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Maylwatch July 2016

What a cold wet spring. Over halfway through the year, let’s hope for a good summer. At Blue House Farm in North Fambridge on land managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust, by the first hide they have flooded an area of boggy grassland. They did this in order to eradicate an invasive plant species. This has created a mini wetland and with a few little gravel Islands has made an ideal nesting site for birds. One had four avocets nests on it a little squashed but safety in numbers. The island was so close to the hide you could see, when the birds stood up that most had 4 eggs in their nest and one had chicks. I hope they had better success than the chicks at Minsmere as seen on Spring Watch, all the chicks were predated.
On another Island was a nesting oystercatcher and a common tern. It was a privilege to observe them so close up. Back at the barn, by the car park a cctv camera gives you a live view of a barn owls nest with her chicks in and I was able to watch as the parent bird fed them a mouse. An exclusive invite to Essex Wildlife members, whose donations helped to buy more land at the Fingringhoe Wick reserve, were treated to an evening walk around the newly extended reserve. This was interesting enough but for me the highlight was first hearing a cuckoo, then much nearer a Nightingale and then hearing the purring call of a turtle dove. All three birds are in serious decline.
The hunters on Malta shoot the turtle doves during their migration back to breed. It angers me so and I would have no qualms, given the opportunity, to shoot anyone that gets such pleasure from killing these beautiful rare birds. Better not mention what I think of cats!