Sunday, 2 August 2009


On my visit to Reeveshall in the evening of Sunday 2nd, I was shown this dead female sparrowhawk beside the Shop Lane wood by Charlie Pollard. Neither of us could work out why it had died, although it had already been dead for a few days. There was no outward signs of damage to the bird or signs of blood.

The sparrowhawks appear to have nested in this wood this year as well as several other places on the Island. The family at the country park are still present and there is a report they may also have bred near the East Mersea church. In West Mersea young have been heard in the Reymead Wood area and also in the area of the Lane.

The evening walk along the Reeveshall seawall with Martin Cock provided views of 18 species of wader in the two hours - not a bad tally! The usual mid summer selection of waders included 10 common sandpiper, 2 green sandpiper, 1 spotted redshank, 2 greenshank, whimbrel, knot, 70 avocet, ruff, 120 black-tailed godwit, 5 bar-tailed godwit, 200 redshank, 25 curlew, 10 lapwing, 10 grey plover, 3 golden plover, 20 oystercatcher, 50 dunlin and 8 turnstone.

Also noted were lots of terns roosting on Langenhoe Pt with about 50 common terns and 50 little terns. Six marsh harriers were seen, also 3 shelduck broods, 3 grey herons, 10 little egrets and a common seal.

On Reeveshall 4 stock doves were noted and 8 brown hares, while Martin watched a hobby and a peregrine together from Maydays earlier in the day.

At the country park in the morning, a hobby passed by followed by lots of sand martins and swallows. On the pools a snipe, green sandpiper, 5 teal, 10 black-tailed godwits and a dunlin were present.

Two small tortoiseshell butterflies graced the buddleia bush in the car park throughout Sunday. These butterflies have become scarcer in recent years so it was nice to see these two.

I wasn't the only person enjoying the variety of species and numbers of butterflies on this one buddleia bush, as the picture above shows. Many folk passing by this bush stopped to admire the colourful and very obliging butterflies. Around 20 painted ladies stole the show, along with a number of peacocks, red admiral, comma, large white, small white, meadow brown and hedge browns.

The beach may've been empty in the morning but it was very busy in the afternoon. A willow warbler heard in the cliff-top bushes would appear to be a migrant stopping off. The sparrowhawks and green woodpeckers have been very vocal in the trees along the top of the cliff.

Thousands of ladybirds could be seen around the park but especially along the beach and clifftop. All along the wooden paling fence on the clifftop were masses of ladybirds, with three of them pictured above. Hundreds of them could be seen flying about and several would land on you with the occasional one giving you a little nip on the skin. One lady with a yellow top was swatting them madly away as she tried to walk down on the beach. There were reports elsewhere in East Anglia of millions of ladybirds plaguing visitors to the coast on Sunday especially in north Norfolk.

This speckled bush-cricket is quite a common cricket around the park, but remains well hidden amongst the low vegetation. The tiny speckled markings can be seen all over the body and legs.

Matthew Thorley reported the large and striking red underwing moth recently at his house alongside the East Mersea road. Steve Entwistle saw a clouded yellow butterfly at Maydays Farm a fortnight ago - the first report on the Island this year.

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