Thursday, 19 May 2011

TIT CHICKS


The family of blue tits nesting in the toilet store room in the country park, had seen two of their youngsters leave the nest a bit early on Thursday 19th. This blue tit chick fluttered towards me and clung onto my sweatshirt, while continuing to chirp loudly for attention. I picked it up on my finger as in the picture above and placed it and its sibling back into the nest. Regular checks throughout the day revealed the chicks were staying in the nest with the parents continuing to feed the whole brood.

There was the nice surprise of a garden warbler in the back of my garden at the park, singing at 5am while I checked the moth trap. It sang from inside some blackthorn bushes and allowed some brief views as it slowly worked its way amongst the foliage. A blackcap was also singing in another nearby tree for comparison.

Two cuckoos could be heard singing from different directions as day broke at the park. Later in the day 2 Mediterranean gulls flew over the car park, two whimbrels and a greenshank flew off the mudflats calling.



Enjoyed an evening walk along the Reeveshall seawall with the tide well out along the Pyefleet Channel. Feeding on one of the grass fields were 13 Mediterranean gulls with a variety of differing ages (except this year's juveniles). The field appears to have become a popular feeding site for them as 13 of them were also seen the previous evening too.

On the Reeveshall pool were 18 shelduck, 3 avocets, 4 redshank, pair of gadwall, mute swan, little grebe, coot, little egret, 4 lapwing and 2 oystercatchers. Feeding on various saltings and pastures were groups of geese with 10 Canada geese and 25+ greylag geese. A male yellowhammer sang briefly as did a turtle dove and two cuckoos were heard singing with a third bird also noted on the nearby Langenhoe ranges.


There was one one group of waders feeding halfway along the north side of the Pyefleet as the sun began to drop down at the end of the evening. Forty-five knot, 140 dunlin, 30 grey plover, 15 turnstone, 4 curlew and whimbrel were the main waders noted. Two little terns were seen fishing along the channel. The only marsh harriers noted were four on Langenhoe, otherwise the raptor activity was quiet.

At the end of the day a little owl was seen beside the East Mersea road at Bromans Lane and another bird near Meeting Lane too.


There was a good showing of these cream-spot tiger moths in the trap at the park during Wednesday night. There have often been evenings in previous springs when maybe up to eight cream-spots have been found but never double-figure counts like this. Most of these dozen moths arrived before midnight while it was still cloudy. The skies soon cleared and the temperature dropped for the second half of the night.

Nearly a hundred individuals of 24 species of macro moth were recorded when the trap was checked at 4am, before it got light and before the crows got to the trap.


One of the most numerous moths was the small common swift pictured above, with about 25 individuals noted with also good numbers of cinnabar moths.


This fresh shears moth with its pale grey scissor-like marks in the centre of each wing, was the first record of the spring here. One or two are often recorded each year at the park.


The muslin moth pictured above was also the first one of the year here and although its recorded each year, only one or two records.

The white ermine with the aptly described ermine-like appearance, turns up regularly at the trap in the spring.

Other moths noted included the poplar hawkmoth, iron prominent, heart and dart, white-point, marbled minor, brown silver-lines, green carpet, clouded silver, yellow belle, lime-speck pug, Chinese character, mottled rustic and light emerald.

David Nicholls counted at least 22 colonies of the ground lackey caterpillars around the Ray Island saltmarsh during a two hour search this afternoon.

At the park on Tuesday morning 6 green hairstreak, two common blue butterflies and a hairy dragonfly were noted. A Mother Shipton moth was seen in a grass field to the north of the park on Tuesday too.

2 comments:

Bob Cutts said...

I've used the porpoise from your photo here: http://henrytaylorsjournal.blogspot.com/
(search for harpoon)
Please say if you would like me to remove it.
Regards, Bob Cutts
bob@winton.me.uk

Dougal Urquhart said...

Yes you can use the picture, although I guess it's not the right species of porpoise for that part of the world. It sounds like it was probably Burmeister's porpoise being seen there.
Regards
Dougal