Saturday, 17 December 2011


A sunny but frosty start to Saturday 17th with much of the standing water in the park's fields iced over. The only birds amongst the frozen pools were 34 snipe with another 6 seen at the west end of the pond. By mid-morning 300 brent geese were feeding on the fields along with 300 wigeon. In the afternoon during the high tide, 200 teal, 100 golden plover, 100 lapwing, 25 black-tailed godwits, 10 turnstone and 10 redshank were seen along with 100 rooks and jackdaws.

On the beach 27 snow buntings were present in the afternoon but hadn't been seen in the morning, while at the Point there were 44 sanderling. The chiffchaff was seen again in the morning at the corner of the seawall, calling a couple of times. In the muddy bay 1000 dunlin, 50 knot, 10 bar-tailed godwits and 200 avocets gathered as the tide came in.

Nine barnacle geese flew upriver past the Point which is the first sighting on the Island this year. It's difficult to say if these geese were wild ones newly arrived although the local feral ones are normally seen with greylag geese, whereas these ones were with a few wigeon. Also in the river and the Pyefleet were 15 pintail, 8 goldeneye, 18 red-breasted mergansers 10 great crested grebes while 4 marsh harriers were flying over Langenhoe Point.

Two pairs of wigeon have started to graze the grass in the pond field with these two pictured above providing nice views from the hide. A female pochard flew off the pond in the morning. Other ducks noted were 4 tufted ducks, 34 shoveler, 10 gadwall and 70+ mallard.

Two foxes were seen at the back of the pond at the end of the afternoon with one fox flushing 6 snipe as it trotted across the field. The regular curlew flew off too and 22 moorhens ran for cover. A sparrowhawk flew into the top of a willow tree scattering lots of wood pigeons and stock doves getting ready for the evening roost. A water rail was glimpsed walking along the edge of the water under the overhanging willow branches of the copse.

Had a phonecall to say 2 Bewicks swans had been seen in the Mersea Quarters from Old Hall Marshes around the middle of the day.


Chris said...

Hen harrier off the cliffs yesterday (Monday 19th December) being mobbed by crows. Flew off towards B'sea

Dougal Urquhart said...

Thanks for this, always nice to see hen harriers over the park. Dougal