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Limenitis camilla
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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more


Mon 19th April 2010 18:50 by Graham Smith
Raven at Writtle Park
April 9th. A Raven was watched soaring over Writtle Park Woods this morning, being mobbed by a pair of irate Carrion Crows. The large size, harsh "KOK KOK" call, and diamond shaped tail are all distinctive. This appears to be the first record locally for at least 150 years! Once common in Essex it was subject to intense persecution in the 19th century and by 1850 had more or less retreated to the wilder parts of the coast. It hung on there until the end of the century, the last birds being seen at Wakering in 1909 (Birds of Essex p. 533). Since then there have been around a dozen scattered records, some of which may refer to birds that had escaped from captivity. However, in the past few decades persecution has slackened and it has begun to expand its range eastwards from strongholds in northern and western Britain, this movement mirroring that of the Buzzard, which is now widespread and fairly common in Essex. In recent years it has nested once more on the white cliffs of Dover and also in quarries in Cambs, Beds and Herts, so its arrival as a breeding bird in Essex cannot be long delayed. If, when I was a boy, the idea of Buzzards soaring over the local woods seemed like an impossible dream then the idea that Ravens might once more do the same was off the scale of possibility, but lo, both have now come to pass!
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