Tuesday, 18 December 2012


There was the rare sight this winter of the sun setting behind the Bradwell nuclear power station opposite Mersea Island on Monday 17th. This view looking west from the country park, shows the sunset at its furthest south in the winter sky.

This digi-binned picture shows the sun setting at about 3.45pm. The power station has been shut down and is currently being decomissioned. Most folk on the Island are pleased to see the sun setting on these ugly nuclear reactors that have dominated the landscape for decades.

The sunshine from Sunday continued for a second day into Monday with only a slight breeze during the day.
The park's grazing fields held the main bird interest again with 400 brent geese including the pale-bellied brent goose and 52 greylag geese too. Lots of wigeon and teal were spread across the fields with almost 1500 ducks present.
The black-tailed godwits, redshank and snipe were very much in evidence along with 30+ dunlin, 10 turnstone and a grey plover making the most of the wet conditions.

On the park pond a water rail called from the back, while 100 mallard and 20 gadwall and 2 tufted ducks were noted here.

Glyn Evans and his trusty fellow wetland bird counters, walked the north side of the Island on Monday and noted a common buzzard on Maydays, a spotted redshank on Reeveshall and a total of 10 rock pipits during the walk.

On Tuesday 18th a female pintail was seen on the pond amongst the mallard and gadwall and a water rail called from the nearby ditch. More blackbirds were out feeding in two main groups than is normal with 10 in the pond field and 15 near the car park, along with a couple of song thrushes. No doubt more blackbirds were in other corners of the park.

At the beginning of the day the silhouette of a woodcock was briefly glimpsed as it rose sharply from a ditch in Bromans Lane and flying over to the park entrance where it wasn't seen again. I've only heard of one other woodcock on the Island this winter, that was over a month ago in a field near Brierley Hall, West Mersea, seen by John Knight.

Martin Cock had a rewarding look offshore to the waters at the entrance to the Mersea Quarters on Tuesday seeing two great northern divers, one possible black-necked grebe, two red-throated divers, two eider and two common scoter.

There was also the interesting report of three quite confiding waxwings being seen feeding on berries in a hedge on the Glebe field extension on Monday. However there was no sign of them here on Tuesday.

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