Friday, 3 July 2009


Had an evening walk along the park seawall on a warm Friday 3rd, where this single cygnet appears to be growing fast in the company of its attentive parents. The adult mute swans are undergoing their moult currently resulting in piles of white feathers lying on the bank. This has alarmed a few passers-by who have assumed a swan has been attacked by something and feathers have been pulled out!
The family of mute swans at the park pond are also doing well with four cygnets still present.

A mother pochard was keeping a watch over her new brood of 5 little ducklings along the dyke, pictured above. The 5 tufted ducklings are also doing well on the park pond.

The muddy pools in the grazing fields are drying up a bit more each day but green sandpiper, greenshank, 15 black-tailed godwits and 6 lapwing were noted here. On the edge of the incoming tide a common sandpiper was feeding near the Point. Offshore at least 10 little terns hunted around the mouth of the Colne, while overhead 50 swifts crossed west onto the Island. Along the cliff there appeared to be 95 holes excavated by the sand martins which is a higher count than last year. Two green woodpeckers were feeding amongst the low vegetation at the foot of the cliff.

In the grazing fields a fox had his snooze disrupted by an approaching cow. Near the park pond 3 badgers were seen before darkness fell with two of them jogging down into the hedgeline at the bottom of the field. Amongst the large flock of black-headed gulls feeding at dusk on the park were two common gulls, the first birds back here for the winter. A little owl was seen perched alongside the East Mersea road by Weir Farm just before darkness fell.

The moth trap was switched on during Thursday night with conditions ideal for moth activity being muggy and cloudy. Unfortunately the forecasted thunderstorm duly arrived at 1am with thunder and lightning cracking right overhead. The trap was hurriedly put away just as masses of insects especially the moths were arriving in numbers.

One of the prettiest moths found were a couple of peach blossoms, one pictured above. The moth gets its name from the delicate pink markings on the forewings which help to camouflage it when it hides amongst bramble flowers where it lays its eggs. Despite being a common moth this is the first record for the park.

This diminutive least carpet was found resting up near my back door during the day. The least carpet used to be quite a scarce moth in Essex but in recent years there seems to have been an increase in records in the county.

Other moths of note at the park that night included a very faded pine hawkmoth, privet hawk, elephant hawk, masses of dark arches and light arches, also good numbers of buff arches.

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