Water Boatman.

Sounding like something from Victorian London on the River Thames in fact a Water Boatman or a the Common Backswimmer is a water bug. It will swim upside-down through the water, They will grab insects that have fallen into the water. It is also an active and voracious predator, hunting smaller invertebrates, tadpoles and small fish. It will stab them with its ‘beak’, injecting a toxic saliva into the wound sucking out the contents of the body of its catch. You need to take care if you handle this bug as they can inflict a nasty bite!

Top view,

Underside view.

2 extended legs looking like oars these propel the boatman through the water, Its body resembles the shape of a boat. It may have a silvery appearance due to trapped air bubbles on its lower surface, which allow it to breathe.



Movements on the Solent on a dull saturday evening.

Steamship Shieldhall is the largest working steamship in the UK. A member of the National Historic Fleet She has just started sailings again after restrictions due to covid have started to lift.

SS Shieldhall passing the SV Golden Horizon.

The Sail Vessel Golden Horizon is a steel-hulled five-masted barque rigged tall ship  launched June 2017, she is a cruise ship, she entered into operation in May 2021,

HM Coastguard SAR helicopter hovering over freighter – based at Lee on Solent search and rescue helicopters are a regular sight over the water off Meon Shore.

As always wind surfers were taking the plunge.

Sailboard slow shutter speed.

Whirligig beetles.

Not the sharpest of pictures of these tiny water beetles but quite an interesting sight known as Whirligig beetles, you can see why from my film. These were seen today in a New Forest stream.

Their back legs are short and flat so act as the perfect paddle for shooting across the water surface on the hunt for small insects their legs are tucked under them and you can not really see them.

Swanick Lakes.

A mornings Dragonfly hunt. Attempts to record some in flight creatures!

Emperor Dragonfly
Common Darter mating.
Emperor Dragonfly
Emperor Dragonfly

Easier when they have landed.

egg laying Emperor.
Male Black-tailed Skimmer.
Four Spotted Chaser
Four Spotted Chaser
Four Spotted Chaser

A Mallard was relaxing in the shade on other days I have watched the ducks catching dragonflies for a tasty meal.

Wet Woods.

This afternoon I went off to my normal isolated fields to collect various trail cameras. The first appeared missing! but on reaching its location in had been blown from where I had wedged it in a small tree. We had had strong winds overnight and I now had recordings of the sky from the fallen camera which was pointing skyward.

The wind must have been very strong overnight.

This tree although dead was standing when we passed it yesterday but was down today.

Wet woodlands are today some of our least common woodland habitats in the uk. Trees such as alder, willows and birch dominate on wet soils, sedges, ferns and mosses flourish under the trees. Wet woods occur on soils that are often or seasonally wet, because of flooding, local streams floods to the edge of the meadows where we walk. The land is wet all year but during the winter months the flooded areas and water level increases.

Today’s trail camera footage. The local Common Buzzards continue to visit our camera site and enjoy bait (the odd chicken wings) left out for them.

After dark the site was visited by a Fox and a young female Roe Deer.

New Forest lockdown.

Another walk in the New Forest a damp November day with heavy rain.

We entered our second COVID lockdown last week but this time we can travel a short distance for exercise. My exercise includes a camera and a pair of binoculars – mental exercise is as important as the physical bit.

The practice of pannage dates back to the time of William the Conqueror, who founded the New Forest in 1079. Pigs are released onto the forest to eat the fallen acorns, that are on the forest floor, which are poisonous to New Forest Ponies and cattle. Each year, there are around 600 pigs and piglets that are released around the New Forest to make their way through all of the acorns and nuts. It was recorded that in the 19th century some 6000 pigs were released into the forest for pannage. This year pannage has been extended due to a bumper crop of acorns from 14th September to late December.

We parked up at Eyworth Pound Fritham which gave a chance of some birdwatching.

There were some different ducks on the pond today about 12 Goosanders which are a diving fish eating duck were on the far side of the pond.

I often see the odd Mandarin duck at the pond but today there were 8 male ducks as well as slightly fewer females.

The Blue Tit gives a flash of colour on such a dull day.

The larger Great Tit also adds some colour but without being quite so bright.

I spotted just one Nuthatch today and like other visits here a Robin was never far away.

Return to Hatchet Pond.

Last time we visited Hatchet Pond in the New Forest was just after lockdown lifted. We did not stay as it was like a popular beach with hoards of people litter noise and ad hock encampments that go with too many people who just want to get outside for their own enjoyment regardless of their impact on the National Park and the natural environment.

Today with cooler weather and the schools open we were the only van in the car park most of the time and able to enjoy the nature around us.

More Fly agaric fungus these were more red that orange compared to the ones I spotted near my home.

There were 4 Mute Swans on the pond and most of the time they appear quite relaxed.

Until there was an issue between 2 of them I do not think it would be wise to get between them!

There are always a number of Moorhens at Hatchet Pond. Moorhens are medium-sized water birds that are members of the rail family, I find them a smart looking bird and always enjoy watching them both in and out of the water.

I was lucky enough to come a cross a Slow Worm on the path while walking around the rear of the pond. It was sunning itself on the grass path. Slow worms are actually a legless lizard, {not a worm or a snake} They are harmless to us. This was a good size reptile being just under 2 feet in length.

Fish Cam.

Another use for my Olympus Tough trail camera, earlier in the week it was in wasp camera mode today it became fish camera. The small streams leading from the river Itchen at Itchen Valley Country park we had noticed were good for little fish so putting the underwater camera on a pole the filming started. I think most of these small fish are Minnow, but there some other specifies within the shoal,