Both of our woodlands on the reserve (Cockaynes Wood and Villa Wood) contain remnants of ancient woodland. One of the marker species for this are our native English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta ). We have enjoyed a fantastic display of bluebells in Villa Wood for several years but our management program in Cockaynes Wood has opened up new areas of bluebells to see. If you take a walk around the outer path, you can expect to see a lovely carpet of blue.
This weekend (Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April), we will be opening up the car park in the old yard area of the reserve for car parking. The old yard is accessed from the Wivenhoe/Alresford Road beside the railway bridge. The gates will be open between 10am and 5pm on both days.
As we’ve been enjoying a dry spell recently, all the footpaths are firm and dry. Many of them are accessible to both wheelchairs and pushchairs. We also have a number of picnic tables and seats around the site. Why not come along and have a walk?
It is so nice when we visit Cockaynes to talk to people who come to the site regularly as they can tell us about things they have seen that we haven’t. A gentleman yesterday told us how he had seen two stoats chasing each other around by the fishing lakes early in the morning while walking his dog. Last year he had seen the family of foxes at five in the morning by the holes in the scrape area.
This Sunday is the monthly work party so the main gate will be open from ten till about three pm, allowing vehicle access into the central yard for visitors.
The bluebells are in full flower and Villa Wood is looking especially good with a variety of other spring flowers blooming too. You might also hear the nightingale singing at the top of the wood as well as the noisy liitle chiffchaffs who are especially vocal at the moment. (Their name comes from the sound they make). Yesterday the Cetti’s warbler was singing loudly in the centre of the site and the lapwings were also defending their territory over the scrape and making their distinctive ‘peewit’ call. We also saw and heard the common Whitethroats in the central heath scrub area (little brown bird with a white throat patch). The shelducks had returned to the scrape too. The kestrel and buzzard were also very visible yesterday. (There are also patches of bluebells and anemones in Cockaynes Wood too.)
The people on the work party are always happy to chat and answer any questions about the site. A lot more photos have been added to this web site (still more to sort and obtain), but we are always happy to accept any from visitors to the Reserve providing the photos have been taken on the Reserve (we are attempting to have this web page as a true pictorial record for the Cockaynes of all the flora and fauna found there). We have had confirmation in the last few days of a second rare bee species (Andrena Vaga), in the yard area, found by David (one of our insect experts) when he visited last week. This is another mining bee and has a grey hairy shoulder patch with shiny black body…we would like the photo!
Roger and Valerie.
Good news……. we have the first of our nightingales back this year. Dave D reported one singing last night at the north end (near Sunnymead Lane) of Villa Wood. He also saw a Pochard duck on the Small Pond by the bridge but reports now that it has moved over to one of the fishing lakes.
This morning Mo J has heard Willow Warblers, Cetti’s Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps singing. They also have Sand Martins and House Martins at the farm, so you may see them flying low around the Scrape area catching insects. The sunshine this morning has also brought out the Peacock butterflies and the Brimstone Butterfly.
Brimstone butterfly. Photo by Glyn on 2/8/2015.
Peacock butterfly. Photo by Glyn on 22/3/2016
Chiffchaff. Photo by Glyn on 22/3/2016.
Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch it’s Bags of Help Initiative across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 390 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags.The public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.Visit http://www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp for more information and do not forget to visit your local store and please vote! Please remember, all funding we receive will be used to help improve and maintain the reserve for community use.Thank you.
Cockaynes Wood Trust
It was a lovely day out on the reserve today. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and there were lots of people out enjoying the good weather with us.
The primroses and snowdrops are now in full flower in Villa Wood. We heard the woodpeckers drumming and calling and saw numerous tits and a chiffchaff. We also heard the song thrush giving his repetitive call from the hawthorns.
In Cockaynes Wood we heard the jay shouting. We also saw the goldcrests again plus long-tailed tits, blue tits and great tits. The youngsters have been busy in the coppiced area again and appear to have left behind a dinosaur!
Walking back to the yard, we saw a pair of mallards, a pair of tufted ducks and a dabchick on the scrape. There were also four coots noisily displaying and chasing each other around the water. A sparrowhawk flew out from Villa Wood across the yard into the small silt pond.
It looks like the deer have been nibbling some of our newly planted privets but they should survive ok. Val and Roger 19/2/16