Thursday, 4 September 2014


Thinking the moths in the trap at the park were being eaten by a mouse was proved wrong when the culprit revealed itself as a common shrew! The trap had operated during Wednesday night and after being checked in the morning, was then put to one side and partially covered over - but not emptied of the fifty moths inside.

Towards dusk on Thursday 4th, consideration was being given to set the trap up again, except I noticed there was a little furry visitor with a long pointed snout scrabbling around inside the trap! After a couple of minutes of looking up and then scuttling away to hide under the egg-trays, the very nimble shrew reached up one corner and scrambled up and out of the trap. It ran into the thick leaves in the back garden and it could be heard making its escape to safety as it rustled the leaves in its path.

Needless to say there were few moths alive still in the trap after the shrew had been inside - only small piles of moth wings! Many moths will have flown from the trap during the morning, just after it is first put away.

The well marked burnished brass pictured above, with the brassy sheen on the wings was one of the moths in the trap. The main moth in the trap was a big poplar hawkmoth which had been lifted out of the trap first thing and hidden in a bush to escape the attentions of hungry robins and the tit party.
A dozen Chinese characters, large thorn, maidens blush and blood-vein were some of the 20 species of macro found.
The water vole was posing at the side of its small ditch near the seawall. It looked a bit nervous while I took one or two photos before it plopped into the water and swam away.

The park pond was a scene of lots of activity and lots of birds during Thursday afternoon. The highlight was the appearance twice by the kingfisher, once in mid afternoon and then a couple of hours later, it came back from the dyke to perch and feed. It was seen to dive down to catch a tiddler of a fish, whack it on the branch and then swallow it.

Also on the pond were 37 little egrets and a grey heron at the high tide roost. Most of the ducks in the picture above are mallard about 75, also seen were a gadwall, 25 teal, 3 shoveler, 4 little grebes and the family of 5 swans including the white cygnet. Two reed warblers were calling from the reedmace.

In the grazing field pools 30 lapwing, 100 teal, 2 snipe, 100 redshank, 30 black-tailed godwit, 5 wigeon, 4 shoveler were present late afternoon. Other birds seen at the park during the day were sparrowhawk over the car park, 7 mistle thrushes after the rowan berries, yellow wagtail flying over and 100 swallows at dusk.

It has taken till the start of September to find the first wasp spider at the park. This one wasn't a fully grown female but was hanging on its web in the long grass, having spun up an insect.

Martin Cock saw two whinchats near the Shop Lane seawall on Tuesday.

The Haynes were very surprised to have a red squirrel near their beach hut close to Broomhills Road, on Wednesday afternoon before heading off towards Shears Court. Following a quick phone-call, it turns out that the small group of 3 red squirrels that had been penned up in the wood near Victory Road, were set free yesterday morning. Several sightings were being reported including one in Yorick Road which may've been this squirrel heading on its way to the beach huts.
More red squirrels are planned on being brought from both Norfolk and Surrey later this autumn to boost the introduction numbers.

A grass-snake was reported in a garden water butt in Mill Road on Thursday.

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