Friday, 19 August 2011


Lots of sunshine on Friday 19th provided an enjoyable backdrop to a walk along the Reeveshall seawall. Masses of white-flowering wild carrots bloomed along the sides of the seawall as well as the inside folding beside the dyke, as in the picture above.

Most of the butterflies enjoying the sunshine were 30+ small whites, meadow brown, small heath and green-veined white, pictured above. Five speckled woods were in the Shop Lane wood.

As in recent days two hobbies again put in a performance with the second bird only being located high in the sky after it was heard calling. After watching the two come together over the Pyefleet, the second calling bird was seen as a browner-marked juvenile hobby alongside the darker adult. A big feeding flock of 200 swallows over Reeveshall kept their distance.

A sparrowhawk was seen flying over the fields and a kestrel was seen hovering above one of the pastures. A male marsh harrier carrying some small prey flew away from Reeveshall towards Langenhoe where it dropped down presumably to feed some young.

Waders were scattered along the Pyefleet mud with 2 greenshank, 25 avocet, 70 black-tailed godwits, 10 grey plover being the main waders of interest. Forty little terns rested on Langenhoe Point with 10 common terns seen too. There were no birds seen on the Reeveshall pool.

Two yellowhammers and 3 yellow wagtails were seen near the seawall while in the nearby wood a willow warbler called and 2 chiffchaffs were noted.

Later in the day my wife Nolly and I, canoed to Ray Island to try and enjoy some of the peace and quiet amidst the drone of nearby jet-skies and water-skiers. However the disturbance didn't seem to deter a male marsh harrier from crossing the Ray saltings and over the Strood Channel. A high tide roost of 12 little egrets were seen and also noted on the Ray were green woodpecker, common whitethroat, yellow wagtail, while flying along the Ray Channel were 7 whimbrel and 4 common terns.

It didn't take long to find this big wasp spider at it's web in the rough grass on Ray Island, waiting to catch some of the many grasshoppers and crickets that were leaping about.

On Thursday at the country park Andy Field found 2 whinchats in the grazing fields keeping low in the fresh breeze. At the Point 70 linnets flew around the seablite bushes, up to 4 yellow wagtails flew about, the avocet family were still present and nearby 200 golden plover were on the mud.

Two turtle doves were seen in the car park briefly as well as near the pond, while one was seen later on wires over Bromans Lane. A sparrowhawk was seen over the car park and probably a different bird perched at the back of the fields later in the morning.

Several of these light emeralds moths, picture above, were in the moth trap at the park on Wednesday night. This is one of the second generation following on from the first lot seen in the spring.

The oak hook-tip is a regular visitor to the trap in the summer in small numbers. The wings have the characteristic curved wing-tips.
Other moths noted included maidens blush, common carpet, brimstone, small white wave, scarce footman, brown-tail, large yellow underwing, white-point, smoky wainscot, spectacle, snout, frosted orange, setaceous hebrew character, flounced rustic and uncertain.

This red underwing moth spent the day resting on the door of the hide, its markings blending in well with the pale wood. Having tried to coax it gently away from the handle, it flew off with big flickering red, white and black wings, flying up and down the nearby path for a few minutes before choosing to come back to the hide door again!

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