Friday, 20 November 2009


Walked to East Mersea Point, pictured above, on a blustery Friday 20th with a few spits of rain in the wind. It was worth the walk as the small group of 8 snow buntings were still on the beach, having been seen four days ago on theTuesday. On that occasion there was also a ninth bird that flew off separately from the flock of eight. The small flock scuttled over the shingle along the tideline, searching for seeds as they went. They blended in well with colours of the beach except when they took to the wing and then you noticed the white wings flickering in flight.

The incoming tide brought masses of waders onto the mud close to the shore with 1000 dunlin feeding along with 500 knot and 1000 roosting golden plover. All the waders took to the air in several large flocks and headed off in different directions into the river Colne. Other waders noted were 20 distant avocets and a single bar-tailed godwit. Also on the mud were 15 shelduck and 5 little egrets.
In the river Colne a common seal briefly stuck its head out of the water before submerging back under again.

The water levels in the grazing fields are still rising with recent rains and the pools are filled with lots of wigeon and teal totalling about 500 birds. Also present were a few gadwall and shoveler while some of the waders enjoyed it too with 20 redshank, 3 black-tailed godwits and a snipe.

There seemed to be a few more small birds in the park feeding in bushes still with some berries. The first flock of fieldfares to stop off at the park this autumn were seen near the pond with 16 birds landing at the top of a tree. A few chaffinches, greenfinches, blue and great tits, blackbirds and a great spotted woodpecker were all in bushes beside this path pictured above. A flock of 25 goldfinches were feeding in the alder trees in a hedge near the pond.

The brent geese have been enjoying the taste of winter wheat in fields near the park either side of Bromans Lane Having started to feed in the fields a week ago, the big flock which totalled 1000 birds on Tuesday, has already taken its toll on the crop. Today there were about 300 birds in one of the fields early in the day, while in the other one about 100 lapwings were present.

A weasel out on the hunt for food made a few of the small birds anxious with robin, wren and great tit all making lots of scolding noises. The moth trap put out over Tuesday night managed to attract only 3 moths on a windy but partially clear evening with 2 Decembers and yellow-line quaker moth.

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