Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Some of the "wild" apple trees at the country park are covered in eye-catching white blossom at the moment. However it remains to be seen how good the fruit crop will be with this prolonged period of cold northerly winds blowing at the moment. There wasn't much sun to see during Wednesday 22nd, although it was warm in areas sheltered from the wind.

Two little terns fished around the East Mersea Point on Wednesday morning and a pair of common terns sat on top of a marker post in the sea beside the park. Also at the Point was a singing reed bunting and also five linnets. A couple of whitethroats sang along the seawall and two reed warblers could be heard too. A weasel was obliging enough to scamper along the top of the seawall to within a metre, before running off into the grass.

On the grazing fields 10 greylag geese, 2 Canada geese, 10 shelduck, 6 gadwall, 3 little egrets, 8 lapwing, 3 shoveler, pair of oystercatcher, pair of redshank while on the pond were 3 pochard and 10 tufted duck. One sand martin hunted over the fields as did 6 swallows and two swifts flew over west.

Three adders basked out of the cold wind during the day while the only butterflies noted were a holly blue and a green-veined white and also a blue-tailed damselfly.
At West Mersea Adrian Amos has reported speckled wood in his East Road garden in recent days along with small tortoiseshell, holly blue, orange-tip and a comma.

A quick half-hour's visit in the early evening to the Reeveshall seawall provided views of 2 brent geese, 12 greylag geese, whimbrel, 2 common terns, 5 marsh harriers including one over Reeveshall, pair of yellowhammers and a gadwall.

Earlier Andy Field had noted along the Strood seawall, a cuckoo, 3 reed warblers, 2 common tern, 2 little tern and a corn bunting. Adrian Amos also reported a corn bunting close to the West Mersea Glebe field. On the subject of corn buntings, 2 singing birds were reported by Martin Cock on Sunday between Waldegraves and Rewsalls as well as one singing bird at Maydays along with the regular two at Chapmans Lane / Bocking Hall making an Island total so far of 7 pairs.

Andy Field heard the two East Mersea nightingales singing at 4.30am on Tuesday morning, one still present at Coopers Beach and the other one in Manwood Grove near Shop Lane. A turtle dove was also seen at Coopers Beach. In West Mersea Clive Walls reported the pair of turtle doves still visiting their garden near Willoughby car park in recent days.

The cuckoo was very vocal at the country park during Monday 20th being heard at various times and in various corners of the park including a noisy burst in the car park. The previous day a marsh harrier was seen flying away from the borrowdyke carrying what may've been a water vole as a tail could be seen dangling down from the talons.

At West Mersea early on Monday morning a black tern was seen near the outflow off Seaview Avenue at 7.30am by Graham Willmot. There was no sign of it later although 2 great northern divers were offshore and then later a gannet flying into the Blackwater was seen by Martin.
Steve Entwistle reported a cuckoo at Maydays on Sunday 19th.

A willow warbler was singing from the copse at the back of the park pond on Saturday 18th with no further sign of it the next day.

The moth trap was only put out this week just the once, on Monday night with a low catch of just ten moths. This colourful brimstone moth brightened up the small collection. A few springs ago up to a dozen brimstones would've been in the trap here in one night.

The first Chinese character moth, pictured above, of the spring was found, looking just like a bit of bird's dropping.

This yellow-barred brindle avoided the trap but was found resting nearby on the outside of the window in the morning. The only other moths were hebrew character and a chocolate-tip.

This distinctive drinker moth caterpillar was resting amongst the grass, its food-plant. It still has some feeding up to do and then after pupating, should be on the wing during July.

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