Sunday, 13 March 2011


Andy Field took this photo a few days ago of a grey plover standing on the beach at East Mersea Point.

The weather over the weekend ended up disappointing with the only nice bit of sunshine being the first half of Saturday. There was grey sky and a cool breeze on Sunday 13th with the day ending with drizzle.

Despite the dull weather, the first summer migrant back from Africa was seen at the country park with a chiffchaff flitting amongst the reeds and bushes by the pond. The bird wasn't singing the distinctive "chiff-chaff" song and was almost overlooked, although the scanning of the various willow bushes with their yellow catkins proved worthwhile in locating this new arrival.

Also noted at the pond on Sunday were 10 tufted duck, 2 gadwall, 4 shoveler and a snipe on the edge. The previous day the male pochard and two snipe were present. To the side of the pond a female kestrel dropped down to feed, while the male bird was seen beside the nestbox in the oak tree for the first time this spring. Hopefully they will have better luck this year with nesting in the box.

The grazing fields still provide the main concentration of birds for this end of the Island. The flooded pools have held an impressive roost of 300+ black-tailed godwits over both weekend days with 315 counted on Saturday but a few less than the 340 counted on Thursday. Also on Saturday 50 redshank, 20 snipe, 30 lapwings - many displaying, 25 dunlin, 20 turnstone, 30 shelduck, 150 teal, 150 wigeon. The biggest flock of golden plovers were present over both days with 1000 birds in the fields, the most seen here this winter. Like the ginger- coloured godwits, a few of the goldies were also sporting their summer plumage with black on their bellies.

Catching the eye in the fields on Saturday was a big roving feeding flock of 400+ starlings. The nice weather also inspired some skylark activity with several males singing high in the sky and a couple of meadow pipits to squabble. Offshore 2 eider were noted as was a common seal in the mouth of the Colne. Andy Field watched a peregrine fly over the grazing fields on Thursday.

On Sunday there was the unexpected sight of a woodcock seen flying over the overflow car park early in the afternoon. It may've been disturbed from under some trees or a hedgerow by a dog. A goldcrest was noted in the clifftop trees and a song thrush continues to sing loudly near the car park.

Along the Pyefleet Channel, the female scaup was seen on both Saturday and Sunday near Maydays in the company of a few red-breasted mergansers. Steve Entwistle saw the two siskins by the conifer wood in Shop Lane on Saturday. Andy Field and Richard Hull noted during their visit to the nearby Langenhoe ranges on Saturday 2 water pipits, 4 stonechats, common buzzard, peregrine, Cetti's warbler and 4 bearded tits.

Adder numbers are increasing by the day as they emerge gradually from their winter slumbers. After the first sighting only 8 days ago, five were noted on Saturday with six being located on Sunday in the same regular spots as last year.

The moth trap operated through a dry and partially cloudy Friday night, recording 30 individuals of 3 macro-moth species. There were about six common quakers, one pictured above, a typical early spring moth here.

About a dozen small quakers, photo above, were noted - another typical early spring moth as were a similar number of hebrew character moths.

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