Local sightings

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January 2015

a late morning / early afternoon wander about the Turrill Hill area saw seven Golden Plover moving south-west with up to five Red Kite, two Kestrel, female Sparrowhawk, two+ Buzzard, 16+ Meadow Pipit, two Fieldfare, 17+ Redwing, 380+ Lesser Black-backed and 22 Black-headed Gull lingering in the area. White Dead-nettle and a dandelion sp. were seen to be in flower but no invertebrates were as yet making the most of the milder weather.
a Tawny Owl was in the copse about Frost Hill Farm prior to dawn.
Blackbird, Turdus merula a butterfly was seen on the wing in one bedroom, presumably one of the vanessids. The thick 'fog' present for much of the day encouraged wintering thrushes to feed on fields about the village edge, a Snipe being heard in the late morning murk and three Canada Geese low over the Dog Field, also late morning, looked less than sure of their whereabouts.
Right: Blackbird, Turdus merula - Brian & Susan Chivers. "My first bird of the year"
the Small Tortoiseshell reappeared in a Woodlands residence.
a further Small Tortoiseshell was found, this one on the wing in a lounge mid-evening. Two Red Kite were over The 'stute mid-afternoon, one having been over fields west of Southington mid- / late morning. 19 Canada Geese winged their way westwards late afternoon. The cock Blue Peafowl was again in Dellands.
Green Hellebore were in flower in their usual location, on the verge between Testbourne Golf Club and Whitehill Farm.
a Sparrowhawk was hunting in Southington late afternoon where a Grey Wagtail was seen heading north-east, presumably to the sewage treatment works to roost. Both Snowdrop and Crocus were budding, though many were covered by the unexpected and heavy fall of 'hail' over midday. A Small Tortoiseshell was on the wing by The White Hart, another less lively individual being found in a spiders' web. A Red Kite was chased south from the Poyntz Road area by a lingering Black-headed Gull, the latter joining the local Jackdaw in making the most of 'our' discarded 'waste'.
a calling Chiffchaff in scrub off Vinn's Lane was the first over-wintering bird reported this year. Also vocalising was a Grey Wagtail as it passed over Glebe Meadow. Groundsel was seen to be in flower whilst the previously noted Crocus and Snowdrop appeared to be making the most of further sunny spells.More mobile was the Mute Swan seen / heard winging its way westwasrds over the village.
House Sparrow and Blue Tit were visiting feeders in Greyhound Lane gardens.
a pair of Bullfinch visited a Two Gate Meadow garden.
a Red Kite had a near miss as it descended unexpectedly in front of oncoming traffic heading to Basingstoke.
a Short-eared Owl was seen about The Harrow Way, perhaps even two, as were Red Kite, Buzzard, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Yellowhammer and Goldcrest.
a hibernating Peacock was found in a Woodlands woodpile. Four Red Kite were 'playing' over the village mid-afternoon. A Buzzard was in roadside trees near the Ashe crossroads late morning, the nearby Canada Goose gaggle gathered about The Source of The Test. Later a Grey Heron was in the 'stream' by Ashe Park Lodge.
Bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula two pairs of Bullfinch were seen in Two Gate Meadow.
Right: Bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula - Deborah Heath. This a male
two Little Egret were at The Source of The Test during the afternoon. A Red Kite was seen low over Overton Hill / Berrdown early afternoon. Four Buzzard were heading north over the 'Dog Field' late morning. The Big Garden Birdwatch in one garden recorded 14 species - but only a singleton Blue Tit was good enough to grace the garden with its presence!
a Blackcap was vocal in the recently denuded Oak Tree Park early evening. A Little Grebe was on the main pool off Southington Lane, Snowdrop flowering nearby.

Contributors: Nancy Cathcart-Jones, Brian Chivers, Susan Chivers, Deborah Heath, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, David Lancaster, Veronique Kerguelen & Tamsin Williams.

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