Sunday, 31 May 2020

From my lockdown window – 31st May 2020

Before I left home for my trip to sites in north Essex, I saw a Grey Heron at 5:00 a.m. which flew at rooftop level between my flat and the houses opposite.

I have seen Grey Heron a few occasions from my flat, including during the lockdown period, but I never seen one this close!

💚🦆 🦉 🌼 🌳💚
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature


Saturday, 30 May 2020

From my lockdown window – 30th May 2020

From today, I have booked a rental car until Thursday of next week and intend to visit some of my traditional spring wildlife watching sites in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Kent and possibly further afield.

Therefore, lockdown window sightings will be somewhat fewer …. principally because I won’t be at home to look out of it 😀.

I think I will probably end up reporting on any notable records (if any) during the limited time that I am home.

Before I left home to pick up the rental car, I heard a singing male Blackcap on 3 occasions between 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. I heard it, or another male, singing at 7:35 p.m. after I had returned home from my day out.

Just before leaving home, I also heard a calling Great Spotted Woodpecker and then actually saw it fly in to a tree in the garden of one of the houses at the entrance to Czarina Rise.

I recorded the following species today (heard only records in italics):

Blackcap
Blue Tit
Blackbird
Dunnock
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Woodpigeon
Collared Dove
Magpie
Carrion Crow
Lesser Black-backed Gull

💚🦆 🦉 🌼 🌳💚
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature



Local patch site visits on hold .... just for a few days

My local patch sites have been very good to me in almost 3 months of lockdown.

I have visited St. Nicholas Church and it surrounding areas for many years but I have really got to know and appreciate 2 new areas within walking distance of my home, namely Noak Bridge Nature Reserve and Gloucester Park. 

I have had some exceptionally good sightings and wonderful experiences at all 3 of my local patch sites which I have recorded in this blog.

However, from today (Saturday) until Thursday of next week, I have booked a rental car and intend to visit some of my traditional spring wildlife watching sites in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Kent and possibly further afield.

Normal service from both my lockdown window and at my 3 local patch sites will resume on Friday 5th June 2020 .... I will return 😀

💚🦆 🦉 🌼 🌳💚
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature


Friday, 29 May 2020

From my lockdown window – 29th May 2020

Like yesterday, I again heard a calling Green Woodpecker and a singing Blackcap, the former at 6:35 a.m. and the latter twice between 6:25 a.m. and 6:35 a.m. and at 9:15 p.m.

I recorded the following species today (heard only records in italics):

Blackcap
Blackbird
Dunnock
Goldfinch
Green Woodpecker
Woodpigeon
Collared Dove
Magpie
Carrion Crow
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull

💚🦆 🦉 🌼 🌳💚
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature


“Take a walk outside ...."



Take a walk outside - it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind.” ― Rasheed Ogunlaru

💚🦆 🦉 🌼 🌳💚
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature



Red Foxes at St. Nicholas Church

In my blog post on 23rd May 2020 I suggested that the Red Foxes had abandoned the natal den since I had not seen the vixen and cubs on 2 consecutive visits. This is indeed the case since I rediscovered the cubs and the visiting vixen this morning at another location.

I initially saw a Red Fox on several occasions criss-crossing the green area adjacent to Church Hill. I then heard some excited chattering away to my right which I guessed may be the response of the cubs receiving food from the vixen. 

I was unsure of the exact location so I moved slowly and quietly in the direction of where the sound came from. I then suddenly saw 2 cubs tumble out of the hedgerow before scampering back in.

I last saw the cubs on 17th May 2020 and in the 2 weeks since they have clearly grown considerably in size.

I watched the area for about an hour and saw the vixen arriving on several occasions carrying food and taking it in to the hedgerow.




On one occasion, she re-emerged probably less than 20 feet from me and certainly at a distance that was too near to close focus my telephoto lens.

After the initial sighting of 2 cubs, I saw a cub on a further 3 occasions and I was able to at least get one photo.



Now that I have discovered the new location of the cubs, I will try again to see and photograph them.

💚🦆 🦉 🌼 🌳💚
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature



 

Visit to St. Nicholas Church and surrounding areas – 29th May 2020

Date: 29th May 2020

Time: from 6:45 a.m.

Weather: dry, sunny, light wind, 10°C to 19°C

I spent almost 4 hours this morning at St. Nicholas Church and the surrounding areas and it proved to be one of the best all round wildlife watching experiences since I have been visiting this site.

The morning started with the Red Foxes returning to form. In my blog post on 23rd May 2020, I speculated that the natal den had been abandoned since I had not seen the vixen and cubs on 2 consecutive visits. This is indeed the case since I rediscovered the cubs and the visiting vixen this morning at another location. Since they have redeemed themselves by reappearing, I have again written a separate dedicated blog post about it here.

Whilst I was watching the Red Foxes (well, waiting for them to show), I heard a male Greenfinch giving its typical wheezy call and then saw it in its butterfly type display flight. In addition, a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers called regularly and flew between the trees on several occasions.

By the time Red Fox watching had concluded at around 8:30 a.m., the temperature started to warm quickly so I anticipated the possibility of seeing dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies. 

However, before that I was entertained to what I assume was a territorial stand-off between 2 male Reeve’s Muntjacs in the wooded areas either side of the lower eastern section of the graveyard. For at least 20 minutes, these 2 males “barked” at each other but both refused to emerge from their patch of woodland to challenge their rival (or provide me with a photo opportunity). However, I did manage to record the closest individual with the other audible in the background along with a singing male Blackcap (I have added some photos of Reeve's Muntjacs from previous visits).



As I had hoped, this visit proved to be excellent for dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies.

I saw 3 Four-spotted Chasers and 2 Blue-tailed Damselflies. Both species are new site records for me, bringing my total number of dragonfly and damselfly species recorded to 5.

I saw 3 species of butterfly which I was able to identify: Small Tortoiseshell (1), Holly Blue (3) and Speckled Wood (4). In addition, I saw a skipper species but I was unable to confirm which. These are very small and quick flying butterflies and the individual that I saw refused to settle to allow me to confirm it as Large Skipper, Small Skipper or Essex Skipper. I have recorded the first 2 of these in previous years, sometimes in quite large numbers in the overgrown grassy areas of the graveyard.

With regard to birds, I again saw 2 Swifts, a little away from St. Nicholas Church on this visit and in the direction of St. Nicholas Lane and Pound Lane.

Blackcaps were very evident on this visit and I saw 4 singing males and heard another 6 singing. One male sang very prominently out in the open (enabling me to take some photos) but then he suddenly dived in to cover: he had seen the Sparrowhawk before me. He then decided to be a little more cautious and resumed singing from an unseen position.

Chiffchaffs were far less numerous and I only heard 3 singing males without seeing any of them.

In addition to the pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers at the Red Fox location, I saw another pair in the churchyard plus I heard a Green Woodpecker calling in the graveyard whilst listening to the Reeve’s Muntjacs.

Finally, I saw 2 Grey Squirrels, the first sunning himself on the roof of the church when I arrived on site and the second, or the same individual, later in the morning in the churchyard.

Species recorded during this visit were as follows (heard only records in italics):

Swift
Blackcap
Chiffchaff
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Robin
Wren
Dunnock
Blackbird
Song Thrush
Greenfinch
Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Starling
Sparrowhawk
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker
Jay
Magpie
Carrion Crow
Woodpigeon
Collared Dove
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull

Red Fox
Reeve’s Muntjac
Grey Squirrel

Four-spotted Chaser
Blue-tailed Damselfly

Small Tortoiseshell
Holly Blue
Speckled Wood
Skipper sp.

Here are some photos from my visit:

Photo: Small Tortoiseshell



Photo: Small Tortoiseshell

Photo: Speckled Wood

Photo: Four-spotted Chaser

Photo: Four-spotted Chaser

Photo: Four-spotted Chaser

Photo: Four-spotted Chaser

Photo: Four-spotted Chaser

Photo: Blue-tailed Damselfly

Photo: Blue-tailed Damselfly

Photo: Robin

Photo: male Blackcap

Photo: male Blackcap

Photo: male Blackcap

Photo: male Blackcap

Photo: Woodpigeon

Photo: Woodpigeon and juvenile Starling

Photo: Carrion Crow

Photo: Great Spotted Woodpecker

Photo: Great Spotted Woodpecker

Photo: Bumblebee species

Photo: Bumblebee species

Photo: False Oil Beetle

Photo: Banded Snail species

Photo: Banded Snail species

Photo: Ox-eye Daisies

Photo: Ox-eye Daisies

Photo: Ox-eye Daisies

Photo: Ox-eye Daisy

Photo: Ox-eye Daisy


Site totals to date:
Birds = 46
Mammals = 4
Butterflies = 16
Dragonflies and damselflies = 5
Reptiles = 1
Amphibians = 0

💚🦆 🦉 🌼 🌳💚
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature