Monday, 29 June 2009


Went back to the pool at the country park grazing fields on a hot Monday 29th for another look at the very colourful ruff. This poor shot through the telescope of the two ruff was the only one I could take as the birds were frightened off straight after I took this photo by the herd of cattle coming to drink at the pool. The birds flew off high to the north and didn't return, so it was a bit rough that the cattle got thirsty when I arrived with my camera.

The bird on the right was briefly glimpsed through the telescope and the bright sunshine revealed it to have some amazing irridescent navy blue feathers on the back of the neck. Both birds must have been stunning to look at a few weeks ago, as they jousted with rival males at their lekking site, trying to woo and impress the watching female birds.

The three kestrel chicks newly fledged from the nestbox, perched on the same oak tree waiting for a parent to come back with food. One of the young made a short flight over the field before returning back to join its siblings. At one point a male sparrowhawk flew right over the tree with the kestrels watching it closely as it passed by. The female sparrowhawk was also seen earlier flying over the fields being mobbed by sand martins.

The pools are shrinking fast in the recent dry weather and the cattle are valuing the water for drinking. Four lapwing, redshank, 10 mallard, 4 shelduck and a few black-headed gulls and starlings were the other birds around the pools. A reed warbler sang from the ditchline at the back of the fields.

On the pond the female tufted duck was with at least five small ducklings while nearby 10 adults were snoozing. A young little grebe chick was noisily being fed and the mute swans are still present with 4 cygnets. The other pair of swans on the dyke still have their lone cygnet. Amongst the several mallard and lots of young coots a moulting male shoveler was noted.

Butterflies noted included a painted lady, comma, small tortoiseshell, large skipper, small skipper, meadow brown and a red admiral. On the pond several emperor dragonflies were seen while lots of blue-tailed damselflies and azure damselflies were present.

At the end of the day a barn owl crossed the East Mersea road near the Dog and Pheasant pub.

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