Sunday, 1 June 2014


The pair of swans at the park have been showing off their six young cygnets over the weekend. The youngsters were feeding close-in to the edge of the park dyke on Saturday, although by Sunday the family had walked back across the fields to the pond. At the end of the day they were seen climbing back onto their old nest.

Other birds seen on the pond included 14 tufted duck, drake pochard, three shoveler, pair of little grebes, a few coots and a family of moorhens with four young. On the fields 112 black-tailed godwits present in the morning was the highest count so far this spring of this non-breeding flock. A pair of redshank, lapwing, little egret and grey heron were also seen.

The cuckoo was calling loudly from the trees beside the pond on Sunday morning, although it managed to stay hidden from view. There was a report of a marsh harrier flying over the fields during the morning.
At the beginning of the day a male marsh harrier glided slowly over the East Mersea road near Weir Farm, as it hunted adjacent fields.

The barn owl was seen by one or two lucky folk at the park just before dusk on Saturday, hunting low over the areas of long grass.

The sunny weather on Sunday brought a few dragonflies out such as this female broad-bodied chaser found resting along side a second female in the evening sunshine. Two others were seen in different parts of the park during the morning. Also on the wing during the day were two hairy dragonflies.

Butterflies noted were green hairstreak, 5 small heath, large white, small white, holly blue, red admiral, small tortoiseshell and 10 speckled woods. A Mother Shipton moth was seen on an ox-eye daisy flower.

There was the colourful sight at the moth trap at the park of a couple of elephant hawkmoths, one pictured above in the morning of Thursday 29th. It's a common moth and a regular visitor to the trap during June and July.

There was the welcome sight of four cream-spot tiger moths with their striking markings. Recent cold springs has not been kind to these tigers with only one trapped last year preceded by none the previous year. The cream-spot tiger is a moth of mainly grasslands, so the park provides ideal conditions for them. The little black hairy caterpillars are often seen in early spring each year.

Some of the other moths noted here were, sandy carpet, clouded silver, pale oak beauty, turnip, common wainscot and least black arches.

The moth trap was also operating in the garden at Firs Chase, West Mersea on the warm night of Wednesday 28th. This burnished brass is a common moth but with striking brassy sheen on the wings.

This iron prominent has the typical iron-red markings on the wings, some just slightly worn. A widespread moth, the caterpillars feed on birch, of which a couple of these trees stood just a few metres from the trap.

Other moths noted were pale prominent, garden carpet, orange footman, figure of eighty, scorched wing, shears and white-point.


Mark said...

Wonderful blog - and nice to see it updated regularly. Plenty for me to read through - so might spend the next few days having a look. Nice photos as well!

Dougal Urquhart said...

Pleased to hear you're enjoying reading about the wildlife goings-on down on Mersea Island!