Sunday, 10 August 2014


This water vole was nibbling at some reed stalks out in the open near the country park seawall. It appeared to be standing on an upturned plastic flower pot. Picture above and below taken by Andy Field on Wed 6th.

Another obliging water vole in the same ditch at the country park on Wednesday. Two days later Matt Larkin reported also seeing a couple of water voles in the same area.

Rough weather swept across the country park on Sunday 10th with strong winds coinciding with the mid-day high tide. Thunder and lightening accompanied by a burst of torrential rain also engulfed the park.

A quick glance out to sea mid morning provided an unexpected view of a fulmar flying east past the park beach. It briefly circled the seas in front of the park on typical straight wings, before heading towards the mouth of the Colne. Little else out to sea other than a little tern and a common tern.

 The sun came out at the end of the afternoon and the cows here seemed happy enough in the grazing fields.
Birds seen on the pools during the day included 6 snipe, 16 redshank, 3 avocets, 10 black-tailed godwits, 25 teal and 2 lapwing. A flock of 200 starlings were feeding in the fields too.

At the park pond 8 little egrets roosted late morning, 2 gadwall, 10 mallard, 4 teal, little grebe family were on the water while nearby 8 goldfinches fed on some marsh thistles seedheads.

Passing over the park during the day was a steady trickle of swallows battling into the strong westerly winds with 100+ seen along with 20 swifts.

Conditions on Saturday 9th were sunny with a warm breeze. The park beach pictured above during the morning, soon filled up with visitors later in the day.
In the sheltered end of the borrowdyke at least forty small red-eyed damselflies were seen on the water surface, some of the females egg-laying in tandem.

Two juvenile grey herons were perched atop the kestrel oak tree at the back of the fields on Friday 8th. Four common terns passed over the park in the morning.

On Thursday 7th a nightingale was heard calling in the morning from bushes near the buildings in the country park but didn't show. Maybe this is the same bird that was heard calling ten days earlier in the car park.
Eight greenshank passed high over the car park calling loudly as they headed south-west.

Steve Entwistle saw the two sedge warblers along the park borrowdyke, first seen by Andy the day before. Amongst the bird activity in the bushes at the end of the central ditch in the fields were a willow warbler, whitethroat, five reed warblers and a yellow wagtail seen near here too. The willow warbler was present for a second day here.
Steve later at the end of Thursday watched a tawny owl beside the Shop Lane wood and heard it calling too, also two southern hawkers seen here.

Butterflies of note recently were a painted lady on buddleia in Firs Chase on the 7th and a clouded yellow seen flying past the park seawall by Martin Cock on Wednesday 6th.

There was the nice sight of 45 sanderling scurrying along the park beach in the evening of Tuesday 5th, with one bird showing a colour-ring combination of green and yellow. Also ten ringed plover and a turnstone appearing as the tide ebbed.

Resting all day on the outside white wall of the park information room was this red underwing moth. Interesting that this seemingly obvious spot is a regular day-time resting spot every year. This is the second time in a week one has been found here and one was also seen on Tuesday 5th on a nearby brick wall too.

Members of the Colchester Natural History Society visited the park on Tuesday evening and watched some of the moths come into a couple of lamps. This white-lined dart was probably the most interesting on the breezy night, the first one of the season here. Others noted amongst the 20+ species included angle shades, white-point, lesser spotted pinion and least yellow underwing.

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