Thursday, 26 March 2009


Found time at the end of the afternoon for a walk around the country park on Thursday 26th, with the sun managing to break through the rain clouds just before sunset. Joined Brian Anderson and Peter Bash in the bird-hide overlooking the pond, to shelter from several squalls.

The chiffchaff that was found near the pond five days earlier, was still present in the willow bushes overhanging the water, occasionally singing as it flitted amongst the catkins. This is still the only summer migrant on the Island so far this spring. Also at the pond were 2 pochard, 6 tufted duck and 2 green woodpeckers.

In the nearby grazing fields there were 200 wigeon, 18 shelduck, 20 shoveler, 25 teal, pair of gadwall, pair of displaying redshank and the familiar 3 pairs of lapwing. In the oak tree at the back of the fields were a kestrel and 3 stock doves.

Early evening conditions in the Colne were calm as the sun set although the only birds in the Colne were one or two great crested grebes and red-breasted mergansers. The only waders of any note were a group of 20 black-tailed godwits, most of which were in their ginger summer plumage.

Near West Mersea on Tuesday morning a fieldfare fed in a horse paddock at Chapmans Lane with 2 mistle thrushes, while further along near Bocking Hall a corn bunting sang from its roadside tree.

On Tuesday Martin Cock had a fine view of a red kite flying west over the car park at the park at about 10am. Although I was walking across the park at the time, I wasn't aware of it passing over and didn't hear the local crows mobbing the kite as it passed over. This is the second red kite to pass over the Island this year.

The chiffchaff was also seen just to the north of the pond and there was a report of 40 snipe being seen flying around then dropping down onto the grazing fields. During one of the sunny spells 4 adders were seen in the park in their usual spots.

David Nicholls reported seeing a stoat crossing the entrance road at the country park earlier in the month. Stoats seem to be very scarce on the Island and the last sighting at the park was nearly five years ago.

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