Friday, 5 October 2012


The pools in the country park fields filled up with birds again for the high tide roost on Friday 5th. Four greylag geese were busy grazing throughout the day, maybe some of the group of 14 greylags that circled over before dusk yesterday. The redshank have continued to enjoy the refuge with 200+ birds roosting over the last few high tides. Up to 30 black-tailed godwits, some in the picture above, either rested up or carried on feeding around the pools.

The ducks have spread into the grassland with 150 wigeon and 200 teal present, although most of the 18 shoveler were sleeping. Most of the ducks in the picture are wigeon. The most interesting sight in recent days has been the roost of little egrets in the nearby trees with 18 birds counted today while at least 19 were perched up yesterday. Most of these roosting egrets seemed happy to stay in the trees for tonight, as the high tide was quite late in the afternoon.

The sight of two kingfishers at the pond were enjoyed by members of the South Woodham Ferrers U3A. The birds putting on a nice display and showing off their colours in the sunshine. I had to make do with a duller sight of a kingfisher towards dusk as one of the birds returned to roost for the night.

The tractor has been busy in the fields in recent days tidying up the grassland ready for the arrival of the brent geese for the winter. The thistles escaped weed-wiping earlier on in the summer because of the wet weather and were in need of swiping down with this machine pictured above. Nine brent geese flew over the nearby saltmarsh on Thursday afternoon.

Making the most of the thistles while they were still standing yesterday was an impressive charm of 150 goldfinches, which hadn't been noticed here before. The flock bounded along from one part of the field to another part feeding either on the ground or perching on the thistle-heads. Some of this flock may've arrived during the day as part of a big goldfinch movement down the Essex coast. One observer counted nearly 3000 goldfinches flying south past Frinton during the day - an impressive day's total that even exceeded his monthly goldfinch totals made for the whole of October in 2006 and also 2007!

There were only 50 goldfinches seen at the park today and those were flying east over the car park in the morning. In the fields in the afternoon, only four goldfinches were seen along with 6 skylarks.

The big flock today over the fields were masses of house martins - another big day of passage for them. Flocks seemed to be moving through all day with about 400+ passing over. Several big flocks of 50 -100 birds appeared at intervals over the fields, circling round a few times before drifting west. Mixed in amongst them were 100+ swallows.

Four siskins flew west in the morning while fourteen had stopped off yesterday to feed in the alders by the pond. A handful of pied wagtails were also seen flying west yesterday along with 30 meadow pipits. A reed warbler skulked through the reeds at the park on Thursday. On Wednesday a lesser whitethroat was feeding with 6 blackcaps and 4 chiffchaffs near the pond, as were 3 song thrushes.

A marsh harrier was seen flying by the pond on Friday by Helen Mussett and one was also seen the day before resting on the side of the dyke before flying towards the Point. Just after middday on Thursday a common buzzard flew west over the park entrance being mobbed by a carrion crow.A pair of kestrels were seen hunting near the grazing fields on Thursday too. Ian Black saw a water rail along Bromans Lane flying away from the roadside pond as he drove along on Friday late afternoon.

Helen Mussett was surprised to see a badger dash for cover across the small field by the park pond in the middle of Friday morning. One was seen behaving more normally yesterday evening crossing Bromans Lane in the car headlights.One pipistrelle bat was hawking over the car park as night fell yesterday. In the Colne a common seal was seen today and also the day before when it was seen to swallow a flatfish near the Point.

The sunshine during Thursday morning saw 10+ red admirals passing west over the park, while 10+ small whites fluttered around the park. Also enjoying the sun were 3 common lizards and 5 Roesels bush crickets.

There haven't been many ideal nights for moth-trapping recently, although it stayed dry but cold on Tuesday night for the trap to be left out. In the morning about 30 moths of 10 species had been noted including two orange sallow moths, one pictured above. Also noted were barred sallow, lunar underwing, L-album wainscot, large yellow underwing, square spot rustic, setaceous hebrew character and vines rustic.

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