Sunday, 26 September 2010


It was a great weekend for looking out at sea and watching a great passage of gannets. The strong northerly wind on both days had brought a steady flow of gannets northwards up the Essex coast with many approaching the entrances of both the Blackwater and Colne estuaries.

The best day of the weekend was Saturday 25th when Andy Field counted 50 - 60 birds between noon and 3 pm looking from the country park, (as in the view in photo above). An hour at the end of the afternoon saw another 20 birds passing. The gannets continued to be seen on Sunday although not in such big numbers, with 20 being seen during an hour in mid-morning from the park.

Some gannets circled round a few times and flew along the shallow waters just beyond the low tide area. One or two landed in the water for a few minutes and could be watched through the telescope. Surprisingly all the birds seen were brown immatures with none of the white and black of the adults being seen.

The passage of gannets along the north Essex coast was also reported at a couple of other sites. At Frinton over 300 flew north on Saturday while 270 were seen on Sunday. Across the Blackwater estuary at Bradwell on Sunday, 177 gannets were counted during several hours in the middle of day.

From the park late on Saturday, at least 20 common terns were seen flying into the Colne, possibly to roost for the night.

Other birds seen at the park included several small groups of house martins flying west on Saturday while a grey wagtail and small groups of passing meadow pipits were noted on Sunday. On the mudflats 24 little egrets were counted but little else of note. Numbers of ducks are slowly increasing on the grazing field pools with 250 teal, 15 wigeon and 5 shoveler the main wildfowl on show. At the park pond 25 stock doves were looking to join the wood pigeons for the roost on Saturday evening.

An hour's walk along the Reeveshall seawall last thing on Friday provided views of one or two things although the wind was quite fresh. On the Reeveshall pool 70 teal, 10 wigeon, 10 greylag geese and a black-tailed godwit were present. Along the Pyefleet there was a Mediterranean gull, 2 common terns, the "summering" brent goose, while on Langenhoe 4 marsh harriers were seen.
A yellow wagtail and three swallows were the only small birds noted and a brown hare was on the seawall.

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