Local sightings

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October 2012

Tawny Owl continued to make themselves obvious about Foxdown / Flashetts. Skeins of geese were again part of the expected traffic of wildlife over the village, both early and late in the day.
two Red Kite lingered low over the village during the afternoon. Lesser Black-backed Gull were seen to be heading south-west pre-dawn, Red-legged Partridge being less mobile but more obvious as they continued to 'litter' the roads north of the village.
Chicken of the woodsa Barn Owl was active pre-dawn about Frost Hill Farm; Red-legged Partridge there still playing 'chicken' with traffic. Siskin, Kestrel, Grey Wagtail, House Martin and Buzzard were among birds, some being migrants, seen moving over the village. Chicken of the woods was growing on a tree off Silkmill Lane, where a Goldcrest was in song. A Grey Squirrel was tight-rope walking on overhead cable in Southington Lane late morning, both Comma and Red Admiral being seen about gardens there.
Right: 'Chicken of the woods', Laetiporus sulphureus. Also known as Sulphur Polypore, this is one of the most readily recognised edible fungi, some of the brackets having been recorded as weighing 45+kg! During cooking the fungi acts much like chicken, hence the colloquial name.
As always, please ensure that you know what you have before eating from the countryside!
thick fog greeted those out pre-dawn. A Grey Wagtail was active over houses in Winchester Street later in the afternoon, presumably heading towards Town Mill where they've been seen regularly recently.
House Martin were still to be seen over fields about the Parish early evening.
a Nuthatch was now regularly visiting a Winchester Street garden. Red Kite had recently been noted more regularly on the wing over the northern part of the village, as had Grey Heron.
grey, dull and mild with both Song Thrush and Lesser Black-backed Gull on the move low over the village and Coal Tit again being recorded at garden feeders.
several Swallow were over fields off Waltham Road mid-afternoon, presumably feeding there under the very low cloud layer that had enveloped the village all day.
16+ House Martin and five+ Swallow moved over the village mid-afternoon, an adult Red Kite also drifting about as the weather improved.
Chicory was still in flower about the Dog Field, five Yellowhammer, 25+ Linnet and a pair of Red-legged Partridge being in the adjacent ex-pig field; all before the rain fell! Nuthatch were vocal in trees off the Dellands Track.
a party of five Mute Swan spent time over the village, before moving off to the west, perhaps heading to Laverstoke Park Lake.
Spindle and Traveller's Joy seeds brightened hedgerows about Turill Hill where, pre-rain, a Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and three Buzzard encouraged crows in to the air. A Field Grasshopper was seen on a Kerchers Field pavement, Nuthatch calling nearby about Oak Park. Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Jay were all in increased numbers about Turrill Hill, four Red-legged Partridge also in the 'fallow' fields there.
after a noticeable frost the Autumn Nut Hunt provided evidence of Dormice in and about hedgerows near Flashetts, the seven investigators finding "Excellent evidence" of these all too rarely seen 'luffies'. A Little Egret, Grey Wagtail and four Gadwall were about The Test and pools in Southington. A larval Grey Dagger was found on Tamarisk in Bridge Street. A Yellowhammer was heard over Woodlands late morning, a male Kestrel there was soon moved on by the local Crows while Coal Tit seen to be still visiting feeders, a Red Kite then drifting over early afternoon. Herb Robert, Hedge Woundwort and Nipplewort were all still flowering along in Bridge Street / along Silkmill Lane.
a Barn Owl was roadside, just north of the village, mid-evening, three Red Kite having been seen nearby late afternoon.
at least two Redwing were heard on the wing early evening, the first to have been reported this late year period in the Parish; this movement of these winter visitors more than influenced by the heavy rain and fronts passing through alter in the day. A Red Kite headed low south-west over the village centre at midday, several Jackdaw being in close attendance.
a duck Shoveler was on a pool at Southington, the first of the late year period in the Parish. Vine fruit were ripening in Southington where Yellow Corydalis was still in flower, a hawker sp. was over the main road and Honey Fungus were taking over tree stumps in the Southington House 'back garden'. A Red Kite was over Town Meadow mid-afternoon, again 'escorted' by local crows, while nearby a male Sparrowhawk was hunting the few Redwing yet about the village.
a Red Kite drifted high north over the village mid-afternoon, several Lesser Black-backed Gull being seen to head south-west about this time. A further kite moved south-west later, Skylark also being noticeable as they headed westwards.

Contributors: Jill Aburrow, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, Jane MacKenzie & Tamsin Williams.

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