This week's talk: Tuesday 26 October 2021 at 7.15pm, via Zoom: The Lymington-Keyhaven Marsh by Pete Durnell

 The Lymington-Keyhaven Marsh

by Pete Durnell

Tuesday 26 October 2021 at 7.15pm, via Zoom: The Lymington-Keyhaven Marsh by Pete Durnell

Pete is the senior wildlife ranger for our area and will showcase and update us on our very own special local nature reserve.

The talk will last for approximately 60 minutes, followed by an opportunity to ask questions.

Also, ensure you have updated your Zoom account as it must be no more than 9 months behind the current version.

Please try your Zoom connection prior to the evening and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need some support.

Then, to access the meeting on the night, click on the link provided by our email, dated 22nd October, from 7pm onwards. You will see a slideshow to start with.

Please remember to:

  • Turn on your audio when requested at the login stage to hear what is being said
  • Keep your video turned off and stay muted during the presentation
  • Please only turn on your microphone if directed in order to ask a question

We look forward to seeing you there and hope, again, that you enjoy the talk.

The December field Meeting: 09 December 2021 Lichens at Boldre Church with Duncan Wright 11 a.m. start

Field meeting - 9th December 2021

Please note the revised start time of 11:00am for this meeting only

Duncan Wright will be leading our Lichen walk at Boldre Church on Thursday 9th December. We meet at the car park accessed via a gravel drive off Church Lane just past the church as you approach from Boldre.  Please do not park directly outside the church.

Car park grid ref : SZ 3246 9936 / w3w : twice.forensic.moats

The walk will focus on the lichen found in the churchyard and surrounding trees. A 10x magnification hand lens would be a valuable, and relatively inexpensive piece of equipment to bring along to this walk to fully appreciate these miniature marvels.

For those wishing to extend their visit, a 5km circular walk, taking in part of Roydon Wood is possible. Printed maps of the route will be available on the day for anyone considering this.

Walk Report: 21 October 2021 Millyford Bridge with Robert and Glynis Payne

After many hours of torrential rain we were pleased to be greeted with a beautiful sunny, albeit cold, day. A Song Thrush sent us on our way across the open lawn of Millyford Bridge, site of a sawmill during the First World War, operated by men from Canada and Portugal to provide timber for the war effort. All that remains today are some concrete blocks and the fireplace of a long gone building, now known as The Portuguese Fireplace.

A beautiful morning for a walk! © Sue Skarstein

On entering the Holidays Hill Inclosure we quickly turned off the cycle track to the right and along a path into dense woodland where we came across a variety of fungi including Yellow Stagshorn, Bay Bolete, Fly Agaric, False Deathcap and many others.

Yellow Stagshorn © Sue Skarstein

We made our way through the wood, mostly with conifer on one side and deciduous on the other, coming to a more open Beech wood where we found Amethyst Deceiver among the leaf litter, Porcelain Fungus and Southern Brackets. A Fallow buck with an impressive set of antlers came running through very close. Skirting the boundary of Wooson’s Hill Inclosure we stopped for a break in a sunny glade filled with Chaffinch, Blue Tit and a Treecreeper. More fungi followed as we continued including Shaggy Inkcap, earthballs and various brittlegills

Lichens, fungi, mosses and ferns © Sue Skarstein

Cladonia floerkeana © Sue Skarstein

On leaving the Inclosure at Wooson’s Hill we found the King’s Mark, a slashed arrow, on several old Beeches, a mark from the 17th century indicating that they were earmarked for use in ship building for the King’s fleet. Crossing the road, we took the path into Holmhill Inclosure where we found a further rich variety of fungi including Coral Fungus more Porcelain Fungus, Purple Jellydisc and Oyster Mushroom.

Purple Jellydisc © Sue Skarstein

We retraced our steps across the wet lawn near the car park with Common Darters dancing around us.

Common Darter © Richard Coomber

All in all, a fungal extravaganza and too much to identify in the time we had available. Indeed, two members repeated the walk after lunch! RP

The walk's route from Robert Payne

This week's talk: 12 October 2021 ORCA: Marine Mammals and Recent Discoveries in St. Thomas' Church Hall

This week's talk is by Anne Bunney in St Thomas’ Church Hall and entitled:

ORCA: Marine Mammals and Recent Discoveries

We will look at the great cetaceans in our European waters and hear about the continuing work of ORCA and recent fascinating discoveries.

Note: We respectfully ask that attendees wear masks at our indoor meetings.


Our next meeting will via Zoom over the internet on 26th October when Pete Durnell's subject will be The Lymington - Keyhaven Marsh.

Walk report: 07 October 2021 Longstade and Hinchelsea with Andy and Sue Skarstein

We started from Longslade Bottom, went across the heath, through Hinchelsea Wood, and back along the edge of Hinchelsea Bog, starting in mist and low cloud, it soon lifted to leave light cloud.

number of Swallows and House Martins were seen flying over the lawns, many more gathered on the power lines.

Swallows and House Martins © Chris Robinson

Not far along the path flowering Water-pepper was spotted growing in the damp ditches.  More wild flowers were seen in the wet areas by the causeway, including seed heads of Marsh Lousewort with a few still in flower.  Alongside these was a heavy cover of non-flowering Marsh St John’s-wort. 


Marsh Lousewort © Sue Skarstein

Heading up the track to the woods we had a good view of Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Bullfinch feeding on a Rowan tree.  At the top of the hill on the edge of the woods, under the Scots pine there were Holly trees recently coppiced by Commoners to provide young growth for the ponies to eat this winter.  Also in this area Coal Tit and a Goldcrest were glimpsed flitting around the tops of the pines, whilst lower down a Clouded Yellow butterfly flew past.

An old pollarded Beech © Sue Skarstein

Artist's Bracket is usually found on Beech treees © Diane Potter

In the woods there are many ancient pollarded Beech and Holly trees and some very old Oak with their leaves covered in asexual Common Spangle Neuropterus quercusbaccarum and female Silk Button Neuroterus numismalis Galls.  The recent rain had prompted some fungi to start fruiting.  Artist's Bracket Ganoderma applanatum is usually found growing on Beech.

Common Splangle and Silk-button Wasp galls © Diane Potter

The galls in detail © Sue Skarstein

On decaying Beech logs there were many Small Stagshorn Calocera cornea, Turkeytail Trametes versicolor, Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum and Common Jellyspot Dacrymyces stillatus.  Further along the path in a tall decaying tree stump boot lace like strands of Honey Fungus Armillaria known as rhizomorpha was spotted.  Then beside the stump, growing on dead wood, a troop of Stump Puffball Lycoperdon pyriforme, an aged specimen of slime mould Fuligo septic and the nest of a solitary wasp.  The damper ground here being covered with tree like Black Haircap moss (Polytrichastrum formosum).

Stump Puffbals © Sue Skarstein

Black Haircap - a moss © Sue Skarstein

Bypassing a boggy area, we came across two large fungi, thought to be Deer Shield Pluteus cervinus, growing on a substantial den and stockade built from fallen tree branches. Back on the path there were more decaying fallen Beech where we found Southern Bracket Ganoderma austral, masses of Beech Woodwort Hypoxyln fragiforme, Beech Tarcrust Biscogniauxia nummularia and swarms of Beech Jellydisc Neobulgaria pura.

Deer Shield © Sue Skarstein

Leaving the woods we crossed the bog where the path was lined with Bog Myrtle and walking back to Longslade along the edge of the bog found the egg sac of a Wasp Spider Argiope bruennichi, also at this spot a couple of people saw a young Adder curled up in the same gorse the sac was in.  It was an interesting sighting to end the walk. A&SS

Monthly coastal bird walk: 04 October 2021 Normandy with Brian Matthews

The weather forecast for the first walk of the winter programme was not very promising but, after an initial heavy squall, the morning was one of sunny intervals, occasional showers and (sometimes double) rainbows. It was about one hour before a very high tide and, to keep the prevailing SW wind at our backs, we followed an anti-clockwise route around Normandy Marsh.

Dunlin and Ringed Plover roosting at Normandy Lagoon during high tide 
© Chris Robinson

Hampshire County Council began purchasing the coastal grazing marshes between Lymington and Keyhaven in 1973 with the acquisition of Normandy Farm. Normandy Farm Lagoon is a product of the seawall reconstruction (1990-94), itself constructed with perforated concrete blocks to aid re-vegetation.The farmland provided fill for the wall and the lagoon was created when the land was flooded with salt-water in early November 1990.

The current wind direction does not favour bird migration: In the departure lounge, Swallows and Wheatear. Recent arrivals, Wigeon and Teal.

Wheatear stooped off on its autumn migration 
© Chris Robinson

Wigeon newly arrived for the winter from the North 
© Chris Robinson

Amongst a number of Little Egrets, "JN" (the oldest known Little Egret in Britain) still commanded his regular spot. Any hope of seeing Snipe was dashed by the presence of large numbers of Canada Geese. These "noisy neighbours" would not be appreciated by a bird that likes to keep to cover.

Other sightings included: female Shoveler, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Turnstone, Curlew, Redshank, Green- shank, Black-headed Gull, juvenile Herring Gull, Kingfisher: Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chiffchaff, Starling and Linnet. The non-birding highlight was a Fox Moth caterpillar probably heading for somewhere to pupate.

Fox Moth caterpillar © Chris Robinson

Returning along Normandy Lane there were two groups of Roe Deer in the fields: a doe with fawn in one and two does, a buck and a fawn in another.

In just over 2 hours we were back at Maiden Lane, and reasonably dry!

 Please note: Our regular winter bird walks that used to take place on the first Sunday of the month (October-March) in the past have been moved to the first Monday of the month.

12 September 2021 Lymington-Keyhaven Open Day at Normandy

LymNats had a stand at Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve Open Day on Sunday 12 September, an event organised by HCC, NFNP and HIWWT. Our stand was manned throughout the day by a combination of Brian, Richard S, Julia and John. Exhibits included animal skulls and antlers, a Grass Snake skin, a Wasps nest, Green Woodpecker droppings, sea shells, plant material, Richard C's photos and a first - a live exhibit. Julia brought in a dragonfly nymph (in a tub with water and weed) that received much attention.

There were a number of local wildlife exhibitors as well as children’s entertainment provided by Aimee Durnell and our Mary Macmillan (aka Mothing Mary) helped Pete Durnell opening moth traps.

The day got off to a fantastic start with an immature Osprey interrupting its migration south from the Tweed Valley to west Africa (identified from rings seen on photo published on the internet) and soaring virtually overhead, flapping occasionally and gliding with wings held with a distinct kink at the wrist (carpal) appearing bowed head-on.

LymNats' stand fielded enquiries about membership and volunteering opportunities throughout the day. When beginning to pack up a second live exhibit put in an appearance on the stand - a large caterpillar identified as being a Buff-tip moth.

Apparently there will not be an Open Day next year as it would become a biennial event alternating with HIWWT's Roydon Woods Nature Reserve Wood and Local Produce Fair (usually held in May/June and not since 2015).

Thanks to our members who helped during the day, and also Catherine Chatters of HIWWT for her support via Brian. Also thanks to Pete Durnell for setting up another successful open day.


Field Meeting Report: 30 September 2021 Keyhaven Marshes with Chris Robinson

It was a very blustery and non-too-warm walk from Keyhaven around and back via the Ancient Highway. There were occasional showers (with hail). The high winds seemed not to the liking of the small birds as we saw virtually none.

In the car park we heard a Cetti’s Warbler and saw fly-over flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Turnstones. On Avon Water there were two Little Grebes.

                                     Little Grebe© Chris Robinson

As we walked along the seawall we saw a few waders (Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Curlew and Little Egret) but in single figure numbers. A pair of Ravens flew past us and a solitary Wheatear was on the path.

Keyhaven Lagoon was bird free! I don’t think I have ever seen so few birds on it, the water level was up due to recent rains.

Things looked up (marginally) on Fishtail. Canada Geese dominated but winter ducks were there, mostly in eclipse plumage. Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard and Shoveler. There were few waders, one Lapwing, at least four Greenshanks and two Snipe. There were two Rock Pipits on the path, keeping their distance.

Greenshank © Chris Robinson

When we got to Butts the wind had got up even more so, after a brief scan of the Canada Geese and Eiders (on the seaward side), we cut back up the first path to seek some shelter. Near the gate onto the Ancient Highway we were treated to a mini-murmuration of Starlings amongst the cattle with Swallows and the odd House Martin all feeding on the insects disturbed by the cows.

As we walked back there was another Cetti's singing. No birds at all on the pond, though a Kestrel was hunting over the back of Fishtail.

The overcast conditions were not conducive to photography and the wind made holding even binoculars difficult! CR

Lym Nats AGM 28 September 2021 - We have a new Chairman!

On a stormy evening we held our first meeting in St. Thomas' Church Hall, our new venue, beginning with a brief AGM that saw Julia Coomber standing down after seven years as Chairman and Robert Payne elected as her successor. 

Julia's presentation with (from left to right) Glynis and Robert Payne, Diane Potter and Brian Matthews. 

With Mike and Mary Mawdsley and John Enfield also standing down from the Committee we are looking to the membership for their replacements!

The scheduled speaker fell victim to the fuel shortages, so we were taken on an illustrated Africa safari across Botswana by Julia's husband, Richard, seeing the wealth of animals and birds to be found there.