Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Vange Marsh

Spent the morning on the marsh, the first chicks of the year; a pair of Canada Geese with 8 goslings. A pair of cuckoos showed well on the county tip, three water voles were seen today, one of which showed well feeding in the moat. A green-veined white butterfly sat still long enough for me to grab a photo.

Other birds seen: Avocet 14, Oystercatcher 2, Common Sandpiper 1, Greenshank 11, Spotted Redshank 1 in summer plumage, Little Egret 2, Grey Heron 9, Blackcap 2, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Cetti's Warbler 4, Reed Warbler at least 8 singing, Sedge Warbler at least 5 singing and the female Wigeon is still present.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

First Swifts of the year.

16.40 - 18.30

My first Swifts of the year as two flew over heading north, a Cuckoo was singing from the western end of the old county tip. Five Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper along with a single Snipe. Four pairs of Avocet of which none appeared to be sitting!

A Water Vole swam across the moat towards me, five individuals were seen in all, the evening seems to be the best time to see them!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Wat Tyler Country Park

A lunch time walk in warm sunshine along the perimeter path, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip Butterflies were out in force today.

A couple of Bee Flies were also seen Bombylius major. This large, squat hairy fly resembles a small Bumble Bee. It has long hairy legs, a very long, slender tongue and clear wings with a black band along their front edge. It is usually seen in early spring, hovering around flower borders and it takes an interest in both primroses and violets. The eggs are flicked towards the entrance of solitary bee nests. The larvae are brood parasites in the nests of these bees and will be found where suitable areas for the nests of hosts coincide with woodlands, hedgerows or gardens rich in flowers. Adult flies feed on nectar, using their long proboscises whilst hovering beside a flower. Aubretia is one common garden plant frequently visited.

Whitethroats and Blackcaps were singing well, as were two Nightingales one in the park and the other on the county tip

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Two Tree Island

Arrived just before 8 am and was greeted immediately with the 'reeling' song of a Grasshopper Warbler, it took another 20 minutes to pinpoint exactly where it was singing from!

From the western hide overlooking the lagoon, the breeding Avocets were very evident with some pairs already sitting, the sitting bird nearest the hide shuffled her position and I counted four eggs.

Still a hundred plus Black-tailed Godwit, all grouped together and I guess waiting for the tide to recede!

Also seen on the lagoon were; 5 Greenshank, single Turnstone and Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and a single Whimbrel just over the seawall in the creek.

On the eastern side of the island, a Nightingale was sing his heart out, but remained hidden from view in scrub near the feeding area.

Green Alkanet is in flower. This perennial is a member of the Boraginaceae Family. Native to south-west France, and the Iberian Peninsula, but is now naturalised throughout the British Isles. It prefers shaded, damp areas. Brought here for the red dye which can be extracted from the roots, it escaped from cultivation. The leaves are rough and covered with hairs. The lower leaves in the basal rosette have no stalks, but the upper ones on the stems have stalks. The stems can reach up to 75 cm. The bright blue, forget-me-not-like flowers appear from April to July and arise from the upper leaf axils in clusters with two small leaves behind them. They are edible and are sometimes used to decorate salads.