Monday, 19 August 2013


Walked the Maydays seawall on a warm Sunday 18th in search of some of the clouded yellows seen during the week. Finally managed to find this one pictured above, having walked a fair distance and then beginning to retrace my steps back to head home. The breeze was lighter on the Pyefleet side of the seawall which is where many butterflies were feeding on the mass of golden samphire plants. This clouded yellow was pausing briefly to feed on the yellow flowers before skipping on to the next clump to feed.

Amongst the many other butterflies on the golden samphire were three painted ladies, one of them pictured above.

The small tortoiseshells were the most numerous with about thirty nectaring on the yellow flowers of the golden samphire. Other butterflies noted included small white, large white, meadow brown, hedge brown, common blue with speckled wood near the farm.

Keeping a close eye on my seawall endeavours were these two common seals basking on the mud on the opposite side of the Pyefleet Channel. Further up channel were another three seals up on the edge of the saltmarsh.

Waders noted along the Pyefleet mud included 2 curlew sandpipers, 50 dunlin, one sanderling,170 ringed plover, 70 grey plover, 90 avocet, 30 black-tailed godwit and 100 redshank. Two greenshank flew out of Maydays creek and 3 green sandpipers flew over Reeveshall.

Along the Pyefleet was the family of shelduck with 10 ducklings, 4 common tern and little tern while on Langenhoe 4 marsh harriers were flying about, 4 kestrels hovering and a spiralling "kettle" of 300 rooks and jackdaws high over the western end.

More butterflies were on the wing on Monday 19th along the Strood seawall with this brown argus posing obligingly for me. It was one of two noted along the inside of the seawall. I had to check the pattern of spots on the underside to separate it from common blue, one pictured below. The brown argus has the pair of black dots close to the leading edge of this hindwing, which common blue lacks.

This male common blue was one of a handful of individuals on the wing inside the seawall. One brown female was also noted but much smaller than the brown argus.

The tide was up during the Monday walk alongside the Strood but 3 common sandpipers were of interest while 30+ golden plover hiding in a stubble field were also seen. A hobby flew over the back of the fields before heading west over the channel to Feldy. Four common terns were hawking along the channel and 12 little egrets were resting on the Ray saltings.

A wheatear on top of the seawall is the first one of the autumn on the Island, a willow warbler was calling near the caravan site and two yellow wagtails were on the saltmarsh. Eight corn buntings were also of interest, one flying over to Ray Island.

The Firs Chase garden was a good place for more butterfly watching over the weekend with eleven species seen on Monday including three of these holly blues.

The surprise visitor was this small copper which dropped briefly in during Monday afternoon, although not the first sighting for the garden. Other butterflies on the wing mainly feeding on the buddleia were 12 peacock, 10 small tortoiseshell, comma, red admiral, 5 large white, 10 small white, 2 green-veined white, gatekeeper and meadow brown.

Other insects of note included two hornet hoverflies, 10 migrant hawkers, common darter and 10 silver-Y moths.

At the country park on Sunday two red underwings moths were resting on the outside of the information room during the day and a painted lady was on the nearby buddleia.

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