Thursday, 31 July 2014


This dunlin was one of the birds photographed by Glyn Evans on Monday 28th at East Mersea Point. The bird still shows some of the distinctive summer plumage with the black belly.

Three turnstones also photographed by Glyn at the Point. A few birds have been present through the summer although numbers are increasing with birds returning from their northern breeding grounds.

Spent an hour in the early evening on Tuesday 29th at Reeveshall on the north side of the Island. It was interesting to see how much water was left in this pool beside the seawall, with the water level lower than I expected.

Birds seen on here after a marsh harrier passed over were, greenshank, green sandpiper, lapwing, 3 black-tailed godwits, 2 little egrets, 2 gadwall and a grey heron flew in later. Also on Reeveshall were a second marsh harrier, 50 greylag geese, 6 Canada geese, while nearer Shop Lane were a singing yellowhammer, 30 swallows and a calling juvenile sparrowhawk from the wood.

Along the Pyefleet were a common sandpiper, 2 whimbrel, 200+ avocets, 100+ black-tailed godwit, 2 little terns and a common tern and a great crested grebe.

At the country park pond the little egret roost at high tide climbed to 22 birds along with the grey heron on Tuesday 29th. The two avocet chicks were still feeding and resting on the nearby fields where there was also a snipe, 5 black-tailed godwits and 4 lapwing.

A little owl perched beside Bromans Lane on Sunday 27th at dusk. There was the surprise on Saturday at the park of a nightingale, calling from the hedge near the park entrance. After a short while the bird started doing its croaking call and was seen flying into a big bush. Presumably this is a migrant heading south although this same area was where the nightingales used to breed up until a couple of years ago.

In the car park at least eight mistle thrushes are tucking into the ripening rowan berries, making one or two appearances whenever there's less people around. Three song thrushes perched on a hedge near the park pond on Tuesday 30th.

At least two Mediterranean gulls were flying with the other gulls after the flying ants above Firs Chase on Wednesday 30th.

A couple of commas were resting out of the breeze beside one of the park hedges.

The nice sunny weather is ideal for butterflies and this small skipper was found on a lesser knapweed flower at the park. There are still one or two large skippers flying at the park, as their season draws to a close.
It has been a poor season for the common blue butterfly with just one female and a male being seen in one of the main areas of grassland in the last few days.

This archers dart was one of the moths of note in the trap at the country park after the session on Saturday 26th. Although this dart turns up most years, this was the first time two individuals were seen together. The archers dart is mainly a coastal moth in Essex.

Another coastal moth to appear for the first time this summer was this sandhill rustic with individuals recorded at both the country park as well as the trap in Firs Chase. The moth's foodplants are various grasses on saltmarshes and beaches.

The antler moth with its distinctive antler-type markings on the wings was of interest at the park. Although it's quite a widespread moth, it's only been recorded here at the park once before, a few years back. It's foodplant is grass and there's plenty of that at the park.

One of the highlights of the mothing on a muggy Saturday night was the unexpectedly high tally of 22 tree-lichen beauties. Although this small green tinted moth has increased in numbers in recent years, I've never had more than a handful in one night in the past. At the park trap that night there was just the one TLB.
A dark swordgrass was found in the Firs Chase trap on Friday 25th session.

The caterpillar of the grey dagger is a very striking one with lots of fine hairs and a colourful body. The moth is a regular visitor to the trap, although very similar in appearance to the dark dagger moth, the caterpillars are very different - and both have been found at the park.

This little lively toadlet was hopping frantically across the lawn at Firs Chase on Sunday morning as the moth trap was being cleared away. This toad will have emerged recently from the big pond in a neighbouring garden in Firs Chase.

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