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.

Garden Watch.

Bee and Holly Blue Butterfly.


This  Holly blue was in my garden this morning a small blue butterfly that emerges in early spring, from March to May, and then again at the end of the summer between July and September. The foodplants of the caterpillars are mainly Holly for the spring Butterflies and Ivy for the summer ones, although a wide range of other plants liked including bramble and gorse.

Beauty and the beasts.

Stayed home today as the weather is very hot. Hot indoors hotter outdoors the patio is baking. It is so hot even the bees are not in the garden just a lone Red Admiral Butterfly and some flies. I am sure it will be cool at the sea but I also know that it will be packed and social distancing will be hard if not impossible, so stay at home day.

Beauty and the beasts! blog1blogblogblog1blog2

Wetlands at their best.

Today’s post records a day spent within Titchfield  Haven National Nature Reserve my local wetland nature reserve although there was nothing new to see the day was enjoyable with lots of interesting birds to see and record.

Male and Female Black-tailed Godwit.

The male bird is a rusty brown this time of year.


The female bird is much paler in colour.





Canada Geese.


Note the white-headed Canada Goose top left bird.


Heron. This Heron was being dive-bombed by Black-headed gulls and Common Terns as he walked across the lagoon.



Common Tern. This year I have missed the breeding cycle of both the Black-headed gulls and the Common Terns on the Solent due to COVID19 lockdown I missed it when the birds were pairing up selecting their next sites laying their eggs and watching them hatch.  Juvenile terns are the end process of the breeding cycle which I have managed to observe, hopefully, next year I will be able to see the whole process.



Industry returned to Nature.

Swanwick Lakes is an 89-acre nature reserve in Swanwick Hampshire. It is managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Most of this site is woodland, and there are also meadows and lakes formed by former clay extraction for Bursledon Brickworks. Clay has been extracted in the area since the late 19th century, with the first pit dug on the reserve site in 1948. Extraction finished in 1974.

As soon as I got out of our van and walked towards the 1st lake Mrs Mallard and her ducklings came out of the water to see me.

blogblog2blog1Once mum duck felt the ducklings had seen enough of me she called them back to the safety of the lake.

The reason for my visit to the lakes today was to get some insect pictures. There were plenty of Dragonflies and Damselflies about near the water. They were very fast in flight.


There were a lot of Red-eyed damselflies I had not seen this species before and on searching on-line was not surprised that it was called a Red-eye damselfly!


There were also Moorhens and Coots on the water.


Common Darter dragonflies were also abundant.


I also was able to capture some pictures of them in flight.


Above the Lake area at the reserve is a Woodland and above that is a meadow. Like many local nature reserves, Swanick Lanes uses cattle to help maintain the area and reduce shrub.




At this point, it was time to move away from the cows.


The reserve is bordered on one side by a private area of the Air Traffic Control centre which is fenced off.


A is for Avocet.


When I was a teenager I had to travel to see an Avocet. I remember travelling from Hampshire to the next county and getting an RSPB boat trip in Poole Harbour in Dorset and saw 1 Avocet in the distance. Today some 45years later I can travel down the road a few miles to Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve and see many of these beautiful birds – adults juvenile birds and even some chicks. Back at Poole Harbour, numbers have risen from 25 to almost 2,000 in just 30 years.

I have no apology but I have posted a lot of pictures in today’s blog.


The Avocet is Schedule 1 species they are the emblem of the RSPB and symbolises the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species. Once almost extinct from British shores by 1840, the Avocet made a comeback thanks to the work of conservation bodies.

In the late 1940s they started breeding on reclaimed land near the Wash in East Anglia which was returned to salt marsh to make any landings from German forces difficult. The increase in numbers represents one of the most successful conservation and protection projects in the UK.

While the adult birds are black and white with a distinctive upturned bill. Juvenile birds have paler markings which will turn white as they get older.



Avocent’s are often very relaxing to watch slowly wading up and down feeding as they gracefully  sweep their bill from side to side through the water. However, suddenly they spring into action and chase off other birds.


My second visit to Titchfield Haven today following the reopening of the reserve following lockdown and the Avocets were very on the top of the list of birds to watch in detail.