Monday, 31 August 2009


This hedge near the country park entrance, pictured above, often has one or two migrant birds feeding along it and on Saturday 29th three spotted flycatchers were seen here in the morning. Spotted flycatchers stopped nesting on the Island about 10 years ago and the only ones seen in recent years are the autumn migrants that stop off on their way south. These 3 flycatchers together would appear to be different to the single bird seen near the pond a few days earlier.

The area often catches the morning sun but is sheltered from the westerly winds and is often popular with the roving tit flocks. Other warblers which could've been migrants were 3 blackcaps, 4 willow warblers, 2 chiffchaff, 5 common whitethroats and lesser whitethroat. The nightingale called briefly too, which is the latest date that one of the resident ones has been noted here over recent summers.

Before the crowds arrived onto the park beach for the day 2 wheatears were seen in front of the cliff, 2 whinchats hopped along the seawall and 3 reed buntings were seen at the Point. A rred warbler flew into the reeds alongside the dyke.

Butterfly numbers have dropped off sharply in recent days but those noted include painted lady, red admiral, speckled wood, small heath, large white and small white.

An evening visit to the Pyefleet Channel coincided with the tide pushing the waders close to the shore. Some of the birds such as the gulls fitted in a short snooze before the tide covered the mud. Most of the 40 common terns seen in the area were standing on the brushwood breakwaters as the tide rose.

Whilst scanning through 200 dunlin, a hobby swooped down sending the group scatteing in different directions. The hobby flew slowly past and headed off east where 50 swallows and martins rose into the air. The main waders on show were 300 redshank, with 80 black-tailed godwits, 20 ringed plover, 3 knot, one avocet, whimbrel and a grey plover.

Beside the Reeveshall pool 6 whinchat and 2 wheatears perched on bushes and fences, while on the drying out pool 5 black-tailed godwits, 4 little grebes, wigeon, 3 lapwing and a pair of mute swans were seen. Feeding noisily amongst the large flock of sheep and cattle were 400+ jackdaws and rooks. Two marsh harriers were seen flying over the Langenhoe marsh, opposite East Mersea. A flock of twelve little egrets headed off east to the evening roost, presumably to St Osyth Priory.

Earlier on Saturday morning Graham Willmot watched an osprey from West Mersea flying westwards just 100 metres off the beach below Seaview Avenue.

The moth trap was set on Saturday night at the park and this nicely patterned frosted orange was one of the moths noted. The clear night sky and breeze kept moth numbers low with only about 70 moths of 15 species noted. The most numerous ones were flounced rustics and square spot rustics, while also noted were angle shades, orange shell, rosy rustic, scalloped oak, green carpet and common wainscot.

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