Wow – three weeks have gone by since may last spring update! And finally, at the time of writing, we are getting some steady rain…
Until now, most indicators have been that the warm start to the spring has caused many birds and insects to emerge and breed ahead of time. Right now, many of our resident breeding birds are now feeding well grown young, Common Whitethroat, Long-tailed Tit and Blackcap, plus a family of Canada Geese.
Many of our butterflies have now emerged, although the smaller grassland specialists have struggled slightly due to the inhibited grass growth due to dry weather. Nevertheless, there is an impressive combination of butterflies and day-flying moths (none here bigger than the average thumbnail - Burnet Companion, Holly Blue, Female Common Blue, Mother Shipton, male Common Blue, Large Skipper) to be found with a recent walk to Lower Lodge meadows being the most productive – although I’m not sure whether the chronic hay fever that followed was entirely worth it!
Recent mammal sightings include numerous Muntjac Deer, a Water Vole in the dyke on Barrier Marsh and the diminutive Water Shrew in Sixpenny Brook in Villa Wood.
Cuckoos have been more prevalent this spring with up to five males vying for territory, with duets often heard across the Colne and the hollow that is Villa farm Quarry. Soon, they will head back for Africa with their young now foisted on unfortunate foster parents.
With one having been found on the Naze at Walton on May 10th, Wivenhoe turned up a very rare Great Reed Warbler on 25th for one day only (no photo of this rather skulky visitor I’m afraid) but there is almost certainly a pair of Red Kites breeding locally as the same pair have been seen regularly throughout the spring around the Elmstead area.