Friday, 30 December 2011


Three common snipe were seen feeding in the field by the country park pond on Friday 30th. This bird got to within 15 metres of the hide and these photos were taken while the camera was pressed up to the binoculars - "digi-binned". Normally snipe can be hard to spot amongst the grass tussocks but this one was giving close views.

The snipe were probing the soil for worms and every so often they pulled one out of the ground. Snipe numbers have dropped around the pools in the main fields over the last fortnight from 90+ birds down to about 20 birds.

At the end of the afternoon, a fox trotted past the pond and the 3 snipe which had been well concealed in the grass, jumped out of the way. The fox carried onto the hedge at the back and tried to pounce on a water rail which just managed to escape by flying to the pond.

There was the usual mix of ducks with 5 tufted duck, 10 gadwall, 10 shoveler, 50+ mallard as well as the two pairs of wigeon that also jumped out of the way of the passing fox.

Teal have been noisy on the pools with 300+ birds resting and feeding. There were bigger gatherings on the fields of waders and wildfowl during the afternoon high tide roosts. At the pools over the last two days have been 200 black-tailed godwits, 50 redshank with 400 wigeon, 350 golden plover, 400 brent geese, 50 curlew and 130 lapwing. Also in the fields were 20 turnstone, single dunlin, grey heron and 10 stock doves.

On Thursday at dusk there was the unexpected fly past the pond of a glossy ibis, probably looking for somewhere to spend the night. The bird was heard calling as it approached the pond but veered away, showing it's distinctive silhouette of a black body with a long neck and downcurved bill. The bird flew off to the north-west disappearing in the direction of NorthFarm / Shop Lane. This bird might be one of the two glossy ibises seen futher up in the Colne a few days ago.

The other interesting sighting was a doe muntjac deer yesterday late in the afternoon near the pond. She walked slowly and nervously alongside the hedge at the back of the pools and then disappeared into the copse at the back of the pond. I think the last sighting on the park was over a year ago.

Along the park beach on Wednesday and Thursday were the 24 snow buntings still feeding along the strandline but occasionally flying onto the nearby fields to drink at one of the pools. They weren't seen on Friday but then there were more folk walking about.

Other sightings for Friday included two green woodpeckers flying away from the clifftop plantation, 5 sanderling, 200 knot, 200 avocet at the Point where 4 red-breasted mergansers and a marsh harrier were also seen over the river.

On Thursday a sparrowhawk flashed low past the pond scattering the snipe and moorhens and where 20 goldfinches had been seen earlier in the day. In the river a common seal was noted for the second day running.

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