MOONFLEET OF KINSON
     Dedicated to Old and Modern Kinson
                              


 Kinson Nature Notes for Winter 2020

Our own highlights during Winter around Kinson includes: observing herons and egrets by the riverside; foxes on walks; observing robins at our bird table and viewing around 40 species of wild birds which are either resident or visit Kinson during this season. Many species of Kinson wild birds are featured in our Moonfleet Wild Bird photo gallery and you are very welcome to download and to enjoy what we have photographed.
 
All recordings we make and photographs we take are obtained close to the centre of Kinson. We really are fortunate to have so much Nature quite literally so close to our own doorsteps. Winter should be a memorable season for enjoying the fauna and flora to be found in the Kinson area.
 
We will again enjoy visiting many local open spaces on a regular basis giving us a good overall picture of wildlife generally in Kinson. Winter is certainly here now. Bare trees, waterfilled ditches and a certain shade of sky blue which leaves us all in no doubt as to which season we are now in.
 
However, look closely along the hedgerows as many young green buds are beginning to stir in readiness for the springtime to come. Already, many male hazel catkins are well developed and will be swinging in the breeze at the southern end of Kinson very early in the New Year. Winter should provide more opportunities to use a camera. Apart from very wet days, we carry our camera everywhere with us and we do our best to obtain quality photographs.
 
Bird tables, bird feeders and water containers in local gardens should be topped up daily now to support wild birds during this crucial season. All manner of common birds will boldly come to garden feeding stations and these should be placed in open areas for safety reasons so they can be aware of household pets at all times. Firm garden favourites of ours remain the chirpy and cheeky house sparrows.
 
Even in the urban heart of central Kinson, blackbirds, collared doves, dunnocks, finches, goldfinches, jackdaws, magpies and pigeons often come to visit. On cold winter days do look out for visiting redwings or even blackcaps which may be overwintering in Kinson.
 
Winter is the time to go out and to begin recording again and enjoying observing our resident wild birds and visitors such as redwings, fieldfares, snipe and teal.
 
Murmurations of starlings may also be present around the Kinson district this season, sometimes near Pelhams Park. Members of the corvid family will feature strongly now as they plod slowly eastwards in large groups at day break and rush back again in scattered groups, flying briskly westwards as dusk arrives earlier. Look out also for finches, thrushes, ducks and geese who may also be moving around in larger groups.
 

Over 56+ different types of wild birds were recorded in the Kinson area in 2019. During the winter season it should be possible to record as many as 40 different types of wild birds locally. 

In central Kinson we will still have carrion crows, jackdaws, jays and magpies visiting local gardens. Near Kinson Village Green and around Kinson generally, more than several species of gulls will be present daily and are very active during the early morning traffic rush. Pied wagtails will be scurrying around on grassy areas looking for scraps of food and even loitering socially in small groups on rooftops. Occasionally, even grey wagtails will visit local gardens where there is a water feature.

 
Green woodpeckers will continue to announce their presence by a startling call and they are very easy to identify and often visit open ground. Great spotted woodpeckers tend to be more secretive and are usually located in wooded areas.
 

Do continue to look out for hawk activity over central Kinson. Sparrow hawks can often be seen, appearing to be only gliding and flapping along in a very casual manner. Suddenly, the chase is on and their prey is caught. As soon as the Sun starts to stir in the east and the pigeons start to scatter in all directions for no apparent reason, be assured, the hawks are out and about. 

During winter, buzzards can occasionally be observed being mobbed by gulls and magpies. We have observed them sitting perfectly motionless in the highest available tree perch. As soon as they saw the chance of easy pickings they were slowly away and a meal was obtained. As well as frosts, flooding of the Stour valley and other local areas occurs for a short time adding new features to the landscape and attracting in many visiting birds including waders.

Few insects will be active. Sometimes, when the Sun`s rays can lift temperatures sufficiently high enough, swarms of dancing flies can be observed. 

Depending upon the prevailing weather conditions, frogs should be spawning before the end of January. Palmate newts will then be stirred into action, entering the same pools where the frogs` spawn was deposited.

Reptiles will remain in their well chosen hibernation quarters and are unlikely to be observed again until the springtime arrives. Grey squirrels will still be very active on milder days and their range covers most of the Kinson area. Foxes may continue to be active during favourable day time periods and even more so as dusk approaches.

 
Winter moths will be active during the December to January period. Males visit the bases of oaks trees, attracted there by the scent given off by flightless females. Bat activity, if any, will be minimal.

 

CUCKOO WOODS

This small wooded area, close to the main Kinson shopping centre, supports a wealth of interesting wild birds.

These include: sparrows, starlings, finches, tits, woodpeckers, even sparrowhawks and an occasional buzzard. The tawny owl also visits.

Small numbers of nuthatches are present, also tree creepers.

Grey squirrels are present.

This area supports an abundance of interesting flora and fauna.

An all weather track leads down from Brook Road to the Woods.

Mr Russell May and others, have regularly litter picked this area and this worthwhile community task is performed very willingly and greatly appreciated.

Although a relatively small area, it really is worth making an effort to visit this interesting locality which is frequently overlooked.

Originally known as Duke`s Coppice in the mid 1800`s, the whole area is of historic importance.

Several maps relating to this era are now featured in our Cuckoo Woods section. A small portion once belonged to smuggler Isaac Gulliver.

KINSON COMMON 

The Kinson Common is a compact and popular reserve with visitors of all age groups.
 
When present, cattle grazing forms an essential and important part of the management of the site. Byelaws apply when walking dogs through areas where cattle  graze.The public still continue to enjoy access to areas they used in the past and all installed gates are easy to use. All gates and entry points around the Kinson Common were designed to improve overall site security for all users.
 
Dog walking, with care, remains one of the most popular daily activities on site. As well as a maintained main track which leads from Kinson Road to Poole Lane, there are numerous natural tracks around the whole of the site. Man-made board walks assist walkers near the Waterfall and just off the main track near Poole Lane. There is also a wooden crossing at Great Oaks.
 
Early morning walks on the Kinson Common are a must for nature lovers in winter. Certainly, more will be seen during these and other quieter undisturbed periods in the day.Botanically, there are over 406+ records. Apart from gorse, sweet violets and emerging male hazel catkins, there will be few other flowers to stir interest at this time. Faded heathland grasses and ferns give the Common a mellower appearance.
 
Winter is an excellent season to record many species of wild birds on site. With bare trees and less foliage to provide essential cover, wild birds of the Kinson Common will be more readily observed, providing good focal points for many months to come.
 
A number of blackcaps may still be present locally and it is always worth looking out for dartford warblers around the heathier areas of the Common. Mallards and moorhens are often observed at Pepin`s Pond. Grey wagtails, teal, kingfishers, water rail and little egret may also be present at varying periods.
 
Two species of woodpeckers will continue to be a regular feature around the whole site. Green woodpeckers are well known to most walkers and their calls make them easy to identify. Great spotted woodpeckers are generally present throughout the year and as they keep much closer to tree trunks and upper canopies, this makes them more difficult to observe.
 
Tree creepers and a few nuthatches may sometimes be heard and observed, especially around Great Oaks, Central Sallows and further down in the lower valley. Buzzards are often observed flying around the site and a number are regularly recorded soaring over the Common. Angry crows never give them any peace and usually indicate where they are silently hiding.
 
Sparrow hawks can be observed flying over Two Barrow Heath and Great Oaks. Sometimes, they will patiently wait to pick off birds feeding in gardens at the rear of Glenmeadows Drive. Pigeons also feature high on their hit list.
 
The Kestrel does visit the Common and can sometimes be observed hovering over the Central Bog, Poole Lane Heights and Dragonfly Hollow regions.
 
The presence of tawny owls should continue and they may be glimpsed at dusk or heard calling under cover of darkness, from either the Common or nearby Kinson Cemetery. The little owl visited the Common in the recent past.
 
Do look out now for visiting redwings and fieldfares. These can be observed during the early morning or afternoon periods in the Poole Lane Meadows and Blanchard`s Copse regions. One interesting visitor which must be looked for, especially during early morning or at dusk, are snipe which literally can "drop in" at any time now. Unlike the nearby Turbary Common, snipe numbers on the Common are generally low.
 

As winter begins to bite, it is also worthwhile checking to see if woodcock are present on the Common. When passing birch trees, check to see if any redpolls are investigating the buds on their branches. Goldcrests are another species to look out for. They sometimes forage around ferns and other low vegetation and seem to take little notice of humans stood still. 

The Common supports a wealth of moths and a few species may be active from dusk onwards. Some descend to ground level amongst the leaf litter and others congregate upon oak tree trunks for breeding purposes. Many female moths are flightless and are often very difficult to spot.
 
Grey squirrels are certainly active throughout the year and a familiar sight around the whole site. Depending upon the weather, smaller mammals such as mice may still be active. Foxes can be observed during the day and at dusk. It is amazing how many actually live on or close to the Common.
 
Common lizards and slow worms are hibernating. Frogs will be returning to spawn early in 2020 and palmate newts will be in the same pools not long afterwards. Secretive roe deer were recorded on site in the recent past.
 
Conservation tasks will continue to be carried out on site by borough officers and countryside volunteers throughout this season. Information boards are sited on Poole Lane Meadows, at the Kinson Road entrance not far from Fryer`s Close, at the Glenmeadows Drive and former Kinson Baths entrances to the Common.
 
If you come across the presence of fires, we strongly recommend that you immediately contact the Fire Service and any Countryside officers working on site.If you wish to contact the Borough about any other concerns you may have about the Kinson site, please contact the Countryside Team at the Kingfisher Barn, telephone number 01202 451548. Messages can be recorded on this facility.
 
During 2019 some gps recording took place on the Common in many of the named regions and this included flora and fauna.
 
Many areas including Kinson Common are also featured on the Open Street Map.


LONGHAM

 It is worth making an effort to view the Stour from Longham bridge.This bridge is an ideal vantage place to observe wildlife and to gauge the mood of each passing season.

On some days, a considerable number of water loving resident birds gather to feed and to preen themselves. These activities will continue during the winter period. The common sandpiper is sometimes present in the company of gulls during winter floods.From time-to-time, canada geese can feature at the riverside. 

A tall security fence protects the Ringwood Road frontage by Longham bridge and the signed entrance gate serves as a fire access point and a reminder that all residents and visitors to the area are entering an important amenity open space with byelaws applying.

 
The Bridge House Hotel, part of the Citylodge Group, welcomes ramblers & bird watchers. Resident swans, coots, ducks, herons and a whole host of others ensure there is always something of interest to watch and to enjoy, especially when they seek the shelter of a side-stream at times when the Dorset Stour is in spate.

The "free stretch" bankside leads down to a weir where fine views of the golf course and beyond by Dudsbury can be viewed. 

Please take care during the winter when walking alongside the river bank as erosion is clear to see in places.

In 2019, we greatly enjoyed recording all forms of flora and fauna using gps along this important wildlife corridor near the gateway to Bournemouth and we intend to do so again during 2020.

Another fishing season will soon be on the back end on "the free stretch". It is a popular area for anglers of all age groups. Barbel, chub and roach of an excellent size and quality are regularly caught here and safely returned along this stretch of the Dorset Stour. 

It is worth remembering that the term "free stretch", does not infer that the fishing is entirely free.

A current rod licence is required to fish this region and authorised persons on behalf of the Environment Agency and Bournemouth Council do visit this area and frequently check that those fishing are in possession of a licence.

It is very unusual and rare for such a high quality "free fishery", with its unique flora and fauna qualities to exist on such an important stretch of the River Stour. The Borough Council does undertake litter checks on the "free stretch", and being an important amenity open space, regular patrols are made and local byelaws apply. Overnight camping and fires are discouraged.

A litter bin and a dog waste bin have been provided and are located side by side close to the gates by Longham bridge which lead directly out onto the busy Ringwood Road. 

It is vitally important and essential that all litter is taken away and carefully disposed of at the end of a day`s fishing. 

All carelessly discarded litter is unsightly and certainly poses a danger to other people, as well as wildlife and domestic animals if it contains broken glass, sharp metal objects, or hooks, weights and discarded lengths of fishing line.

Buntings, cormorants, ducks, egrets, gulls, hawks, herons, kingfishers, swans, wagtails, and numerous other resident birds will be observed. Buzzards, robins and finches including linnets, even occasional pheasants, all add to the charm and interest of this area.

Early morning walkers will frequently come across "charms" of goldfinches alighting upon and feeding from the numerous brown teasel heads in the grassland.

The tree lined hedgerow by Longham bridge affords good cover for birdlife. Here, many species of birds such as thrushes and smaller species of birds appreciate the denser cover of this region and have to be ever mindful of kestrels and other hawks which habitually flit in and out of the tree canopies in search of easy meals.
 
Blackthorn with flowering blossoms and some opened leaves can sometimes be observed here. If the weather remains mild and the conditions are suitable for walking, do carry binoculars and a pocket wild bird book.
 
Wide ranges of insect life were recorded in this region in 2019. Insect activity during winter will be minimal. Roe deer, foxes, rabbits, shrews, voles and moles are present. A weasel was recorded in the recent past. The badger is occasionally recorded.
 
At least four species of bat have been be observed at Longham.
 
Stout footwear is recommended, also appropriate outdoor clothing. Always remember to carry an essential refreshing drink and a snack.

MILLHAMS

Millhams Mead is an excellent recreational and wildlife site and certain areas have been given Local Nature Reserve status. The BCP continues to carry out on-going site improvements.
 
There are now controlled access points around the Mead. Occasionally, the Environment Agency carries out essential work at Millhams. During the winter a dedicated Countryside team, assisted by local volunteers, undertake conservation work to benefit both wildlife and walkers.Fencing and security improvements are evident alongside a narrow footpath by the busy Ringwood Road. Metal entry gates are also in place near Bear Cross, by the Millhams amenity site and by Millhams bridge.
 
In the past,the footpath from Spindlewood bridge to Millhams bridge was improved, also another downstream of Millhams bridge which extends to the Longham bridge region. Fire access gates exist at Millhams bridge and near the Millhams Recycling Unit entrance. At all times, these important access points should be kept entirely clear for emergency vehicles.
 
At this time of year, appropriate outdoor wear and footwear is well recommended. In view of the nature of our weather, the lower track near the streamside can often be waterlogged. Please keep to the higher ground at Millhams when the streamside track is flooded.
 
This whole area is frequently overlooked and even an informal walk in this area will be enjoyed. Wooden seating is provided towards the Ringwood Road end of the streamside track and on the higher ground on the Mead where one is specially dedicated to Violet and Samuel Cox.
 
Botanically, there is much to see at Millhams and as well as commoner species, primroses and wood anemones were recorded in 2019, also orchids. Sweet violets can be observed during the winter. Over 200+ plant species have been recorded in recent years and each year more discoveries are being made.

Please keep to the natural pathways and never venture too close to the bankside. If the weather conditions are good, this area offers good opportunities to observe wildlife closely.

Roe deer can be seen early in the morning or at dusk but soon shy away again. Recent observations were made. 

Always carry binoculars and a pocket bird book. Finches, also a whole host of resident and winter visitors can be observed. Flocks of corvids often feature strongly at dusk. Ducks, herons and kingfishers are regularly seen at the streamside, as are moorhens and mallards. Cormorants and little egrets occasionally visit the backwater areas.

Two species of woodpeckers make full use of the Cudnell woods area. Occasionally, tree creepers and beautiful tiny goldcrests can be observed in this area. Nuthatches are always present and announce their presence by familiar loud whistles.

Buzzards, sparrow hawks and kestrels can be observed around the Millhams and Cudnell areas. Snipe may "drop in" on the Mead at dusk during the winter.

Both the tawny and the barn owl are present at varying times around the Mead and the little owl has been recorded in the past.

Millhams stream supports a number of fish species, also amphibians. Small numbers of reptiles inhabit Millhams Mead and other open spaces associated with it and grass snakes and adders have also been recorded. 

A regular feature at Millhams are its wild rabbits, some of whom do fall victim to the abundant fox population. A weasel was recorded in the past near Millhams bridge.

If the weather remains mild, any emerging Winter moths may encourage a few bats to feed.
 
As in other local regions, gps recording around Millhams Mead proved to be enjoyable and rewarding in 2019.

PELHAMS PARK 

Pelhams houses one of the finest community centres in the whole of Dorset and is greatly appreciated by residents and visitors to our area.
 
There is also a well equipped and much used play area for children. For those only wishing to take a brief stroll, the parkland is ideal for this purpose and the Kinson shopping centre is only a minute or so away. Seating is provided around the park.
 
Grey squirrels are resident here and numerous species of wild birds are always present including nuthatches.
 
In front of the Community centre and around the entire park there are many interesting trees, some of considerable age.
Even in winter, a brief walk around the park will reveal the great variety of wildlife to be found within a relatively small area.

A list of species present in the park is on show within the Community centre. The park`s famous tulip tree is situated almost in front of the community centre and is numbered 462. 

Tips for Winter:

Please be sure to wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear during the winter period.
 

If on walks at dusk, please be sure to carry a well charged suitable long beam torch.

If you can, always carry a small snack, also a refreshing drink in a flask.

We recommend that you always walk in company, especially at this time of year.

As always the Moonfleet of Kinson motto is:-

Go together;
Stay together;
Come back together!

KINSON NATURE DIARY RECORDS  2020

From 1st January 2020 to 17th January 2020

Sweet violets flowering under a hedgerow at Millhams Mead, Kinson (1st).
Check made on emerging bee and autumn lady`s tresses orchids in north Bournemouth (1st).

Squirrels and wood pigeons active around Pelhams Park, Kinson (1st).

Viburnum with flowers in a central Kinson garden (2nd).
Marigolds flowering in a sheltered corner by Kinson Village Green (3rd).

Hazel catkins beginning to show in a hedgerow near Kinson School (4th).

Large gathering of starlings resting in a London plane tree in Pelhams Park, Kinson  (5th pm).

Great Spotted woodpecker activity around Blanchard`s Copse, Kinson Common (6th).
3 moorhens active in the margins of a swollen Pepin`s Pond, Kinson Common (7th am).

Noisy nuthatches calling loudly from tree tops at Pelhams Park, Kinson (8th pm).

Emerging hazel catkins noticeable by Turbary Common, West Howe (8th). 

Nuthatches again visiting Pelhams Park, Kinson (9th am).

A few yellow crocuses flowering in a central Kinson garden (9th).

Fresh frogs` spawn in a pool at Central Bog, Kinson Common (10th).
Clump of pale butterworts in goos condition, Central Bog, Kinson Common (10th).
Small number of lesser celandines in flower at Glenmeadows, Kinson Common (10th).
Emerging heath spotted orchids recorded in the lower valley, Kinson Common (10th).
Several moorhens feeding in the margins of Pepin`s Pond, Kinson Common (10th).
5+ redwings present in Blanchard`s Copse, Kinson Common (10th before noon).

Nuthatches present by Central Sallows, Kinson Common (10th).

Cuckoo-pints emerging near Glenmeadows, Kinson Common (11th).
Nuthatches active at Pond Scrub, Kinson Common (12th am).

3 Carrion crows feeding together on a damp day in Pelhams Park, Kinson (13th).

Jays active around Central Sallows, Kinson Common (14th).

Wallflowers and viburnum flowering in Central Kinson (15th).

Yellow crocuses flowering under trees at East Howe Green (16th).
More daffodils coming into flower in a central Kinson garden (17th).
Flock of 50+ crows dashing northwards over Pelhams Park, Kinson (17th am).

KINSON WILD BIRD RECORDINGS IN 2020 

From 1st January 2020 to 17th January 2020 

CORVIDAE: Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Jay, Magpie, Rook 

FRINGILLIDAE

PASSERIDAE: House sparrow 

STURNIDAE: Starling 

MOTACILLIDAE: Meadow pipit

SITTIDAE: Nuthatch

CERTHIIDAE

REGULIDAE

PARIDAE: Blue tit, Great tit 

SYLVIIDAE

TURDIDAE: Blackbird, Redwing, Robin, Song thrush 

PRUNELLIDAE

HIRUNDINIDAE

TROGLODYTIDAE: Wren

PICIDAE: Great Spotted woodpecker 

ALCEDINIDAE

STRIGIDAE

FALCONIDAE: Buzzard 

PHALACROCORACIDAE: Cormorant

ANATIDAE

ARDEIDAE

LARIDAE: Black headed gull, Herring gull

RALLIDAE: Moorhen 

COLUMBIDAE: Wood pigeon

APODIDAE

CUCULIDAE








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