Sunday, 24 October 2010


The beach below the cliff was the warmest place at the park on Sunday 24th. There was blue sky for most of the day although there was a chill in the air from the northerly wind.

The park pond has provided the main interest at the park over the last few days. The Cetti's warbler that was first heard on Thursday and then again on Friday and Saturday, was not heard today. Like the previous 5 records for the Island, they've only stayed for a few days before moving on.

The water rail was seen briefly on Saturday and Sunday, swimming along the edge of the pond under the willow bushes. Although one has been present for about a fortnight, it has only been heard up until now. The kingfisher was seen perching on branches at the back of the pond on Friday morning, a female and male sparrowhawks flew over the pond on Saturday while a snipe was seen feeding in the grass on Sunday. Two siskins and 2 swallows were also seen flying past on Saturday.

On the water there were 3 tufted ducks, 25 mallard, 3 gadwall and 15 shoveler along with little grebes, coots and moorhens. A little egret roosted on a willow tree during the high tide.

The pools in the grazing fields are still holding about 1000 birds which was quite a sight when they all got up into the air and circled round a few times. Wigeon and teal were the main ducks with a few shoveler and mallard too. The high tide roost of 100+ redshank and 100+ curlew were the main waders although a few lapwing and black-tailed godwits were present too.

There seemed to be a few more snipe out feeding with about 25 noted. One of the 3 foxes seen by the pond in the middle of the afternoon, made a short dart into a group of snipe, flushing out 6 birds. A pair of little owls struck up a quick duet just to the north of the fields and one bird was seen perched on top of a bare bush. Steve Entwistle watched a distant common buzzard circling over Brightlingsea church, from the park seawall.

There's been no sign of the brambling at the park since Monday, although there still seems to be 20+ chaffinches in the area of the pond. A chiffchaff could still be heard calling near the pond on Saturday and 3 goldcrests were feeding with a tit flock.

In fields near Bocking Hall on Friday there were 1500 starlings, 50 linnets along with lots of rooks, jackdaws and wood pigeons. Early on Sunday morning 300 wood pigeons were seen flying high westwards, as if newly arrived from the continent.

One or two common darters like this male pictured above, were seen soaking up the sun's rays, in sheltered sun-spots out of the way of the chilly northerly wind. If there aren't any harsh frosts in the next week or so, then these darters should still be on the wing into early November.

This wild apple at the park with it's odd reddish freckling caught the eye as most of the other apples were green. There are often lots of apples found lying around the park where the carrion crows have plucked them off the trees and pecked at them. The jays are very busy at the moment flying around with acorns in their bills, so they can bury them for later in the winter when food gets scarce.

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