Sunday, 27 June 2010


Another hot day provided ideal insect conditions on Sunday 27th during a morning visit to St Peters Meadow at West Mersea. The first batch this summer of ruddy darter dragonflies, pictured above and below, were seen resting on the bushes near the freshwater ditch. This female seemed confiding enough that it allowed close views without flying off.

The ruddy darter is a common summer dragonfly on the Island, emerging ahead of the common darters. The pretty male ruddy darter is recognised by its red colouration and distinctive pinched-in abdomen.

The darters were close to this ditch at St Peters Meadow, presumably where they recently emerged from and where they will be laying eggs in the next few weeks. There were also lots of blue-tailed and azure damselflies on and beside the water.

A few butterflies were also enjoying the sunshine with this faded male common blue butterfly, pictured above, stopping briefly on the path next to me. Also seen were small tortoiseshell, meadow brown, large skipper, small skipper, small white, holly blue and red admiral.

Three reed warblers sang briefly, as did a whitethroat, while 14 long-tailed tits played follow-the-leader through the bushes.

Two sandwich terns called out as they flew east from Cobmarsh Island at the entrance to the Mersea Quarters. The shiny head of a common seal bobbed up to the water surface every so often, also beside Cobmarsh.

It wasn't too surprising to find lots of sheep in the heat of the middle of the day beside the Reeveshall pool on Saturday 19th. Unfortunately it meant there weren't any birds to be seen by the pool and with the tide still covering most of the mud in the Pyefleet Channel, not many birds noted here either.

Two male and a female marsh harrier were seen on Langenhoe, where 18 gadwall flying past was of interest. A lone brent goose was seen on nearby Pewit Island along with a young brood of greylag geese while 25 grey plover and 20 black-tailed godwits roosted during the high tide. A brood of 11 shel-ducklings were still present in the Pyefleet

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