Seven members met at Cudmore Grove Country Park, East Mersea. The weather was overcast with a strong wind which made it a bit chilly but at least it was dry. The cafe was closed as it was not a weekend so no coffee! no doubt this will change when school holidays start.
We walked onto the beach to see the Sand Martins of which there were several still visiting their holes in the cliff. Suddenly there was a shout from Val who was with a lady and her dog. Ongoing over we discovered the dog had found a bird nearer the strandline, it was probably winded and was resting before flying off. Diane picked it up and carried it back to higher ground, it did not appear injured so hopefully it recovered and went on its way.
After that excitement we walked in the opposite direction back into the wind adding more species to our list. Finally, four of us checked out the area of the hide which is undergoing replacement, we saw butterflies and interesting plants here.
We all went our separate ways after lunch having had a lovely morning.
Birds seen: blackcap, black-headed gull, carrion crow, cetti’s warbler, chiffchaff coot, curlew, herring gull, linnet, little egret, little grebe, magpie, mallard, moorhen, oystercatcher, redshank, sand martin, skylark, swift, whitethroat, wood pigeon.
Insects: 5-spot ladybird, brimstone butterfly, dragonfly, garden snail, gatekeeper butterfly, grasshopper, hoverfly, large white butterfly, mosquito, skipper butterfly, small white butterfly.
Wildflowers: birdsfoot, birdsfoot trefoil, black horehound, black medick, bramble, bristly ox-tongue, buttercup, comfrey, daisy, dandelion, dog rose, mallow, marsh thistle, mayweed, nipplewort, ragwort, red clover, ribwort plantain, rowan, sand spurrey, smooth sow, dandelion, dog rose, fat hen, smooth sow thistle, spear thistle, St. Johns’s wort, field bindweed, stinging nettle, foxglove, weld, golden samphire, white bryony, great reedmace, white campion, groundsel, white clover, herb Robert, wild carrot, honeysuckle, woody nightshade, knapweed, yarrow, lady’s bedstraw.
Burnham Wick Farm – Wednesday, 11 August 2021 – Meet at 10 a.m.
MEMBERS ACTIVITIES DURING THE MONTH
Wrabness 12.7.21 – Diane Caulkett
After the heavy overnight rain, the first part of my walk crossing fields of onions and wheat, was wet and slippery. The long grass didn’t help but it was a warm day and my trouser legs soon dried. I was making my way to Stone Point, Wrabness mostly following the Essex Way. It was glorious savouring the views of the River Stour and Suffolk beyond. The stillness of the day was perfect and as I walked skylarks serenaded me.
Descending gradually, and by way of a bridge, I crossed under the railway line and soon reached the river’s edge. The tide was rising but there was plenty of exposed mud and a narrow band of saltings. The usual array of gulls was at the water’s edge and then the evocative call of a curlew drew my attention away from them. Through the binoculars I found the curlew just standing motionless and then it called again, took flight and went a short way down river where it poked around in the mud. There too were 6 little egrets busy with their search for food. Two very noisy oystercatchers chased each other angrily for a while and then peacefully fed together. That was about all the interest on the waterfront but I had now reached the Wrabness Nature Reserve and the scene changed rapidly. I now walked through shrubs and trees and pathways amass with wildflowers and birdsong was everywhere – I knew some but wished I had brought my book with recordings to identify others. I did mistake the route here and made an unnecessary detour but it didn’t matter. I had intended to walk through Oakfield Wood, perhaps I did as, according to the map, the Essex Way does pass through it, but it wasn’t signed. Back beside the river I walked onto the beach. Low cliffs on my right were alive with sand martins flying back and forth scanning the area for insects and returning with them to their numerous holes. Wrabness cliffs are also of interest geologically and I believe an SSI. Suddenly I was reminded of a moment some 50 years ago when I caught the train to Wrabness, walked down to the waterfront and Brian rowed out from Flight which was moored offshore, presumably it was a Saturday and I had to work in the morning and he had sailed round from Benfleet leaving Friday night – the good old days when you could anchor in these rivers.
The sun was trying to shine but I could see the forecast rain clouds building so turned round to return to Bradfield. Pausing briefly to eat a banana and soak in the scene I could see the tide rising quite rapidly which didn’t affect me but the birds that were present had now gone. A short way on I heard a sound I hadn’t heard before, distinctive and immediately recognisable, it was just like the purring of a cat – a turtle dove. I waited for a long time and there it was again, magic. Unfortunately it was well concealed in the trees. I found a bench for lunch and realised that the whole time I had sat there some sheep in a nearby pasture were bleating furiously and the gulls flying overhead were screaming dementedly. I looked up and the gulls were mobbing a raptor which they saw off and peace was restored. Then the purring started again, three occasions, the turtle dove again, or perhaps another but once again unsighted. With the sun shining a few butterflies made their appearance but apart from that nothing else had changed except with the increased humidity it was hot going – but what a super day I had.
Birds: blackbird, dunnock, skylark, great tit, goldfinch, sparrow, black-headed gull, little egret, curlew, oystercatcher, wood pigeon, turtle dove, mallard, swallow, sand martin, pheasant, partridge, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, chiffchaff, magpie, crow, corn bunting, whitethroat, crow
Flowers: red campion, white campion, mallow, oxeye daisy, white, clover self heal, hedge mustard, black medick, perforate st john’s-wort, common ragwort, groundsel, smooth hawk’s-beard, agrimony, common poppy, common fumitory, herb-robert, dove’s-foot crane’s-bill, red dead-nettle, black horehound, woody nightshade, field scabious, spear thistle, bramble, cow parsley, hedge bindweed, scented mayweed, scentless mayweed, field bindweed.
Other: Woodlouse, bloodsucker, house fly, ant,
Butterflies: skipper (Essex/small?), small white, meadow brown, small heath
The EWT have a short video about Wrabness which can be accessed via: