Monday, 11 June 2012


There was no let up in the drizzle during Monday 11th, varying between light drizzle and heavy drizzle at various times. My wife Nolly and I ventured out into the afternoon gloom for a walk along the beach at St Peters.
The tide was coming in and covering the mud, with the only birdlife in the Mersea Quarters being a few cormorants and oystercatchers on Cobmarsh Island along with several herring gulls and black-headed gulls. In the reedbed nearest the houseboats, a reed warbler was singing in the rain as was a whitethroat from nearby bushes.

It was nice being able to enjoy the sun on Sunday 10th without the strong wind of the previous few days. This small copper dropped briefly into our Firs Chase garden in West Mersea and did a bit of basking before flying off again. I can't recall seeing this butterfly in this garden before. The nearest section of grass field / seawall is over 500m away which doesn't sound too far away, but it does involve flying over houses and lots of other gardens too.

Amongst the other butterflies seen in the garden were 4 holly blues such as this one on globe buddliea, also speckled wood, small white, large white and the orange-tip butterfly too.

Overhead 2 Mediterranean gulls called, a common tern flew over as did a dozen swifts during the day and more unusually a pair of jackdaws. I watched with interest as two starling chicks plucked up the courage to make their first flight from the old woodpecker-hole nest site in our garden. They managd to launch themselves from the hole towards some nearby branches and from there quickly fluttered into some ivy growth to await their parents return with food.

A late afternoon walk along the Strood seawall on Friday 8th was a sunny but windy walk. The tide was out and the channel was surprisingly empty of birdlife. Amongst the birds noted were four shelduck, two oystercatchers, little egret, singing reed bunting, 6 linnet and a cuckoo that was flying from bush to bush along the borrowdyke.

Martin Cock during his visit to Maydays farm on Wednesday 6th, noted a peregrine, marsh harrier, yellow wagtail and a red-legged partridge.

A dry night on Wednesday 6th seemed a good opportunity to put the moth trap out at the park despite the breeze picking up. This starwort pictured above, was probably the most notable moth seen as it is listed as nationally scarce. It's restricted to the saltmarshes of the south and east coasts of England with the caterpillars feeding on a number of saltmarsh plants like sea aster. The moth is often noted in small numbers each summer here.

The white-point moth, pictured above, has become a familiar moth here at the park in recent years suggesting a local resident population.

The broken-barred carpet is generally a common moth but has only been noted here previously on a couple of occasions.

Other moths noted that night included common white-wave, light emerald, brimstone, garden carpet, common swift, brindled pug, shears, rustic shoulder knot, marbled minor, silver Y, pale prominent, heart and club,

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