Saturday, 1 April 2017


A few more migrants have been dropping into the country park in recent days with this nicely coloured male wheatear seen on the grazing fields on Thursday 30th. With declining wheatear numbers, finding one in March has become more challenging in recent years. There was no sign of it the next day.

At least three chiffchaffs have been singing around the park, one pictured above. Joining them on Thursday was a singing willow warbler near the park pond which stayed for a couple of days. The first blackcap at the park was also seen on Thursday, singing near the park entrance.

Also noted on Thursday were two pairs of pochard and 12 tufted ducks on the pond, 30 black-tailed godwits on the fields while in the Colne a male red-breasted mergansers and 5 common scoter flew out of the river. Four avocets were on the saltmarsh pools near the Point.

A peregrine circled above the field to the north of the park on Wednesday 29th before drifting north. Eight little egrets were at the pond for high tide while on the fields fifty redshank, 10 black-tailed godwits and 45 curlew were roosting.
A weasel ran across the car park on Wednesday afternoon.

The loud call of the male grey partridge in the car park on a foggy Tuesday 28th was very unexpected. It called for a minute before flying onto the main field of the park and calling again, presumably in the hope of locating a mate.
The following day a red-legged partridge was calling from the field to the west of the car park and then a pair was seen on Friday 31st.

This male great spotted woodpecker was seen tapping an electricity pole to the north of the park by Andy Field on Friday 31st.

At West Mersea the black redstart was reported back again behind the Dabchicks sailing club by Mark Dixon on Tuesday 28th.

After ten years of waiting for the grassland habitat to become suitable, several batches of eggs of the nationally rare Fishers Estuarine moth were introduced to the stand of hogs fennel plants at the country park. Under the guidance of Zoe Ringwood and the help of Glen Fairweather at Colchester Zoo, the eggs were delivered and should be ready to hatch out in the next few weeks and the tiny larvae will find plenty of well established hogs fennel plants for them to feed on.

An orange-tip butterfly fluttered along the track by the car park on Friday 31st, the first time one has been recorded in March here before. A holly blue flitting around the holly bushes in the car park on Wednesday 29th was the first ever record here in March too. A comma was noted on Thursday 30th at the park.

Six early thorns were found by the moth trap at the park during the night of Tuesday 28th - the best tally for early spring for this moth. Just over 100 moths of eight species were noted with most of them either common quakers or Hebrew characters. Also noted were red chestnut, chestnut, clouded drab and small quaker.

A frosted green came to the trap on Wednesday night, the first for the season.

A couple of twin-spotted quakers were also in the trap, showing their distinctive pair of black spots on each wing.

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