Itchen Valley Park.

A short walk in Itchen Valley Country Park. In part of the wood we came across some building remains. Having lived very locally for over 60 years I was surprised not to have seen anything about this ruin before. The remains are the remains of a pair of 3 flue scot brick kilns. Dated to the late 1800s,They were used to make bricks, tiles and drainage pipes made from local clay. The heavy wooded area around them was used for fuel. This kiln is quite rare and one of only two such sites that remain in Hampshire.

Some nature spots along the way. Ganoderma applanatum is a common perennial bracket fungus. The underside is creamy white and can be scratched with a sharp point to leave brown marks and over the years has been used to draw images on it hence the common name. Artist’s Fungus.

I am struggling to identify this bug possibly a Brown Shield Bug or a Dock Bug.

Another Nursery Web spider.

Spider hunting.

Today I went on a spider hunt in our local fields, there were less flying insects as most of the thistles are now over although the wild mint is still in flower in the boggy areas which seemed to be a magnet for hover-flies and bees.

I spotted a Nursery web spider and was pleased with today’s pictures which gives a insight into the spiders life cycle.

Nest tent/web.

They are relatively large, slender-bodied spider, which is fairly common spider. Found on grassland and scrub, and is often seen on plant leaves such as Brambles or Stinging Nettles.

Nursery web spiders do not spin a web to catch food, but wait for passing flies and other insects which they rush in and catch

The male will lay still pretending to be dead – the female seeing him as food investigates then male will suddenly jump up and mate with her. A dangerous game if he gets the timing wrong!

The pregnant female carries around her large egg-sac in her fangs. When the young are about to hatch, she builds a silk sheet among the vegetation to act as a tent, sheltering them she guards her young until they are old enough to live on their own.

Guarding the tent and below you can see the baby spider safe inside.

An early start.

An early start at Meon Shore this morning to catch the low tide. Breakfast on the campervan stove before a few Hours beachcombing before the tide came in.

Cormorants use spreading of their wings to help them dry.Their feathers are not water-repellant but “wettable”, After diving for fish they need to dry their feathers they are often seen perching with wing spread out looking like some prehistoric reptile.

Cormorant wing flapping but no take off!

Turnstone.

Occasionally I see small flat fish when paddling on the beach they have all been about an inch long today I was able to catch one in my net. (possible ID Juvenile Dab.)

On the shore.

A morning on our local beach.

Caught out by the low tide I came across this small Common Eel just over a foot long it was able to propel itself across the inch of water into a small pool.

Speeding across the beach making a splash!

Now in a pool.

Green Shore Crab. Probably the most common and familiar crabs found on our local beaches. Sizes range from about the size of your small fingernail to the size of your hand.

Below is a pair of Crabs mating – the male being the larger crab on the top.

Broad-clawed porcelain crab. This is a very small crab with a flattened body they are found under rocks and stones on rocky shores.

Usual birds were on the shore line.

Turnstone.

Still just one Sanderling on the beach but what a good looking shore bird.