Friday, 25 July 2014


Several young marsh harriers have left their nests, this youngster photographed by Andy Field on the Langenhoe army ranges on 12th July. There were at least seven nests on the ranges just to the north of Mersea Island - something like the usual sort of number of nests here. One pair also nested on Mersea with at least one young seen.

At the country park on Friday 25th, a green sandpiper, two snipe, family of four avocets, 3 lapwing and 5 black-tailed godwits were present on the pools in the fields. By the pond 10 little egrets roosted in the trees, 5 teal and a second brood of little grebes were on the pond, while a reed warbler sang in reeds nearby.

A hobby was reported flying near the seawall by the Oyster Fishery on Friday afternoon.

The first returning snipe of the autumn was back on the park pools on Thursday 24th where ten black-tailed godwits were also present and the avocet family with the two youngsters.

A little owl perched on wires over Bromans Lane at dusk on Thursday evening while the previous evening a tawny owl flew briefly alongside the East Mersea road and then perched on a roadside tree near the Cosways Lane.

A marsh harrier was mobbed by a carrion crow over the Chapmans Lane field on Wednesday 23rd.Andy Field saw two hobbies by the Strood on Monday 21st.

Other bits of wildlife interest seen at the park over the last few days have been the first common blue butterfly on 25th, painted lady on the 20th and two adders on the 19th.

One of the highlights of the mothing session with fellow members of the Essex Moth Group's at the country park on Tuesday 22nd was this very colourful but diminutive rosy footman moth. Unfortunately for the other moth enthusiasts who came along that night, this little fellow only appeared in the early hours of the morning, after everyone else had gone home.

The rosy footman is recorded each summer at the park but never more than a couple of individuals. This one seemed particularly fresh with a bright salmon-pink colour. The caterpillars feed on lichen.

Four traps were set up at the park at dusk on Tuesday with three continuing till 4am the following morning. Just under 70 species were noted, involving about 600 individuals- about 200 per trap. The breeze kept up through the night and the clear sky kept the temperatures down a bit too - so not as good conditions as last year.

Other highlights by dawn included 9 poplar hawkmoths, elephant hawkmoth, ground lackey, oak eggar, tree lichen beauty and the first record at the park of a black arches.

This canary-shouldered thorn was the first one noted for the summer season. It's a widespread moth and is easily recognised with the yellow head.

There have been lots of drinker moths coming to the traps over the last fortnight or so but all have been the dark brown males. This individual was the first female drinker seen this year,slightly larger and a pale brown colour.

There was a surprising amount of different kinds of yellow underwing moths, such as this tongue-twisting lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing. Others noted were the large yellow underwing, lesser yellow underwing, broad-bordered yellow underwing and the least yellow underwing. The individual pictured above caught the eye as it showed a fresh dark red edge to the wing-tips.
Some of the other moths seen included maidens blush, small yellow wave, least carpet, iron prominent, chocolate tip, starwort, sycamore, green silver lines, white satin, nutmeg, lychnis, copper underwing and lunar-spotted pinion.

Other insects came flying to the bright moth lamps but the biggest one was this big and solid looking dung beetle or dor beetle. This individual pictured above was stretching its wings, usually concealed from view when at rest.


snowgood said...

Great Blog. I had a Rosy Footman in my room last night, sadly it didn't survive. I found it on the other side of my room in the morning. I presume they are short lived, and haven't much "fat" to keep them going when away from food sources.
I've never seen one before, our predominant vegetation here is laurel, and oak.

Anonymous said...

Great blog, I had a Rosy Footman here last night. sadly it was somewhat immobile by morning. I guess he was either in our oak, or laurel?

Dougal Urquhart said...

Nice to hear you had a rosy footman inside your house! Depending on good weather, they only live as adults for less than a month. Older individuals look very worn and faded with frayed wing edges.
They are mainly a woodland and parkland species, so unusual to see one inside the house!