Friday, 5 August 2011


It was nice and sunny on Friday 5th for several butterfly species such as this common blue to be on the wing at the country park. Amongst the other species noted were small heath, small white, speckled wood, meadow brown, hedge brown and red admiral.

Two adders were also basking alongside their regular track with one adder a very brown colour.

One green sandpiper, black-tailed godwit, shoveler and ten teal were noted on the pools which have been topped up again after the heavy downpour on Thursday morning. A sparrowhawk was seen flying to the north of the park.
Along the park beach a wheatear here was the first one to return to the park this autumn. Offshore on the mud 150 black-tailed godwits, 10 dunlin, 5 grey plover and a few bar-tailed godwits were the main waders of note as well as two little egrets and three eiders offshore.

A walk along the Strood seawall on Friday afternoon provided views of three wheatears that were trying to stay ahead of the various walkers along the seawall path. It was nice to see about 100 house sparrows in some of the bushes at the back of one of the fields. Also kestrel and sparrowhawk seen while a little egret and one or two common terns were noted along the Channel. There was the very confiding common seal only about 10 metres away from the number of young folk crabbing on the hammerhead causeway by the West Mersea hard.

On Thursday evening two young sparrowhawks could be heard calling from trees in the Lane in West Mersea, so good evidence that the pair bred in this area again.

On Wednesday at least 50+ swifts were probably part of a larger passage seen passing west over the park in the evening as the wind freshened up. The rowan berries are still attracting several mistle thrushes and up to 200 starlings at times to the trees in the park. Two yellow wagtails flew over the car park calling on Wednesday morning.

The moth trap operated at the park on Monday and Tuesday nights and with a number of moths attracted to the nearby area, some of the birds have gathered hoping for easy pickings. A nightingale was one of the cheeky ones that sneaked into the back garden to snatch one of the yellow moths , maybe a scalloped oak or a brimstone. A reed warbler has been present for a few days too, as have the resident blackbirds, robins, great tits and dunnocks.

It was nice to see this small tree lichen beauty resting in the trap on Wednesday morning. This is the first record this summer of this scarce immigrant but it's now the fourth summer running that the species has been seen here. Interestingly three tree lichen beauties were also noted on the east side of the Colne estuary on the same morning by Clive Atkins, so maybe a small influx during Tuesday night.

Two copper underwings were noted although not at the trap but resting on the side of the buildings.

The second knotgrass moth, pictured above, of the summer was seen on the Wednesday morning, one of the regular visitors to the trap but only one or two records each year.

Over the two nights about 45 species were noted including oak eggar, poplar hawkmoth, fen wainscot, twin spotted wainscot, white point, white-line dart, purple bar, drinker, magpie, oak hook-tip, riband wave, least carpet, lime-speck pug, Chinese character, willow beauty, coxcomb prominent, swallow prominent, brown-tail, scarce footman, dingy footman, shuttle-shaped dart, flame shoulder, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing, dark arches, light arches, dun-bar, bright-line brown-eye, uncertain, snout, common rustic, clay, smoky wainscot, flounced rustic, rosy rustic, scalloped oak, spectacle and dusky sallow.

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