Thursday, 26 May 2011


The Mersea Wildlife Forum had its annual tour around the country park on Thursday 26th with 25 members enjoying some evening sunshine. Some of the members in the picture above are watching the eight swan cygnets on the park pond. Also seen here were 8 tufted ducks, little grebe, coots with chicks and moorhens.

On the pools in the grazing fields 7 black-tailed godwits were feeding during the high tide and redshank and lapwing were also noted. Two mallard broods were seen feeding, one with 10 ducklings and the other with 11, while ten mallard and 4 shelduck were resting near the pools. A kestrel perched up in a tree, close to the tree where the female is sitting in the nestbox.

Earlier in the evening two cuckoos flew into a tree right beside me but quickly flew off when they realised I was standing only a few metres away. Both cuckoos did a circuit of the park before heading west to the nearby caravan site. The vixen fox was playing with one of it's cubs in the field and the dog fox walked in front of the hide early in the evening.

Thirty sand martins were flying over the park in the evening while earlier over the car park there was a little egret and a little tern noted passing overhead. Small numbers of swifts passed low over the park in the afternoon as they headed into the strong westerly wind.

The grass overflow car park should normally be green but the lack of rain over the last few months has turned the area brown as in the picture. This is normally the scene in early July but not during May. The brief five minute downpour in the middle of the day was the first proper rain for about three months.

There was an interesting colour contrast in the early evening as the last of the dark blue clouds headed off into the North Sea.

The moth trap produced a few more moths over Wednesday night with about 120 individuals of 34 macro-moth species. This one above is the dog's tooth which is the first record for the site. Although listed as scarce for Essex, most of the records have been in the eastern half of the county.

The pale prominent is a master of disguise as it pretends to be a bit of stick or some bark on the tree. Several of these are noted each year at the park.

The light emerald is a common moth and a regular visitor to the trap with half a dozen individuals noted by Thursday morning.

The aptly named treble-lines is a regular each year at the park in ones and twos, with this individual the first of the year.
Other moths noted included poplar hawkmoth, cream-spot tiger, treble brown spot, treble bar, sandy carpet, green carpet, common marbled carpet, willow beauty, clouded silver, buff ermine, coxcomb prominent, heart and dart, marbled minor, shears, Vines rustic, mottled rustic and snout.

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