Saturday, 27 September 2008


A few common lizards were out basking along thier usual hedgeline at the country park in the morning of Saturday 27th. This one pictured above had been resting on top of the fence-post when it seemed to reach up into the cluster of blackberries. I don't think it was trying to sneak a few berries but was probably after an insect amongst the fruit.

The chilly night left all the spiders' cobwebs around the park covered in dew-drops by the morning. The most recognisable webs are these distinctive circular ones hung between bushes and amongst the long grass, belonging to the common garden spider.

The dragonflies enjoying the sunny weather were southern hawker, migrant hawker and common darter but not many butterflies seen.

At the park pond there was the welcome sight of a kingfisher which proclaimed its presence with quite a show, flying round a couple of times, calling loudly as it went and then hovering high over the water for a few seconds before flying to a perch. Four little egrets stood at various points around the pond edge, while secreted away in the thick vegetation was a calling water rail. On the water a pair of gadwall, 10 teal, 2 wigeon and tufted duck joined the main group of mallard.

Several small groups of swallows passed over the park totalling about 2o birds. Three chiffchaffs were heard by the park pond with another one calling in the car park. Also noted by the pond were the usual green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, jays and kestrel.

The first rock pipit of the autumn was heard calling near the Point pictured above, and then seen dropping down into a saltmarsh creek. One wheatear flew along the beach and perched on the pillbox, meanwhile a further two were noted back along the seawall. Thirty linnets flew around the Point feeding on the saltmarsh and sea-blite bushes, two reed buntings were noted too.

Resting on the saltmarsh by the Point were 4 little egrets and other than lots of redshank on the mud, there was the nice sight of 65 avocets feeding along the water's edge.

On the park grazing fields, 7 wigeon and 2 snipe were seen in the central ditch while 50 curlew roosted in the field.

This female speckled bush-cricket was a few feet off the ground resting on an information board on top of the seawall. It had managed to find a big green noticeboard that offered a little bit of background colour to blend into.

The last hour of the day was spent enjoying the last of the sunshine along the Pyefleet at Reeveshall Marsh. For a brief spell the sun glowed a bright orange. As the sun faded, the mist started to settle in places and the visibility deteriorated when scanning into the distance. As usual the Reeveshall area always manages to put on a good evening show, it's just a shame there is less light in the evenings now.

Scanning the river Colne to the east, the first brent geese newly arrived, were seen at their regular drinking spot by the Brightlingsea seawall. Ten avocets and 2 common terns also seen in this area while by the Oyster Fishery were 100 black-tailed godwits.

The only birds on the Reeveshall pool were three mute swans and a couple of teal. However the two resident short-eared owls put on a great performance over Reeveshall up until dark. The first sighting was of one being mobbed by a group of carrion crows as it flew over the big grass field. A short while later the two owls could be seen mobbing a marsh harrier that happened to cross their territory as it headed back to the Langenhoe Marshes roost. The owls tussled with the crow and performed a few acrobatics as it passed by.

One of the owls was then mobbed in turn by another crow and the two birds circled higher and higher above the fields. The whole time the crow was calling repeatedly with lots of high-pitched notes that were very un-crow-like. After about 10 minutes the crow retreated followed by the owl which did some dramatic free-fall manuoevres as it dropped back to the field.

At least 7 marsh harriers were seen over or heading to the Langenhoe Point evening roost, including three arriving from the west over Maydays Marsh. Arriving onto the Reeveshall pool from Langenhoe for the night were 50 noisy Canada geese. Two little owls called from the Reeveshall hedgerows at dusk.

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