Sunday, 23 September 2012


It was a surprise to see a red squirrel waiting at the bus stop on the East Mersea road near Meeting Lane at 7.30am on Sunday 23rd. If its hoping to catch a lift to get away from East Mersea, it has a bit of a wait as the next bus won't be along until the morning! The picture above is a bit blurred as the squirrel darted about inside the bus shelter trying to find a way out. It soon hopped out and into the nearby hedge, clambering up a small tree.

It transpires that a red squirrel was seen five days earlier less than 100m away from this bus stop, in the front garden of the Thorleys on some refuse bags before being disturbed by the refuse collectors. The squirrel quickly disappeared into a neighbours garden. Two days prior to this sighting, one was seen in a field at Home Farm in East Mersea on Sunday 16th - a day after the four reds had been released into the wild from their pen.

Sunday's weather deteriorated to an afternoon of wind and rain. Water levels on the pools in the park's grazing fields quickly rose following continuous rain. Before the rain arrived, 150 teal, 12+ snipe, 20 wigeon and 15 black-tailed godwits were present, while 94 curlew and 2 little egrets were in the fields late in the day. Two tufted ducks were in the dyke also at the end of the day.

At the park pond 25 mallard, 2 shoveler  2 gadwall were noted with 20+ swallows passing over the park as did 10 meadow pipits.At least two chiffchaffs were calling from nearby bushes but few other small birds noted in the windy conditions.

On the mudflats 300 golden plover were gathered, while 2 common terns flew along the river Colne.A sparrowhawk crossed west over the river from Brightlingsea to Ivy Farm.

On Saturday morning a spotted flycatcher was seen near the "flycatcher-gate", situated near the park entrance. In the bushes nearby were a willow warbler, 4 chiffchaffs and at least a couple of blackcaps.
In the car park 5 mistle thrushes were seen in the rowan trees, feeding on the berries.

On the park pond a female pintail was of note amongst the mallard, while on the nearby pools were 150 teal, 10 snipe, 18 wigeon and a few black-tailed godwits.A roving flock of 200+ starlings fed on berries in hedgerows, fed in the fields as well as drinking from the pools.A kestrel hunted over the fields and seawall.

At the Point a male sparrowhawk unsettled a feeding flock of 40 linnets when it hurtled into them without any warning. It was unsuccessful in catching anything. Later in the morning a second sparrowhawk flew west over the park. Also at the Point were 3 reed buntings, whitethroat, siskin in flight, 20 lapwings, 2 common terns and a common seal in the river.

A marsh harrier was reported flying past the park pond on Friday while Martin Cock saw two common buzzards at Maydays farm and a flock of 25+ meadow pipits.

This fresh looking small tortoiseshell was nectaring on the yellow flowers of bristly ox-tongues, whilst enjoying the warmth of the sun along the seawall on Saturday morning. Also noted at the park were small white, large white and a few red admirals.

This sickly looking wood pigeon, just passing the squab stage, didn't look well at the park as several flies pestered it. The bird has just left the nest and seemed to have enough flight feathers to flutter back into the nearby bushes, but didn't make any effort to do so.

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