Wednesday, 27 August 2014


A group of six spotted flycatchers put on a lively show beside the park pond throughout Wednesday 27th. The single individual which had been present for the last few days was joined by several more stopping off here on their migration south.
The birds were more dispersed during the morning show and seemed to be in each corner of bushes near the park pond. However in the early evening they found some shelter from the breeze beside the tall hedge to the right of the hide.

The birds were involved in a real feeding frenzy of catching flies in the air then returning back to perch in the bushes. It was non-stop action and spotted flycatchers seemed to be darting out from all sections of the tall hedgerow. At times the birds perched in an elder bush right beside the hide where these two pictures above and below were taken. The amount of flies eaten would suggest the birds are feeding up ready for the next leg of their long journey south to Africa.
Alongside the flycatchers during the day were 4 blackcaps, 5 common whitethroats, 3 lesser whitethroats, 3 willow warblers and 3 chiffchaffs. There was the rare sight of a turtle dove early evening which flew in from the Bromans Lane direction, landed on a tall dead willow then dropped down close to the water's edge for a drink. This is only the second turtle dove sighting of the year at the park.

Also noted in the pond area were 52 little egrets roosting at high tide, 80+ mallard, pair of yellow wagtails with the cows, reed warbler, 15 greenfinch, 6 goldfinch and song thrush.

On the grazing fields a common sandpiper was present late afternoon on the pools and two greenshank joined in the redshank roost at high tide. The male kestrel was back on its tree and earlier in the day a sparrowhawk flew over the fields.

Not much variety of butterflies at the park during the day despite the amount of sunshine. However it was satisfying to stumble across the first brown argus of the year for the park, amongst the long grass on the clifftop.
Other butterflies seen were 20+ small white, red admiral, speckled wood and 3 small heaths.

A water vole swam across the park borrowdyke, then scuttled along the water's edge into cover, in the morning.
At the end of the day a muntjac deer was seen beside the East Mersea road as night fell near Weir Farm.

At least two adders have been seen in recent weeks in their usual haunt near the car park - but very very shy.
This shot of the tan-coloured female was as good as I could get before it quickly slid away into cover.

This adder was tucked into some loose grass at the base of a hedgeline, very well camouflaged.

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