Monday, 29 August 2011


Painted ladies have been in very short supply this summer, so it was nice to see this one pictured above, enjoying the sunshine as it rested on the sandy cliff at the park on Bank Holiday Monday 29th. There was a cool northerly breeze blowing across the park but down on the beach it was nice and sheltered and this painted lady flitted along breaking off from nectaring with a spot of basking.

There weren't many visitors to the park beach in the morning and most of the folk who came to the park missed the best part of the day, as it turned cloudy in the afternoon. They also missed seeing the painted lady basking under the blue skies!

A wheatear was still present on the first bit of beach along the seawall for the second day running and a second bird was at the Point in the afternoon. There was no sign of any sand martins along the cliff with the last birds seen in the area a week ago. A couple of sand martins were still flying around with some of the swallows, which maybe local birds.

Offshore with the tide receding in the afternoon one sanderling was seen with ten dunlin with 30 ringed plover seen on nearby mud. Five common terns flew past and four eider were just offshore although 5 birds were noted on Sunday.

At the park pond a male sparrowhawk sat in the hedge by the pond for some time, enjoying surveying the surroundings as well as enjoying the morning sunshine. It was a classic male bird with bright peach banded chest and grey back with its bright yellow eyes staring out. In the nearby bushes 4 blackcaps, 5 common whitethroats and a couple of lesser whitethroats were noted while 3 or 4 chiffchaffs could be heard calling from various parts of the park. Two little egrets roosted by the pond at high tide with the usual mix of wildfowl on the pond such as mallard, gadwall, teal, shoveler and tufted duck.There was no sign of the turtle dove that was seen by the pond on Sunday, perched on a bush and later feeding on some bare ground.

During the day 5 yellow wagtails were noted over the park while at the Point 80 linnets were still feeding in the sea-blite bushes.

A marsh harrier was seen quartering the fields near Weir Farm in East Mersea on Monday.
Martin Cock saw a female peregrine fly over his West Mersea garden on Sunday and a hobby flew over on Saturday. At Maydays farm 4 whinchats were seen near the seawall on Sunday.

Four adders were seen between the hide and the park entrance on Monday morning while the previous day three were noted and 3 common lizards in various locations too.

There seemed slightly more butterflies enjoying the sunshine on Sunday because of less wind and two small coppers, one pictured above, were enjoying the warmth out of the north-westerly wind. Also seen were 1 brown argus, 2 common blue, 4 small heath, 2 speckled wood, 2 meadow brown, 1 red admiral, 1 large white, 30 small white and 4 green-veined white.

This male ruddy darter basked on a hawthorn bush sheltered from the breeze on Sunday. Also seen were common darter and migrant hawkers around the park too.

Over Sunday night, this pretty green carpet was one of the moths found in the moth trap on Monday morning. Seventy moths of 15 species were noted in the morning with the cool night breeze keeping numbers down.

This treble bar was the only different moth in the trap compared with recent nights. It's a widespread moth that usually makes an annual appearance at the park trap.

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