Sunday, 18 December 2011


It was a very chilly Sunday 18th to be out looking at the geese at the country park. This pale bellied brent goose wandered into the middle of the frame of this picture, as it fed with 300 dark bellied brent. It had been seen first thing in the morning on the shore feeding on mudflat algae. In the afternoon the brent flock of 500 geese was feeding next to Ivy Farm with the pale-bellied present again along with the black brant too.

Earlier in the morning a group of 37 barnacle geese flew noisily from the west in front of the park shore and then turned into the Colne estuary. They were later found by Martin Cock at Maydays in the Pyefleet Channel, where 33 of them flew back east and back out of the Colne, leaving 4 barnacles to fly to the Strood channel. This is the second morning running that a group of barnacle geese have flown into the estuary, potentially being wild birds newly arrived.

Also in the Colne was the great northern diver opposite Rat Island, while 10+ pintail were in the Pyefleet and there were also 9 goldeneye at Maydays seen by Martin. Five marsh harriers were seen over Langenhoe and 150 avocets on the mud here were just one of many such groups dotted around the estuary.

On the first beach near the park 25 snow buntings were pesent for most of the day foraging for seeds amongst the grassy part well back from the tideline. At least one chiffchaff was seen by the seawall near the Golfhouse but there was a report of two also being seen in the afternoon at the west end of the park seawall.

In the afternoon a male marsh harrier crossed over the river from Colne Point and flew low over the grazing fields as it headed north. Nine red-breasted mergansers flew out of the river as the tide came in and a common seal was seen in the river. Fifteen sanderling fed on the mud close to the beach and there was the usual spectacle of 2000+ dunlin, knot and golden plover along with many other waders pushed in by the tide.

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