Our attention was drawn to the call of a green woodpecker and we saw it flying away from us. This bird is sometimes referred to as the ‘rain bird’, probably, I read in my bird book, through its call being heard more clearly in the atmospheric conditions before rain. As you all know the weather this summer has been hot and dry but on that afternoon storms with hail were forecast so perhaps that is why we heard the call so clearly but, needless to say, not a drop fell.
We met on the first day of the Big Butterfly Count, a nationwide survey run by the charity Butterfly Conservation, aimed at helping assess the health of our environment – and it is not too late for you to take part as it runs until the 12th August and only takes 15-minutes of your time. Basically, on a sunny day you count the maximum number of each species that you can see at a single time. For more information and a downloadable identification chart visit www..bigbutterflycount.org
Everywhere we walked we saw gatekeeper butterflies in abundance, a few small white butterflies and a couple of common blues.
It is now hard to see the birds as their singing has ended and leaf cover is still dense. In the bushes near the car park there was much chattering and cheeping from a flock of birds but we failed to identify them. They did break cover from time to time but disappeared into an equally dense bush a short distance away.
The grass is brown and the flowers are looking faded and dry but already sloe berries are forming and the bright red, poisonous fruits of the lords and ladies gave a splash of colour.
A few gulls were seen on the lake and swallows swooped low over the fields nearby. On the saltings sea lavender was blooming and samphire was abundant but there were no birds feeding on the mud or enjoying the water. The reed beds yielded little except a lone moorhen.
Next Meeting – Thursday 23rd August at 2.00 pm, meet in the marina car park
Birds: Blackbird, Starling, Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Swift, Swallow, Moorhen, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Pheasant, Black-headed & Herring Gull.
Flowers: Corn, Smooth & Prickly Sowthistle, Bristly Ox-tongue, Wild Carrot, Burdock, Flowering Rush, Daisy, Mallow, Lucerne, White, Red & Strawberry Clover, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Stinging Nettle, Field Poppy, Ribwort Plantain, Ragwort, White Campion, Knapweed, Scented Mayweed, Bramble, Sea Lavender, Field & Hedge Bindweed, Mugwort, Groundsel, Fat Hen, Common Cord Grass, Great Reedmace, Marsh & Spear Thistle, Great Willowherb, Yarrow, Common Fleabane.
Other: Gatekeeper, Common Blue & Small White butterflies, Latticed Heath day-flying moth, Damselfly, Grasshopper, White-tailed Bumble Bee, Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar, Cardinal Beetle, 7-spot Ladybird