Monday, 1 September 2014


 There were four common seals loafing on the mud in the Pyefleet Channel, three of them pictured above, seen from the Maydays seawall on Monday 1st. The red- coloured seals showed signs of iron oxidation on the fur.

The tide was out during the late morning walk with a good variety of waders along the mudflats. Highlights were 3 curlew sandpipers, 3 greenshank, 2 common sandpipers, 10 bar-tailed godwits, 150 dunlin, 100 grey plover, 70 ringed plover and one knot. Also 8 shelducklings and five common terns were seen.

Two common buzzards were over Langenhoehall marshes and 3 marsh harriers were seen over the Langenhoe ranges.

The long grass on the side of the Maydays seawall was being cut down during my visit.

A whinchat and wheatear were perched together on one of the Reeveshall fences while 20 stock doves fed in one of the Maydays fields. A common buzzard and marsh harrier were also seen on the Mersea side.

Beside a nearby farm reservoir 4 ruff, 5 green sandpiper, common sandpiper, 3 snipe and 2 teal were seen.

Around the Maydays farm buildings some of the 20 house martins seen in the area were still nesting under the eaves of the house. A swift passed overhead just after mid-day. In nearby bushes 2 yellowhammers, 10 linnets, 20 greenfinches, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat and a chiffchaff were watched.

Yesterday a swift passed over Martin Cock's West Mersea house along with a steady passage of swallows through the day.

Discovered this pretty little pest in our Firs Chase garden over the weekend - the rosemary beetle. Three of these small beetles were on the main stalks of a big rosemary bush. At first glance the 8mm sized beetles appear dark green but close-up they show the red stripes.

The rosemary beetle is originally from the Mediterranean and was first found in the UK only 20 years ago. It has since spread across most of England, Wales and into Scotland, where the adults and larvae feed on rosemary, lavender, sage and thyme. It's the first time I've seen it here on the Island.

This Old Lady moth was the biggest moth in the trap in Firs Chase during Sunday night. The big dark band across the wings has faded on this individual but it supposedly resembles the dark shawl worn by "old ladies".

Amongst the fifty other moths in the trap were light emerald, willow beauty, large yellow underwing, copper underwing, broad-bordered yellow underwing, square-spot rustic, setaceous hebrew character, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing and shuttle-shaped dart.

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