Saturday, 8 August 2009


Made the annual visit just off the Island to the garden of Hugh Owen at Langenhoe on Friday 7th to check for the nationally rare white-spotted pinion moth. Sadly the moth decided not to show on the night. Joe Firmin and Ian Rose of the Essex Moth Group in the picture above check one of the five traps.

This very plain cresent striped moth was the most notable find, listed as nationally scarce, it's a coastal species reliant on saltmarsh grasses as the foodplant for its larvae. It's not been recorded on Mersea yet but it's quite likely to occur as individuals have been found to the east and the west of the Island.

Other moths noted on the night included lesser spotted pinion, black arches, poplar hawkmoth, bulrush wainscot, iron prominent, ruby tiger, white point, magpie, flounced rustic, red twin-spot carpet, maidens blush, cypress pug, canary-shouldered thorn and cream-bordered green pea.

An evening visit on Saturday 8th to Reeveshall provided a hazy sunset over the pool. Birds here included the adult and young avocet, green sandpiper, snipe, 4 little grebe and 10 lapwing. Two hobbies were watched flying high over the Pyefleet Channel to Langenhoe, before returning back high over the Oyster Fishery building. They homed in rapidly on a large flock of 150 sand martins with the first hobby diving down onto one martin. Immediately the second hobby joined in the hunt and also dived down after another martin. Despite the twists, turns and more stoops both hobbies were unsuccessful and flew off high.

There was plenty of mud on show along the Pyefleet with a reasonable wader tally of 15 species noted. These included greenshank, whimbrel, avocet, grey plover, golden plover, ringed plover several avocets and the regular redshank, curlew, black-tailed godwits, turnstone and oystercatcher.

Also seen were 3 marsh harriers, 25 little terns, 10 common terns, yellow wagtail and two shelduck broods.

The little owl was sitting beside the East Mersea road at Weir Farm just after nightfall.

Earlier in the day willow warblers were heard in Firs Chase, Broomhills road and 3 were noted off Meeting Lane.

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