Wildlife of Gosport, Hampshire and Beyond!

John Norton's wildlife blog and photo gallery

Text and images © J.A. Norton unless otherwise stated. Please contact me if you would like use any of these images on your web site or purchase for publication/reproduction. Comments and enquiries to: blog at jnecology dot com.

· July 2016 ·

During July to mid-August I took a six week break from this blog to concentrate on summer survey work and my brambles web site, to which I have added a further 20 or so species accounts, bringing the total up to 42 species illustrated. The following entries include just a small selection of my more interesting photos taken in July 2016.

Sunday, 24th July and Sunday 31st July

Dibden Bottom, New Forest

Debbie and I enjoyed two pleasant days exploring this part of New Forest, mainly with the intention of photographing insects. We saw a good range of dragonflies, including heathland specialities such as Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Keeled Skimmer, Black Darter and Small Red Damselfly. Also, swarms of Silver-studded Blue butterflies, numerous digger wasps and some Bog Bush-crickets. At Dibden Bottom proper we found an impressive area of New Forest mire, with abundant Pillwort Pilularia globulifera. Highlight of the second visit was finding a Golden Horsefly, first picked up by tracking down a strange buzzing call. The fly was sat on a blade of grass (Molinia) near to ground level amongst some Gorse bushes. Each call lasted about a second I think, repeated at intervals. At first we thought we had rediscovered the elusive New Forest Cicada! The song was perhaps a bit quieter than a typical cicada call, and obviously much shorter. Strangely, I can't find any information regarding the vocalisations of these horseflies on the internet.

Golden Horsefly

Golden Horsefly (Atylotus fulvus) – this smart individual was about 15mm long. There are also some superb images of on Steven Falk's Flickr site.

cattle

Cattle at Rushbush stream, Dibden Bottom

Black Darter

Black Darter (Sympetrum danae) (immature female I think - pterostigma have not yet turned black)

Keeled Skimmer

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) male

Small Red Damselfly

Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum)

Silver-studded Blue

Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) male on Heather

Holly Blue

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) 2nd brood female (also feeding on heather, on open heathland)

Funnel-web spider

Labyrinth spider (Agelena labyrinthica) with female Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus)

leafhopper leafhopper

Cicadella viridis, a smart-looking turquoise-coloured leafhopper (a homopteran bug).

Ammophila sabulosa Ammophila sabulosa

Ammophila sabulosa, the most abundant predatory wasp species along the sandy tracks. This one was had just caught a large caterpillar, which it had pulled into the burrow and was now plugging this with balls of sand.

Hypericum elodes

Bog St John's-wort (Hypericum elodes)

Dibden Bottom

Mire at Dibden Bottom with impressive quantities of Pillwort and Bog St John's-wort

Pillort

Closer view of Pillwort. This is a type of fern, rare nationally but widespread in the New Forest.

Pillort

Pillwort, showing distinctive hairy sporangium at base of plant.

Chaffweed

Chaffweed (Anagallis minima), a tiny plant of damp ground, frequent in the New Forest.

Chaffweed

Chaffweed

Friday, 22nd July

Gilkicker

Strawberry Clover Trifolium fragiferum is now in full flower in the mown grassland. One of the prettiest of the clovers!

Trifolium fragiferum

Trifolium fragiferum

Trifolium fragiferum

Trifolium fragiferum

Sunday, 17th July

Dartford Marshes, Kent

A return trip to continue some vegetation survey work. It was nice to see several stands of Unbranched Bur-reed Sparganium emersum, a much less frequent species than the the much larger Branched Bur-reed S. erectum.

Sparganium emersum

Sparganium emersum (with surprise damselfly in flight)

Sparganium emersum

Sparganium emersum

Sparganiums

Stand of Sparganium emersum in shallow ditch with taller, darker-leaved S. erectum behind.

Highlight of the day, however, was finding Whorled Water-milfoil Myriophyllum verticillatum, which was dominating an 80m section of one of the ditches. I hadn't seen this rare species before, but it caught my eye as looking different (at a distance) to the Spiked Water-milfoil M. spicatum, which was common here. The leaves looked a little bit finer and the colour of the plant was a brighter green. I dragged a piece out to photograph against my clipboard, and noticed the green stem (red in M. spicatum) and leaves mainly in whorls of 5 (always 4 in M. spicatum). I later found the characteristic turions which distinguish this species from all the others of the genus. These are tightly-packed, club-shaped leafy shoots, occurring lower down the stems.

Myriophyllum verticillatum

Myriophyllum verticillatum

Myriophyllum verticillatum

Myriophyllum verticillatum with turions ringed in red

The eastern England saltmarsh speciality, Dittander Lepidium latifolium had come into flower and gone over since my last visit, but I did find one lone piece by a track side still in flower that I managed to photograph despite the wind. I hadn't seen this species in flower before, and was surprised how small the individual flowers were (perhaps 2mm across), compared to other Lepidium species.

Dittander

Dittander

Thursday, 14th July

Purbeck, Dorset

A bramble outing to the Isle of Purbeck with various bramble experts and enthusiasts. We saw the local speciality Rubus purbeckensis and found a colony of the Dorset endemic R. durotrigum.

batologists

Brambling near Studland, Dorset

Rubus purbeckensis

Rubus purbeckensis

Rubus durotrigum

Rubus durotrigum

Tuesday, 12th July

Bedhampton

Managed to take some pleasing shots of Wild Celery in flower, during a survey next to part of the Havant Stream at Bedhampton. This is a species of brackish stream and creek sides in coastal parts of Hampshire.

Apium graveolens

Apium graveolens

Thursday, 7th July

Portsdown Hill

Found a colony of Chalk Eyebright Euphrasia pseudokerneri on a survey site on Portsdown Hill. This species is locally common at this locality. The flowers are a larger (and I think a little wider) than those of Common Eyebright E. nemorosa, and always pure white in colour, rather than sometimes with lilac hues.

Euphrasia pseudokerneri

Euphrasia pseudokerneri

Tuesday, 5th July

Ann's Hill old cemetery

A visit to get some photos of Rubus tuberculatus for my web site, but couldn't resist taking some shots of a superb display of Rough Hawkbit Leontodon hispidus, and some of Orange Hawkweed Pilosella aurantiacum. Also noticed a patch of Holcus mollis, showing its hairy knees. I think this grass is quite rare in Gosport, although the soil conditions are ideal for it over most of the borough.

Leontodon hispidus

Leontodon hispidus

Pilosella aurantiacum

Pilosella aurantiacum

Holcus mollis

Holcus mollis

Friday, 1st July

Browndown Common

A quick sortie to look for a possibly rare bramble seen last year in one spot, but the area had grown over, and I couldn't refind it. On the area cleared by the local conservation group last winter by the stream there are huge patches of Climbing Corydalis Ceratocapnos claviculata, a scrambling species which thrives on disturbance. I also photographed a large plant of presumed Fig-leaved Goosefoot Chenopodium ficifolium here. An Emperor Dragonfly provided added interest.

Ceratocapnos claviculata

Ceratocapnos claviculata

Ceratocapnos claviculata

Ceratocapnos claviculata

Chenopodium ficifolium

Chenopodium ficifolium

Chenopodium ficifolium

Chenopodium ficifolium

Chenopodium ficifolium

Chenopodium ficifolium flowers

Emperor Dragonfly

Emperor Dragonfly