No walks during lockdown but instead the group have been sharing photographs taken whilst out exercising or in their garden. Where members have not themselves been able to identify the plant/creature then Frances has come to the rescue and has been sharing her wide knowledge of fauna and flora. In those few cases when Frances has been unsure she has thrown it open to everyone to research and work out what it is we are looking at. The pictures shared can be seen below:
22nd January 2020
It was a cold and misty walk today across Two Tree Island. We started off from the car park just over the bridge along the rather muddy paths toward the estuary. As we hit the coastline we were greeted with some wonderfully smooth water and a rather ethereal scene. Not a great deal of wildlife although several species of estuary birds, including many gulls (including one gull with early plummage showing it was indeed a black headed gull), curlew, avocet, black tailed godwit, oystercatcher, egret, lapwing, shoveller duck, red shank, knot, turnstone, teal, robin, dunlin, plover along with the always present woodpigeon. And on the way back to the car park, we heard a buzzing that had heads turning and looking – it was a model aircraft being flown by a member of Southend Radio Controlled Flying Club!
A few pictures by David and Richard shown below.
Rainham Marshes – 29th September 2019
It was decided that Rainham Marshes was too far for a usual monthly Wildlife Walk. So Frances arranged for those interested to join an RSPB walk around the Marshes on a Sunday when more time was available. Members of the group set off from Leigh around 9:00am heading towards Rainham; with the torrential downpour of rain en-route they were all wondering what they had let themselves in for. The windscreen wipers were set on super fast speed and even then struggled to give a clear view, car speed had to be reduced to avoid aquaplaning and if the weather was not enough to deter all but the hardiest, the Highways Authority had completely shut the A13 to traffic. A longer route had to be taken but just as we reached around a quarter of a mile from the Marshes, the weather eased up and a tiny section of blue sky was spotted.
So we parked, met a couple more members of the group in the RSPB Visitors Centre, along with a few RSPB members and after a quick coffee set off around the circular walk. Wet weather gear seemed to be the order of the day but we were extremely fortunate that the rain held off until we had managed to complete the walk some 2.5 hours later and return the the Visitor’s Centre for a snack and another cuppa.
An interesting walk with lots of birds spotted. In total as a group we managed to spot some 41 different species comprising Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pheasant, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Curlew, Lapwing, Ruff, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Swallow, House Martin, Cetti’s Warbler (well only heard these not seen), Starling, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet.
On top of the birds we also saw, and certainly heard, a number of marsh frogs despite water levels being quite low.
A few photos from the trip below:
West Wood – September 2019
The group set off across John Burrow’s Park out of the Park and right onto Falbro Crescent and then left along Hedge Lane and into West Wood. A pleasant dry day for a short walk around these ancient woods. If we didn’t know a Hornbeam tree before we started we certainly knew by the end as they were very abundant in these woods. We also found the huge beech tree which is a far less common species in these parts. We were hoping to see lots of ivy bees but the damp air probably keep them indoors and feet up. A most enjoyable walk and thanks to Frances for her knowledge and guidance.
Shoebury East Beach – July 2019
A red hot day but six members of the group managed a walk around Shoebury East beach and were treated to some beautiful sea holly, followed by a refreshing cold drink or ice cream!
Shoebury Park – June 2019
We visited a real gem of a park this month, not as well known as many parks in Southend but full of wonderful wildlife. The Council have allowed parts of the park to grow more wild which has led to a wider diversity of wildlife. Well worth a visit. A few photos taken by Diana, Trevor and David are included below: