Sunday, 30 June 2019


A tatty painted lady was seen on Friday 28th in the West Mersea Feldy cemetery. Three painted ladies were seen at various locations near the Firs Chase caravan site and the Strood seawall. There have been several reported in West Mersea gardens over the last week following the recent influx in the second half of June from the continent. 

Three small tortoiseshells were also seen enjoying the sunshine in Feldy cemetery.

The first ringlet for the season in West Mersea was another butterfly seen at the Feldy field on Friday.

A check of some purple toadflax proved worthwhile as at least ten caterpillars of the nationally rare toadflax brocade moth were found feeding on one of the plants in Feldy.

The moth has been spreading across Essex and was first seen on the Island by the Potifars in Shop Lane last year. The toadflax brocade caterpillars should be easy to spot at the moment on any flowering purple toadflax in gardens.

A great crested grebe was feeding in the Strood Channel on both Friday 28th and Saturday 29th.
Also on Friday a marsh harrier quartering the fields, the regular buzzard perched on one of the field hedgerows with another common buzzard flying north-east over the Lane. A corn bunting, whitethroat, 2 reed warblers were heard singing, while 3 yellow wagtails and 50 house sparrows were by the seawall.
The first returning waders of the autumn were feeding on the Strood mud with ten curlew and ten redshank noted.

At East Mersea Point a ringed plover chick was seen on the beach by Martin Cock during the third week in June although by the 26th the adults were calling anxiously but the chick wasn't spotted, maybe it was hiding. Another ringed plover nest with three eggs was found seemingly abandoned with no sign of adults nearby.

The red squirrels have continued to visit the Firs Chase garden feeders throughout June such as this adult male without the ear tufts.

One of the regular young adult males still with the dark ear tufts, has also been making daily visits. There were at least half a dozen visits on Thursday 27th including two red squirrels present at the same time in the morning and again in the afternoon.

A muntjac deer was seen just after daybreak in the Firs Chase garden on Thursday 27th.

Saturday, 29 June 2019


While I've been away for a break, Andy Field has taken a variety of photos in my absence.
A pair of swifts have taken up residence in a swift nestbox on Andy house in High Street North. The box-cam showed it laid its first egg on the 23rd June.

The camera shows the pair of swifts snuggled up together for the night. A second pair of swifts is also nesting elsewhere in the roof of Andy's house - a rare treat these days to still have swifts nesting in your house!

 A pair of Sandwich terns was seen in the Pyefleet perched on posts by the East Mersea Oyster Fishery on Monday 17th.

This pair of Sandwich tern is presumably the same pair that have stayed in the Colne over recent weeks.

At Cudmore Grove the pair of kestrels nesting in the box at the back of the grazing fields appeared to have four young showing in the box on 21st June.
In the Mersea Quarters, 3 eider were seen on the 13th June by Steve Hunting.

A ringlet was photographed by Andy at Cudmore Grove on 26th June.

Ringlets have become well established at the park since first being seen there in 2012.

A red squirrel photographed by Andy in my Firs Chase garden, whilst checking the nut level in the feeders during my absence.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019


The regular male yellow wagtail was singing beside the Strood seawall on Tuesday 4th. There appeared to be three different pairs at various intervals along the Strood seawall.
A male marsh harrier spent time quartering the fields, passing close by to a cuckoo perched on some overhead wires - the cuckoo had been calling repeatedly from the tree tops and telegraph poles up by the edge of West Mersea.

A corn bunting was singing as were 4 reed warblers and 3 reed buntings, while ten linnets were feeding in the rape field. A pair of Mediterranean gulls flew high over Ray Island and two common terns were seen along the channel.

At Cudmore Grove on Tuesday, Andy Field reported 5 pochard, the pair of kestrels in their tree at the back of the grazing fields, five sanderling in summer plumage, two common terns in the Colne and also a stoat seen carrying a small mammal near the bird hide.

A brood of six young mallard ducklings were in the park borrowdyke on Monday 3rd. Three pairs of tufted duck were also present while the pair of mute swans present has not nested at all this spring.

Also on Monday an adult Mediterranean gull was an unusual visitor to the park dyke in the company of a few black-headed gulls. Nearby three black-headed gulls appear to be nesting on an island on the saltmarsh lagoon. A redshank, one shelduck and an oystercatcher were also on the lagoon while on the nearby mudflat were four ringed plover and two dunlin.

Two male marsh harriers were flying over Langenhoe Point, while two great crested grebes and a common tern were in the Colne.

Three young song thrushes are being raised in the Firs Chase garden by their attentive adults.

The adult song thrushes have been busy feeding masses of snails to their young, leaving lots of shells lying on the patio.
A juvenile great spotted woodpecker with its red cap flew across the garden and perched high in a tree along with another great spotted woodpecker.

There are still several visits a day by several red squirrels to the feeders in the Firs Chase garden. Two of the youngsters pictured here were happy to feed alongside each other, now that two extra feeders have been installed on the tree. One of the squirrel coat's has turned quite dark-brown along the back. There have been some frantic chases around the tree trunk at breakneck speed recently, normally resulting in one backing off.

It was calm and sunny along the Strood Channel on Sunday 2nd with main highlights seen from the seawall being a common buzzard, common tern, 3 yellow wagtails and a cuckoo calling from the top of Strood Hill.
The cuckoo was also calling on Saturday 1st near the top of Strood Hill and a lesser whitethroat was singing by Firs Chase.

There's a nice display of ox-eye daisies in the Feldy View cemetery.

Sunday, 2 June 2019


The moth trap was worth switching on in the Firs Chase garden during the last ten days of May with the warmer night temperatures. After the cold start to the spring nights during April and early May, the mothing has become more productive.
This lime hawkmoth was the main highlight on 25th May amongst 44 species of macro moth.

Two pale tussocks were resting outside the trap, in the their characteristic pose with front legs stretched out. A gentle blow of air over the body provoked the moth to stick its wings up in the air.

The coronet moth has become a common sight at the moth trap in recent years.

The distinctive black and white patterning of the pale form on the peppered moth.

The aptly named iron prominent showing the iron colouration on the wings.

The scalloped hazel doesn't appear to be a common moth on the Island, with only 3 previous records at Cudmore Grove since 2006.

The poplar grey is a common moth with several individuals noted each summer.

A latticed heath dropped into the trap on a couple of recent nights.

The tawny-barred angle has been a surprisingly scarce moth on the Island with the only previous record being last year at Cudmore Grove.

The figure of eighty is a common moth and has been recorded most recent years.

A sign of possible moth immigration was on 23rd May with two white-points being seen.

Another migrant on the 23rd was this micro-moth, the diamond-backed moth.