Monday, 26 July 2010


There has been lots of insect activity around a lavender bush in the Firs Chase garden in West Mersea in the last few days. Whenever the sun came out, a number of white butterflies appeared, such as this small white, as well as a few large whites too.

It was nice to see one or two meadow browns, one pictured above, flying about the garden, when you would normally expect to see them over areas of long grass like the seawalls.

On Friday there was a brief visit to the lavender by a hummingbird hawkmoth, that stayed for all of 30 seconds, hovering in front of about 20 different lavender spikes without resting, before zooming rapidly away. It's been 2 or 3 years since this hawkmoth has been seen in the garden

At dusk the garden has come to life with lots of silver-Y moths, especially around the lavender bush and also a big clump of knapweed. Around 20 of these brown moths at a time have been hovering around the flowers as they feed with their wings constantly quivering.
Many of these are probably immigrants from the continent and there seem to be reasonable numbers of hoverflies too which may suggest an influx with them too.

A walk along the Strood seawall on Saturday morning coincided with the tide coming in to cover most of the mud along the Channel. The only waders of note other than the usual redshank, curlew and oystercatchers were 2 greenshank, 3 dunlin, whimbrel and 5 black-tailed godwits.
One or two little terns and common terns were seen hawking along the Channel, as well as amongst the moorings by the West Mersea Hard. Amongst a roosting flock of 300 black-headed gulls in one of the grass fields, was an adult Mediterranean gull.

Inside the seawall a corn bunting was singing, as were 2 reed buntings, with 20 linnets, whitethroat and reed warbler also noted, while yellow wagtail and 3 stock doves flew over. By the caravan site a bright willow warbler seen amongst the bushes near the path would've been a migrant- an early sign that the small birds are already heading south for the winter.

A brief evening walk on Friday 23rd to the Strood seawall provided views of 2 spotted redshank, 10 little egrets in one loose group and 6 golden plover in the field with 10 lapwing.

Simon Gamble saw a hobby hawking insects over the country park on Thursday 22nd, while Steve Entwistle noted 2 green sandpipers, common sandpiper and 3 avocets on the Reeveshall pool. On Wednesday Steve had a cuckoo in Meeting Lane, while the day before there was a little owl also in Meeting Lane. Martin Cock saw 2 greenshank and 7 green sandpipers at Maydays about the same time.

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