Essex Field Club on Facebook

Video about the Club

Stomoxys calcitrans
find out more... Stomoxys calcitrans Copyright: Rosemary Stevens

Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
registered charity
no 1113963
HLF Logo A-Z Page Index

Visit Our Centre

EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.
Autumn recording Record Grey Squirrel Record Fly Agaric
Record Ivy Bee
Record Wild Teasel
Record Sloe, Blackthorn
Record Garden Spider Record Nigma walckenaeri spider

Your Forum

This forum has now been more or less replaced by the Club's Facebook page at
Essex Field Club on Facebook




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


Fri 23rd March 2012 17:19 by Graham Smith
March 11th to 17th 2012
Blue House Farm EWT Reserve : Water levels on Round Marsh (otherwise known as The Flood) are finally approaching the optimum levels needed to attract breeding waders such as Lapwing, Redshank and Avocet. It has been a painfully long process as we have had yet another exceptionally dry winter. Under the licensing agreement with the Environment Agency the reserve is allowed to pump water on to Round Marsh whenever water levels reach a specified level in the main feeder ditches. In a normal year pumping operations usually begin in mid or late October but it was the first week of 2012 before they reached the critical level this winter and the wind pump could be turned on. You would think, in this day and age, that all you would have to do in order to start the pump would be to press a button but, no, the reserve warden, Nick Robson, or his assistant, Tim Lawrence, have to scale the structure using, firstly, a ladder, then a climbing harness. Once at the top all the working parts have to be lubricated, then a rope threaded through a ring on the end of a chain (see picture).

Blue House Farm EWT Reserve - turning on the wind pump Copyright: Graham Smith

They then descend and half way down, when safely out of range of the revolving blades, pull on the rope - which is a bit like flushing the loo - and, hopefully, the pump creaks into action. Modern technology! It takes around 5-6 weeks for Round Marsh to flood to its fullest extent and as male Lapwings set up territory as early as late February it flooded only just in time this year. How long it remains flooded depends on what the weather has in store.

This week there was little or no rain apart from the dribble from a half-hearted weather front that crossed the area on 17th. Apart from that there were two warm and sunny days, two that were cold and grey, and two were indifferent. A few Blackcaps have now returned from the Costa del Sol to join the earlier arriving Chiffchaffs on territory while a Firecrest was seen at Bradwell on 11th and Tim recorded the first Wheatear of the year at Blue House on 17th. The latter is one of the iconic spring migrants; no birdwatcher considers the spring to have truly arrived until he or she sees their first Wheatear, hopefully no later than mid-March. Believe me, after birdwatching for sixty-four years (I am told I started while in the pram) their arrival doesn't half cheer you up after a long winter!

There was not much insect activity this week. Although there are plenty of bumblebees on the wing now I have still only seen the same three species that first appeared in late February. A few more flowers are appearing each week however - Creeping Corydalis and Hairy Wood Rush at Pheasanthouse Wood, Danbury and Field Pepperwort in my garden at Ingatestone being among them. The fungi season has also resumed; Martin Gregory fidning two Wood Blewits Lepista nuda on his lawn at Danbury while there was a fine cluster of Glistening Inkcap Coprinellus micaceus (so called because of the glistening crystals on the young cap) on the log where we gathered for lunch during a work party at Pheasanthouse on Saturday. I am cheating here, though, by including a photo from another location! 

Coprinellus micaceus Copyright: Graham Smith

link
 

Archives:

Sep 2018
Jul 2016
Oct 2015
Jul 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
Jul 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
Jul 2013
Jun 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
Jul 2012
Jun 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
Jul 2011
Jun 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
Jul 2010
Jun 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Aug 2009
Jul 2009
Jun 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
Aug 2008
Jul 2008
Jun 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007

current posts