Friday, 18 September 2009


Sunshine on Friday 18th enticed this male adder out beside a track in the country park. Tucked amongst some twigs and brambles, the adder was able to stay out of the breeze from the east. Adders at the park are normally still around at the park until mid October, after which they disappear off to hibernate.

A few more butterflies seen around the park duing the morning included red admiral, comma, a few speckled woods and several small whites. A pair of mating southern hawkers flew across the car park in tandem and a few common darters were seen too.

The small flock of chaffinches seen in the car park in the last fortnight grew to about 20 birds this morning. Earlier in the week a small flock of 20 birds were seen by the East Mersea road at Weir Farm. The usual tit flock was roving around the park but the only warblers noted were about 3 calling chiffchaffs.

On the walk to the Point a nice male stonechat was seen on bushes at the east end of the park. Three wheatears were noted on the wall with one on this section of beach at the Point in the picture above. A handful of swallows passed over the park and also several meadow pipits, with about 20 noted. Three reed buntings were perched up on the sea-blite bushes at the Point.

Twenty little egrets were dotted along the water's edge as the tide came into the park beach. Just north of the Point were 24 shelduck, the first ones back from their moulting grounds in Heligoland in northern Germany. Also on the mud were about 50 avocets feeding along the edge of the river and a dozen common terns flew into the river Colne.

At the park pond lots of ducks were hiding amongst the stands of reedmace but 25 teal, 6 wigeon, tufted duck, gadwall were noted amongst the many mallard. A sparrowhawk flew past the area heading north, attracting the attention of a flock of starlings as it climbed into the air.

Received news that Richad Brown had heard a bee-eater as it flew over his garden in West Mersea as it headed north early in the afternoon. Interestingly Andy Cook also heard a bee-eater over his garden in Tolleshunt D'arcy, just a few miles west of Mersea Island a short while later.

Recently 10 wigeon and a female pintail were seen on the pond on Wednesday with a marsh harrier flying over the Point on that afternoon. The day before on Tuesday, 2 bedraggled wheatears were seen in the rain by the seawall.

The moth trap was operated on Monday and Thursday nights with about 20 species noted with the better catch being found on the Friday morning when 150 individuals were recorded. The most striking one was this black rustic pictured above, with three seen in the trap. It's reasonably regular to the trap here at the park in the early autumn.

This fresh and brightly marked brindled green is another regular visitor to the trap in the early autumn. Three other individuals were also in the trap this morning.

The dusky-lemon sallow pictured above is an annual visitor to the trap each autumn but only just one or two each year. It's listed as an Essex red data book species as numbers have declined in recent years, probably following the decline in elm, the foodplant of the caterpillars.

The burnished brass is another eyecatching moth with the brass markings on the wings glinting in the sunshine. It's quite a common moth and there should be a few more turn up at the trap in the next fortnight.

Other moths seen included square spot rustic, brick, L-album wainscot, mallow, oak hook-tip, chinese character, silver Y, frosted orange, rosy rustic, flounced rustic, feathered ranunculus, setaceous hebrew character, large yellow underwing and snout


Anonymous said...

Dear Dougal, your adders are not ery kind... When we are there they don't show up. And once we are gone there they are. Regards. Jan

Dougal Urquhart said...

Yes these adders are not very obliging sometimes. I looked for this one again today without any luck. Hope you enjoyed your tour of the park, it was good to see you.