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Nematopogon swammerdamella
find out more... Nematopogon swammerdamella Copyright: malcolm Riddler

Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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no 1113963
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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


Thu 19th May 2011 18:35 by Graham Smith
Dry, Dry, Dry.
Will it ever rain again? I am getting fed up with watering my vegetable plot every evening. The parsnips have failed to germinate, the spinach is stunted and many of the early potatoes are the size of walnuts. Planting things out is like digging in the desert - chip, chip, chip with the mini-mattock until a small hole is created. Beyond my garden things are more serious. At Bradwell East Hall Farm they have the sprinklers on the wheat, which had begun to turn a sickly shade of yellow in places; the first occasion I have seen them doing this - potatoes and peas yes, but not cereals. At Hitchcock's Meadow EWT Reserve at Danbury the main meadow has dried to a frazzle and most of the plants along with it, including the Green-winged Orchids, which should now be at their peak; while at Blue House, the fields, which are often awash with thousands of Grass Vetchling in late May can muster only a handful this season. If this situation is general then it must surely be having a knock on effect for pollen and nectar seeking insects. Birds too are suffering and I have yet to see any broods of young Blackbirds in my garden, the adults struggling to find enough food (worms being off the menu) for themselves, let along their young.

It's not all doom and gloom though. For the past couple of days I have been helping to run a bird watching course for the Othona Community at Bradwell, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The highlights, ornithologically, were a pair of Peregrines perched obligingly on a pile of hay bales on Bradwell airfield and a fine drake Garganey on the fleet at Blue House. We also saw several Cream-spot Tiger Moths, below, which also brightened things up a bit!

Cream Spot Tiger Moth Copyright: Graham Smith

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