Tuesday, 19 April 2016


Was alerted on Tuesday 19th to this common seal pup lying on the mudflats at low tide close to the beach by Cosways caravan site and a good kilometre from the sea. The seal seemed in good condition and was very alert but seemingly read its tide table wrong and just got stranded and left behind as the tide went out during the morning.

Advice was passed on from some experts to some concerned on-lookers that the seal would hopefully become waterborne again when the tide came back in later on Tuesday evening.

Excitement in the grazing fields at the country park on Monday 18th when this male ring ouzel was found in the afternoon. It hopped along the field just like a blackbird but stood out because of the big white neck patch, as seen in this record shot by Martin Cock. Towards the end of the day it fed close to the central ditch between the two fields.
This scarce migrant was gone by the next day and already heading north to its mountain top breeding grounds.
By the Golfhouse a fieldfare and 40+ linnets were feeding in fields near here.

Some nice summer plumaged flocks of black-tailed godwits were in the grazing fields with 300 seen on Monday and 150+ noted on Tuesday.
Two waders of note seen recently was a little ringed plover flying overhead and calling as it headed north over the saltmarsh at the Point on Monday. Then the following day two male ruff with white heads and blackish necks were feeding on the pools in the fields late afternoon. A pair of pochard flew over the fields on Tuesday heading to the dyke.

Around the park 2 lesser whitethroats were singing on Monday morning as were a couple of common whitethroats and 4 blackcaps. On Tuesday a willow warbler and two lesser whitethroats were still singing. Three swallows flew over the grazing fields and the first brood of mallard ducklings were seen in the central ditch with 8 small ducklings counted.

The pair of kestrels was still on their tree, the sparrowhawk was seen a couple of times near the pond and a little owl perched high over the park entrance at dusk on Monday.

I was thrilled to see this rare oil beetle cradled in the hand of Charles Williams who'd picked it up in the car park of the park and brought it over to show me on Tuesday morning. This is the first sighting at the park and the first one on the Island for nine years, since the last colony along the Strood seawall died out after 2007.

Oil beetles have declined across the country so its great to see this one at the park, although a bit of a puzzle as to where it has come from. It has a very complex life cycle which involves the very young beetle grubs needing to hitch a piggy-back ride on a certain species of mining bee back to its nest where it then parasitizes a young bee grub.

The sunshine on Tuesday brought out the first orange-tip butterfly of the spring at the park also a peacock along the seawall. Two adders were seen with a report of a third in the middle of the park on Tuesday. The previous day four adders were noted, three of them newly sloughed their skins.

Despite the cold temperatures on Monday night this pale pinion moth was one of 15 individuals found in the trap on Tuesday morning. The pale pinion has become a more widespread moth in the county in the last fifteen years or so.
Other moths noted included 3 blossom underwings, Hebrew character, common quaker, twin-spotted quaker and early grey.

More red squirrel action at the nut feeder in the garden in Firs Chase early on Monday morning. Having only topped the feeder back up again with hazelnuts and monkey-nuts the previous evening, this greyish-red squirrel was seen tucking into the nuts at 7am the next morning.

As with the much redder squirrel seen here the previous week, this greyish one took some of the nuts from this feeder higher up the tree to eat them whilst sitting on a large limb. After a few minutes it quickly scampered along a fenceline passing through the trees and bushes as it went.

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