Monday, 2 June 2014


I thought this duck was another mallard brood, until I lifted up the binoculars and saw it was a female shoveler. Seen on the park dyke on Monday 2nd, the brood seemed quite young and mum was very nervous and uncertain where to take the young to feed.

This is the first proved breeding of shoveler at the park, although in the past pairs have been present in the spring. It could be the first proved breeding on the Island for sixty years when four pairs bred on the north side of the Island. Most of the shovelers breeding in Essex are found at various sites along the coast.

A very distant record shot of a male marsh harrier that spent some time in the early evening hunting around the park's grazing fields. Even at a distance of about 500m, when the shot was taken from the bird hide, the very pale head stands out. A male marsh harrier, probably this same individual was seen hunting the fields in the morning too.

The harrier disturbed 40 black-tailed godwits off the fields and got mobbed by a pair of lapwings over the fields. Two little egrets perched in the willow tree and a grey heron was stalking the pools in the fields in the morning.

The cuckoo was particularly vocal again today along the north edge of the park especially by the pond where it perched high in the willow. Two sand martins flew around the fields and cliff during the morning - the first pair seen in the area for over a month.

At the beginning of the day three cuckoos flew high over the East Mersea road near Weir Farm heading north, a weasel thought about crossing the same road near Church Lane, while the morning before there was the unusual sight of a red-legged partridge perched briefly on the top of a telegraph pole near Meeting Lane.
The sea kale has managed to survive the damaging winter storms that scoured many sections of the park beach away. At least three plants are growing on the first beach beside the start of the seawall.
Pleased to stumble across this clump of ground lackey moth caterpillars feeding on some sea lavender leaves. Around a hundred caterpillars were spread over a small area of saltmarsh close to the seawall.

The strange distinctive posture of the very thin saltmarsh plume moth was found resting on the park moth trap when it was checked on Monday morning. There are two generations a year with the second one appearing later in the summer.

Other moths noted after Sunday night's session included elephant hawk, poplar hawk, mottled beauty, treble brown spot, shark, common footman, sandy carpet, clouded border, white-point, ingrailed, marbled minor, heart and dart, shoulder-striped wainscot and angle shades.

This coronet moth was the highlight of the moth trap at Firs Chase on Sunday night. It used to be quite a scarce moth in the county but seems to have become more widespread in recent years. The park recorded its first one last summer.

Other moths noted here included marbled brown, latticed heath, treble lines, small fanfoot, buff ermine, coxcomb prominent, flame, bright-line brown-eye and rustic shoulder knot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like the duck who had 7 chicks that was behind my caravan at fen