Monday, 30 August 2010


There was plenty of sunshine on the bank holiday Monday 30th but many of the insects had to bask behind bushes to get out of the strong northerly wind. This male migrant hawker in the photo above, was enjoying the morning sunshine whilst resting on the side of a bush at the country park.

The hawker was surprisingly obliging, allowing the camera to be held as close as was needed. This zoomed-in photo shows the big blue eyes close-up. These hawkers have such keen eyesight, they are normally very wary and tricky to get close-up to. Several southern hawkers and a few migrant hawkers were catching flies around the trees and bushes.

Lots of ruddy darters, such as this colourful male in the photo above, were also hunting or resting on the south-side of many of the bushes, keeping out of the wind. One or two common darters were also seen arond the park.
On the dyke, there were a few blue-tailed damselflies and one small red-eyed damselfly, resting on floating vegetation in the water.

Despite the wind a few butterflies were seen around the park in the morning included red admiral, large white, small white, speckled wood, hedge brown, holly blue, common blue, brown argus, small copper and small heath.

One darter came to an unfortunate end, getting tangled up in the web of a big female wasp spider. Darters often rest close to the ground amongst the grass, just at the right height for wasp spider webs. This spider had its prey already bound up in silk and was keeping a tight hold on it as both these pictures show.

On the saltmarsh near the Golfhouse pools, 2 whinchats perched on bushes, were the first park sightings of the autumn. Six common terns flew into the Colne and a greenshank flying over the mudflats was the only wader of any difference from the regular residents.
On the fields 15 teal and a little egret were seen while the pond had gadwall, shoveler and 3 tufted ducks present. Twenty stock doves gathered in the trees by the pond at dusk.

The last part of the day was spent in the hide where a pair of spotted flycatchers were enjoyng the last of the summer's sunshine. They perched up in this bush in the photo above, near the pond, where they darted out after flies. There was obviously plenty to feed on judging by the amount of sallies they were doing, right up until dusk. Three little owls were heard calling just to the north of the park late in the evening.

The spotted flycatchers were still being watched when a badger trotted across the field and a young fox was hunting the area too, keeping the rabbits alert as to it's intentions.

Steve Entwistle had noted 2 whinchats, wheatear, 3 yellow wagtails and a greenshank during an evening visit to Reeveshall. He also reported a hummingbird hawkmoth in his West Mersea garden earlier in the day.

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