Monday, 10 August 2009


Lapwings continue to feed at the shallow pools in the park grazing fields with 3 birds seen on Sunday 9th August. The pools have managed to hold some water throughout the summer months so far although in recent days they appear to be contracting leaving more mud exposed.

A couple of green sandpipers have been seen feeding in the muddy pools. Also seen on the pools was a greenshank, 5 black-tailed godwits, dunlin, 10 teal, 5 mallard and a handful of moorhens.

This black-tailed godwit shows some colour-rings with a small black flag on its legs. This has helped to track the bird back to near Lisbon in Portugal where it was ringed last November. We have been able to keep the Portuguese researcher who ringed the bird, updated on the bird's feeding habits. The rich feeding in the muddy pools meant it was tricky trying to get a photo of the bird with its head still, as it moved its beak rapidly up and down like a sewing machine. The bird was first seen here on the 10th July and has been present nearly every day since then, along with a handful of other black-tailed godwits.

This rabbit seen in front of the hide by the pond is showing signs of having myxomatosis with the distinctive swollen eyes. Unfortunately the large numbers of rabbits around the park mean that a large proportion of them will succumb to the disease in the coming weeks.

On the pond were 20 mallard, little grebes, tufted duck and duckings, mute swans with 3 cygnets, moorhens and various coot families. The nightingale was heard calling by the park entrance late in the evening on Saturday night. At least one young sparrowhawk is still calling out from the trees in the south-west corner of the park.

This field corner by the Golfhouse dyke at the east end of the Island was packed with lots of sand martins. About 200 birds sat in the bushes in the hedges, with others flying around while others dropped down onto the horse paddock to tug at what appeared to be the short grass with their beaks. Every so often the whole flock which included a few swallows and at least one house martin would take to the air, fly around and then drop back down again. About a quarter of the sand martins appeared to be youngsters.

Also in the field were a couple of yellow wagtails feeding near the horses, with whitethroats and lesser whitethroats seen in the hedges too.

On the estuary 200 black-tailed godwits were seen on the outer edge of the mudflats along with a single ruff. Thirty avocets were feeding on the eastern side of the river Colne by Brightlingsea. Twenty little terns were seen on the mud by Langenhoe Point and also a couple of common terns while one marsh harrier was noted too.

The moth trap was operated on Sunday night on a warm evening with a bit of cloud cover. This pebble hook-tip pictured above, was one of the more distinctive moths found at dawn the next morning. About 40 species of macro moth were noted but with low numbers of each species. Other moths noted included white-line dart, maidens blush, blood vein, red twin-spot carpet, lime-speck pug, peacock, poplar hawkmoth, iron prominent, dingy footman, ruby tiger, white-point, reed dagger, copper underwing and latticed heath.

The antler moth is generally a widespread moth but this individual is the first record for the park. This one has some fresh markings where the white line in the centre of the wings nearly show signs of antler-type markings that give the moth its name.


colleen said...

Your moths are captivating!

When we were up there a couple of weeks ago, we say a pair of swans and their cygnet making their way back across the sea wall from the sea. One of them was limping. Do you know them and what the probem is?

colleen said...

That shoudl say "saw a pair of swans ec"

Dougal Urquhart said...

The swans keep wandering about in search of more food for the cygnet. This is the resident family from the dyke where the plant life in the water has disappeared. The male swan got its limp last year some time but seems to manage as long as he sticks to swimming and not walking!