Local sightings

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November 2014

a Clouded Yellow was seen on the wing over the Dog Field. The warmest day of the month with the highest temperature recorded, 19.4°C.
PLesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus a late morning / early afternoon walk about the western side of the village found seven Red Kite about the valley at Turrill Hill, a further two off to the south-east. A female Sparrowhawk moved through whilst two Kestrel, male and female, and a Buzzard Lingered. Also on the move were c.25 Fieldfare, the first noted locally this late year period, 13 Redwing, four Skylark and a Meadow Pipit, a total of 503 Lesser Black-backed Gull over to the south-west a little more unusual only due to the time of day that the movement was occurring. Six escapee Wild Boar were foraging under hedgerows and occasionally out in the fields whilst the same areas also played host to flowering Herb Bennet, White Dead-nettle, Ragwort, several dandelion spp., Cow Parsley and a well-worn buttercup sp., much Chicory still colouring field east of the valley. Though still mild few invertebrates were active, single Great Black Slug, wasp sp. and bumble-bee sp. being seen.
Right: Lesser Black-backed, Gull Larus fuscus. The lesser black-backed gull is a large gull that breeds on the Atlantic coasts of Europe. It is migratory, wintering from the British Isles south to West Africa. It is a regular winter visitor to the east coast of North America, probably from the breeding population in Iceland.
two Little Egret were seen to fly north over the village. Other water-based birds of note included a brood of six Mallard on The Test off Bridge Street!
a Red Kite was seen low over Red Lion Lane mid-morning.
Cetti's Warbler, Cettia cetti the finding of a singing Cetti's Warbler at the Filtration Pools late morning was unexpected, this fortuitous find being the bird that helped Barry Stalker equal his best ever Borough of Basingstoke & Deane Year List; this especially helpful in the year that he's being sponsored to do this for Cancer Research UK. To read about his exploits please follow: http://www.birdingbasingstokeanddeane.co.uk/. The Cetti's Warbler remained to at least mid-afternoon when a Little Egret, Kingfisher and small numbers of Teal, Shoveler, Little Grebe and Gadwall were also on site.
Right: Cetti's Warbler, Cettia cetti - Picture: Barry Stalker. Barry's 131st bird in the Borough this year, equalling his 2011 record. (This record was soon to be bettered with the addition of Common Gull just days later.)
rain! One of the local Red Kite was over Little Meadow during the morning - perhaps casting an appreciative bird's-eye view of the work carried out there by OBS?
a Kestrel was seen from the road to Kingsclere, as was a 'blonde' Pheasant.
a further Emmelina monodactyla was found in a Woodlands home.
a Buzzard flew low south-east over Bell Meadow late in the afternoon.
a wander about the western and southern sides of the village late in the day added at least five Red Kite, a male Kestrel and two+ Buzzard about the valley, fields and Hop-growing area. Up to 19 Redwing gave a slightly wintery feel to the walk, all but one moving over, whilst further migrants came in the shape of Meadow Pipit, seven+, whereas Herring, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Jackdaw and Rook were on the move due to the need to head to their roosts. A pair of Bullfinch, one or two Stock Dove and a vocal Nuthatch were less frequently encountered birds, the latter tree-knocker backed up by both Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker; both again very vocal.
the wettest day of the month with over ½' of rain being recorded.
two Tawny Owl were vocal in the Flashetts area late evening. A further clear night had frost and -1.7°C being recorded.
both Fieldfare and Redwing were heard on / over Overton Hill late afternoon.
a Red Admiral graced at least one village garden. A Red Kite was seen to alight on trees at Lower Whitehill. Ramaria sp.
continued fungal growth was noted in one Foxdown garden.
Right: Ramaria sp. - Picture: Tamsin Williams.
-"This fungus (I think) has appeared in several areas of my front garden, among the bark chippings. Any idea what sort it is? I have tulip, daffodil, bluebell and allium bulbs planted in that patch".
-"It's probably one of the Ramarias. Descriptions of Ramaria flava; R. formosa; R. delicata; R. botrytis; R.aurea and R. stricta show that they are all very similar and, apart from R. stricta, are all described as "rare". I don't know how true that is. Unfortunately, the image isn't quite sharp enough to show (for example) the dark cinnamon tips of R. botrytis or the degree of "yellowness" which distinguishes between R. flava and R. formosa. "Ramaria" seems to be the best place to start, though".

Contributors: David Cluett, Deborah Heath, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, Veronique Kerguelen, Barry Stalker, Tamsin Williams & Weather at Mallards.

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