Thursday, 25 September 2014


Just returned from a short break away, sort of following the same route as some of the summer migrants chasing the sunshine south over the Channel.
Back on the country park on Wednesday 24th, numbers of wildfowl have increased on the fields with 80 greylag geese now grazing along with 150 wigeon and 500+ teal around the pools. The high tide roost brought more birds in with 400+ redshank, 50 black-tailed godwits, 30 lapwing and 25 curlew. On the park pond 70 little egrets roosted in the trees in the middle of the day.

The sun brightened up the evening walk along the beach to East Mersea Point with the tide well out on the mudflats. A flock of 18 brent geese were drinking and bathing in their favoured spot by Batemans Tower by Brightlingsea. Four brent were reported yesterday with the first brent seen from East Mersea this autumn being a week ago by Andy Field.

Also seen on Wednesday evening a wheatear on the beach at the Point, 120 golden plover on the mud, 15 avocets flying out of the river to feed, a marsh harrier flying up river to roost for the night and a couple of small groups of shelduck flying back into the estuary for the winter.

A couple of goldcrests were feeding with the long-tailed tit flock at the park in the morning and 10 swallows were seen flying west.
Martin Cock saw a little owl in the morning fly along the hedgeline near the park entrance. At the end of the day a little owl was seen at dusk in Bromans Lane and a second bird nearby beside the East Mersea road.

Bird highlights over the last fortnight on the Island included a tree pipit seen perched briefly at the country park by Andy Field, also a grey wagtail flying over here too the day before. Four wheatears were seen between the park and the Point by Andy too.

Ian Black saw a great white egret in the Mersea Quarters including Cobmarsh Island on 10th and 11th September, presumably the same bird that had been frequenting Abberton reservoir just a few days earlier. A search in the evening on the 11th by Andy Field from Coast Road failed to find it but did turn up an unexpected spoonbill seen standing on Cobmarsh. After a few minutes it flew off and wasn't seen again.

Sadly a lot of the rabbits around the country park have got the myxomatosis disease which reappears at the end of each summer at the park.

Three adders at the park were reported by some visitors on a sunny Tuesday 23rd.Butterflies seen at the park on Thursday included large white, small white and speckled wood. Andy Field reported a clouded yellow at East Mersea Point on 19th.

Five common seals were seen in the Pyefleet Channel by Maydays farm by a walker whilst doing a circuit of the Island path on Tuesday 23rd.

The cloudy night on the 23rd produced a haul of 110+ moths to the trap at the park including this sallow moth pictured above.Apart from masses of craneflies in the trap, half of the moth catch was made up with lots of lunar underwings.

This pale marked beaded chestnut was also noted, the first one of the autumn here. Most of the beaded chestnuts are a darker chestnut colour.

Three autumnal rustics were also the first ones seen this autumn, always very pale looking.

The rather featureless deep-brown dart usually makes an appearance each autumn with one or two individuals. Two were noted on this occasion in the morning.

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