Wednesday, 10 August 2011


Enjoying the sun at the country park on Wednesday 10th was this regular brown adder. It has a very distinctive tan colouring as if it's been sunbathing a bit too much this summer. Most adders here have a much darker zig-zag band along the back with a much greyer background colour too.
This individual has been noted for about three weeks basking beside a track.

Before the breeze picked up in the middle of the day, a number of butterflies were on the wing in the morning including this small tortoiseshell pictured on the buddleia in the car park. Three were noted on the budleia the day before, all fresh specimens. Others noted today were red admiral, comma, meadow brown, hedge brown, speckled wood, small heath and small white.
Southern hawker and ruddy darter dragonflies were flying beside some of the paths in the park.

A male marsh harrier spent a bit of time near the grazing fields in the morning, scattering some of the 30 teal from the pools. As it flew round the copse by the pond a number of wood pigeons clattered away from the trees. The harrier dropped down into the grass field to do a spot of preening, to the consternation of the local magpies. A kestrel flew over the fields to land in it's nesting tree.

The hedgerows by the pond seemed full of warbler activity with at least 20 common whitethroats popping up in one section of hedgerow. Also willow warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap and lesser whitethroat were also feeding in the bushes. A yellow wagtail flew over the park calling loudly.

Yesterday 100 golden plover dropped onto the mud near the Point, 2 eider were seen offshore and a sparrowhawk flew low along Bromans Lane on its way to the park. A weasel ran across the East Mersea road near the pub yesterday too, while 70+ swallows flew around Chapmans Lane near West Mersea.

The moth trap revealed about 80 moths on Wednesday morning which was a low count probably due to the bright moon and the clear sky. This widespread straw underwing pictured above is the first of the season here, although it never turns up in any numbers.

The flounced rustic pictured above, is the most numerous moth at the moment in the trap with almost half the catch during the night being this species.

This lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing is just showing a bit of its "yellow" colour on the hindwing. This is a moth that has been regularly noted in small numbers for a few weeks here.

Other species noted included willow beauty, brimstone, common carpet, least carpet, treble brown spot, swallow prominent, pale prominent, scarce footman, uncertain, common rustic, common wainscot and white-point.

The strikingly marked wings of the gold-spot moth were found lying on the floor in the park toilets, having been discarded during the night by a feeding bat. For the last week various moth remains have been found on the floor in the mornings which might be an indication that a long-eared bat is using the building for a rest during the night. After many years of a long-eared bat using the building, there was no sign of it during the last two summers - but has it returned?

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