onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Flora And Fauna

The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project….

The project is described as “Conservation for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK!” This video explains what’s there.

The RSPB website has a new comment from a satisfied visitor:

I visited Wallasea for the first time today. I cannot get over the numbers of corn buntings. Flocks of well over 100 in more than one area, smaller groups numerous, there must have been well over 300 visible along the road and sea wall, with many in full jangle song. Simply wonderful. 3 short eared owls, at least 4 marsh harriers, half a dozen or more kestrels, over 1,000 brent geese and the constant backdrop of skylarks more than made up for failing to find hen harriers or a rough legged buzzard (a common variety was over the other side of the Crouch). What a great area, I can’t wait to see how the RSPB develops it.

Beautiful Barling

barling 1

barling 2

Have you ever looked at the parish website for Barling and Sutton? Someone’s done a very classy job…. Also, Barling Wildlife Reserve looks like a nice place to go to…

In April 1998 a 999 year lease was granted to Barling Magna Parish Council via Rochford District Council from Southend Borough Council and the land was Registered in October 1998.

The 12 acre site had been part of the Southend Borough’s old defunct sewerage farm and had become a general dumping ground and derelict rubbish site…

…. It was necessary to remove a hundred Dutch Elms which had succumbed to the disease and this made way for generous new plantings. Now over 130 specimen trees, mostly native, have been planted and over 400 grant funded hedgerow plants. We are continuously adding to these. On both sides of the reserve there are inaccessible margins between ditches and fences that are left undisturbed.

The two main meadows are linked by footbridges and there are no plans to change them. They will be cut once a year to ensure that early coloniser plants do not take over. Our ambition is to construct a footbridge over the Borrow Dyke and link the reserve to the seawall of the River Roach.

There is another newly created wood to the west side which was planted by schoolchildren in June 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

A Flock Of Godwits

a flock of godwits

The webpages for the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project have fairly quiet this year , but there’s some new stuff on there now:

Many visitors to the reserve have come to catch some great views of the hen harriers, marsh harriers and short-eared owls that are hunting across the reserve daily. Some have taken some great images of these birds hunting across the rough grassland and wild bird cover. I wish I was as good a photographer!

We have also seen our annual increase in wader and waterfowl numbers on the lagoons and mud flats. A large flock of over 300 black-tailed godwits along with a few hundred lapwing can be seen on the lagoons, along with smaller numbers of golden plover and ringed plover.

Crossrail are continuing their work as best they can now the ground conditions have become so wet. They have imported over 90% of the material they are bringing in and once you have crossed the footbridge, you can now see the work up close to the sea wall. Channels have been created to spread the incoming sea water across the area, and you can see lagoons which will stay wet even on a low tide and islands which the birds will be able to use for roosting and nesting.

Believe it or not at this time of year it is well worth a visit!

The Owlets Of Essex

owlet

 

These photos in the Guardian today are worth a look….

Adder Warning !

1280px-Benny_Trapp_Vipera_berus

 

A helpful warning from Rawreth Parish Councillor Christine Paine:

I wonder if you could put something on OnLine Focus to warn walkers, dog walkers and riders about  late season adder explosion, especially on the footpath/bridleway that goes round Dollymans and over the bridge then back to the A129. One of my neighbours dogs has been bitten, fortunately they got it to the vet in time and it’s OK, but he saw several and when I saw some riders yesterday they said six had slithered across the path in front of them. We think the work at the back of the sub-station has disturbed and displaced them as there are far more than usual, and it’s late in the season for there to be this number around, possibly the summer like weather is encouraging them out as well.

Find out more about adders here.

Wildlife Walks At Wallasea !

From the RSPB website – note you have to book in advance !  :

Wallasea Wander

Saturday 30 August and Saturday 27 September

13:46 to 15:45 August, 9:30 to 11:30 September

Price: £3 donation

Booking essential

 

Find out more about the development of this exciting new nature reserve.
Booking essential, limited spaces.
Please contact 01268 498620 or southessex@rspb.org.uk to book a space.
Please note that booking closes the Thursday before the walk date.

Directions

Meet at: RSPB car park, Wallasea Island

 

Young Foxes Playing At Dusk

A photo from Christine Paine taken yesterday evening:

rawreth garden foxes 2

Thank you Christine. It rounds off the day nicely….

A Photo For Election Day !

A beautiful photo taken this week in Rawreth by our onlinefocus reader “Greenbelt” , featuring a pair of Goldfinches. Click on it to enlarge:

Green Belt - Goldfinches

A Fledgling At Easter

easter fledgling 1 easter fledgling 2

 

Thank you to Elaine Lawrence for these two photos of a very small young bird in a local garden. Spring is definitely here!

 

We’ll probably get back to gritty politics tomorrow….

 

“All Nature Lovers Welcome”

barling reserve

The Giants Of Pine Tree Avenue

giant redwoods

 

This is nothing to do with our district, but the Liberal England blog has an interesting piece on the trees in a suburban avenue in Leicester. They aren’t pines, they are flippin’ Giant Redwoods.

Pine Tree Avenue in Humberstone, a village that has become a suburb of Leicester, is not lined with pines. It is lined with sequoia gigantea – giant redwoods.
Some are currently under threat of replacement with a smaller species by the city council because of the damage they are said to be causing to houses and drives. Some residents welcome the plan and some do not. You can read about the controversy in the Leicester Mercury.
This remarkable avenue exists because Pine Tree Avenue used to be the drives to Humberstone Hall. The estate was sold as housing land by the Paget family after World War I, when they moved to Lubenham near Market Harborough….

 

Wallasea Wander

Paglesham -lookingouttoWallaseaIsland

 

From the RSPB website, a morning you might enjoy:

Wallasea Wander

Saturday 12 April

9:45am to 12pm

Price: Free, donations welcome.

Booking essential

Join our monthly walks to spot some of the amazing wildlife that makes Wallasea Island its home. Find out more about the development of this exciting new nature reserve.

Directions

Meet at: RSPB car park, Wallasea Island

 

Don’t forget that Wallasea Island ( in our district) is going  to become a pretty wonderful place:

Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK and the largest of its type in Europe.

The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England.

Once completed, this will provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife and an amazing place for the local community, and those from further afield, to come and enjoy.

Although the reserve is planned to be in development until around 2019, you’re welcome to come along and view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates. The current sea wall access along the North (Defra) sea wall is a wonderful place to come to relax and enjoy, whether for walking, cycling, birdwatching, painting, photography or simply taking in the sea air.

Over the coming years, the scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with more than nine miles (15 km) of new and improved access routes, and eventually a range of visitor facilities.

Opening times

The sea wall footpath is open at all times.

Entrance charges

None – it’s free.

Information for dog owners

There are plans for a dog walking area on part of the island – please contact us for details.

 

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