Wildlife of Gosport, Hampshire and Beyond!
John Norton's wildlife blog and photo gallery
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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.
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.
Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum)
Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) male on Heather
Strawberry Clover Trifolium fragiferum is now in full flower in the mown grassland. One of the prettiest of the clovers!
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 (with surprise damselfly in flight)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.