Friday, 23 September 2011


More sunshine over the last few days with this comma butterfly basking on a bush at the country park on Friday 23rd. Several butterfly species have been making the most of the autumnal sunshine with speckled wood, small white, small heath seen around the park in small numbers. However the commonest one has been the red admiral with at least a handful crossing west over the car park each day this week.

Two adders were along their regular section of hedgerow near the car park during the morning.

In nearby bushes 4 chiffchaffs foraged along with a flock of mixed tits, while a couple of goldcrests were also in another flock in the morning passing through the car park trees. Two song thrushes were seen in trees by the pond and blackbirds that have been a bit scarce recently have started to reappear in small numbers. Three blackcaps and a lesser whitethroat were near the pond on Thursday morning.

On the fields a ruff was present for the second day around the pools amongst the 150 teal, 10 wigeon, 5+ snipe, 10 black-tailed godwit. Two brent geese were seen at the pools in the morning, the first here this winter, 3 were on the sea later in the day, while 15 greylag geese dropped in at dusk. At high tide 120 curlew roosted in the fields and 2 yellow wagtails were with the cattle.

Migrants were still passing west over the park with the biggest flock of house martins noted this summer with 100 birds hawking over the fields while 150 swallows passed over during the day. Three siskins flew east calling while 10 redpolls flew west in the morning and 50+ meadow pipits trickled over during the morning in small groups.

A sparrowhawk suddenly appeared inside the seawall near the Golfhouse, maybe following the migrants across the Colne. It perched on a fencepost while 25 linnets and some of the other small birds flew away to safety. At the Point a wheatear was seen along the beach as were 4 reed buntings. A big avocet flock roosting on the mud with 140 birds, had at least 3 birds colour-ringed, while 7 little egrets fed in some of the pools on the saltmarsh.

Ten snipe flew off the pools in the fields and a wheatear was also seen here on Thursday while on Tuesday early evening a hobby unsuccessfully tried to catch a martin high over the fields.

A badger jogged along Bromans Lane in front of the car headlights before it turned into the verge late on Thursday evening. On Wednesday morning a nice flock of 200+ linnets were flying above one of the recently cultivated fields at Bocking Hall along the East Mersea road.

The moth trap was run at the country park on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. The relatively clear and still nights produced similar catches with about 65 individuals of 15 species each. This neatly marked flounced chestnut pictured above was one to catch the eye on Friday morning. The only individual noted last autumn turned up a day earlier than this year's record.

This brick moth seemed another neatly marked specimen. It's noted each autumn here but only one or two each year.

Just one autumnal rustic was in the trap on Thursday morning and maybe a few more will be seen in the next few nights too.

The sallow moth is a regular in small numbers in mid September into early October. The picture above doesn't convey it's yellow colouring very well.

Other moths included L-album wainscot, common wainscot, large yellow underwing, broad-bordered yellow underwing, flounced rustic, square-spot rustic, setaceous hebrew character, shuttel-shaped dart, deep-brown dart, black rustic, snout, frosted orange, willow beauty, latticed heath, brindled green and lunar underwing.

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