle: The first report for this year was one seen on July 4 from a boat off Penzance in Cornwall

Common Thresher Shark (Alopias vulpinus): Thresher Sharks have a very elongated top tail fin with which they stun prey fish using a 'threshing' movement (this fin can also be dangerous to sub-acqua divers) This is the only species which we are likely to see and only one or two turn up each summer but they are impressive creatures (up to 32 foot long). For a video of one threshing its tail as seen from a fishing boat off Devon in Aug 2011 see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-14375548 The first to be reported this year was off south Devon on July 3

Cuttlefish bone: The first which I have seen on the Chichester Harbour shore had been washed up on July 3 but I suspect these bones have been coming ashore for some time as a massive wreck of them washed up on Cornish beaches in mid-May (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-13451208 ). Trying to find confirmation of the time of year when they breed and subsequently die I came on http://www.pznow.co.uk/marine/cuttlefish.html which showed me what their eggs look like (a bunch of withered black grapes) and also made me aware that three species are involved. Don't be misled by the title of this website into thinking it is based in Poland - Pznow seems to be an old cornish name for Penzance!

ENDWEEK

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