Thursday 30th October 2014.
I took Scruff for a refreshing walk around Highland Road Cemetery at midday, seeing it was very mild and sunny. Walking around in a t-shirt at this time of year seems crazy, but I understand the warm temperatures will disappear over the weekend. The balmy conditions brought out a lot of insects around the Cemetery, which can only spell good news for the birds.
With a lot of the leaves off the trees, I felt there is always a chance of something good floating about in this little hamlet in the middle of Portsmouth; although, to be honest, though there was no stonking rarity like the Eastern Crowned Warbler in Teeside today, it was still enjoyable to see both Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker within the Cemy at the same time. A couple of Goldcrests could be heard calling to one another, but they eluded me today.
The only thrushes seen were Blackbirds, but again, there were good numbers of first winter birds throughout the Cemy (15+ at least). I heard a lot of Redwing flying over Southsea last night, whilst checking the moth box, but none seemed to have settled in the Cemy. The usual Blue and Great Tits could be seen but it will not be long before the first Coal Tits start reappearing. Corvids were everywhere, notably Carrion Crows, Magpies and at least four Jays.
Squirrels were literally everywhere and the albino one was seen again among the gravestones. Scruff even managed to chase the poor thing, but trust me, he is not agile enough to ever grab one! They are simply too fast for him. I mentioned the abundance of insects earlier, as Hoverflies and Wasps were in good numbers; the latter feeding on the flowering Ivy. There were quite a few clumps of Toadstools present of one I think is called the Yellow-staining Mushroom; however, the Council have been cutting the grass by the look of it earlier this week and quite a few clumps had been mown over.
As I was leaving the Cemy, after seeing a couple of Brent Geese fly over a week ago, a flock of 18 birds flew low overhead in a V formation, heading southbound towards the Solent. In Hampshire today, the Franklin’s Gull reappeared on Blashford Lakes, pleasing all those Hampshire listers (except me!). For all those Moth enthusiasts (which included me, ofcourse), a Death’s Head Hawk-moth was found at the Durlstone Lighthouse overnight, near Swanage, Dorset; just after having an Oleander Hawk-moth the week before! Back in West Sussex, Selsey Bill had a nice fall of Black Redstarts and there was a Snow Bunting on Pagham Spit this morning.