Saturday 25 March 2023

Ingrebourne Valley - 22nd March 2023

I dropped off the car to have it’s service in Rainham and set off for a walk up the Ingrebourne Valley.  I had about 4 hours to kill but was not expecting to end up walking a nearly nine mile circuit.  It was yet another grey day but certainly warmer but the wind had got up once again. I entered the Valley just above the Albion pub where Chiffchaffs and Cetti’s Warblers were singing strongly and picked up flowering Coltsfoot, Storksbill and some dinky Muscari on the bank around the lake.




The main reedbed to the east had Reed Buntings in song but it was just a bit too early for a Sedge Warbler while Ring-necked Parakeets zoomed overhead in shades of vibrant green and yellow. The Sallows were in full flower but held not one insect which was disappointing while the Cherry Plum and Sloe were equally devoid although both smelt wonderful.


Cherry Plum


The first Teasel head I opened held an Endothenia grub but I could only find Stigmella aurella on the Brambles.  Down at Albyns Farm the Wayfaring Trees were almost in flower and Red Dead Nettle and the first Cow Parsley were mixing with Celandines under the Poplars.

Endothenia cocoon

Wayfaring Tree

Wayfaring Tree

Red Dead Nettle

Cow Parsley

Lesser Celandines

I was pleased to find 14 mature poplar trees had the exit holes at the base of what I presume are Hornet Clearwing moths.  I only found my first of these the previous day at Santon Downham! I checked two Pill Boxes for moths but I suspect they have all awoken from their winter hibernations now.

Hornet Clearwing exit holes from previous years

Large Yellow Underwing Caterpillar - the only invert I saw all day

I looped up to the visitors centre (not even the loos till 10am!) and then cut through to the river and followed where it had overbanked and flooded the main path until I reached the next bridge.  It was a bit muddy but I am sure that the river delivered a good layer of sediment to the land above.  Great Spotted Woodpeckers played chase but it was generally very quiet. the Ash trees were coming into flower and looked wonderful close up.

Ash flowers in the making

I ventured out into the farmland to head back south but there were only Skylarks for company and a Green Woodpecker yaffled from Berwick Glades. I crossed back over the Green bridge where a huge ‘bird table’ had been created and adorned with small but empty feeders.  The pile of food on top was all rotten and sprouting but the local Brown Rats were quite happy to tuck in.  There was not a bird in sight.

A single male Teal and two Moorhens were on the adjacent pool as I Retraced my way to Albyns where two Egyptian Geese were squibbling around the edges before cutting back onto the roads for the route back to the garage ostensibly so that I could rather sadly look for leaf mines in front gardens on my way…

Egyptian Geese

Phyllonorycter leucographella on every Pyracantha I checked

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