Friday, 20 March 2009


The early morning fog slowly cleared to provide a sunny day on Friday 20th. At least two adders were seen in their usual spot at the country park, soaking up the spring sunshine, with this one above lying close to one of the pathways. David Nicholls managed to locate 8 adders at the park last weekend, which is a good count for mid March here.

A quick visit to the park pond did not produce any newly arrived migrants as had been hoped. Several sites in north Essex reported the first chiffchaffs last weekend following the sunny weather with wheatear and sand martin also reported elsewhere.
The ducks on the pond included tufted duck and shoveler along with the usual mute swans and little grebes.

The nearby grazing fields are still holding good numbers of winter waders and wildfowl with the surprise being a ruff feeding at a pool with five black-tailed godwits. There were still 700 brent geese in the fields along with the rare sight in the fields of 400 starlings feeding.

It was nice and sunny along the Pyefleet channel although there was a slight haze to contend with. Over Langenhoe a peregrine, short eared owl, sparrowhawk, kestrel and four marsh harriers were seen during the 2 hour walk. On Reeveshall there was also another marsh harrier and second sparrowhawk noted over the fields.

In the Pyefleet 2 ruff were seen along the water's edge as were 7 summer plumaged black-tailed godwits. The majority of the waders scattered along the mudflats appeared to be redshank with several hundred on show. In the Channel there were 17 red-breasted mergansers and a pair of great crested grebes.

Four little egrets were seen while one skylark left the Island singing as it crossed the Pyefleet to land on Peewit Island, the view across in the picture above. Three brown hares were seen on Reeveshall.

Lots of bumble bees were buzzing around the catkins on this sallow bush along a hedgeline by Reeveshall.

A corn bunting was singing from its usual song-bush on the East Mersea roadside by Bocking Hall.

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