Thursday, 26 July 2012


Spent the last hour and a half of Thursday 26th along the Reeveshall seawall on the north side of the Island. Although it had been another hot day, the evening was much cooler and there were only the sheep and the birds for company.

There was the interesting sight of two short-eared owls hunting over a recently cut hay field on Reeveshall. The cut grass was still lying on the field and must've revealed some small mammals for the owls to be hunting back and forwards over the area. At one point both birds were in the same view as they perched up on fenceposts on opposite sides of the field. At least one bird was still hunting till well after the sun had set.

Also seen in the area were 2 kestrels and two marsh harriers, while on the Reeveshall pool, 3 little egrets, a mute swan and a small brood of mallard were noted here.

The tide was heading out of the Pyefleet Channel during the evening so a good number of waders were seen although the light faded fast. Those of interest included 2 common sandpipers, 50 avocet, snipe, 70 black-tailed godwits, 10 turnstone and 200+  redshank. A brood of 8 young shelducklings scampered across the mud by the Reevesall seawall.

Along the channel 2 common terns hawked down channel while 2 common seals basked opposite Maydays. As the light faded and the air became stiller, the distinctive laughing calls of several marsh frogs could be heard calling from the marsh on Langenhoe - the sound travelling a fair distance across the Pyefleet. Three marsh harriers were seen over Langenhoe.

At the country park on Wednesday 25th, 20 black-tailed godwits were on the pools as was a brood of 5 mallard ducklings. On the park pond 5 teal, reed warbler were present in the evening as were 3 foxes nearby. A little owl called from a hedgerow tree to the north of the park. A song thrush has been singing loudly from the car park in the last few days. Three purple hairstreaks were flying around the oak trees in the early sunny evening.

Martin Cock noted 4 crossbills flying over his West Mersea garden early on Wednesday morning. The previous evening at the park, 5 avocets, 50 black-tailed godwits were noted on the mudflats.

Martin had also noted during his visit to Maydays on Sunday a greenshank, common sandpiper and green sandpiper. Andy Field had seen a hobby fly over the park on Saturday 21st.

The warmer evenings has seen more moths come to the trap recently with 250 moths of about 35 species being a good tally compared with the poor tallies of earlier weeks. This purple thorn held its wings out in a distinctive manner, it is an annual visitor to the trap.

Four of the chunky looking drinker moths were sitting in the trap in the morning. They were having to share the trap with one privet hawkmoth and a poplar hawkmoth.

This oak hook-tip moth with the characteristic shape of the wings, has been noted a few times already this month.

This dot moth with the very white spots on black wings is only noted here each year in ones or twos.

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