Sunday 18th May
A clear blue sky and rising daytime temperature was enjoyed by ten members and a guest on the walk in Parkhurst Forest on Sunday, 18th May, 2014, utilising the main walkways rather than many of the criss-crossing network of minor pathways and bridleways which are still in a quagmiry condition following last winter’s excessively high rainfall level.
Although a walk may be listed solely as a ‘bird walk’ there is always the additional and valuable contribution from various members’ expertise in other related items such as botany, insects etc. On this particular forest walk we enjoyed the best weather conditions of the year so far, with 17 species of bird seen or heard e.g Robin, Wood Pigeon, Blackbirds, Jays, Mallards, Swift, Black-headed Gull, several Chiffchaffs, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Blackcap, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, male Chaffinch, male Bullfinch and Wren. Butterflies seen were male and female Brimstones, Holly Blue, and Speckled Wood. Several Speckled Yellow moths were also noted.
Other items specifically looked at were a Crane Fly, a Glow Worm larva, a Wood Ants nest and Zig-Zag Clover (not in flower).
Saturday 31st May
We had an evening walk on Mottistone Common on 31st May with a view to hearing and seeing Nightjars. Unfortunately the weather conditions were not ideal as it was very cloudy although mild. The Nightjars like to feed on moths and become active at nightfall. Although the reconnoitre the week before produced two singing birds and one in flight the night of the meeting only produced one singing bird. We did hear a Little Owl in the far distance.
Saturday, 20th September 2014
Fourteen members met at Whale Chine on a mild, misty morning. We took some cars to Blyth Shute, Chale then walked along Chale Terrace to the cliff edge, overlooking Chale Bay and Blackgang.
Starlings, House Sparrows and the first of many willow-chiffs were seen, together with Wood Pigeons, Magpies and Carrion Crows.
At the end of the Terrace we turned north-west and walked the cliff path past Walpen Chine, Ladder Chine and back to Whale Chine car park. A family of young Stonechats was seen, together with Meadow Pipits, Sky larks, Linnets, a pair of Common Pheasants and gulls – one Great Black-backed on the beach below, and many Herring Gulls and Black-headed Gulls on the fields.
As a group we have various other interests so other subjects were raised by some of the group during the morning. David Harding explained the WW11 use of the strange brick buildings at Walpen. It apparently housed the machinery for a moving target which was used for gunnery practice from Gun Hill.
Needless to say galls were found too, Natalie Bone finding the large gall on Creeping Thistle which was found, on sectioning it, to contain two pupae of a Tephritid fly; and Fleabane plants were shown to exhibit the galls of a Red Data Book fly.
We looked in Whale Chine and found Jackdaws using the holes in the wall, looked out to sea and were surprised to find eight Mallard swimming in line ahead, retrieved our cars from Chale and repaired to the Wight Mouse for refreshment. 26 bird species were seen altogether, some time being taken to look carefully at the willow-chiffs in order to separate the two species.
Sunday, 14th December 2014
There was a good turnout of 16 members for a walk at Newtown National Nature Reserve. We were not quite so inconvenienced by the rain this time. One pulse coincided with a visit to the hide and the second pulse occurred when we were by the boat hut. The tide was low which meant we had good opportunities to study the waders and ducks. From the hide we saw Oystercatcher, Brent Geese, Redshank, Shelduck, Little Egret, Teal Wigeon, Greenshank, Canada Geese, Cormorant and a pair of Stonechat. Whilst at the boat hut a Peregrine was spotted and then another one joined it. David Bone took a good picture of them both. 14 Red Breasted Mergansers were seen in the river; Sue could not make up her mind whether the Peregrine or Red Breasted Merganser was the bird of the morning and then along came six Turnstone so she changed her mind. On the Marsh we spotted Grey Plover and Dunlin. In the Causeway lake were many Pintail, a very smart bird, and some Black Tailed Godwit and amongst the Black-headed Gulls was a Mediterranean Gull. Two Mute Swan were there as usual. In the fields opposite there was a large flock Lapwing and on scanning we saw Curlew, Black Tailed Godwit and a large flock of Brent. During the morning we saw 43 species.