Saturday, 8 March 2014


Spring must be nearly here as the rather monotonous song of the reed bunting has been heard at East Mersea Point in recent days. This male was perched atop a shrubby sea-blite bush with a female skulking nearby. A couple of pairs bred in this area last year.

The tide was just beginning to uncover the mud at the Point towards the end of Thursday 6th, this pair of oystercatchers waiting beside the beach. Not much of note on the river other than a pair of red-breasted mergansers and two great crested grebes.

At the back of the park fields, the pair of kestrels seem to have taken a liking to the new nestbox and were even seen mating on one of the nearby branches on Thursday. A stock dove was checking out the "little owl" box in the hedge near the pond on Saturday which was an encouraging sign if no little owls use it this season.
Several lapwings have been flapping over the fields as they do their tumbling display flights along with their distinctive "peewit" calls of spring.

Offshore from the park on Friday late afternoon were 25 red-breasted mergansers and two Slavonian grebes, 25 great crested grebes as well as 400+ wigeon on a very flat sea.
At dusk the barn owl flew across the road inside the park entrance and perched briefly on top of a fingerpost sign, before continuing its hunting over the park.

Four adult adders were seen basking at the park on a sunny Thursday while three seen on Saturday included the small youngster from last summer, although a grass-snake in the same area was a big surprise. On the seawall there was the very rare sight of a harvest mouse scampering across the path on Thursday.

Two pipistrelle bats were seen by Adrian Amos over his garden on East Road in West Mersea on Friday evening.

The settled night-time weather has been reasonably good for moths with a couple of nights this week producing fifty individuals in the trap. The most notable moth was this nationally scarce dotted chestnut - a smart looking moth with its speckled markings. It's a moth that has been increasing its range in southern England with the park getting its first record three years ago, nine years after the first Essex record. I gather it reached Norfolk for the first time last year.

A regular visitor in the spring is this colourful pine beauty with two individuals turning up this week at the park.

The oak beauty is another regular early spring visitor but only in small numbers each year. One of the largest of the moths to be seen at this time of year.

The shoulder stripe pictured above, is another common spring moth in ones and twos in the trap.

Satellite moths could turn up anytime through the winter, although conditions this winter have been a bit too windy and wet to see them until now.

Other moths in the last few nights have included common quaker, small quaker, hebrew character, clouded drab, red chestnut, March and dotted border.

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