Friday, 7 May 2010


The bluebells have been late flowering this spring because of the cold winter but this patch in the picture above on the park cliff-top were worth admiring in the sunshine on Thursday 6th. Many of the bluebells under the old Grove have all disappeared over the years over the cliff-edge because of the coastal erosion. In other places around the park it's nice to see bluebells springing up in open grasslands as well as along hedgerows.

The main wildlife sighting for the park over the last few days was seeing a pair of muntjac deer in the grazing fields on Tuesday morning. Daily park visitor Myrna Fahie came to tell me excitedly that she'd seen two muntjac cross the park in front of her. Two hours later I was very surprised to relocate them myself as they walked alongside the hedge at the back of the grazing fields. As the two deer slowly walked along, exploring as they went, the slightly smaller female would cock her tail up to her male companion with small antlers who was following closely behind.

This is my first sighting of muntjac on the park although I recall a local resident reporting a sighting after an early morning visit into the park last year. Muntjac appear to have finally become established on the Island only in the last 2 or 3 years. My only two previous island sightings have been East Mersea road ones in the car headlights. It will be interesting to see if there are lots more muntjac sightings in the park.
Three foxes were also seen along the back of the fields later that morning.

The cuckoo has been much more in evidence this year compared with last spring. The male has been perching on tree-tops and on telegraph wires both in the park and close to it. It has been very vocal every day, calling repeatedly from the same perch for long periods.

The turtle dove was seen on both Tuesday and Wednesday in the park, purring its soft song from trees close to the car park. The two nightingales continue to sing loudly near the park entrance and birds are often seeing flitting between bushes.

On Wednesday the first lapwing chick was walking about the edge of the water in the grazing field. There are at least 6 pairs of lapwings nesting on the fields this year, which is down slightly from last spring. However there could be other females sitting so low on their nest on the ground that have not been seen yet as the grass grows up.

Amongst the other waders on the fields were about 8 redshank and 12 black-tailed godwits while ducks noted included a 10 teal, wigeon, gadwall, shoveler, several shelduck and a mallard duck keeping a close eye on her 14 ducklings. On the pond and dyke 16 tufted duck and a male pochard were present while a water vole was seen feeding on one of the reedy islands on the pond. A house martin was seen flying over the fields with several swallows.

At the Point on Wednesday a ringed plover was incubating 3 small, pebble-coloured eggs on the beach. Fingers crossed she will have some luck in trying to get them hatched off and away from the beach and the walkers. Most years they usually try and nest here but not normally with much success.
Also seen at the Point were 8 linnets with 10 common terns and 4 great crested grebes in the river Colne.

Martin Cock noted 3 sedge warblers, 4 reed warblers, 20 whitethroats and a corn bunting between Coopers Beach and Rewsalls Farm on Wednesday. Two little owls were seen beside the East Mersea road at dusk on Tuesday, one near Bromans Lane and the other just east of Weir Farm.

The recent cold nights are still not producing many moths, although this common rustic shoulder knot was one that came to the trap on Wednesday night. Amongst the 26 other moths of 5 species were lots of hebrew characters, early grey, clouded drab, turnip and a muslin.

Butterfly numbers have been low with first sightings of holly blue and orange-tip in the park this spring as well as several speckled woods. Two adders were out enjoying the sunshine on Wednesday.

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