Thursday, 9 May 2013


Clumps of bluebells have been adding a splash of colour in various places at the country park. The sunshine on a windy Thursday 9th helped brighten the place such as these plants in the dell were doing, in the spot frequented by the adders. Four adders were basking in the morning sun here, with another one beside the track and a sixth one at the east end of the park.

Checking out the remnants of the once extensive bluebell carpet in the old grove on the clifftop, a female mallard was unwittingly disturbed off her nest, not having seen it hidden amongst the bluebells. The nest was only a couple of metres from the cliff-edge with a steep drop down to the beach below. Hopefully the mother has a plan for getting the ducklings to some water after they've hatched out, as there's no water close-by other than the sea during high-tide.

Only one sand martin was flying around the cliff during the day while a small westward passage of swallows seemed to be trickling through during the morning with 20+ birds noted. No house martins yet but one swift flew over the car park. The cuckoo was heard calling from the nearby caravan site in the morning. A pair of green woodpeckers flew off the main field into the trees.

The male kestrel got very agitated on its nesting-tree as it watched a male marsh harrier hunting over the fields and then along the ditch-line getting closer and closer to it. The kestrel swooped after the harrier and chased it off with lots more anxious calling.

Birds on the fields much the same as recent days with 3 lapwing, 2 redshank, little egret, 20 teal, wigeon, 2 shoveler, 3 gadwall, 6 greylag geese, 2 Canada geese, 20 shelduck and  10 mallard. On the pond 4 pochard and 12 tufted duck were the main ducks present.

There was the briefest but classic glimpse of a hobby as it tried to chase down a swallow near the cliff-top on Wednesday 8th. The anxious calls of the swallows quickly drew my gaze towards the hobby rising high over the trees "empty-handed". It banked round and hurtled back towards the car park in typical rakish profile.

A barn owl hunting over the northern corner of the park near the entrance at 9am on Tuesday 7th was a bit surprising in the bright sunshine.

Five swifts were hunting over the houses near Upland Road in West Mersea on Thursday 9th.

The first speckled wood butterflies were on the wing at the park on Thursday 9th with about five individuals noted but surprisingly no other butterflies on the wing.

This purple thorn moth with its wings half-open, was discovered on the outside of the moth trap on Thursday morning, whilst inside the trap was a small catch of early thorn, hebrew character, common quaker and a double-striped pug.

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