Sunday, 12 February 2012


The foxes have been spending more time recently out and about during the daytime, such as this one seen in front of the hide at the park on Sunday 12th.

The fox stopped and pounced down into the snow but didn't seem to catch anything. A couple of minutes earlier it had run onto the ice after it had seen some movement in the reeds by a great tit which quickly flew away to safety.

In the ice-free section of the pond a grey heron watched all the duck activity with still 80 gadwall, 70 mallard and 4 tufted ducks being the main wildfowl. A marsh harrier flew over the pond in the morning, glancing down at all the bird activity as it passed slowly westwards.
Sheltering from the cold northerly breeze below the park cliff was a woodcock which flew away from the scrub when I peered over the edge.

At the end of the afternoon I joined Andy Field on the Pyefleet seawall near Shop Lane, some of the view to Reeveshall in photo above, to watch the harriers going into the Langenhoe roost. It got very chilly but it was worth staying until darkness fell at 5.40pm as the hen harriers waited late before arriving on the scene. In the fading light 4 ringtail hen harriers and one male were each seen flying directly to their regular spot and then dropping straight down into the reeds. Earlier the marsh harriers had gathered on bush-tops and along the adjacent seawall with a single count of 23 birds being made during one single scan, with a further 3 birds having dropped earlier into the reedbed. A kestrel was the only other raptor seen here.

Along the Pyefleet the tide was on its way out with 14 red-breasted mergansers and 9 goldeneye slowly drifting down channel. Waders were gathering in big numbers with 100+ bar-tailed godwits of note including a ginger summer-plumaged bird.

Andy had earlier seen in the afternoon the immature colour-ringed spoonbill at the St Peters marsh at West Mersea. It perched in the same bush with a little egret as it did last Tuesday. Tim Clark had seen the spoonbill a short while earlier in the afternoon flying low west past the beach huts at the bottom of Seaview Avenue.

Daryl Rhymes saw 8 Slavonian grebes offshore from the bottom of Kingsland Avenue while Colin Mackenzie-Grieve saw the 6 snow buntings fly from Old Hall Point towards Cobmarsh Island.

The recent freezing conditions produced some odd icicles pictured above, that had grown almost horizontally off the roof of the information room at the country park.


HRH said...

I took the exact same photo of icicles when I visited last week. Spooky!

Dougal Urquhart said...

You should've let me use your photo - it was probably a better picture!