Sunday, 19 October 2014


Up to three grey herons have been roosting by the park pond most high tides, whenever there's a big, little egret roost there. Andy Field photographed this bird on the weeping willow over the pond.

The little egrets seemed dispersed around the park in the morning of 19th October, such as this one checking a saltmarsh pool by the seawall. Around ten little egrets were on the saltmarsh by the Point at high tide and another ten by the pond.

Lots of various waders were roosting on the saltmarsh pools by the Golfhouse with at least 500 black-tailed godwits forming the biggest flock, some pictured above. Another 500 were roosting noisily on the park fields with 110 curlew also roosting here.
Also at the Point on Sunday were 70 linnets, one wheatear, six sanderling and 400 golden plover, as well as a common seal in the river.

Also noted were two goldcrest and chiffchaff with the mixed tit flock and 12 swallows passing westwards.

At the end of Sunday 19th I joined Andy Field on the seawall near Shop Lane to watch the harriers going to roost. Staying till it was dark at 6.30pm, we'd counted 17 marsh harriers going to roost on the Langenhoe Point. A similar count was being done at the same time, just to the west of West Mersea on the Old Hall Marshes RSPB reserve where 23 marsh harriers went to roost. No hen harriers were seen at either site.

Also along the Pyefleet was a peregrine trying to flush a redshank out of the water, a common tern heading out of the channel and a continuous flow of 70+ pied wagtails passing overhead on their way to a roost somewhere to the west.

On Saturday morning a short-eared owl flew over the Point heading north-west in the Pyefleet direction, putting up all the waders roosting on the saltmarsh. I received a text message from Chris Balchin at Colne Point late morning to alert me to a rough-legged buzzard he'd just seen heading across the river towards the country park. Sadly despite quickly scanning the skies, it wasn't located.

There had been a report of a rough-legged buzzard being seen by a birdwatcher a couple of days earlier along the Pyefleet on Thursday, which he'd seen flying with a couple of common buzzards.

Andy enjoyed a good view of an osprey circle over the park on Thursday afternoon before it drifted east to Brightlingsea. There was a report it was still in the estuary on Saturday in the Alresford Creek / Thorrington area.

There was bright rainbow over the park late on Saturday afternoon, following a quick downpour.
Birds seen at the park included a kingfisher flying over the pools to the pond, a stonechat in the fields and the Cetti's warbler still singing behind the pond.

A group of a dozen blackbirds and a handful of song thrushes were seen by the park entrance as were five redwings briefly and ten swallows.

 Thirty redwings flew along Bromans Lane early on Thursday 16th while later Andy saw the stonechat in the fields and 200 ringed plover on the mud.

A stoat made a fleeting appearance at the park on Saturday afternoon, bounding towards me for a few metres then standing upright to sniff the air and then dashing back to the undergrowth.

Moth traps were put out on a very mild Saturday evening at both the country park and also in the garden at Firs Chase in West Mersea. One of the first moths to arrive mid evening in Firs Chase was this pretty moth with the grand name Merveille du Jour.
Although a widespread moth it's only been seen once before on the Island about four years ago at the park. It's flight season being late in the year, it makes a nice addition to any trapping as the main season draws to a close. It's interesting finding it in the town when its more of woodland and scrub moth where the foodplant is oak.

The Firs Chase trap did very well in pulling in the migrant moths, much better than the East Mersea trap. Two of these dainty Olive-tree pearls came to the light around midnight.
Whilst working late on the computer I could see the moths fluttering around the lamp in the back garden and I quickly recognised the white translucent wings of this micro-moth. I grabbed a pot and dashed outside to catch it before it disappeared.

The night ended with quite a bit of rain which completely soaked the white sheet on the ground. A hurried check of the trap whilst getting wet, revealed this tiny little female Gem, another migrant moth.

Other migrants in the trap were this dark sword-grass, silver Y, white-point along with the immigrant micros 3 rusty dot pearls and a diamond-backed moth. There was even a red admiral in the trap, maybe trying to shelter from the rain.

Also seen were red-green carpet, pine carpet, green brindled crescent, Blairs shoulder knot, large wainscot, lesser yellow underwing, red-line quaker, brick and dark chestnut.

There were a few more moths in the trap at the park, although only two migrant moths, a Gem and a rusty-dot pearl. This streak was the only interesting moth out of the 48 macro moths noted. It hasn't been seen for a couple of years, so it was nice to record it again.

Different moths at the park were November sp, yellow-line quaker, feathered thorn, barred sallow, black rustic, deep-brown rustic and mallow.

Adrian Amos reported a good count of ten red admirals in his East Road garden in West Mersea on Friday 17th.

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