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.

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