Monday, 23 March 2015


It was nice to see a female muntjac deer appear at the back of the park pond on Monday 23rd to eat the grass for a few minutes. It's the first sighting of one at the park for a few months, although the footprints have been spotted recently around the park.

Having spotted the muntjac deer in the morning, it was then seen again at the end of the day in the nearby field behind the pond but with a small fawn keeping company. The first youngster spotted from the park.

The regular curlew was feeding in front of the hide at the park, as it has been for the last couple of months.

The sunny morning provided ideal conditions for raptor activity with five species seen from the bird hide in the morning. A common buzzard was seen first circling high over the grazing fields. The female kestrel flew back to its nest box and was briefly chased off by a stock dove, before the kestrel called out angrily at it.

A merlin appeared high over the fields drifting slowly west but in large circuits taking its time to pass by. It made a change seeing a merlin hang about in the sky for a few minutes rather than a bird in hot pursuit providing just a fleeting glance. Three sparrowhawks soared high in the sky to the north of the park, as did at least one marsh harrier. Also looking to the north, a male marsh harrier could be seen displaying high in the sky over Langenhoe.

A chiffchaff sang a few short bursts near the park pond in the morning while both Cetti's warblers also burst into song at either end of the pond in the morning sunshine. A pair of long-tailed tits were busy carrying mouthfuls of feathers for their nest-building in the bramble bush in front of the hide. Two redwings were seen in some alders near the park pond.

A male pochard was asleep at the pond and 3 little egrets roosted in the trees here.

At the end of the afternoon a water vole swam across the park dyke and one adder was seen in the park earlier in the day.

Three common buzzards were seen by the East Mersea church by Martin Cock on Monday morning.
In a neighbouring garden in Firs Chase in West Mersea, a flock of 25+ redwings were seen just after daybreak on Monday.

Great excitement at Firs Chase as the first of the captive brood of emperor moths hatched out today. Four of the seven pupa kept here, hatched out although one is a very unhealthy looking runt. The healthiest two were a male and female straight into the mating game, pictured above, the orangey wing of the male just visible below the wings of the greyer female.

These are the offspring from last spring when a female caught at the park on May 6th, soon laid eggs which were carefully reared up during last summer. In total fourteen caterpillars went into pupation last July and then split into two lots spending the winter in small tanks in the garage, so we await to see how many successfully emerge.

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