Friday, 8 April 2011


The first grass-snake of the year at the park was making the most of the morning sunshine on Thursday 7th. It was lying amongst a scrubby tree plantation, close to the cliff-edge, out of the way from any walkers or dogs. Grass-snakes are very elusive at the park and I normally only manage to find just the one during the course of the year, so this might be the only one I see here this year!

This is a close-up shot of the head, which shows the yellow collar around the neck. A few adders were also seen in their usual spots with five noted but no youngsters today.

The nightingale was in full song from a hedge along the side of the car park, allowing a clear view without needing binoculars as I walked past. Also noted around the park were the common whitethroat, willow warbler, 2 blackcaps singing and 3 chiffchaffs singing. A couple of swallows hawked over the fields and a handful of sand martins were seen by the cliff.

The female kestrel was perched inside the nestbox in the tree at the back of the fields, so hopefully they'll have more luck nesting here than last year's attempt. No sign in the morning of the big black-tailed godwit roost although a few birds were feeding as were 6 redshank, while at least 7 pairs of lapwing were present.

A pair of Mediterranean gulls flew past the Point and then to the north of the park, calling out as they flew. In the distance five marsh harriers were seen in the air above Langenhoe Point, circling in the warm air. Two kilometres to the north-west of the park a distant speck of a male marsh harrier could be seen displaying high in the sky over Reeveshall. The bird flew repeatedly up and down in an undulating pattern with a floppy and lazy flight. No doubt if I was closer, I would've heard the bird calling too.
Just to the north of the park a little owl has been heard calling regularly in the late afternoons.

The dry and still evenings have provided a good opportunity to get some moth trapping carried out at the park on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. The latter night was better with 80 moths of 12 species, whereas the previous night was 36 moths from 10 species.
This moth above in a butterfly-like pose is the early thorn, which turned up in the trap along with 5 others on Thursday night.

This single pine beauty was also in the trap on Friday morning and is a species that turns up in small numbers during April. Other moths noted included frosted green, early grey, clouded drab, chestnut moth, red chestnut, small quaker, common quaker, hebrew character, March moth and blossom underwing.

This herald moth was discovered a few metres away from the trap resting in a bush on Thursday morning

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