Friday, 12 August 2011


Found a couple of wasp spiders at their webs amongst the long grass in the park on Friday 12th. It's the first one I've seen this summer and I'm sure there are plenty more hiding in the long grass. Despite the name and its big size, the spider is harmless to humans and feeds on crickets and grasshoppers. It appears to have become a widespread spider in Essex in recent years and has been resident at the park for eight years now.

There have been lots of the common 7-spot ladybirds around the park over the last fortnight but there seemed to be many more of them all over the park today. As in previous early Augusts, the biggest gatherings were on the tops of posts and palings on the clifftop fence.

Lots of brown butterflies such as this hedge brown, were enjoying the increasingly humid conditions during the morning. Also noted were meadow brown, small heath, speckled wood, common blue, red admiral and small white. Dragonflies seen were the southern hawker, migrant hawker and the ruddy darter. A common lizard was seen basking in the long grass.

On the park pools 20 teal, 24 lapwings, 10 black-tailed godwits and a little egret were seen in the early evening. At the pond 10 teal, 4 tufted ducks, 5 little grebes and 20 mallard were present. On the mudflats in the distance 300+ black-tailed godwits fed along the outer edge while 20 dunlin and 5 little egrets were also noted. Three yellow wagtails flew over the park during the day, 6 mistle thrushes fed on the rowan berries and a least two nightingales called from opposite ends of the car park.

George Brown saw 2 eider offshore from the park as well as one or two common and little terns and also a peregrine near the entrance into the Pyefleet.

The moth trap was operated during Wednesday night for the fiftieth night of this year's season. It has operated regularly since early March this year with an effort to trap at least twice a week. Hopefully weather permitting in the coming autumn to notch up a further 20 sessions - or even more before the year's out!

The picture above shows the once scarce white-point moth which is now a regular here at the park with ten noted on Thursday morning.

The rosy rustic is a common moth in mid / late summer with a similar pinky-brown colour to the white-point.
Other moths on the two nights which averaged about 80 moths each night, included chinese character, common carpet, willow beauty, single-dotted wave, riband wave, scarce footman, brimstone, swallow prominent, pale prominent, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing, flounced rustic, copper underwing, straw underwing, common rustic, common wainscot and dusky sallow.

Hugh Owen reported catching the nationally rare white-spotted pinion moth at his Langenhoe garden a couple of nights earlier.

Martin Dence reported seeing a water vole at the pond at his Bromans Farm in East Mersea - his first sighting there.

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