Thursday, 16 December 2010


Although it has stayed cold in recent days, a partial thaw has been taking place with some of the watercourses ice-free. There was quite a bit of rain on Thursday 16th which helped to saturate the already wet ground.

There were quite a few waders and wildfowl on the wet grazing fields, pictured above, although not as many birds as before the cold snap began. Around 400 wigeon were back on the fields as were some of the 100 teal. However there was still a group of 100 teal resting on the outer edge of the nearby mudflats. Also present were 20 shoveler, 25 mallard, 8 gadwall, 50 black-tailed godwit and 4 greylag geese.

At the half- frozen pond, 14 gadwall and 20 mallard were noted along with some coots while 20 moorhens nibbled the grass on the nearby field. In the park one of the regular goldcrests was seen near the car park, while 14 long-tailed tits worked their way along the cliff-top trees. Ian Black saw a woodcock fly out from the trees on the clifftop in the afternoon, for the second day running.

In the estuary 8 red-breasted mergansers and 6 great crested grebes were the only birds noted in the river. There was an unusually high number of shelduck feeding along the outer edge of the Mersea mudflats with at least 270 birds seen.

Martin Cock walked the Strood seawall on Tuesday 14th and saw 2 or 3 lapland buntings as they flew around the fields before landing in the arable field. Still present in the area were 40 linnets and 40 skylarks mainly in the weedy field. A ringtail hen harrier was also seen in the area as were a couple of marsh harriers too. From the Esplanade a Mediterranean gull was seen, the first for a while in the area.

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