Sunday, 15 April 2018


Excitement at Cudmore Grove when a colourful male crossbill appeared in the car park late afternoon on Sunday 15th. It didn't seem to bothered by the people or the cars in the car park, perching prominently on a few tree-tops before settling into a pine tree to feed for half an hour or so. Long enough for Andy Field to drive from the other end of the island to Cudmore and take these two photos from the overflow car park.

The crossbill was seen tucking into the pine cones and extracting the seeds to eat. The brick-red colour showing up well against the dark green pine needles. After a while the bird was lost to view and not refound early evening. 

Whilst trying to find the crossbill early evening, a male siskin was seen roosting motionless in a pine tree. Earlier in the day a group of five siskins were feeding in some alders in the park, one of the females pictured above.

Also at the park on Sunday 15th was a reed warbler singing at the pond but not seen, also a swallow flew past, 3 pochard on the pond, 10 tufted duck, 4 wigeon, 20 teal, 10 tufted duck, also grey heron and singing reed bunting by the dyke.

Along the north side of the Island, Andy noted marsh harrier carrying a stick, 2 swallows, yellowhammer and singing sedge warbler at Maydays and two pochard at the Oyster Fishery. 
Charlie Williams noted between the Strood to West Mersea two common terns, yellow wagtail, greenshank, whimbrel, two great northern divers from the Esplanade and Mediterranean gull.
Martin Cock saw common buzzard near East Mersea church and 2 red-legged partridge at Chapmans Lane.

There was a smart male wheatear in the park's grazing field on Saturday 14th - the first one of the year here at the park. Also noted were a common buzzard flying east off the Island, 10 brent geese, 8 wigeon and a grey heron in the grazing fields.

The first comma butterfly of the spring was fluttering round some flowering blackthorn at the park.
A brimstone butterfly was flying up and down one of the paths at the park on the sunny morning of Saturday 14th, also a peacock seen on the wing.

Adders have been very scarce at the park this spring with numbers well down on previous years. This individual on Saturday was only the fourth sighting at the park this spring. A second individual was also seen in the long grass enjoying the sunshine.

Two dog-walkers at the park on Saturday beckoned me over to show me this slow-worm they had found beside the path. Also seen were a couple of common lizards in the long grass.

The highlight of the evening's mothing on Friday 13th was finding this nationally scarce sloe carpet in the trap at the park the next morning. It has struggled in recent cold springs but there seem to be a few other reports from elsewhere in Essex which is good news. The flight period coincides with the blackthorn flowering.

Always nice to see the colourful herald moth in the trap, a sign spring is starting.

The dotted chestnut has become an annual regular at the park trap in the last few years since being first seen here in 2011.

One or two frosted green moths are noted in the spring here at the park.
Fifty moths of ten species were noted on Friday 13th followed also by ten species on Saturday 14th. Blossom underwing being one of the other interesting moths noted on both nights.

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