Saturday, 27 August 2011


The country park felt the force of Saturday afternoon's brief thunder storm when a bolt of lightning struck a visitor's umbrella throwing it onto the ground. Surprisingly the person was unscathed by the ordeal! The picture above shows a distant rainbow in the evening to the east over Brightlingsea. It had been quite warm during the first half of the day despite the northerly breeze.

Two marsh harriers flew over the grazing fields, one of them scattering 150 teal from the pools. Two young sparrowhawks were seen landing in a tree to the north of the park in the morning. A green sandpiper flew over the fields while a common sandpiper briefly landed along the dyke and then at the pools before flying off again. Ten yellow wagtails were feeding in the fields beside the cattle while 2 wheatears were seen on the nearby beach. At the Point 80 linnets and 5 reed buntings were amongst the sea-blite bushes and offshore 5 eider were in the Colne.

On the mudflats in the evening 50 avocets and 200 black-tailed godwits were the main waders of interest while 8 little egrets, 10 common terns and 2 little terns were also seen.

At the pond a male gadwall appears to be the first male duck to have completed moulting and is looking quite smart again. One little egret at high tide, 20 mallard, 2 shoveler and 2 tufted ducks were the main birds here. In nearby hedges ones and twos of reed warblers, blackcaps, chiffchaffs, lesser whitethroats and several common whitethroats with a song thrush also noted.
There was a better mix of warblers here on the previous day Friday 26th, with 5 blackcap, 10 lesser whitethroat, 25 common whitethroat, 3 chiffchaff, willow warbler and 2 reed warbler. The nightingale was still calling from the car park bushes on Saturday morning.

At the beginning of the morning a hobby was seen flying low over a field by Bromans Lane. The previous evening just after nightfall a tawny owl was seen in the car headlights crossing over the Lane from one side to the other - the first tawny sighting in the Lane this year!

The sunshine during Saturday was warm enough for three adders to bask by the main track in the park.

Andy Field visited the Reeveshall seawall on Thursday morning and noted sparrowhawk, 4 wheatears, marsh harrier, 3 green sandpipers and 50 avocets with the tide coming in.

The moth trap was left running through Friday night into Saturday morning and this pretty canary-shouldered thorn was one of the moths to catch the eye. It's an annual visitor to the trap in late summer / early autumn but only with ones and twos each year.

The bigger cousin the large thorn was more interesting as it's regarded as both an immigrant and also a nationally scarce species in the UK being mainly found in the south-east of England. The park had it's first large thorn last year at the end of August. Not clear from this picture was the half-open position that the moth held the wings, as opposed to the nearly closed position of the canary-shouldered thorn. There was also an appreciable difference in size.

Amongst the 21 species of moth during Friday night's session were common carpet, lime-speck pug, turnip, square spot rustic, flounced rustic, straw underwing, frosted orange and yellow belle.

This neatly marked archers dart was a nice find in the trap after Wednesday night's session. It's been recorded here two or three times before and appears to be mainly found in Essex at coastal sites.

One of the regular visitors to the trap in late summer is the common setaceous hebrew character, pictured above. Several have been in the trap during recent sessions although the most numerous moth is still the flounced rustic.

Twenty-three species totalling 110 individuals were noted on Wednesday night and included green carpet, orange swift, latticed heath, light emerald, turnip, nutmeg, white-point, rosy rustic, spectacle, rosy minor and common wainscot.

This male speckled bush cricket was found resting on a glass window of one of the buildings in the park. One of the big hind-legs is missing from this individual but the mass of tiny specks that help identify this bush cricket can just be seen on the green "thigh" in the picture.

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