Monday, 9 July 2012


I had hoped that after a fortnight's break away from Mersea Island, that I'd be able to return and hope that the rain clouds might have disappeared for good. Sadly the summer continues to be wet with heavy bursts of rain passing over daily.
Apologies for the previous posting being almost three weeks ago, but we're now back in the groove again with normal service resumed as before. I've now had a few days to hear about several interesting wildlife sightings across the Island over the last two or three weeks.

Managed a short walk dodging the showers along the Strood seawall on Sunday 8th. A brief burst of sunshine was enough for 20+ skipper butterflies to take to the wing amongst the clover and grass. Two kinds of skipper were seen with the top photo showing an Essex skipper with the black tips to the antennae. The lower picture shows the orange-tipped antenna of the small skipper - a very similar looking species.
Other butterflies noted included several meadow browns, small whites and a small heath.

Seawall repairs are being undertaken along the main section of Strood seawall by contractors for the Environment Agency. As another shower began to fall, I turned back at this half-way point. The tide was coming in and nearly covering all of the mud along the Channel. Of the few waders noted were one whimbrel, several curlew, lapwing and redshank. One little egret was on the Ray saltings while little tern and common tern were hunting along the channels. By the Dabchicks 15 swallows flew around noisily and a cormorant was seen amongst the moorings.

The following day on Monday 9th I had a quick look at the pools in the park's grazing fields, pictured above. The growth of the docks and rushes has covered much of the water and obscured many of the little muddy pools. Andy Field did well to find a wood sandpiper on Saturday 7th here despite all the thick growth. The bird stayed all day but was not seen on Sunday presumably due to another rise in the water levels following more recent rain.

However the green sandpiper that was also seen on Saturday was there on Sunday and again on Monday when it was seen in flight. Three black-tailed godwits, 5 mallard and 6 teal were the only other birds noted here. The park pond was also quiet with 10 mallard and  8 coots being the most obvious birds  present. An adder was basking in the warmth beside the track at the park on Monday.

Andy Field saw several of the summer chafers flying round the bush and tree tops at dusk at the park on Monday evening. Remains of moth-wings lying on the floor inside the park toilets, suggests the regular long-eared bat is back again this year for a spot of mid-summer feeding and resting up.A tawny owl was seen flying across the East Mersea road near the Dog and Pheasant pub, and then perching in a tree. Martin Cock saw a turtle dove drinking from a puddle on a track at Maydays Farm.The yellow-legged gull has been seen by Strood causeway on a few occasions.

Several folk driving along Bromans Lane near the country park, have reported seeing the muntjac deer, including the sight of a young one with its mother on Saturday. Andy Field has even reported a muntjac deer being seen in his High Street North garden, which is definitely an unsusual record for West Mersea. Also noteworthy was a badger seen recently in the Robins garden along the Victoria Esplanade.

 A common seal pup was found washed up dead on the West Mersea beach over the weekend. Jenny Pyle saw a grass-snake in her Firs Chase garden try and swallow a frog from her pond. Lynn Hempstead saw a pair of privet hawkmoths mating in her West Mersea garden in late June.

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