Monday, 7 May 2012


Spring made another appearance during Monday 7th with sunshine to enjoy and also a warmer wind from the south. Several butterflies were making the most of the warmer conditions with this small copper catching the eye near the seawall. This is the first sighting of the year here.

A couple of green-veined white butterflies were seen on the wing with this individual posing nicely amongst the grass. Other butterflies seen were peacock, speckled wood, small white and an orange-tip was reported too.

The adders were out in force too with five individuals being the highest day count for about a month. This one pictured above, shows up brightly in the morning sunshine, despite it looking like the camera-flash has been used.

Four of the adders were along the usual track wthin ten metres of each other, although the first look at about 9am revealed none present. However a follow-up check of the same area about 15 minutes later showed four had just emerged and basking, including these two.

Little patches of blue have sprung up around the park with the bluebells at their peak.This bluebell patch in the picture above, has been colonising this area of grass field for a few years, each year getting more colourful.

Singing from the car park in the sunshine despite the bank holiday traffic, were the two nightingales. There was the brief call of a cuckoo, a male wheatear was on the beach late afternoon and at least two yellow wagtails flew over.

On the pools in the fields, the common sandpiper was still present, 25 black-tailed godwits, 3 snipe and 3 lapwing chicks still.

An evening walk around some of the footpaths near Shop Lane got more rewarding towards the end of the two hour walk. One tawny owl was seen perched in an oak tree by Gyants marsh but soon flew off when I stopped to look at it. A second tawny owl was calling from the Manwood Grove in Shop Lane and briefly landed in a tree near the road. Steve Entwistle quickly joined me and we had several brief views of what turned out to be two males calling repeatedly to each other, sometimes perching for a moment in some of the trees.

Listening out for any nightingales during the walk produced nothing except at the end whilst listening to the tawnies in Manwood Grove. One nightingale was singing from the south end of this wood up until dusk. A little owl perched up on top of a barn at Bromans Farm as night fell.

Earlier on the walk a marsh harrier flew past, cuckoo sang, 2 yellowhammers seen, Mediterranean gull on Reeveshall as were 3 whimbrel and 3 gadwall.

A pair of red-legged partridge were in a field by Bocking Hall at the beginning of Monday morning - for the second day running. Martin Cock saw 5 little terns along the Pyefleet Channel.

Another very poor night with the moth trap - maybe it was due to the moon being at its brightest last night. This colourful pine beauty is the second one so far this season and was joined in the trap by 3 clouded drabs - and that was the sum total!

Lynne Hempstead took this photo of one of three wheatears seen early on Monday morning on the Monkey beach near St Peters, West Mersea.

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