Sunday, 9 September 2012


It was a hot weekend on the Island and there was plenty of sunshine for the annual Colne Barge race on Saturday 8th. There was just enough of a breeze early in the morning for the smacks and barges to sail past the East Mersea Point.

A spotted flycatcher was the highlight of Saturday at the park, when it was seen by the pond feeding on the masses of flies in the balmy evening. There was no sign of it the next day. Over the nearby pools in the fields, two green sandpipers flew away calling. On the mudflats near the Point 40 golden plover were gathered as were a group of 30 avocets. A couple of yellow wagtails flew off the grazing fields calling.
Along the dyke a water vole was seen briefly swimming along the edge and then disappearing into a burrow. Just after night-fall, a barn owl in the car headlights crossed the East Mersea road near Meeting Lane.

Sunday 9th was another hot day and one of the busiest weekends in the year at the park with everyone out enjoying the great weather. A sparrowhawk circled high over the grazing fields with a group of 100 starlings rising up towards it. The first sanderling of the autumn flew along the park beach in the morning.

After the folk had headed home, a badger was seen trundling down to the edge of the pond and disappearing into the thick stand of reedmace. A short while later a little owl was seen at dusk standing on the grass on the main part of the park. Having spotted me it then flew fifty metres further away and landed back on the ground.

It was a surprise to watch this brimstone butterfly flutter over to the buddleia bush by the information room on Friday 7th. It stayed long enough for me to run to fetch the camera, although the bright sunshine makes this brimstone appear more white than yellow in this photo above. Brimstones are normally seen just in the spring here at the park.

Other butterflies noted over the weekend were 10 red admirals on the hide's buddleia bush along with comma, while speckled wood, holly blue, small white and large white were also seen. At dusk the bush was alive with up to 20 silver-Y moths all feeding with quivering wings.

This female southern hawker was photographed by Andy Field at the park. Along with lots of migrant hawkers, common darters and ruddy darters, there was the unexpected sight of a male banded demoiselle resting amongst the foliage of an oak tree. Sheltered from the breeze but catching the warmth of the sun, it darted out occasionally to catch passing flies. Ten small red-eyed damselflies were resting on the dyke on Friday morning.

David Nicholls took this photo at his West Mersea garden of a caterpillar that appears to be one of the buff-tip moth caterpillars. There have also been some seen at the park which have crawled up the sides of the house where they've started to pupate.
David also reported seeing a hummingbird hawkmoth in his garden recently as did Steve Entwistle who saw one at Maydays Farm. They have been scarce this summer.

No comments: