We have reached the last day of May continuing to practise social distancing and trying our best to avoid Covid19. The country is over the peak but the risks remain. I sense many people are returning to old ways and risking spoiling the new freedom we currently have.
Off into my world away from the stresses of the world and out by 0600hrs this morning to get a nature walk while the temperature is acceptable and walking down the road is not too uncomfortable.
The first deer a Roebuck spotted decided to go into one of the fields fenced off for horses.
Further on in one of the Marshy Meadows had a corner where Orchids had come into flower in the past couple of days. Dactylorhiza, commonly called marsh orchid or spotted orchid.
A big Black Slug.
Today it was the male Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly that stopped to show off. (the lower picture is a female taken near the same spot a couple of weeks ago).
All the Woodpeckers had left their nest holes on Friday except at site 2 but they were gone today however I came across this fledgeling near the nest tree on the public path. So I picked him up and put him over the fence away from footfall on the path. The parent birds were overhead calling.
Although some way off I got my first picture of a Green Woodpecker.
We headed north today onto the hills near Winchester Hampshire. There were too many people out on Old Winchester Hill and wanting to maintain appropriate social distancing from others we found a spot just down the road with views across the hills.
Given the baking hot sun, the light breeze up higher under the shade of some large Beech Trees made a nice spot to take the deck chairs out and chill out.
Solanum dulcamara has been valued by herbalists since ancient Greek times. In the Middle Ages, the plant was thought to be effective against witchcraft, and was sometimes hung around the neck of cattle to protect them from the ” evil eye “. It has many names “local” names bittersweet, bittersweet nightshade, bitter nightshade, blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, climbing nightshade, fellenwort, felonwood, poisonberry, poison-flower, scarlet berry, snakeberry, trailing bittersweet, trailing nightshade, violet bloom, or woody nightshade is a species of vine in the potato genus Solanum, family. A bit later in the year, the berries will turn bright red.
The cows also seemed to be enjoying the breeze on the top of the hill by the tree line.
It felt almost back to normal going down to the beach to enjoy nature and the environment. We were at the beach by 06.30 having breakfast and watching the tide going out. Sadly it is not normal and on the sea wall, people are having to distance themselves from each other. Hopefully, one-day things will return to normal. Down on the beach, it was normal for me away from others and beachcombing.
There were a number of beadlet anemones on the beach they are very common throughout the whole of the UK although I do not see them in great numbers on Meon Shore. They are a species adapted to live in the intertidal zone if they are out of the water the contract their tentacles into their body to stop them from drying out while the tide is out.
Lots of birds were on the shore and flying over the sea.
These Turnstone were at the water’s edge they were flipping over stones to look for food.
The Turnstones colours give this little bird really good camouflage when on the beach gravel often you can get almost on top of them without seeing them before they fly off.
The Spiny spider crab is also known as the European spider crab. They can grow quite large, these crabs have an orange shell with long spindly legs distinctive spiny shell. Their oval shells are often covered in algae, giving them a green hairy look!
There were many spiny crabs on the shore which were a ready food source for the gulls.
I missed the arrival of the Common Terns & the departure of the Sandlings from the Solent due to lockdown it makes one feel cheated hopefully next year all will be well and truly back to normal. The Common Tern has the nickname ‘sea-swallow’. They have a graceful flight and frequently hover over water before plunging down for a fish.
Watch the film of Common Terns courtship. I have watched birds pair up on this rock for several years now.
This young crow was a bit disorientated walking on the footpath let me pick him up and pop him over the fence off the path
Banded Demoiselle a pretty Damselfly which has a very striking metallic blue colour. Seen in watermeadows at Itchen Valley Country park.
Above the male below is the female which has a less striking colour.
A couple of years ago after spotting some Sanderlings on Meon Shore with coloured leg rings I searched online and found you could report such sightings to help with research Sanderling arrived on our shore in our winter before returning North to their breeding grounds. Ringed birds had combinations of small colour rings.(rings are too small to have numbers that can be read at a distance) Sadly after spending time reporting a number of birds attaching photo’s and asking for feedback about these birds no reply was received. I would love to have known how far North these little bird had gone. For people to report ringed birds to help research surely it needs to be a two-way process.
Last week with the slight lifting of lockdown which allowed me to drive for a walk when visiting the sea I spotted a ringed Mute Swan. Colour rings enable people to observe and report birds they see at a distance. Checking online and entering orange leg ringed swan I found details of a Swan recording project and thought I would give sending information in another go and asked for feedback on this bird. The swan being a larger bird the coloured rings are numbered and can be read from a distance.
I was really pleased in a few days to get information on T4C from David Stone.
“T4C was initially ringed as an unsexed adult on 14 Jul 14 at Keyhaven, where the bird remained until 17 Feb 15. By 7 Apr 15 it was seen at Titchfield Haven, remaining until 19 Jul 15, but back at Keyhaven on 11 Oct 15 and 31 Oct 15. There is then a gap in my records until 30 Aug 19, again at Keyhaven and then your sighting in May 2020.
The bird was ringed as part of my long-term study of the swan population in the catchment of the Salisbury Avon. Titchfield Haven is outside my core study area, so it is always interesting to get reports of swans in the vicinity of the Haven. All sightings so far are of the bird alone or in a group, not paired or breeding, but it is possible that it was on a territory somewhere during the 2015 to 19 gap in sightings.”
Thank you for your interest and please let me know if you come across this bird, or other orange ringed ones in the future.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to go for a walk to see how the local nature at a different time of day. All the usual creatures were about.
A Roebuck was happy to remain sat down letting us pass not too far away just following with his eyes.
Thistles are now coming into flower so I hope to see more insects on them in the next week or so. There were a couple of white flowering Thistle plants amoung the more usual pink ones.
The young Woodpeckers are growing quickly and I am sure it will not be long before they leave the nest hole.