Friday, 10 April 2009


The weather was certainly good enough on Friday 10th and along with all the visitors to the park enjoying the hazy sunshine, this speckled wood butterfly was the first of the year. Several peacock butterflies were out and about as were two comma butterflies.

The adders have been hard to locate in recent days although two were reported by a visitor to the park. Seeing a grass-snake was more unusual especially as it basked amongst the young trees on the cliff-top.

There are several young bunnies around the park at the moment with these two keeping the grass in my back garden well cropped.

The only new migrant to the park during the day was the common whitethroat singing from the hedgeline alongside the car park. However after dark the loud distinctive sound of the nightingale sounded out across the car park just before midnight. The chiffchaff and blackcap were still to be heard by the park pond. There were a couple of sparrowhawk sightings during the day, while there was the interesting sight of a kestrel heading purposefully east off the Island as if it was on passage.

This half-grown drinker moth caterpillar still has a bit of growing to do before it settles down to pupate and then emerges as a moth in July into early August.

The nice weather had gone by evening time and a walk along the Reeveshall seawall was under grey clouds. On the pool one of the two pairs of avocets were seen to mate, which would indicate that they will attempt to breed for the third year running. Also seen here were 5 black-tailed godwits, 6 teal, 4 redshank, little egret, and 20 shelduck.

Nearby 80 brent geese were still grazing one of the pastures, while overhead the first local yellow wagtail was seen flying by as did a swallow. A pair of marsh harriers were seen over Broad Fleet, 2 green sandpipers, pairs of pochard and shoveler and 4 stock doves were also seen over Reeveshall.

Along the Pyefleet 2 ruff were picked out amongst a few hundred redshank, while some of the 100+ black-tailed godwits looked colourful in their ginger plumage. Also seen were 30 dunlin, knot, avocet, 100 grey plover, 50 curlew along the mudflats.

On Langenhoe 4 marsh harriers and a barn owl were seen and 2 pairs of Mediterranean gulls flew north to roost on Rat Island.

Steve Entwistle had a walk alongside the Pyefleet and noted spotted redshank, green sandpiper and 2 Mediterranean gulls.

Birds seen locally in recent days include a nice male wheatear at the East Mersea Point seen by Michael Thorley yesterday. The tawny owl was seen perched by the side of Bromans Lane on Thursday night. On Wednesday Michael saw a ringtail hen harrier flying over his garden as did a pair of Med gulls, while a marsh harrier quarted fields near Bocking Hall.

Swallows have been seen at Chapmans Lane and along Coast Road in West Mersea. A dead barn owl was lying by the side of the Strood causeway at the mainland end, presumably having been hit by a passing vehicle. A red kite was reported from Fingringhoe during the week and a firecrest was seen in Hugh Owens garden near Langenhoe Farm on Tuesday.

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