Thursday, 20 January 2011


The sunshine has been in short supply this winter, so it was nice to see lots of blue sky over the country park on Thursday 20th. There was even a bit of warmth to enjoy by walking along the beach, sheltered from the cool northerly breeze by the cliff.

Towards the end of the afternoon a single waxwing was seen perched up on top of a dead tree, just inside the park entrance. It was a bit of a surprise to find it, as it hadn't been seen flying in, and I nearly walked past it without noticing it. Ian Black soon joined me in watching the bird and we saw it fly a short distance and perch in a wild rose bush with lots of juicy rose-hips for it to feed on.

After all the waxwings that have been discovered in various parts of the country this winter, I've finally managed to find one in the country park! It's probably about 8 years since I last saw any waxwings in the park, and those were two birds that perched for only two minutes. I've not heard any recent news about local waxwings on the Island, since a few were seen in a garden beside the East Mersea road ten day ago.

At the park pond the male pochard was present again for the third day along with 12 tufted ducks. There was the usual selection of mallard, gadwall, shoveler and teal, although some of these are commuting between the nearby flooded fields and the pond. In the alders near the pond a female siskin continues to feed with a group of 20 goldfinches.
North of the park on Wednesday 20 fieldfares were seen perched briefly on top of a bush.

Lots of rain at the beginning of the week, saturated the park fields filling up lots of the old creeks with water, which have proved popular with the ducks. On the fields the brent geese have formed the biggest flock in recent days with 400+ birds, while 200 wigeon, 150 teal and 6 greylag geese were the main wildfowl noted. At high tide 70 redshank, 80 curlew, 20 snipe, 30 lapwing along with a handful of turnstones and 200 starlings have been in the fields in recent days.

Offshore there are still hundreds of wigeon bobbing about in the sea in big rafts. In the estuary 10 red-breasted mergansers and 2 great crested grebes were noted today, while a goldeneye was seen on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday a marsh harrier flew over the mudflats and then flew north over the car park as it headed to the evening roost on Langenhoe. The previous day two marsh harriers flew north from Colne Point, heading to the Langenhoe roost. Seventy avocets fed along the water's edge of the Colne late on Monday.

Martin Cock saw 2 or 3 lapland buntings at the Strood on Tuesday and then at Maydays farm noted a nicely marked male bearded tit in the borrowdyke. A visit to the Shop Lane section of seawall on Wednesday provided views of a barn owl in a nearby field while on Langenhoe a ringtail hen harrier as well as a few marsh harriers were seen gathering for the evening roost.

David Nicholls watched a chiffchaff in his garden in Queen Ann Drive in West Mersea and he also reported the male blackcap has also been seen a few times recently too.

No comments: