Monday, 2 May 2011


Made the annual visit to admire the wonderful display of green-winged orchids in a back garden by the Esplanade in West Mersea on Monday 4th. Following the kind permission of the family to visit, along with a small group of friends, we marvelled at the few hundred wild orchids at the peak of their blooming.

The numbers of flowering spikes looked the same as previous years with over 400 spikes on show. They seemed shorter stalked than previous years and maybe the dry conditions have played a part. This patch of orchids is the last remnant of many that used to grow beside the Esplanade up until 25 years ago. Fifteen thousand green-winged orchids used to grow in a small field up until 1984, now occupied by a block of flats called "Orchid Court!"

The orchid gets its name from the green-coloured veins on the hood of the flower, although many of the flowers in the picture above show purple veins.

Several common spotted orchids were also recognised by their spotted leaves, although they seemed a fortnight away at least from flowering. A quick look in the nearby Willoughby Car Park, revealed at least six common spotted orchids waiting to flower amongst the grass.

Andy Field took this photograph of a wheatear at East Mersea Point on Sunday 3rd that looked big enough to be of the Greenland race. This race heads north later in the spring than the more usual Northern wheatear race. This bird was later seen in the grazing fields near the Point. A muntjac deer was reported seen on Sunday crossing a grass field to the north of the park.

On the pools in the fields on Monday morning a green sandpiper, greenshank, ruff, 3 snipe, 10 black-tailed godwits were noted along with the resident lapwings and redshank. The previous day a bar-tailed godwit had been seen along with 6 black-tailed godwits. Four eider were still present in the mouth of the river Colne.

This male orange-tip butterfly has lost part of its tip, maybe a bird tried to catch it. One or two of these butterflies enjoyed the sunny Firs Chase garden away from the strong breeze. The other white butterflies noted were large white, small white and green-veined white.

Several holly blues fluttered around the garden especially near big clumps of ivy and holly bushes. A speckled wood was also seen as were a couple of large red damselflies.

The high pitched song of a goldcrest was heard coming from the Firs Chase garden on Sunday morning.

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