Hopefully we have seen the end of the 'Beasts from the East' and as the days warm and lengthen the pace of Spring will increase.

During the cold spells several members had interesting birds in their gardens including Blackcap, Reed Buntings, Fieldfares and Redwings, but perhaps the best we have heard of so far was a Hawfinch in one lucky member's garden!

Juvenile Brents and an adult
Wheatear at Lower Pennington Lane 
Over the last few months groups of birdwatchers have been doing co-ordinated counts of the Brent Geese along the Solent and one of the things noted was the almost complete lack of juvenile geese in the flocks. Juveniles have pale bars on their wings. It transpires that on their breeding grounds in Arctic Russia 2017 was a bad year for Lemmings, a species that Rough-legged Buzzards, skuas, Arctic Foxes and other high-Arctic predators depend. With few Lemmings they turned to the next best thing - Brent Geese goslings. In theory this coming summer should see an increase in Lemmings, so therefore we should see more juvenile Brents next winter - time will tell!  

In spite of the cold weather early summer migrants have started to appear with a scattering of
Brimstone butterfly
Wheatears from a number of places in the area and Sand Martins being reported from Pennington Marshes and Blashford Lakes.

We had a Brimstone butterfly on Pam Poole's Lym Nats walk in Setthorns last week and in three weeks or so it will be worth looking out for the Green-winged Orchids along Woodside Lane, Lymington.

Green-winged Orchid

If you have any interesting sightings you would like to share, then please let us know and we'll try to add it to the blog as and when practical.

All photos © Richard Coomber