16 members met in the Essex Wildlife Trust car park at Chigborough Lakes on an overcast but warm morning.
Chigborough Lakes is managed by Essex Wildlife Trust and consists of a series of flooded gravel pits giving a wide range of different habitats including open water, small ponds, marshy areas, grazed grassland and Blackthorn/Hawthorn scrub.
Bird sound was lacking as we started our walk around the lakes but we did hear a Chiffchaff and saw several butterflies including a Gatekeeper and Purple Emperor. On the lake we watched a Mallard family. As we walked further round the reserve we heard a Blackcap and Bullfinch, a Swift flew overhead, and on another lake there was one lone Greylag, Little Grebe, a Tufted Duck, several female Mallards and a Common Tern flying overhead.
Continuing around the Reserve we heard more Blackcaps and Wren and came upon a further lake where there were a number of Little Egrets, several Grey Herons and Cormorants nesting in the trees. On the lake there were Coots, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Gadwall. Speckled Wood Butterfly and a Lesser Treble Bar Moth were also spotted.
There was an abundance of wildflowers around the Reserve and the experts among us identified those listed below.
Back at the car park we saw a Skylark and Swallow.
9 of us then went on to Heybridge and met 2 more of our members at the Lock Tearooms.
After lunch we walked along the seawall. The tide was going down and apart from Black-headed and Herring Gulls the only waders we saw were an Oystercatcher, Lapwing and one Redshank. In the trees we spotted Goldfinches, Sparrows and a Linnet and on the lake were a number of gulls and ducks, most of them being too far away to identify.
Altogether a most enjoyable day.
Birds: Common Tern, Swift, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Wren, Robin, Goldfinch, Magpie, Crow, Tufted Duck, Little Egret, Mallard (and ducklings), Blackcap, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Pochard, Moorhen, Wood Pigeon, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Collared Dove, Great-crested Grebe, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch (heard), Grey Heron, Gadwall, Reed Warbler, Black-headed Gull, Skylark, Swallow, Starling, Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, Redshank, Lapwing, Linnet.
Butterflies: Gatekeeper, Purple Emperor, Speckled Wood, Lesser Treble Bar Moth, Meadow Brown, Small White, Green-veined White
Wild Flowers: Flowers: Hedge Bindweed, Spear Thistle, Cow Parsley, White Clover, Daisy, Ragwort, Bramble, Agrimony, Stinging Nettle, St John’s Wort, Yarrow, Knapweed, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Great Reedmace, Rosebay Willowherb, Selfheal, Teasel, Woody Nightshade, Field Bindweed, Red Deadnettle, Black Horehound, Pink Campion, Yellow Water Lily, Fleabane, Bristly Ox-tongue, Mallow, Sea Lavender.
Other: Badger Set, Mosquito, Damsel Fly, Hover Fly, Rabbit, Frog (baby), Shrew (dead), Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars, Red-tailed Bumble Bee
Next meeting: Wednesday, 8 August 2018 – Hockley Woods – meet in Car Park at 10 a.m.