Monday, 9 April 2012


The Easter bank holiday weekend was wet, windy and a bit cold too. A complete contrast to the warmth and sunshine of a couple of weeks ago.
The afternoon high tide on Monday brought many black-tailed godwits to roost at the pools in the country park's grazing fields. A quick count revealed about 280 birds with these two pictures above and below, snapped through the binoculars.

Although a few godwits have been feeding and roosting in recent days here, today's flock was a surprise and a colourful sight too. Most of the birds were in their ginger-coloured breeding plumage and it was a noisy flock too with lots of chattering and their distinctive "wicka-wicka" calls.

Also in the pools were a few redshank, lapwing although snipe numbers have dropped in recent days down from 20 birds to about 10. Wildfowl numbers have dropped too with about 50 teal, 30 wigeon, 25 shelduck and one or two shoveler. A flock of 20 golden plover dropped down onto the fields too.

On the pond 2 pairs of pochard and 10 tufted duck were noted today although numbers have fluctuated over recent days as birds come and go. The pair of mute swans don't appear to have settled either with a pair turning up yesterday after a few days absence but today the male was calling out for its mate who'd gone missing. On Saturday a water rail was seen briefly by the reeds after being spooked by a little grebe.

Still quiet on the migrant front with a chiffchaff and blackcap the only ones back so far although 2 sand martins were seen briefly by the park cliff on Friday morning by Martin Dence.

On Saturday a sparrowhawk was seen twice at the park during the day while in Bromans Lane, 3 green woodpeckers were noted. The previous day a marsh harrier was hunting over a field near the East Mersea road near Weir Farm.

On Sunday evening as the park was being closed up a badger crossed the track near the entrance. A brown hare was seen in the Bromans Farm garden on Friday. Three adders were seen on the sunny Friday morning with two of them noted again the next day.

Much of the park has dense stands of the Alexanders plants growing profusely at the moment. The plant has spread into many more corners of the park in the last few years, such as along the sides of the seawall, as in the photo above.

An evening walk on Monday along the Strood seawall was a bit blustery with a few waders noted along the channel. Two avocets, 10 black-tailed godwits, 30 grey plover, 10 dunlin, 50 redshank, 25 curlew were some of the waders seen. A little egret flew over the fields and two brent geese fed amongst one of the crops.

Numbers of moths in the trap have been lower recently compared with a week ago. This shoulder stripe was one of 20 moths found on Sunday morning, amongst the other regular moths. The trap also operated over Friday night into Saturday morning with 30 moths noted. Over half of these were hebrew characters while the rest included small quaker, blossom underwing, common quaker, clouded drab, red chestnut, early thorn and March moth.

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