Monday, 31 August 2009


This area of "grass" at the country park has been getting browner and more barren through August. The area took its final pounding for the summer on the bank holiday Monday 31st, when a hundred cars had to park here after the main car park had filled up by mid-day.
Apparently parts of Essex recorded only 10 mms of rainfall during August, helping to create the parched landscape here at the park. An earlier posting 4 months ago on this blog on 30th April shows a photo of this area with the wall-to-wall carpet of daisies. Seems such a distant memory now trying to recall the area with green grass!

Despite the dry August the pools in the grazing fields have not quite dried completely up. The Portuguese colour-ringed black-tailed godwit is still finding food in the soft mud as were 3 lapwings, 3 teal and 12 moorhens. On the park pond 20 mallard were the main ducks while the 2 little grebe chicks the most vocal.

Martin Cock noted the female common scoter still off the park on Monday morning at high tide. The little owl was seen again near Bromans Farm, with one heard calling at dusk on Saturday night from Cosways caravan site. Les Bird saw a hobby fly over the park pond on Monday.

A spotted flycatcher was seen on the hedge by the pond on Sunday morning along with 3 blackcaps, 3 willow warbler, chiffchaff, 5 whitethroat and lesser whitethroat.

The moth trap set on Monday night produced about 160 moths of 17 species with the most numerous being the square spot rustic pictured above with 100 individuals noted. Colours of these square spots vary slightly in colour from light brown through dark brown and also a rich brown colour as in the individual above.

This dainty maidens blush moth with its pink blush-marks on the wings, clung to the underside of a leaf on the nearest tree. There have been several records since late spring but never more than the one specimen on each occasion.

On recent nights there have been one or two green carpets as in the picture above. This one flew off and dropped down to the ground trying to blend in amongst the grass.

Several of the tiny Chinese character moths have been coming to the trap in recent nights. When they fold their wings up at rest, they look just like a small bird's dropping. In the middle of the wing is a white squiggle that looks like a character from the Chinese alphabet.

Other moths noted included latticed heath, brimstone, light emerald, large yellow underwing, lesser yellow underwing, flounced rustic, white point, common wainscot, setaceous hebrew character, frosted orange, red twin-spot carpet, cloaked minor and snout.

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