Sunday, 11 September 2011


The serenity of the park's waterways was shattered on Sunday 11th when a new pair of mute swans descended on the borrowdyke and then set about ousting the resident family! The picture above shows the new pair pursuing the resident mother with her cygnets. There had been the usual swan posturing with raised wings, puffed out chests, lots of flapping and chasing as well as lots of grappling and pecking.

I hadn't seen when the dispute began but certainly by mid morning the resident male was already having to back off and by the afternoon had retreated to the pond, leaving the cygnets and mother on the dyke still being pestered by the new pair. The two cygnets have been growing steadily since mid May despite losing their 6 fellow siblings weeks ago.

On the grazing fields 2 wigeon, 100+ teal, 3 shoveler, snipe, 10 black-tailed godwits, 40 curlew were seen along with 2 wheatears. A greenshank was seen flying over the pools in the morning calling loudly as it headed west. Overhead in the morning 2 hobbies were seen chasing after a small finch while later in the afternoon they were flying around the end of the East Mersea road keeping the 30 swallows on high alert. At least six sand martins were seen flying west over the park

Not much warbler activity around the park although a couple of chiffchaffs and a whitethroat were seen near the pond. Fifty mallard, teal and a tufted duck were the ducks present here.

During some of the sunny periods the park warmed up nicely out of the wind and one of the regular adders was seen beside the track. One sheltered sunny section of hedge had 2 commas, 2 red admirals, green-veined white and a common darter dragonfly present. Also out of the wind in some places were several small whites, speckled wood and migrant hawker.

There were some nice patches of blue sky during Sunday and views up the river Colne were nice and clear. For the second morning running the Colne osprey was seen by Martin Cock and myself from near East Mersea Point, pictured above, flying around the Langenhoe /Geedons to the north of the Island. Even in the distance this large bird with the deep wing-beats, could be seen circling high over the water, occasionally hovering but not seen dropping down to catch anything.

Another two wheatears were at the Point and a sparrowhawk was seen crossing the river and swooping low over the saltmarsh as it headed westwards. As the tide came in, six avocets which might be the local family, flew onto the Golfhouse pools, while 30 black-tailed godwits flew off to roost on Langenhoe.

On Saturday the osprey was seen from the Point flying in the distance over the river Colne near the Geedons. It plunged down into the Geedon Channel but failed to catch anything and then slowly headed across Langenhoe and Reeveshall being mobbed by two persistent crows. A marsh harrier was seen flying out at sea, seemingly making the crossing from Point Clear towards the Dengie coastline to the west. A hobby flew over the houses to the north of the park and a sparrowhawk flew along the back of the grazing fields.

Along the seawall a turtle dove was seen feeding on the beach, 4 wheatears were also seen on the beach with 25 avocets, greenshank and 2 eider seen from the shore. Fifteen common terns flew south over the car park as did a little egret and a yellow wagtail while 2 late swifts flew over the park pond in the afternoon. Two snipe were seen feeding at the pools in the fields along with 100+ teal.

This orange sallow moth was one of 20 species of about 140 individuals noted in the trap on Saturday morning. One or two of these orange sallows are noted here each autumn.

One or two brindled green moths are noted each autumn and this first one appears to be reasonably fresh and still looking green.

There was a good showing of the dainty latticed heaths by morning with 35 noted in the trap.

Other moths noted were purple bar, green carpet, willow beauty, orange swift, light emerald, brimstone, frosted orange, large yellow underwing, lesser yellow underwing, broad-bordered yellow underwing, square-spot rustic, snout, flounced rustic, common wainscot, setaceous hebrew character, uncertain and white-point.

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