Tuesday, 6 January 2009


It was a cold and white start to Monday 6th with the overnight snow leaving most places around the country park with at least a centimetre deep covering of snow by dawn. Although the sun came out during the morning, the temperature stayed cold with the ground staying frozen into Tuesday and Wednesday too.

The regular barn owl was seen hunting fields around the Bromans Lane area at dawn and a little owl swooped and perched up alongside the lane.

There was a small group of 10 blackbirds, feeding under the oak trees on the clifftop along with a redwing and a song thrush. There was no sign of any woodcock amongst the leaf litter though. A small flock of long-tailed tits foraged through the trees as did a single goldcrest.

Not many visitors along the snow-covered beach on the Monday morning.

The only section of the dyke not frozen was this small pool where wigeon gathered for a drink and a bathe, while 4 little grebes squeezed into the congested space too.

From the nearby Point there was no sign of any snow buntings on the Monday although 3 snow buntings were present on the west end of the beach nearer the park on Tuesday and Wednesday. On the mudflats north towards Ivy Dock 130 shelduck were seen but few other waders at the low tide. In the river 10 red-breasted mergansers were seen on the Monday.

The grazing fields have stayed frozen for the three days but the 300 wigeon have grazed the eastern end of the fields with 25 goldfinches close-by. Three snipe were seen in one of the fields amongst the tussocks of grass.

The park pond hasn't frozen completely over and various ducks mainly mallard have stood around on the ice beside the pool of open water. A few birds were noted on Tuesday in this area while doing some work close-by, including a brief view of a water rail along the back ditch, snipe flying over and a fieldfare calling overhead.

The waterfowl got very agitated in the middle of the afternoon when a fox appeared and started strolling across the ice. The fox did the same thing on Wednesday at dusk, taking a short cut around the inner edge of the pond and marking his territory at intervals along the frozen stands of reedmace.

Also at dusk there was the distinctive dark silhouette of a woodcock flying away from the park entrance as I walked over to close the gates. The bird appeared to drop down in the nearby grass field by the pond, but it was too dark to try and relocate it. The familiar outline of a little owl perched on a telegraph post alongside the car park, staring down at me as I walked past it.

No comments: