Friday, 16 April 2010


The first adder skin was found at the park on Friday 16th, with the faint zig-zag markings still visible along the back of the sloughed skin. The skin had been snagged against some bramble stems, no doubt the adder using the bramble thorns to help it pull the old skin off. The freshly marked adder was easily located with its bright silvery colour only a couple of metres away, pictured below.

This adder with its clear black markings on a silvery-grey background must've shed its skin only a couple of days earlier. It was only as I reached over to take this photograph, when I realised there was another adder in the bottom right of the picture. The difference in the colours is very marked between these two in the picture.

Soon after the adders shed their skin, they go off in search of a mate, deserting their favourite basking spot that they've been using for the previous month. They become harder to locate at the park after this.
In the sunny conditions 8 adders were seen this morning which appeared to suggest another two new individuals not seen before, bringing the adder tally for the park to 13 this spring.

The nightingale was in full song by the park entrance, greeting cars as they arrived. A common whitethroat was also singing nearby from a hedgeline.

There were several pairs of shoveler on the park pond along with the usual few pairs of tufted ducks. On the flooded section of the grazing fields, there weren't as many birds as of recent days although there was still the interesting variety of wildfowl such as teal, wigeon, mallard, shoveler, gadwall, shelduck with a few lapwing and redshank.

The cloud persisted throughout Tuesday night and helped to direct about 160 moths into the trap at the park, which was a better than average April haul. One of the commonest moths around at the moment is the Hebrew character pictured above, with 50 individuals noted. Similar numbers were also noted with the small quaker and the common quaker.

Of the other moths noted, there were ones and twos of early grey, clouded drab, red chestnut, powdered quaker, blossom underwing and March moth.

Two little owls were seen perched up on roadside trees along Bromans Lane at dusk on Wednesday evening. Two male corn buntings were seen perched up on bushes by the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall.

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