Merlin and Beaded Chestnut new for the year.

Monday 24th October 2016.


Beaded Chestnut.

I had the moth box on last night, despite the strong blustery wind and getting home this afternoon from work, I checked the moth box out. There were four moths in total and included my first Beaded Chestnut of the year, 1 Angle Shades, 1 Lesser Yellow Underwing and one I have not got the foggiest. Andy Johnson was sent a moth photo by myself of the well worn moth and he thinks it could well be a Green-brindled Crescent, which would be a most welcome garden tick..


Angle Shades.

On my travels today, due to congestion on the both the road through Portchester and on the M27, I took a drive along Portsdown Hill to make a detour back to my office. While watching a couple of Kestrels fly over the road and then a flock of finch species take off from the ploughed field to the north, up flew a Merlin and twisted and turned after the flock of finches. This was my first sighting of a Merlin this year and so I drove back to the office with a big smile on my face.


Probable Green-brindled Crescent although a very worn moth.

A day in the Forest.

Sunday 23rd October 2016.


Start them young! Isabelle and her father enjoying the wildfowl from the Ivy South Hide, Blashford Lakes.

It was a family trip to the New Forest today with my wife’s son, partner Sinead and our grand-daughter Isabelle. My wife wanted to take Isabelle to see the miniature horses, Donkeys and Shetland Ponies on the heath near Fritham and on such another bright sunny morning, we made our way there. Becky had earlier bought some carrots for the horses and this certainly enticed them over for a short feed.

While in the large car park, I kept an eye out for any birds etc., which included a small flock of around a dozen Meadow Pipits feeding on the short grass close by. A few Pied Wagtails, Chaffinches and Song Thrushes were noted and a pair of Redwings flew high overhead until flying off towards the woodland.


Meadow Pipits foraging for insects on the short grass.

After having a delicious lunch in the Alice Lyle pub, behind Blashford Lakes, I then took everyone to the Park Centre. From here, we took a short walk through the woodland to view from the comfort of the Woodland Hide. Though not quite as busy as in mid-winter, there were Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Great and Blue Tits and the occasional Nuthatch coming down for a quick feed. Below the feeders, a Squirrel and at least two Bank Voles were making the most of the spilt seed dropping from the feeders, which certainly entertained Isabelle.


Great Crested Grebe from Ivy South Hide.

Walking further on to the Ivy South Hide, we were entertained by a Migrant Hawker dragonfly which searched and chased insects from the tree branches overhead. From the Hide, I let everyone borrow my binoculars and pointed out the different types of birds. Cormorants were in good numbers here along with plenty of wildfowl which included Mallard, Wigeon and Gadwall. A Great Crested Grebe showed well near the Hide (see photo), fishing close by and giving everyone the opportunity to see the different colours on the bird.


Sulphur Tuft toadstools and probable Turkey tail fungus growing on this old stump.

Leaving the Hide, the Silt Pond had held a couple of Kingfishers as seen by some people within the Hide. Though we never saw them, I did hear at least one bird calling. At this time of year, fungi is on the increase and I came across a tree stump with Tufted Sulphur toadstools growing upon it. A really attractive but of fungus. Though much cooler than yesterday because of the wind, it was still a gorgeous day to be out. It was nice to hear that Andy Johnson had another rare species of moth in his trap on Hayling Island, when he got Radford’s Flame Shoulder two nights running. Well done mate.

A beautiful day at Pagham Harbour.

Saturday 22nd October 2016.


A male Green Woodpecker which Andy spotted up in the trees near the harbour.

Andy Fisher and myself went birding over Pagham Harbour today and a thoroughly well spent morning in the sunshine of West Sussex. I have to admit, I didn’t check today forecast but visiting here paid off as we visited both the North Wall and Church Norton area of this fantastic place. There was always a chance of something rare turning up and we gave the area a good bashing in finding that elusive rare too.


Little Egret in White’s Creek.


Grey Heron fishing in White’s Creek.


Wigeon also within the Creek.

No-one was parked up at the end of Church Lane as we slowly made our way to the harbour wall in the bright sunshine. It was cold at first and judging by the frost on the lawn of a nearby house, it must have been damn cold here last night. Almost immediately after we arrived, I picked out my first Brambling of the season flying over, which was a very good start to the day. Though they disappeared, they did show themselves again flying off east over the fields.


Andy checking out the harbour.


The Spotted Redshank wading within the Creek.


A Grey Wagtail was searching for food on the Breach Pool.

At the end of the small track, by the paddocks, birds suddenly came pouring out. A flock of 8 Long-tailed Tits contained at least one Goldcrest and maybe up to three Chiffchaffs. A Green Woodpecker flew into nearby trees and showed well, while both Chaffinch and Greenfinch were seen in the same tree. Up to 6 Pied Wagtails were searching for insects within the small pony field and one bird was most certainly a male White Wagtail. Stonechats were heard in the distance but it wasn’t till we were making our way back to the car that we spotted them.


Common Teal on the Breach Pool. Sadly, the corpse of a Herring Gull is on the right of the photo.


Grey Plover seen from the harbour wall.

The tide was out within the harbour and within White’s Creek, a winter-plumaged Spotted Redshank showed well wading in the shallow water. Both Wigeon and Teal were present along the waters edge and waders included Curlew, Grey Plover, Redshank and Lapwing resting on the mudflats. A Kingfisher, or possibly two, were seen flying up and down the Creek but too fast to grab a photo. Both a Grey Heron and a Little Egret fished the creek close to the harbour wall.


Curlew flying overhead.


Reed Buntings.

Upon the Breach Pool, good numbers of Teal were resting by the edge of the reedbed and intermingled with these were at least 5 Common Snipe. A small flock of 10 Black-tailed Godwit also were feeding upon the shallow water. A Grey Wagtail was searching for insects on the mud by the reedbed and a Water Rail also showed well, flying out of the reedbed and then having a bath at the back of the Pool. Reed Buntings were simply everywhere and gave some quite stunning views. A guestimate of at least 20 individuals were counted. The local Bearded Tits showed well too, with a flock of around 6 birds flying round and round over the Pool until eventually disappearing back into the reedbeds.


Female Reed Bunting.


A rear view of the female Reed Bunting close to the footpath.

A couple of Swallows dropped in to have a quick drink then flew off east over the fields. Checking the harbour, we noticed all the waders had been flushed from the saltmarsh. It had to be a falcon or hawk that had put them up but we found neither. However, I did clock my first Golden Plovers of the year among the many Lapwings. More Common Snipe and a few Dunlin flew over and into the fields. There was plenty moving overhead and though heard, I couldn’t locate the Redpolls flying over, however, the many Skylarks flying over were much easier to locate. The beautiful weather encouraged a showy Cetti’s Warbler to sing from a bramble. Shame my photos of the bird didn’t do it justice, but the Reed Bunting shots do.


This Water Rail was bathing at the back of the Pool beside a pair of Teal.

Among the Reed Buntings, we saw at least three Yellowhammers, around four Song Thrushes and another couple of Chiffchaffs. While walking back to the car, I caught a Caddis Fly in mid flight, thinking it might have been a moth. Nevertheless, a couple of passing birders were interested in seeing it for themselves as the insect rested on my sleeve.


Enough said! Andy larking about!

Our next stop before Church Norton was to be Siddlesham Ferry Pool. After getting a refreshing cup of coffee from the local Garage, we took a quick look upon the Ferry Pool. Of note, was the single Green Sandpiper at the back of the Pool, behind a small flock of Lapwing. The water level here was probably at its lowest this year, but it didn’t produce many waders. Several Wigeon and Teal were present as was a pair of Shelduck but after 15 minutes or so, we headed off south to Church Norton.


The lone Green Sandpiper behind the Lapwing on the Ferry Pool.

With these easterlies of late, surely there must be a rare warbler or Bunting lurking about down one of the country lanes? As we drove down the small lane to the Church, I stopped sharply to observe a female Stonechat close to the roadside (see photo). On reaching the Church car park, we walked through the Churchyard but the only birds of note were another flock of Swallows and at least 11 Red-legged Partridges in the fields north of the Churchyard. The Churchyard itself was near bird-less! A few waders were on show within the harbour, but I couldn’t pick out anything unusual. I did find a female Common Darter dragonfly perched on some reeds, but little else.


The female Stonechat by the road leading to the Church. The photo was taken through the car window.


Red-legged Partridge behind the Churchyard.

We took a walk back down the road and along the old road by the farm buildings in search of our rarity. A Mediterranean Gull flew high overhead and good numbers of Pheasants were feeding within the fields. A pair of female Sparrowhawks jostled with one another over our heads then flew into a tree nearby. However, I have to say it, it was near bird-less yet again! I think we might have been better bringing a couple of deck-chairs, four cans of Stella and have a good kip in the warm sunshine! Never mind, it was still a stunning beautiful day, with enough birds seen to reflect on a pleasant mornings birding.


The female Common Darter.

Busy at Eastney today.

Friday 21st October 2016.


Such a superb moth – Black Rustic. My second of the month.

Again, I left the moth box on overnight and was rewarded with just 3 moths: 1 fresh Black Rustic, 1 Silver Y and 1 Common Plume. I had a good search around the garden in case some moths were playing hard to get, but I drew a blank there. It was fairly dark still at 7.20am and so I took my photos of the moths later in the day.


Silver Y.

A walk around Eastney Outfall and the harbour entrance was refreshing seeing the cold north-easterly was blowing on off the harbour, reminding me that I should wear a woollen hat on my next foray! The tide was receding from Langstone Harbour, but there was plenty of activity around Eastney today. As soon as I arrived, I watched a male Sparrowhawk drift low over the harbour entrance and land in the small bush near the ‘Burger Van’, regardless to all the people walking past. A near-adult Shag was fishing close to the waters edge but moving away from me to get a decent photo. However, another bird, an adult, was much more obliging by sitting on one of the buoys.


Near adult Shag.


The male Kestrel hunting over the scrub before being hassled by passerines.


Eastney Outfall jutting out into the harbour entrance.

On the beach, a pair of Pied Wagtails were searching for food among the pebbles, whilst overhead, a flock of around 12 Pied Wagtails flew west high over. In fact, there was quite a lot of ‘visible migration’ going on this morning. A flock of 23 calling Skylarks flew high west as well as good numbers of Linnets, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits. Further along the beach, a large mixed flock of Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Linnet were feeding on seed heads among the vegetation near the Water Treatment Works. Several Meadow Pipits were scurrying about on the beach, searching for food. A male Kestrel was being mobbed by a large flock of finches, but it didn’t distract him from hovering over the wasteland.


This male Pied Wagtail came walking up to my car.


My first Mergansers of the season flying out into the Solent.

My first Red-breasted Mergansers of the season flew out to sea, as a tight flock of four birds hurried past Hayling Island and out into the Solent. A pair of Sandwich Terns flew the opposite way and into the harbour along with a lone Common Gull. Small numbers of Brent Geese flew back and forth over the channel.


Good numbers of Meadow Pipits around this morning, both on the ground and overhead.


A female Linnet perched on the fence by the Water Treatment Works.

There was still a lot of wild flowers to be seen on the beach, with Sea Radish, Winter Cress, Ox-eye Daisy and Oxford Ragwort being the most predominant flowers to be seen. Thankfully, very few people around today although a few dogs were running around near the Outfall, which would of put off any settled waders. The only waders seen were a pair of Grey Plovers flying high out to the Solent, both calling loudly as they passed by overhead. No sign of any Wheatears on the beach, but maybe there were some further towards Southsea? Surely, a rare Wheatear will be found here soon?


Greenfinches and Goldfinches searching for seeds.


Another male Greenfinch perched on the fence.


Oxford Ragwort gave the place even more colour.

When I reached home, there was more visible migration going on overhead, with a flock of 15 Skylarks flying high west and a few more flocks of Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches. A Chiffchaff was calling somewhere within the gardens, but no sighting for me. I recently contacted top birder, Dave Hutton, to see if I can put some of his photos on my blog of which he has kindly allowed me to do so. Many thanks Dave. A Yellow-browed Warbler was found along the Canal Path, Titchfield Haven today and another, for its second day, in gardens off Selsey Bill. I shall be birding tomorrow with Andy Fisher and so, might just take a look at this bird.

Siberian Accentor

The Siberian Accentor at the Spurn. Photo by Dave Hutton.

Dusky Warbler

Dusky Warbler at Spurn. Photo by Dave Hutton.


Shorelark at Spurn. Thanks to Dave Hutton for his excellant photos to be allowed on my blog.

Midweek update.

Thursday 20th October 2016.


Diamond-back Moth – the only migrant of note this morning.

As it was a still overcast night, I put the moth box overnight for one never knows if something new for the year just might turn up. There is always the chance of a migrant moth or a scarce winter moth on the wing. Red & Yellow-lined Quakers are always a possibility and I noticed someone had a Convolvulus Hawk-Moth in their garden this week. If only!


Double-striped Pug.

I am now using my Bridge camera to take the photos of the moths as I feel this gives a sharper image, which was much bemoaned about on some of the Facebook moths sites. I have to say, I am glad I listened although I am still happy to take photos with the mobile phone in good light.


Large Yellow Underwing.

Pleasingly, there were eight moths of six species seen this morning and included a Diamond-back Moth which was perched on the white sheet behind my box. Two Common Marbled Carpets were present along with one Large Yellow Underwing, 2 Light-brown Apple Moths and a Common Plume. Meadow Pipits were flying overhead, but too quick for me to catch a glimpse.


Common Marbled Carpet.

I have had a busy week so far at work, which included a trip to both Gloucester and Oxford on Monday. Always keeping an eye out for birds along the motorways and A-roads, I clocked up at least 6 Red Kites, 8 Common Buzzards, 2 Kestrels and a probable Goshawk! Only the fella who was driving was going far too fast for me to get a proper look at the bird. I lost count on how many Jays I saw flying over the roads, but a smart Great Spotted Woodpecker showed well flying over the A34.

For the ‘twitchers’ on the east coast, it was paradise for some. A mini invasion of Siberian Accentors in western Europe involved at least four birds reaching our shores! Birders up there were spoilt for choice and with the long staying bird at Easington, East Yorkshire; one could go and ‘tick’ this individual then go off for a short drive to get the Isabelline Wheatear, Radde’s Warbler, Pied Wheatear and a host of other rare migrants! Sadly, I still need both Isabelline and Pied Wheatear for my ‘life-list’ and I am not getting any younger!! Maybe we will get one on the south coast shortly?

Finally, I am glad to see that Autumnwatch is back on a screens next Monday. Some decent early evening telly at last!

Black Rustic is added to my year list.

Sunday 16th October 2016.


My first Black Rustic of the year.

The day started with a deluge of rain first thing, which set off an alarm next door to where I live and therefore, at 7.30am, I dragged myself out of bed to leave a message on my neighbours phone. After the rain abated, I eventually checked out the moth box to see if I had ANY moths present. I was to be rewarded with just one moth in my box – however, a fine Black Rustic moth was a year first. I did find a Light-brown Apple Moth on top of the box, but nothing else around the area whatsoever. A Robin was ‘ticking’ high up in the Holly Tree close by, but wouldn’t pose well enough to grab a photo.


Sunny over the Cemy as the morning wore on.


A leafy path along the south side.

As we had Isabelle overnight, I took her for a walk, along with Scruff, in her pushchair around Highland Road Cemetery seeing it was bright and sunny now. She enjoyed looking at the Squirrels and birds while I was keeping an eye out for anything out of the norm. The Green Woodpecker showed briefly flying up to the Holm Oak clump of trees and at least two Jays were seen in the same area. A Chiffchaff was heard calling deep within one of the trees but remained elusive this time.


Red Admiral butterfly drying its wings.

Not a great deal to be seen today, though a Red Admiral butterfly was drying itself out on an exposed leaf in the sunshine. I pointed the butterfly out to Isabelle who watched it slowly flap its wings. Young children always seem to be fascinated by insects and showing Isabelle a Crane Fly was no exception. Teach them young to enjoy ‘creepy crawlies’ and they will enjoy forever more. Mind you, it took me a long time to get used to Spiders!


Crane Fly.

Thanks again to Andy Johnson for identifying a well worn Square-spot Rustic moth for me. He had just got back from East Yorkshire; enjoying sightings of both the Western Swamphen and the Siberian Accentor. Geoff Farwell enjoyed sightings of 3 Red Kites, Wheatear, 11 Stonechats, 90 Skylarks, a Chiffchaff and 100 Linnets at Gander Down.

Good numbers of Chiffchaff on the Hilsea Lines.

Saturday 15th October 2016.


The first moat one comes to from the Hilsea car park on the Hilsea Lines.

With such goodies as Siberian Accentor, Red-eyed Vireo and a plethora of ‘eastern’ warblers on show around the UK, I fancied finding my own ‘rare'; but where should I go? For a nice change, I took Scruff for a nice walk along the Hilsea Lines this morning. The weather forecast wasn’t too bad and by 11am, it really got quite warm. This is a much under-watched area and who knows what potential goodies could be laying in wait to be discovered in the bushes and trees here?


Plenty of Tufted Ducks on the moats.


Numerous Chiffchaffs along here today.

Both Andy Fisher and John Goodall couldn’t make this morning and so taking Scruff, Ii parked up around 9am at Hilsea and walked to the Eastern Road bridge and back, which took around 2 and a half hours to complete. Several tit flocks held good numbers of both Goldcrest and Chiffchaff, but no ‘Yellow-broweds’ or Pallas’s Warblers among them, unfortunately. No lurking Radde’s or Dusky Warblers either ‘ticking’ within the bushes, but plenty of Robins instead. Oh well!


The Shovelers on the second moat.

Heading east, the moat held both Tufted Duck and Mallard, with Little Grebes also seen in good numbers fishing the still waters. I kept a sharp eye out for a Water Rail, but none were seen or heard. As expected, the Hilsea Lines is very popular for dog-walkers, joggers, ramblers and cyclists; but if you can tolerate them, it still is a pleasant walk. There were plenty of Chiffchaffs along the walk, which always bayed attention at this time of the year. Overhead, both Siskin and Redpoll were heard but I failed to locate the birds.


The large third pond just west of the Anchorage Park housing estate. Little Egret, Little Grebe and a few wildfowl were seen on here.


Travellers Joy or Old Grandfathers Beard. Plenty of this growing along the Hilsea Lanes.


One of the Little Egrets.

With the influx of Ring Ouzels along the south coast, I studied the thrushes for anything unusual among them. A small group of three Song Thrushes were seen feeding on the bountiful berries within the bushes, but nothing more exciting than that. Nearing the Anchorage Park housing estate, I found a good number of Shaggy Inkcap toadstools growing in a damp patch of rough grass; my first of the year. The smell of the flowering Holly was intoxicating and attracted good numbers of Wasps and Hoverflies.


Shaggy Inkcap toadstools.


Dark-bellied Brent Geese feeding on the underwater grass on the Creek.


And joined by three more.

Out on the Creek, a pair of Brent Geese were soon joined by three more, sitting lazily on the very still water. A lone Little Grebe swam on the water too, but just a couple of Little Egrets were the only birds seen along the waters edge. Sadly, one Egret was fishing among many discarded plastic water bottles and cans along the tideline.


Chiffchaff calling by one of the moats.


A Grey Wagtail was picking off insects from the water.

The walk back produced a few more notable sightings. A Kingfisher was seen briefly on a fishing post on one of the moats. I tried to grab a quick photo but it moved to a perch that was obscured by reeds. The photo opportunity was then lost. Grumble! A good study of the Tit flocks only contained Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs as mentioned before, but a nice Grey Wagtail showed well on the last moat before the car park. So, another lovely walk to finish the morning off with.


A trip down memory lane. I spent some of my childhood here, when I lived on the Highbury Estate before moving to Wecock Farm. Memories come flooding back here when I used to go ‘crabbing’ here with my mates.

Earlier this week, Andy Johnson discovered his first Great Grey Shrike at Sandy Point, Hayling Island. I emailed him over an interesting looking moth I found in my box this morning. Just 10 moths of 5 species this morning, of which the most notable one is hopefully what Andy will ID for me.


Square-spot Rustic.

Yet another Ouzel.

Thursday 13th October 2016.


A very poor record shot of the Ring Ouzel in Leigh Park today. The photo was taken using my Android mobile phone, so apologies for the poor image. Good record though!

With the temperatures plummeting to single digits, there has been some notable movements in the birding world. Yes, some outrageous rarities within our far flung islands (Siberian Accentor and Black-faced Bunting on the Shetlands), but a good movement of thrushes of late has whetted the appetite. Surely a rare thrush might be lingering among them?


The confiding Robin in the Cemy.

I was working over Leigh Park this morning and whilst watching at least 10 Blackbirds around someone’s back garden, out popped a juvenile Ring Ouzel! Unfortunately, the bird was a little distant as I took a few photos using my mobile phone, so apologies for the poor picture. Within the same garden, a Chiffchaff was fluttering about the trees and a Great Tit was exploring the Ivy covered fence.


The Mausoleum slightly obscured by the Chestnut trees.

This evening, I took Scruff for a walk around Highland Road Cemetery. There were a few notable birds seen, which included the first Mistle Thrush for many a month here. I only saw the bird fly up into one of the Chestnuts, but its distinctive call told me that it was still somewhere high up in the tree as I passed below. A few Blackbirds were present and a single Song Thrush flew across the Cemy. No Ouzels, though. A few Jays showed well, unlike my crap photos of them! A Chiffchaff was seen in the south west corner but again, it remained elusive to get a decent photo of the bird.


Wood Pigeons taking flight as Scruff and I walked past.


A Goldfinch high up in the dead tree to the east of the Cemy.

Several Goldfinch were in the dead tree on the east side along with a small flock of Starlings. A fairly confiding Robin let me take a few photos of it as it perched close by. The sun was hidden behind large dark clouds and with rain predicted tonight, I decided to not hang around. Fairly quite in Hampshire today, though 6 or more Ring Ouzels graced the Butser Hill area. I had an interesting chat to one of the Cemetery Managers this week. He told me that he didn’t know who put up the nest boxes here, as I informed him that they were totally in the wrong place and certainly wouldn’t attract anything to nest in them. A nice thought though, nonetheless.


Starlings shared the same tree as the Goldfinches.

Barred Sallow moth new for the year.

Monday 10th October 2016.


Barred Sallow. My 110th macro moth for the garden this year.

It is getting quite dark in the mornings now and even by 7.15am with a clear sky overhead, it is getting more difficult to photograph the moths in and around my moth box. However, I had a cunning plan! I thought I would check just to see what is within the box and then release them when I got home from work this afternoon.


Feathered Ranunculus this morning.

This morning, among the 15 moths, I was blessed with my first Barred Sallow of the year. This gorgeous orange coloured moth is a common moth at this time of year, so nothing to get too excited about – yet a gorgeous moth nonetheless. Other notable moths was another Rusty-dot Pearl and a Diamond-backed Moth.


Rusty-dot Pearl.

I was too busy working today to noticed many birds, but a couple of Common Buzzards and a small flock of Long-tailed Tits were seen by the Oaks Crematorium in Havant this morning. A Chiffchaff was seen in Westbourne today, also. The Richards Pipit was still on Portsdown Hill today, but I probably will not have the time to view the bird due to work commitments.


Light-brown Apple Moth and Diamond-back Moth.

A new ‘tick’ in the garden.

Sunday 9th October 2016.


The gorgeous Common Marbled Carpet perched on my kitchen window.

A new ‘garden bird ‘tick’ materialised this morning while checking out my moth box. Cold clear conditions meant that viewing anything flying over was going to be a tad difficult, but when birds fly very low down, there is always a chance of something special at this time of year. Not to beat around the bush somewhat, would you believe that a young Ring Ouzel was seen flying across my garden then landing in my near neighbours Holly Tree?! What with all the sightings of these amazing thrushes happening right now along the south coast, I suppose I wasn’t too surprised, but it certainly put a huge grin on my face, nonetheless.


Cypress Carpet.

I tried in vain to grab a photo of the bird, but despite hearing the bird several times, it remained very elusive and I only saw it just the three times, until there was no sight or sound of it. With at least a dozen or so on Portsdown Hill, large numbers on Butser Hill today and who knows how many more were lurking about? Also flying over the garden, were a small flock of four Siskins heading east and the female Sparrowhawk put in a brief appearance also, until a couple of stroppy Gulls moved it on.


This ‘Cross’ Garden Spider was starting a new web in our Lilac Tree in my garden.

A Rusty-dot Pearl and a Diamond-back Moth were the pick of the meagre bunch of moths this morning, with a supporting cast of a Square-spot Rustic and a Cypress Carpet to bolster the 16 moths counted.


The male Green Woodpecker showed very well in the sunshine searching for ants among the gravestones.

As we had Isabelle staying with us overnight, she had another nap around 11am and so I took Scruff for a walk around Highland Road Cemetery to not only stretch his little legs, but to see if any Ouzels could be hidden on my patch! I was to be disappointed! The weather was too good, with bright sunshine and a clear blue sky and even a tad warm to boot! The best I could muster was the Green Woodpecker, which gave me on of the best views ever of the bird; plus at least two Chiffchaffs, though one had the strange call which I have heard several times this Autumn. I cannot ‘string’ it into something rarer as I got a good view of the bird and I am in no doubt it is a Chiffchaff. Possibly of the continental race, perhaps?


Eristalis tenax Hoverfly enjoying the nectar from the Ivy Plants within the Cemy.


Red Admiral also making the most of the nectar.

Other notable birds were good numbers of Meadow Pipits flying over. Oddly, they were all heading north as I counted at least 30 birds flying through in small flocks. Up to three Jays were present, but all were mostly flight views. The female Sparrowhawk was seen as I was just about to pack my binoculars away, though the bird was harassed by a Carrion Crow and a Magpie and left sharply westbound. A Common Buzzard was also seen soaring high over the houses, slowly drifting off eastbound.


Top, the female Sparrowhawk was being persued by the Magpie and Carrion Crow.

Both Red Admiral and Large White butterflies were seen this morning and good numbers of Bees and Wasps were making the most of the flowering Ivy plants. When I arrived home, Isabelle was now awake and so we decided to take a walk around Langstone Mill Pond followed by lunch at the Royal Oak. The Pond held good numbers of both Mallard and Teal and I also spotted a Grey Wagtail by the reedbed and a Grey Heron resting nearby.


Grey Heron on Langstone Mill Pond.


Female Teal on the Pond.

The tide was slowly coming up within Langstone Harbour and good numbers of waders (Redshank, Curlew and Lapwing) were resting in one of the creeks along with good numbers of Teal. Out in the harbour, several Sandwich Terns lazily flapped along the shoreline, head down in search of small fish to dive on. A wonderful place to take in all the atmosphere.


Waders, Wildfowl and Gulls gathering together on the rising tide.


As above with a Little Egret thrown in!

In Hampshire today, not only the Ring Ouzels were grabbing the headlines, but one chap discovered a Richards Pipit on top of Portsdown Hill. A remarkable record and showed well for the assembling crowd who came to view the Ouzels. Andy Johnson heard a Yellow-browed Warbler and saw a Short-eared Owl on Sandy Point in the morning, while another Yellow-browed was seen at Stubbington and Brownwich. Geoff Farwell done some birding at Longwood Warren today and notched up a couple of Golden Plover, 3 Wheatears, 5 Stonechats, 2 Bramblings and a couple of Red Kites. On a grander scale, UK twitchers were in awe when the UK’s first Siberian Accentor was found on Mainland Shetlands (where else!) at Scousburgh. Lurking about in a quarry, the finder must have though he had died and gone to heaven!!!


The Grey Wagtail on the edge of the reedbed and the female Teal on the Mill Pond.