Friday, 22 May 2009


The cream-spot tiger moth pictured above on Thursday 21st , is probably the most strikingly marked moths of the park. There have been a few more moth species in the trap in recent nights, now that the nights aren't so cold and the wind has been lighter lately.
The cream-spot is quite a scarce moth athough there are reasonable numbers around the grasslands of the Essex coast. The picture below show the vivid red markings on the underside of the moth.

Some of the other moths noted in recent nights have included pale tussock, sandy carpet, clouded silver, clouded border, figure of 80, nutmeg, ingrailed clay, maidens blush, muslin, marbled minor, scalloped hazel, lime-speck pug, white-point, common wainscot and shoulder-striped wainscot. The two trapping sesions on Wednesday and Thursday nights produced a combined tally of 32 species of macro moth, which doesn't sound too bad although only ones and twos of each species.

The poplar hawk is a common moth that looks like some loose peeling bark when it is at rest during the day. A couple of these large moths have been found in the trap on two of the recent mornings.

This tiny caterpillar only about 15mm in length, resting on a hawthorn leaf beside a path in the park, was spotted only because of its striking red / orange colour. This caterpillar is a yellow-tail moth, a reasonably common visitor to the moth-trap in July and August.

Insects seen at the park during the day include common blue, holly blue, several painted ladies, speckled wood, small white, orange-tip and peacock. A hairy dragonfly was seen just north of the park on Tuesday, hawking along a hedge. On Wednesday 3 adders and a common lizard were soaking up the sun at the park in their usual spot.

The nightingale is still singing loudly at times by the car park while its rival on the cliff-top is still present but less vocal. Common whitethroats seem to be in most corners of the park, lesser whitethroats are occasionally heard as is the blackcap and chiffchaff. Up to 20 sand martins are still flying around the cliff and the nearby fields. Two house martins were seen just north of the park on Tuesday and 2 swifts passing over the park has been a rare sight so far this spring.

The lapwing chicks are still flourishing on the grazing fields and despite the sight of the resident fox in the same field, none appear to have been predated with 10 chicks from 3 broods. Also on the pools are a couple of mallard broods, 3 redshank, greenshank occasionally, 20 shelduck, 2 pairs of gadwall and a pair of shoveler, along with the gulls, moorhens and others.

The sparrowhawk has been seen on a couple of occasions flying to the trees in the south-west corner of the park. The two kestrels were seen on Wednesday sitting on the oak tree with the nest-box, at the back of the grazing fields. The little owl could be heard calling from Bromans Farm on Wednesday evening.

Three corn buntings were seen perched up on bushes by the East Mersea road and the nearby Chapmans Lane on Thursday morning. A little owl perched on a telegraph pole on the East Mersea road by the Youth Camp lane at dusk on Tuesday.

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