Local sightings

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June 2017

two Lily Beetle were seen feeding on garden ?? lilies! A Holly Blue was seen about the grassland at the Community Orchard. A Buzzard was by the railway line at David's Wood, a family party of Long-tailed Tit nearby. A Grey Heron was seen at The Source of The Test. Skylark were obvious over fields north of the mill.
Lilly Beetle Grey Heron Kestrel
Left: Lily Beetle, Lilioceris lilii. A rampant forager on the family Liliaceae!
Middle: Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea - Picture: Dave Levy. This an adult bird
Right: Kestrel, Falco tinnnunculus - Picture: Dave Levy. Note the wear-and-tear on this birds' plumage
a Kestrel was again about the wires adjacent to Overton Hill. A / the Buzzard was again seen near David's Wood. The Chiffchaff continued to sing about Town Meadow. Today both Yellowhammer and Skylark were evident from the footpaths north of the mill. Goldfinch were again visiting Two Gate Meadow gardens.
Right: Mistle Thrush, Turdus viscivorus. Note the much 'colder' plumage tones compared with Song Thrush
Red Kite were seen over Overton Hill and London Road. House Martin appeared to again be using man-made nests in Harveys Field; very few being noted showing breeding behaviour about the Parish this year.
garden cotoneasters were attracting in good numbers of Tree Bee, these perhaps one of the more obvious of the many bees, hoverflies and other winged 'flies' about the ever-increasing urban blooming. Birds noted on the move over the village included Red Kite, up to four, Buzzard, two, and small numbers of both Swift and House Martin.
a Red Kite moved low east over village gardens late afternoon. Both House Martin and Greenfinch were seen at Polhampton, the former about The Test. A female Green Woodpecker visited the Two Gate Play Area, the shorter sward there ideal for foraging in.
heavy and storm-like rain overnight left much puddling and noticeable tree damage by the morning. A Red Kite braved the continuing strong and gusting winds late afternoon, being seen over Town Meadow and Woodlands. A Bullfinch was heard at the southern end of Straight Lane. The pools at Polhampton hosted a Mute Swan and two young Coot. Early evening saw further visits to Two Gate Meadow by Goldfinch.
a Scarlet Tiger moved south and then back north over a Woodlands garden early evening. Grey Heron in flight over water
a very worn / pale Painted Lady was seen in an Overton Hill front garden. Late morning had a Red Kite and three Buzzard over Southington, the former being 'escorted' by a Jackdaw. Fox and Cubs were beginning to carpet a Southington front lawn, many more also now evident on Overton Hill. Songsters included Yellowhammer off Straight Lane, Blackcap at Turrill Hill Farm and Chiffchaff at Southington House and Dellands Track, a pair of Swallow near the latter, about the Vinn's Lane stables. Further Red Kite were seen over Overton Hill and Berrydown, the latter again with a Jackdaw in attendance. A Forest Bug visited a Woodlands garden. A Grey Heron was again seen at The Source of The Test. The Goldfinch returned to Two Gate Meadow gardens, as did a female Chaffinch.
Right: Grey, Heron Ardea cinerea - Picture: Dave Levy. This a sub-adult bird - note the less well-defined plumage features compared with the image against the record of 1st
Garden Warbler were seen in hedgerows in the Station Road / Approach area. Flowering Yucca attracted numbers of bees, including Red-tailed Bumble-bee. Parties of Goldfinch were seen at Quidhampton and Two Gate Meadow.
Red-tailed Bumble-bee White-tailed Bumble-bee
Red-tailed, Bombus lapidarius & White-tailed Bumble-bee, Bombus lucorum - Pictures: Deb Heath
three Mistle Thrush were seen at Polhampton, the largest local gathering for some time. Yellowhammer continued to frequent the hedgerows and fields about Straight Lane. A pair of Grey Wagtail and House Martin were seen about / from the Kingsclere Road bridge over The Test. A Red Kite and two 'tatty' Buzzard were seen from a Woodlands conservatory, a Red Kite over Two Gate Meadow. Aceria macrorhynchus
a Roe Deer was in Wheat off Straight Lane. Red Kite were seen over Woodlands and Overton Hill, a Buzzard over Hide Hill Plantation. 'Cuckoo spit' was seen on garden Fennel.
Right: 'Cuckoo spit'. Here on garden lavender - this frothy secretion is produced by the nymphal stage of froghoppers as a protective measure against both predation and dehydration
a Cuckoo was again heard in song at Polhampton. A Spotted Longhorn briefly visited one conservatory. A Brown Hare was unexpected as it moved across the building site off Station Road / Overton Hill. Common Broomrape were much in evidence on the verges north of Overton. The continuing 'summery' weather drew large numbers of bees, both bumble and Honey, and hoverflies to garden blooms, there however still very few reports of butterflies from these little 'reserves'. Two Small Tortoiseshell were however seen in the fields off Straight Lane. Spotted Longhorn
a / the Brown Hare was again seen on the Overton Hill building site, being seen to be a leveret. A Scarlet Tiger was seen in a Woodlands garden, from where the Indian Peafowl was / were heard again late evening. Two Red Kite were over fields between The Harrow Way and Frost Hill early evening.
Right: Spotted Longhorn, Rutpela maculata. Usually found along hedgerows and woodland margins where the adults are most often seen on Hawthorn or umbel flowers
both Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell were over fields off Straight Lane, a Red Kite being seen nearby at the Berrydown crossroads. A / the Scarlet Tiger was again in Woodlands gardens. Greenfinch were again seen at Polhampton, a pair being at the farm.
Scarlet Tiger two immature Red Kite, two Small Tortoiseshell and a Gatekeeper were seen about the fields and hedgerows of Polhampton. A Scarlet Tiger flew through Woodlands gardens southwards. Two Red Kite drifted low west over Winchester Street late morning.
Right: Scarlet Tiger, Callimorpha dominula. One of the most striking of the lepidoptera currently on the wing about the Parish
two Lapwing at Polhampton may have been local birds moving away from their breeding site after their breeding attempt, though perhaps birds from even further afield. Both Meadow Brown and Grey Squirrel were about the Turrill Hill hedgerows. Several Small Tortoiseshell were about the gardens of Overton Hill where Swift and House Martin were overhead and a Green Woodpecker was foraging in the longer grasses. A Red Kite drifted over Bell Meadow at noon. A Stock Dove was in song at Southington House, as was a Chiffchaff, another of the latter singing at Parsonage Farmhouse. Further Fox and Cubs were seen in flower, off Silk Mill Lane. A Blackcap was in song of The Lynch.
at least three Scarlet Tiger were over Woodlands gardens mid-evening, as were a pair of hot air balloons, one seemingly heading far too quickly towards the confines of the village. A Muntjac was heard 'barking' at Two Gate Meadow.
Red Kite were seen over Rotten Hill, Southington, Bell Meadow, Woodlands, Overton Hill and Berrydown, the latter attracted in by further hay-cutting. A Scarlet Tiger was seen in the Community Orchard, Small Tortoiseshell being seen in Vinn's Lane and Overton Hill gardens, the former also holding 'friendly' Harlequin Ladybird.
Garden snail Marbled White were on the wing in St. Mary's Churchyard, Meadow Brown at David's Wood. Red Kite were seen over Berrydown and Woodlands, residents of the latter area being subject to the continuing 'songs' of both Blackcap and Indian Peafowl.
Right: Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum - Picture: Deb Heath. Perhaps not the most welcome of Parish residents, but they're definitely interesting to look at!
the Cuckoo was again heard at Polhampton - has anybody actually seen one in the Parish this year? A vocal Tawny Owl was on rooftop aerials in Woodlands late evening, a Scarlet Tiger being seen in flight nearby. A Red Kite was over Hyde Hill Plantation late morning. Both Chiffchaff and Wren were in song in Flashetts. Both Skylark and partridges were obvious in the fields between the mill and The Harrow Way, Ringlet also. A Green Woodpecker again visited lawns in Two Gate Meadow, a Small Tortoiseshell presumably enjoying the more clement weather, being seen to alight on a sun lounger! Late evening and the Indian Peafowl was / were still communicating!
Marbled White and Meadow Brown were evident about the recently harvested Turrill Hill 'dog field'. The other 'dog field', on Overton Hill, held a Hedgehog mid-evening. Elsewhere Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell and Large White were also seen, the former in good numbers. A Snout 'escaped' from a porch early morning, more windows open due to the continuing 'heat wave' ensuring that more invertebrates were being found inside properties. Three Red Kite and a Buzzard were seen circling whilst a Buzzard was seen drifting over Hyde Hill Plantation early morning when misting was again obvious at the eastern edge of the Parish.
the fields abut Overton Hill held Marbled White, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Tortoiseshell, a Red Kite being overhead during a visit there. A Great Spotted Woodpecker visited Two Gate Meadow where a Kestrel through at least one garden was less anticipated.
Marbled White Meadow Brown Ringlet Small Tortoiseshell
Marbled White, Melanargia galathea; Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina; Ringlet, Aphantopus hyperantus & Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae - Pictures: Deb Heath
a Stoat was seen in pursuit of a young Rabbit, though the end to this 'advernture' was not seen. A Kestrel, Red Kite, Skylark and Yellowhammer were seen about the same fields and the hedgerows between Straight Lane and Ashe. A Red Kite was heard over the Kerchers Field area mid-afternoon. Butterflies were again evident, even though the day remained clouded: Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Large, Small and Green-veined White and Speckled Wood all being seen. North of the village Yellowhammer, Bullfinch, partridge and Pheasant were seen off Court Drove and The Harrow Way, where a "Huge" flock of Long-tailed Tit was also seen.
Ringlet Green-veined White Small White Speckled Wood
Ringlet, Aphantopus hyperantus; Green-veined White, Pieris napi; Small White, Pieris rapae & Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria - Pictures: Deb Heath. The wood only captured by the image taker climbing on their husband's shoulders!
the Hop fields to the south of the village proved productive, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, two Buzzard and a Woodpecker all being seen on the wing there. A Grey Squirrel was on the Berrydown Court verge early morning.
butterflies were reported in their "Hundreds", including Marbled White, Ringlet and Meadow Brown. Two Roe Deer, six+ Swallow and a Buzzard were about The Source of The Test. A Green Woodpecker was seen in Two Gate Meadow, Great Spotted off Straight Lane and a Red Kite nearby, over Overton Hill.
a south-facing wall on Overton Hill held both Brown-tail and Double-striped Pug, a Marbled White briefly joining them. Both House Martin and Red Kite lingered over the nearby grassland / crops, where a Green Woodpecker remained hidden. The crops also played host to buck and doe Roe Deer and Pheasant. Small Tortoiseshell were seen in an increased number of gardens whilst Marbled White, Ringlet and Small Tortoiseshell were about the hedgerows of The Harrow Way. Songsters included Whitethroat in the Straight Lane hedgerows and Blackcap towards the top of Overton Hill, a Jay nearby not quite as melodious! A Buzzard was near the Berrydown crossroads, numbers of Swift being seen at lower altitudes, including along the tree-line at Lower Ashe.
a buck Roe Deer was again in Wheat off Straight Lane, both Yellowhammer and Skylark being seen nearby. The first multiple count of Grey Heron, albeit just two, was recorded for some time, as they moved off from The Source of The Test. Goldfinch continued to visit gardens in Two Gate Meadow.
Roe Deer, a Kestrel lingered on the fencing of the Overton Hill football fields. A Swallow was seen to drink from the pool at the school. The Blackcap continued to sing in Overton Hill hedgerows, Chiffchaff, Skylark and Song Thrush nearby. Not too far from here three Red Kite were seen over The Source of The Test, the crops today holding two fawn Roe Deer and a covey of partridge. Both White Plume and a pipistrelle sp. were on the wing in / over Woodlands gardens after dark.
Right: Roe Deer, Capreolus capreolus - Picture: Deb Heath. The Straight Lane fields. Evidence of local breeding success!
a further visit to the Hop fields saw Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet and Meadow Brown there. Both Red Kite and Buzzard were on the wing over Berrydown, a Kestrel moving purposefully east over Town Meadow mid-afternoon. An immature Hedgehog visited Woodlands gardens late evening.

Contributors: Brian Elkins, Margaret Elkins, Deb Heath, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, Dave Levy & Mike Wall.

July offers...

Continuing botanical bounty - the roadside verges, field edges and meadows locally all more than worthy of attention. The striking spikes of going-over broomrape vie for room and the 'top of the pile' with the eye-catching Ox-eye Daisy whilst digging deeper, only metaphorically of course, will find bedstraw, vetch, mignonette and orchid hidden amongst the loftier grasses.

The burgeoning vegetation and blooms will increase the likelihood of invertebrates being encountered, hopefully this summer a decent one for butterflies, unlike the past handful. Results from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme proved that 2016 was the fourth worst year on record! Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count takes place between 14th July and 6th August, this now annual citizen science project again providing data that showed the lowest number of butterflies being seen in the 15-minute count since the scheme began, back in 2010! So, do get involved! Details of the scheme can be found here: http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/

Don't forget to look for White-letter Hairstreak about any Elm you find, several populations being hinted at within the Parish.

Even though rain has not been too obvious of late the wetter areas of the Parish ought to be another focus of attention as the summer moves, hopefully, slowly towards the autumn - passage waders such as Green and Common Sandpiper, the shanks and smaller plovers might just drop in to linger for a while, feeding, bathing and roosting all priorities as they continue their post-breeding movements southwards. The Source of The Test and the waters through to Quidhampton should provide something of interest and watching these will surely also provide Kingfisher, the local raptors and further migrants, perhaps in the form of Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher and Hobby.

The summery weather should allow both reptiles and amphibians to continue their generally unhurried and secretive lives, so keep an eye open for basking lizards and snakes, the movement of newts in garden ponds and more stagnant waters and, of course, all-and-sundry under the corrugated iron, felt mats or similar spread about the Parish.

Also, easy to miss are animals such as Dormice, Harvest Mouse, Water Shrew and, are they really about the Parish, Otter. Hedgehog have however again become more prominent in Parish gardens whilst Brown Hare will continue to be seen in the arable crops about the village outskirts, where the harvesting will draw in both Red Kite and Buzzard to the many mini-beasts seeking refuge from the farming.

So, a quieter time of the year? Only if you let it be so!

Enjoy all that there is to be seen, and don't forget to let us, the OBS, know what you've encountered. We look forward to hearing of your sightings, many of which continue to help to brighten the monthly summary.


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