Thursday, 2 December 2010


It snowed for most of Thursday 2nd on the Island with at least 6 inches in places at the country park. The park pond pictured above was partially frozen but still remained the main spot where birds could congregate.

Most numerous of the ducks were 100 teal, paddling about in the unfrozen sections, along with 50 mallard, 12 gadwall, 10 wigeon, little grebe and a few coots. A fox was out foraging near the pond in mid-morning and lunged at some birds along the edge of the reeds. It managed to flush out a group of snipe and moorhens who escaped at the last second. A short while later 12 snipe were seen feeding in the snow at one side of the pond, while at the east side a couple of snipe fed amongst 24 moorhens.

Flying over the pond were 100 skylarks, on their way to find easier feeding further west. A couple of goldcrests were seen picking over the twigs and branches of bushes and trees. In a deserted car park a green woodpecker probed amongst the snow, while in nearby rowan trees a song thrush, two fieldfares and blackbirds fed on some old berries.

A woodcock flew away from under some bushes in one corner of the park, before it landed back down again further along the path. It was then seen to fly off again with a clatter of wings through the trees and then dropped down in its original spot.

Ian Black had a good view of a jack snipe crouching in the snow in the middle of Bromans Lane, as he drove to the country park.
In Firs Chase in West Mersea earlier in the morning, 3 redwing, fieldfare and a snipe were seen.

The scene along the park seawall was very wintry and bleak. The fields were deserted although one greylag goose was grazing alone in the snow. A few wigeon appeared to be gathered at the far end of the borrowdyke, where there was probably an unfrozen section. It seemed too far for me to trudge into the fine falling snow.

Half the beach was covered in snow, leaving the lower half snow-free where the high tide had reached up to. A bar-tailed godwit, redshank, turnstone and lapwing were noted flying past.

There was a bit of snow in the car park on Tuesday morning, although not as much on the park as fell in other parts of Essex. The thin layer of snow on the grazing fields didn't deter the flock of wigeon from feeding, with around 800 birds noted. A marsh harrier was seen flying low over the fields upsetting all the wigeon as it passed by. A woodcock was seen briefly flying across a field to the north of the park. A group of 20 red-breasted mergansers flew south over the bus-turning circle presumably on their way out of the Colne.

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