Thursday, 6 June 2013


This juvenile grass-snake was brought from a garden in West Mersea and released at the country park on Thursday 6th. Judging by the size it would appear that it was a young one from last summer that had been found by a garden pond in Whitaker Way. As soon as it was set free it wriggled across the grass towards a nearby ditch.
Its cousins the adders, were basking earlier in the day near the car park with one seen in the morning and two the day before.

A common buzzard drifted west from the park in the morning being seen off by one of the local crows. At the park pond the swans were looking after their new brood of seven cygnets. There was the strange sight earlier in the day of a second family getting together, so that someone reported seeing 13 cygnets together. The families had separated by the afternoon. Also on the pond were a little egret, 8 tufted duck and two pairs of pochard.

On the fields 5 teal were of note amongst the usual mixture of waders and wildfowl. Three young broods of mallard were seen on the pools and the pond, with the young trying to snatch flies on the water. Two whimbrel were seen calling in flight as they passed over the park and a marsh harrier was reported flying over the grazing fields. The little owl has been perched on wires over Bromans Lane at dusk on Thursday and Wednesday nights.

Butterflies at the park have included 5 green hairstreaks in various locations, holly blue, small heath, speckled wood, small white and orange-tip.

On Wednesday the garden warbler was seen singing at the beginning of the day at Gyants Marsh near Meeting Lane by Steve Entwistle and two cuckoos were heard singing too. Two common buzzards were seen perched on an oak tree near Gyants by Martin Cock.

Highlight in the moth trap on Thursday morning at the park was this first eyed hawkmoth of the year. There are usually two or three records of this hawkmoth each year here.

A closer look at the hindwing of the hawkmoth shows the striking eye mark, usually hidden from view when at rest.

This cinnabar moth added a bit of colour to the trap on what has generally been some very poor nights for trapping because of the cold northerly breezes and clear skies at night. Other moths noted have been rustic shoulder knot, sandy carpet, green carpet, yellow belle, garden pebble, flame shoulder, shears,brown-line bright eye and coxcomb prominent.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dougal,

Whilst sailing on Friday lunchtime I saw a lovely harbour porpoise playing in the sunshine just off East Mersea Point. I have seen a few of these delightful creature this "summer" and long may they thrive....

Dougal Urquhart said...

Thanks for letting me know, I shall keep my eyes open in case it stays around.