Friday, 19 December 2008


Local birdwatcher Richard Brown has kindly passed to me, one of his photos of a great northern diver that he saw earlier this week from the Hard at West Mersea. There have been at least a couple of great northern divers seen in recent weeks from the Esplanade and Mersea Quarters.

The first half of Friday 19th provided plenty of sunshine, after another eye-catching sun-rise, (pictures further down this page). A walk across the country park to East Mersea Point produced a few interesting sightings. However the view was dominated by a huge structure, used for installing the nearby offshore wind-farm, temporarily resting here in the Colne estuary, pictured below. This massive structure and crane appeared to be similar in height to a 12 storey skyscraper, so certainly very tall.

Any worries about this structure impeding the commute-route of the snow bunting flock crossing the river, were soon dispelled when 28 birds were located on the beach early in the morning. As in recent days they appeared very flighty and readily took to the wing and flew around a few times before settling nervously back down again. Yesterday there were 30 snow buntings present at the Point.

Other small birds at the Point included rock pipit, 4 noisy dunnocks, 3 skylarks, 4 reed buntings and a pied wagtail, while further along the seawall were the stonechat pair.

The only birds in the river seen from the Point were 3 female eiders, a red-breasted merganser and a great crested grebe. Yesterday a common seal was in the river while at high tide in the afternoon, 17 red-breasted mergansers and 2 eiders were offshore from the park.

A barn owl was being mobbed by some carrion crows as it flew along a hedge up from the Golfhouse at about 8.15am. Wildfowl numbers built up during the morning in the grazing fields with 500 brent geese and 250 wigeon seen. At the park pond a water rail called, a little egret nearly stopped off at the pond, while the ducks of interest here amongst the usual mallard, teal, shoveler and gadwall, were a pochard and 3 tufted duck. Two stock doves were seen flying off the grazing fields.

The moth trap was put out at the country park on Thursday night as the weather seemed suitable, for the 58th session of the year. This dark coloured moth pictured above is the aptly named December moth, one of 3 found in the trap. This is quite a common moth with one night's haul 4 weeks ago totalling 11 individuals.The only other moths found were 5 winter moths. All the moths arrived within the first 3 hours of darkness, when the temperature was still about 8 degrees above zero.

Tim Mendham reported seeing 2 red admirals flying around near the Victory Pub in West Mersea on Tuesday, which is unusual sighting for December.

The sun rising above the sea, south-east of the country park at 8am this morning.

The tide was on its way out and masses of waders were arriving in their hundreds all the time. Dunlin and knot were the most numerous although a large flock of 1000 golden plover passed overhead. Five bar-tailed godwits flew past the Point, while various small groups of black-tailed godwits fed on both sides of the river Colne. On the mud by Brightlingsea were 25 avocets.

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