Saturday, 7 May 2011


This poplar hawkmoth was one of the 30 species of moth noted over two nights of trapping atthe country park. It's usually the commonest of the hawkmoths at the park, sometimes turning up in double figure counts. It's also got the strangest posture when resting, looking like a piece of loose bark.

The pebble prominent has a striking wing pattern with a large oval "pebble" shape on each wing. One or two of these moths are noted each year at the park during the spring.

The waved umber pictured above, is another annual spring visitor to the trap. Very distinctive brown markings on pale wings which are held very flat to the surface its resting on.

The mullein moth is a widespread moth although only noted at the park each spring in ones or twos. The big white caterpillars with black and yellow spots are often found in gardens eating the big leaves of the mullein plants.

One or two rustic shoulder knots visit the trap during the spring, their caterpillars feeding on grasses such as cocksfoot.

Other moths noted over Thursday and Friday nights were least black arches, common white wave, maidens blush, yellow-barred brindle, brindled pug, chinese character, red twin-spot carpet, common carpet, brimstone, cinnabar, yellow belle, coxcomb prominent, hebrew character, common quaker, nutmeg, turnip, early grey, white-pinion spotted, common swift, chocolate-tip, shuttle-shaped dart, white ermine and buff ermine.

The warmth on Saturday 7th brought the usual variety of butterflies out at the park including 4 green hairstreaks and a brimstone, along with the usual whites, holly blue, red admiral and speckled wood. An adder was seen briefly alongside the track before heading back into the vegetation.

A male marsh harrier was seen over the park fields, the pair of kestrels were seen by the nestbox, little egret, two avocets flew over the fields and out to sea to Colne Point, 2 eider in the Colne and 50+ sand martins were flying around the cliff. Waders noted were 70 dunlin and 10 ringed plovers on the mud, while 15 black-tailed godwits roosted in the fields. The cuckoo stopped off to call during the day, lesser whitethroat and 2 nightingales, joined the other warblers singing in the park. At dusk a little owl perched on telegraph wires near Weir Farm.

Richard Hull's visit to the nearby Langenhoe ranges was worthwhile when he found a bittern in the lagoon at the Point and then watched a female red-footed falcon hunting insects for ten minutes in the middle of the afternoon, before it headed off west. By Rat Island 100+ bar-tailed godwits were also noted.

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