#WildEssexWalks: Wrabness and Stour Wood

A rather damp and dark evening was the backdrop for our annual Wrabness evening walk (leafy lanes to East Grove with its wonderful views over the estuary, then into Stour Wood itself), however we still found plenty of interest to show our group. We have assembled a selection of photos from the night, many taken with flash as the conditions were so dull while the landscapes became more like Impressionist art!.

This summer has so far been worryingly short of insects, but given the lush vegetation along the lanes, woods and wildflower margins alongside the fields where we were walking, we did find lots of what we would have expected including the ubiquitous Hogweed Bonking-beetles, a variety of shieldbugs, Speckled Bush-cricket, Acorn Weevil and a Hairy Beetle with a couple of stowaway mites.

No butterflies unfortunately, which we hope was only due to the weather conditions, but there was a scattering of moths: one lovely 6-spot Burnet moth, together with a bagworm and Cinnabar caterpillars..

The Wildlife ‘For Bees’ area near Wrabness station itself came up trumps with lots of bumblebees on the Lavender, and proves that just leaving areas to go ‘wild’ isn’t the only way to help our waning wildlife  – many ‘garden’ plants can do the trick very nicely.

As well as insects we looked at some of the many flowers including White Bryony, Oxeye daisies and Knapweed, all of which play a part in providing food for insects.

The moist air of the ancient woods was scented with the mushroomy odour of Sweet Chestnut and the sweetness of Honeysuckle, waiting for the arrival of moths, the night-shift pollinators, while ripening Wild Cherries shone like little beacons.

As we walked we were serenaded by Goldfinches, Skylarks and Wrens. Just one or two birds were spotted on the estuary itself – Black-headed Gulls and a Curlew or two, with Oystercatcher flying over: the winter influx of waterbird migrants is just about to begin. And as if to demonstrate we don’t ignore anything, how about our final offering – the aptly named Dog-sick Slime-mould!