Thursday, 14 May 2009


This painted lady butterfly was enjoying the still conditions near the beach at the East Mersea Point on Thursday 14th. Spending some time basking on a path, it was later seen feeding on the flowers of beaked hawksbeard and catsear. For the last couple of days there has been a strong wind and most butterflies were resting out of the windy conditions.

The first painted lady of the spring on the Island was seen by Martin Cock on Tuesday near Meeting Lane. There seems to have been a small influx from the continent of painted ladies recently into Essex and this follows recent observations in southern France of lots of painted ladies heading north.

Also at the Point were 2 wheatears, sparrowhawk crossing back onto the Island, marsh harrier flying east over the Colne, cuckoo calling from near Brightlingsea, common sandpiper, 8 ringed plover, dunlin, whimbrel, 6 black-tailed godwits. There were no black terns in the Colne as have been reported in small numbers elsewhere in East Anglia, although 4 little terns and 5 common terns were noted here. A distant large diver appeared to be a great northern diver, also a great crested grebe.

On the park grazing fields 2 more common sandpipers, greenshank, wigeon, gadwall, 2 shoveler, 8 greylag geese, pair of Canada geese, mallard with 11 small ducklings, 2 lapwing broods still with 4 young each.
There's a report that the swans that nested alongside the dyke were seen with 2 cygnets yesterday. The swans today were feeding along the central ditch and any cygnets around were not in view. In the reeds along the dyke were 3 singing reed warblers and a water vole was seen swimming along the edge.

The kestrel still appears to be occupying the nestbox in an oak tree to the rear of the field. Four house martins were seen from the park today as were 12 swallows as well as 15 sand martins, with 2 swifts passing over yesterday.

A cursory glance alongside a track revealed this adder out soaking up the warmth under the cloudy skies. It's the first adder I've noticed in the park for nearly 3 weeks.

Three green woodpeckers were seen by the park pond with this one seen earlier pecking after ants on the lawn in my back garden. This one was soon joined briefly on a small tree by its mate. Also at the pond were 2 pochard, 6 tufted duck, 4 young coots and 2 pairs of little grebes.

A badger was seen trundling across the field and then quickly disappearing into a nearby hedgerow. At dusk the two nightingales were singing loudly and the little owl was also calling from the nearby Bromans Farm.

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