Sunday, 17 June 2012


An improvement in the weather on Sunday 17th was good for the insects around the country park like the azure damselflies, two pictured above, who were making the most of the sunshine. Up to fifty were seen resting beside some of the hedgerows and near the water too, where lots of blue-tailed damselflies were also present.
Steve Entwistle watched a nice blue-coloured male broad-bodied chaser as it rested along a scrubby ditchline. Near here the yellow coloured female was seen on a couple of occasions too.

A small number of butterflies were on the wing including 6 small heaths like this one pictured above, resting on the grass. The first large skipper of the season was noted in one of the regular corners of the park. A small tortoiseshell was in the car park, 3 common blues over the grassland, small white and 4 speckled woods while Steve also saw the first meadow brown of the year.
Feeding on the new blooms of cotoneaster in the car park was a hornet, an unusual record for the park.

This lesser stag beetle was one of three individuals resting in the cool cover of a large wooden rubbish box near the park entrance - the regular corner of the park where they're often seen each year.

The ox-eye daisies are adding a bit of colour to the grasslands at the moment, with these ones on show the results of some planting several years ago.

On the park pond the pair of mute swans are still busy incubating their eggs, although the young female seems a bit of a liability when she gets onto the nest. Most of the incubating this spring has been done by the male while the female snoozes or feeds nearby. On this occasion the female took a while to realise the male was off the nest and needing to feed up, which had allowed a mallard to stand on the unoccupied nest.

The female eventually waddled up onto the nest and after preening herself dry, lowered herself so clumsily onto the nest that she rolled an egg forward and nearly off the nest and into the water. After five minutes of the egg teetering on the edge, it was rolled back in, but when she sat back down awkwardly, another egg was still sticking out. It will therefore be a huge relief when the six eggs hatch out, and I'm sure the male will be relieved too having put in most of the time so far.

A marsh harrier was seen flying over the park entrance in the afternoon as it headed west. Later in the day another marsh harrier was seen flying over the car as it crossed over Chapmans Lane near West Mersea. Also not far from here were the two singing corn buntings beside the road near Bocking Hall.

Also on Sunday morning a water vole feeding in the ditch-like pond near the seawall, provided prolonged views as it nibbled at lengths of reed stems. On Saturday an adder was seen beside the usual track in the park while the day before, a very tan coloured adder was seen crossing the car park, past the information room and headed into my front garden! A brown hare was seen jogging along the East Mersea road near the pub.

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