Sunday, 18 November 2012


These two little egrets were perched on an old oak tree overlooking the pools at the country park on a glorious winter's day on Sunday 18th. The great weather was matched by a great variety of wintering birds, all making an appearance after the misty and gloomy weather of the last few days. The visibility was near perfect and the wind was non-existent.

As well as three little egrets on top of the old oak tree, this one joined another egret on another oak tree nearby.

On the park pools, the 500 black-tailed godwits, pictured above, were roosting for the high tide along with a single ruff, 60+ common snipe and 70+ redshank. There was no sign of the jack snipe which had been seen yesterday. Two ruff in the fields yesterday were the first ones this year here.

Amongst the 500 dark-bellied brent geese in the fields was the single pale-bellied brent, pictured at back, Also in the fields in the morning were the 50 greylags as well as good numbers of teal and wigeon. A count of wigeon yesterday revealed about 700 birds present.

The still and sunny conditions was ideal for spider activity and the spreading of their gossamer silk. This picture above of the grazing field shows the white blanket highlighted when looking into the sun. The whole field was carpeted in white and throughout the day, thick strands of silk would drift past in the air.

A weasel scurried along the seawall path and then darted down the seawall-side and into the reeds by the dyke.

Another eye-catching sight with the blue sky above is the unwelcome red blanket of the alien azolla water fern. It was hoped that the brackish water would stop it spreading.

Another spring tide saw the water cover most of the saltmarsh near the East Mersea Point. No snow buntings were reported today or yesterday from the Point. A lapland bunting flew over calling as it headed east in the afternoon, one had also flown east over the car park an hour earlier, maybe the same bird. The kingfisher perched on the seawall sluice at high tide showing off the bright colours in the sunshine. Thirty linnets and ten skylarks flew around feeding on the saltmarsh.

Was treated to one of the best views for a long time of a cracking male hen harrier flying low over the saltmarsh from Ivy Farm to the Point and then back again towards Langenhoe. It flew close enough and provided a great flypast that I could see the colour of its eyes!  Circling over Langenhoe Point was a peregrine disturbing many of the wader flocks as were 3 marsh harriers.

In the Colne 2 common scoter, goldeneye, 22 great crested grebes and 10 red-breasted mergansers were noted as was a common seal. Nick Green reported seeing an eider duck flying out of the river around the middle of the day.

At dusk a barn owl was hunting the field to the north of the park and then headed into the park flying past the hide. On the pond 35 gadwall and 50 mallard were the main wildfowl here. Fourteen siskin flew over the pond earlier in the day. No sign in the overflow car park today of the little owl that perched at dusk yesterday.

Spent the Sunday lunch-hour on the Maydays seawall so that I could see the 5 scaup that Martin Cock had relocated in the Pyefleet. Four scaup were diving together while the fifth bird was a few hundred metres up-channel. Martin and I watched a merlin race across the fields, a kestrel perched on a bush and a short while later a common buzzard was seen being mobbed on a hedge near Shop Lane - the sixth raptor-species for the day. Also in the Pyefleet was a male goldeneye and 2 common seals resting on the saltmarsh.
Steve Entwistle also had a barn owl at the end of the day over Maydays.

Andy Field and Richard Hull visited the nearby Langenhoe MOD ranges in the afternoon for the raptor roost and noted 22 marsh harriers, 2 or 3 male hen harriers, 2 merlin, 2 peregrine, 2 barn owl, common buzzard, 13 red-breasted mergansers and 2 bearded tits as well as four of the Pyefleet scaup.

On Saturday Andy noted a Mediterranean gull and 30 sanderling on the West Mersea beach and also saw the muntjac deer in a field by Bromans Lane.

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