Here's a wildlife update for April!
Woodland:Cuckoo, barn owl (in the box), song thrush, blackbird, robin, long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, goldfinch, greenfinch, dunnock, wren, reed bunting, chiffchaff, blackcap, lesser white throat, cettis warbler, grass hopper warbler, willow warbler, green woodpecker, magpie, crow, raven, ladybirds, shieldbugs (mainly dock, hawthorn and green shieldbugs), hairy dragonfly, azure damselfly, speckled wood butterfly, meadow brown butterfly, small white butterfly, orange tip butterfly, green veined white butterfly, red admiral butterfly, peacock butterfly, small tortoiseshell butterfly, and white tailed bumblebee.
Peacock butterfly by Michael Frankling
Marshland Discovery Zone:Kingfisher (they are currently feeding young!), skylark (by the giant play Anthill), meadow pipit (by the giant play Anthill), grasshopper warbler (just before the MDZ in the sections of scrub alongside the path), weasel, grass snake, raft spider, and alder fly.
A clever kingfisher picture (it's only one bird but three pictures stuck together!) by Perry Andrews
Paths and boardwalks:Bearded tits (seen from both the Northern Boardwalk and the Dragonfly Pools), wheatear (by the toilets in the reedbed zone), linnet (by the shooting butts hide), and whinchat (dragonfly pools).
Bearded tit by Les Harrison
Aveley Marsh:Whimbrel, curlew, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, little ringed plover, lapwing, redshank, greenshank, oystercatcher, shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, mallard, pochard, pintail, teal, tufted duck, cormorant, grey heron, little egret, great crested grebe, little grebe, coot, moorhen, and yellow wagtail.
Adorable lapwing chick by John Daly
Foreshore/ river/ Aveley Bay/ barges:Porpoise, seal, bottle nosed dolphins (on 7 April), wheatear, Arctic tern, common tern, common scoter, Arctic skua, glaucous gull, little gull (1 April), red brested merganser, grasshopper warbler,common sandpiper, oystercatcher, golden plover, and dunlin.
A red brested merganser by John Daly
Flying over:Swift, swallow, sand martin, house martin, osprey, red kite, buzzard, hobby, kestrel, marsh harrier, peregrine, mediterranean gulls, ring ouzel, spoonbill, and ring necked parakeet.
All over the reserve:Sedge warbler, reed warbler, cettis warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap, lesser white throat, song thrush, blackbird, robin, long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, goldfinch, greenfinch, dunnock, wren, house sparrow, reed bunting, coot, moorhen, mute swan, Canada goose, greylag goose, shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, mallard, pochard, pintail, teal, tufted duck, cormorant, grey heron, little egret, great crested grebe, little grebe, crow, magpie, pheasant, speckled wood butterfly, meadow brown butterfly, small white butterfly, orange tip butterfly, green veined white butterfly, red admiral butterfly, peacock butterfly, small tortoiseshell butterfly, emporer moth, seven spot ladybird, pond skater, common lizard, marsh frog, watervole, fox, and weasel.
Water vole by Paul Smith
If you would like any details about when specific species were seen just ask - we can't guarentee that all these are stil here, but it give you an idea!
Lizards need sunshine and the trails provide plenty of 'solar filling stations' for these versatile reptiles to soak up some rays.
They seem particularly fond of the boardwalk areas where there is a raised kick board to give them something to scurry under should danger approach so walk quietly and look down as well as up!
This female has even spread her rib cage to create a wider surface area for sun catching! (Dawn Cowan)
Good afternoon everyone,
How are you today?
Just wanted to give you all a quick update on the kingfishers so you knew what is going on.
They are currently feeding young!
This amazing picture is by Perry Andrews - it's not three kingfishers but one very clever sticthing together of three flight shots!
The young are hidden away in the bank and will be keeping the adults busy catching fish to feed them. By about 10 days old the adults can be taking in a fish every 10 minutes or so! They hatched on about the 20 April.
The young will stay hidden in the bank for about 24-25 days. Once fledged they may stay about (but well hidden) for a couple of days until the parents chase them off ready to start on their next brood. We tend not to see young fledge as they will do it early in the morning amd get themselves hidden away before any predators can spot them. The kingfisher can have upto 3 brood per breading season - laying 6-7 eggs each time!