Walk report: 05 December 2019 Bolderwood

Wood Ants' nest © Richard Coomber

On a bright, but chilly, morning a baker’s dozen of us set out from the Bolderwood car park for a walk looking for winter thrushes. We walked down the hill past the deer sanctuary, no deer, but we did see a song thrush, Blackbirds and lots of Robins! There was a Collared Dove on one of the trees and a pair of Stock Doves in another. We had brief views of Chaffinch and Blue Tit, and a Buzzard flapped lazily over the sanctuary. We passed two Southern Wood Ants’ nests, both soggy and seemingly devoid of life, but the queen and her court will be right down in the dry, and warm, centre of the nest. We cut across on a muddy green track to the next path going up through the Holly grove.
Redwing © Chris Robinson

Fieldfare © Chris Robinson
Then we kept seeing movement in the trees and on the ground and it soon became apparent (from the soft chuntering) that these were the Redwings and Fieldfares we had been hoping to see. I like to think that they ‘talk’ to each other, and we could hear this quite clearly. We got excellent views of both species as they foraged for the abundant Holly berries, (it is a very good year for most fruit). As we stood listening and watching a herd of Fallow Deer made a distant appearance, but it soon became apparent that there were hundreds of the thrushes! We watched in awe as the sheer number of birds criss-crossed the sky, going from tree to tree. Roosts this year in the area have been estimated at several hundred, and we must have seen a fair percentage of these.

Holly flowers in December! © Richard Coomber
In the Holly grove Brian spotted a Holly in flower! In December! This prompted a long discussion on holly, was it monoecious or dioecious? I got them back to front, as ever, and Pam got it right, as ever. Holly is dioecious (it has male and female plants) not monoecious (having both sexes on the one plant). So, this was a male tree, with the small, white flowers each with four anthers. Also on the tree we saw that Blue Tits had been extracting the leaf miners. Blue tits have a special technique for this, leaving a very distinctive, neat ‘v’ shaped mark on the surface. The mine was probably that of Holly Leaf-miner Phytomyza ilicis.
 (Diptera: Agromyzidae)

We continued up the hill back to the car park, all the time being surrounded by the thrushes flying around communicating with each other.

A short but eventful walk which makes one marvel at the birds who have come from Scandinavia and central Europe to share our winter with us. CR
Common Funnel © Chris Robinson
Pony damage to Beech tree © Richard Coomber

Walk report: 01 December 2019 Normandy

Snow Bunting © Richard Smith
Snow Bunting © Glynis Payne

Brian led 8 LymNats on the first walk of winter proper from Maiden Lane. It turned out to be an exceptional morning and here are the "Top Ten" sightings:

1. A solitary Snow Bunting on the seaward side of the sea wall at the junction of Oxey and Pennington Lagoons. Searching the ground intently for seeds and strandline invertebrates, shuffling forward on short legs (the SB, not the LymNats!), it was possible to approach and get a close view. It was so obliging that we didn’t ‘crowd it’ like the people shown in a photo on the internet subsequently.

 2. Also on Oxey Lagoon, a Long-tailed Duck. A small sea duck, a winter visitor from the Arctic, which made frequent deep dives.

Long-tailed Duck © Glynis Payne
3. Goldeneye (+ 2) on Normandy Lagoon. The distinctive dived constantly and, when on the surface, began displaying by raising its head and suddenly arching it back over its rump.

4. Whilst searching for the Goldeneye, a Red-breasted Merganser () appeared in Richard's 'scope. Like all sawbills it is a fish-eater, diving energetically and staying submerged for long periods as it drives itself along underwater with its feet.
 5. In bright sunlight the electric-blue rump of a Kingfisher was seen on several occasions. One was seen hovering over Normandy Lagoon before plunge-diving and then flying low, fast and straight to a perch on the far side of the lagoon.

Spotted Redshank © Richard Smith

6. Spotted Redshank on Oxey Lagoon, dynamic and energetic in its/their feeding actions. Pairs and small groups were seen leaping, running, upending and diving for tiny fish in shallow water, often wading more deeply than the Redshank.

Common Redshank © Glynis Payne
7. Stonechat ( + ) in the open field behind Oxey Barn. In the absence of a better perch the returned frequently to a convenient cowpat.
Dunlin © Richard Smith
8. Several Kestrels were seen hovering head to wind over the fields. It is a bird that is able to keep its head still relative to the ground, absorbing the effects of the wind by moving its body and adjusting its wings and tail.

9. Other waders included Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank and Dunlin

10. The "Best of the Rest" (starting with the most numerous): Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Pintail, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe: Long-tailed Tit, Starling,

An entry in the Hampshire Bird Atlas 2007-2012 reads "... an encounter with a Snow Bunting can be the highlight of a chilly winter's day on the Hampshire coast." I don't think any of the LymNats that saw it would disagree. BM

Walk report: 21 November 2019 Eling

The report is not too detailed this time

As just for some fun, I've done it in rhyme.

Sue and Geoff and seventeen more

Gathered at Eling to walk by the shore.

Before that though, we thought we “aughta”

Stroll inland by Bartley Water.

The first good sighting of this tranche

Was a Kingfisher poised upon a branch.

Mallard and Mute Swan were closer to see

Blue tits aplenty were up in the  tree.

© Richard Smith
Over the footbridge and into the wood

Bird life was quiet but fungi were good,

Funnel-cap (common) were seen on the ground

Jelly Ear was the best of the others we found.

Out past the reedbed, over the boardwalk,

We stopped in the graveyard for biscuits and talk.

Jelly Ear
© Glynis Payne
Next on the field trip, within easy reach

We went up to the churchyard and down to the beach.

It didn't take long to look fore and aft

And see numerous Wigeon bobbing in raft.

We saw Great-crested Grebe, Curlew and Coot

With, Oystercatcher, Jackdaw and Turnstone to boot

Cormorant, egret, godwit, Teal, Brent

Were others we spotted before back we went.

Both in the churchyard and our return way

We were treated to views of colourful Jay

And on reaching the car park, ready to go

Again, the Kingfisher - another fine show.

Geoff Nuckley 

And we all photographed the Kingfisher!

© Richard Smith

© Glynis Payne

© Richard Coomber