Thursday, 6 December 2012


It was a bit of surprise to see such big snow flakes falling as it was getting light on Wednesday 5th. After about an hours worth of snow, it soon stopped and once the snow clouds had moved south, blue skies appeared briefly later in the morning. The park beach in the picture above shows it covered with snow.

Not as many visitors to the country park during the morning so the car park stayed quiet. Most of the snow had all thawed by the end of the afternoon.

Birds noted around the park on Wednesday were 20+ blackbirds under the trees, 10 long-tailed tits, a lesser redpoll flying from some alders, 20 goldfinches over the car park and a kestrel hovering over the long grass. Most of the park pond was frozen although 40+ ducks here included wigeon, shoveler, gadwall and mallard.

The grazing fields were frozen and buried under a carpet of snow with only 30 lapwing and 20 golden plover of any note here. Several hundred wigeon and teal were out on the edge of the mudflats. Three hundred brent geese flew from the Pyefleet towards the mouth of the Colne.

From the Point 250 avocets were seen on the mud as was a feeding flock of 200 knot. In the river a red breasted merganser was close in with a group of wigeon and a common seal was noted too. A dozen skylarks, 5 reed buntings and a rock pipit were the main small birds near the Point.

It was still cold on Thursday 6th with another sharp overnight frost and the various watercourses staying frozen over. The park pond was still two-thirds frozen with lots of ducks standing on the ice, as in the photo above.

Gathered at the pond were 100 mallard, 6 gadwall, 5 shoveler with one or two teal and wigeon. A brightly marked male sparrowhawk with a bright orange chest, was surveying the pond from a fencepost. It then came and sat in a bush about 20 metres from the hide, providing a nice close view. A water rail squealed from the back of the pond.

Roosting in the copse behind the pond were 5 little egrets and 30 stock doves while circling over a nearby hedge were 25 greenfinches. Two snipe flew down onto the frozen pools and a few curlew, lapwing and golden plover were the only other birds in the fields. As the tide came in over the mud, 15 sanderling were seen close to the beach.

On Tuesday 4th Martin Cock and Steve Entwistle saw three Slavonian grebes off Coopers Beach and a little later watched from Shop Lane 3 male hen harriers, 12+ marsh harriers and a peregrine at the Langenhoe raptor roost. Michael Thorley reported a male blackcap in his East Mersea garden.

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