Friday, 18 November 2011


By all accounts, there had been a steady flow of birdwatchers from far and wide onto the Strood seawall to see the red-breasted goose during Friday 18th. I popped along at lunchtime and joined in the wild goose chase.

To add to the goose excitement a tundra bean goose was feeding amongst the 400 dark-bellied brent geese, as was the black brant. These three interesting geese amongst the dark-bellied brent were sometimes quite tricky to locate because of the distance from the seawall and a telescope proved valuable. I believe this tundra bean goose was also reported yesterday afternoon. Strangely enough the bean goose is a rarer goose on Mersea Island than the red-breasted goose, even though the latter is regarded as a national rarity.

Also reported during the day here was a lapland bunting that flew over calling and dropped into the field. A peregrine was seen in the morning and a flock of 500 golden plover in the early afternoon. There was no sound of the Cetti's warbler on Friday that Andy Field had seen and heard the day before by the Strood reservoirs.

The sun shone brightly onto this colourful male sparrowhawk as it perched at the back of the park pond. The picture was a poor attempt at digibinning the bird from a distance. Not many small birds in the nearby hedges while it sat around. In the clifftop trees a chiffchaff called as it flitted through the leaves and there were also 3 lesser redpolls and 2 siskin flew over the park.

On the flooded pools the jack snipe was seen by Andy Field and early in the morning there was there usual mix of waders and wildfowl. Rough numbers were 400+ wigeon (and on fields), 250 teal, 70 greylag geese, 10 shoveler, 30+ common snipe, 25 black-tailed godwits, 20 mallard and a little egret. Only 100 brent geese were in the fields with the main flock feeding a mile to the west at Rewsalls marshes. The pale-bellied and the black brant were seen up until yesterday in the park fields while Andrew Thompson saw the jack snipe on Wednesday at the pools. The greylags had built up on Wednesday to a record count of 90 birds!

A walk to the Point early in the morning produced 20 snow buntings on the beach. They were first seen on the shingle but soon took to the air and seemed to spend a long time circling round before coming back down. Later in the morning 21 birds were counted in the flock here.
Only birds in the river were 3 great crested grebes and a red-breasted merganser while 100+ avocets were noted.

Martin Dence watched a barn owl fly out from Bromans Farm and head into the nearby copse in Bromans Lane early on Friday morning.
Renee Hockley Byam reported seeing a weasel from the seawall during her morning walk.

Martin Cock noted a ringtail hen harrier at Maydays on Wednesday and also 2 goldeneye, 3 red-breasted mrgansers as well as 3 common seals in the Pyefleet.

Moth numbers have dwindled to nothing on some nights because of the drop in temperatures. On Wednesday night this silver-Y moth pictured above was one of four species along with feathered thorn, large wainscot and green-brindled crescent.

Returning to the park at midnight on Tuesday, had to stop the car in Bromans Lane to allow 2 badgers to finish their snout-tussle with each other, just 10 metres in front of the car's headlights.


ed keeble said...

Nice views of the Jack Snipe at Cudmore on Wed of this week and took some video - if of interest, is there an email address that a link could be sent to? Ed K

Dougal Urquhart said...

Hi Ed, if you send it to the park's email address -; I can see about putting a link to it. Regards