Sunday, 16 January 2011


It was nice seeing blue sky on Sunday 16th over the country park, although there was a bit of wind blowing. This section of borrowdyke pictured above was where 200 wigeon were seen, the main flock in the fields. Hundreds of wigeon are still missing from the fields, with most of them still resting out at sea. Brent geese gathered in the fields to graze with 400 seen during the morning. The teal are still enjoying the flooded pools with 250+ noted over the last couple of days, along with 40 shoveler. Amongst the waders in the field 15 snipe, 20 redshank, 30 curlew, 30 black-tailed godwits and 50 lapwing were noted. A sparrowhawk flew over the fields in the afternoon.

In the area by the pond one female siskin was still feeding with 25 goldfinches in the alders, 20 greenfinches and 16 chaffinches were also seen. Two green woodpeckers were noted flying along the hedgelines while down in the field, a black-tailed godwit was seen from the hide. On the water more tufted ducks had appeared overnight with 13 being the biggest count for several weeks.

In the river, 10 red-breasted mergansers could be seen in the Colne and a couple of great crested grebes, while in the distance, a male marsh harrier was probably the reason for the disturbance of the 1000 golden plover and 500 lapwing as well as lots of other roosting waders off Langenhoe Point.

Enjoyed watching a barn owl hunting along the East Mersea roadside verge just west of the pub, in broad daylight, over an hour after daybreak. I slowed the car down and followed the bird as it checked both sides of the hedge, at one point the owl hung in the wind as it scanned the verge beneath it. It's always great to see a barn owl out hunting and this one was close enough I could enjoy it without the binoculars.

At West Mersea Ray Hempstead took a few birdwatchers out in his Sorcerer boat on a windy Sunday morning along the north side of the Blackwater, although there was little of interest in the nearby creeks. An eider and a great northern diver were apparently the only things of interest close in to Mersea.

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