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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkOur centre is available for visits on a pre-booked basis on Wednesdays between 10am - 4pm. The Club’s activities and displays are also usually open to the public on the first Saturday of the month 11am - 4pm.

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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 23rd April 2009 21:52 by Peter Harvey
Peacock and Queen wasps etc will have over-wintered as adults and will be active now because of the warmer weather. Bee flies Bombylius major have been around since at least the third week of March, and will have emerged from pupation with the better weather. The St Marks Flies will also have emerged from pupation. The season is definitely well into spring, and early summer probably not far ahead!
Wed 22nd April 2009 20:37 by Mary Smith
Insects on the wing
On 20 April I was near the Thames coast close to Coldharbour Point, Rainham, and saw loads of St Marks Flies, at one point so many I felt I was enveloped in them.  I was surprised to find them en masse so close to the Thames/sea. Then on 22 April, today, I saw my first Bee Fly of the season in our garden in Upminster.  In recent days there have been loads of butterflies, especially Peacock butterflies, and Queen wasps, and even a few Honey bees.  They all seem to be bursting out (or hatching?) all at once. Has anyone else noticed this?  Is it because of the sudden warmer weather?
Fri 17th April 2009 15:26 by Mel Jackson Bridge
Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage
Great deal of it in Swan Wood (TQ689995) at present.  Noted 14th April.
Wed 15th April 2009 15:19 by Ben Sale
Dotted Chestnut
Trapped in my Garden in Hatfield Broad Oak on the 10th April 2009. link

I understand that this is a good find for Essex? 6th county record presumed.



Sat 11th April 2009 12:28 by Peter Harvey
Many thanks Mel for the info - the county recorders collate records for all species, as well as specific ones highlighted in the species survey pages. Perhaps we should add some butterflies to the specific surveys as well.
Sat 11th April 2009 11:50 by Mel Jackson Bridge
8th April - New for the garden
Posting this a little late, but thought people might be interested to know that I had a brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni) in the garden on Wednesday.  It didn't stay very long, but did check out the budding goat willow and the emerging "wildflower meadow".

Don't see any survey for this species underway but in case the grid ref is needed, here it is: TQ631 965

Fri 10th April 2009 10:03 by Peter Harvey
I would have thought Ox-eye Daisy, Scented Mayweed, Cow Parsley, White Campion IN FLOWER was incredibly early and your Belhus Woods experience is the norm, even in these climate change times. Perhaps the Purfleet ones near M25 J31 were seeded when the roundabout and other works thereabouts were done and are genetically different, perhaps originating from southern Europe.
Thu 9th April 2009 21:03 by Mary Smith
But not as near as I thought.....
Today, 9th, I have spent all day at Belhus Woods Country Park, near Aveley.  Here very few flowers were out!  By this time Holly is usually in flower, Red Campion, Garlic Mustard, Lords-and-Ladies, some of the thousands of Bluebells, Hawthorn coming out and Blackthorn almost over. But Blackthorn was at its best, and the other flowers mentioned were nowhere nearly out. Now I know that BWCP is low-lying, but most of Purfleet is low too, especially in the bottom of the pits. Is the chalk so much earlier to warm up than the sands and alluvium at BWCP? They are only about 3 miles apart! Does anyone have any suggestions or answers?
Fri 3rd April 2009 22:11 by Mary Smith
Summer is near
I have been out botanising today, 3 April 09, near M25 J31 and Purfleet.  So many flowers are now coming out, all at once after the long hard winter. I saw in flower for the first time this year, today: Ox-eye Daisy, Scented Mayweed, Early Forget-me-not, Oxford Ragwort, Hawthorn, Wild Cherry, Field Maple, Wall Speedwell, Wallflower (on the chalk cliff of a pit), Alexanders, Cow Parsley, White Campion.  Does anyone else notice everything out at once, now that April is here?


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