Sunday, 2 June 2013


Despite more northerly winds on Sunday 2nd, the first green hairstreaks were found at the park, enjoying the sunshine behind the shelter of some trees. At least five were watched with two pairs of males indulging in sparring, spiralling round and round. Once they landed on the nearby foliage, they were hard to spot with their green wings.

The cool weather during May has delayed the emergence of these green hairstreaks by up to three weeks. Hopefully a few more individuals will appear in other corners of the park in the next fortnight. Steve Entwistle managed to see the first green hairstreaks on the Island at Maydays farm on May 27th. David Nicholls has also been seeing several on Ray Island in recent days too.

One of the foodplants of the green hairstreaks is the broom which is in full flower at the park at the moment.
Other butterflies seen during the day were small heath, orange-tip, small white, holly blue and speckled wood. Three adders were enjoying the morning sunshine at the park.

Resting on many bushes around the park were lots of azure damselflies, one male pictured above, and also lots of the common blue-tailed damselflies.

In the skies over the car park two common buzzards glided north-east mid morning, followed by the appearance of two hobbies circling over the park. A male kestrel joined the raptor gathering briefly. A pair of Mediterranean gulls flew over the car park calling, as did a pair the day before too.

The grazing fields hold the usual small mixture of birds with gadwall, shoveler, shelduck, little egret, lapwing, redshank, oystercatcher, one black-tailed godwit, greylag, Canada geese while tufted ducks and pochard come and go from the park pond. On the park 12 linnets were flying around the main field.

A hobby was seen at Maydays by Steve on Sunday evening and a cuckoo was only heard again here.

On Friday 31st a cuckoo called in the morning, a flock of seventy swifts passed west over the car park in the evening and a little owl perched on some wires just inside the park entrance at dusk.

Offshore from the park there was the unexpected sight of 90 brent geese flying west from the Blackwater, passing the mouth of the Colne before turning towards Colne Point and the open sea. The flock presumably were just about to make their belated crossing back to the continent - nearly two months later than the main brent migration. Six brent geese remained near the park foreshore in the evening and eleven curlew landed on the mud to feed.

Near Fen Farm a turtle dove was seen on some wires beside the East Mersea road on Friday afternoon, while towards West Mersea a male yellow wagtail and corn bunting were on wires beside Chapmans Lane.

A pair of avocets flew over the pools in the park's grazing fields as if they were going to land on Thursday 30th. A marsh harrier was hunting over the fields near Weir Farm in the morning. Later in the day Steve Entwistle watched three turtle doves purring and flying about at Willougby car park in West Mersea.

There was the nice surprise of this colourful elephant hawkmoth in the moth trap at the park during Friday night. This is the first one of the season, usually the first hawkmoth here is the poplar hawk.

The muslin moth pictured above, shows its colourful facial pattern as seen from underneath. Only one or two muslins are noted here each year.

The green carpet has been one of the commoner moths on some evenings with six on one night. I believe it is one of the moths whose population has been increasing in recent years.

The coxcomb prominent is a regular visitor to the trap in small numbers.
Other moths noted after Friday and Saturday nights trapping were red twin-spot carpet, sandy carpet, common swift, common wave, latticed heath, Chinese character, lime-speck pug, white pinion spotted, white ermine, reed dagger, white-lined dart, shuttle-shaped dart,

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