Thursday, 12 April 2012


It has been a mixed bag of weather over the last few days with some periods of sunshine interspersed with April showers. There's been a lack of butterflies around the park recently although this speckled wood pictured above was the first one of the season, seen on Wednesday morning. Also making the most of the sun were a large white and a couple of small whites. Two adders were seen alongside each other and a couple of common lizards were also noted.

A water vole was heard plopping in the water of the borrowdyke and after seeing the ripples on the water, it was then seen scuttling along the muddy edge and then disappearing down a small burrow. Two foxes were together at the back of the fields in the morning.

Two sand martins returned to the sandy cliff on Wednesday morning, probably the same two birds that first appeared 5 days earlier but then vanished when the weather turned unsettled over Easter weekend. The other nice sound of spring was hearing three willow warblers singing from various bushes along the park horseride. The birds were only heard that day, stopping off at the park to refuel before continuing their migration northwards on Wednesday night.

A few more migrants were seen on Thursday 12th at the park with the first swallow seen flying over the grazing fields, a female wheatear was with some skylarks in the fields and a common tern was seen hunting for small fish in the river Colne near the Point. A swallow was also seen by the Strood on Thursday evening.
On the mud near the Point were two pairs of avocets that were maybe keeping an eye on the nearby saltmarsh pools near the Golfhouse. In the river were 3 great crested grebes but little else of note.

On the pools in the fields during the high tide roost, 150 black-tailed godwits were roosting as well as one bar-tailed godwit and the rare sight of 5 knot roosting here too. Sixty teal, ten wigeon, pair of shoveler, 10 snipe, displaying pair of redshank, pair of oystercatchers and 4 pairs of lapwing were also present here. From the hide 8 marsh harriers could be seen displaying high to the north over Langenhoe on Thursday morning.

A tawny owl was heard calling from Manwood Grove by Shop Lane as darkness fell on both Wednesday and Tuesday nights. Martin Cock saw a wheatear and a spotted redshank at Maydays on Wednesday evening.

This shuttle-shaped dart was the first one of the year when it was found first thing on Wedneday morning in the trap. Catch numbers were low as well as the general number of species too over both nights. Other species noted included small quaker, common quaker, clouded drab, blossom underwing, early grey, red chestnut and hebrew character.

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