Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Despite the chilly north wind on Monday 10th, there was a fair amount of warmth in the sun out of the wind. Making the most of the autumn sunshine along the sheltered path between Meeting Lane and ShopLane were a nice selection of butterflies.
The highlight was this colourful clouded yellow which seemed to favour the yellow flowers of a bristly ox-tongue growing in a field corner.
A clouded yellow was also seen a few days previously by Martin Cock near Cross Lane on Wednesday 5th.

At least five red admirals were also enjoying the sunshine on the hedgerow with this feeding on the blackberries.

Speckled woods were flitting along the bottom of the hedge in three different spots.

It seems to have been a poor year for small coppers on the Island with this individual the first sighting this autumn. There might be still be one or two to find at the park over the next fortnight.

Six small whites were nectaring on various plants such as this fleabane above, and also on the bristly ox-tongue. At least fifty common darters were seen along the same sheltered path from Meeting Lane.

Birds noted along the walk from Meeting Lane included a common buzzard, yellowhammer, 4 chiffchaffs and 2 goldcrests.

A rewarding couple of hours along the Strood seawall on Monday afternoon provided views of a peregrine over the Strood Hill, marsh harrier quartering the fields, also kestrel and sparrowhawk over the fields. A pair of stonechats were at one end and a third bird at the other end, with a wheatear in between.

A green sandpiper and a snipe flew out of the ditches, 50 teal and 10 reed buntings were in the dyke, 20 linnets and a rock pipit were also noted flying about.
In the Strood Channel 5 greenshank, 200 golden plover and 100 black-tailed godwits were the waders of note.

A bearded tit was heard calling from the dyke reedbed along the Strood on Sunday 9th by Ian Black, but no sight or sound of it on Monday.

At the country park on Monday morning this grey plover was one of several seen near the Point. Also from here a wheatear, rock pipit, snipe and 25 linnets at the Point with 20 shelduck on the mud and 300 brent geese in the estuary.

A sparrowhawk was seen flying low across the park pond, thumping into the reeds, then emerging clutching a small brown bird in its talons. Luckily the Cetti's warbler was heard continuing its singing after this incident, so it wasn't the male snatched! A reed warbler was heard calling from the reeds.
On the pond 50 wigeon, tufted duck, twenty teal, pair of gadwall and two shoveler were the main wildfowl here.

Around the park a pair of blackcaps, 2 house martins, ten skylarks over, brambling over the car park, swallow, 7 chiffchaffs and at least two goldcrest were all noted. At nightfall a barn owl was quartering the long grass of the main park on Monday evening.

A wryneck was heard calling from the back of the park pond on Sunday by Mike Harris. No sight or sound of it the next morning.

This lapwing was seen beside the park borrowdyke on Saturday 8th, where it did a bit of preening.
A kingfisher was seen at the park pond, a redpoll and four swallows flew over the pond, 16 goldfinches fed in the alders.
At the Golfhouse 2 blackcaps, 100 linnets, 10 meadow pipits and rock pipit were noted, while 200 wigeon and 300 brent geese and a snipe were in the Colne.
Eight red-legged partridge were in the field by Bromans Lane.

This big hornet hoverfly came buzzing towards Steve Entwistle and myself at the park on Sunday and looking just like a hornet had us worried when it got a bit close. We glanced at this quickly taken photo and realised it was only a hoverfly!

A partially obscured male kingfisher was the best view of this bird after it flew the full length of the park dyke, one of a pair seen along the dyke on Friday 7th.
A brambling perched briefly in the car park in the morning, also fifty linnets, 3 goldcrest and a redwing were the other birds of note at the park that morning.

A visit on Friday morning to the fields by Coopers Beach and the church area produced 20 blackbirds, 5 song thrushes, 2 chiffchaffs, blackcap, 10 skylarks, 6 meadow pipits, 20 goldfinches, 50 little egrets on the mud, 5 Mediterranean gulls, 4 little grebes and a common buzzard.

At West Mersea a black brant was seen by St Peters on Friday by Neil Mortimer.

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