Monday, 10 August 2015


A couple of hummingbird hawkmoths were feeding on the two buddleia bushes beside the buildings at the country park on Friday 7th. It's the first time two have been seen together on the same bush, albeit very briefly.

One of them also fed at the buddleia on the day after and again on Monday 10th, but not as prolonged or obliging as on Friday.

The wings are beating so fast they're a blur, while the body is motionless as the proboscis is inserted into each small flower.

A most unexpected visitor to the moth trap at the park during the night of Sunday 9th was this nationally scarce white-spotted pinion - a national biodiversity action plan priority species. It has never been recorded on the Island before although it has occurred a mile to the north of Mersea on the mainland at Langenhoe.

It has declined nationally in recent years because its foodplant the elm has been affected by Dutch Elm disease. Here at the park, elm still survives in places but only as suckering bushes before they succumb to the disease again after a few years.

This individual was spotted lying outside the trap on the white sheet at about midnight. It was photographed the next morning pictured above, and then released.

Around 150 macro moths were caught overnight and by 5am on Monday there were five of these scarce immigrant moths, the small mottled willow in the trap.

The first pebble hook-tip of the year was found in the trap at dawn. There was also an oak hook-tip seen too.

The black arches has been noted in recent summers but just the occasional individual each time.

Other moths noted amongst the 40 species were lackey, drinker, maidens blush, least carpet, sharp-angled peacock, latticed heath, peppered, rosy rustic, ear sp, silver-Y, poplar hawkmoth, white-line dart, cabbage, straw underwing, and flounced rustic.

One of the distinctive micro-moths at the trap was this giant water veneer, an occasional visitor each summer.

Two old lady moths were discovered hiding in the gents toilets at the country park on Friday 7th! Both were hiding inside the litter bin and were only found when the bag was being changed. A few days earlier one of them was hiding in the toilet roll dispenser!

Up to ten mistle thrushes have continued to strip the rowan berries in the car park, this one reaching up to pluck another berry off.

Noted at the park today were 3 little terns and 2 common terns close to the beach in the morning. A dozen golden plover flew over the car park while on the fields a common snipe fed on the mud while ten sand martins flew around with 50+ swallows.

A marsh harrier flew west over the car park on Sunday 9th as did a Mediterranean gull and a yellow wagtail.
On the pools 200 redshank and 150 black-tailed godwit were roosting at high tide. A reed warbler was singing from the hedge alongside the car park in the morning.
A green sandpiper flew over the car park heading west on Saturday 8th, calling out loudly as it went.
A Mediterranean gull flew over the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall on Saturday.

Butterflies seen on the hot Sunday at the park included a common blue, red admiral, hedge brown, comma, speckled wood, large white, small white and gatekeeper.

An adder was reported at the park on Monday 10th.

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