Next Indoor Meeting - Wednesday 10th October - Bowers Marsh RSPB Reserve - Wildlife Gardening - Andrew Sidders (EWT)
Summer is over and that means the return of our indoor meetings, where we welcome Andrew Sidders from the Essex Wildlife Trust, to provide us with plenty of useful advice on how to make the best use of our gardens to benefit our local wildlife. In addition, he will show us some practical skills in how to make a Toad House or Bird Box.
NOTE - this is the first meeting at our new venue - St Andrews Church Hall, 11 London Road, Wickford, Essex, SS12 0AN.
Arrive at 7.50pm for an 8.00pm start.
Trip Report - Bowers Marsh RSPB Reserve - Sunday 9th September 2018 - Fine but strong breeze
The day got off to a good start as soon as we set off, spotting a Sparrowhawk flying along Hodgson's Way, spooking a Jay as it flew along. At the reserve we headed off to the lagoons, ticking off Goldfinch, Magpie, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Feral Pigeon, Swallow, Starling and Woodpigeon along the way. We also saw a Skylark drop down into a field very close and then it disappeared - we eventually found it but its plumage blending into the ground was incredible. We must walk past these all of the time. A Great Spotted Woodpecker put on a good show for us at the top of a branch, while a few Jackdaws flew overhead and a couple of Wrens were singing in the hedgerow. Insect wise, we added Small Heath and Ruddy Darter to the wildlife list. Also worth noting was the lovely blue Chicory flowers in the fields - quite a lot of it too. At the freshwater lagoon, we added Mute Swan, Mallard, Lapwing, Canada Goose, Coot, Little Egret, lots of Black Tailed Godwits, Wigeon, Black Headed Gull, Greylag Goose, Teal, Shoveler, a few very nice Snipe, Gadwall, Grey Heron, Pintail, Pied Wagtail, Tufted Duck and Pochard. We then wandered back to the saline lagoon, where we found a lonely Avocet, Shelduck, Common Gulls, Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Common Redshank, a couple of Greenshanks and after some debate and a helpful Common Redshank wandering past for comparison, a Spotted Redshank. Then uproar as a hunting Peregrine Falcon sped into the lagoon and clattered a small bird very near the edge. Some confusion as to whether this was a wader or wagtail but somehow the falcon didn't pick it up despite a few attempts. Perhaps it had managed to get in the grass but we could not see what had happened from where we stood. All very exciting! Back at the freshwater lagoon, we added Cormorant, Kestrel, Little Grebe, Moorhen and House Martin to the list. Then we started the long walk back to the car park, spotting Stock Doves and hearing several Cetti's Warblers along the way. We also saw the Peregrine Falcon perched on a pylon near Great Pound - what a fabulous bird this is. We also added many Migrant Hawkers plus Specked Wood and Common Blue to the insect list. A very enjoyable morning with 48 bird species seen - 46 on the reserve.
Birds seen/heard - 48 (46 on reserve)
Butterflies - 3
Dragonflies - 2
Whats about in Wickford - September 2018
I saw a Clouded Yellow butterfly in the Wick Country Park on Sunday, the first I have ever seen in Wickford. Keep an eye out for these in your gardens. Its a good time of year for these and other migrant butterfly / moth species, with Hummingbird Hawk Moth a possibility from now into October. There also seems to have been an invasion of the UK by Heron species from Southern Europe. Great White Egrets have been seen at several locations including Hanningfield Reservoir, which also had a Spoonbill this week. At Blue House farm, 2 Cattle Egrets have been recorded. Further afield at Abberton Reservoir there are at least 6 Great White Egrets. There is no doubt that the Great White Egret is going to be the next bird to colonise the UK and is probably breeding already - this year I have seen them in Norfolk, Kent, Essex and Lancashire, so they are spreading around the UK. A lovely bird to see if you have not done so before - get to Hanningfield before it leaves!
Wednesday 8th August 2018. 8am to 11.30am. Walk from the Memorial park gate along the River Crouch
The walk along the path beside the river through the park only produced Woodpigeon, 4 Carrion Crow, 1 Green Woodpecker and a few Swallow’s skimming the grass. Leaving the park into the school playing field a few Goldfinch flew from the Riverside hedgerow, 8 Magpie were on the playing field as were 40+ Pied Wagtail. On entering Giddings’s copse Blue tit, Great tit, Wren and Blackcap were all noted. Moving on through the Three Arches Bridge Greenfinch were calling from the Sewage Works trees and pair of Bullfinch flew across the river from Shotgate Thickets, Greater Black Backed Gulls flew overhead. The walk along the Crouch produced 20+ Mallard, 4 Moorhen, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Grebe and a Blackbird. Arriving back at the Bridge a family party of 3 or 4 Common Whitethroat were seen as was a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Going back under the Bridge a Grey Wagtail was on a Willow lying across the river and a Robin sang from the riverside trees. On the walk back a Pheasant called from Southlands Farm and a juvenile Green Woodpecker was in the park proving local breeding. Carrying on through the park a young Sparrowhawk was very vocal in the small wood over the river again proving local breeding. It had been a warm but breezy morning so Butterfly numbers were down but Small White, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood were seen.
On this walk we had seen 25 species of bird, we have done the same walk twice earlier this year and seen Treecreeper, Linnet, Reed Bunting , Yellowhammer and Buzzard which were not seen this time. I also know Kingfisher and Peregrine have been seen recently so it’s surprising just what can be seen locally in Wickford.
Colin Sparkes, Keith Mint.
For all events please see our Full Programme 2018 page above.
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