Sunday, 11 March 2012


On the one hand, we've said our goodbyes to the trusted friend Monty but on the other hand it seemed time to welcome the new season.

The last few days have been dry and warm with the first adders being seen around the park. Three were out basking on Thursday 8th in the same sort of places as last year. The chill on Friday saw only one adder out while four were noted on both Saturday and Sunday.

These two photos above and the one below, are of two different adders seen near the car park.

There have been a number of indications about the place that spring is in the air.
The skylarks songs are richer and louder above the park, several lapwings are digging nesting srapes in the fields, pair of kestrels appeared to mate next to their nestbox, some deafening drumming from a great spotted woodpecker and bumble bees buzzing around the pussy willow flowers. In West Mersea the striking male pied blackbird with the white head might have some eye-catching white offspring later in the spring after being seen mating in Firs Chase today.

On the grazing fields today were 73 snipe amongst the pools which is a good late "winter" count. The recent afternoon high tides have brought a nice variety of waders and wildfowl into the fields with the main peak being on Thursday. Five hundred brent geese were seen grazing, while 55 shelduck was a high count for the fields. Other duck numbers have dropped with 100 teal and 200 wigeon being seen. Rough wader roost counts have included 150 redshank, 100 black-tailed godwits and 100 curlew at the pools. Two little egrets were in the fields on Friday.

At the park pond 8 pochard, 12 tufted duck, 12 gadwall were the main ducks on Friday 9th while a water rail was seen scuttling under the bushes at the back of the pond. Amongst 5 greylag geese flying over the car park on Thursday afternoon was a barnacle goose. A weasel was seen running across a path in the park on Thursday.

A flock of 60 fieldfares and 20 redwings were feeding in grass field near East Mersea church on Friday with 20 fieldares being seen near the pub the next day.

At the end of today, Sunday 11th, I joined Andy Field on the seawall near Shop Lane to watch the harriers coming into roost on the nearby Langenhoe Point. We stayed till 6.30pm, well after the sun had set but we were rewarded with seeing five ringtails coming into roost and a male hen harrier as darkness fell. There were less marsh harriers around this time with about 12 birds being seen.

As dusk fell 1000 brent geese flew noisily off Reeveshall to their roost in the Geedon Channel. Earlier Andy had seen 3 red-breasted mergansers and a yellowhammer.

The moth trap finally emerged at the country park from winter storage and was rewarded on Thursday and Friday nights with a number of moths despite the bright full moon.
The most numerous moth was this March moth with about 20 individuals on both nights.

The familiar early spring moth the shoulder stripe pictured above, came to the trap during Friday night.

This oak beauty was the most striking moth on Friday night and although it is common, only one or two are noted each spring.
Apart from the many March moths, there were about 20 other moths in the trap with small quaker, common quaker, hebrew character, dark chestnut and dotted border noted.

This dotted border above, was one of 3 that visited the trap on Thursday night. The 30 moths that were noted that night were also present the next day with the exception of a lead-coloured drab moth.

No comments: