Monday, 13 February 2012


Although the snow and ice have only just melted, it was still a bit of a surprise to see this peacock butterfly in the Firs Chase garden in West Mersea this morning on Friday 17th. It's a bit tatty but at least it's survived the winter. A Mediterranean gull flew over Firs Chase calling early in the morning and the regular pied blackbird was seen too. A weasel was seen rummaging through the log pile here the previous day.

Alongside the Strood were 700 brent geese feeding in the field, continuing to strip the field bare of a sort of rape crop. The outgoing tide meant there was lots of mud in the Strood Channel with 2 pairs of pintail noted amongst the 100 teal, 70 wigeon and 140 shelduck.

There was the usual mix of waders although no knot or golden pover were seen while both species of godwit were present in small numbers and also 500 dunlin was a good number here. Not many small birds seen with 10 reed buntings and 15 skylarks seen with one or two singing. Amongst the moorings were 16 little grebes but little else in the channels and by the Hard.

At the park pond on Friday afternoon several moorhens as usual were feeding in the field with this one moorhen noted in front of the hide. The last few days have seen up to 25 moorhens feeding near the pond. On the water 16 tufted ducks and a pochard with 28 gadwall the main wildfowl here.

At dusk on Thursday afternoon, the calls of 4 little owls could be heard coming from several different hedges to the west and north of the park. It was reassuring to hear a male tawny owl calling from the Manwood Grove wood in Shop Lane too.

There was still ice covering half of the park pond on Tuesday afternoon. Monty the grumpy terrier took a dislike to a fox that had wandered up too close to the hide and after barking loudly at it, the fox quickly sprinted away and dashed across the ice on the pond to the far side. There were still about 50 gadwall on the pond and 5 tufted duck present here.
Offshore from the park 10 red-breasted mergansers and 10 great crested grebes were seen.

Earlier on Tuesday 1o fieldfares, 5 song thrushes and a mistle thrush fed in a horse paddock to the north of the park. Four kestrels perched up at various points alongside the East Mersea road.

Howard Vaughan visited Mersea with his group of birdwatchers on Monday 13th and saw 2 red-throated divers, 8 Slavonian grebes, 30 great crested grebes and 26 red-breasted mergansers from the Esplanade. Later at Cudmore Grove a peregrine and 115 avocets were the main sightings of note here.

A woodcock flew from the copse by the pond and a redwing was seen perched up in a tree by the park pond on Monday at dusk. Steve Entwistle saw the spoonbill by the St Peters marsh in West Mersea early on Monday morning along with a little egret there too.

Local oysterman Wiliam Baker and Bev Perkins saw this big flock of 200+ cormorants standing on a sandbar near Thirslet Creek near Rolls Farm, Tollesbury a week ago, the picture taken with their mobile phone. There have been some big numbers of cormorants seen in the river for the past few weeks.

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