Saturday, 15 August 2015


Welcomed one of the country's most travelled moth enthusiasts Dave Grundy from Birmingham to Cudmore Grove on Thursday 13th, for his 71st mothing session this year which has taken him to a variety of different locations around the UK. He was hoping to see some migrant moths and some coastal specialities.

Dave is pictured above inside the park seawall just after dawn on Friday morning, examining the moth catch during a spell of light drizzle. The night's weather turned from a thunderstorm in the early evening into a perfect night with light easterly wind and a warm muggy temperature not lower than 18 degrees. Six traps were set up and by dawn over 100 species of micro and macro moths were noted.

The biggest and most spectacular moth was this convulvulus hawkmoth, which had steered away from all of Dave's traps and was found clinging to the underneath of the bright light fitting inside my Robinson trap at five in the morning.

It's been several years since convulvulus hawkmoth has been recorded at the park, a scarce late summer migrant from the continent. Nine years ago three were logged on the same night in mid September. This moth is one of the largest to occur in the UK and although plain to look at, it has bright pink bands on the sides of the abdomen.

The other notable moth found in one of  Dave's traps was a Ni moth, a rare migrant not seen at the park before. A couple have been noted recently on the east side of the mouth of the Colne by Clive Atkins.

The first September thorn of the autumn was seen inside one of the traps. It's a fairly common moth, one or two seen each year, the caterpillars feeding here on the leaves of oak or lime.

One of the typical moths of the Essex coast in summer is the sandhill rustic pictured above. A saltmarsh moth, those traps nearest the seawall area had 42 counted in them by the morning.

Other interesting moths included dark swordgrass, 5 small mottled willow, 3 tree lichen beauty, garden tiger, Webb's wainscot, archers dart, starwort, cypress pug, coronet, crescent and 5 white-points.

Three saltmarsh plumes were seen standing in their distinctive posture with their wings pointing forward.
Other micro moths of note included sulphur pearl, rusty dot pearl and the nationally scarce hook-tipped grass veneer.

 There was a mixed flock of waders roosting on the saltmarsh pools near the East Mersea Point on Friday 14th. Mainly 100 black-tailed godwits but also one bar-tailed godwit, 30 redshank, 50 dunlin, and a golden plover. Five sanderling flew over while 50 ringed plovers were seen on nearby mud.

Further along the seawall near Ivy Farm, the telescope was needed to scan the distant Rat Island further up the river. Two spoonbills were picked out through the heat haze, roosting on the saltmarsh with their beaks tucked over their backs. After a long wait, the two spoonbills eventually flew off with their long beaks stretched out, landing a short distance away in the south Geedon channel out of view.
Five birds had been reported here the day before and Andy Field had managed to see one in flight over Langenhoe during his walk along the Pyefleet on Wednesday.

Also seen in the Colne on Friday were 10 little terns, 4 common terns, greenshank and a sparrowhawk crossing the river.

Twenty four little egrets were seen on and around the copse behind the park pond. At one point all of them flew up and landed briefly on the old kestrel tree.
On the nearby pools in the fields, a common snipe, 20 black-tailed godwits, 10 lapwing and 5 teal were noted.

A green sandpiper was heard flying over the mudflats on Wednesday and a hobby flew past the pond upsetting the swallows on Tuesday early evening. A willow warbler was calling at the park on Wednesday and one or two yellow wagtails have been heard most days recently.

A handful of speckled woods have been seen in recent days along the shadier paths at the park.
The buddleia bushes in the car park have had comma, large white, red admiral and small white on them.

The first wasp spider of the summer was seen last Sunday 9th at the park by Mat Larkin.

As a red squirrel was providing good views in gardens on East Road, East Mersea, such as at the Haven for half an hour on Thursday, there was the unwelcome sighting from Julie Newman's mother of a grey squirrel near the beach at West Mersea on the same day.

No comments: