Monday, 5 December 2011


It was a cold but sunny start to Monday 5th with the tide just on its way out early in the morning. Hundreds of waders such as these dunlin were arriving on the mud near the Point to feed with over 1000 spread across the mudflats. Once on the mud, they were feeding frantically, scurrying around as the next bit of mud became uncovered by the outgoing tide.

The sunshine helped to highlight the waders dotted across the mud. In the picture above, although not solely identifiable from the photo, the smallest white dots at the bottom of the photo are dunlin, the small darker group in the middle of the mud are golden plover while the whiter dots in the water at the back are some avocets. Good views were also had from the Point of the other eleven regular wader species too.

There was no sign of any of the 31 snow buntings that had been feeding on the beach at the Point the day before.

The grazing fields provided the main bird interest at the park on Monday with 500+ wigeon, 500+ teal, 400 brent geese, 70+ common snipe and 300 golden plover being the main flocks. At the park pond the regular water rail was seen feeding on the edge of the field by the pond while a presumed second bird was seen swimming from one of the reedmace islands back to the pond-edge. A little egret stood on a clump of reedmace at the pond and 3 common snipe fed in the nearby grass field.

Other birds noted on Sunday as well as the snow buntings, were a great northern diver in the river Colne, 2 male goldeneye in the Pyefleet, 2 marsh harriers over Langenhoe Point, 9 red-breasted mergansers, 15 great crested grebes, 300 avocets in the river and a jack snipe and pale-bellied brent goose seen again in the grazing fields. Near the car park 18 goldfinches flew into bushes to roost for the night while 50 greenfinches gathered in hedges near the pond for the night.

As the night-time temperatures become incresingly colder, it has been harder selecting suitable evenings for moth-trapping. However the mothing season hasn't quite come to an end until the aptly named December moth is ticked off for the year! Three of these furry looking moths and two winter moths were in the trap over Saturday night into Sunday morning. This time last year the poor weather and cold temperatures meant there was no trapping done at the park, so we missed out on this moth.

It was a bit of a surprise to see this nicely marked herald moth inside the house resting on the sofa in the sitting room! Having tried to gently move the moth, it dropped onto the carpet where this picture was taken. (As the caterpillars feed only on willow and poplar leaves, I knew the carpet was safe!). It was gathered up and released outside where it will no doubt look for another building or somewhere sheltered to spend the winter.

No comments: