Wednesday, 26 August 2009


It looks like someone has sown an old button onto the face of this canary-shouldered thorn moth, when it was found in the moth trap on the morning of Tuesday 24th. The moth is a regular visitor to the trap at the end of the summer months and like the other thorn moths, holds its wings upright.

The clear sky through Monday night meant the moth catch was an average evening. About 25 macro species were recorded the next morning totalling about 70 moths. The haul included latticed heath, riband wave, chinese character, small white wave, green carpet, common carpet, willow beauty, white ermine, flounced rustic, white-point, dark swordgrass, antler, setaceous hebrew character, square-spot rustic, small square-spot and snout.

There were about 10 light emeralds, one pictured above, in the trap, suggesting a recent emergence of the late summer brood.
Several orange swifts were also noted, pictured below with their wings folded along the sides of the body.

The spotted flycatcher was seen by Steve Entwistle at the back of the grazing fields on Tuesday morning, most likely the same bird first seen near the pond on Saturday night. The nightingale was heard calling by the park entrance at dusk, whereas in previous summers they've normally gone by mid August.

Martin Cock also located a spotted flycatcher on Wednesday morning close to the entrance of the park. There seemed to be a lot of small bird activity along the various hedges and bushes between the park entrance and the pond. It was difficult trying to estimate numbers as they moved around so much but probably 70+ birds mainly following a large mixed tit flock around.

Garden warbler perched briefly by the path, 3 blackcaps, 3 lesser whitethroats, 5 whitethroats, 10 willow warblers, 2 chiffchaffs were the migrants mixing with 30+ long-tailed tits, blue tits, great tits. In the area were robin, dunnock, wren, great spotted woodpecker, goldfinch, chaffinch, song thrush, blackbird, wood pigeon and collared dove. Martin noted one of the Bromans Farm little owls on its regular fenceline just to the north of the park.

The breeze picked up during the day whipping up the sea here in front of the country park by early evening. There was a hint of spits of rain in the wind although the sun blazed hot again in the middle of the day. Recently in the coastal waters, Martin's brother saw 2 harbour porpoises in the river Colne on Sunday near East Mersea Point, while at West Mersea the resident common seal has been seen near the jetty by the Hard.

The pools in the fields have nearly dried up with no sign of the wood sandpiper since Monday morning. The usual mix of other birds were still present with 5 black-tailed godwits, 3 lapwing, 10 teal, 10 mallard and some moorhens.

In the dyke 3 pochard and a tufted duck were seen with little grebes, coots and mallard. Three yellow wagtails flew over calling while earlier two small groups of swifts on passage totalling 12 birds flew west over the park.

One young child searching for bugs and mini-beasts in the long grass in the park, squealed with excitement when this large female wasp spider turned up in her sweep net. Sitting in the hand it looks a fiercesome creature and it's just as well it prefers grasshoppers for its lunch!

Looking like a large painted Easter egg, the bright stripes make it a very colourful spider. This one was located only a few metres away from where the very first one was found in the park nearly 6 years ago.

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