Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Numbers of ladybirds have dropped slightly over the last week although this discarded apple had fifty ladybirds nibbling on it during Wednesday 17th on the park seawall. Having passed this apple twice over the last couple of days, each time it has been covered in ladybirds. Whilst walking around the park in recent days, one or two of these little bugs have been nipping folk on any bare skin including my own.

Two wheatears were seen from the seawall along with 30+ linnets on the saltmarsh and also the unusual sight of a corn bunting that had briefly joined them in the nearby grazing field. Up to 8 yellow wagtails were seen in the fields near the cattle. On the saltmarsh pools near the Golfhouse the family of avocets with the four young were still present.

Dodging lots of sailing boats involved in the annual Round the Island Race was one common seal just outside the entrance of the Colne estuary. About ten common terns were fishing in the outer part of the river too during the afternoon high tide.

Andy Field managed to find a garden warbler on Wednesday morning feeding with other warblers in the hedgerow near the park pond. It was a good find as it's hard work trying to find this uncommon Mersea passage migrant with usually only one sighting a year. There was a previous park record this spring of one singing in the spring early one morning.

Other birds noted in the area of the pond were 2 young sparrowhawks and two turtle doves seen by Martin Cock and also reed warbler, blackcap, common whitethroats and lesser whitethroats in the hedgerows. As in previous days a hobby was seen on a couple of occasions over the park, while in the car park the nightingale was heard calling from its usual bushes.

On the park pond 2 shoveler and a gadwall were noted along with the usual mix of teal, mallard, tufted ducks, little grebe, coot and moorhen. On the grazing field pools 25+ teal were the main ducks along with little egret, snipe and 8 black-tailed godwits were seen.

On Tuesday 7 whimbrel flew over the park whistling as they headed south. Thomas Harris reported seeing 2 hobbies and 3 eider from the park during his visit. At dusk a little owl was seen perching on a telegraph post beside Bromans Lane. A second bird flying off the same post lower down was probably a kestrel.

On Monday Glyn Evans and Andy Field saw 3 whinchats and a wheatear from the seawall between Reeveshall and Ivy Dock. A marsh harrier flew over the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall as it hunted the nearby fields and a flock of 50 martins near Chapmans Lane included both house martins and swallows.

The sunshine on Wednesday brought a few butterflies out with common blue, small heath, meadow brown, hedge brown, speckled wood, red admiral, small white and large white noted at the park. An adder was basking beside the track in the morning at the park and there was a report of a small one seen on the south side of the park. Three wasp spiders were found in a different part of the park from last week's individuals.

As in previous years this large red underwing moth wasn't anywhere near the moth trap but found on Tuesday 16th on the wall inside the park's ladies toilets! They do seem to like resting during the day on the outside of these buildings and occasionally inside too. Last year was a good year for red underwings with up to about ten individuals seen at the park during August and early September.

The moth trap was run on Tuesday night with low numbers of moths noted. This relatively common frosted orange is the first one of the season and no doubt will be followed by several others over the next month or so.

Likewise this first orange swift of the season will be followed by several others in the coming month here at the park. Amongst the other 50 moths in the trap, the flounced rustics accounted for half of that tally. The other moth species noted were the usual ones of recent sessions.

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