Although we have been unable to meet due to the Coronavirus crisis, Bird and Wildlife Group members have been reporting their sightings both in their garden and on their daily walk.
I have included below a report of Sue and Tony’s daily walks in Southminster, Jill’s daily walks down Burnham Marshes, Elaine and Stephen’s in St. Lawrence and Diane’s day in the garden.
Frances, on a walk around Creeksea, saw Brent Geese, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Little Egret, Great Crested Grebe as well as the usual Magpie, Pigeons, etc. In addition to the usual garden birds I have had Long-tailed Tits in the garden.
Lynda, while driving from Althorne to Maldon saw 2 Red Kites, which was quite a sighting as we don’t often see them in this area. Also she has seen a number of Greenfinches and watched 2 Jackdaws nesting in the chimney opposite her house.
SOUTHMINSTER REPORT – from Sue and Tony
Since lockdown on March 17th Tony and I have been walking the roads and fields of Southminster for our daily constitutional. We have been noting all the wildlife we have seen over that time from our garden, the odd trip by car to a supermarket but mostly what we have seen on our walks. We’ve seen an amazing amount.
BIRDS: Buzzard, sparrow hawk, kestrel, crow, rook, jackdaw, magpie, starling, blackbird, robin, wren, bluetit and great-tit, greenfinch, chaffinch, goldfinch, chiffchaff, yellowhammer, linnet, sparrow, various gulls, wood pigeon, collared dove, partridge and pheasant.
BUTTERFLIES : red admiral, peacock, brimstone, small tortoiseshell, comma.
WILD FLOWERS: (some if these are debatable as I am no expert!) Lesser celandine, germander speedwell, primrose, sweet cicely, greater stitchwort, red campion, shepherd’s purse, field mouse-ear, sweet violet, red dead nettle.
AND HERE IS THE PIECE DE RESISTANCE …………A Water Vole. In fact on occasion 3 different ones.
We’ll no doubt see similar ones over the next few months but will just report on anything of particular interest.
Sue and Tony Bridgman.
BURNHAM MARSHES REPORT from Jill
My regular daily walk takes me out along the Marsh Road – a rather boring walk to most people – no trees, no hedges, just miles of open arable land. But it holds happy memories for me as Ken and I used to jog down there every Sunday morning, and in the cold winter evenings we would walk down to see that big sky, learn the names of the constellations and look for shooting stars.
I told Joy I never see any birds on my daily walk, but she asked for a list anyway. Thank you Joy for giving me the focus and sense of purpose. I surprised myself in producing this list:
BIRDS: Robin; wren; dunnock; skylark; goldfinch; chaffinch; great tit; blue tit; crow; magpie, black-headed gull; green woodpecker; pheasant; a lonely mallard in a ditch; pied wagtail; 2 chiffchaffs suitably socially distanced.
WILD FLOWERS: Shepherd’s purse; white campion; groundsel; smooth sow thistle; white dead nettle; red dead nettle; common chickweed; germander speedwell; common storksbill; daisy; dandelion; petty spurge; cow parsley; hoary cress; alexanders; hawthorn; blackthorn; pussy willow.
AND – something I have never knowingly seen before – according to my ID chart it is widespread and common and especially fond of dead nettle
A HAIRY-FOOTED FLOWER BEE !!
LAWRENCE REPORT from Stephen and Elaine
A walk around the field behind our house in St Lawrence revealed the following:
Several Skylark (singing), 1 female Marsh Harrier, 6 Blue Tits, Great Tit, 9 House Sparrows, Numerous Wood Pigeons, 2 Collared Doves, 2 Magpie, 2 Carrion Crows, 2 Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff singing, Buzzard on nest, Chaffinch, Pheasant and Sparrowhawk in garden.
Today – 7 April – walked around field and a bit further to the wood by Ramsey Marsh. Could have felt everything was alright with the world for a bit.
We saw: House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Wren, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blue tit, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Pheasant, Kestrel, Long-tailed Tit, Female Brambling, Blackcap, Chiffchaff.
Butterflies: Brimstone, many Peacock, some Small Tortoiseshell, Small White.
Stephen and Elaine Spicer
REPORT FROM DIANE
As it should have been the Group Meeting today (8 April) I thought I would do a count of what was seen or heard from the confines of my garden. I am constructing raised beds so was in the garden toiling for most of the day – I know you will think the wild flowers are weeds but to me they are lovely; here is the list:
Birds: Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin. Blackbird, Sparrow, Starling, Chaffinch, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, Crow, Black-headed Gull & Buzzard.
Insects, Butterflies etc.: 7-spot Ladybird, Earwig, Ant, Earthworm, House Fly, Harvest Spider?, Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Hoverfly & Brimstone, Orange Tip & Peacock Butterflies
Wild Flowers: Speedwell, Dandelion, Groundsel, Common Whitlow Grass, Fumitory, Red Deadnettle, White Deadnettle, Daisy, Common Forget-me-Not, Common Dog Violet, Chickweed & Dove’s Foot Cranesbill.
I read this super description of a male bird – one that we see when out and about, can you guess what I am ??? (Answers to Diane please).
I need a mate and am looking close to water. That one looks suitable I think and she seems to fancy me, she does, and we start our courtship in the shallow water. We both show excitement, preen ourselves and dip our beaks in the water. A good sign so I run round to the back of the female and half-spread my wings whilst climbing on her back. Job done and satisfied we both happily run along together with me placing a protective wing over her – and so our bond is made.
So, thank you to all members who have contributed. Although we have been unable to meet, it is really good to be able to keep in touch in this way, and hope we will do so in the months to follow that we are unable to meet.