Thursday, 24 April 2014


 Paid a visit to the West Mersea garden of Dave Chadwick to admire the display of wild green-winged orchids. It's been several years since I last saw them and it's great to see them still flourishing here.

The camera has unfortunately distorted the actual colour in these photos as they are more red in colour than is shown above. There were probably about 300 green-winged orchid plants on show in this tiny back garden.

 Amongst the green-winged orchids were twenty or so common spotted orchid plants although only the very spotted leaves are showing at the moment. The flowers will appear later next month sometime.

A Mediterranean gull flew over TV's Ready Steady Cook celebrity chef Brian Turner whilst he was cooking up a dish on the West Mersea beach along with Janet Street-Porter on Thursday 24th for the forthcoming TV programme The Taste of Britain.

The bluebells are putting on their own colourful display at the moment in the country park.

Patches of bluebells can be found in a number of places at the park, although the best display used to be under the old Grove on the cliff-top which has sadly fallen into the sea with the erosion in recent years.

There is still a good depth of water in places on the park's grazing fields where this little egret was watched stalking on Wednesday 23rd. Also feeding or resting in this area were fifty black-tailed godwits, 4 redshank, 2 gadwall, 4 Canada geese, 2 greylags and 20 teal. Two common terns flew along the beach and a whimbrel was heard calling offshore.

Singing from various bushes around the park have been 3 blackcaps, 3 chiffchaffs, 4 whitethroats and 2 lesser whitethroats. No sign of any sand martins using the park cliff this spring.

An adder was seen on the Wednesday and another two were reported the next day at the country park. Butterflies seen over the last couple of days include holly blue, orange-tip, peacock and speckled wood.

Michael Thorley reported a willow warbler singing in his garden alongside the East Mersea road on 20th and 21st April. Two corn buntings have still been seen in recent days singing by the Bocking Hall and Chapmans Lane roadside.

This rather wet peppered moth of the black form, was the main interest at the trap on a drizzly Wednesday evening in the Firs Chase garden. Twenty or so shuttle-shaped darts were the commonest, also brimstone, yellow-barred brindle, pine beauty, least black arches, common quaker and hebrew character.

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