Local sightings

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March 2016

a Little Egret and pair of Mute Swan were in / on the rising waters off Burley Lane. A Kestrel was hunting at Southley Farm early evening, a Red Kite over the Harveys Field area mid-afternoon. Two Roe Deer were seen in 'The Chalkies' woodlands. The month commenced with rain, almost continuous grey clouding, light winds and milder temperatures.
rain, hail, sleet, snow, sun, cloud, wind .......... !!! On a slightly more positive note a Sparrowhawk was seen hurtling south low over the High Street, much like the weather!
the large tree towards the northern end of Straight Lane was 'removed' today. The first blue of a Bluebell was seen. A Little Egret was on the field by the tennis courts. Red Kite were ever more obvious with groups of seven and four being amongst the many sightings over the village, a smaller number of Buzzard also being recorded. More vocal than any of the raptors was one of the Blue Peafowl, being heard repeatedly in the south of the village.
two+ Siskin in Waltham Road trees included a strongly singing bird. Red Kite, Kestrel and Buzzard were again seen over the village in the more clement weather. One of the Blue Peafowl was in Charledown Road gardens early afternoon.
Red Kite were again obvious, between the hail showers, with up to three being seen together. Buzzard continued to be seen, and heard, about the Dellands Lane / Bell Meadow area.
the HIWWT 'Spring Walk' that took place during the latter part of the morning had 14 attending with highlights including a Little Egret moving off west from Polhampton, frog spawn in the flooded farm track nearby, several of both Red Kite and Buzzard on the wing, Brown Trout in The Test, Jelly Ear on fallen trees, 'clouds' of both Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull circling, flowering Lesser Celandine and Primrose and a bank of Snowdrop above the swollen Test.
a Blackcap singing in gardens near Papermakers was the first heard in song locally this year, though presumably an over-wintering bird rather than a recently arrived migrant. A Seven-spot Ladybird was on the move in Dellands gardens. Red Kite were seen over Two Gate Meadow, The Green, Harveys Field, two, Dellands, Pound Road, two, Southington, two, and Ashe Hill with a further bird seen eating a Brown Rat on one of the 'pruned' trees by the allotments at Kerchers Field.
a male Blackcap was in trees at The Green late morning, presumed to be a different bird to that reported in song the previous day. At least one of the Blue Peafowl was in good (!) voice about Charledown Road. Death once again was all too obvious, a mouse sp. found in Dellands and a queen Buff-tailed Bumble-bee in Two Gate Meadow, the Badger still roadside on Ashe Hill. Red Kite were seen over Kerchers Field, Hide Hill Plantation and Turrill Hill, the latter site also holding a Kestrel.
the Blackcap was again in song in gardens off Winchester Street. Several small parties of Long-tailed Tit graced village gardens. Both Red Kite and Buzzard were seen on the wing, and settled in the case of the latter, about the Parish. More notable, to those that ventured outside, was what was seemingly the worst day of weather of the year to date.
a pair of Yellowhammer was in Straight Lane hedging, Skylark in song over the adjacent fields.
a male Brimstone was visiting gardens on Overton Hill; the first to be seen / reported in the Parish this year. Three+ Red Kite and a Buzzard were seen about the village, a further Red Kite at Southington and two Buzzard at Turrill Hill. Rabbit were active pre-dawn on Ashe Hill, emulating the still present bank-side Badger. Mallard were wandering about the quieter roads at Southington! Tree bee
new for the year were sightings of both Large Red-tailed Bumble-bee and Tree Bee.
Right: Tree Bee, Bombus hypnorum. First noted in the UK as recently as 2001, this initial sighting in Wiltshire
some good news was received in that two Badger were seen early evening on Ashe Hill, though all too close to the still present roadkill and B3400!
a Small Tortoiseshell was visiting Pound Road gardens where several Red Kite and Buzzard were seen overhead. Two Little Egret were seen about The Test, one flying east through Flashetts and one in trees by Kingsclere Road, at the western end of this area. Nine Fieldfare were on the playing fields at the top of Overton Hill during the morning, presumably this gathering part of the northward migration of this winter visitor to the Parish. One of the Blue Peafowl remained strident in the southern part of the village.
Hairy-footed Flower-bee, Honey-bee, Buff-tailed and White-tailed Bumble-bee visited one garden during the afternoon. Several Brimstone, all male, were seen about various parts of the village. A Siskin moved east through the village late morning, perhaps the last of the winter. Flowering Primrose were very evident in the copse by Court Drove / Great North Field. Perhaps ten+ Red Kite, a Sparrowhawk and two Buzzard were seen over the village, the accipiter hunting garden birds about Kerchers Field / Dellands Lane. Both Fieldfare and Redwing were still about fields north of the village as dusk fell.
Muntjac were particularly vocal at Two Gate Meadow during the darker hours!
a Sparrowhawk was seen at Berrydown. Wren were becoming ever more evident in village gardens, where Great Tit were proclaiming their territories and need to find a 'friend'. Brown Hare were also evident, in fields off the road leading south out of the Parish, near the golf course. Nearby a Kestrel was atop a roadside telegraph post at Southley Farm, five Buzzard about White Hill. Bumble-bee were again on the wing, in the more clement weather.
up to three Red Kite were over the village mid-afternoon. Bullfinch were heard near the Station Road Filtration Pools, several Song Thrush being in song nearby, by The Test. A Yellowhammer was on Straight Lane hedgerows, singing Skylark being in and over the adjacent fields. Garden visitors in Woodlands included Small Tortoiseshell, Seven-spot Ladybird, Hairy-footed Flower-bee, Honey-bee, Early and White-tailed Bumble-bee. Dunnock continued to explode in to song about the village.

Contributors: Bob Gibbs, June Gibbs, Deborah Heath, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins & Doug Kelson.

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