Thursday, 5 April 2012


Despite the cold northerly breeze and a cloudy morning on Thursday 5th, three adders were soaking up the late afternoon sun at the country park. At least 8 adders have now been found in the park with three of them in recent days having shed their skins. This adder pictured above shed its skin a week ago with the sloughed skin pictured in the previous posting. This adder plus another one have now got the bright silvery-grey colouring, making them easy to spot while a third one is a brightly marked golden colouring.
Yesterday four adders were basking in their usual spots along with 2 common lizards seen too.

The pools in the fields were topped up with some rare rain that fell through Tuesday night into Wednesday. The high tide roost yesterday saw about 60 redshank, 40 black-tailed godwits, 15 snipe, 8 lapwing, 50 wigeon and 50 teal noted. The pair of kestrels were at the old oak tree, left in the picture above, cementing their bond with another bout of calling and mating.
A Mediterranean gull flew along the beach yesterday and there was a pair flew over the park calling on Tuesday. About 70 golden plover were on the mud at low tide on Tuesday too.

From the hide 7 pochard and 12 tufted duck were the main ducks as usual here with the most noise coming from feuding pairs of little grebes. Three green woodpeckers flew along one of the paths near the pond the afternoon and 2 chiffchaffs called too. From the hide yesterday one of the male marsh harriers could be seen in the distance to the north, doing its rollercoaster display flight over Langenhoe.

Very quiet on the arrival of migrants other than a few chiffchaffs, although one blackcap was near the car park on Monday with another one seen singing the next day. A house martin was reported flying past the houses near the end of the East Mersea road a couple of days ago.

A walk along the Strood seawall during the last hour of daylight on Thursday evening was bright but chilly. A moulting spotted redshank fed beside the drainage outflow before flying off showing its mottled black colouring. Lots of noisy redshank probably itching to head north were noted with about 200 birds seen, otherwise 20 dunlin, a few curlew and black-tailed godwits and some oystercatchers were present. Thirty brent geese and 25 shelduck were the only wildfowl seen and a little egret flew over Ray Island. A blackcap and chiffchaff were singing in Firs Chase.

This pale pinion moth was the most interesting moth in the trap on Monday morning at the park. It has been recorded two or three times here before in previous springs and I get the impression it's becoming a bit more widespread than it used to be.

Amongst the 50 or so moths trapped were small quaker, common quaker, hebrew character, clouded drab, March and red chestnut.

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