Field meeting report : 23rd October 2020 - Calshot

On a bright but showery morning Geoff and Richard Smith “gathered” for the programmed field meeting at Calshot, albeit a day late and an earlier start for convenience. 

Fortunately, the torrential rain held off until we were heading back to the cars but one of the earlier showers provided the most spectacular sighting of the day – a double rainbow over the Fawley power station chimney. This was a real juxtaposition of nature and industry and although Richard's photo is brilliant, you had to be there to fully appreciate it!

Collared doves accompanied our walk from the village down the field to the reed beds where the sunlight briefly caught the arrow like flight of a Kingfisher. However, our patience was not rewarded with a reappearance so we moved on. 

Across the heath towards the saltmarsh, numerous fungi were evident which certainly  highlighted our lack of expertise in mycology even with a handbook at the ready! 

Common Puffball © RS

Common Toadflax © RS

A violet fungus could have been either Amethyst Deceiver Laccaria amethystina or possibly Lilac Bonnet Mycena pura but we are reasonably confident with Common Puffball Lycoperdon perlatum and we found large numbers of a variety of Milkcap Lactarius but were unable to pin down which variety. This is where we really missed the wisdom of a full Lymnats contingent!

There was a fine display of Common Toadflax in flower and a dog rose laden with hips as we headed on towards the Calshot Marshes reserve. Here it was low tide so many of the waders were well out at the waters edge. There were several Curlew, Redshank, and Black Tailed Godwits and an abundance of Oystercatchers. Several Little Egrets were busy among the grasses and offshore there was a large raft of Widgeon and the usual Cormorant on a post with wings outstretched. A couple of Stonechats were darting about on the shingle bank demonstrating how effectively they are camouflaged as they “disappeared” when still.

Sea Kale © Geoff Nuckley
© Geoff Nuckley

Crossing to the Solent shore side of the beach huts, the blustery winds had brought out a lot of kite surfers so with bird life rather lacking owing to all the activity, we turned our attention to plants of the shingle and identified Sea Kale, Valerian and Yellow Horned Poppy before the downpour struck and we retired to dry off.