Friday, 26 November 2010


It certainly felt like the wind was coming straight from the Arctic as it blew across the country park on Friday 26th, prviding the first taste of winter. However if you could find a sheltered spot out of the northerly wind, there was still a bit of warmth in the sunshine. Most of the pools in the fields had a thin layer of ice over them so there weren't many ducks to be seen.

The numbers of snipe were still catching the eye with 50+ around the pools including a group of 10 birds by the pond. The golden stripes along their bodies showed up well in the sunshine. A flock of 100 wigeon grazed one corner of the fields with a few brent and black-tailed godwits feeding alongside. Numbers of golden plover built up gradually in the fields as the tide came in with about 400 birds present by the middle of the day. Flocks of curlew and lapwing circled round a few times from nearby fields as if a raptor was flying past.

At the Point a red-throated diver was a surprise sight, drifting only about 20 metres from the beach. A few great-crested grebes and a common seal were the only other things of interest in the river. The two main wader flocks to catch the eye on the mudflats were 70+ avocets and 500+ knot.

Other birds noted around the park included several siskin near the pond, some mixed in with some goldfinches, a fieldfare near the fields while near the seawall were rock pipit and 2 reed buntings. Two foxes were enjoying the sunshine, curled up beside the hedgerows at the back of the fields.

Birds noted during the week have included 30 sanderling near the beach, 4 redpolls past the pond and 60 snipe around the pools on Thursday 25th. On Monday 22nd a merlin scattered all the waders at the Point including the little stint, as it flew west across the river. In the fields a pale-bellied brent goose was seen with 400 dark-bellied brent geese. A female pintail was seen flying over the fields while by the river Colne, 10 red-breasted mergansers flew up-river.

The alders by the park pond have had a small flock of siskins and goldfinches feeding on the cones, although often hard to spot. A male sparrowhawk was seen perching in one of these trees as all the small birds dived for cover. Two redwings were seen flying away from the bushes by the pond on Thursday. On the pond 12 gadwall and 3 tufted duck were seen on several days with some shoveler and mallard.

David Nicholls has seen at least two blackcaps in his West Mersea garden in the last few days.

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