I set off late morning last Friday, after checking my trap which I had run the previous night for the Garden Moth Scheme - 6 moths found around the trap - not a good omen, after the much higher figures found the previous two weeks. However 4 of the 6 were new for this year, so that was nice. The weather had turned much colder and it was not a good forecast for the weekend.
|Purple Thorn on the wall near the moth trap|
Arriving at the Lee Valley Campsite, I checked at reception that I would be able to get back on site on Saturday night as I knew we would be trapping until at least 10.30pm. 'Oh no, we put the security barriers down at 8, - but you might be able to squeeze underneath!' Long story short, a Bongo will go under the barriers at LV with about 1cm to spare. So that was OK.
|Bongo parked up plus new pop-up tent for storage on site|
I was impressed by the campsite and the staff were lovely, very helpful. There were mostly bigger motorhomes on site but a couple of brave souls were in tents - rather them than me. Mine was the only Bongo.
It rained off and on until about 3, when I ventured out for a walk down by the river. There is a huge reservoir not far away but I couldn't find the path to be able to see over it. The river was quite nice though, lots of coots nesting, whitethroat and chiffchaffs singing, and a big flock of swallows all lined up on the fence before swirling around overhead.
|Coots with recently hatched chicks|
|Mosses and lichens on the bridge parapet|
On Saturday the course did not start until after lunch so I set off for Epping Forest in good time for an enjoyable walk, before having my lunch in the FSC carpark. I saw some nice big old trees, quite a lot of walkers, but not much else. I did find Cardamine flexuosa, Wavy Bittercress, growing by the path, which I think is a new plant for me.
On Sunday I set off for home, stopping off at Fingringhoe Wick, the Essex Wildlife Trust reserve. I had previously been there looking for bees on a field trip from Flatford, but this time I concentrated on the bird-watching areas. It was high tide so the inter-tidal area was covered, it looks to have great potential for waders, and I intend to come back and probably make a weekend of it by including Abberton Reservoir which is just up the road. I did get a brilliant view of a singing nightingale and heard a turtle dove purring, so well worth it.
|Lunch time view|
|The Inter-tidal area at high tide|
All in all a great weekend. The Bongo was ideal as my base, and I am looking forward to many more similar expeditions.