This week's talk: 12 October 2021 ORCA: Marine Mammals and Recent Discoveries in St. Thomas' Church Hall

This week's talk is by Anne Bunney in St Thomas’ Church Hall and entitled:

ORCA: Marine Mammals and Recent Discoveries

We will look at the great cetaceans in our European waters and hear about the continuing work of ORCA and recent fascinating discoveries.

Note: We respectfully ask that attendees wear masks at our indoor meetings.

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Our next meeting will via Zoom over the internet on 26th October when Pete Durnell's subject will be The Lymington - Keyhaven Marsh.

Walk report: 07 October 2021 Longstade and Hinchelsea with Andy and Sue Skarstein

We started from Longslade Bottom, went across the heath, through Hinchelsea Wood, and back along the edge of Hinchelsea Bog, starting in mist and low cloud, it soon lifted to leave light cloud.

number of Swallows and House Martins were seen flying over the lawns, many more gathered on the power lines.

Swallows and House Martins © Chris Robinson

Not far along the path flowering Water-pepper was spotted growing in the damp ditches.  More wild flowers were seen in the wet areas by the causeway, including seed heads of Marsh Lousewort with a few still in flower.  Alongside these was a heavy cover of non-flowering Marsh St John’s-wort. 

 

Marsh Lousewort © Sue Skarstein

Heading up the track to the woods we had a good view of Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Bullfinch feeding on a Rowan tree.  At the top of the hill on the edge of the woods, under the Scots pine there were Holly trees recently coppiced by Commoners to provide young growth for the ponies to eat this winter.  Also in this area Coal Tit and a Goldcrest were glimpsed flitting around the tops of the pines, whilst lower down a Clouded Yellow butterfly flew past.

An old pollarded Beech © Sue Skarstein

Artist's Bracket is usually found on Beech treees © Diane Potter

In the woods there are many ancient pollarded Beech and Holly trees and some very old Oak with their leaves covered in asexual Common Spangle Neuropterus quercusbaccarum and female Silk Button Neuroterus numismalis Galls.  The recent rain had prompted some fungi to start fruiting.  Artist's Bracket Ganoderma applanatum is usually found growing on Beech.

Common Splangle and Silk-button Wasp galls © Diane Potter

The galls in detail © Sue Skarstein

On decaying Beech logs there were many Small Stagshorn Calocera cornea, Turkeytail Trametes versicolor, Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum and Common Jellyspot Dacrymyces stillatus.  Further along the path in a tall decaying tree stump boot lace like strands of Honey Fungus Armillaria known as rhizomorpha was spotted.  Then beside the stump, growing on dead wood, a troop of Stump Puffball Lycoperdon pyriforme, an aged specimen of slime mould Fuligo septic and the nest of a solitary wasp.  The damper ground here being covered with tree like Black Haircap moss (Polytrichastrum formosum).

Stump Puffbals © Sue Skarstein

Black Haircap - a moss © Sue Skarstein

Bypassing a boggy area, we came across two large fungi, thought to be Deer Shield Pluteus cervinus, growing on a substantial den and stockade built from fallen tree branches. Back on the path there were more decaying fallen Beech where we found Southern Bracket Ganoderma austral, masses of Beech Woodwort Hypoxyln fragiforme, Beech Tarcrust Biscogniauxia nummularia and swarms of Beech Jellydisc Neobulgaria pura.


Deer Shield © Sue Skarstein

Leaving the woods we crossed the bog where the path was lined with Bog Myrtle and walking back to Longslade along the edge of the bog found the egg sac of a Wasp Spider Argiope bruennichi, also at this spot a couple of people saw a young Adder curled up in the same gorse the sac was in.  It was an interesting sighting to end the walk. A&SS

Monthly coastal bird walk: 04 October 2021 Normandy with Brian Matthews

The weather forecast for the first walk of the winter programme was not very promising but, after an initial heavy squall, the morning was one of sunny intervals, occasional showers and (sometimes double) rainbows. It was about one hour before a very high tide and, to keep the prevailing SW wind at our backs, we followed an anti-clockwise route around Normandy Marsh.


Dunlin and Ringed Plover roosting at Normandy Lagoon during high tide 
© Chris Robinson

Hampshire County Council began purchasing the coastal grazing marshes between Lymington and Keyhaven in 1973 with the acquisition of Normandy Farm. Normandy Farm Lagoon is a product of the seawall reconstruction (1990-94), itself constructed with perforated concrete blocks to aid re-vegetation.The farmland provided fill for the wall and the lagoon was created when the land was flooded with salt-water in early November 1990.


The current wind direction does not favour bird migration: In the departure lounge, Swallows and Wheatear. Recent arrivals, Wigeon and Teal.

Wheatear stooped off on its autumn migration 
© Chris Robinson

Wigeon newly arrived for the winter from the North 
© Chris Robinson


Amongst a number of Little Egrets, "JN" (the oldest known Little Egret in Britain) still commanded his regular spot. Any hope of seeing Snipe was dashed by the presence of large numbers of Canada Geese. These "noisy neighbours" would not be appreciated by a bird that likes to keep to cover.

Other sightings included: female Shoveler, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Turnstone, Curlew, Redshank, Green- shank, Black-headed Gull, juvenile Herring Gull, Kingfisher: Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chiffchaff, Starling and Linnet. The non-birding highlight was a Fox Moth caterpillar probably heading for somewhere to pupate.

Fox Moth caterpillar © Chris Robinson

Returning along Normandy Lane there were two groups of Roe Deer in the fields: a doe with fawn in one and two does, a buck and a fawn in another.

In just over 2 hours we were back at Maiden Lane, and reasonably dry!

 Please note: Our regular winter bird walks that used to take place on the first Sunday of the month (October-March) in the past have been moved to the first Monday of the month.

12 September 2021 Lymington-Keyhaven Open Day at Normandy

LymNats had a stand at Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve Open Day on Sunday 12 September, an event organised by HCC, NFNP and HIWWT. Our stand was manned throughout the day by a combination of Brian, Richard S, Julia and John. Exhibits included animal skulls and antlers, a Grass Snake skin, a Wasps nest, Green Woodpecker droppings, sea shells, plant material, Richard C's photos and a first - a live exhibit. Julia brought in a dragonfly nymph (in a tub with water and weed) that received much attention.

There were a number of local wildlife exhibitors as well as children’s entertainment provided by Aimee Durnell and our Mary Macmillan (aka Mothing Mary) helped Pete Durnell opening moth traps.

The day got off to a fantastic start with an immature Osprey interrupting its migration south from the Tweed Valley to west Africa (identified from rings seen on photo published on the internet) and soaring virtually overhead, flapping occasionally and gliding with wings held with a distinct kink at the wrist (carpal) appearing bowed head-on.

LymNats' stand fielded enquiries about membership and volunteering opportunities throughout the day. When beginning to pack up a second live exhibit put in an appearance on the stand - a large caterpillar identified as being a Buff-tip moth.

Apparently there will not be an Open Day next year as it would become a biennial event alternating with HIWWT's Roydon Woods Nature Reserve Wood and Local Produce Fair (usually held in May/June and not since 2015).

Thanks to our members who helped during the day, and also Catherine Chatters of HIWWT for her support via Brian. Also thanks to Pete Durnell for setting up another successful open day.

 

Field Meeting Report: 30 September 2021 Keyhaven Marshes with Chris Robinson

It was a very blustery and non-too-warm walk from Keyhaven around and back via the Ancient Highway. There were occasional showers (with hail). The high winds seemed not to the liking of the small birds as we saw virtually none.

In the car park we heard a Cetti’s Warbler and saw fly-over flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Turnstones. On Avon Water there were two Little Grebes.


                                     Little Grebe© Chris Robinson

As we walked along the seawall we saw a few waders (Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Curlew and Little Egret) but in single figure numbers. A pair of Ravens flew past us and a solitary Wheatear was on the path.

Keyhaven Lagoon was bird free! I don’t think I have ever seen so few birds on it, the water level was up due to recent rains.

Things looked up (marginally) on Fishtail. Canada Geese dominated but winter ducks were there, mostly in eclipse plumage. Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard and Shoveler. There were few waders, one Lapwing, at least four Greenshanks and two Snipe. There were two Rock Pipits on the path, keeping their distance.


Greenshank © Chris Robinson

When we got to Butts the wind had got up even more so, after a brief scan of the Canada Geese and Eiders (on the seaward side), we cut back up the first path to seek some shelter. Near the gate onto the Ancient Highway we were treated to a mini-murmuration of Starlings amongst the cattle with Swallows and the odd House Martin all feeding on the insects disturbed by the cows.

As we walked back there was another Cetti's singing. No birds at all on the pond, though a Kestrel was hunting over the back of Fishtail.

The overcast conditions were not conducive to photography and the wind made holding even binoculars difficult! CR


Lym Nats AGM 28 September 2021 - We have a new Chairman!

On a stormy evening we held our first meeting in St. Thomas' Church Hall, our new venue, beginning with a brief AGM that saw Julia Coomber standing down after seven years as Chairman and Robert Payne elected as her successor. 

Julia's presentation with (from left to right) Glynis and Robert Payne, Diane Potter and Brian Matthews. 

With Mike and Mary Mawdsley and John Enfield also standing down from the Committee we are looking to the membership for their replacements!

The scheduled speaker fell victim to the fuel shortages, so we were taken on an illustrated Africa safari across Botswana by Julia's husband, Richard, seeing the wealth of animals and birds to be found there.

This week's talk: 28th September 2021 AGM (15 minutes) followed by "The Return of the Bustard" by David Waters

Tuesday 28th September sees our first talk of the Winter 2021/22 season taking place in our new venue - St. Thomas' Church Hall, Lymington, which will be preceded by a short AGM. Doors open at 7 p.m.

"The Return of the Bustard"

Great Bustard at Keyhaven November 2019

© Richard Coomber


David Waters of The Great Bustard Group will explain their efforts to reintroduce this remarkable bird!

Note: We respectfully ask that attendees wear masks at our indoor meetings.

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Our next meeting will also be in St. Thomas' Church Hall on 12th October when the subject will be "Marine Mammals and Recent Discoveries" by Anna Bunney from ORCA.

 

 

Field Meeting Report: Oakley Inclosure 16 September 2021

 A lovely misty morning among the great oaks, Beeches and conifers though it wasn’t long before the sun burst through the canopy.

We started with a glimpse of a Great Spotted Woodpecker and heard Robin, Coal Tit and Jay in the trees around us. The grassy rides were carpeted in delicate dew covered cobwebs, each with a small spider at its centre.

 

A few butterflies, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood, emerged to dance in the pools of sunlight before we deviated briefly into a clearing in search of slime moulds. We found just old remains of a yellow Dog’s Vomit Slime Mould but came across a good display of a coral fungus, .Ramaria stricta


Ramaria stricta © Richard Smith

 

We found another good fungal specimen at the base of a beech tree, Cauliflower Fungus, and several Violet Door Beetles before we emerged from the wood and followed the wood margin up the hill.


Cauliflower Fungus © Richard Smith


A damp drainage ditch encouraged dragonfly, moss and sundew and several Southern Wood Ant mounds were dotted up the line. Looking out across the Gorse and heather a distant raptor was probably a large female Sparrowhawk being mobbed by crows, for generally Corvids avoid Goshawks like the plague. Much nearer was a family of Stonechat. An attractive moth, a Silver Y, settled on the bracken by the path and we found Oyster Mushrooms, King Alfreds Cakes, and heard Nuthatch and Long-tailed Tits.

 

Diving back into the wood we headed back, finding Green Elf Cup, several Russula mushrooms, an immature Beefsteak Fungus that resembled a slime mould, heard Ravens croaking nearby and saw a fascinating collection of more Violet Door Beetles working through a patch of dung.


Green Elf Cup © Chris Robinson

Fox poo with Sloe stones and Violet Dor Beetles © Chris Robinson

An immature Beefsteak Fungus © Andy Skarstein

Back in the car park a wonderful specimen of a Goat Moth caterpillar was found. I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely morning in the woods despite not finding many birds and, in particular, the promised array of exotic species such as Crossbill and Dartford Warbler. Glad I didn’t mention the Wildebeest! RP


Goat Moth caterpillar © Andy Skarstein


Field Meeting Report: Matley Wood

Rowan  (Sorbus aucuparia)      GP

On a grey, still morning, twenty-seven members gathered in Matley car park to explore the wood and surrounding area. We paused briefly in the campsite where a few bird feeders hung in the trees before branching north into the Ancient and Ornamental Woodland of Matley Wood.  This term refers to areas of the forest containing a mixture of native trees and bushes, largely natural and unchanged, that are not subject to statutory inclosure. (1).  We passed Oak, Holly, Small-leafed Lime, Yew, Sweet Chestnut, Crab Apple and Rowan.   Signs of Autumn appeared as we noted the Holly, Crab and Rowan were all filled with fruit, the Rowan already being plundered by Blackbirds. 

Emerging from the wood we followed a sand and gravel track over the heath towards a footbridge on the Beaulieu River. A series of parallel ridges in the heath suggest possible earlier ploughing activity - several areas of the forest were ploughed for food production during the Second World War.  We found several large fragments of metal shrapnel amongst the furrows, evidence of extensive wartime training activities in this area during both world wars (1). 

Dwarf Gorse  (Ulex minor)      DP
Marsh Clubmoss (Lycopodiaella inundata) CR













Amongst the different species of heather that were in full flower, we noted Dwarf Gorse, Devilsbit Scabious, Harebell, Marsh Clubmoss, and Sundew; the latter two giving a clue as to how wet this area can be.  

Small White      RS
Grayling Camouflage      CR




Amongst the heather, Small White and Grayling butterflies were observed, the latter being well camouflaged and reluctant to fly.  

Fox Moth Caterpillar     MF

A Fox Moth caterpillar was found on the heath.  There were also patches of a tiny red-capped lichen, Cladonia floerkeana.  

    Coral Necklace     MF      


Coral Necklace Illecebrum verticilatum was growing in a small dried out, dusty depression beside the track, soon to be waterlogged again.

Approaching the tree line beside the Beaulieu River, we paused to watch Spotted Flycatchers darting out from the trees to capture insects. We moved along the bank of the river, visiting areas that have been heavily poached by cattle.  On the river bank, Water Forgetmenot, Water Mint, Water-pepper and Lesser Water-plantain were all seen and a Raven flew overhead. 



Green Woodpecker dropping    RS




Marge pointed out a cylindrical white Green Woodpecker dropping and later examination showed numerous ant exoskeletons within. 





Nodding Bur-marigold (Bidens cernua)    DP



 Chamomile was growing in small clumps   close by the second river bridge as well as a   good stand of Nodding Bur-marigold.  This   boggy area is normally busy with dragonfly,   but was quiet on this day.



Spotted Flycatcher      RS





Stopping for a break at the hill fortification just to the South of Home Farm proved fortuitous. The Alder, and Willow trees along the river bank and the surrounding lawn were busy with numerous Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart and either Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler - we could not agree on the latter! A group of Woodlark appeared, a flock of House Martin and a few Swallow circled high over the trees and a distant Buzzard was seen.





Wolf Bee Philanthus triangulum  CR

 

Walking back towards Matley, we enjoyed the view from the top of one of three ancient barrows (3).  The eroded sandy path back to the woods has left a bank suited to the Bee Wolf which have have excavated several tunnels with characteristic “D” shaped entrances.  A few were found on the path and in the cooler temperature were relatively docile and could be examined closely. 


 


Returning to the northern edge of the wood we skirted around the wooded perimeter and then back to the car park, noting some fungi and some green stained wood, evidence of Green Elf-cup, Chloriciboria aeruginascens, on the way.

 

Earthball  Scleroderma citrinum    CR
Slime Mould       GP

Green Elf-cup   Chloricioria aeruginascens  GP
RS


References

 1/ THE NEW FOREST An Ecological History - 1968; Colin R. Tubbs

 2/ White Moor - its military history : http://www.newforestexplorersguide.co.uk/heritage/lyndhurst/white-moor-military-connections.html#bombing-school

 3/ Two bowl barrows and a bell barrow on Matley Heath: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1009880

 An interesting drone survey of the area along with more information can be viewed here:   https://youtu.be/csoqTK1E3kM 


Photographs: ©  M. Fidkin, G Payne, D Potter, C Robinson, R. Smith


Map:

©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 008/21

GPX