Local sightings

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September 2014

a roadside field at Southley Farm played host to 14 Lesser Black-backed Gull early evening.
Small Tortoiseshell, Swallow and House Martin were signs of summer not having totally left us as yet.
the road over Frost Hill attracted both Red-legged Partridge and Brown Rat out in to the open pre-dawn.
seemingly a great deal of movement in the local wildfowl population today with flocks of 115+ Canada Geese and 34 Gadwall seen over the village.
two Tawny Owl were vocal near Two Gate Meadow during the evening.
Speckled Wood and Grey Squirrel were seen about wood / hedgerow edges about The Harrow Way. Canada Geese were heard on the wing over the village at 23:12!
a spectacular day for raptors with a Montagu's Harrier heading high south-west late morning, a Peregrine circling before moving off east mid-afternoon, three+ Red Kite, two Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and perhaps upwards of 15+ Buzzard being recorded. Passage migrants noted included Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and Chiffchaff whilst Mistle Thrush and Grey Wagtail were becoming ever more evident. Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Small White were also still on the wing, as were three male Vapourer Moth, three Southern Hawker and two Common Darter. The lengthier grasses held 'singing' Roesel's Bush-cricket and the hedgerow edges many scuttling Short-tailed Vole.
walking the paths north of the village one Parishioner saw red - three Red Kite, a Red Admiral and a covey of up to a dozen Red-legged Partridge.
an exceptional count of House Martin on wires at Station Road got to 149 before a Chinook disturbed them all! A further, perhaps, two dozen were seen over Lordsfield Gardens. A flock of c.24 Lapwing was over Ashe, heading towards the village, as was a Red Kite. Both Collared Dove and Woodpigeon were seen in 'good' numbers.
Wild honey-bee hive a possible 'wild' Honey-bee hive was found whilst a lawn / garden in Lordsfield Gardens was seemingly being invaded by small 'mining bees'. The weather allowed Red Admiral on to the wing in numbers, Red Kite, Buzzard and Small White also being seen about fields north of the village. House Martin were still to be seen, also on the wing, but much longer?
"Back down Court Drove approx. six long tailed tits and a kestrel (I think) in the distance, a pheasant next to the sign saying 'Beware Young Pheasants'. I did not realise that young pheasants were dangerous! Maybe the sign should say Be Aware, Young Pheasants." - David Cluett
a male Kestrel was again seen hunting about the 'Dog Field' where a Green Woodpecker also put in an appearance. A Honey-bee hive was confirmed in an Ash, both perhaps to become ever rare in the future. Both black and 'normal' Rabbit were seen in the field by the sewage treatment works.
Right: Honey-bee, Apis mellifera - Picture: David Cluett. An ever decreasing site in the countryside, much to the detriment of everything!
Southern and Migrant Hawker and Common Darter, Red Kite, Kestrel and Buzzard and a mixed flock of 50+ hirundine were on the wing, over the Turrill Hill area. A Harlequin Ladybird was seen in Oak Tree Park.
Meadow Pipit, Swallow and Chiffchaff were migrating through / over the village with a group of 15+ of the former the largest yet seen this autumn locally. Two Red Kite lingered about the Sapley Lane Playing Field area. A Hazel hedgerow south of here attracted 120+ of the micro-moth Anthophila fabriciana; more clement weather bringing these on to the wing. Green Shieldbug and Nursery Web Spiders were active on Stinging / Common Nettle on the western side of the Sapley Lane Playing Field.
a front lawn in Lordsfield Gardens was still covered with 'mining bees'. Grey Squirrel were seen in trees off Silk Mill Lane and Southington Lane; the latter making a hasty exit from the Chair and Secretary's garden!
Red kite roost nine Red Kite were at Ashe, eight being seen at roost in trees. A 'kettle' of six raptors over Ashe was made up of both Red Kite and Buzzard. Both Comma and Common Darter were about the water meadows at Ashe whilst a Peacock posed on the footpath between The Mill and The Harrow Way, as did a dead Wood Mouse! The hive of Honey-bees was seen to be still active, near the sewage works. A Tawny Owl was hunting pre-dawn near Polhampton Lodge Stud. A Chiffchaff joined a roving party of tits moving through gardens in the north-west of the village.
Right: Red Kite, Milvus milvus - Picture: David Cluett. The largest local gathering for some time - the roost at Ashley Warren was poorly visited last winter and so gatherings of this size may be more unusual than first perceived.
bees in numbers were still to be seen about lawns in Lordsfield Gardens.
just two adult House Martin were present about Lordsfield Gardens, seen still to be visiting and feeding young. A television aerial in the same road hosted ten Starling.
four Tawny Owl were calling together about the Foxdown / Kingsclere Road area. A female Kestrel showed to yards sat atop a fence post near Jackson's Copse whereas three Buzzard sat in a field east of the Mill were far less cooperative. The first local case of myxamatosis this year was noted today.
several black Rabbit were again seen in fields north of The Lynch. A gathering of ten Collared Dove in a skeletal tree near Northington Farm was the first autumnal get-together noted of these locally.
a young Hedgehog was 'rescued' in Woodlands. House Martin and Swallow continued to pass through the Parish, as did Meadow Pipit and Chiffchaff; several of the latter being heard in song. Dark Bush-cricket were also still in 'song' though little else of invertebrate interest was recorded, the rain from mid-morning ensuring cooler and greyer conditions not favourable for these to be on the wing. Red Kite, Buzzard and Kestrel were still lingering about Turrill Hill where increased numbers of Yellowhammer, Song Thrush and Pheasant were recorded.
Right: Hornet Mimic Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria. Britain's largest hoverfly, being about 2cm in length, and one that had only been recorded twice prior to 1940, though now increasingly widespread and often being seen in gardens or similar habitats
up to three black Rabbit were seen with their more regularly coloured relatives north of The Lynch. The Woodlands Hedgehog was again detained during the day, its weight being just 225gm! Both male and female Tawny Owl were vocal in the oaks by Oak Close / Oak Tree Play Area prior to dawn. Coveys of Red-legged Partridge joined Pheasant about farmland north for the village where Red Kite, Buzzard and House Martin were seen moving overhead, the latter heading south.
Zebra Spider one of the jumping 'zebra spiders' was seen on a Lordsfield Gardens door, the increased sun bring such arachnids out in to the open. A flock of perhaps 200 Lapwing was on fields north of the Mill whilst three Red Kite were nearby over The Harrow Way. A 'party' of four pond skater on a muddy puddle near Jackson's Copse showed that it wasn't only birds that were on the move; these were gone the following morning.
Right: Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus - Picture: David Cluett. The commonest and most frequently encountered of the four species of Salticidae found in Britain.
a Bronze Shieldbug at Jackson's Copse was the first to be recorded locally, as far as we're aware. Other invertebrates in the area included 'singing' Roesel's and Dark Bush-cricket. Chiffchaff, some in song, House Martin, Swallow, Meadow Pipit and Jay were still on the move over / through the Parish whilst resident raptors, Red Kite, Kestrel and Buzzard, were all evident about the farmland surrounding the village.
both Grey Wagtail and Lesser Black-backed Gull were seen moving over the village early evening.
Red-legged Partridge were about the road over Frost Hill both pre-dawn and late afternoon.

Contributors: David Cluett, Deborah Heath, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, Tamsin Williams & Mallards Weather Station.

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