Sunday, 13 May 2012


Several butterflies were making the most of the sunshine on Sunday 13th with this small tortoiseshell seen by the path in front of the Firs Chase caravan site.

The most unexpected butterfly in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday morning was this green hairstreak basking by the back door. This species hasn't been seen anywhere near this West Mersea garden before and they're not really regarded as a garden species, so its a mystery where these may have come from.

Even more unexpected was the appearance of a second individual which then led to prolonged spiralling tussles, suggesting rival males. Amazingly a third hairstreak also appeared but passed by the other two tussling, and then went and settled on a nearby bush.

Other butterflies seen in the garden on Sunday were holly blue, orange tip, small white and large white. Amongst the usual songs from blackcap and chiffchaff here was also the song of a goldcrest heard.

The flattened grass beside the footpath between East Mersea's Meeting Lane and Shop Lane, is evidence of fox cub activity beside their earth. There was also the gruesome discovery here of a blackish-white remnant of a  lamb's leg lying just inside the hedge.

Martin Cock found a spotted flycatcher feeding in and around the trees in the Gyants Marsh area west of Meeting Lane first thing on Saurday morning. The bird stayed around for a short while for me to see the bird too, although it was then watched working its way eastwards along the hedgerow. The Reeveshall cuckoo was heard calling in the distance and lesser whitethroat and whitethroats were singing too.

At the end of Saturday Martin managed to watch the osprey through his telescope from Cudmore Grove as it flew around the Colne Point area. The bird has been in that area for about three days up until now. At dusk Martin saw at least two tawny owls and heard a female too in Manwood Grove near Shop Lane. The nightingale was singing from the wood too.

Tucked just inside a bramble bush was this finely constructed long-tailed tits nest that looks like it's been raided with lots of feathers having been pulled out.

On Friday 11th two female marsh harriers flew west over the fields between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane. It's difficult to tell whether these were local birds or passage birds. However David Nicholls was lucky enough to see a red kite passing west and reasonably low over his West Mersea garden on Friday morning, which was definitely on passage.

A sparrowhawk was seen a couple of times over Gyants Marsh on Friday morning and amongst the butterflies on the wing were holly blue, orange-tip, small white, green-veined white and peacock.

It's not often I see this view which is the sunrise over the high-tide eastwards from the Strood causeway at 5.30am just after dawn on the Saturday. It was nice not to have masses of traffic thundering along the road at that time of the day.

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