Next Outdoor Meeting - Thursday 21st June - Longest Day Walk - Hanningfield Reservoir / Three Compasses Pub.
Join us for a longest day evening walk around the western end of Hanningfield Reservoir, followed by refreshments at the Three Compasses pub afterwards. This is a joint meeting with the Basildon Natural History Society. Meet in the Three Compasses Car Park - Church Rd, West Hanningfield, Chelmsford CM2 8UQ.
Meet at the Three Compasses Pub at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start.
Last Outdoor Meeting - Nevendon Washlands - Sunday 13th May 2018
Despite the forecast rain, we had a cool cloudy morning at this fabulous wildlife area and it did warm up later. Our guide was Ray Cranfield, who's expertise and enthusiasm is great to see and experience. Clambering over the slippery fence (hard work at our age...) we were greeted by lots of Common Whitethroat song and a few of them displaying at the tops of bushes. A really nice male Linnet in full breeding plumage also perched nicely for us. Ray has placed lots of corrugated iron pieces around the area, and we were soon looking at lots of Slow-worms, including a couple mating! We then had a look at some Spotted Orchids that had been re-located and seemed to doing well. We continued to wander seeing more Slow-worms and several birds - Swallows, Green Woodpecker, Wood Pigeons, Reed Bunting, Mallard, Magpie, Skylark, Grey Heron, Black-Headed, Lesser Black-Backed, and Herring Gulls. We also heard an elusive Lesser Whitethroat that we could never see. Ray then found a brilliant male Adder which had recently shed its skin and was in great condition. As we wandered we came across lots of plants including Cuckoo Flower, Ladies Smock, Cowslips, Water Plantain, Sea Buckthorn and Green Winged Orchids. We finished off visiting a large pond - one of several on site - where Ray had set traps to catch for us Smooth and Great Crested Newts, there seemed to be loads of these in the pond. He also caught several Caddis Fly larvae which use all kinds of pond debris to build a protective case around themselves - it was fascinating to see the different cases they had built. Our final sighting was a Buzzard overhead which shows how things change in nature, 10 years ago a Buzzard in Essex was a major sighting, now they are common even over our towns! A great morning out with Ray, who as always, was an excellent guide.
Whats about in Wickford - May 2018?
Swifts have arrived at last - in Shotgate I first saw them on the 6th May, which is a bit later than usual. Common Whitethroats are also here and in good numbers, I have seen lots of them over the past week or so. It's cousin the Lesser Whitethroat is also here but you need to know its song to identify this bird, as it spends most of its time deep in a bush or hedge. A bit further afield, last week, I saw Cuckoo's and Yellow Wagtails in Burnham-on-Crouch and 2 Hobbies hunting at Bowers Marsh RSPB Reserve. There are plenty of Small & Large White butterflies around, together with Orange Tips and Peacocks. A few Holly Blues have fluttered through the garden too. Spring is here at last!
For all events please see our Full Programme 2018 page above.
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