Friends of Coombe Wood

The Animal Life of Coombe Wood

The animals of Coombe Wood are less well recorded than the plants. Although birds such as Blackbirds and Robins are common and readily heard, it is the Grey Squirrel that is the animal most often seen. Additionally, the Fox is probably most often smelled! I did have one sighting of a Fox on May 17th.

For many of the animals listed below, there is a small i-symbol [If you hover over this with the mouse, then an information panel about that species will appear, usually with an image. i] after the name. If you hover over this with the mouse, then an information panel about that species will appear, usually with an image.

Coombe Wood has resident populations of most of our common woodland birds, including:

This is not an exhaustive list (see below for a more extensive list), but these are the birds that are regularly seen or heard on a visit to the wood.

Most of the insect records for Coombe Wood are butterflies (and the odd moth). These are mainly seen around the edges and in the glade around the pond. They include:

The treetops are home to many caterpillars (and other insect larvae). In the late spring and early summer, on a calm day, you can hear what sounds like rain. This is, in fact, the frass (or insect droppings) falling from the treetops onto the leaf litter below – evidence of the abundance of insects above. These, in turn provide food for the many birds listed above and below, plus the summer visitors.

One other insect, seen in February 2012 is the Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinellia septempunctata) [Three Seven-spot LadybirdsThese three Seven-spot Ladybirds were clustered on a tree stump. The top and bottom ones are facing right, the middle one is facing left. i].

Few Molluscs (Slugs and Snails) have been recorded

The headings below lead to more detailed information on selected groups. Currently this comprises just the bird records. As I accumulate more records of the butterflies, then they will have a separate entry. Click on a heading to display a more detailed list.At the end of the list, there is a Close Up heading. Click on this to close the list.

The Birds of Coombe Wood

Southend Ornithological Group Records from Coombe Wood, for all species, from 1st January 2001 until 24th November 2011, recorded by all observers.

These records have been supplied by Jeff Saward (JS in the attributions below). The other initials are of other members of the Southend Ornithological Group. Jeff’s garden backs onto Coombe Wood, and many records from his garden are thus included.

Some species, such as Wren and Wood Pigeon are conspicuous by their absence in this list. This is because the SOG has no actual records for these birds – probably because they are so common, they are not thought worthy of noting. I have included some observations of my own, flagged with my initials (JR) and in a dark brown font.

Non-birders should be aware that a ‘tick’ is a new species record for that bird-watcher. They are able to tick the species off in their bird list.

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
One on 21/05/2007, drifting over North-east – mobbed by crows and swifts! (JS)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Two on 17/06/2007, circling over the wood (JS)
One on 25/09/2007, large female over A13 dropping into woods, mobbed by Crows (PB)
Four on 21/08/2008, family group flying together – evidence of breeding success (JS)
One on 04/02/2009, high North over A13 (PB)
One on 10/01/2010 (PMG, MB)
Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
One on 12/10/2003, drifting north over Jeff’s garden 11.40hrs. (JS)
One on 27/02/2009, drifting over, heading west (JS)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
One on 25/08/2011, drifting over, heading North-west (JS)
Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
One on 24/08/2006, flying over low South-west (JS)
One on 17/06/2007, hunting low along the East side of the wood (JS)
One on 17/09/2007, heading south (JS)
One on 31/08/2008 (JS)
One on 24/08/2009, flying East (JS)
One on 20/04/2010, sailing over, heading North (JS)
One on 15/07/2010, sizing up the circling Swifts, Swallows & Martins! (JS)
One on 24/08/2010, flying over low, heading South (JS)
One on 05/09/2010, heading North! (JS)
One on 29/09/2010 (JS)
One on 22/06/2011, hunting low along East side of Coombe Wood (JS)
One on 26/09/2011, chasing Swallows & Martins ahead of a storm cloud (JS)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
One on 1/10/2006, circling over high, much to the consternation of the local Crows and Magpies! (JS)
One on 22/10/2008, flying over westward (JS)
Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)
One on 20/03/2013, flew out from just west of the ride near the London Road, landing somewhwere near Coombe Kop. (JR)
Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Two on 20/12/2010, flew out of the trees at the bottom of my garden – and promptly garden ticked themselves! (JS)
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
One on 5/06/2008, Adult in summer plumage, flying low over my garden – superb! (JS)
One on 22/07/2008, Adult in gull flock feeding on flying ants (JS)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
One on 7/08/2011, flying over, an unexpected garden tick! (JS)
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumba)
Two on 12/12/2011 (JR)
Stock Dove (Columba oenas)
Two on 7/01/2010 (JS)
Ring-necked Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)
One on 1/09/2011, serious garden tick! (JS)
One on 13/09/2011, again, flying around gardens on the North-east side of the woods (JS)
Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
One on 19/08/2005, calling loudly from the trees in my garden (JS)
One on 18/11/2006, flying over my garden (JS)
One on 30/11/2006, flying low over gardens on edge of the wood (JS)
One on 14/09/2007, in the trees in Jeff’s garden (JS)
Two on 12/10/2007, calling in trees at the bottom of Jeff’s garden (JS)
One on 22/09/2008, calling from trees at the bottom of my garden (JS)
Two on 29/10/2009, calling from the South-east corner of Coombe Wood most evenings for the last week or so (JS)
One on 29/01/2010, heard calling several times from trees behind car park (MBC)
One on 11/11/2011, calling, audible from St Peter's hall car park (MBC)
Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)
One on 11/01/2012, calling loudly in St Peter’s Churchyard (JR)
One on 17/02/2012, calling loudly from the garden to the north of the wood. It then flew into the wood calling and visiting several trees, calling at each. Presumably it was marking its territory (JR)
One on 21/02/2012, calling loudly in the centre of the wood (JR)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Two on 7/01/2010 (JS)
One drumming on 03/02/2012 (JR)
One drumming on 14/02/2012 (JR)
One drumming on 01/03/2012 (JR)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor)
Two on 20/03/2006, in trees at the bottom of my garden (JS)
Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
17 on 10/09/2006, flying over South (JS)
One on 15/07/2010, heading South (JS)
85 on 20/09/2011, flying South-west in one flock, along with many Swallows and House Martins (JS)
Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
One on 2/10/2006 (JS)
Two on 22/10/2008 (JS)
One on 08/04/2009, flying north (JS)
One on 05/04/2011 (JS)
House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
One on 6/10/2009 (JS)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
One on 16/11/2007 (JS)
One on 21/12/2007, seen several times this week, feeding on feeder scraps in my garden (JS)
One on 03/01/2008, feeding in my garden (JS)
One on 08/11/2009 (JS)
One on 10/09/2010, around garden pond (JS)
One on 30/09/2010 (JS)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
60 on 8/10/2007, flying into the Wood (JS)
17 on 07/01/2010 (JS)
Redwing (Turdus iliacus)
20 on 2/10/2006, flying in first thing this morning (JS)
13 on 07/01/2010 (JS)
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)
Two on 8/11/2009 (JS)
Two on 20/07/2011 (JS)
Nine on 20/09/2011, in one flock (JS)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Four on 3/12/2001, eating Spindle berries in my garden! (JS)
One on 21/11/2003, both in Jeff’s garden most of the day (JS)
Two on 12/12/2006, two males, in my garden (JS)
One on 21/12/2007, male, in my garden, eating ivy berries (JS)
One on 03/12/2008, male (JS)
One on 28/10/2009, female, a wintering bird? (JS)
One on 05/11/2010, female in my garden (JS)
Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)
One on 10/08/2010, sheltering in bushes in Jeff’s garden (JS)
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Two on 2/10/2008 (JS)
Two on 14/09/2011 (JS)
Two on 19/09/2011 (JS)
Two on 20/09/2011 (JS)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Two on 19/08/2009, present all morning in my garden (JS)
Two on 07/09/2009 (JS)
One on 07/08/2011 (JS)
Three on 15/08/2011 (JS)
Seven on 19/08/2011, mostly juveniles, feeding together in a Birch tree in my garden most of the morning (JS)
Four on 11/09/2011 (JS)
Eleven on 14/09/2011 (JS)
Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)
Two on 07/11/2009 (JS)
One on 18/09/2010 (JS)
Three on 27/09/2010 (JS)
Two on 30/09/2010 (JS)
Three on 04/10/2010 (JS)
Two on 14/09/2011 (JS)
Two on 19/09/2011 (JS)
Three on 20/09/2011 (JS)
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus)
One on 07/10/2003, in Jeff’s garden (JS)
One on 18/10/2007, in Jeff’s garden (JS)
One on 03/12/2008, female (JS)
One on 11/09/2010, in Jeff’s garden (JS)
One on 26/02/2011, in Jeff’s garden (JS)
Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
One on 13/09/2007, in Jeff’s garden (JS)
One on 01/09/2008, in Jeff’s garden (JS)
One on 28/08/2009, in Jeff’s garden (JS)
One on 07/09/2009 (JS)
One on 14/09/2011 (JS)
Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
One on 8/08/2011, a long awaited garden tick! (JS)
Coal Tit (Parus ater)
Two on 5/07/2011, in trees in my garden, first record since the 20th century! (JS)
Two on 19/07/2011, Again, in gardens on East side of the wood (JS)
Two on 07/08/2011 (JS)
Two on 15/08/2011 (JS)
Two on 14/09/2011 (JS)
One on 19/09/2011 (JS)
Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)
One on 1/11/2003 (JS)
One on 16/09/2010 (JS)
Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)
One on 7/09/2010 (JS)
Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
6 on 7/01/2010 (JS)
Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Three on 7/01/2008 (JS)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
14 on 7/01/2010 (JS)
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)
Two on 20/10/2007, both males, in Jeff’s garden with Chaffinch (JS)
One on 16/11/2007, female (JS)
One on 17/11/2007, the same female, seen yesterday, again in my garden (JS)
One on 19/11/2007, female, again in my garden (JS)
One on 22/11/2007, again in my garden, present for a week now and looking settled! (JS)
One on 28/03/2008, summer plumaged male, in my garden all day (JS)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Four on 7/01/2010 (JS)
Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
10 on 20/03/2006, small flock in garden for some weeks (JS)
16 on 08/04/2008, noisy flock in Ash trees at the bottom of my garden (JS)
Two on 03/12/2008 (JS)
One on 17/10/2009, flying over (JS)
One on 26/10/2009 (JS)
Four on 07/11/2009 (JS)
Two on 04/10/2010 (JS)
Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret)
One on 9/10/2009, in the Birch tree in my garden (JS)
Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
One on 7/06/2008, Female, flying over calling, heading south (JS)

Close up