We started in sunshine and just made it to the finish before a torrential downpour fell. As usual there was plenty of birdlife along the railway line including blackcaps singing and we had the added pleasure of sighting whitethroats, a sure sign that the summer birds are arriving. We also heard our first cuckoo of the season. Beside the lake at Creeksea just three gulls stood together at the edge – a lesser black-backed and two herring gulls. At least three skylarks were singing on high.
The little egret was in its favoured location on the saltings at Creeksea but the river’s edge yielded nothing. The Brent geese were nowhere to be seen and most likely are now travelling north to the Arctic tundra where they breed and will return in the autumn to winter here once again. These birds have been given an amber status in the Birds of Conservation Concern list and a project has just begun to track those that travel to the Essex estuaries over winter. The Essex Wildlife Trust and the Southern Colour Ringing Group have teamed up and have ringed 18 geese with colour-coded, numbered rings. You can help monitor these birds too, as anyone who sees a Brent goose with a colour ring (visible with binoculars) is asked to send details including ring-code, date and location to Paul Roper by emailing email@example.com.
On the reeds in the dyke adjacent to the marina a reed bunting sang and remained in sight for the time it took us to pass it. Not much of interest in the reeds in the park except the song of a reed warbler hidden in the reeds.
As expected there were more flowers, but nothing exceptional except the hoary cress on the margins of the saltings, common in the south but rare elsewhere, and later the flowers of the field maple, our only native maple. Last year in this month we identified six butterflies but this year there were none.
Next Meeting – Thursday 10th May 2.00pm meet in the marina car park
Birds: Blackbird, Starling, Robin, Wren, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Great, Blue Tits, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Skylark, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Cuckoo, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Jackdaw, Pheasant, Kestrel, Moorhen, Mallard, Black-headed, Lesser black-backed & Herring Gulls.
Flowers: Daisy, Dandelion, Cow Parsley, Buttercup, Gorse, Red & White Deadnettle, Ground Ivy, Groundsel, Speedwell, Chickweed, Blackthorn, Small-flowered Cranesbill, Horse Chestnut, Field Maple, Hoary Cress, Shepherd’s Purse, Hawthorn, Alkanet.
Other: Buff-tailed bumble bee, hoverfly,