Local sightingsReturn to the list of reports
- a further very small Hedgehog was taken in to care, HART once again coming to the rescue of local! A flock of perhaps 100 Linnet was on fields south of The Harrow Way. A Feathered Thorn attracted to light over night was the first reported in the Parish this year. Arable fields north of the village held many Red-legged Partridge and Pheasant and Brown Hare.
Right: Hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus — Picture: Deb Heath. One of many, like so many other things, staying out too long due to the increasingly mild and long autumns that we're experiencing
- two Painted Lady were seen on White Dead-nettle at Polhampton Farm. Several bumble-bee, possibly Red-tailed and Buff-tailed, and cranefly were seen on the wing. A December Moth was the first of the year, it and a Feathered Thorn being attracted in to a moth trap overnight. Fields and hedgerows / trees about Polhampton Farm / Lower Ashe Farm held 43+ Skylark and 14 Fieldfare late morning, a male Sparrowhawk, female Kestrel, three Red Kite and a Buzzard also about the area.
Left and middle: Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui — Picture: Deb Heath. Polhampton Farm. The vanessid family of butterflies seemingly the most resilient to the vagaries of the autumnal weather - Red Admiral particularly.
Right: December Moth, Poecilacampa populi- Picture: Andy Mitchell (Hantsmoth)
- the disused cressbeds at Polhampton held a Water Rail, Kingfisher, two pair of Teal and a Grey Heron, the flanking trees Mistle Thrush, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Spider's webs were covered in early morning misting at Flashetts, where three+ Goldcrest and two Coal Tit were with commoner foraging insectivores, two Grey Squirrel there being less sociable. A further Grey Squirrel was seen, sitting atop the road's kerb at Berrydown Court. A Tawny Owl was heard towards the southern end of the village, as were "Loads of Police!".
- Redwing were heard overhead during the hours of darkness, when a Light Brown Apple Moth was drawn in to garden lighting. A further nocturnal visitor was a Tawny Owl, again being heard close to the southern edge of the village. During the day larval Large White were found in another garden.
- Green Woodpecker were still regularly visiting some of the larger lawns about the village, the latter also attracting foraging Robin and Wren, a centipede, possibly Lithobius forficatus, and the aforementioned larval Large White being nearby.
- a Red Kite was seen over one garden where Collared Dove, Magpie, Jackdaw, Blackbird and Woodpigeon were visiting.
- a further Light Brown Apple Moth was seen at a moth trap.
- early morning saw a Red Kite over fields between the railway line and The Harrow Way, another being about Southington mid-afternoon.
- a Little Egret was on The Test at Southington Mill. A Highfields garden played host to a Sparrowhawk, and its lunch! Other raptors seen included Red Kite at Highfields, Berrydown and Lower Ashe and Buzzard at Hyde Hill Plantation and Lower Ashe, the latter area also seeing Stock Dove, Fieldfare and Redwing on the move, even if only locally. A Sprawler, a moth, found on a conservatory was the first noted locally this year.
Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus — Picture: David Cluett. What, where and what was left!
- a further December Moth was attracted to a moth trap, a Red-line Quaker to a lit bathroom window. The remains of the Sparrowhawk's meal were now being attended by a Robin! Nearby larval Large White were still evident on garden vegetation, a Red Kite being seen overhead.
- an Angle Shades was the latest addition to 'autumnal' moth trapping. Red Admiral remained on the wing, but for how much longer? A pair of Tawny Owl was vocal early morning, both Bullfinch and Nuthatch later in the day about the woodlands on the northern / eastern side of the village.
Angle Shades, Phlogophora meticulosa — Picture: Mike Wall (Hantsmoth)
- a Barn Owl was on roadside fencing at White Hill early morning, a Tawny Owl nearby in a roadside tree at Southley Farm. At midday a Buzzard was at the latter site, a Sparrowhawk being seen over The Green shortly afterwards, a Kestrel over Highfields moving north-west.
- a Buzzard was once again seen on the eastern Parish border fencing, close to Ashe Park Lodge. Also again reported were the larval Large White, yet to fall foul of the weather or garden-based predators.
- an Emmelina monodactyla was seen in Highfields, this 't-shaped' moth also referred to as 'Common Plume'.
- Grey Wagtail were seen about The Test off Bridge Street and over Menabilly, Southington. A female Kestrel was again hunting about Bell Meadow, in the mid-morning mist. Canada Geese were again heard moving over the village post-dusk, many Redwing being heard later in the evening, which remained very mild and clouded. Both Goldfinch and Song Thrush were evident about the Overton Hill dog-waking area. The larval Large White remained in situ.
- a Little Egret was in trees at the disused cressbeds, Polhampton with several Roe Deer, numbers of Yellowhammer and a singleton Bullfinch nearby. A Red Admiral was seen about Two Gate Meadow gardens, a Fieldfare at Ashe somewhat wintrier. An Emmelina monodactyla was again seen in Highfields, as were Red Kite, Green Woodpecker and a Robin that wouldn't leave a resident alone, hounding them for food!
Right: Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella — Picture Deb Heath
- up to two Tawny Owl were seen at Berrydown towards last light.
Right: Tawny Owl, Strix aluco — Picture Deb Heath
- a Red Kite was seen over Highfields, now seemingly an almost daily occurrence there.
- a Buzzard was at White Hill early morning.
- a Red Kite was seen over Overton Hill where Bullfinch also put in an appearance, or two. A Buzzard was again seen over Hyde Hill Plantation.
- just for a change, two Red Kite were seen over Highfields.
- Overton Hill produced a mobile charm of Goldfinch. Further afield a Water Vole was seen by one Society member, unfortunately, for us, in Salisbury. Have you seen one in the Parish this year?
- Red Kite continued to show well!
- early morning saw Wren, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Woodpigeon visiting one garden.
- two Red Kite were again over Highfields, as was a large gathering of local corvids - Rook and Jackdaw.
- a / the Little Egret was again about The Test / cressbeds off Straight Lane. In adjacent fields two Kestrel tussled on the ground, locked in noisy combat for a handful of minutes. Somewhat more peaceful was the charm of Goldfinch nearby. Three Red Kite were seen over the southern part of the village, this count perhaps an indication of birds gathering prior to roost, close to an easy food source or even weather related.
- the, presumed, roost of Pied Wagtail about the mill may well have been the source of four seen near David's Wood. Three Red Kite were again over Highfields.
Right: Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis — Picture Deb Heath. Some local wildlife has acquired less 'wild' tastes!
- perhaps 100+ Fieldfare were in a field north of David's Wood, where three Red Kite were overhead; the thrush flock the largest gathering so far noted locally this autumn / winter. Other flocks included one of Linnet, perhaps 50 birds, on the fields adjacent to the continued building works on Overton Hill, Red Kite also being seen there. Garden feeders attracted Blue, Great and Coal Tit, Green Woodpecker, Chaffinch and Wren being seen in the same area.
- a Water Rail was seen crossing The Test west of Bridge Street, twice, where a male Kingfisher was fishing, successfully; a Siskin having moved east over the adjacent ORC earlier. A Kestrel hunting over the fields by the Overton Hill building site may well have been a threat to the flock of Linnet still feeding there. Walking Court Drove early morning produced, amongst that seen, two Roe Deer, perhaps six+ of both Red Kite and Buzzard, a male Kestrel, and 'handfuls' of Fieldfare, Redwing and Meadow Pipit. A total of four Red Kite was seen over the village later, a further one being vocal over Woodlands late morning.
- a Kingfisher was seen sat atop the bridge over The Test, Kingsclere Road. A Red Kite was seen high over The Green, another / the same over Highfields.
Contributors: David Cluett, Deb Heath, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, Andy Mitchell & Mike Wall.
Even more hints to the forthcoming winter, perhaps!
Warmer days might well see vanessids out on the wing once again, Red Admiral the most likely of these to reappear, albeit perhaps looking worse-for-wear after having been out-and-about for many months. Dormouse may also be tempted out of their hibernation, the longer and warmer autumns continuing to impact heavily on the winter survival of these all-too-elusive parishioners.
The hedgerows that these frequent will also play host to many other small 'locals', mice, vole and shrew all still active but often only the signs of their presence being noted - watch out for nuts, seeds and other vegetation that's been tampered with.
The continued activities of these will encourage both raptors and owls out to try and take advantage of this bounty, especially after days of less clement weather. Apart from the 'taken for granted' kite daylight hours could see a further handful of both raptor and owl species seeking sustenance. As noted previously Short-eared Owl may appear, perhaps once again in numbers and roosting / hunting about the farmland north of the village.
The waters about the Parish become ever busier, the anticipated egret and heron being joined by more elusive but more vocal Water Rail, 'preeping' Teal, whistling Wigeon and 'growling' Pochard and Tufted Duck. Green Sandpiper might appear on the quieter areas with muddier edges, as might the aforementioned rail. Will an Otter be seen? We can but hope, though even a Water Vole nowadays would prove exciting to most.
Botany takes a big step back on the list of things to look out for at this time of year, but do keep looking, and reporting, for late blooms and all that might be drawn in to them. Dense vegetation will provide shelter for many species over the coming months, butterfly, moth and roosting birds amongst these. The walls under / close to impenetrable Ivy growth's worth checking, if only for the intricate chrysalis that will hopefully make it through to spring 2018.
So, though seen as a quieter time of year and one when many don't venture outside as much, it's still more than worthwhile to make that decision to throw on extra layers of clothing and make the effort!
Enjoy the continuing winter, keep on watching and listening, and who knows, you might just still find the first of the Waxwing this month!
Wishing you all the very best for the month, Christmas and the New Year, when I look forward to hearing from all of you!