Saturday, 27 May 2017


Swifts have returned to Andy Field's house in High Street North where this bird was seen checking out a brand new swift nest box on the side of his house. Swifts had recently stopped nesting under his roof but as they were still in the general area, a new box was put up along with the taped sound of swifts calling being played, helped lure a bird into the box. Another swift was seen going into the nearby roof space where some sparrows were already in residence.
Swift numbers have been declining in recent years and the installation of special nest-boxes can help birds breed as many new houses being built lack the gaps and holes that swifts need.

The recent warm spell in the latter part of May has been productive for moth activity. Several cream-spot tiger moths on some nights have been the highlight, one pictured above showing the colourful red body and yellow hind-wings. Numbers picked up last year after a run of several cold springs resulting in hardly any being seen.

The first eyed hawkmoth was in the trap along with three poplar hawkmoths.

A common marbled carpet caught the eye with its brown and black colour patterning.
Fifty species have been noted over recent nights with up to 180 individuals noted on the 21st with two traps at the park.

Considering the recent sunny weather butterfly numbers seem to be a bit lower this spring.
This red admiral was one of two resting early evening at the park on Thursday 25th.
The first painted lady of the spring was seen on Tuesday 23rd with this one glimpsed briefly on the park beach in the morning, as was a second painted lady. They were also seen later in the day by Ian Black.

Also enjoying the sheltered spot on the park beach on Tuesday morning was this small copper, resting high up on the sandy cliff.

Other butterflies on the wing in recent days have been several holly blues, small heath, speckled wood, large white, green-veined white and a green hairstreak seen on the 23rd.

An evening walk along the park seawall coincided with the sun setting behind the Golfhouse on Tuesday 23rd.
On the nearby saltmarsh lagoons were 7 pairs of avocets, pair of common tern and 4 nests of black-headed gulls on one of the islands. Two cuckoos flew towards the seawall, the male calling and following the other bird near the Golfhouse. Two house martins, 3 reed warblers, little tern, bar-tailed godwit, 4 sanderling, 5 ringed plover and the pair of lapwings with two chicks were all noted from the seawall. Offshore a flock of 100+ brent geese were seen flying out of the Blackwater estuary towards Colne Point, a belated return to their northern breeding grounds.

At the park pond a reed warbler and 2 pairs of pochard were present on Tuesday.

On Wednesday 24th a cuckoo was heard calling in the evening to the north west of the park near Shop Lane, while a red-legged partridge was calling from a nearby field.. Two little egrets were on the park pond.
A swift passed over the park on Thursday 25th, seven avocet chicks were noted near the Point while by the grazing fields the Cetti's warbler and the kestrel were noted in the evening.

Birds noted at the park on Monday 22nd by Martin Cock included 7 pochard, seven avocet chicks with 14 adults, 11 sanderling, pair of common tern, little tern while near the Oyster Fishery the Cettis warbler and nightingale were heard. A second nightingale was heard calling by the Oyster Fishery two days later on Wednesday 24th.

A flock of 6 jays was reported by Adrian Amos in his East Road garden.

Several caterpillar webs of the ground lackey moth were photographed on Ray Island by David Nicholls on Sunday 21st.

Red squirrels have been reported recently by Sue D'Wit in her garden just off the bottom of Oakwood Avenue on Monday 22nd and one in Suffolk Avenue by Pat Baynton on Friday 26th.

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