Monday, 16 January 2012


Never seen a mating pair of foxes lock up like dogs before but this pair were certainly feeling frisky on the saltings near the Point in the bright morning's sunshine on Monday 16th. It's very unusual to see two foxes in mid-morning out on the open saltmarsh here and even rarer here to see them so engrossed in mating! The dog-fox on the right in the picture above, was seen mating several times over a ten minute period. It was during one of these couplings, that the vixen locked-onto the dog-fox, presumably ensuring there would be a successful fertilisation.

The fox pair looked uneasy and after a while looked over and could see me trying to digi-bin them from about 70 metres away. They had caught me peeping! After it seemed they weren't going to un-couple anytime soon, I gave up and started to turn away at which point they broke free and then sprinted off the saltmarsh and onto the grazing field. Ten minutes later the female was still trying to interest the male by raising her tail to him. A third fox stayed sleeping at the edge of the field close-by.

The blue sky and calm waters on the borrow-dyke provided a nice setting for this mute swan.

The five snipe as usual were feeding in the grass by the pond but it was nice to see them only ten metres from the hide in the afternoon. The water rail was obliging again walking along the outer edge of the reeds. After disappearing into the reeds, it was later seen flying a short distance into some more reeds.

A marsh harrier flew low over the pond staring intently down as it glided slowly over. All the waterfowl panicked and flew off although the harrier headed harmlessly off to the Golfhouse where all the brent geese were spooked. Later on a sparrowhawk sweeping low towards the pond-copse sent masses of wood pigeons clattering away along with 15+ stock doves.

The pale-bellied brent goose was feeding with the 600 brent geese in the fields near the Golfhouse. There was no sign of the 2 white-fronted geese that Martin Cock had seen earlier in the morning at Maydays farm flying up to East Mersea.

The large molten orb of the sun dropped down below the horizon, here looking west towards Bradwell on the Dengie peninsula One last look out ot sea at high tide revealed an impressive gathering of 45 red-breasted mergansers but little else other than a couple of great crested grebes.

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