Thursday, 2 April 2009


Sunny weather on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd brought out the bees to buzz around the flowering blackthorn bushes, like this bush pictured above at the country park. Some of the similiar looking cherry plum bushes have nearly finished flowering already while many of the blackthorn bushes are still to flower.

Looking like a butterfly when at rest, this early thorn moth was one of several species found in the moth trap on Wednesday morning. The early thorn has been a regular visitor to the moth-trap during the first part of April in recent springs. Around 40 moths of 8 species were found, a lower tally than the previous night with most species pretty much the same.

During the day there were brief glimpses of the peacock and small white butterflies at the park.

The sunshine was ideal for bringing the adders out to bask and there were the usual four in the regular spots at the park, including this one seen quite late in the afternoon with the sun dropping a bit too low to provide any real warmth for the adders.

Earlier on the Wednesday the first male blackcap back from Africa to the park this spring was heard singing from bushes in the car park. Later in the morning having enjoyed seeing the early pair of sand martins again near the cliff, a lone swallow swooped low along the seawall and rapidly flew east across the river Colne, presumably following the east coast northwards. A sparrowhawk appeared to take the same route as it crossed high over the grazing fields, while a second bird flying east may also have been on passage.

By the park pond the chiffchaff continued to sing on both days from the nearby willow trees. On the water there were the usual 10 tufted ducks and 2 pochard, little grebes, coots and pair of swans.
On the grazing fields there were 100 brent, 100 wigeon, 40 shelduck, 5 shoveler, 10 teal, 4 gadwall, 40 curlew, 5 snipe, 2 little egrets and the 3 pairs of displaying lapwing.

Earlier on Thursday two corn buntings were seen on bushes singing alongside the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall farm.

Spent the last hour of daylight on Thursday evening along the Reeveshall seawall where there was still a big flock of 1000 brent geese feeding on the grass field. Normally the goose flock on East Mersea drops in numbers during late March, with a noticeably smaller flock in April. This spring the geese seem to be hanging on a bit longer, despite the warm sunny weather.
Dotted around Reeveshall were various small groups of Canada and greylag geese numbering about 25 birds.

On the pool a ruff was the most notable wader seen here along with 5 black-tailed godwits. Also here were 10 teal, little egret, 6 shelduck, 8 mallard and a pair of coots. Two male marsh harriers passed close by as they drifted north to the Langenhoe roost, where they joined at least five other marsh harriers for the roost.

Two pairs of Mediterranean gulls passed over Reeveshall in the company of small flocks of black-headed gulls as they headed to the Rat Island roost. On the big grass pasture there were 60 curlew feeding and 6 brown hares came to life. In the Pyefleet the tide was just starting to recede and redshank were the most noticeable wader in one muddy bay with 250 birds seen here.

The sun slowly slipped down through the hazy sky, casting a nice red glow as it dropped lower.
It wasn't until the sun had set that the little egret flew to the nearby conifer wood to roost and the big flock of brent geese noisily took off for their night on the nearby river Colne.

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