Friday, 15 May 2009


A mixed bag of weather for Friday 15th with rain early in the morning, turning to sunny periods and then breezy late on. A quick walk along the Rewsalls seawall in East Mersea didn't produce anything unexpected - no sign of any black terns offshore or any wheatears along the seawall.
There were several straggling lumps of common fumitory along the inside of the seawall, adding a little bit of colour, as in the picture above.

The kestrel calling near the church where it is nesting, was being fed by its mate who was later seen hunting over the Rewsalls marshes. Along the path a lesser whitethroat and a common whitethroat were heard singing and a handful of swallows passed overhead.

On the marshes one of the 3 lapwings seen was calling anxiously as if there was a nest or young nearby. Six shelduck, little egret, little grebe, moorhen and 12 mallard including 10 ducklings were noted aong the dyke. One or two meadow pipits and skylarks were seen on the fields.
Although the tide was coming in, the only waders seen on the mudflats were about 30 oystercatchers, while six cormorants stood on a distant shingle ridge.

A painted lady butterfly was of interest along the seawall with small white and comma also seen.
An evening walk along the Strood seawall also produced 3 more painted ladies - further sign of a recent immigration from the continent. There may've been more but the evening breeze was quite strong and could've kept them down.

A cuckoo could just be heard calling faintly from the trees on the nearby Ray Island. A short while later the bird flew close-by and landed on some overhead wires near the Firs Chase caravan site being chased by a meadow pipit. It proceeded to "cuckoo" repeatedly for several minutes and it was great just standing to listen to the real sound of spring. The pipit continued to mob the cuckoo which didn't seem to take much notice.

Other birds seen were a pair of avocets flying towards the West Mersea Hard, 2 little terns, 2 common terns, yellow wagtail, 5 singing corn buntings, 3 reed warblers, sedge warbler and a lesser whitethroat.

Despite the threat of overnight rain the moth trap was put out at the park on Thursday night and sure enough the trap was rather wet by the morning. The cloudy and mild conditions brought out a reasonable number of species with 15 noted but at very low numbers of individuals.
This distinctive white ermine pictured above is quite common and has already been seen on a few previous evenings in the last fortnight.

Other moths noted included rustic shoulder knot, shears, coxcomb prominent, chocolate tip, brimstone, cinnabar, green carpet, common carpet, flame shoulder, shuttle shaped dart and common quaker.


Anonymous said...

That White Ermine is a beauty - as though in ceremonial robes.

Dougal Urquhart said...

Yes and the way it's been chilly in recent nights, these ermine coats will help keep them warm!