Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Enjoyed an evening walk across the East Mersea fields between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane on Wednesday 5th. However there was no sign of the two spotted flycatchers or the two redstarts that Martin Cock had found in the morning. This hedgeline in the photo above, was where the redstarts had been seen, darting onto the edge of the field before returning back into the hedge with a flash of their orange tail. The spotted flycatchers were reported to have been feeding together along one of the taller hedgerows. Two common buzzards were also seen in the morning near here.

In the evening a hobby was briefly seen near Meeting Lane stooping down behind a hedge while 20 swallows cried out anxiously nearby. A turtle dove perched up in a tree also near here. Other birds noted included yellowhammer, kestrel, 2 green woodpeckers, pair of stock doves, 5 linnets, willow warbler, 3 chiffchaffs, 3 lesser whitethroats and whitethroat.

The country park was quiet for migrants during a quick morning walk. It was a struggle trying to find a whitethroat although at least 3 chiffchaffs were calling. Four yellow wagtails flew over calling, while 2 common terns flew over the car park. On the pools in the fields 150 teal, 4 wigeon, 3 snipe, 15 black-tailed godwits and 20 lapwing were the main birds here. There was no sign of the female pintail that Martin had seen on the pools here on Monday.
After night-fall on Wednesday, a common sandpiper could be heard calling over the nearby mudflats and a handful of golden plovers were heard on the main part of the park.

On Tuesday 4th, there was a large feeding frenzy by 250+ black-headed gulls over the park in the afternoon as they plucked masses of the flying ants out of the air. Three Mediterranean gulls and a common tern were also seen joining in the flying feast. The muggy conditions seemed to bring masses of insects out and there were dark swarms of flies / gnats gathered over the tree-tops.

Earlier in the day 2 sedge warblers were seen alongside the park dyke where an adder was also seen seemingly drinking the water. One tufted duckling was seen with a few mallard in the dyke. A flock of 100+ swallows hawked high above the bus-turning circle along with a handful of house martins too. Nine shelduck flew into the Colne estuary, possibly newly arrived back from the continent. 

At West Mersea on Monday 3rd, two swifts were seen passing over Firs Chase with a small flock of swallows.

The large but harmless hornet hoverfly was seen in the park on Wednesday. This is a female pictured above showing the yellow stripe between the eyes, which the males don't have.
One of the buddleia bushes still flowering near the bird hide, had 10 red admirals, 3 small tortoiseshells, and two commas. The previous day a painted lady was seen on the seawall resting on some of the bristly ox-tongue flowers. This is only the third individual at the park this summer.
The last couple of days has seen lots of darter dragonflies, both ruddies and commons at the park, many resting next to bushes or down in the long grass.

The moth trap operated through Tuesday night, catching about 60 moths of 20 species. This white-lined dart in the photo above, was one of the interesting ones, with at least one being recorded here each year.

Several light emeralds were noted in the trap by the morning. These are the second generation of ones that were flying around in May.

It has been a better season for the garden carpet at the park this year. Although a common moth, numbers have been very low in recent years and not recorded as often as the common carpet.

Many of the other moths were fairly typical ones of recent catches such as Chinese character, lime-speck pug, latticed heath, large yellow underwing, setaceous hebrew character, flounced rustic, uncertain, snout, silver Y, rosy rustic and square-spot rustic.
On Monday there was the second red underwing of the season, resting on the outside of the information room at the park.

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