Saturday, 17 September 2011


Managed to enjoy a breezy walk along the Maydays seawall on Saturday 18th just as the skies were starting to threaten with rain. The strong wind kept many birds low and there weren't many waders to see in the Pyefleet with the tide already quite high.

However a nice selection of birds that were seen in the Pyefleet included one curlew sandpiper, 25 ringed plover, 20 dunlin, 120 grey plover, 10 knot, 5 avocets, great crested grebe and 6 common terns.

Over the Maydays fields and saltings were 2 marsh harriers, sparrowhawk, 2 greenshank, 3 green sandpipers and a whinchat. Two common seals sat on the Maydays saltmarsh, close enough to the seawall to provide the best seal views for some time.

Alongside a hedgerow near the farm at least 4 willow emerald damselflies were resting amongst the foliage. There were probably more waiting to be found as the hedge offered an ideal spot for them in the sun but out of the westerly wind.

On Friday afternoon, I joined Andy Field at Coopers Beach in East Mersea. We set our telescopes up in the hope of seeing some seabirds offshore at high tide. During about an hour of sea-watching, six immature gannets were seen in the distance and also two shearwaters flying too far out to make out which species. One common tern was seen while amongst the large group of gulls resting on the water, 2 Mediterranean gulls were spotted.

Around the Rewsalls marshes a wheatear, reed bunting, 50 linnets, 36 golden plover and also 2000+ gulls mainly black-headed, following some tractors cultivating fields. There was a bit of bird activity around the Coopers football pitch with about 70 birds noted. Amongst the goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, great tits, blue tits, robins, dunnocks and pied wagtails were 7 chiffchaffs and whitethroat noted too.

On Friday evening 2 badgers were seen trotting past the park pond and into the nearby hedgerow as night-fell. Twenty minutes later just after the park gates were locked, one of the badgers was briefly followed along Bromans Lane in the car headlights.

On Thursday night the moth trap was put out on another partially clear and fresh night with a bright moon shining. By dawn on Friday morning just over 90 moths of 17 species were noted. This dusky lemon sallow pictured above was the pick of the moths in the trap. This is usually a regular visitor to the trap here in the autumn in ones and twos. However it has declined in many parts of the country because of the demise of elm trees, the foodplant of the caterpillars.

Other moths seen included black rustic, lunar underwing, large yellow underwing, oak hook-tip, brimstone, willow beauty, flounced rustic, square-spot rustic, setaceous hebrew character, brindled green, snout and frosted orange.

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