Monday, 20 September 2010


A brief look at the fields by the Strood provided views of some early autumn flocks of small birds on Monday 20th. The middle field inside the seawall with its crop of weeds, was where 50 linnets, 12 corn buntings, 10 greenfinches and 5 skylarks were seen. The birds were sometimes perching on the bushes before flying around and then disappearing into the crop.

There were few birds of any note during the high tide along the Strood Channel mid morning. A sparrowhawk flew slowly over flushing a few waders off the Ray saltings. A few swallows passed over the fields while in nearby hedges lesser whitethroat and chiffchaffs were noted. Small heath and small copper butterflies were seen flying by the seawall.

Glyn Evans noted 6-7 sandwich terns during his monthly WeBs count around the Island on Monday but little else of note.

On Sunday 19th at East Mersea Point there was still no sign of the lapland bunting. However a common buzzard was seen circling over Brightlingsea church with some rooks for company. A pair of sandwich terns flew past the Point up-river and a few common terns were seen too. Steve Entwistle had earlier seen a kingfisher flying over the river from the Point towards Brightlingsea.
Coming back across the Colne in the opposite direction was a male sparrowhawk that flopped onto the beach as soon as it reached land.

Richard Hull visited the army ranges of Langenhoe and was rewarded with views of two pectoral sandpipers, continuing the excellent run of birds for the site this autumn.

Around the pools in the park grazing fields were 240 teal and 5 snipe with 5 wigeon and a few shoveler, while 68 curlew roosted in the fields during the high tide.

The sunny weather enticed a couple of adders out onto the regular track and amongst the butterflies were common blue, red admiral, speckled wood and comma noted.

Amongst the moths found in the trap on Sunday morning at the park were 40+ of these lunar underwings. This was the commonest moth and it's always interesting to see the variations in colours from the pale to the dark, as in the photos above.

The main notable moth in the trap was another red underwing, continuing the good run of sightings over the last month and this individual being the second one to actually drop into the trap (one also noted 6 days earlier).
Some of the other moths seen were white-point, frosted orange, rosy rustic, broad-bordered yellow underwing, turnip, snout, willow beauty and deep-brown dart.

This brindled green was found resting on the outside of the building and is the first sighting of the year here. The moth is an annual visitor to the trap each autumn in ones and twos. It's usually found not far from woods and scrub as the foodplant is oak, and there's a bit of that here at the park.

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