Tuesday, 25 June 2013


This orange-tip butterfly with its tatty wings, looks like it has seen better days. It was a surprise to see one still around on a breezy Monday 24th beside a footpath to the west of Shop Lane, as their main peak showing was about a month ago.

There was also the pleasant surprise of a late green hairstreak fluttering over the same corner of oil-seed rape flowers. The poor weather over the last couple of months has really drawn out the season for these butterflies, which aren't normally seen as late as the last week in June.

This large skipper pictured above was the first one I've seen this summer, resting along the same Shop Lane footpath. Also noted were a few small heaths, speckled wood, red admiral and a small white - a nice variety on show considering the breeze and the lack of sunshine that Monday morning.

A common buzzard was seen perched on a tree at the back of Gyants Marsh, before taking off, circling around a few times. A short while later it was back on its perch before flying north-east over the Reeveshall fields. One of the local female marsh harriers was also seen close to the path as it hunted over the fields. A sparrowhawk flew away from the wood at the end of Shop Lane.

A male yellowhammer flew over, the garden warbler and blackcap were singing in Gyants Marsh while green woodpecker and a stock dove were also noted.

It was a pleasant walk along the Strood seawall on Sunday morning although not much noted in the windy conditions with the tide covering most of the mudflats. Three Mediterranean gulls were the main highlight as they flew towards the Hard. The only waders noted were a few oystercatchers and a redshank on the Ray. A couple of reed warblers sang low down in the reeds and a reed bunting was seen too.

Over the weekend at the country park, four avocets were still on the saltmarsh pools near the Golfhouse, four little terns were seen resting on the beach at the Point as was a pair of ringed plovers and a painted lady butterfly was seen again at the Point on Saturday.

Eight lapwings were mobbing a fox in the grazing fields late Saturday afternoon while on the pools eight teal were of note for the time of year. Eight swan cygnets and two pochard were still on the park pond.

There's a nice showing of sea holly and sea spurge plants along the beach near the Waldegraves Decoy Point. Despite the ravages of coastal erosion and the subsequent loss of beach, both species continue to thrive on a number of the Island's beaches. Sea spurge used to be quite scarce on the north-Essex beaches so it has been nice to see it flourishing over the recent years along Mersea's shoreline.

Andy Radley rescued a grass-snake entangled in his pond netting in his Firs Road garden on Friday evening. The snake was released across the road in the cemetery.

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