Friday, 13 June 2014


A small group of avocets have taken up residence recently on the saltmarsh lagoon near the East Mersea Point. These two avocet photos were taken by Andy Field on Tuesday 10th. Fifteen birds were noted in the area the next day including two birds on the pools in the nearby fields.

Andy watched three Sandwich terns fly into the mouth of the Colne estuary  before they turned round and headed back out to sea. A little tern was resting on the Point as was a ringed plover.
The marsh harrier has continued to visit the fields recently and was reported on Friday morning and the cuckoo was still calling by the pond on Friday too. Two Mediterranean gulls flew to the west of the park calling as they passed, on Friday.

Thirty black-tailed godwits were feeding in the fields on Wednesday and the pair of kestrels have been feeding at least two young in their box. The barn owl was hunting the main park at dusk on Thursday, providing a nice close fly-past at one point.

Various snippets of mammal sightings in the last few days from around the Island. A red squirrel was seen in the garden of Harry Sharp at the east end of the Island, probably one of the new ones recently brought into East Mersea.

A brown hare was reported recently at the Whitings garden near Chapmans Lane, while one was also seen on Tuesday evening trotting into the car park of the country park - the first hare sighting here for years. A muntjac deer was seen freshly dead on the East Mersea road near Weir Farm on Wednesday evening, although there was no sign of it the next morning. There was the rare sight these days of a hedgehog, sadly this one dead by the East Mersea road near the pub on Sunday morning.

Small numbers of butterflies about the park over the last few days have included red admiral, small tortoiseshell, meadow brown, speckled wood, large skipper, Essex skipper and small heath. The first six-spot burnet moth was seen on some knapweed flowers at the park on Friday morning.

The big privet hawkmoth was the main attraction in the moth trap during a very muggy night on Monday 9th. The threatened thunderstorm never materialised, providing ideal conditions for the trap at Firs Chase which pulled in 4 privet hawks and 5 elephant hawks amongst around forty other species.

The barred yellow is a colourful moth and widespread where dog-rose is the foodplant.

Another common and colourful moth is the cinnabar, the caterpillars feeding on ragwort.

This very pale moth stood out amongst the many brown moths in the moth trap at the country park, as being a sand dart. This is a scarce coastal moth which has been noted here before but only a couple of previous records.
The first of the strikingly marked magpie moths have emerged in the last week with this one pictured at the country park.

Not quite a cousin to the magpie moth except by name, this small magpie is one of the easier micro moths to recognise. A common moth at the traps at the moment.

Andy Field's moth trap in High Street North is pulling in a few moths now such as this very cryptic looking buff-tip moth.

The common footman has been appearing at the traps in the last couple of weeks in small numbers.

Michael Thorley was interested in this delicate looking grass vetchling found in his garden beside the East Mersea road. It's not really regarded as a garden species, more of a grassland plant found on the Island along the seawalls and other areas of long grass such as the country park.

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