The strong breeze was ideal for the group of land yachts that raced up and down the flat area in Riverside Park but the birds preferred to stay hidden in the foliage and sightings were low. Nevertheless it was a glorious day to be out.
Flowers have all but disappeared and just a few berries, hips predominantly, remain on the bushes. Moles are still highly active producing many new molehills on the lawn near to the Parlour Café.
The ebbing tide provided exposed mud for waders but very few were taking advantage – the lone curlew we see so often, oystercatchers and redshanks amongst them. To the east of the marina a flock of knot stood motionless facing into the wind and had their heads tucked backwards, all bent to their left and resting on their backs; occasionally one would fly up and land in another part of the group. Nearby a flock of some 300 brent geese gathered at the water’s edge, some in the water and others on the mud, and at times a small group would simultaneously lift up and fly south chattering as they went.
Next Meeting – Tuesday 16th January 10.00 meet in the marina car park
Birds: Blackbird, Starling, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Cormorant, Black-headed & Herring Gulls, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Redshank, Knot, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Brent Geese
Flowers: Ragwort, Yarrow, Gorse, Catkins
Other: Mole activity, Hips.
It was a glorious day to be out with autumn colours glowing in the afternoon sun. Sloes, haws and hips still clung to the bushes providing the birds with food. The tide was high and just about to turn, the water calm, and a steel grey colour – a seal caused ripples as it swam close to shore making it’s way towards the mouth of the river.
Two mute swans were on the lake at Creeksea giving us the best sighting we have had there, as previously we have seen only gulls and a duck. The copses planted a few years ago are now growing well. There was plenty of mole activity especially on the lawn of the house adjacent to the Parlour Café.
During the afternoon the sun lowered beneath a line of cloud giving a red glow in the south-west; as our eyes followed the horizon north, the colours turned to pale blue with shades of orange and soft yellow; chattering brent geese flying over completed the picture
With many leaves now fallen the remains of empty bird’s nests were clearly visible. Sadly the hedges on the south side of the caravan park have been ‘enthusiastically’ cut back but hopefully the leaf cover will return in time for next year’s nesting season. The dyke has once again become overgrown and needs attention.
Next Meeting – Saturday 30th December 11.00 am meet in the marina car park
Birds: Robin, Blackbird, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Crow, Jay, Wood Pigeon, Kestrel, Black-headed & Herring Gulls, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Mallard, Little Egret, Mute Swans, Brent Geese
Flowers: Bristly Ox-tongue, Scentless Mayweed, Ragwort, White Campion, Yarrow, Spear Thistle, Daisy, Red Deadnettle, Groundsel, Gorse, Wild Radish Canadian Fleabane, Smooth Sowthistle.
Other: Mole activity, Hips, Haws, Sloes, Seal.
After a fine morning it was disappointing that when we met at 2.00 a light drizzle began to fall. In view of this we didn’t expect to see much, but were pleasantly surprised at the variety of wildlife, and that many flowers were continuing later into the season than last year. Sloes and hips were still in abundance.
Earlier in the year we had found many pinkish round oak galls growing on the oak trees adjacent to the railway line. These galls are caused by the larval stage of the gall wasp, and the growth of the gall encloses them. We notice today that there are many holes in the dried galls from which the larvae have now emerged. There are apparently more than 30 species of gall wasp and their life cycle is complex with alternating generations that are either sexual with males and females, or asexual with females only. The two generations often produce different types of gall on different parts of the tree, and in some species the two generations alternate between native and non-native species of oak.
Gall wasps however, cause no long-term ill effects to oak trees. We also noticed today that acorns had been affected, which was probably caused by the Acorn Gall Wasp (Andricus quercuscalicis). Gall wasps that attack the acorns can substantially reduce the acorn crop in some years, which may have consequences for pigeons, jays, squirrels and other rodents that eat acorns during the winter. This wasp became established in the UK in the 1970s and is now widespread; they also are not a threat to the tree itself.
As usual there were many birds in the bushes beside the railway line, in the trees by the reed beds and also in the former caravan park and a surprise today was seeing a fox slinking beside the hedge making its way towards the housing estate. A variety of birds fed on the mud in the river, heron, egret & godwits amongst them.
In spite of the poor weather it was a lovely day to be out and the good thing about poor weather is that it keeps the crowds away!
Next Meeting – Friday 24th November 2.00 pm meet in the marina car park
Birds: Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail Magpie, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Black-headed & Herring Gulls, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit
Flowers: Bristly Ox-tongue, Dandelion, Mallow, Scentless Mayweed, Ragwort, Speedwell, White Campion, Field Poppy, Red, & White Clover, Yarrow, Honeysuckle, Bramble, Ribwort Plantain, Cat’s Ear, Hedge Bindweed (Bellbine), Marsh Thistle, Great Reedmace, Daisy, Black Horehound, Red & White Deadnettle, Groundsel, Hedge Mustard, Gorse, Wild Radish.
Other: Mole activity, Fox, Hips, Sloes, caterpillar of the Large White Butterfly.