This week's talk: 25 February 2020 Gardening for Wildlife by Alan Edmondson.

This week's talk is Gardening for Wildlife by Alan Edmondson. The speaker is RHS listed and has been giving presentations for over thirty years. In 1985 he was National Mastermind of Gardening. His last talk to us was on Beetles in the Garden.

The indoor meetings are held at The Lymington Centre (McLellan Hall) on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month and commence at 7.15pm. Visitors are always welcome for a small charge (adults £5, juniors £1).

This week's walk: 20 February 2020 Blackwater (SU267047)

Our general interest walk on 20 February 2020 is led by Angela in the Blackwater area meeting at SU267047 setting off at 10:00 as usual.

This week's talk: 11 February 2020 Bats – Super Heroes of the Night

This week's talk is Bats – Super Heroes of the Night Nik Knight. The speaker is the chairman and webmaster of the Hampshire Bat Group and also County Recorder. We may find that our area holds more species than we thought.

The indoor meetings are held at The Lymington Centre (McLellan Hall) on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month and commence at 7.15pm. Visitors are always welcome for a small charge (adults £5, juniors £1).

Walk report: 02 February 2020 Normandy

Avocets in flight at Normandy © Chris Robinson

On an unseasonably mild Sunday morning after overnight rain, Brian and 14 LymNats were joined by Mark Appleton, a Coastal Ranger with Bird Aware Solent ( Bird Aware Solent is a partnership of local councils and conservation bodies around the Solent which aims to help people enjoy the coast without disturbing the thousands of birds that over-winter here.

We took the footpath south behind 8 Acre Pond before turning north and proceeding anticlockwise along the sea wall around Normandy Marsh, returning to Maiden Lane via the Pinckney Path and Normandy Lane. As the lower part of Normandy Lane was completely flooded, Maiden Lane was regained via the sea wall and Maiden Dock. With wildfowl and wader numbers at their peak there was much to see, of which the following is only a small selection:
Common Snipe
© Chris Robinson

A male Dartford Warbler emerged briefly from the scrub in the vicinity of Maiden Dock sluice. On Normandy there were 15+ Avocet on Normandy as well as 3 female Goldeneye, 10+ Snipe and after any disturbance (sometimes a perceived potential predator or the occasional dog whistle) the sky was filled with the aerial displays of large flocks of Lapwing and Dunlin.

Richard put his 'scope on a Peregrine on its "usual" post on the offshore coastal marsh and mudflats, presumably resting having dined and Mark then spotted 2 Spoonbills flying south offshore, unfortunately directly into the sun. In the fields behind Normandy Barn a solitary Greylag Goose consorted with Canada Geese.
Curlew © Chris Robinson

The most numerous sighting was of Dark-bellied Brent Geese which were everywhere, on land, lagoon, sea and in the air. Others included Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Shelduck, Shoveler, Curlew and Turnstone. Smaller groups and individuals included Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Cormorant.

The return produced some sightings other than birds: Jill spotted 3 Roe Deer in a field, Winter Heliotrope, Primrose, Sweet Violet, English Elm and Butcher's Broom. BM

Walk Report: 16 January 2020 Lepe

Great Northern Diver
© Chris Robinson

After tempestuous Storm Brendan twelve Lym Nats stalwarts met for a walk at Lepe Country Park. The forecast was not great and way to the west we could see the next weather system heading our way, so with no time to loose we headed east. We joined the coast near Stansore Point, where on Stansore Pools a handful of Brent Geese fed along with a couple of Redshank. Oystercatchers, Black-headed Gulls, whilst a lone Common Gull just appeared to be resting. The Solent was choppy,  whipped up by the onshore wind, but that hadn’t deterred the Great Northern Diver that loafed amongst the waves quite close to the shore. Along the shore Turnstones searched for sustenance along the tide line, where we also saw Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail and a female Stonechat. Fly-overs included a Raven and Buzzard.

After we looked at the D-Day information board the first spits of rain were carried on the wind, so we headed back towards the car park up the sheltered lane. By the time we were there that shower had passed, so the bird hide and woodland walk along the eastern side of the nearby Dark Water River beckoned. 

Long-tailed Tits
© Chris Robinson
A number of the conspicuous plants such as Bay, Lesser Periwinke and Broad-leaved Bamboo were naturalised species, perhaps from the gardens of the large house that was there until the 1970s. On reaching the bird hide that overlooked the Dark Water River we realised that recent heavy rains had raised the waterlevels so there was nowhere for shorebirds to feed, although that didn’t bother the likes of Shelduck, Gadwall and Little Grebe. The bird feeders in front of the hide attracted an endless succession of Blue Tits, but the most interesting perhaps was the cluster of hungry and hyper-active Long-tailed Tits that appeared shortly after we settled into the hide.

Black Nightshade
© Richard Coomber
When we left we took the boardwalk beside the Dark Water reed-beds towards the sea before heading up the hill towards the site of the old house and thence back to the car park. Little was seen of note although perhaps Black Nightshade in flower was a little surprising for the books say its flowering period is from July – September! Is climate change to blame? RC