Friday, 10 September 2010


There was a good view from the country park cliff-top of lots of swallows passing over the mudflats, late in the afternoon of Thursday 9th. In the half-hour walk around the park, there must have been about 300 birds seen swooping over the park as they made their way slowly westwards. A much bigger passage of swallows had been noticed earlier in the day, further round the coast at Frinton where they were passing at 40 birds a minute and by mid-day an estimated 5000 birds had passed south.

Also circling over the park and nearby fields in large numbers were 1000 black-headed gulls chasing after an emergence of flying ants. A marsh harrier was seen crossing the field near Bromans Lane.

At the Point 2 wheatears were seen on the beach, 15 avocets, 4 common terns and a common seal were also noted. In the grazing fields there were 3 whinchats perched on the thistles and there were 5 yellow wagtails passed overhead.

On Wednesday 8th there were 3 spotted flycatchers seen near the park entrance, where a sparrowhawk was also seen and more unusually a muntjac was spotted again near the pond. Julie Newman reported seeing it again in the nearby garden just to the north of the park.

Eighty teal and 7 shoveler got spooked off the pools on the grazing fields and joined the 40 mallard, 2 gadwall and a couple of tufted ducks on the pond. A water vole was also seen feeding amongst the reedmace stand. Three snipe and a handful of black-tailed godwits were noted in the fields.

On the mudflats a hobby did a couple of flypasts scattering all the waders before heading into the Colne estuary. Dotted across the mud was a good count of 32 little egrets while along the outer edge at low tide were 100 avocets and 150 black-tailed godwits feeding.

The moth trap was checked on Wednesday and Friday mornings and there was a typical showing of late summer / early autumn moths. This frosted orange pictured above is one of the regular ones seen at the park with the pale orange colouring typical of some of the autumn moths.

The most numerous moth in the trap at the moment is the square-spot rustic with around 70 noted on one of the nights. This one above had a richer brown colouring than many of the others.

This hedge rustic with its black colouring was probably the most interesting record as it hasn't been noted at the trap over the last 3 or 4 years. As it is a grassland moth, it's surprising it hasn't been recorded more often here at the park considering the amount of grassland on site.

Other moths seen were oak hook-tip, yellow belle, lime-speck pug, small white wave, large yellow-underwing, lesser yellow-underwing, double-striped pug, common carpet, silver-Y, snout, centre-barred sallow, bright-line brown-eye, willow beauty, light emerald, white-point, turnip, common wainscot, flounced rustic, uncertain, lunar underwing and brimstone.

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