Saturday, 27 July 2013


There's a good display of flowering wild carrot this summer along the seawall towards the East Mersea Point. There's normally a mix of other wild flowers and grasses growing along here but this year the carrots are carpeting large sections of the seaward side. The cultivated carrot is a genetic variant of the wild carrot plant, and although the long tap-root smells like a carrot, it is only edible when young as it soon turns woody and tough to eat.

Numbers of gatekeepers seem to be at their peak at the moment, many nectaring on the mass of bramble flowers along the hedgerows. This female was resting on a yarrow flower below the cliff on a cloudy morning on Saturday 27th. Other butterflies around the park have been meadow brown, speckled wood, large skipper, small skipper, Essex skipper, comma, small tortoiseshell, red admiral, small white and large white.
The first three purple hairstreaks of the summer at the park were fluttering high in the oaks in their usual spot in the south-west corner.

Much of the park is parched and brown following this recent heatwave. The grass on the part of the park in this picture above has turned brown and looks dead. However it will soon burst back into life within a few days of any rain falling.

The water level at the Reeveshall pool on Friday 26th had dropped a lot since my last visit here about three weeks ago. It's looking quite promising now for passage waders as more mud starts to show around the margins. The tide was already back out some way although a few waders were still feeding on the pool. As usual a nice variety of birds were seen during an hour's walk along the seawall here.

One spotted redshank flew off calling, while ten black-tailed godwits, three green sandpipers and five lapwing were the other waders noted here. Along the Pyefleet a common sandpiper flew over the channel as did a greenshank from behind Pewit Island. A marsh harrier disturbed the wader roost at Langenhoe Point and fifty avocet and at least fifty black-tailed godwits flew out into the Pyefleet.

Also noted along the channel were 3 bar-tailed godwit, whimbrel, 4 little terns, 5 common terns and the brood of 9 shelducklings with the adult watching over.

Two tatty male marsh harriers dropped down together onto a long grass field on Reeveshall. Thirty swallows flew around North Farm along with 4 sand martins.

Andy Field visited the Reeveshall pool the next morning on Saturday and noted a green sandpiper on the pool and a common sandpiper in the Pyefleet.

Noticed this dusky sallow moth along the Reeveshall seawall resting on this thistle flower early in the evening. It has been a common moth in the trap over the last week or so.

The moth trap operated during Friday night at the park and several of these drinker moths were found the following morning. It's a common moth on grasslands where the caterpillars feed on grass.

A couple of white-line darts, one pictured above were seen, a moth that is noted most years here. A couple had been seen earlier in the week too.

The L-album wainscot has become a common moth at the park in recent years, the caterpillars feeding on the grasses of the park. Numbers usually pick up late summer into the autumn.
All the other moths noted during Friday night, were the same species noted on the successful mothing evening earlier in the week.

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