Saturday, 13 June 2009


The sunshine on Friday 12th at the country park provided ideal conditions for insect activity. Four large skippers, one pictured above, flitted alongside one of the paths, basking on some of the nearby nettles, with the first individual of the year only seen yesterday. Several meadow browns and speckled woods were also seen, also six painted ladies on the flowering cotoneaster shrubs in the car park.

Other insects noted were black-tailed skimmer dragonflies and a neatly patterned Mother shipton moth.

This female adder came to a sad end by being accidently run over by a car as it crossed the car park. I received a call from a visitor who alerted it to me and when I was shown it, the adder was in its last throws of wriggling. Although the adder in the photo appears in good nick, the underside of the snake about two-thirds along, was unfortunately split open.

After I was convinced it was actually dead, I was able to stretch it out for measuring and find it was just over 60cms long. Having abandoned the adder in a quiet corner of the park, it was curious to find it had disappeared within an hour later, no doubt taken by a crow, jay or magpie.

An evening visit to the Reeveshall pool, pictured above, for the last hour of daylight provided views of a few interesting birds as usual. There were 12 lapwing, 14 black-tailed godwits, pairs of avocet, redshank, oystercatcher, as well as 3 pochard, teal, shelduck and a pair of mute swans.

Male marsh harriers seemed to be everywhere with individuals on Reeveshall being seen in three different directions. The same was true on the nearby Langenhoe Marshes with three males also seen flying about. As the males interchange and fly around a lot, there was probably only four birds seen in total. A female harrier was seen on Reeveshall and a couple on Langenhoe.

One harrier ignored the thousands of mobbing gulls on Rat Island and swooped down to pick up a young gull chick. A short while later another harrier was seen flying away with something small, with up to five oystercatchers in hot pursuit of it.

Along the Pyefleet 30 black-tailed godwits fed on the mud, while a few common and little terns hunted along the Channel. Earlier in the evening Ian Black watched five sandwich terns fly west across the country park, as they headed away from the Colne.

The sun set behind some grey clouds but provided an orange glow just before darkness fell. Five little egrets flew east to roost and 30 sand martins flew overhead to their own roost. Three Mediterranean gulls crossed north over Reeveshall as they headed back to the gull colony.

This painted lady had settled down for the night against this fence post, well camouflaged against the wood.

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