Monday, 5 April 2021


A large and strikingly-patterned female emperor moth dropped into the back garden moth trap in Firs Chase on the night of Wednesday 31st. Having previously trapped three individuals over the years at East Mersea, it's always been the highlight of mothing in the spring. I believe this is the first female emperor moth seen this year in Essex. 

Before the emperor moth was removed from the trap at 11.30 that night, it had laid 25 eggs which I've put inside a container and hope to rear up feeding the caterpillars on bramble leaves. On previous experience the eggs should hatch in about three weeks time and then the caterpillars need feeding for about seven weeks before they pupate. The moths emerge, hopefully next spring all going well.

On Monday 5th, apparently a white-tailed eagle was satellite tracked passing over the west side of Mersea Island - but sadly undetected by any observer on the ground! It headed south through Suffolk, Essex and Kent where it headed six kms out to sea before turning back at 3pm. The eagle G463 was a male from the Isle of Wight introduction project.

For an eagle-eyed observer, no eagles at Cudmore Grove on Monday although two little ringed plovers were seen feeding in the grazing fields early afternoon before disappearing. Both birds were feeding on the short grass and most of the times were out in the open rather than beside the water's edge among the rushes. They switched grazing fields and were last seen in the field nearest the Golfhouse. This is the first time a pair of little ringed plovers has stopped off on the Island in spring and although there have been a handful of previous sightings on the island, most have been in late summer rather than spring.

Birds of note on the fields were a golden plover, 20 wigeon, 150 brent geese, 12 shoveler and ten lapwings with a Cetti's warbler singing by the dyke. Later a black-tailed godwit and snipe were seen by Steve Entwistle and a yellow wagtail was seen by Shaun Bater.

Seven golden plover and a lapwing were in a field at Reeveshall on Friday while in the Pyefleet were two avocets, four dunlin and 100 redshank. while also in the area were two marsh harriers, 15 teal and a little egret.

Sunny but a chilly breeze on Sunday 4th during a walk along the Maydays seawall. Nothing much happened for the first hour and then plenty of interest. A sedge warbler was seen singing in this thick bramble bush beside the Maydays dyke - the same bush where one was present last year. Three swallows flew fast and north over fields and to the mainland, as did a yellow wagtail and a sand martin. A corn bunting was singing by the seawall and a chiffchaff was singing by Haycocks farm.

The sunshine brought a few birds of prey into the air with a red kite seen flying about on Langenhoe and a merlin was watched trying several times to chase down a small bird there too. At least five marsh harriers and five common buzzards were seen, some on Maydays / Reeveshall as well as Langenhoe. In the Pyefleet were a red-breasted merganser and great crested grebe and 145 shelduck.

Along the Strood seawall on Sunday, Andy Field watched the great white egret being chased around by the grey heron, a peregrine and a few distant buzzards and marsh harriers.
Ian Black saw a red kite flying west over the High Street on Sunday, while in Cross Lane a blackcap, chiffchaff and a willow warbler were noted by Shaun Bater.

At Cudmore Grove Steve Entwistle reported on Sunday the Cetti's warbler, two chiffchaffs, two blackcaps, while at the pond were two greylag geese and two male pochard.

A chiffchaff that has become a regular recently to Jonathan Bustard's garden was photographed on Saturday.

Another photo of the chiffchaff in Jonathan's garden in the Chatsworth area of West Mersea. It could be the same bird that has been overwintering in local gardens as one was recorded on 31st January in a neighbour's garden.
Later on Saturday Jonathan reported seeing the great white egret by the Strood channel standing in the middle of the field.

At East Mersea on Saturday the little owl was seen perched on trees at the front of the Youth Camp, while on the Rewsalls marshes were three little egrets and a pair of shelduck. At the country park Steve Entwistle had good views of the Cetti's warbler, also a chiffchaff there too but no sound of the sedge warbler that had been heard the day before there.
Eight sanderling were by the beach off Cross Lane, ten great crested grebes offshore and a blackcap was singing at St Peters.

A greenfinch was photographed in Michael Thorley's East Mersea garden.

This robin was also photographed in Michael's garden.

On Friday 2nd two great white egrets were seen in flight, one heading over to the pond at the back of the Strood fields and the other down the Ray Channel and over to Feldy marshes. Two avocets, ten grey plover, 23 shelduck, six teal, three knot and 150 redshank were along the channel while a buzzard put up three snipe feeding on a grass field. A sparrowhawk circled over the houses.

At the country park two sedge warblers were heard singing on Friday morning by Martin Cock but no sign in the afternoon. Steve Entwistle heard the Cetti's warbler and chiffchaff by the pond, also ten pochard, two little grebe pairs and three pairs of shoveler. Near the Point were 36 turnstone, 25 ringed plover, four sanderling, dunlin and in the river a great crested grebe. A pair of avocets was on the saltmarsh pools.

A female kestrel perched on the side of the East Mersea church on Thursday 1st.
A walk down to Coopers Beach produced a red-throated diver offshore while on the nearby Rewsalls marshes were a knot, 55 golden plover, four little egrets, shelduck pair, buzzard and also 12 linnets.

Andy Field reported from a visit to Cudmore Grove on Thursday a house martin with four sand martins, swallow, singing sedge warbler by the pond, a male wheatear in the fields, yellowhammer and a pair of Canada geese. Also there were a couple of singing blackcaps, three chiffchaffs, ten pochard, a little owl calling near the pond, female kestrel near its nestbox and also three marsh harriers over Langenhoe Point.
Michael Thorley saw a black-tailed godwit and 120 brent geese in the park fields, also hearing the Cetti's warbler and a chiffchaff on Thursday morning.

Two buzzards were seen over West Mersea on Thursday morning - two together over the avenues drifting north-east, one was also reported by Shaun Bater over Estuary park where a sparrowhawk was seen narrowly missing a collared dove. A siskin flew over the Firs Chase garden calling on Thursday morning.

A kestrel looked rather poorly in Charlotte Cock's garden near The Lane and not having the strength to fly. This is probably the same bird that frequented the nearby Strood fields and Feldy View over recent weeks. 

The kestrel was taken to a nearby falconer to be fed and cared for, here having a dead chick to eat.

No comments: