Walk report: 04 July 2019 Canadian Memorial and Mockshade

Small Copper
© Chris Robinson

On a bright, sunny morning, 16 of us set off from the Canadian Memorial car park. We entered the woods by the gate and walked along the gravel cycle path until it veered off to the left. We kept straight on to a green path and were immediately surrounded by butterflies. A Small Copper caught our eye, as did a skipper (Essex or Small, it was too quick for us to tell). There were Meadow Browns everywhere and both Common and Silver-studded Blues were abundant. Silver-washed Fritillary, Red Admiral and Large White were present. A Golden-ringed Dragonfly patrolled up and down the ride, and several moths and grasshoppers were seen.

In the trees we spotted a Tree Pipit and a Goldcrest, Robins were about and a Green Woodpecker was heard. We followed the path downhill to the foot-bridge over Long Brook. Here we saw Grey Wagtails and another Silver-washed. 
Tree Pipit
© Chris Robinson

The Environment Agency was doing a survey of the stream and we eat our biscuits whilst talking to them. They had caught (via an electrofisher) Brown Trout, Bullhead (also known as Miller’s Thumb), Minnows and a Brook Lamprey.

Four-spotted Chaser
© Chris Robinson
Large Skipper
© Glynis Payne
Common Blue - male
© Glynis Payne
We then walked up the hill, again there was an abundance of Meadow Brown and various blue butterflies. We saw Stonechat and Meadow Pipit and heard a Blackcap. When we reached the top of Mockshade Hill the views were stunning. We turned left, back into the shade of the trees and down to the pond. There were too many dragonflies and damselflies to count. I reckon there were at least six different species, if not more. These included Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, Common Darter, Small Red Damselfly and Common Blue Damselfly. 

We continued down the path and were surprised to see movement ahead. There is a large puddle where water from the last rains persists. The local birds were taking advantage of this. Nuthatch, various tits, goldfinch and a family of Long-tailed Tits were all bathing and drinking. We stood transfixed until I made the executive decision to move on. Only then did we see the Grass Snake slither through the water and out on to the verge. Along the edges of the path Grey Agarics were growing.

When we got back to the cars most people headed off for home, but 7 of us crossed the road to visit the holly grove across the way. We had very good views of Great-spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Great Tit and Robin. Goldcrest was heard and, as we were walking back up the cycle track, we caught a fleeting glimpse of a Redstart. CNR

Environment Agency Surveying
© Glynis Payne
Brook Lamprey
© Glynis Payne 

This week's walk: Thursday 18 July 2019 A moth event in Angela's Brockenhurst garden

Instead of walking this week we will be looking at moths in Angela Morrell's garden at Weirs House, North Weirs, Brockenhurst SO42 7QA or Grid ref SU285021. The format will be the same as last year's event and we'll try to include a set-up to enable anyone to photograph those moths caught during the previous night. Rather than standing around as we look at the moths in pots you might like to bring a fold-up chair to sit on. Once we've finished those moths caught will be released back into the wild.

Walk report: 20 June 2019 Norleywood

Heath Spotted Orchid
© Chris Robinson

On a mild cloudy morning 26 of us entered Norley Inclosure. This very pleasant wood has undergone some selective conifer thinning recently, with many wood stacks consisting mainly of Douglas Fir. As the sun came out Speckled Wood butterflies were fluttering together protecting their  territories and a female Beautiful Demoiselle was seen. Along the
track verges Enchanter’s nightshade, Nipplewort and Foxgloves were growing.

Grey-spotted Amanita
© Duncan Wright
We turned left at the pound. This area is always wet, and was very muddy due to the recent rain. Here our group split into those prepared to skirt the pound and risk the mud, and those prepared to try and get through the pound, both of which caused some merriment. The path which goes along an old drove is slightly raised at this point with wet areas either side. Here  species seen were Marsh Penny-wort, Lesser Spearwort, Pale Persicaria, Marsh Cud-weed, Toad Rush and Marsh St John’s-wort, also a Common Frog, Hornet and Red Admiral were spotted. Walking on a puzzling bird call was heard, and then unexpectedly a Helmeted Guineafowl was found.  As the path opened out to the heath, Wood Ants from a nearby nest were trying to move what looked like a dead young Slow Worm. Several times we came across the fungi Grey-spotted Amanita.

Meadow Thistle
© Chris Robinson
From the heath we walked down to Crockford stream. Flowers seen were Heath Bedstraw, Tormentil, Heath Speedwell, Saw-wort, Meadow Thistle, Yellow Pimpernel, Bell Heather, Spotted Heath Orchid and Lesser Water Plantain was found in a damp shaded area, also Common Cow-wheat bordering the wood. At the stream we stopped for biscuits and had a chance to identify more flowers. There were both Water and Creeping Forget-me-nots, Marsh and Meadow Thistles, Water-cress, Water Crowfoot sp,  Burnet Rose and Bog-myrtle.

Lacewing on Gorse
© Glynis Payne
Then retracing our steps  we turned right following the edge of the wood overlooking Lower Crockford Bottom and eventually re-entered Norley Inclosure. Here a Green Lacewing was seen and photographed. The different species of some of the Green Lacewings can be difficult to identify, and even from the photograph species identification was not possible. Some members at the rear of our group were lucky enough to see a Common Lizard before returning to the car park.

Not many birds were spotted on this walk, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Robin, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch and Green Woodpecker were seen and Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Jay, Coal Tit, Wren, Nuthatch, Siskin, Song Thrush, and Willow Warbler were heard. Other plants seen were Round-leaved Sundew, Oblong-leaved Sundew, Bog Asphodel, Cross-leaved Heath, Sheep’s Sorrel, Lousewort, a Bog Stitchwort and Hard Fern. The only other fungi was Chanterelle. PP
Common Lizard
© Richard Smith

This week's walk: 04 July 2019 Canadian Memorial SU240092

This week's walk is for birds and general interest led by Chris Robinson at the Canadian Memorial SU240092 setting off at 10:00.

Be Tick Aware

It's that time of the year again!

Roydon Woods Wood and Local Produce Fair: 09 June 2019

Brian Matthews was one of our members who attended this event and has submitted the following:

Roydon Woods Wood and Local Produce Fair was held on Sunday 9th June from 11.00 - 16.00. This event was the 10th Wood Fair which has now become a biennial event, having been held annually until 2015 and the 9th having taken place on 18th June 2017. At over 380 hectares Roydon Woods is HIWWT's largest reserve and was gifted to them in 1978 by Peter Barker-Mill. The day offered guided walks, demonstrations of crafts and machinery, children's activities and timber and local produce for sale. Stands present included the New Forest Non-native Plants Project, New Forest National Park Authority, New Forest Area Conservation Volunteers, Tools for Self Reliance, Woodland Management at Hoburne Bashley Woods, Hampshire Ornithological Society, Hampshire Swifts and Beaulieu Young Farmers. During the event wood sculptor Paul Sivell transformed a log into a leaping hare by using chain-saws.

Guided walks at 12.00 and 14.00 were led by Bob Chapman and John Durnell respectively and both covered the wild flower meadows of the now scarce habitat, unimproved grassland. Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids were in flower but they also produce a hybrid which manifests some of the characteristics of both parents, making definitive identification difficult. Other flowers/plants included Lesser Stitchwort, Meadow and Creeping Buttercup, Water-pepper, Water Mint, Germander Speedwell, Marsh Thistle, Ragged Robin, Pignut and Common Lousewort amongst the sedges, rushes (including Jointed and Compact) and grasses. Insects included Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton, Hornet (not Asian!), male Emperor Dragonfly, female Keeled Skimmer, a wasp-like hover fly and soldier beetle. Besides the numerous webs of tunnel spiders, possibly the most interesting sighting was of a female Roesel's Bush-cricket with its distinctive short and upcurved ovipositor.

Bob Chapman was joined by Pete Durnell (HCC) to open 2 moth traps at 13.00. Despite the previous evening not being ideal for moth-trapping, the traps produced an interesting sample of a few of the potential 100+ species that might have been expected at this time of year. Besides examples of 3 magnificent hawk-moths (Eyed, Poplar and Privet) were Buff-tip, White Plume Moth, Heart and Dart, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Buff and White Ermines, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Common Swift, Clouded Border, Willow Beauty and Treble Line.

Early reports put the attendance on a glorious afternoon at around 1300. Roydon Woods was at its best - highly recommended.