Sunday, 15 January 2012


I should've stayed into the afternoon with this group from the Clacton and St Osyth Birdwatching Society when they visited the park on Sunday 15th as they enjoyed the rare sight of a spoonbill. In fact I had been warned by David Nicholls at West Mersea that one was heading up to East Mersea as he'd seen it fly past Ray Island and over the Strood about mid-day.

I had left this Group near the Point just before noon and it was shortly after this that they watched a spoonbill fly past and land on the saltmarsh pools near the Golfhouse where there was already a little egret and an avocet. I was told the colour rings on its legs were seen, which suggests it maybe the same bird that has been around Essex for a few weeks and was originally ringed as a young bird in Germany last summer.

Unfortunately for the Group this water rail popped out by the pond in front of the hide before they arrived at the park. The bird fed out in the open grassland for a short while before walking off to the nearby hedgerow and ditch. Other birds seen during the morning at the pond included 5 snipe, curlew and wigeon on the field while tufted duck, shoveler, mallard and gadwall were the ducks on the water.

On the grazing fields there were 400 wigeon, 300 teal, 1000 golden plover, 30+ snipe and 20 black-tailed godwits. A group of 50 knot were seen on the nearby mudflats and also 50 ringed plovers near the Point.

Andy Field monitored the Langenhoe harrier roost from the Shop Lane seawall late in the afternoon and was rewarded with sightings of 4 hen harriers including one adult male as well as 18 marsh harriers. At West Mersea a red-throated diver was seen offshore.

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