Saturday, 18 June 2011


There were sunny periods during the morning of Saturday 18th when various butterflies were on the wing such as this common blue pictured above. This one was flitting between clumps of birds foot trefoil alongside the borrowdyke near the park seawall.

Lots of the pretty purple flowers of salsify were enjoying the morning sunshine. This flower was being paid a visit by a large skipper. The flowers usually close up in the afternoon, giving rise to the alternative name of Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.

This large skipper is nectaring on the cousin of the salsify plant, the goatsbeard - so called because of the big dandelion-like seed head. The yellow flowers also close up in the middle of the day, so it's also called Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon. Both of these plants grow in the long grass at the park with the salsify more noticeable along the seawall.

There were lots of skippers around the park, especially in areas out of the breeze, with good numbers of the small / Essex skippers and several large skippers too. Lots of meadow browns across most of the park with speckled wood, comma and small white on the wing too.

The showers came through during the afternoon and evening with enough of a dry spell in the evening for a walk along the park seawall. The tide was out but the light helped show up a few waders out on the mudflats. Forty bar-tailed godwits was a little unexpected on the mud at this time of year here. Five turnstone, one golden plover and 5 ringed plovers were also feeding on the mud. Several curlew were in the distance along with lots of oystercatchers.
A pair of avocets flew off the mud and circled over the fields, where a green sandpiper was feeding. One green sandpiper was seen at the pools in the fields on Wednesday, while on Tuesday the ringed plover chick was still scuttling about the beach.

A pair of Mediterranean gulls flew over the mud, 4 little egrets were seen in flight, 6 little terns and 4 common terns hawked along the edge of the Colne, while a female eider swam out of the Colne.

Along the seawall there were one or two greenfinches, linnets, common whitethroats, meadow pipit, reed warblers enjoying the seawall without the visitors at the end of the day. In the nearby dyke the pochard with her 3 ducklings swam past and a water vole bravely swam across the open water from one side to the other. A different water vole had also been seen on Wednesday swimming across the dyke.

At the park pond the swans still have all eight cygnets, one pochard duck has three ducklings here and another pochard duck just has the one duckling left here. Five tufted ducks and up to 20 mallard have also been on the pond in recent days. The kestrels are still feeding what looks like three downy youngsters in the nestbox in the tree at the back of the fields. Two cuckoos flew over the fields in the evening with the male stopping off by the pond to call.

On Friday evening a smartly marked male sparrowhawk flew over the seawall and crossed low over the fields, while the previous evening a little owl perched on a telegraph post in the car park at dusk.

On Tuesday I was told about an adder that appeared to have dropped into the old wartime pillbox in the hedgerow and it probably couldn't get back out. I managed to see it sticking out of a hole that evening and it was still there the following morning. I then laid some big logs at an angle to help it escape and as I haven't seen it again, I guess it managed to slide up and out!

It managed to stay dry enough on Wednesday night for the moth trap to run at the park. In the breezy and cool conditions around 60 moths of 25 species were noted. This L-album wainscot moth in the photo above is a regular sight in the trap especially in late summer.

Also seen was eyed hawkmoth, poplar hawkmoth, magpie, riband wave, common emerald, common white wave, light arches, dark arches, flame, large yellow underwing, mottled rustic, heart and dart, heart and club, white point, common footman, clouded silver, uncertain, snout, buff ermine, cinnabar, brimstone, and barred yellow.

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