Look out for Jersey Tigers!

Jersey Tiger on Buddleia
The Jersey Tiger is a large and striking black and cream triangular moth with a reddish-orange or yellow hindwing marked with black. The first published record for the British mainland was from Newhaven, East Sussex in 1855, before colonising South Devon in 1880s. It is suggested that colonisation resulted from a deliberate introduction from the Channel Islands. The moth slowly spread eastwards along the Channel coast finally reaching Hampshire in the early 1990s when one was recorded on the Isle of Wight. Within 10 years one appeared in a moth trap in Pennington. Expansion has accelerated recently and it is recorded with increasing frequency on an annual basis in our part of Hampshire having presumably become an established resident. The Jersey Tiger has now spread further east.

Jersey Tigers, Pennington
The flight period is from late July until early September with numbers peaking during August. Keep an eye open for this attractive moth as it can sometimes be found at rest on walls near lights, or perhaps nectaring during the day on garden plants such as Buddleia. If you see one please make a note of when and where and let us know either at a meeting or by email and the record will be passed on to the Hampshire Moth Recorder.

18 August 2016 Oakley

A cool walk in the woods on a very warm day with 15 members. South Oakley is a mixed hard and soft wood inclosure with some very well established Douglas Firs probably planted back in the 19th century. It is normally fairly damp underfoot and we were able to distinguish two rushes, Soft and Jointed Rushes Juncus effusus and J. articulata and among the grasses Purple Moor Grass Molinia caerulea and Yorkshire Fog Holcus lanatus.  

From the inclosure we passed into Berry Wood, a beautiful ancient and ornamental wood typical of the pasture woodland which the makes the New Forest a unique habitat. We noticed the browse line on the trees created by grazing ponies and deer and the lack undergrowth. Anthony Pasmore has written about the poor condition of many of the Forest's holly trees in the Lymington Times and we noticed a large number of such trees in Berry Wood. The Forestry Commission has been experimenting with pollarding and coppicing hollies in both enclosed and open areas in order to get them regenerate, with mixed success. The trees often die or get browsed by grazing stock. The FC are now keeping careful records of the results of their work so let's hope things will improve for the holly trees.

Cross-leaved Heath and Bell Heather
Skirting the edge of Berry Wood we saw all three of the Forest heathers, Ling, Cross-leaved Heath and Bell Heather (right), in flower. We turned into Sir Dudley's Ride, named after the former Official Verderer and Master of Buckhounds Sir Dudley Forwood, who was once Equerry to the Duke of Windsor and who lived at Old House.

Lesser Skullcap
Not many birds in evidence though Angela had seen Redstarts on the recee, but we found Silver-washed Fritillaries feeding on bramble, and Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper butterflies under the trees. Lesser Skullcap (right), Betony (top image) and Yellow Pimpernel were among the flowers we saw and we admired the beautiful old Beech trees near the car park.

04 August 2016 High Corner

Before we set off a curiosity was produced by Sara: a bed bug, safely dead and bottled as supplied by a local entomologist. This neat, light-brown insect was about 5mm long with a disc-like abdomen flattened dorso-ventrally: a first sighting for most of us.

Silver-washed Fritillary
Today’s walk was through a variety of habitats involving woodland, dry and damp heath, stream and pasture. Thirteen headed downhill through newly flowering heather then along a cycle track to Dockens Water.  Though cloudy with a cool breeze, a few butterflies, including a Silver-washed Fritillary (right), were already flitting amongst the bracken and bramble flowers. Near the footbridge small parties of finches included a single Siskin.

Green Woodpecker
Turning south-west, the cycle track cut between spaced out dwellings, tall trees and small fields with Nuthatch calling and two Green Woodpeckers (left), an adult and juvenile, clinging motionless in tandem to the side of a telegraph pole as though glued in place. Approaching the small knoll of Black Barrow where the view opened to the north, Richard spotted a Goshawk passing over the heathland near Hasley Inclosure. A small drying-up puddle by the trackside bore a network of Coral Necklace strands, already setting seed, and sundew, mainly Oblong-leaved Sundew, formed clusters among the low heather and grass.

Just beyond Black Barrow we left the cycle track, turning southeast over the hill beside paddocks and through tall bracken with good views west and south over Black Heath to Red Shoot at Linwood. We turned left at the T-junction, through a gate and onto a public footpath between and through buttercup fields, tackling several stiles. 

With the emerging sun came more butterflies including Ringlet, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue (below), Speckled Wood and Comma.  Our last half mile or so zig-zagged between smallholdings and gardens until we popped out just below the Inn to continue uphill to the cars with a final sighting of a Common Buzzard.
Holly Blue