Saturday, 29 January 2011


The main concentration of birds on a chilly and grey country park on Saturday 29th were the winter wildfowl on the grazing fields. The 500 wigeon were feeding in various parts of the field, some pictured above. The brent geese were also busy cropping the already short grass with about 500 birds also present. The six greylag geese seemed happier mixing with the wigeon rather than the brent geese. In and around the main pool were 200 teal, 25 mallard with 20 shoveler.

Other birds in the fields were a handful of snipe which were much less than the 30 birds seen earlier in the week. Eighty lapwing were dotted across the fields with another 20 birds in a neighbouring field. Twenty curlew but only one black-tailed godwit and a redshank were noted. At the back of the fields were 22 stock doves, although there might've have been more arrive at the copse by the pond later in the afternoon for the roost.

Three pairs of mute swans were keeping their distances apart from each other with one pair on the pond, another on the park dyke and a third pair on the flooded horse paddock by the Golfhouse. It was also in this field that 20 redwings and 2o fieldfares were feeding.

Less ducks on the pond than have normally been present in recent days. Only a few gadwall, mallard, shoveler while the small group of tufted ducks seemed to have disappeared. A water rail could be heard calling from under the willow bushes but didn't show. In the alder trees along from the pond, 4 siskins were seen feeding with one male bird noted with the three females. In other trees nearby was the regular flock of cheery goldfinches singing loudly.

From the beach 100 knot were the main waders of note on an other-wise large expanse of mudflats with some of the other familiar waders like redshank, oystercatcher, dunlin, curlew and grey plover. In the river Colne a common seal swam quickly past the Point, swimming most of the length underwater - the first seal seen here for a few weeks. There were a few red-breasted mergansers in the distance near Langenhoe Point, but no sign of the 6 eider and the 18 red-breasted mergansers seen offshore from the park on Wednesday.

Received a report today from a birdwatcher who walked along the north side of the Island, that two bearded tits were seen in a small reedbed in a dyke near Maydays.

Early on Thursday morning a ringtail hen harrier was seen hunting low over the country park near the car park, before it headed westwards and checked out a weedy field near the caravan site. Steve Entwistle reported seeing the barn owl hunting alongside Dawes Lane first thing on Thursday morning. David Nicholls also reported seeing the pair of blackcaps again in his West Mersea garden in recent days.

Graham Ekins found 42 lapland buntings along with 50 skylarks in the weedy field by the Strood on Thursday. Offshore from West Mersea were 2 red-throated divers, great northern diver, 3 Slavonian grebes, 11 common scoter and 16 red-breasted mergansers.

On Tuesday Martin Cock found a black-necked grebe offshore from the West Mersea Esplanade, where there were also 2 Slavonian grebes, 3 red-throated divers, 6 eider and 7 common scoter.

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