Spring has really arrived and the number of flowers and insects has increased including an active bees nest in one of the poplar trees near the railway line. The leaves have grown on the trees and bushes hiding the birds and several had to be identified by their songs alone (song thrush, lesser whitethroat, Cetti’s warbler). We had several exciting sightings including that of two separate pairs of whitethroats that appeared to be breeding in their separate territories. In the reed beds we heard once more the explosive call of the Cetti’s warbler and also there were other warblers present and singing loud and long, which we identified as reed warblers. The tide being high and still rising there was no exposed mud on which the waders could seek food. We saw three egrets in the dyke and also several pairs of mallard. There were just four Herring gulls on the lake at Creeksea.
Another interesting sighting was of a tent of caterpillars on a Blackthorn bush on the seawall; the caterpillars have been in this tent since last autumn and are now emerging to feed. I identified them by this description – ’brown with tufts of ginger brown hair and have a dotted line down each side. The most noticeable feature is the two orange spots near the tail’ – and concluded by reading the last phrase that they were definitely the caterpillars of the Brown Tail Moth, a delightful white moth with brown abdominal hairs which can be seen from July.
The next ‘Our Patch’ outing will be on Thursday May 26th meeting in the marina car park at 9.00
Birds: (numbers in brackets indicate the highest number seen in one sighting) Robin 3 (1), Dunnock 1, Wren 2(2), Chaffinch 2(1), Blue Tit 7(2), Great Tit 4(1), Sparrow 1, Chiffchaff 1, Blackbird 4 (3), Song Thrush 1, Lesser Whitethroat 4 (2), Whitethroat, Starling 6 (2), Cetti’s Warbler 1, Reed Warbler 2 (2) Pied Wagtail 1, Skylark 1 (1), Wood Pigeon 139 (120), Crow 2 (1), Magpie 5 (1), Moorhen 1 (2), Black-headed Gull 8 (2), Herring Gull 4 (4), Mallard 6 (2), Oystercatcher 1, Little Egret 4 (3).
Flowers: Blackthorn, Pussy Willow, Gorse, Daisy, Red & White Deadnettle, Common Speedwell, Cow Parsley, Dandelion, Buttercup, Common Mouse-ear Chickweed. Lesser Celandine, Spotted Medick, Dovetail Cranesbills, Hawthorn, Common Vetch, Ragwort, Hoary Cress, Beaked Hawkweed, Horse Chestnut
Other: Mole Hills, 7-spot ladybird, Brown Tail Moth caterpillars, White-tailed and Red-tailed Bumble Bees.