Thursday, 28 April 2011


This long-tailed tit nest was found lying on the ground at the country park. It's a real feat of engineering and construction, comprising moss, lichens, spiders silk and lined with reputedly, nearly 2000 feathers. It would appear a crow, jay or magpie may've discovered the nest and pulled it out of a bush and then discarded it.

Athough it's stayed dry since the very sunny Easter weekend, the breeze has added a fresher feel to the air. Birdsong around the park is getting to its peak as more migrants return from Africa. More whitethroats have come back to most corners and hedgerows although lesser whitethroats seem aptly named with fewer of them around. Nightingales and cuckoo have been in fine voice during the week. A sedge warbler and reed warbler were singing by the dyke on Tuesday 26th and a yellow wagtail and whimbrel flew over the car park.

A pair of pochard were with several tufted duck on the pond, while gadwall, shoveler and 25 teal were on the pools in the fields. A little egret was seen a couple of times during the week, over the fields and also over the car park. A female sparrowhawk was seen on Tuesday although it's possible its nesting away from the park this year. A mistle thrush has been busy in the park collecting food for its family nesting nearby. Three swifts flew above West Mersea on Tuesday morning.

The warm weather provided views of 2 green hairstreaks in the car park on Monday with a further sighting near the hide on Thursday when red admiral and small copper were also noted for the first time this year. A brimstone butterfly was seen again by the park entrance on Monday. Two adders were seen on Monday at opposite ends of the car park.

Other local reports of green hairstreak was one in David Morris' garden in Fairhaven Avenue on Thursday and also a couple on Ray Island recently by David Nicholls. Ray Island is also host to two nightingales at the moment. A dead grass-snake was found by Peter Banks, run over whilst it tried to cross Firs Chase in West Mersea.

The moth trap produced the first brightly coloured cinnabar moth of the year - the first of many that will come to the trap this spring. The trap operating over two nights had a low number of moths presumably due to the colder nights recently.

This chamomile shark pictured above, has not been noted at the park before despite it being recorded frequently elsewhere in north Essex.

This prettily marked and dainty looking red twin-spot carpet was a lively moth in the collecting jar but once it flew to the nearby bush, it settled down under some leaves where it could be photographed. There was the very unexpected sight of a nationally scarce sloe carpet discovered resting on my jersey, whilst I examined the trap. Other moths noted included white-pinion spotted, brimstone, hebrew character, clouded drab, common quaker, and powdered quaker.

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