Wivenhoe Wildlife

edited September 2012 in Wivenhoe Wildlife
Not talking about chucking out time for a change!

It's Springwatch time - so my inner geeky "nature girl" is revealing itself. Prompted to start this thread for people to post about Wivenhoe's none human fauna after seeing three big stag beetles "flying" (well, whirring and bumping about) over my garden a couple of hours ago. Have dutifully recorded them on The Great Stag Beetle Survey http://www.ptes.org/moremammals/greatstaghunt/stag_beetle.php

Last week my other half spotted a fox by the cricket club (maybe hoping for a game), then after the gig there we watched a hedgehog snuffle about on the lawn in front of that non residential building on Rectory Road (still haven't worked out what that building is).

Regularly see a sparrowhawk hunting over the gardens at the back here, and, if I'm lucky, bats (none cricket related) in the evenings during summer.

Still never seen a badger though. I know people who get them in their gardens in Wivenhoe. I'm extremely jealous!

Any other animal lovers in Wivenhoe with tips on where to see furry, feathered, scaly and creepy crawly critters?



  • I cycled back along the Trail at sunset - I was attacked by bats! Dozens of them flying around my face. Quite cute.
  • That sounds cool. Although it did conjure up the following image :-)

  • edited June 2011

    There are a few Roe Deer around if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough, though I haven’t seen one for a few months now. They are normally on the move around dawn and dusk. I very narrowly missed hitting one last February when it ran out in front of me whilst I was riding along at 60mph.

    As for bats...
    Flick a grain of cooked rice or a small pellet of meat into the air and watch them dive for it. Hours of fun :-)

  • It's stag beetle time of year! The males can be seen flying late May - late June at dusk, and are easily identifiable because they're so big and have those large mandibles. They remind me of little helicopters; whenever I see them flying I recall that scene from Apocalypse Now! and Ride of the Valkyries goes through my head. The females, who are smaller and have less prominent mandibles, send out a pheromone that attracts the males. They land near to the females and viciously fight each other for the prize of being her mate. They often crash land so watch out for them on the ground too although. Thus far this year they don't seem to be as numerous as in the past few years, but I've seen a few. Here's a pic I took of a pair of males fighting in the back garden of my previous house in Valley Road a couple of years back.
  • edited June 2011
    Awesome picture! Sadly the ones I saw (two males and a female) flew over into the neighbours yard so I couldn't witness a stag beetle ruck. I do think that when I was digging over the garden at the end of February I found a couple of stag beetle larvae - all cocooned up & too big to be anything else. I gently buried them under a pile of wood at the end of the garden  so am hoping they emerged safe and sound. Also like your avocet piccie in that folder. You can see avocets off Whitehouse Beach up from Wivenhoe too. I took my other half and Cllr Steve Ford there birdwatching (it's all coming out now!) last year and saw a group of 8 avocets - plus a couple of buzzards doing some fancy flying over the Fingringhoe side (they're starting to make a come back in these parts).

    Biker. Have seen muntjacs a plenty (usually crashing through the hedgerow to run across the road up to the Uni when I've been walking or cycling at dusk - and startling the living wits out of me) but not a roe deer. Will keep my eyes peeled. I like the idea of the bat feeding - my garden will resemble the aftermath of a wedding with all the spilled rice afterwards, but worth it.
  • image

    The Stag Beetle party is continuing in my garden (apols for the rizlas - was the nearest thing I could find to provide scale).
  • Ace picture. We had a stag party in the garden over the weekend. Incredibible creatures. HUGE I tell you. huge.
  • Gotta love the stag beetles. Latest from Springwatch @ The Cross - two pipistrelle bats have been flitting around my back garden for about an hour. A male stag beetle flew over too earlier (maybe looking for his ladyfriend?), but unsurprisingly the bats didn't take it on.
  • I'm still searching for the Wivenhoe sea wall badgers.
  • Are the "sea wall badgers", Wivenhoe's equivalent of Jasper Carrott's blue goldfish?

    "Just bend a bit further down - you'll see em!" ;-)
  • edited June 2011
    Nothing much over my way :(
  • edited June 2011
    Very odd sighting in my back garden at The Cross just under an hour ago - as me & the lodger were having a cuppa we noticed lots of birds making panicked noises - towards the back of the garden there was a bird of prey on the bean poles - near to the bird table. It was about the size of a woodpigeon (pretty sure of this as a woodpigeon scarpered out of the tree at the back at the same time), with ruffled "tatty" brown wing feathers. It looked directly at us for a second and there was a little bit of pale colouring on it's "face". Then it flew into the cover of a big fir tree at the back - causing more angst ridden bird noises (also heard some high pitched cheep noises that could have been the mystery bird) and thrashing about. My first guess was it could have been a juvenile buzzard (have seen buzzards towards Fingringhoe and they are making a come-back in the area) perhaps attracted by activity on the bird table - but I legged it indoors to grab camera and binoculars by which time it must have gone - via the back of the tree. :-( Lesson to us all - keep camera to hand!)

    If anyone can shed any light that would be great. It's closest in appearance to the pictures of juvenile buzzards I looked up and seemed too large (and the beak too thick) to be a young sparrowhawk - although we do get em round here.

    Here's hoping we're not just hallucinating up here. :-)
  • Having watched this - our bird was a dead ringer for it.
  • edited June 2011
    Not quite as exotic as Hazel's buzzard (blimey) but I've had something of a frog infested day. Silly cat brought the same frog in twice. The first occasion I thought the poor fella was dead. I packaged him up for the bin.

    About an hour later when I was burying him in Colchester Borough Council's finest bin bag, the corpse started to twitch. Clever fella. He was playing the cat (and me) for dead. Off he went down the bottom of the garden.

    ...only to return about five hours later.


    I took no chances this time and liberated Mr Frog in a pond at the bottom of Park Road - an oasis of tadpoles, frogspawn, frogs, depending on the season.

    Quite pleased that I have got a crap cat that can't kill.
  • Pleased to see so many swifts overhead last night. Moving too fast to be counted, but at least a dozen, very high. I had feared numbers were low this year. Perhaps some are this year's brood.
  • Some very noisy cackling birds woke me up yesterday. Like a crow noise?
  • There are lots of jackdaws in Wivenhoe. Nearly every home seems to have one! They make a "jack, jack" noise, alledgedly. Also jays in the woods. They may go "jay, jay" but don't quote me on that.
  • Had one of these in my garden yesterday. Didn't seem at all phased by us sitting right by the pine tree it was exploring.
  • Good spot! One of these little fellas is currently nesting towards the Station end of the Trail. Most beautiful.
  • I love jackdaws. One of those birds with a proper swagger. The ones at the Uni have figured out how to re-open closed fast food containers and would watch me intently as I ate my lunch in the square back when I worked there - then followed me to the bin and snatched out the food box and unclipped it in search of any morsels within.

    If I get up early enough I get to watch a gang of them that visit our garden and have worked out how to get the top off the peanut container and nick all the nuts before the other birds turn up.

    I didn't know they were collectively a "clattering"! I love that - very appropriate.
  • As long they don't wake me up!
  • I got woken up at 6am today by a baby (well teenage) jackdaw crying for its mum to feed it on the roof opposite my window. It sounded like a dolphin loudly trying to impersonate the sound of someone running their fingers over a balloon. Better than my alarm clock for sure!
  • Wildlife spot - startled a muntjac deer in the woods not far from rosabelle car park at 6.30 the other morning, nontrivial sure who was more surprised! Beautiful little thing though...
  • Thought this might interest local wildlife & photography fans:

    Colchester Volunteer Rangers Service & Groundwork are running a wildlife photography competition open to all local residents - here's the details:

    Open for entries - Sunday 1st April 2012

    Deadline for entries - Wednesday 1st August

    Prizes presentation - Sunday 23rd September

    It is open to entrants from two age group categories; 15 years
    and under and 16+.

    The image categories are as follows:

    1) Creepy Crawlies

    2) Seasons

    3) Bird Life

    4) Dawn and Dusk

    Entries to the competition should aim to highlight the beauty
    and importance of the plants, tress, wild animals, landscapes and
    the people that work to conserve them. They may show anything from
    portraits, behaviour, movement, rare species or common ones, wild
    habitats or ecosystems. Abstract and innovative approaches to the
    subject are welcome.

    More details on:


  • A Harbour (aka Common) Seal was swimming and fishing off the Shipyard jetty a few minutes ago, before moving upstream


  • WOWOWOW! I didn't know we got seals here! Wivenhoe just gets cooler every day :)
  • Seals are not uncommon further out in the estuaries of the essex coast, with small breeding populations in places like the Walton Backwaters (you can get a boat trip from Walton to see them). They do come futher up the rivers like the Colne on occasion, but in the year we have been here, we have seen one only on 3-4 occasions (not that we spend ALL our time looking out of the window or standing on the shipyard jetty). Best one was a few months ago on a very still morning and you could actually hear the crunch of a flatfish it was demolishing!

    But don't assume that every mammal in the water will be a seal: most will be but there's the off-chance of an otter or porpoise as well...

  • Rosie - I've seen a seal as far up as Wivenhoe, and a few up near Fingringhoe - but your best chance of seeng them locally is Walton. I can highly recommend the boat trip run by Winks round Walton Backwater. Not only will you see dozens of beautiful seals (mainly common, but a few grey seals can sometimes be seen) - but when the engine is switched off on the boat it's exceptionally peaceful & beautiful and there's lots of other wildlife, especially birds to be seen. You may still be able to see seals with calves this time of year (although the young don't spend very long with the adults).

    Here's a couple of pictures I took (with my rubbish camera) when I last went a couple of summer's ago. And yes - the seals really are gingery - it's down to minerals in the water.



  • The seal was out this morning off Whitehouse beach - and so was a guy skinny dipping! I don't know which aquatic mammal was more surprised, but the guy was definitely a bighter shade of pink when he came out than before he went in...

    These insect pics were taken at Sunnymead just before the showers started. I think the dragonfly is Ruddy Darter.

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