Saturday, 3 August 2013


There appears to have been an influx of painted ladies within the last couple of days, locally and elsewhere in southern England. Three were seen today on Saturday 3rd with one in Firs Chase, another in Melrose Avenue while a third one was seen along the footpath between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane in East Mersea. This one pictured above was a fourth individual which posed briefly at the country park on Friday, only the second sighting at the park this year.
Adrian Amos has also had a couple of painted ladies in his East Road garden in the last couple of days too.

One of the field edges east of Meeting Lane was sheltered from the strong sunny breeze for several butterflies to enjoy being on the wing late Saturday morning. This Essex skipper with the black tips to the antennae, was seen feeding on some fleabane flowers.

Other butterflies noted were peacock, red admiral, small white, large white, large skipper, ringlet, speckled wood, while dragonflies included several ruddy darters and 20+ migrant hawkers. Tried to see some purple hairstreaks without any luck.
It was quiet on the bird-front in the heat and the strong breeze, although a singing yellowhammer, ten swiftssand martin and 5 house martins were noted during the walk.
The regular corn bunting was singing along Chapmans Lane.

Whilst visiting the East Mersea Hall for the village fete, enjoyed the view across the pond with the tall spikes of purple loosestrife round the margins adding some colour.

A number of damselflies were flying low over the water such as azure / common blue and also blue-tailed damselflies too. Was pleased to see one of the small red-eyed damselflies, land on some bankside vegetation close enough so that I could try and get a photo of it - pictured above. An emperor dragonfly was also seen flying over the pond.

A pair of turtle doves landed on the grass sward near the beach between Seaview and Waldegraves late on Staurday afternoon. Turtle doves have been very scarce on the Island this summer with most observations coming from inside West Mersea in Willoughby car park.

A walk along the Strood channel early evening on Friday 2nd was ideal for wader watching as the tide was coming in. Waders were being pushed back up channel towards the causeway, gathering in their small flocks before heading off to roost.

Two greenshank were mixed in with 200+ redshank along with 50 black-tailed godwits and 80 golden plover. The latter group flying to the nearby Strood field to roost with a few lapwing. Also seen were 4 whimbrel, 20 dunlin, 18 turnstone as well as several curlews and oystercatchers.

A Mediterranean gull sat on a brushwood breakwater and 4 common terns were flying up and down. A flock of 20 swallows flew round the Dabchicks area while 10 swifts were flying over houses near the water tower in West Mersea.

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