Saturday, 3 January 2009


A cold and bright start to Saturday 3rd at the country park saw lots of ducks on the pond concentrated around a small section that was unfrozen. About 180 ducks of various species such as mallard, shoveler, gadwall, teal and wigeon gathered together here. On the grassy bank nearby were 2 snipe waiting for the ground to warm up, while at the other end of the pond a fox was asleep.

Along the tree plantation along the cliff-top, there was the nice unexpected sight of a woodcock flying away from the tree cover, just as I walked along the nearby path. The bird may've been feeding in the unfrozen leaf litter under the trees and once it took off, it headed round to the south-east corner of the park. Then just before dusk, the woodcock was seen again coming back into the park, presumably for another night's feeding.

The 27 snow buntings were seen at various times throughout the day in their favoured site of recent days, on the beach by the west end of the seawall and sometimes on the nearby grazing fields.

A quick scan of the high tide as the light faded revealed a big increase in red-breasted mergansers offshore with 50 being counted - the biggest count here for a number of winters. Many birds appeared to have just flown out of the river Colne and were sleeping offshore from the park.

There was the nice sight of a pair of stonechats in the rough weedy field just to the west of the park. During the day there were 3 sparrowhawk sightings, including two of birds heading to the clifftop trees late in the day.

Martin Cock saw the short-eared owl flying over the Rewsalls marshes during the day as well as a snipe that took off from nearby and then made a short flight into the field without calling - behaviour recalling a jack snipe.

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