Saturday, 18 April 2009


The sun shone throughout Saturday 18th providing plenty of butterfly activity, especially out of the fresh north-easterly breeze. This peacock butterfly with rather worn looking wing-markings, was enjoying the sun at the side of the Strood seawall. At one point it settled amongst the grass alongside a common lizard. Other butterflies seen in the garden at Firs Chase were holly blue, orange tip, large white, small white and speckled wood.

Also in the Firs Chase area were a pair of adult Mediterranean gulls flying along Coast Road, one of the regular pairs of swallows seen here each summer, singing blackcap and chiffchaff and the first moorhen chicks of the season seen on a pond near Firs Chase. I believe this pair of moorhens managed to have several broods throughout last summer, successfully producing at least 22 young.

Along the Strood the first views this year of a singing sedge warbler were enjoyed as it perched on a bramble bush. Two sedge warblers were heard singing yesterday in different bushes around one of the Strood fields pictured above. Other small birds noted were singing corn bunting, a reed bunting, linnet, meadow pipit, skylark and a pair of swallows. A male wheatear was seen at the back of one of the fields here yesterday.

Only a few waders on show along the Strood Channel with 100+ redshank, 2 black-tailed godwits, 6 oystercatchers, 2 curlew noted here. Two little egret and 3 brent geese were also seen.

A late evening visit to the Reeveshall pool provided views of a pair of gadwall, shoveler, 2 redshank, several greylag and Canada geese and slightly more unusual was a ruff flying over.
A male marsh harrier flew strongly into the wind as it left Reeveshall for the evening roost on Langenhoe, where 3 other marsh harriers were seen as was a barn owl. Also two grey herons stood in one of the fields.

Along the Pyefleet the tide was still covering most of the mud and the waders of note included a group of 100 turnstone with other waders on Peewit Island, and also 50 black-tailed godwits flying past. At least 10 brent geese were still in the area on the saltmarshes.

This mute swan flew off the Reeveshall pool and headed into the Pyefleet Channel late in the evening.

The two male corn buntings were perched up as usual, singing on bushes alongside the East Mersea road. Two swallows were seen flying over fields near Chapmans Lane.

The Burr family at the north end of Shop Lane reported seeing two muntjac deer in a nearby field, with one of the animals appearing to be a young fawn. This could be the first breeding record in recent times of deer on the Island.

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