Thursday, 28 July 2011


Managed to see a variety of mammals on the Island over the last few days with this hedgehog being one of them. It was found on Tuesday 26th by Sami and Andrea Murray in a vulnerable location by the roadside of Empress Avenue in West Mersea. It looked like it was a well grown youngster and quite lively when touched. Instead of curling into the ball, it would jerk its head back if it got touched. It was suggested that the best place to release it away from traffic was in an overgrown corner of the grassy Willoughby "car park", which is just a few streets away from where it was found.

Charlie Pollard found this dead pipistrelle bat lying in his Shop Lane garden in East Mersea. There was no sign as to how it died but it did look like a young one and not fully grown in size. There is a small population of pipistrelles often seen hunting along Shop Lane during summer at dusk.

The previous night on Wednesday, the annual Brockwatch event was successful with several folk managing to see 6 badgers and 3 foxes at dusk near the park pond. When one of the badgers trundled across the field towards its regular hole in a hedge, one of the waiting fox cubs playfully chased it and was immediately rebuffed by the badger.

Continuing the mammal theme, the harbour porpoise was seen in the river Colne at two different times during Thursday. In the morning it was seen from the seawall near the Golfhouse and then it was seen in the evening whilst walking the Shop lane seawall but looking east to the Colne. This porpoise appears to be still feeding in the same area since it was first seen 11 days earlier.

As well as enjoying the porpoise a common seal swam just offshore from the park on Thursday too.

Lots of waders were feeding along the Pyefleet Channel on Thursday evening with the tide slowly coming back in. Although 14 species were seen the main waders seemed to be either avocet, black-tailed godwits or redshank. Some rough counts were 1 spotted redshank, 200 redshank, 50 curlew, 2 common sandpiper, 10 dunlin, 10 knot, 8 turnstone, 4 ringed plover, 70 grey plover, 10 lapwing, 50 oystercatcher, 250 avocet, 300 black-tailed godwit and 50 bar-tailed godwit. One group of 170 avocets were gathered in the Reeveshall bay near to the pool where 4 youngsters were still being supervised by their parents. Also on the pool were little egret, mute swan, 2 mallard, 10 greylag geese and 2 lapwing. Two male yellowhammers were singing from Reeveshall hedges.

On Langenhoe 30 little terns were gathered on the Point, 4 common terns along the Channel but only two marsh harriers seen over the Langenhoe marsh. Two grey herons stood along the edge of the Pyefleet and a brood of 10 large shelducklings were noted.

Earlier on Thursday the green sandpiper flew low over the park pond and the nearby pools where there were 10 black-tailed godwits feeding. Five yellow wagtails were noted along the seawall either in the fields close to the cattle or on the saltmarsh. Offshore from the park were the sub-adult male eiders with one or two little terns and common terns flying past. A little owl attracted the attention of lots of little birds as it perched in a tree just north of the park.

The sunshine in the afternoon brought some of the butterflies out to feed on the car park buddleia with 7 red admirals, 2 peacocks, 2 comma, meadow brown, hedge brown, small white along with several appearances by a hummingbird hawkmoth.

The moth trap was put out during Tuesday and Wednesday nights with about 70 moths on the first night while 250 individuals on the following night was more productive. The nut-tree tussock pictured above is a widespread moth over most of Essex but is surprisingly absent on Mersea - until this one appeared!

A couple of white-line darts, one pictured above, were found in the trap at dawn on Thursday. Although it has been recorded before here, normally only one individual each year, so not a common moth at the park.

This nicely marked small blood-vein is the first one of the year and was in the trap after Tuesday night's trapping session.

Some of the 48 species of macro moths noted during the two nights were oak hook-tip, riband wave, blood-vein, clouded border, least carpet, red twin-spot carpet, July highflier, lime-speck pug, willow beauty, coxcomb prominent, brown-tail, ruby tiger, scarce footman, common footman, dingy footman, shuttle-shaped dart, flame shoulder, large yellow underwing, lesser yellow underwing, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing, least yellow underwing, dark arches, light arches, dun-bar, brown-line bright-eye, bright-line brown-eye, lychnis, knot grass, uncertain, snout, common rustic, white-point, clay, smoky wainscot, flounced rustic, rosy rustic, shaded broad bar, buff ermine, peppered moth, scalloped oak, early thorn and dusky sallow.

Sunday, 24 July 2011


It was a good day for watching butterflies with a good number of various species around the country park on Sunday 24th. It's not often two species bask side by side on the same leaf but this picture shows a hedge brown and a comma enjoying the sunshine together.

Some very rough estimates of butterflies around the park in the morning included 5 purple hairstreak, 4 common blue, 1 small copper, 4 brown argus, 100 hedge brown, 70 meadow brown, 1 small heath, 1 large skipper, 30 small skipper / Essex skipper sps, 4 speckled wood, 1 large white, 2 small white, 1 green-veined white, 5 comma, 3 peacock and 15 red admiral. Also on the wing were 5 six-spot burnet moths and shaded broad-bar, while on the buddleia in the car park a hummingbird hawkmoth made a brief appearance.

Steve Entwhistle and Martin Cock both managed to see a few ringlets along the footpath east of Meeting Lane in East Mersea. Seven purple hairstreaks were also seen on oaks here too.

Sheltering on the south side of some bushes were a few dragonflies with this male ruddy darter enjoying the warmth on some bare ground.

There were several common darters noted along one path with this female resting on an oak bush. Others noted in the area and over nearby water were emperor dragonfly, small red-eyed damselfly, blue-tailed damselfly and various azure/common blue damselflies.

The main bird highlight was a pair of hobbies that flew over the park in the morning, sending 50+ sand martins into a flock high in the air. Whilst watching one hobby spiral upwards to gain height, a second bird appeared and was immediately mobbed by the first bird, which called as it launched each dive. Later in the afternoon a sparrowhawk was seen gliding west from the park with swallows and martins seeing it off.

The nightingale was heard calling from bushes in the car park whilst a handful of mistle thrushes enjoyed the ripening rowan berries. On the park pond the tufted ducklings, mallard and a few teal were the main wildfowl here while on the nearby pools a little egret and black-tailed godwits were noted. No sign of the green sandpiper that was seen the day before although it was probably hidden inside the thick dock growth.

A change of scene for an hour with a late evening walk along the Reeveshall seawall on Sunday. Two hobbies passed overhead with one bird mobbing the other, a repeat of the morning's action over the park. Both birds headed to the back of the Reeveshall fields.

The tide was only just starting to recede with the main wader on show being avocets. Three youngsters from the pool seemed to have crossed over the seawall and were feeding on the mud, while the other brood of four young were still feeding on the pool. Both sets of parents were very anxious and vocal as I walked along the nearby seawall. Along the tide-line in the nearby Reeveshall bay were 160 avocets with various other avocet flocks dropping down elsewhere along the Pyefleet Channel. Also on the mud was a mixed godwit group of 50+ bar-tails and black-tails as well as 50+ redshank.

Over Reeveshall 300 rooks and jackdaws flew off north-east to roost with one rook catching the eye with big white wing-tips. Also little egret, 50 sand martins heading to roost and 25 curlew feeding in the grass field. A yellowhammer was singing from a hedgeline near the Oyster Fishery.

On Langenhoe 4 marsh harriers were flying over the marsh and there were about 20 little terns and a common tern seen near the Point.

Dave Bragg found this striking vapourer moth caterpillar in his Broomhills Road garden n West Mersea. The moth is reasonably common and widespread although it hasn't been recorded at the country park for about five years. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of tree species.

Friday, 22 July 2011


This pair of mating six-spot burnet moths were among about ten six-spots in the country park on a sunny morning on Friday 22nd. In this picture the male has coupled up as soon as the female has emerged from her chrysalis. After last year's bumper crop of six-spot burnet moths, there's not been as many on the wing this year here.

The blur of the rapidly beating wings of the hummingbird hawkmoth seem to blend into the flowers of the buddleia in this picture. This one was seen feeding on the bush in the Cudmore Grove car park in the morning, the first sighting so far this year on the Island that I've know of.

The sunshine brought a nice variety of butterflies out at the park with at least three brown argus' noted, one obliging argus pictured above. These tiny butterflies were sometimes seen feeding on bird's foot trefoil or on knapweed.

It's useful to see the underside of the argus just for confirmation so that the equally similar looking female common blue female butterfly can be discounted. One of the differences that shows up well here is the pair of dots side-by-side near the leading edge of the hindwing - they're almost in the centre of this picture. The female common blue lacks this pair of dots but getting close enough to them when at rest isn't always easy.

Nearby a couple of male common blue butterflies were flitting amongst the long grass.

There are still lots of meadow browns about the park although some of them are looking a bit faded and tatty like this one seen on the buddleia bush.
Other butterflies seen were red admiral, peacock, comma, hedge brown, green-veined white, small white and small heath.

The first small red-eyed damselfly of the summer was seen resting on an oak bush. It's brown-red eye colour suggest a young male which hasn't quite acquired the dark red eye colour.
This damselfly has been resident at the park for a number of years, just a handful of years after it was first discovered breeding in the UK, a few miles to the south-west of Mersea Island.

A couple of emperor dragonflies were seen hawking over the park pond and there were some distant azure / common blue damselflies low over the water too.

There were still 7 small tufted ducklings on the pond as well as the four older ducklings from another brood. Only a couple of black-tailed godwits on the pools but around 150 on the mud opposite the park where a couple of knot and a handful of grey plover were noted by Andy Field. Along the beach about 70 sand martins were flying about near the cliff.

This small toadlet was seen hopping across the garden towards a pond feature where it then pondered it's next move.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Members of the Essex Moth Group made their annual visit to the country park on Tuesday 19th.
Five traps were set up near the car park with two of them continuing till dawn by which time the final tally was about 50 macro moths. This figure is down by 25 species on last year's tally, no doubt due to the cool and clear night.

Members had already gone home and missed seeing this spectacular garden tiger moth which arrived at the trap between 1am and 4am. This species has been recorded at each meeting of the Moth Group here at the park over the last four years but has always waited till everybody has gone home!
Numbers of garden tiger moths have drecreased in recent years in the many parts of the UK.

The nationally scarce saltmarsh loving ground lackey moth provided some interest. One or two are normally seen in the trap here each summer.

The big drinker moths are turning up at the traps at the moment and will continue to be regular visitors for the next 2 or 3 weeks. Bigger in size were three oak eggars that came to some of the traps.

This small emerald pictured above also turned up at last year's moth group session here and was the only record last summer.

The bulrush wainscot is reasonably widespread across the county near marshes and the coast and as the name suggests, has reedmace (bulrush) as the larval foodplant. It has been recorded here before but only in small numbers.

Some of the other moths noted were pine hawkmoth, oak hook-tip, chinese character, riband wave, maidens blush, least carpet, yellow-barred brindle, lime-speck pug, small dusty wave, swallowtailed, willow beauty, scalloped oak, latticed heath, early thorn, peppered, ruby tiger, buff ermine, brown-tail, common footman, scarce footman, dingy footman, coxcomb prominent, shuttle shaped dart, large yellow-underwing, lesser-yellow underwing, broad-bordered yellow-underwing, lesser broad-bordered yellow-underwing, dusky sallow, lunar-spotted pinion, dun-bar, brown-line bright-eye, bright-line brown-eye, dark arches, light arches, poplar grey, lesser common rustic, uncertain, white-point, clay, smoky wainscot, snout, flame shoulder and shaded broad bar. There was also the nice sight of the great silver water beetle at one of the traps.

Earlier in the day 2 yellow wagtails flew over calling, a whimbrel was heard out on the mudflats and the regular nightingale was calling again from the car park up until dusk.
The previous day there was a steady flow of swifts across the island all morning with at least 300 making their way westwards.

Andy Field visited Langenhoe Ranges with Richard Hull on the 20th and noted 6 greenshank, 40 green sandpipers, 250 black-tailed godwits, 100 bar-tailed godwits, 130 avocets, little ringed plover, peregrine and 2 sandwich terns. Recently there has been a good count of 100 little terns on the shingle point of Langenhoe.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


It was another day of showers on Sunday 17th with some torrential downpours at times. The sun managed to shine through on a few occasions such as with this view of the mudflats by the park.
As the tide receded in the early evening about 100 black-tailed godwits in summer plumage were feeding on the mud along with 25+ bar-tailed godwits. Also seen were the first group of grey plovers back after the breeding season with 8 counted. Two knot had been seen earlier in the day with 8 birds seen yesterday.

Enjoyed watching a harbour porpoise swimming about in the river Colne on Sunday morning. It was first seen heading up the east side of the river before it slowly fed it's way across to the Point coming to within about 50m of the beach. It would surface two or three times at a go, before dropping back down for about 30 seconds. It was a challenge trying to work out where it would come back up again because it was continually changing direction. It was last seen opposite the entrance of the Pyefleet Channel having been watched in the estuary for 30 - 40 mins.

Also seen feeding in the estuary was a common seal that appeared to swim out of the Pyefleet and out to sea. Lots of little terns flew up-river with about 30 birds seen in various flocks. Three avocets that were on the mud dropped briefly onto the saltmarsh pools and a closer look at them later revealed them to be two well fledged youngsters with an adult. A yellow wagtail flew across the Point calling.

The blustery conditions at the country park weren't so nice for the sand martins along the cliff. However some of the sand martins were heard calling anxiously near the grazing fields and after a few minutes a hobby was seen perched on the oak tree where the kestrels nested. It appeared to be a young hobby with duller markings and with very pale-red "trousers". Having surveyed the fields from its good vantage point and watched the martins flying about for about ten minutes, it flew off fast over the park. The 20 black-tailed godwits continued feeding in the pool. There was no sign of the two green sandpipers that had been at the pools the day before.

On the pond a new brood of 7 tufted ducklings swam out into the open water. These are a lot smaller than the three other older ducklings from an earlier brood. Ten teal were counted along with two pochard and about 20 mallard. A nightingale has continued to call quietly from the bushes in the car park over the weekend.

In one or two places at the park amongst the long grass are big clumps of the ladies bedstraw. Each stalk has hundreds of tiny yellow flowers which manage to attract various insects to them.

Not many butterflies on the wing over the weekend although meadow browns, hedge browns and the skipper sps were seen along with red admiral, speckled wood, small white and large white.

The first ruby tiger moth of the summer was found in the trap on Saturday morning. Several individuals are often noted during late July and early August and although it's a widespread moth, it always adds a bit of colour to the trap.

A handful of the common latticed heaths were in the trap, one in the photo above. Other moths of note amongst the hundred moths included the first drinker of the summer, white-point, small blood-vein, as well as the usual ones of recent nights.

Friday, 15 July 2011


A short time was spent on Friday 15th pulling up the ragwort plants with their bright yellow flowers from the park's grazing fields. Having cattle in these fields, horses in nearby fields and also hay being cropped nearby, the ragwort has to be controlled here so that it doesn't pose a threat to livestock.

The pools in the fields are still holding water as in the picture above, although much of the muddier corners have been colonised by masses of docks. A green sandpiper was seen flying off the pools and headed over the fields. A common gull was seen with three black-headed gulls in the pools but little else here. A little egret has been feeding along the central ditch for the last few days. A yellow wagtail flew over the park calling for the second day running.

Amongst the grassland a small number of skylarks, linnets, meadow pipits and starlings were seen. There were also lots of sand martins and one or two swallows hawking over the fields and dyke. During the nice sunny morning there was another impressive swarm of sand martins on the beach with about 300 birds flying about. No sign of any hobbies today although two circled over the park yesterday afternoon leading to the martins to gather much higher in the sky.

On the park pond the tufted duck was with four ducklings and the little grebe chicks could be heard calling, while pochard, teal and about 20 mallard were present too. Flying over the pond on Thursday were 3 green woodpeckers and four mistle thrushes that were feeding on nearby rowan berries.

On Wednesday 3 greenshank flew over the mudflats calling and then later another small group flew high over the park heading west in the early evening. A greenshank was also seen flying over the Point on Tuesday. One of the presumed local nightingales has been calling from the bushes in the car park over the last few days.

A little owl was seen again at dusk perched on a telegraph pole near Meeting Lane on Thursday evening.
Martin Cock saw a common sandpiper on the Coopers Beach seawall on Tuesday and also a Mediterranean gull too. East of Meeting Lane the two red-legged partridges were seen again in their regular field and also 5 purple hairstreaks near here.

This small copper was resting on one or two of the dried cow-pats in the field near the pond on Friday afternoon. Other butterflies noted during the day have been red admiral, peacock, large white, small white, skippers sps, meadow brown and hedge brown. The first hedge brown at the park this summer was noted on Tuesday. Flying about the long grass were a handful of six-spot burnet moths and also a shaded broad-bar.

David Nicholls reported the rare sighting of a white-letter hairstreak in trees in his garden in Queen Anne Road, West Mersea on Saturday 10th. Having got reasonable views to start with, it then flew up high and wasn't seen again. The last documented white-letter hairstreak sighting on the Island was 1984 but strangely only just round the corner to this sighting, about 200m away in Broomhills Road.

The most interesting moth in the trap at the park on Friday morning was this large oak eggar. One or two individuals are recorded here each summer and although it's reasonably common, it is still a nice moth to see. Although it stayed dry overnight it was a disappointing night with only about 70 moths of 15 species.

It was a better night on Tuesday with 200 moths of 24 species noted in the trap the next morning. Two dark sword grass moths were the most interesting, one pictured above. These are common immigrants from the continent, although numbers vary each year.

Other moths noted over the two nights included poplar hawkmoth, early thorn, chinese character, riband wave, least carpet, magpie, shaded broad-bar, scalloped oak, clouded border, browntail common footman, scarce footman, buff emine, shuttle shaped dart, clay, dark arches, dun-bar, brown-line bright-eye, smoky wainscot, uncertain, lunar-spotted pinion, dusky sallow, and double square-spot.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Lynne Hempstead took this photo of a common seal basking beside the Maydays Creek on 25th June. The seal certainly looks the shape of a barrel and may even be pregnant as this part of the Pyefleet Channel has seen young seal pups in recent years.

The weather over the last few days has been unsettled at times with the occasional shower at the country park. Birdwise a greenshank calling over the mudflats on the 4th was the first returning bird of the autumn while 15 black-tailed godwits and 20 bar-tailed godwits were seen on the mud the next day. A sparrowhawk circled over the cliff on the 5th and a pair of Mediterranean gulls flew along the beach. A marsh harrier was mobbed by a carrion crow as it flew low over the car park on the 7th and there was a common gull also flew over the park later that day.

On the park pond teal numbers are slowly building up with 11 counted on the 5th where 4 tufted ducklings and 3 little grebe chicks were seen. A reed warbler briefly sang from the edge of the pond. On the dyke the swans were looking after their three cygnets but no sign of any of the other cygnets. In the car park a pair of great tits have been busy feeding their chicks at their nest inside a breeze-block, which is 6 weeks later than most of the other tit families fledged around the park.

A turtle dove was heard singing near the East Mersea village shop on the 7th and at the end of the same day a little owl was perched on a telegraph pole by Weir Farm at dusk. Martin Cock heard 4 turtle doves singing between Meeting Lane and Shop Lane on Monday, which is the best tally so far this summer on one walk. The seven avocet chicks were still present on the Reeveshall pool on Monday.

The moth trap got rather soaked during Tuesday night's session, although I managed to shield most of the trap during a torrential downpour at 1am with the help of a garden parasol. The pouring rain didn't deter the moths and many were still flying around. At dawn about 220 moths of about 40 species were noted.

Three purple thorns, one posing nicely in the photo above, were noted in the trap. At rest they hold their wings out half-open, which helps separate them from some of the other thorns. Although it's fairly common in southern England, it's only been recorded once or twice here at the park before. The caterpillars feed on a variety of deciduous trees.

It's always nice to see one of these colourful elephant hawkmoths in the trap. This one is the first record of the season here this summer, which seems a bit later than previous years, especially as the first one last year was four weeks earlier.

There have been a few peppered moths at the trap over the last few weeks, with all of them being this paler colouring rather than the blacker form.

The brown-line bright-eye is a regular at the trap at the moment with several individuals in an evening. It's similiar sounding cousin the bright-line brown-eye has also been noted recently but fewer numbers.

The least carpet is turning up at the moment in ones and twos for most trapping nights. It appears to have spread across Essex in recent years from being a scarce moth previously.

Other new moths for the summer included the first lackey, several dusky sallows, dingy footman and a couple of silver-Y's. Most moths were similiar species recorded in recent sessions.

Nice to see some healthy sea holly clumps along the beach between Seaview and Waldegraves, with some sea spurge plants also visible in the picture. I had walked this section of beach on the 6th to check out a report of dead seal on the beach but it had already been dealt with and removed.
Two Mediterranean gulls flew along the beach as did a common gull.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


Called round to two locations in West Mersea to check out sightings of the large and spectacular privet hawkmoth. This mating pair pictured above were found by John and Christine Green in Norfolk Avenue on Saturday 2nd. David Nicholls took these two photos and this one above shows the two moths still joined. Both moths show the striking pink and black banding on their abdomens. The moths were relocated onto a post hidden amongst the privet leaves where they would be less vulnerable.

This was how the moths were first seen, resting on a fence panel alongside the pavement and tellingly, just an inch away from a small privet bush - the foodplant of the caterpillars.
The moth is quite widespread on the Island and the following day Bernie Catchpole also reported a privet hawkmoth resting on his trellis in his garden in St Peters Road in West Mersea.

The mute swan family have returned to the park after a few days absence. The usual summer shortage of pondweed on the park pond had driven the adults away in search of more food, unfortunately leaving three of the eight cygnets behind to fend for themselves. It's unclear where the family went to but it was probably out into the river Colne, somewhere along the coast.

When they were first spotted back on the dyke on Wednesday, one cygnet was stranded on the beach and was lifted over the seawall by Andy Field to rejoin the others. In the meantime the three cygnets on the pond have been reduced, probably by the local fox, over several days to one lone cygnet. Hopefully the adults currently on the dyke and the three cygnets with them, will waddle back across the field to meet back up with the lone survivor on the pond.

The ringed plover is still nesting on the shingle at the Point with the four eggs well camouflaged amongst the stones and shells. A simple cordon was put around the nest site last week with rods and string. However this morning it was found lying discarded on he beach and so more metal rods and string were again erected ahead of a hot and busy Sunday with lots of trippers and dogs expected on the beach. Having spent five minutes knocking the rods into the beach, the female ringed plover was watching proceedings anxiously nearby. Surprisingly she only needed three minutes to reassure herself that the cordon wasn't a threat to her and after checking the eggs were still there, she quickly sat down.
A hundred metres back from the Point along the beach, the other ringed plover family managed to get one chick fledged and it was seen during the week running about.

Other waders noted on the mud on Saturday were 7 golden plover, 7 avocets and 25 redshank.
On the pools in the fields a green sandpiper was seen to drop down while later 2 grey herons flew over the pond. At the back of the fields 3 kestrels were seen near the nesting tree.

On the park pond 7 tufted ducklings were new on the scene although they might've been around for a few days already. Three little grebe chicks were calling noisily to be fed and two drake teal were noted here too. In the reedmace by the edge, a reed warbler was singing for the second day running. On Friday a reed warbler had been singing from bushes in the car park.

The beach and the cliff at the park have been swarming with sand martins this weekend. Over a hundred birds have been circling round the beach close to the nest-holes are with many birds swooping into the holes to feed their young. Some of the martins are local nesters but I also suspect that many have arrived from elsewhere and have just stopped briefly off on their journey south. The big flock of 1000 birds a few evenings ago on nearby Langenhoe indicate a huge influx of sand martins into the area.

Not surprisingly with all these sand martins around, two hobbies flew right over the cliff on Saturday morning and headed inland. The martins had already got out of their way and the two hobbies were last seen circling above the end of the East Mersea road before heading to the north side of the Island.

Three purple hairstreaks were seen in the oaks on the clifftop at the park on Saturday and there was also peacock, comma, speckled wood, small white as well as the skippers and lots of meadow browns.

This swallow-tailed moth was one of the new ones for the year at the park during Thursday night's trapping. Around 100 moths of 30 species were noted with least carpet, small white wave, riband wave,scalloped oak, magpie, buff ermine, chinese character, brimstone, clay, white-point, smoky wainscot, uncertain, marbled minor, coxcomb prominent, large yellow underwing, cinnabar, poplar hawkmoth, brown-tail, yellow-tail, flame, heart and club, lunar-spotted pinion, snout, dun-bar, bright-line brown-eye, brown-line bright-eye, buff arches, dark arches and light arches

Saturday, 2 July 2011


Andy Field passed me a selection of photos he's taken in East Mersea recently.
Above, the fox cubs at the park are sometimes seen out during the day near the pond or the grazing fields playing about.

This well-marked adder was seen beside the East Mersea footpath between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane a few weeks ago. The fresh and bright markings suggest it has just shed it's skin.

There has been a small group of non-breeding eider summering around the mouth of the river Colne. At the start of the spring there were six eiders seen but that has dropped to 3 or 4 birds at times now.

The eider sometimes come close to the shore, like these two swimming past the Point on the 29th June.

The heads of two young kestrels can just be seen in this nestbox in an oak tree at the back of the grazing fields, photographed on the 23rd June. The following week the two chicks were seen perched on one of the branches on the 29th June, the first successful sign of fledging.

The trickiest butterfly on the Island to photograph is the purple hairstreak as it spends most of the time in the tops of the oak trees. Andy digiscoped this one on an oak at Gyants Marsh near Meeting Lane, one of four that he saw in the area.