Wednesday, 19 June 2013


It's been rather quiet on the wildlife front on the Island over the last week or so with little to report.
The warmer nights recently have seen a few more moths visiting the trap at the country park.
This very colourful elephant hawkmoth brightened up the trap on a couple of consecutive nights and although it's quite common, it's always one to admire.

The caterpillars of the elephant hawkmoth feed on a variety of plants including willowherb and fuchsia.

The muggy night on Tuesday night saw fifty moths of 30 species visit the trap, more than twice the number of species than any other previous night so far this year.

Another large moth to make an appearance was the poplar hawkmoth. This side-on view shows the unusual angle the hawkmoth holds its wings out from the body whilst it is at rest.

The delicate light emeralds are just starting to appear in small numbers in the trap with four noted one night.

This silver-Y moth dropped in on Monday night, the first one of the year, maybe blown in by the easterly breezes from the continent. More should be following as we head into summer.

Other moths noted have included common swift, scorched wing, silver ground carpet, sandy carpet, green carpet, common carpet, Chinese character, brimstone, small dusty wave, clouded border, mottled beauty, clouded silver, heart and dart, flame shoulder, shuttle-shaped dart, light brocade, poplar grey, marbled minor, snout, vines rustic, straw dot, white point, shoulder-striped wainscot, setaceous hebrew character, marbled brown and rustic shoulder knot.

There haven't been many butterflies on the wing in recent days. This green hairstreak looking a bit worn, was seen at the park in the car park, resting on foliage on the Friday 14th. This would normally be a late record but the cold spring has delayed the flight season. Steve Entwistle found an even later one near Gyants Marsh on Tuesday 18th along with a large skipper, small heath and common blue. An orange-tip at the park on that date was a late record too.

Two Sandwich terns were seen flying up the river Colne on Wednesday 19th by Martin Cock. A common buzzard was seen on Reeveshall by Andy Field and the garden warbler was heard singing at Gyants Marsh by Steve on that day too. A pair of Mediterranean gulls flew low over the park on the 18th and the cuckoo was heard briefly too.

At West Mersea the turtle dove was heard singing in Willoughby car park on the 15th by Steve, while elsewhere the small number of swifts are swooping low over Upland Road on their way to their nests under nearby eaves. The two corn buntings are still singing beside Chapmans Lane and Bocking Hall.

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