Local sightings

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December 2015

Bombus terrestris a female Bombus terrestris was nectaring on heather in Station Hill gardens where both Cowslip and violet were also in flower. A pair of Mute Swan flew across Town Meadow early afternoon. Meadow Pipit were also noted on the move over the village, again in small numbers.
Right: Bombus terrestris. Also known as Buff-tailed or Tri-coloured Bee
a larval Small White was both an unexpected and unseasonal find, making its way up a Winchester Street front door. A Little Egret flew west over Town Meadow during the afternoon, presumably heading to roost, perhaps again in the gardens off Southington Lane / The Lynch. Up to three Red Kite were seen over the village, as were two Meadow Pipit.
one of the Blue Peafowl was settled on Dellands garden fencing early afternoon. Both Red Kite and Meadow Pipit were recorded over The Green.
the Winchester Street larval Small White was found to have become a chrysalis. Nearby 16 Redwing headed west, a Siskin was heard on the wing and a Red Kite toured village edge fields. Further Siskin and Red Kite were seen, or heard, over other parts of the village, one of the Blue Peafowl being somewhat more cooperative, atop the same garden fencing in Dellands as on 3rd. Also on fencing was a Buzzard, this by the Ashe floods. Cabbage white chrysalis
Right: Small White, Pieris rapae. Chrysalis
a Small Tortoiseshell was seen in Charledown Close; perhaps the last butterfly of the year in the Parish? A Meadow Pipit 'seeped' westwards over The Green late morning. Red Kite were seen over The Green, Overton Hill, Dellands Lane, Crawts Road, Poultons Road and Bridge Street; just how many were involved in these sightings is open to debate!
Tawny Owl were vocal during the darker hours.
several bumble-bee and Honey-bee were seen during the first sunny day for some weeks. Red Kite, Lesser Redpoll and Meadow Pipit were on the move over the village. The Charledown Close Small Tortoiseshell was still present, albeit now sadly deceased. One garden had a male Chaffinch as a colourful visitor.
Cormorant in flight a further bumble-bee was seen about village plants, there however being ever fewer flowers to provide food for those brought out by the unseasonal warmth. A Red Kite moved west over Overton Hill mid-morning, a Cormorant over Dellands, also westwards, early afternoon.
Right: Small White, Pieris rapae. Chrysalis
several of the many Woodpigeon locally were seen feeding on ornamental sorbus berries.
up to two Grey Wagtail were about Harveys field, albeit briefly. A Sparrowhawk was actively hunting over Dellands gardens whilst several Red Kite were somewhat more relaxed in their approach to prey sourcing nearby.
seven Swan, appropriately at this time of year, were seen over fields next to Overton Hill during the morning; a high count locally. Also on the wing were several Red Kite and small numbers of Redwing, Starling however becoming more evident, particularly about the trees along the southern edge of Town Meadow. The regular Blue Peafowl was again seen in Dellands gardens.
a bumble-bee was seen braving the wintery weather. Two+ Red Kite were lingering about the village about noon, making the most of the increasingly windy conditions. A hunting Sparrowhawk moved rapidly through Harveys Field, disturbing all of the Starling in the trees by Town Meadow, whereas 20+ Redwing through the same area were somewhat less hurried.
an active Wren made one garden a little brighter than the surrounding weather. Robin were in song well before dawn.
a Song Thrush was evident in gardens near the Railway Station. A Winter Moth was found outside the Winchester Street flats. A caterpillar of the Ruby Tiger Moth was found on another flat, this time in Harveys Field. A Red Kite was seen over many gardens off Sapley Lane from early afternoon.
early afternoon saw a hunting Sparrowhawk flushing all in its way as it passed over Charledown Road. A Red Kite was over Overton Hill mid-afternoon.
a further Winter Moth was found roosting on a Mede Close flat. A hunting Sparrowhawk sped southwards through Harveys Field late morning. The flock of Moorhen feeding out on Town Meadow had grown to eight birds. A Magpie was seen at the Railway Station early morning, this species seemingly on the increase about the more urban areas of the Parish; though perhaps now just being recorded more by Parishioners.
a Red Kite lingered low over Woodlands mid-morning. Robin were again in song hours before dawn, a Dunnock singing later in the morning.
a Mottled Umber was roosting in Mede Close. A bumble-bee was heard (!) in Dellands. A Sparrowhawk was seen circling over Pound Road, heading off to the east, whereas Red Kite were seen over many areas of the village.
Skylark were heard, and seen, in song about the edges of the village. Unseasonal Honey-bee, two, and both queen and drone bumble-bee visited flowers in Station Hill gardens.
a Winter Moth was found in Charledown Close. A female Sparrowhawk was hunting along Two Gate Lane mid-morning, a Red Kite lingering over Berrydown Court. One of the Blue Peafowl was in Crawts Road gardens. Further Lesser Celandine were seen in flower.
a Steatoda grossa was on a doorway of a Winchester Street flat; the most poisonous spider in Britain! A Mistle Thrush was singing at Town Meadow. A Red Kite drifted low over Dellands mid-afternoon.
a Red Kite was low over Winchester Street early afternoon.
late evening had both Green Sandpiper and Pheasant being heard over / about the Town Meadow / Harveys Field areas, the former in flight, the latter presumably disturbed by a revelling Parishioner!
Yellow Corydalis was still flowering in High Street garden walls. Grey Heron moved west over Glebe Meadow late afternoon, a Dunnock being in song nearby. Further Lesser Celandine was seen in flower in Southington verges. Station Hill gardens were again being visited by unseasonal bumble-bee, a queen and several workers being seen.
a Town Meadow Moorhen was startled by early evening fireworks.
Field Scabious was seen to be in flower at Turill Hill where a larval Small White was clinging to a telegraph post and up to two Red Kite and four Buzzard, a hunting Sparrowhawk flushing seven Meadow Pipit, a Skylark, a Fieldfare and at least ten Red-legged Partridge were also seen or heard. Further Red Kite were seen over Sapley Lane Playing Field and Woodlands, a Siskin being heard over the latter area. A Grey Squirrel was in trees lining the track between Harveys Field and Oak Close. The count of bumble-bee in Station Hill gardens had grown to at least three queen and two drone; will they survive if the New Year brings wintry weather? Peacock feathers
a very dark Mottled Umber was seen at roost in Mede Close. A Kestrel was seen about Charledown Close gardens, an unexpected area for this to be hunting. Grey Wagtail were heard and seen moving about several areas of the village. A Grey Squirrel was using overhead wires to cross Kingsclere Road, leaving the Foxdown area! Both Woodpigeon and Blackbird were nearby, perhaps also 'enjoying' this aerial spectacle.
one of the cock Blue Peafowl, now with a near-perfect 'skirt', was moving about gardens in the southern part of the village.
Right: Blue Peafowl, Pavo cristatus - The unmistakable 'train' on both the local birds now becoming ever more resplendent
the Mottled Umber reappeared in Mede Close. An adult Mute Swan spent part of the day on Town Meadow. A Kestrel was again seen moving about Charledown Close gardens, Red Kite over there also, as well as Sapley Lane.

Contributors: Deborah Heath, Peter E. Hutchins, Veronique Kerguelen & Margaret Rainford.

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