Friday, 7 October 2016

September Highlights!

Weather:  The month again started changeable, but was much warmer. It gave us the hottest day of the year and the hottest September for a hundred years. However, this was tempered by some heavy thunderstorms in the middle of the month.

Places Visited: Amwell; Fingringhoe Wick; Rye Meads.

Star Sightings of the Month:
Bird: Grey Plover
Butterfly: Comma
Dragonfly: Willow Emerald
Invertebrate: Devil's Coach Horse

Unfortunately, Natural Selection doesn't work on humans anymore.’

Sadly this was a short month, due to an enforced two-week stint of Jury Service. Consequently, I made very few visits and only then to Amwell and Rye Meads. However, towards the end of the month I was given a chance to pay a first visit to Fingringhoe Wick.

An added insult to injury was the fact that we had an Indian Summer this month, as well. It was one of the hottest September months, incorporating the hottest day of the year. While I was stuck inside a Court House. Argh!

There weren’t too many unusual things to see on the few days I did go out. I even missed the final Kingfisher fledging by 24 hours. Although the Kingfishers did put on a very good display on the day I visited.

That, of course, was at Rye Meads. There were several waders on show that day, with Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Common Snipe to be seen. There was similar fare at Amwell, the following day. Although bird species totals were low this month. Such as it was.

September may have set new weather records, but autumn is definitely on the way. Trees were starting to change colour, winter waterfowl were arriving, while the summer birds were departing. Migration had begun.

The invertebrate sighting of the month was a magnificent Devil’s Coach Horse beetle, found at the entrance to the boardwalk, in the Dragonfly Trail. However, other than that the month brought few exciting sightings. Roesel’s Bush Cricket, Dark Bush Cricket, Dock and Green Shield Bug, Mint Leaf Beetle and Wasp Beetle were all that got the juices flowing.

Only 5 species of butterfly were seen all month, while on the Odonata front all the common species were seen, for this time of year, including several Willow Emeralds at Amwell. This summer I had managed to see them at four different Reserves in Hertfordshire. It was good to see them doing really well. However, I only saw the common Emerald damselfly at one Reserve – Hertford Heath. Maybe the Willow has bullied them out of the area.

The trip of the month was a visit to Fingringhoe Wick. The Reserve is Essex Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve and visitor centre. It’s set in a spectacular position overlooking the Colne Estuary. A wide range of habitats includes grassland, heathland and ponds. Advert over.

A lovely, comfortable, new Hide had only recently been created, which jutted out and overlooked the estuary. The idea being a ‘wait and see’ for all the waders that the tide should push our way. In the event, it was a ‘wait and hope’, which then turned into a ‘wait and sigh’ as hope faded.

Frustratingly, most of the birds stayed distant, but eventually a few birds did venture in close. There were certainly a fair few species out there. Avocet, Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Knot, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Redshank all appeared.

I was delighted to find a few Willow Emeralds on the Reserve, too. A Southern Hawker also appeared, amongst lots of Migrant Hawkers and several Darters. Even a Common Seal appeared, a bright rustic colour in the distance.

So, all in all, a disappointingly short month. Hopefully, things will pick up next month.

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.’

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