Saturday, 4 September 2010


This neatly marked small tortoiseshell was nectaring on clumps of golden samphire alongside the Strood seawall on Saturday 4th. The clumps of samphire were low enough down on the seawall that the strong breeze didn't blow the butterfly about.

The usual waders were present along the channel with a single greenshank being the only one of any note. By the nearby fields 50 swallows hawked low as did a house martin and a sand martin, while 50 linnets, 6 corn buntings and a reed bunting were also seen.

A group of five small, young lizards were basking in the sunshine on some dried grass cuttings at the Feldy cemetery. All seemed to have tails that were a blacker colour than the rest of the body. Their small size of about 5cms made them difficult to spot at first but once you got an eye-in, the other lizards were easier to locate.

Crossing the meadow at St Peters pictured above, on the edge of West Mersea, it was a surprise to see a number of wasp spiders amongst the grass. Although only about 20 were seen, every corner of grass had some and these were quite close to the paths, so I presume there'd be lots more hiding deeper in the grass. One or two were even on the saltmarsh with webs amongst the sea purslane. Another was on the edge of the saltmarsh not far from the houseboats where one had been discovered a fortnight ago by the Ekstein family.

Another insect noted on the meadow was a female long-winged conehead - a relative of the bush-crickets, playing hard to spot in the long grass. It's long brownish wings extending beyond the back of the slender green body. I don't think this species has been recorded for the western side of the Island.

A common blue and small white butterflies were seen on the wing here as was a silver-Y moth.

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