Thursday, 6 September 2018

SQUIRREL AT HORNBEAM SEEDS


A red squirrel was feeding on hornbeam seeds again beside the toilet building at the country park first thing on Thursday 6th.
Unfortunately a grey squirrel was seen by Andy Field on Tuesday 4th on the northern edge of Fishponds Wood in Shop Lane.

Five sanderling were seen at the East Mersea Point on Tuesday 4th, also seen in the area were 400 golden plover, 30 ringed plover and 20 dunlin along with 25 little egrets. Ten teal were on the saltmarsh pools and 14 linnets were flying around the sueda bushes. Eight common terns were fishing in the river and a Med gull flew past.
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Following the baling of the park's grazing fields on Monday, the next day 120 curlew and 80+ black-tailed godwits were feeding in the fields. A hobby raced across the fields past the Golfhouse and headed west up the hill, earlier a common buzzard also crossed the fields being mobbed by crows.
 Four pochard were in the dyke while at the park pond were 50 mallard, shoveler and 10 teal.

On Monday 3rd a cuckoo was seen perched briefly in a tree near the bird hide at the park, two wheatears in the fields, a water rail squealed from the pond, snipe flew over while 30 swallows and 10 house martins also passed over the park.

At the country park on Wednesday 5th Andy Field reported seeing three common scoters offshore, 16 common terns in the outer Colne, nine wigeon, wheatear, 2 willow warblers, a water rail swimming across the pond while in the big fields were 140 curlew and 160 black-tailed godwits.
Also at the park were 30 house martins while 34 little egrets roosted at the pond.

On Thursday 6th a marsh harrier flew over the park and 30 little egrets were roosting at the pond. In the bushes were a blackcap, willow warbler and a lesser whitethroat while 10 yellow wagtails were in the grazing fields. Seven lapwing were feeding in the stubble field near the car park.

A young common lizard soaked up the last of the evening sun on Monday 3rd.

Despite the unexpected drizzle over night on Tuesday 4th, there were 300 moths of 25 species in the trap by the morning including this neatly patterned feathered gothic - a regular in early autumn in small numbers.

Half the catch were setaceous Hebrew characters, while the other interesting moth was a red underwing.

Monday, 3 September 2018

YOUNG PIGEONS

There are still one or two young wood pigeons still fledging at the park this late into the summer. This youngster sat on a path and didn't seem concerned at anyone approaching.


A spoonbill flying west along the park coast was a nice surprise on Tuesday 28th. The long bill and outstretched neck gave it a different profile in flight to the more familiar little egrets.
Four common buzzards were soaring together over Shop Lane  while a willow warbler was heard calling from Bromans Lane on Tuesday.
Thirty swallows hawked over the park pond on Wednesday 29th where 30 mallard, two gadwall and a shoveler were present also 30 goldfinches circled over the park early evening.


Two whinchats were seen in the park fields by Andy Field on Thursday 30th, also 2 yellow wagtails while a large count of 70 little egrets roosted in the trees at the park pond.
Two spotted flycatchers were seen by Michael Thorley in trees between Meeting Lane and Weir Farm on Friday 31st. Two painted lady butterflies were seen by Adrian Amos feeding on his buddleia in his West Mersea garden on Friday.


Ian Black reported seeing from his safety boat on duty during Mersea's sailing week, a common scoter on Wednesday, a great white egret in flight over the channel on Thursday and a red kite heading west on Friday.


On Saturday 1st a juvenile cuckoo flew across the middle of the park and landed in the clifftop trees.
Six teal were on the park pond on Sunday 2nd and a Mediterranean gull flew over Bromans Lane. A willow emerald damselfly was seen by Bromans Farm resting on a bush beside the lane on Sunday afternoon.


Signs of red squirrels recently feeding at the park with lots of these hornbeam seeds found nibbled near the park buildings. A red squirrel was seen feeding on the hornbeam seeds first thing on Tuesday 28th. Other hornbeam trees around the park have recently dropped green hornbeam seed clusters lying on the ground where squirrels have been feeding on them in the outer branches.
A red squirrel was seen trotting down the middle of Bromans Lane on a busy Sunday 2nd carrying a walnut. It made it safely into the entrance of Bromans Farm.




The moth trap at the park on Thursday 30th produced 180 macro moths of 30 species. The lilac beauty was a nice surprise in the moth trap at the park, a species that's quite a scarce moth here. The leading edge of their wings always have a crumpled appearance to them. This individual showed a bit of lilac on the wings.


A centre-barred sallow is a regular late summer in small numbers.


A bald frosted orange with some scales missing from the back of the head.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

BACKYARD BAMBI

A surprise visitor to our Firs Chase garden on a very wet and blustery afternoon on Sunday 26th was this female muntjac deer. My wife Nolly beckoned me over to our kitchen window to look at what was feeding under our bird feeders. The muntjac was in a state of high alert and nervousness during the worst of the wind and rain in late afternoon with ears and eyes on the listen and look out for danger. After about a minute in view, it jogged away to a neighbour's garden but returned two hours later for another brief feed in the fading light.


The deserted streets due to the bad weather probably convinced the muntjac deer it was safe to roam across a few gardens. This is the first one we've had in our garden although Nolly saw one a few years ago running out of our neighbour's drive.


Before the bad weather set in on Sunday, there was time for a walk along the Strood seawall in the morning. The highlight was a juvenile brown cuckoo flying off the Island and spooking some of the waders on the mudflats as it flew over to Ray Island. Other migrants noted were a yellow wagtail and 8 swallows.

On the mud were 2 greenshank, 300 redshank, 50 curlew, 180 golden plover, 40 grey plover, 2 knot, 5 dunlin, 2 ringed plover, 5 lapwing while 80 black-tailed godwits were near the Dabchicks and 50 turnstone near the Hard. Four Mediterranean gulls were on the mud, 3 common terns flew down channel, 6 little grebes were in the channel and 15 little egrets were also noted - one pictured above.

Six crossbills were seen on Sunday morning by Ian Black circling high and calling loudly over his garden in Mersea Avenue before they flew west.
At Maydays Farm farmyard a turtle dove was seen on Sunday with a handful of collared doves by Steve Entwistle.

On Monday 27th a walk along the Maydays and Reeveshall seawalls provided a very distant view of an osprey perched on a tall post on the Geedon Saltings. A hobby flew after some of the 30+ house martins in the farmyard, a marsh harrier and a kestrel were seen by the farm while a common buzzard was seen on Langenhoe.

A wheatear and whinchat were seen near the seawall, 100 swallows, 3 sand martins, 6 yellow wagtails and 10 linnets were seen over the fields. Three common sandpipers, greenshank and 2 avocets were the main waders of note as the tide had covered most of the mud. Ten common terns flew up the Pyefleet as did a pair of little terns. Two common seals were resting on the saltmarsh.

On Friday 24th an osprey was seen by Charles Crafford flying over the country park carrying a fish. At Coopers Beach on Friday two wheatears were seen near the borrowdyke by Michael Thorley.


Sunday, 26 August 2018

REWSALLS RINGED PLOVERS

Four ringed plovers were waiting on the side of the seawall along from the East Mersea Youth Camp on Saturday 25th. A common sandpiper was also seen on the seawall during the high tide.
Offshore a flock of 200+ gulls and terns were feeding on a fish shoal about a kilometre out. At least 50 common terns were circling round with the gulls and repeatedly diving into the sea. Three Mediterranean gulls were resting on the Youth Camp beach at high tide.

Seen on the Rewsalls marshes were fifteen mallard, 3 little egrets, 2 kestrel, 50 goldfinches, 5 linnet reed warbler, 2 whitethroats, lesser whitethroat with a common buzzard seen near Rewsalls Lane.

The skies looked quite threatening over the Strood Channel early evening on Friday 24th during a walk along the seawall. A dark rain cloud with lightning drifted north east over Colchester and the rain missed Mersea.

A hobby with prey was followed off Island towards Ray Island by a kestrel. Ten Mediterranean gulls were roosting along the mud with other gulls, five common terns flew down channel while 4 little grebes were seen near the boat moorings.
On the mud were 50 golden plover, 30 grey plover, 2 greenshank, whimbrel and 17 carrion crows flying over to the Ray.

Twenty black-tailed godwits were seen on the mud, many losing their russet colour to the chest and neck.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

GARDEN VISITOR SPOTTED

A spotted flycatcher turned up unexpectedly at the bird table in the garden of Michael and Sarah Thorley near Meeting Lane on Wednesday 22nd. The bird was watched for about twenty minutes when these two photos were taken by Michael before it disappeared.

The previous day two spotted flycatchers were seen by Martin Cock on Tuesday 21st at the bottom of Meeting Lane, not too far from Michael's garden, so presumably the same birds involved. On Thursday evening a spotted flycatcher was seen in the same area by Steve Entwistle.

A hobby was seen by Michael flying over the fields between Weir Farm and Meeting Lane on Wednesday 22nd. A hobby was also seen flying east over the fields near Bromans Lane on Wednesday. In the country park 2 willow warblers were with ten long-tailed tits, also 20 goldfinches gathering to roost in the evening and also a Mediterranean gull flew past.

A red squirrel was seen first thing at the park in trees near the car park on Wednesday 22nd. It was watched scuttling along the branches, and fortunately I had my camera to hand. It paused to stare down and seemed very upset at my presence, with loud tutting and tail flicking. It quickly turned back and ran back along the branches. Possibly the same red squirrel was seen again the next morning on Thursday whilst I was kneeling down to check the moth trap. I stayed still to watch it pass unhindered through the trees just a few metres from me. It headed down the park hedgeline towards the cliff-top trees.

Just after nightfall on Thursday 23rd a brown hare was seen trotting along East Road near the allotments.

One of the highlights from three moth trap sessions at the country park recently has included this very smart peach blossom with pink blotches on the wings.
Nearly 60 species of macro were logged on Monday 20th totalling nearly 400 individuals in two traps. Large thorn, sharp-angled peacock, maple prominent, dark swordgrass, coronet, L-album wainscot, and still lots of sandhill rustics were the main species of note.

One of the brightly marked blood-vein moths resting in the grass.

This neatly patterned orange sallow was the first one for the season.

Several light emeralds have been visiting the moth trap in recent evenings.

The very large great silver beetle was crashing about the moth trap, the second one this year after one in April at the moth trap.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

PECKED PAINTED LADY

There was the colourful sight of a painted lady butterfly on buddleia next to the café at the country park on Wednesday 16th. Looks like a bird might've tried to snatch it by the wing as it shows a bit missing. A painted lady was also seen at the park on Friday 17th. They have been scarce this year here.

Two or three red admirals have been seen around the park, this one resting on an oak bush, while others have been feeding on the buddleia. A small copper, small heath, speckled wood, meadow brown, gatekeeper, holly blue, common blue, small white and large white have all been seen in recent days with brown argus being reported too.

Recent bird sightings of interest have been two common buzzards soaring together over Shop Lane on Tuesday 14th, also the red-legged partridge family of five young still at west end of Bromans Lane. In trees by the park buildings a spotted flycatcher was seen briefly with a tit flock and a willow warbler early on Tuesday, later a Mediterranean gull flew over the car park.

On Wednesday 15th three swifts flew over Bromans Lane heading west, while two little owls were seen by Martin Cock from the footpath to the north of the park, also a few sand martins and yellow wagtails passing over the park. A common sandpiper was seen along the park dyke by Andy Field. At Maydays 2 common sandpipers and a green sandpiper were seen by Martin, also a clouded yellow.

A willow warbler and a yellow wagtail were noted at the park on Thursday 16th, as was the noisy young sparrowhawk by the pond. On Friday 17th five whitethroats, 2 lesser whitethroats and 2 willow warblers were at the park, also 7 whimbrel and 10 house martins seen over Bromans Lane. A whinchat was seen near the Reeveshall seawall by Martin on Friday, also a common sandpiper and 300 swallows.

The first teal of the autumn were back on the park pond on Sunday 19th with nine present along with 20 mallard. At Meeting Lane a spotted flycatcher was found by Martin on Sunday and a juvenile sparrowhawk calling at Gyants Marsh.

On Monday 20th a hobby passed over the fields near Bromans Lane while a sparrowhawk flew into the flock of 400+ starlings feeding in the stubble field. Two willow warblers called from the park and a willow warbler also sang briefly in Firs Chase early on Monday. A willow warbler was calling at the park on Tuesday 21st and 5 yellow wagtails passed over Bromans Lane.
Two spotted flycatchers were seen at Meeting Lane on Tuesday by Martin Cock and a garden warbler was found later near here. At dusk a barn owl was seen hunting the fields near Bocking Hall.

Red squirrels have been showing at the park and also along Bromans Lane where one was seen first thing on Tuesday 14th. A red squirrel was also seen at the west end of Bromans Lane on Saturday 18th. There were various sightings of a red squirrel in Bromans Lane on Tuesday 21st, first by Jo Norris early morning and then three sightings in the afternoon by different drivers as a squirrel worked its way along the lane. A red squirrel was seen in the park by Jo Watkins on Monday 20th.

The red underwing moths have been making their usual appearances on the outside of the park buildings on some recent mornings, this one seen on the 17th, while one was present the day before.

The moth trap has been operating at the park on a few recent nights with this colourful herald a nice sight.

The appearance of the rosy rustic in late summer matches the colour of the first fallen leaves off the trees.

A chunky looking bulrush wainscot is an annual visitor to the trap each late summer.

The first hornet in the moth trap was found in the morning of Tuesday 14th. It seems hornets have become established at the park in the last couple of years and no doubt there will be more of them dropping into the moth trap at night.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

PARK WILDLIFE

A variety of wildlife was seen by Andy Field at the country park during his visit there on Wednesday 15th. This Mediterranean gull was one of two seen on the mudflats off the park.

A common sandpiper was seen feeding along the edge of the park dyke, the first park sighting this year.

What seems like a well grown ringed plover chick was seen by the Point, presumably one of the chicks first seen in the area a fortnight ago and a good sign they bred successfully.
Also on the mud were 220 black-tailed godwits.

A little grebe was sitting on a nest along the park dyke, maybe a second brood or a second attempt.

A predatory beewolf emerges from its hole in the park cliff, where there's a small colony.

Big black weevil with a long black snout seen at the park.

A very striking fly seen near the park cliff.