Friday, 2 November 2012


At least one badger appears to have taken up residence in the middle of West Mersea as witnessed in these two photos taken by David Nicholls in his garden last night Thursday 2nd. A badger had been sighted in the same road last week, so maybe this is the same individual.

The badger was feeding on some spilt sunflower seeds that starlings had discarded from a feeder during the day. David's picture above was taken without the flash, whereas the top one had the flash on it.

Received a report of a red squirrel being seen on the East Mersea road near the Meeting Lane bus stop mid-morning on Wednesday 31st. The same spot where I'd seen one a month earlier.

A couple of surprises awaited on the park beach during Friday 3rd. A shorelark was discovered scuttling along the beach whilst walking along the seawall. It turned its head to show the distinctive pale yellow and black face pattern. Unfortunately it didn't stay around for long and within a minute it took off with a second unidentified bird that I hadn't noticed and flew high towards the back of the grazing fields. However fifteen minutes later at about 10am, the shorelark was found again back on the same bit of beach about halfway along the main seawall, where it was left feeding along the strandline.

There was no sign of the shorelark at the end of the afternoon, maybe too many walkers and dogs were on the beach. What did make the second walk of the day to the Point worthwhile was stumbling onto a snow bunting, which had managed to blend in well with the shingle and tufts of grass. The bird trotted away in behind some taller tufts of grass where it was left as the sun was watched setting. I've since gathered this bird was first discovered earlier in the afternoon by some visiting birdwatchers.

Also at the Point two marsh harriers passed nearby as they returned to the Langenhoe evening roost from Colne Point. Five red-breasted mergansers flew out of the river and a common seal was in the outer part of the Colne.

Found myself being treated to a fantastic close-up view of a barn owl from the hide at dusk, 5pm as it flew towards the hide and hovered briefly only five metres from the open window where I was sitting and looking at me for a couple of seconds. There was a good chance the owl might have come into the hide if I hadn't been sitting at the window. The binoculars could only just focus on the owl, before it flew off to the side. The first barn owl I've seen here for a couple of years. In the fading light a buck muntjac walked across the small field beside the pond.

A pair of swallows hawked around the main hedge next to the grazing fields just prior to dark - not sure where they were going to spend the night being so late in the day. A pair of little owls flew into the park at the south-west corner, duetting as they flew. Earlier in the day a chiffchaff called from the clifftop trees.

On the grazing fields the two white-fronted geese, pale-bellied brent goose, 45 greylag geese were present along with 1000 dark-bellied brent geese.

Reported from the park by a visiting birdwatcher were 3 white-fronted geese in the fields, 50 swallows coming in off the sea and a brambling in the car park

One or two showers passed over the park with this rainbow on show briefly in the afternoon.

The previous day on Thursday 2nd, the jack snipe was seen again on the pools in the grazing fields for its second day. As the day before, it was easy to recognise as it bobbed up and down whilst feeding. Also at the pools was a roost of 500 black-tailed godwits, 200+ redshank with a single knot noted too.
During a sunny spell a migrant hawker and red admiral were seen in the car park.

Andy Field and Pete Tristron saw the 2 white-fronted geese, the pale-bellied brent, 8 little egrets roosting, 4 swallows over the fields and a red-throated diver in the estuary.

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