Monday, 10 October 2016


A family of pied wagtails has been a familiar sight around the car park at Cudmore Grove recently. Some of their feeding has taken the birds onto the roofs of the buildings which is where this male was seen calling from.

Also feeding close to the park buildings was this goldfinch, one of a dozen birds feeding on the buddleia seeds beside the information room.

Birds noted at the park on Thursday 6th were 100 golden plover, 100 linnets, snipe and a marsh harrier - all seen on the grazing fields. Also 50 brent geese and 180 wigeon by the foreshore and 10 skylark flew over the car park.
Steve Hunting noted nine goldcrest in the conifer wood in Shop Lane on Thursday.

On Wednesday 5th three common scoter were dozing on the sea opposite the park, a red-breasted merganser flew into the Colne, yellow wagtail flew over, also one redwing heard calling, while 98 little egrets roosted at the pond.
At West Mersea Martin Cock noted 15 Mediterranean gulls were offshore from Waldegraves, also a merlin flew south over the Blackwater to Bradwell.

A peregrine flew fast over the park's grazing fields on Tuesday 4th heading east into the estuary, snipe, 2 redwings were seen near the pond and a yellow wagtail was feeding beside the cows.

Seventy little egrets roosted at the park pond on Monday 3rd, also 100 wigeon, 50 brent geese, 50 linnets, 3 common terns and 2 redwings were noted.

Catches of moths at the park since the end of September have been dominated by lots of lunar underwings. This autumn seems to have been a good year for them, with a peak of about 100 individuals on 29th September. The surrounding grassland of the park provides the foodplant nearby.
There is quite a variation in the colours of the lunar underwings as seen above.

Another grassland moth that has also had a good autumn has been the beaded chestnut with a peak of 20 individuals in the one trap. Last year's peak was only 8 individuals on the 4th October.

One or two mallows have been coming to the trap since the start of October.

Other moths in the first week of October have included angle shades, large yellow underwing, deep-brown dart, black rustic, barred sallow, L-album wainscot, square-spot rustic, shuttle-shaped dart, setaceous Hebrew character, autumnal rustic, yellow-line quaker, green-brindled crescent as well as rusty dot pearl and one or two rush veneers.

The first sighting of a rosemary beetle at the park was this individual in the moth trap on 3rd October.

Stephen and Josie Marshall have been enjoying views of a red squirrel in their garden in Firs Chase, these photos taken on Tuesday 4th. Feeding on walnuts was interspersed with drinks from the bird-bath.

The red squirrel visited twice during the morning about twenty minutes apart, feeding on the many walnuts on a tree in the garden.

It was seen to shuck and shell the walnuts before running off with each one in its mouth to bury it.

Some of the nuts have been buried in a raised vegetable bed down the garden and others in some herb pots by the back door.
The Daniel family next door to the Marshalls have also been watching the red squirrels recently in their garden too and noted how the ground is so hard the squirrel has struggled to dig a hole, and has reverted to burying walnuts in softer soil in plant pots.

These photos kindly passed to me by Stephen were taken through the glass window of their house.

Another report of a red squirrel sighting was in Haycocks Lane, seen running along the lane on Thursday 6th by Sheila Rayner.

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