Thursday, 17 October 2013


This snow bunting was a pleasant and unexpected find on the beach at the East Mersea Point late on Thursday 17th. A flicker of white in the wings as it first flew along the beach was the first clue this was the first snow bunting of the winter here. It settled a little further along where this hurried picture was snapped, in between its short sprints across the shingle. These early visitors don't usually hang around for many days and are just moving through. The first flocks to stay awhile usually appear in early November onwards.

It was a still and sunny end to the day with a clear visibility across the calm waters. This picture above was the view across the park borrowdyke.
Lots of wildfowl in the fields with 1000+ wigeon, 500 teal, 100 brent geese, 114 greylag geese and a pair of Canada geese. On the park pond 70 mallard, 10 shoveler, 4 gadwall and 3 tufted duck were present at dusk.

On the mudflats 250 avocets were feeding along the edge of the river while 400 golden plover were resting in one area. One marsh harrier was seen flying up river to the Langenhoe roost.

Ten swallows flew over the car park late afternoon and there was the small thrush group feeding on the berries with redwing, mistle, song thrush and blackbird.

On Wednesday 16th a firecrest was located late morning in a holly bush in the car park calling initially before popping into view. It crossed the car park disappearing into the thick hedge behind the buildings and not looked for again.
Earlier in the morning 13 crossbills were seen flying above the trees on the clifftop calling out loudly, before they flew eastwards and not seen again.
During the day up to forty swallows along with three house martins had been seen feeding over and near the country park.

Martin Cock noted 40 fieldfares feeding in an arable field near Weir Farm in East Mersea earlier in the morning.

It's nice to see this sea spurge get a foothold on the beach at the Point as it's a newcomer to the area this summer. The plant used to have a restricted range on the mid Essex coast but in recent years has been spreading in good numbers along the Mersea beaches.

Numbers of moths have dropped off since the recent colder and unsettled weather has come in. Trapping over Tuesday and Wednesday nights produced only 13 species. The green-brindled crescent pictured above has been one of the regular visitors in small numbers over the last month or so. It has a variety of trees and bushes as foodplants including hawthorn and blackthorn.

The first grey shoulder knot of the autumn was found in the trap after Tuesday night's session. Although it's never a numerous moth, the earlier generation was recorded back in the spring.

The November moth sp. has been visiting the trap for a fortnight now in varying numbers. Their markings and flattened posture make them easy to overlook at times.
Other species noted included red-green carpet, common marbled carpet, snout, silver-Y, large yellow underwing, barred sallow, lunar underwing, beaded chestnut, red-line quaker and yellow-line quaker.

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