Monday, 15 February 2010


Having returned from a fortnight of foreign sunshine, it was a bit of a frosty reception here, having to scrape ice off the car windscreen early on Monday 15th. All the watercourses around the park were covered in ice, although the pond pictured above, was not completely frozen.

The park pond had the main concentration of bird-activity with over 320 ducks gathered around the open area of water. Roughly 130 teal and 100 mallard were the main species with 36 gadwall, 20 shoveler, 20 wigeon, tufted duck, coots, moorhens, little grebes and a pair of mute swans were also noted. Snipe were seen on the west and the east side of the pond on the marshy edges of the fields. A water rail called from the back of the pond and nearby two foxes were snoozing in the sunshine.

Offshore the sea was calm during the morning and lots of wigeon drifted closer to the shore with the incoming high tide. It seemed as if 1000 wigeon were sitting on the water, forced to spend time at sea while the waterlogged fields remain frozen. At various times large flocks of wigeon took off from the water to check the fields out but soon returned back to sea.
The only birds in the fields were 98 curlew, 2 black-tailed godwit, one redshank and 20 lapwing.

At the Point 3 goldeneye flew into the river while 4 red-breasted mergansers flew out of the estuary. A couple of great crested grebes were the only other birds in the river, other than 70 shelduck.

The large brent goose flock settled down onto the wheat field next to the park's car park to feed in the afternoon. As the light faded at dusk, what seemed like 1000 geese took to the air in a very noisy departure low over the park to their night-roost in the Colne.

Earlier in the day two mixed flocks of fieldfares and redwings were seen feeding in fields near the East Mersea road with 200 near Bocking Hall and about 100 near Fen Farm.

On Saturday 13th Andy Field noted off West Mersea great northern diver along with a few goldeneyes and mergansers. On Reeveshall 15 marsh harriers were seen going into the Langenhoe roost, while ringtail hen harrier, peregrine and the spoonbill were also seen. A few days earlier Martin Cock saw a black-necked grebe off West Mersea.

Martin Peers on Monday 8th saw 4 great northern divers, Slavonian grebe and 8 red-breasted mergansers from West Mersea. On Reeveshall there were 1100 brent geese, 3 marsh harriers, 500 golden plover, 725 lapwing, 75 black-tailed godwit, green sandpiper, 70 stock doves, 1400 starling and 8 yellowhammers.

On the 29th January Tim Mendham counted 4 great northern divers, 2 red-throated divers, 4 Slavonian grebes and a shag off West Mersea.

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