Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Amongst the small group of black-tailed godwits feeding in the pools in the park fields, was this pale looking individual. Andy Field looked closely at this bird and took this photograph on the 21st July of what appears to be the continental race, standing in front of the commoner and ginger marked Icelandic race. This pale bird isn't in breeding plumage but looks like a continental with its longer bill. In the breeding plumage this race isn't as colourful as the Icelandic race.

Most black-tailed godwits seen in Essex are the Icelandic race but there are probably many continental birds that are missed and assumed to be the Icelandic birds. The nearest breeding sites for continental race birds is in the East Anglian Fens where there is a small population as well as the Netherlands, just across the North Sea.

Some of the other black-tailed godwits roosting at the pools, all birds showing the rich ginger breeding plumage of Icelandic birds, already back from those breeding grounds.

There were still 8 black-tailed godwits in the fields on Wednesday 1st along with 4 lapwing and 12 mallard. On the nearby mudflats at least 50 black-tails were noted in the early evening from the park. The tide was too far out to see any other waders of interest, although two little egrets could be seen on the mud.

In bushes by the car park a few brief calls from a nightingale indicated that at least one bird is still here and not gone back to Africa yet. A family of swallows with four recently fledged youngsters perched on the bungalow roof with the parents busy trying to keep them fed. This family have probably just left nearby Bromans Farm as one family had been ready to leave their nest according to Martin Dence.
Passing over the East Mersea road just west of the pub was a female marsh harrier, crossing south over the fields and road in the early evening.

A flock of fifty swifts passed over the park during Tuesday morning along with a few swallows and a sand martin. Martin Cock was lucky to see two turtle doves fly west across the fields on the north side of the park on Tuesday.

At Maydays farm on Monday Martin Cock counted 17 green sandpipers fly off a farm reservoir which is a record count for the Island. Twenty golden plover and a small lapwing flock were on the fields near here.

On Monday evening Ian Black saw a muntjac feeding in a recently harvested rape field next to Bromans Lane. A short while later just after dark, a young badger jogged along the Lane in front of the car for about 30 metres as I drove slowly back to the park. Martin Dence had recently noticed that one of the brown hares that had been seen in Bromans Lane, had sadly been hit by a car.

Other mammal sightings passed to me recently have included several sightings of muntjac on the edge of West Mersea both near East Road and also near the Strood Hill. Along the Pyefleet Martin Cock last week had counted five common seals basking on the mud near Maydays. David Nicholls had also seen mammal tracks going out to the Ray Island about a month ago, that were identified as a badger.


This dusky sallow moth was resting on a scabious flower at the park, whilst two others were noted feeding on other flowers nearby. Up to ten have been seen in the moth trap recently. Also feeding on the scabious and other flowers such as tufted vetch were 10 six-spot burnet moths, although many are starting to look quite faded.

The first copper underwing pictured above was noted for the year when the moth trap was checked on Wedneday morning. Only sixty moths of 24 species were noted a lower figure than hoped for due to the near bright full moon and clear skies.

Other species noted were least carpet, scalloped oak, yellow-tail, dingy footman, lesser broad-bodied yellow underwing, lunar-spotted pinion, red twin-spot carpet, common carpet, Chinese character, heart and dart, white-point, dun-bar, dark arches, common wainscot and uncertain.

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