Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Glyn Evans and Martin Elsey were rewarded with finding two pairs of garganey at the park pond, having slogged round the north side of the Island on Monday 18th. These two photographs of the ducks were taken from the hide by Richard Brown later in the afternoon. Glyn recognised the unusual rasping call of one of the drakes as he was approaching the pond, before he saw the birds.
The males have the distinctive white stripe above the eye and smart long grey feathers on the back.

Both pairs of garganey drifted about the pond a lot, sometimes disappearing into the reeds, or just bobbing along whilst snoozing. The males seemed to call out when their partners had drifted too far off. The male swan didn't seem too happy with these new arrivals and swam towards them a few times. Late in the afternoon one pair took off and landed on the nearby pools, where they were later joined by the second pair.
This is the first time that garganey have been seen at the pond, and the first time that two pairs have been seen at the park together. Unfortunately they weren't seen the next day on Tuesday.

Glyn and Martin also noted during their walk a water pipit on the park fields, 6 eider offshore, tree pipit Reeveshall, 9 marsh harriers, cuckoo, whimbrel, two flocks of 12 corn buntings, 8 yellow wagtails and lesser whitethroat near Maydays. Martin Cock noted sedge warbler, 2 spotted redshank, cuckoo and 2 great crested grebes at Maydays on Monday morning.

By the Strood 2 common terns were noted in the channel with a willow warbler near the caravan site. Brian Cooper saw a hobby fly over the Ray saltings late morning, while in the afternoon a nightingale was heard singing from the scrub on Ray Island. A brimstone butterfly was seen in Firs Chase on the Monday morning.

Martin Cock heard a sandwich tern flying past the park on Sunday morning and a couple of days earlier had seen a common buzzard flying over his West Mersea house. Veronica Owen saw the short-eared owl over the Langenhoehall marshes, the second sighting in a week here.

Tuesday 19th was another sunny day and butterflies were out enjoying the warmth with this speckled wood one of two seen along one of the park paths in the morning.

As mentioned earlier there was no sign of any garganey at the park on Tuesday. Birds noted at the park included 2 singing nightingales, 2 pochard, 35 teal, 10 tufted ducks, 4 gadwall, drake wigeon, 3 shoveler, 5 nesting lapwing, reed warbler briefly singing in the dyke, a wheatear and an avocet from the Point. Ten linnets were seen at the Point, while another 40 were reported at some nearby horse paddocks along with a wheatear and a sparrowhawk.

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