Walk report: 15 September 2022 Studland Common and Milfor Pleasure Grounds with Brian and Tina Vaughan

The walk started on a cloudy morning from the Needles Eye Cafe car park. Everyone was given a map of the Milford Pleasure Grounds.

Our route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022

Local landowner Colonel Cornwallis-West was not financially able to make Milford into the seaside resort he was hoping for, like Bexhill on Sea. There is no pier, esplanade, bandstand or hydropathic centre, nor a busy port at Keyhaven. Otherwise Milford-on-Sea would not have the charm and character it has today, designed by architect William Ravenscroft who died in 1943.

We had a short walk along the cliff top where Viper's Bugloss and Red and White Campion were found. We entered Tony Locke Orchard, on the edge of Studland Common, where many trees have been planted by Milford Conservation Volunteers who manage many of the green areas along with the Parish Council.

Tony Locke's information board © Tina Vaughan

Robin and House Sparrow were seen, and then as we walked into the meadow a Buzzard flew over. The meadow was full of bees and butterflies in the summer, so we must return next year.

Marmalade Fly © Tina Vaughan

We came out of the meadow and turned left at Iris's bench where there are old Badger sets. On the Common there were many Goldfinches enjoying the seed heads. Lesser Knapweed, thistles, Common Agrimony, Burnet Rose, Perforate St John's Wort and Wild Basil all grew there as well as Parasol Mushrooms and Common Puffball. 

Burnet Rose hips © Chris Robinson

On Dog Roses was a good collection of Robin's Pincushions created by the larvae of the Bedeguar Gall Wasp Diplolepis rosae. A Knopper Gall off a Pedunculate Oak was found on the grass. Freshly emerged female Knopper Oak Gall Wasps Andricus quercuscalicis will seek out a Turkey Oak to lay eggs on the catkins, producing males and female larvae to find native oaks and produce spectacular shaped galls. We also saw a Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, House Martin, Herring Gull and another Buzzard being chased by a Carrion Crow.

Robin' Pincushion and rose hips © Richard Smith

We entered the wooded Pleasure Grounds but being distracted by the fighting Buzzard the group accidently split into two directions. We paused to look at the red berries of Black Bryony entwined around Sloes and Blackberries. Spindle berries were not quite ripe but would soon turn pink. The separate groups found each other again, difficult with poor phone signal.

Black Bryony berries and Sloes © Tina Vaughan

Walking through the woods there were fungi including an impressive group of Parasol Mushrooms as well as Hazel Woodwart and Beechwood Sickener. A Green Woodpecker yaffle was heard and a Willow Warbler seen. Cyclamen grew in the bank as we approached the Mill Pond, maintained by the houses that surround it. It was quite choked with Common Reed, but still housed a family of Moorhens, a Kingfisher and large carp and some Rudd. Giant Horsetail was growing very well, as was Bittersweet (a nightshade). Nearby we found Alder Leaf Beetle larvae made patterns in the leaves.

Giant Horsetail © Chris Robinson

Bittersweet © Richard Coomber

Meg's Bridge, boardwalk and steps are currently closed due to restoration work being required, so we returned to the car park and finished 2.3 miles at 12.30 TV

Rudd in the Mill Pond © Richard Smith

Indoor Meeting: Tuesday 27 September 2022 St. Thomas' Church Hall - AGM and a Gordon Small talk

Our first indoor meeting of the coming 2022/23 season starts at 7:15pm in 
St. Thomas' Church Hall. Member free, visitors £5.00

Gordon Small

Gordon has spoken to us previously on a variety of places he has visited over the years and this time it is about an area a little nearer to home. It promises to an interesting and well-illustrated talk.

It will be preceded for 15 minutes by:

Lymington and District Naturalists' Society AGM 2022

chaired by Robert Payne

This week's walk: 15 September 2022 Studland Common and Milford-on-Sea Pleasure Grounds with Tina and Brian Vaughan

This week's walk is a General Interest one and starts in the Hordle Cliff Car Park at Milford-on-Sea and visits nearby Studland Common and the adjacent Milford-on-Sea Pleasure Grounds with our leaders Tina and Brian Vaughan. Set off 10:00 and car park fees apply unless one had a NFDC long stay parking clock.

Grid Ref:                     SZ 276 918

What3Words:       occupiers.sadly.pain

Walk report: 01 September 2022 Keyhaven Marshes with Chris Robinson

It was a good start to the walk for there were Turnstones in Keyhaven Harbour, several still in breeding plumage, rummaging in the seaweed. Back, once more, from their breeding sites in Scandinavia and the Arctic. 

Turnstone - adult © Chris Robinson

As we walked along the sea wall we heard (and saw) a few Curlews and Oystercatchers and Little Egrets were present. There was a lone Wheatear and, on the Solent side, several Eider and Great Crested Grebes. Two Wigeon flew past heading west, the first taste of the winter duck influx. 

Wheatear © Chris Robinson

Eider - female and drake in eclipse plumage © Chris Robinson

I have never seen Fishtail Lagoon so dry or so devoid of birds! Butts and Jetty Lagoons were also very dry but in the puddles that remained we saw the long-staying juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, as well as Common and Spotted Redshanks, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and juvenile Little Stint, Knot, and Curlew Sandpiper. 

Pectoral Sandpiper - juvenile © Richard Smith

Common Redshank - juvenile © Richard Smith

Knot - juvenile © Chris Robinson

Curlew Sandpiper - juvenile © Chris Robinson

Of the small birds we expect to see on the Marsh only a couple of Pied Wagtails, a few Linnets and the odd Stonechat were present. Those at the front caught a glimpse of a Reed Bunting and there were Swallows and Sand Martins overhead. CR

Pectoral Sandpiper - juvenile © Chris Robinson

Additional notes on Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpipers breed north of the Arctic Circle mainly on the coastal tundra of Canada (west of Hudson Bay) to Alaska with fewer breeding in Siberia west to Taimyr Peninsular. It is a regular annual visitor to the British Isles mostly in the Autumn. The great majority of Pec Sands, as they are more affectionally called by birders, winter in South America from Peru to southern Argentina. 

© Chris Robinson

Over recent weeks there have been a number recorded across the the British Isles. According to the highly regarded Rare Birds of Hampshire by John Clark (HOS 2022) there were 100 records in the county between the first in 1947 and 2020 – the cut-off date for the book. It appears that Keyhaven/Pennington area is a ‘hot-spot’ for the species recording 37 of those, with no less than five being present between 06-16 September 1970. contributed by RC


Badmington Horse Trials c1971 © Richard Coomber

Walk report:: 18th August 2022 Matley Wood with Jo Dowle

Lym Nats met in the Matley Wood car park on a sunny morning just a few days after the drought had broken.  There were immediate signs of the effect of the recent downpours, with patterned tracks in the woodland debris as the rainwater had run down the paths.

We made our way through part of the campsite and down the path heading north through this old woodland, hearing various common birds: Robin, Chaffinch, Great Tit.  A Redstart and a Raven were heard by some.  A large oak near the path had an active wasp nest in a cavity, happily at high level, so we could safely view their activity and the beautifully patterned nest. 

Wasp nest © Chris Robinson

The wood contains a good variety of deciduous trees, although the oldest (according to the woodland trust veteran tree map) are off the paths, hidden in the Bracken.  There was a notable large Common Lime tree along with the usual oak, Beech, Sweet Chestnut, Holly and Ash.  Several fine specimens of the bright orange Chicken-of-the-Woods fungus were seen, some of which had grown in just over a week (since the walk recce).

Chicken-of-the-Woods © Richard Smith

Once we emerged from the wood onto Matley Heath we headed northeast, passing two raised areas covered in Bracken which are Bronze Age burial mounds. A Buzzard could be heard calling and we eventually spotted two perched not far off in the trees.  A deeply cut path then leads down to a small stream, a tributary of the Beaulieu River.  There were many nest holes of solitary bees and wasps in the sandy sides of the path, but only a few small unidentified bees seen.  The banks had examples of all 3 heather species as well as Dwarf Gorse.  

Common Carder Bee on Dwarf Gorse © Richard Smith

We stopped for a rest underneath a larger mound where a very young calf could be seen hiding in the bracken.  This circular bank and ditch have been been identified as Neolithic and apparently the oldest settlement in the New Forest.   An interesting short video account of the dig there in 2019 is at https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2490654740998924

After our rest stop, where a few birds were seen (Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit and Goldfinch but sadly not the family of Woodlarks seen here on the recce visit) we followed the stream west along the river to a bridge where we headed south back towards Matley wood.  Devil’s-bit Scabious and Creeping Willow were amongst the plants noticed.  Many grasshoppers and spiders were seen living in the heather. A few butterflies were around, notably a Grayling with its fantastic camouflaged underwings. In the tall Gorse area near the wood’s edge there were Stonechats and we saw a small carved wooden figure of a Madonna which has apparently been fixed to an oak tree for more than 20 years (according to a regular visitor to the campsite).

Mottled Grasshopper (Myrmeleotettix maculatus) © Chris Robinson

Grayling © Chris Robinson

As we made our way back up the hill to the campsite and the car park, a lucky few at the front of the group had a very close encounter with an Adder which was lying right on the path. I estimated it to be 50cm or more, with very striking dark zig-zag markings. It only stayed in view long enough for this photo of its rear half!

Adder © Chris Robinson

Our route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022

This week's walk: 01 September 2022 Keyhaven with Chris Robinson

This week's walk starts by the sluice at Keyhaven, led by Chris Robinson, one of our society's experienced birders, setting off at 10.00. With the autumn migration well underway we can expect a good variety of birds to br recorded. Parking fee payable or long-stay parking clock.

Grid Ref:                     SZ 308 916

What3Words:       dolphins.trendy.shrubbery

Walk report: Oakley and Mill Lawn with Pam Poole

On a warm sunny morning our group set out to walk a circular route from the Oakley car park down to Mill Lawn and to return through Burley New Inclosue to Lucy Hill. After crossing the road we came to a lawned area which is usually boggy but after all the hot weather it was completely dry with just one small area of Marsh Pennywort and Marsh St John's-wort. From here we entered a small deciduous wood which skirts the main inclosure. There were several fallen oak and two Speckled Wood butterflies swirling together in a boundary dispute.

Marsh Pennywort © Richard Coomber

Leaving the wood the area opens out to lawn and gorse. Gatekeeper butterflies were fluttering around and well camouflaged on the brown grass. Continuing on we came to an area of grassy mounds. These mounds can be found around the forest lawns where flooding occurs. It is now thought that they have been formed where purple moor grass has been heavily grazed by the ponies. When an area floods, and the water retreats, silt is deposited around the tussocks of grass. Eventually over many years a mound is formed. Each mound appeared to have its own little ecosystem of plants and insects. Here we had good sightings of a male Redstart together with flocks of Linnets and Goldfinches, and also found 2 Robin’s Pincushion on dog rose, these are caused by the larvae a gall wasp called Diplolepis rosae, they were bright green at the moment, eventually they should turn red.
Redstart - male © Richard Smith 

On reaching Mill Lawn Brook we turned left to follow the meanderings of the stream. Growing on the stream’s banks were Marsh Thistle, Water Mint, Lesser Spearwort, Marsh Ragwort and Chamomile, and also Skullcap which was very pleasing. In the stream itself there was Fringed Water-lily but only a couple of yellow flowers showing. On the lawn there was Silverweed, Yarrow, Tormentil and just one solitary plant of Sneezewort. Patrolling the water was an Emperor Dragonfly one Beautiful Demoiselle was spotted and a White-legged Damselfly was photographed. Birds seen in this area were, a very pale Buzzard, Nuthatch, Carrion Crow, Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit, Swallow and 3 Grey Heron flying low and calling to each other. A flock of Starlings was present and a Green Woodpecker was heard. 

Skullcap © Sue Skarstein

Unbranched Bur-reed © Sue Skarstein

White-legged Damselfly © Richard Smith

On leaving the stream we walked towards Burley New Inclosure, again passing through another area of grassy mounds. We took time to look at the intricate webs of Funnel Spiders, the spiders sitting centrally in their funnel behind large sheets of webbing. As we approached the woods all three species of heather were seen, Ling, Cross-leaved Heath and Bell Heather.
Lesser Skullcap © Richard Smith

Inside the inclosure Lesser Skullcap and Common Cow-wheat and Hard Fern were growing along a dried out ditch and a Southern Wood Ants’ nest was seen. The woodland here is a good mixture of conifers and deciduous trees and we could hear Siskin calling high up in the conifers. Then on the way up to Lucy Hill birds seen were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Chiffchaff and Spotted Flycatcher.

Finally as we reached Oakley car park, in the shade was one small patch of Bog Pimpernel, in an area which is usually boggy but at the moment has dried out. PP 

Our route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022

This week's walk: 18th August 2022 Matley Wood with Jo Dowle

This Thursday's walk is a General Interest one led by Jo Dowle that sets off from the car park at Matley Wood at 10.00

Grid ref               SU332073

What3Words:     spun.inflict.ruling

This week's walk: 04 August 2022 Oakley with Pam Poole

 This week's General Interest walk is led by Pam Poole setting off from the Oakley car park at 10:00

Grid ref:              SU225046

What3words:      crafted,punctuate.former

Walk report: 21 July 2022 Culverley with Robert and Glynis Payne

Horsefly habitat © Richard Smith

We convened in Culverley car park, near Beaulieu, on a cooler day compared to recent extremes.

Setting off down a bank we paused a while on a little bridge over a quiet stream, admiring the flashes of fluttering colour from the Holly Blue, Gatekeeper and Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies.

Holly Blue © Sue Skarstein
A path through the trees revealed glimpses of Spotted Flycatcher, Chaffinch Song Thrush and a immature Blackcap with the calling of distant Stock Dove heard. We also identified Common Cow-wheat, Wood Sorrel and Purple Loosestrife.

Blackcap - immature © Chris Robinson

Passing through open areas we saw Mistle Thrush and, circumventing cattle sheltering in an oasis of shade, made our way into Tantany Wood, finding Redstart, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Wren and several sightings again of Spotted Flycatchers.

Woodland Grasshopper © Andy Skarstein
Speckled Wood butterfly greeted us with their spiralling dances as we picked our way among the old Oaks, Beeches and many fallen trees, breaking out finally into more open areas of Bracken, heather and cottongrass of Halfpenny Green.

Silver-studded Blue - female © Chris Robinson

We found Dwarf Gorse and Coral Necklace and Round-leaved Sundew where once it would have been wetter, a couple of Common and Silver-studded Blue butterflies and a Dark Giant Horsefly.

Dwarf Gorse with Ling © Chris Robinson
Coral Necklace © Richard Smith
Dark Giant Horsefly © Andy Skarstein
On nearing the car park we came across the charred remains of a fire which, thankfully, had not caused the catastrophic destruction of all the beauty that we had just walked through. R&GP


Our route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022.