Friday, 7 November 2008


The brent geese started feeding on the winter wheat crop next to the country park on Friday 7th. Around 400 geese were spread out across the large field, tucking into the newly sprouted shoots of wheat. Earlier in the day the geese had been seen feeding on one of their regular fields in previous winters, on the north side of East Mersea.
Also feeding in the field next to the park were about 50 lapwing, a small flock of starlings, rooks, pheasants as well as a grey heron standing in the middle of the field.

At the park pond there was the usual mix of six species of duck totalling probably about 100 birds although a lot were hidden in the reeds. One pochard, 2 tufted, 6 gadwall, 15 shoveler with the rest mallard and teal.

Recent rains have bounced the water level up in the main ditch in the grazing fields, pictured above. There is surface water lying in some parts while other low-ways are still very dry. Along one club-rush filled creek, ten snipe flew off calling, while from the central ditch a few shoveler, wigeon, teal and mallard flew off.
A sizeable flock of 60 goldfinches flew around in between feeding on the old thistles and there were several skylarks that took off from the fields too.

On the saltmarsh near the Point there were 100 wigeon, whilst on the mudlfats nearby were about 1000 golden plover roosting. Along the outer edge of the Colne were 25 avocets feeding by the river's edge. At least five little egrets were feeding on the mudflats at low tide although it seemed like there were other individuals flying around as well. A pair of stonechats perched up on bushes by the beach.

In the park a kestrel hovered above areas of long grass, three song thrushes have continued to stay close to the rowan trees and their berries. A few goldcrests foraged with the mixed tit flock which included lots of long-tailed tits.

On Wednesday a yellowhammer and a fieldfare were seen flying over the car park. Two male tawny owls were heard calling loudly to each other along Bromans Lane on Tuesday night with another tawny seen perched on a speeed limit sign along the East mersea road, west of the pub, late on Wednesday night.
At West Mersea Richard Hull saw a woodcock fly past the Hard on Monday afternoon.

When the sun came out in the afternoon, this female common darter dragonfly was seen sunning itself on a wooden fence in the car park. The run of mild winters recently has meant that it not unusual to see these dragonflies well into November. In 2006 two were seen on the 22nd November. A red admiral flew across the car park in the middle of Friday.

The moth trap was run during a couple of nights in calm but fairly misty conditions with about 30 moths of 9 species noted on the 5th. The main moth present was this feathered thorn pictured above, with at least 15 in and around the trap on one morning. Also present were the brick, mallow, November sp, black rustic, green-brindled crescent and setaceous hebrew character.

These two moths above are the closely related yellow-line quaker on the left, beside the red-line quaker on the right. Both are typical autumn moths although the red-line quaker appears to be less common here.

During the day a silver-Y moth and a grey shoulder knot were noted around the buildings.

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