Sunday, 15 January 2012


Amazing winter's day on Saturday 14th with clear blue sky all day and no wind which resulted in flat calm waters in the river Colne pictured above, across which is Brightlingsea. The morning had started with a frost and a temperature of about -3 degrees.

The bright conditions allowed clear views up the river Colne where 18 red-breasted mergansers, 8 goldeneye, 10 pintail and a common seal were seen in the water. On the Geedons the regular peregrine was seen on its wooden perch, while 5 Canada geese were also noted. On Langenhoe 4 marsh harriers flew over the lagoon at the Point and a dozen small birds were watched feeding on the reed's flower-heads at the Point. A couple were bearded tits as most of them probably were although one appeared to be a reed bunting - a bit of a surprise view considering the long distance across the Pyefleet Channel.

At West Mersea the great northern diver was seen on the calm waters off Kingsland Road by Martin Cock.

The dark-bellied brent geese as usual were feeding on the saltmarsh near the Golfhouse, early in the morning before flying onto the grazing fields nearby. The pale-bellied brent goose was also seen here too.

Several waders and ducks were seen on the Golfhouse pools pictured above, which hadn't got frozen like the freshwater pools in the fields. Twenty snipe sat around the edge while 70+ teal were also noted. All the birds took to the air as well as the many waders including 800 golden plover on the nearby mudflats when a merlin came racing through as it headed across the river to Colne Point. A couple of rock pipits were seen flying over the saltings and also 5 skylarks.

Later in the morning a male sparrowhawk flew over the pond, crossing the fields and also crossed the river to Colne Point, scattering the waders and wildfowl off the fields as it went. A group of ten snipe probed the mud in the pools while 100 teal had already returned to the thawing out water. Two foxes were curled up snoozing in the sunshine at the back of the fields.
At dusk two little egrets roosted for the night in the willow trees over the pond.

It was a freezing start to the day with many plants coated with frost such as this dead-nettle.

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