After a long period of dry weather, heavy falls of rain fell the day before our July meeting and so, combined with an unpromising forecast, it was not surprising to have a low turnout. However, we were not disappointed with our day except that the ponds, where we had hoped to find dragonflies and damselflies, had too much vegetation and in some ponds the water levels were very low.
After coffee in the Visitor Centre, watching the birds on the feeders and enjoying the views and other wildlife beyond, we set off. Firstly we walked to the point that overlooks the Colne estuary and sat in sunshine watching feeding waders on the mud flats. From there we visited the hide that overlooks a scrape and saltmarsh and here also there was plenty to see. The furthest, and newest hide, provided more interest with numerous birds feeding and others in great numbers gathered on the exposed sand banks. We saw a pair of Shelduck with four young and later a Coot with one.
We ended the morning as we had begun, in the Visitor Centre with coffee.
That evening was the second of our glowworm surveys. We didn’t know what to expect after the rain but ended with a total of 25, which was only 12 short of the previous count a fortnight earlier.
Birds: Linnet, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Robin, Blue Tit, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Swallow, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Pheasant, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Crow, Little Grebe, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Cormorant, Common Tern, Black-headed & Herring Gull.
Wild Flowers: Bramble, Self Heal, Rosebay Willowherb, Buttercup, White Bryony, Scarlet Pimpernel, Birdsfoot-trefoil, Black Horehound, Foxglove, Imperforate St John’s Wort, Marsh & Spear Thistle, Mallow, Ragwort, Valerian, Catmint, Great Reedmace, Honeysuckle, Stinging Nettle, Red & White Campion, Cat’s Ear, Weld, Wood Sage, Burdock, Scented & Scentless Mayweed, Hedge & Field Bindweed, Small-flowered Cranesbill, Sea Lavender, Woody Nightshade, Creeping buttercup, Dandelion, Speedwell, Red & White Clover, Field Poppy, Smooth Hawksbeard, Fleabane, Common Vetch, Foxglove, Black Horehound.
Other: 7-spot Ladybird, Cardinal Beetle, Rabbit, Muntjac Deer, Large White Butterfly, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar, Red-tailed Bumblebee.
A few days later a member of our group joined the Basildon Natural History Society at One Tree Hill in search of butterflies and reports that they saw a Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Marbled White, Essex Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Ringlet, White-letter Hairstreak, Large White, Common Blue, Peacock, Purple Hairstreak, Comma, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Painted Lady, Small White, Green-veined White.
Next Meeting: Burnham-on-Crouch – 9th August meet in the Marina Car Park (north end) at 10 a.m. ending at the Parlour Café just before 12.00 for a group ‘get together’.