Sunday, 8 January 2012


Members of the local Colchester RSPB Group visited the country park for their annual winter walk around the site. It stayed overcast during the day but at least the wind was easing off. The late morning high tide meant a lot of sea to look at offshore, however waders soon arrived in their flocks of several hundred in the afternoon as the tide began to recede.

At the park pond 4 common snipe, 14 tufted duck, 10 gadwall, 4 wigeon and 15 shoveler were noted along with some mallard, little grebes, coots, moorhens and a pair of mute swan. On the nearby grazing fields there was no sign of the jack snipe and only a handful of common snipe could be seen. As well as the usual 200+ teal, 300 wigeon were 150+ black-tailed godwits, 20+ redshank, 20 turnstone, 30 lapwing and 30 curlew.

On the seawall a red-throated diver was seen earlier in the morning and a few great crested grebes could be seen opposite the park although in the distance to the west it appeared there were 100+ great crested grebes off Coopers Beach. Another look around midday revealed a group of 12 red-throated divers flying west and also 8 Slavonian grebes on the sea to the west of the park.

At the Point 3 red-breasted mergansers flew into the river at high tide and another couple of great crested grebes flew back out. On the beach at least 16 sanderling and 20 turnstone were feeding along the water's edge. A little egret was seen feeding in a saltmarsh pool and a rock pipit flew over the marsh.

In the distance at least two marsh harriers were flying over Langenhoe Point and there was the usual big flocks of waders flying about especially the golden plover.

Martin Cock watched from the Shop Lane seawall 20 marsh harriers and 2 ringtail hen harriers going to the roost at Langenhoe Point late in the afternoon. Andy Field and Richard Hull visited the Langenhoe ranges in the morning and noted a hen harrier, 2 peregrines, Cetti's warbler, 2 stonechats, spotted redshank, 10 pintail and 600 avocets.

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