Thursday, 30 June 2011


A brief visit at the end of Thursday 30th to the Reeveshall pool was rewarded with views of 7 avocet chicks. The adult avocet above is crouching over four tiny chicks, probably only a few days old but old enough to wade along the muddy edge. Another brood of 3 chicks was also nearby and both sets of parents were very nervous and anxious at any likely threat.

Just walking along the seawall path was enough to set the avocets into the air calling loudly with their "kloot-kloot" calls. A young grey heron thought about paying the pool a visit but was quickly escorted out of the airspace. An oystercatcher was also watching proceedings as she was sitting on a nest nearby. The water level has risen sharply following the torrential rain during Tuesday's thunderstorm, which dropped about 23mm of rain according to David Nicholls rain gauge in West Mersea.

Along the Pyefleet godwit numbers are picking up with an even mix of 50 bar-tailed godwits and about 50 black-tailed godwits too - many of the latter still in their ginger summer plumage. Small numbers of redshank, curlew and oystercatcher were the other waders noted. Three little egrets were seen while 4 little terns and a common tern flew along the Channel and a Mediterranean gull was heard. On Langenhoe 3 marsh harriers and a barn owl were seen.

Above Langenhoe there was an impressive pre-roost gathering of about 1000 sand martins circling over the lagoon and it's reedbed at the Point. In recent mornings there's been a steady flow of sand martins heading west over the country park, a sign they're heading south already. One group of fifty birds were seen drifting slowly west over the car park on Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday evening Andy Field watched a hobby near the Barrow site on the East Mersea road and it was seen again the next night by Rob Lee. At the park on Thursday there was a brief glimpse of a hobby snatching at summer chafers off a tree as it got dark in the evening. A little owl flew across the car park on Tuesday at dusk.

Andy also managed to see the first purple hairstreaks of the year here at the park when three were seen on their usual oak tree near the cliff-top. An adder was seen along the track in the park on Wednesday afternoon.

The moth trap operated during Tuesday night and this pine hawkmoth above, was one of two in the trap in the morning along with two poplar hawks and an eyed hawkmoth. After the thunderstorm cleared away on Tuesday evening, some cloud still remained bringing in a reasonable number of moths. About 250 individuals of 35 species were noted with brown-tail moths, common footman and uncertains making up about two-thirds of the catch.

The pale looking miller moth was one of the new ones for the season and although it's been recorded here before, it doesn't turn up every year. Twenty or so years ago the very striking miller caterpillar was seen in the park, displaying long white hairs along a green body.

The common emerald has been seen on several occasions already this summer.

This maple prominent is the first one this year here at the park although it usually turns up in ones or twos each year. The larvae feed on the leaves of field maple and sycamore.

Other moths in the trap included riband wave, chinese character, brimstone, barred yellow, clouded silver, clay, smoky wainscot, uncertain, marbled minor, coxcomb prominent, large yellow underwing, cinnabar, barred straw, flame, heart and dart, heart and club, lunar-spotted pinion, snout, dun-bar, bright-line brown-eye, dark arches and light arches.

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