Local sightings

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July 2016

Blackcap were in song off Straight Lane and in hedgerows near David's Wood, as were Yellowhammer.
Ringlet were seen to visit garden flora on Station Hill.
Swift Ringlet were still visiting Station Hill gardens.
both the Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were still singing at Two Gate Meadow, a Song Thrush nearby sat out in the open as it also proclaimed its territorial rights. Further Chiffchaff and Song Thrush, plus Skylark were in song about fields near Straight Lane where Yellowhammer were tireless in their defence of hedgerows; this remaining one of the easiest areas to see them close to the more residential parts of the Parish. Swift were still over the village mid-morning, but for how much longer?
Right: Swift, Apus apus. Picture: Mike Duffy. Like so many birds, these are unfortunately decreasing in numbers locally
Hedgehog was a further unexpected garden visitor for one parishioner.
two Polecat were seen running across the B3400 at Berrydown in the evening! Scarlet Tiger were seen in Waltham Road, two, and Woodlands. At least three Red Kite were about the village, probably more. A Small Tortoiseshell was in Crawts Road gardens. The Blackcap was still singing at Harveys Field, Chiffchaff being in song about Town Meadow and the western end of Charledown Close. Further moth were seen in the form of Small Magpie, V-pug, Bee Moth and Riband Wave in Mede Close, Small Blood-vein in Charledown Close and the tortrix moth Lozotaenia forsterana, also on a wall of a Mede Close flat.
Pole cat killed a pair of Pied Wagtail continued to feed young yet to leave the nest - nothing particularly unusual there I'm sure you think. However, this pair is, for the second time this year, nesting under rooftop solar panels! The first attempt saw four young fledging, so solar power does have some uses after all. The annual survey / count of Cut-leaved Germander took place at Micheldever Spoil Heaps ('The Chalkies') today, this plant being found in only four places in Britain!!! Results from this will hopefully soon be available to be posted here, fingers etc. crossed for good news! At least three Red Kite were seen about the village, a Buzzard over Hyde Hill Plantation early morning and early afternoon. The first Gatekeeper (Hedge Brown) of the year were seen on the wing, in a garden in The Green and, appropriately, gate side off Dellands Lane. Moths appeared in the form of Buff Ermine, Riband Wave, Brown House Moth, Common Footman, Celypha striana and Chrysoteuchia culmella; all again found roosting after being attracted to residential lights overnight. The long-staying Chiffchaff was still in song at Two Gate Meadow / Lane, the Blackcap even more vocal about the roadside edge of Town Meadow. Sad news this morning - one of the Polecat seen yesterday evening was found as the unfortunate victim of further carnage on the Parish roads.
Right: Polecat, Mustela putorius. Picture: Mrs. Heath. This presumably one of the two seen crossing the road at Berrydown the previous evening
a Hedgehog with two young was seen wandering in gardens during the day, the 'mum' struggling to get under a garden gate where her youngsters had strayed! A Blackcap continued to sing about the edges of Town Meadow.
Endotricha flammealis a Hobby sweeping low south-west over Harvey's Field late morning was the most notable of 'finds' today, a small migrant moth, Rusty-dot Pearl, however presumably from somewhat further afield and brought in on the all too autumnal fronts. Other moth seen included Riband Wave, Chrysoteuchia culmella, Celypha striana and Endotricha flammealis. The only butterfly reported were single Ringlet in Crawts Road / Dellands and Large White ranging widely about the Poultons Road / Close area. Nearby a Buzzard was seen circling over Dellands, a Red Kite over the southern end of Winchester Street moving off to linger over Pound Road.
Right: Endotricha flammealis. Picture: Mike Wall. www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1424.php
the flowering Ivy-leaved Toadflax was removed from the walls at Dellands House. A Buff Arches moth was found as a spider's prey item in Winchester Street, a Beautiful Hook-tip being found nearby, still alive and sheltering from the rain. Other moths at roost included Small Magpie, Endotricha flammealis and Emmelina monodactyla; the latter the skinny and pale-coloured 't-shaped' moth often to be found near lights after dawn. Red Kite were seen over Pound Road, Charledown Close, in from the Turrill Hill area, and The Green.
a Garden Tiger Moth was by the far the best of local lepidoptera to be reported. A male Kestrel was hunting about the southern end of Sapley Lane late morning whilst Red Kite were seen over The Green, Two Gate Lane, Dellands, Charledown Close, Highfields, Kerchers Field and Sapley Lane by early afternoon. A Bank Vole was seen hurtling across Dellands Lane, well away from any of the aforementioned raptors. Butterflies were more obvious with Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell and several white sp. Of the moths seen at roost Small Magpie and Endotricha flammealis were the most 'attractive'.
Right: Volucella pelucens. One of the more easily identifiable of the local hoverfly.
Red Kite were seen over Waltham Road and north of Greyhound Lane today. A Kestrel was very vocal in Town Meadow trees, perhaps the bird that's taken to hunting within the confines of the more residential areas. One of the Indian Peafowl was seen at Maidenthorne, Sapley Lane - sat on top of a parked car! Of the smaller local fauna moths appeared in the form of Small Dusty Wave, Riband Wave, Buff Ermine, Pale Tussock and Double-striped Pug. Further sad news came in the form of two House Sparrow found dead on Sapley Lane, a Jackdaw in Charledown Road; the former particularly notable considering their relatively poor numbers about the Parish.
a Scarlet Tiger once again graced a Woodlands garden, as did a Lily Beetle; almost as bright but, presumably, not quite as welcome. A prey-carrying Sparrowhawk upset the local House Martin about Battens Avenue as the Sheep Fair moved towards its climax, both Swift and House Martin being seen to go to nest sites nearby on Winchester Street whilst volunteers manned the OBS stall - thanks to all who stopped by during the day. Butterfly were more evident with Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown being noted; the count for the first time almost up in to double figures. Moths were also in greater numbers with Marbled Green and White Plume being the first seen this year; Riband Wave continuing to be the most frequently encountered of the roosting species. Red Kite were seen over Woodlands and Charledown Close.
PS for those who are still wondering, the 'plane that came over in formation with the Red Arrow was an Airbus A400M.
Rutpela maculata one Station Hill garden played host to Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and Large White whilst a Woodlands garden had the strikingly coloured / patterned longhorn beetle Rutpela maculata appear for the first time; a Lily Beetle having been seen there several days prior to this. Buzzard were seen over fields west of Kingsclere Road and south of The Harroway.
Right: Rutpela maculata
a Little Owl was calling about the Town Meadow / Woodlands area during the evening. The sun and increased warmth had many more butterfly on the wing, it seemingly the best day of the year to date with many whites, browns and vanessids, the tortoiseshells etc., being seen in a great many places. Swift were also more evident than previously, 16 in one gathering about Station Road mid-morning and 20+ over Foxdown several hours later. Completing the summery feel were a few singing warblers, a Chiffchaff at the Station Road Filtration Pools and a Blackcap at Pilgrim's House. Red Kite were seen over Foxdown, Great North Field, two interacting, and Southley Farm. Of more note was a Mistle Thrush at the Test Valley Golf Club, where a family of Moorhen was wandering about the entrance road. Perhaps 30°C was noted during the middle of the day!
3°C+ recorded in the Parish today! Apart from the heat the little noted included a gathering of Swift, 17, over Foxdown, the Blackcap still in song at Pilgrim's House where a male Kestrel was hunting and Red Kite over Station Road, Foxdown and Whitehill.
butterflies appeared to appreciate the warmer conditions with Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, white sp. and male Brimstone being seen by early afternoon. Riband Wave remained the most frequently encountered of the roosting moths. A little more colour was provided by flowering Common Centaury, in the wood at Pilgrim's Farm / House. Not so colourful but more unexpected was a Little Egret flying low west over the village mid-evening, a Kestrel then seen heading towards trees in Town Meadow, with prey. Earlier Red Kite were seen over Foxdown, Kingsclere Road, Waltham Road and Hazelcombe. A two minute period mid-evening saw a loose mixed flock of 255+ Rook and Jackdaw moving north-east over the Town Meadow area. Just where do they end up roosting?
19+ Swift were active over Dellands late morning, where a Red Kite headed South-west. Further kite were seen over Battens Avenue, south-west, and Waltham Road, south-east, a Buzzard circling south-east over Harveys Field. Ever growing numbers of butterfly were seen, including many whites. Again half-a-dozen+ species were recorded with moths however only numbering two individuals of two species, a Celypha striana and a Scalloped Oak, the latter the first noted this year.
Green Orb Web Spider the Red Arrows passed low through the Parish mid-afternoon! A Big Butterfly Count early afternoon had a Gatekeeper, four Large and two Small White recorded. Perhaps of more note were the butterfly eggs found, primarily on nasturtiums, which totalled 132. Incredibly shaped and patterned minute shells of life, spread singly and widely by the Large White, nestled together by the Small White. Late evening saw a Bright-line Brown-eye entering a bathroom, on an evening when many moth were evident over the more rural Parish roads. More strikingly coloured than the above was a Green Orb-weaver, found tight-roping along a washing line. The last of the more notable invertebrates was the large hoverfly Volucella zonaria, this visiting garden blooms briefly; prior to landing looking very much like a small Hornet, which it mimics.
Right: Green Orb-web Spider, Araniella cucurbitina aka Cucumber Spider
a Southern Hawker was seen about the Oat fields off Straight Lane.
30+ Goldfinch were seen in the Dog Field, Overton Hill.
Right: Variegated Yellow Archangel, Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum
a gathering of six Riband Wave about one doorway was quite exceptional, three Emmelina monodactyla, two Agriphila straminella and single Ruby Tiger and Scarce Footman all being found nearby after their nocturnal activities had ceased. A male Vapourer, in Red Lion Lane, was unexpected as they're usually only seen as a ginger blur on the wing, a Large Yellow Underwing not so fortunate, being found after a size 6+ had ended its short life! Both of the Indian Peafowl were again seen about Dellands / Sapley Lane / Pond Close, looking somewhat shorter now that their breeding finery had been shed. Red Kite were seen over The Green, Waltham Court, Highfields, two, north of Greyhound Lane, plus a further two singles even further north, Charledown Road and Greyhound Lane.
three Red Kite were circling over the Winchester Street area late morning, presumably one of these then being seen over Pound Road a little later. Riband Wave remained the most easily located moth at roost, seven being seen today, as were two of both Common Footman and Willow Beauty.
Steatoda grossa two female Steatoda grossa were found whilst clearing a garage - these being the most venomous of British spiders and often referred to as 'False Black Widows' due to this and their similarity in looks to Black Widows! A charm of c.15 Goldfinch was again seen in the Overton Hill Dog Field. The first Canary-shouldered Thorn of the year was seen, other moths included Common Footman and Riband Wave. A well-grown Speckled Bush-cricket was found clinging to a ceiling. A Kestrel circled high over Dellands early afternoon, a Red Kite filling the air below it; a further kite seen over The Green.
Right: Steatoda grossa. Not a species to come in to close contact with if it can be helped! Beware of them in garages, attics, porches, garden sheds and the like - dark, warm, mild and undisturbed places in general!
c.20 Swift were about The Source of The Test during the afternoon, 'accompanied' by single Red Kite and Grey Heron. Further Swift were gathered over Dellands, 13+ being present late morning. A Southern Hawker was over the flooded pathway near Polhampton House where a Kestrel was also evident. Nearby two Green Woodpecker were frequenting the larger lawns. Red Admiral numbers appeared to be on the increase whilst the Canary-shouldered Thorn of the previous day was still present - in a spider's web! It was however successfully rescued. A Red Kite was seen over Charledown Road, a Buzzard over the Ashe crossroads area.
Fox-and-Cubs Fox-and-Cubs were still in flower, brightening several verges and gardens with their fiery inflorescences. Moths were however more notable with Dusky Sallow, Orange Footman and Clouded Border all seen for the first time this year locally; Buff Ermine, Riband Wave and Celyphana striana the backing cast.
Right: Fox and Cubs, Pilosella aurantiaca. One of the most eye-catching of the 'dandelion-type' to be seen in the Parish, as often in lawns as verges
during the morning the dog-walking area above Overton Hill produced many Goldfinch, as well as smaller numbers of both Yellowhammer and Song Thrush.

Contributors: Mike Duffy, Deborah Heath, Mrs. Heath, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, Margaret Rainford & Mike Wall.

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