Sunday, 16 December 2012


Waders and wildfowl were back in force on the park's wet grazing fields over the weekend, following the period of frost and ice that seemed to last for almost a fortnight. This group of wigeon pictured above on Sunday 16th, were some of the 700+ wigeon grazing the fields in the morning.

A good idea of how many birds were present was provided when a female marsh harrier crossed over the fields, sending everything into the air as they made their escape.

Like the wigeon, the teal have come back in their hundreds to the pools and flashes of water in the fields. The picture above shows some of 700+ teal, as well as a few redshank, many of them spending the time roosting.
There was no sign on Sunday of the nice male pintail that was with the teal briefly on Saturday. It had appeared very wary and anxious and was only noted because it had it's head up which showed off the long white neck.

Amongst the waders noted were 50+ common snipe, although no sign of any jack snipe. Up to 400 black-tailed godwits were seen with most spending their time feeding and making the most of the saturated ground.
Nearer the high tide around a hundred redshank, 30+ dunlin, 20 turnstone, 100 lapwing and 100 golden plover were also in the fields.

The geese have also returned to the fields with 50 greylags back after their fortnight's absence. Numbers of brent geese fluctuated as groups came and went with about 500 noted at one point. The pale-bellied brent was also seen on Sunday and the Saturday too.

At the park pond at the end of Sunday afternoon, a water rail emerged from the reeds to feed on the grass for the second dusk running, At least one other water rail squealed from a different part of the pond which prompted a squealing reply from the first rail. Earlier in the day a water rail was seen in the ditch at the bottom of the field. The day before a water rail was also seen as it walked nervously out on the grass along the bottom edge of the field.

Good numbers of duck on the pond over the weekend, now that it has completely thawed out. Over a hundred mallard were the most obvious and the most noisy. Also 30 gadwall, 2 tufted duck were joined by one or two teal and shoveler. On Saturday 2 snipe and an oystercatcher were feeding in the pond field.
Feeding under the alders in the pond field on Saturday were 5 lesser redpolls with two pinky looking males, along with 10 chaffinches.

Mid Sunday morning a lapland bunting flew along the seawall calling out loud and clear as it continued west along the clifftop. Along the beach and saltmarsh were 2 rock pipits, meadow pipit and 6 skylarks with one song thrush on the seawall. Four fieldfare were near the Golfhouse and another 11 were flying over Ivy Farm.

In the Colne 6 male goldeneye, 12 red-breasted mergansers and 10 great crested grebes were seen in the river. A female marsh harrier flew upriver to Langenhoe Point in the morning to join at least five other birds present there.

Offshore from the park 4 Slavonian grebes were seen just after the high tide on Sunday, 15 sanderling flew along the beach and a close common seal swam over the park polders in front of the cliff during the high tide.

Martin Cock saw a male hen harrier and 4 scaup in the Pyefleet from Maydays on Sunday while Hugh Owen reported a male hen harrier and common buzzard over Langehoehall marshes the day before.
Two red-throated divers were seen off West Mersea on Wednesday 12th by Martin, while Ian Black was intrigued to see a male reed bunting at his bird feeder in his Mersea Avenue garden recently.

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