Spring Wildlife - On the lookout for...
Hi All. The WWW team (well, Greg actually) came up with the idea of posting little hints as to what to look out for as the spring progresses.
Here is - ahem - your starter for ten (with some pics below if help is needed with some):-
- Passage of Whimbrels has just begun (one seen off the jetty last weekend). Like a small curlew with stripey head and straight bill kinked over at the end - look for them on the mud down on the river and listen out for a seven (or eleven) - syllable whistling "pipipipipipipi" call.
- House Martins will be returning any day now. Please let us know if you have them on your/a neighbour's house.
- Bee-flies are out. Look in the garden for a small bee-like insect with a long snout hovering at the flowers of lungwort.
- If digging in the garden look out for the big fat white grubs of stag beetles. Just re-bury them near a fence post (wooden of course) or wood pile.
- Look out too for the first butterflies of the year. Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells are coming out of hibernation and Holly Blues and yellow Brimstones (the original butter-coloured butterfly) are emerging from hibernation. How do they manage to look so pristine when the same cannot be said of garden tools...?!
- Frog spawn -----> tadpoles. Reports are that spawning was late this year and eggs were laid in some odd places... Anything to report?
- Cuckoo. The first ones are being reported in.
- Fox cubs usually start to appear above ground in April.
- Emperor moths emerge early in the spring. The males fly by day and we know they occur down by the Wivenhoe trail on the marshes. Look out for the orange underwing which can fool you into thinking it might be a tortoiseshell butterfly... I am intending to take the light trap down one evening to see if I can catch a female...
- You never know your luck, but you may just catch a Hoopoe. These birds occur annually in small numbers in the UK and are unmistakeable if you see them. If you do, post it on the forum ASAP with full directions and watch the grapevine buzzing...!