Friday, 10 July 2015


Like the black-tailed godwits here, I too have just returned from a short summer break to foreign lands.
There's the annual colourful wader scene on the pools at the country park's grazing fields with over 100 black-tailed godwits in their bright russet plumage were on show on Thursday 9th. Most of the birds have been gathering to roost here during the high tide, some either feeding, others preening while some have a snooze.

A common sandpiper feeding along the muddy edge was found on Wednesday by Martin Cock and was still present the next day too, although often disappearing behind the thick clumps of rushes. This is the first record this year at the park of common sandpiper.
Also noted on Wednesday were two golden plover and a whimbrel.

At least four young kestrels were perched up on the oak tree at the back of the fields, the birds just newly fledged from the nearby nest-box.

 Two little grebe chicks have grown up well on the park pond and now feeding by themselves.

Perched on bushes and also amongst the reedmace at the pond were twenty five little egrets and three grey herons on Wednesday afternoon. The egret high tide roost seems to be slowly increasing in numbers as we head through summer.

Also on the pond were five teal, shoveler, one cygnet with the swan family, 2 tufted ducks and eight mallard.
A reed warbler was calling from the edge of the pond.

A hobby flew alongside the car park being chased by noisy swallows in the middle of the day on Thursday. The first hobby sighting at the park this year, they've been scarce at this end of the Island.

There has been an increase in hirundine numbers over the park during Wednesday and Thursday with 50+ swallows and ten sand martins while a steady flow of 50+ swifts passed over the park on Wednesday.
A grey partridge was heard calling from the grassy field to the west of the country park on Wednesday, while a barn owl was seen in Bromans Lane that same morning by Martin. A barn owl was also reported being seen hunting during the morning along the park dyke sometime last week.

A ringed plover nest with four eggs was found on the beach at the Point on Wednesday by Rik and Elis Simpson of WaderQuest during their visit to Mersea to look for waders.

At Maydays a greenshank and a common seal with a pup were seen by Martin on Tuesday 7th.

Other birds noted on the Island in the last couple of weeks include a hobby at Maydays by Steve Entwistle on Sunday 5th, four Mediterranean gulls at West Mersea on the 4th by Richard Allen and several visits by a turtle dove to the West Mersea garden of Adrian Amos.

This fox cub was one of two seen on the prowl in front of the hide on Thursday evening.

The first large skipper of the season at the park posed nicely on some leaves.
There have been 50+ small/Essex skippers fluttering amongst the grass on Thursday as were a couple of six-spot burnet moths.

A couple of ringlets were on the wing with this one sitting briefly beside the path near the hide.
Also noted have been common blue, comma, red admiral, meadow brown, gatekeeper, small white and large white.

The moth trap was set up at the park on Wednesday night resulting in about 170 moths of about 40 species.
Three of the large swallow-tailed moths were noted by morning, one pictured above.

A common visitor to the trap in the summer is the buff arches with its unusual patterning.

The sand dart makes just one of two appearances each summer, a scarce coastal moth.

Three poplar greys were noted, the first ones of the year here.

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