RSPB Tern Project

As our logo is a tern it seems appropriate to publish this email received from Matthew Brown of the RSPB Tern Project. If you can help please contact Matthew directly. Any help would be appreciated.

He wrote:

My name is Matthew Brown and I am a Project Officer for the RSPB Roseate Tern Project. Brian Matthews suggested I contact you regarding recruitment of volunteers to survey tern colonies in and around Lymington saltmarshes. To give you some context to my request, the RSPB has five years of LIFE funding to help the roseate tern reclaim former breeding areas in the UK, through habitat creation and targeted conservation mgmt activities (inc. predator control, minimising human disturbance etc.). It is important that we gather data on existing tern colonies in the Western Solent as this will help inform future project actions. Improving the breeding status of more widespread tern species is a prerequisite to roseate tern recolonisation.

Last year, myself and a seasonal tern warden undertook coordinated nest censuses and shoreline boat surveys of tern colonies on Lymington-Keyhaven saltmarshes. Some of these colonies can be observed from Lymington seawall and we would like a group of volunteers to help with this surveying effort. Could I ask you to dissemninate this information  amongst the members  of Lymington & District Naturalists' Society. Once I have a better idea of numbers I will begin organising some dates for an introductory meeting and survey training days. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email or phone, using the details below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Matthew Brown
Roseate Tern LIFE Project Officer
Tel: 07540361128

09 March 2017 Stockley to Ladycross

© Richard Coomber
Between Hawkhill and Ladycross

A beautiful sunny spring morning with a record turnout (21). The sunshine
© Richard Coomber
brought out the butterflies, Brimstones and Red Admiral, and a pair of Buzzards soaring high above us enjoying the thermals. We walked into Hawkhill Inclosure where we had a quick lichen and moss revision: lichen: Oakmoss - Evernia prunastre, Ramalina farinacea, Usnea subfloridana and Bryoria fuscescens; and moss: Polytrichum commune, Thuidium tamariscinum and Dicranum majus. Not easy to remember!

                                                         Brimstone butterfly

© Angela Morrell
The lichen Bryoria fuscescens
© Angela Morrell
And the moss Thuidium tamariscinum

We walked down the drift way between Hawkhill and Frame Heath, where there are many very ancient oaks growing in fantastic shapes. This is Sika Deer territory and we noted the deep gouges that the stags make in the bark of trees when they rub the velvet off their new antlers. We rescued some frogspawn which had been dumped on the leaf litter, probably by crows, and found a good puddle to put it in.

© Angela Morrell
Sika Deer gouges in bark

Wild Honey Bees were out foraging and in an old Holly tree we found the nest containing comb. Later some of us saw Fallow Deer. As we neared the car park Sarah showed us Dung Roundhead Stropharia semiglobata, a fungi with a distinctive hemispherical cap and as its name suggests restricted to a limited habitat.

© Richard Coomber
 Wild Honey Bees' nest with comb
Birds were rather few and far between today and in addition to the Buzzards we had good views of Marsh Tits. Stock Doves were also noted  (AM)

© Richard Coomber
 Buzzard overhead

23 February 2017 Hatchet Pond and Rans Wood area

Starting from Hatchet Pond and buffeted by the winds of Storm Doris, 14 of us, led by Pam, set off in a northerly direction towards Rans Wood.  The wind had whipped up waves on the pond where we saw Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Coot, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Little Egret, Mallard and the resident pair of Mute Swans with last year’s three cygnets.

In the small temporary pools on the wet heath we found frogspawn, signs that Spring is on its way. Here we also found the Yellow Brain fungi Tremella mesenterica growing on gorse and through Furzey Lodge several small birds were seen.

Beyond Rans Wood
The main track leading to the Rans Wood area starts at Furzey Lodge Pound which is dedicated to Jeffrey Kitcher 1943-2011 a former member of the  Verderer’s Court. Here on the green are some fine old Oaks frequented by Jackdaws and Starlings. Passing down the hill to the gate entrance and small bridge over a stream  we found  pussy willow just coming out. We then took a circular route passing Alder, young Beech trees and various conifers where we could hear Siskin and Nuthatch and found a Palmate Newt in one of the ditches. We then skirted a very wet  but colourful  area of grasses, sedges and moss.
Birch Polypore
Piptoporus betulinus
The return route took us along the edge of the stream, Worts Gutter, where several dead Silver Birch had the fungus Birch Polypore Piptoporus betulinus, one particular tree had so many going up it they looked like steps you see on a climbing wall. This fungus has the old name of Razor Strop, which comes from the time when it was cut into strips, dried, and used to give a final sharpening to the cut throat razors that barbers used, it also is reputed to have many medicinal properties. Other species of fungi found were the blackened Willow Bracket Phellinus igniarius, Turkeytail Trametes versicolor, Common Mazegill Datronia mollis and Blushing Bracket  Daedaleopsis confragosa.

Blushing BracketDaedaleopsis confragosa
Finally on returning to the pond other species of duck had come in and we saw Teal, Gadwall, Pintail and Great Crested Grebe. Luckily for us the rain held off throughout the walk. Overall 26 species of bird were seen plus two heard, along with Common Frog, Palmate Newt and six species of fungi. PP