Thursday, 8 August 2013


Andy Field took this nice clear image of a little stint at Maydays on Tuesday 6th. It's the smallest wader that turns up on Mersea, measuring only 13cms (5 inches), so a good photo for such a small bird. Only one or two are usually found each year as they stop off during their autumn migration. Most little stints have often been found feeding with dunlin, although on this occasion this bird was by itself when it was observed by Andy and Martin Cock.
A cuckoo was also seen at Maydays that morning too.

A female tufted duck has taken on the job of watching over two broods of ducklings along the park borrowdyke. Fifteen ducklings seemed at first to be too many to hatch out from one female, until a second female was spotted 30 metres away watching over a single duckling. Both broods were of the same age and size and all responded to the calls and concerns of the one mother, pictured above in a digi-binned image. All the ducklings were busy feeding by diving under for several seconds at a time.
A water vole scuttled along the bank of the dyke behind the ducklings on Thursday 8th.

Interested to see the little egret high tide roost had swollen from the usual 7 birds to 18 birds near the park pond on Thursday 8th. Seven of the birds can just about be made out in this dig-binned image above. At one point all the egrets flew out of the copse with 14 birds landing back down on top of the old kestrel oak tree.

On the pools nearby 20 black-tailed godwits, 14 lapwing, snipe, 2 redshank, 10 teal and 10 mallard. On Tuesday 6th there were two snipe present on the pools and a yellow wagtail on the seawall. A female marsh harrier flew low over the pools and the park pond too, scattering the egrets off the trees and upsetting the coots and moorhens on the water. A Mediterranean gull flew over the car park and a whimbrel called from the foreshore on Wednesday 7th. Up to fifty swallows passed over the park with several sand martins noted with them.

Three purple hairstreak butterflies were noted high up on an oak tree at the park on Tuesday evening and a painted lady was also seen at the park too. Along the borrowdyke at least 20 small red-eyed damselflies were resting on the algae in one small area. A couple of emperors were hawking up and down the water.

This lesser stag beetle picture was taken by David Nicholls, found in his Queen Ann Road garden a few days ago. One or two are often seen at the park each year although the only one noted this year was sadly dead.

Also in West Mersea Adrian Amos reported hearing the calls of young sparrowhawks from the Oakwood Avenue area. A sparrowhawk was also seen on Tuesday gliding over the allotment field.

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