Sunday, 2 December 2012


A sharp frost had formed by dawn on Sunday 2nd but the sun shone all day which made it worth getting out and about for a walk. This common snipe was one of a couple feeding near the park pond on grass that the morning sun had already thawed out. In the grazing fields, 20 snipe were probing the grasslands away from the frozen pools.

The big flocks of wigeon and teal were absent from the fields, preferring to sit out in the estuary during the day. In the fields however were still 500 brent geese present for a while in the morning and 300 black-tailed godwits fed during the high tide. A few lapwing, curlew and golden plover were also in the fields in the afternoon.

The overnight high tide had left behind a frozen layer of ice along the saltmarsh creek beside the "stepping-stone" path near the Point. Despite the suitable conditions, no snow buntings reported, although 5 sanderling were on the beach here.
Graham Taylor reported seeing a spoonbill on the saltmarsh pool near the Point early in the afternoon, although it flew off towards Colne Point. This is probably the same bird that was reported a short while earlier seen flying from Tollesbury towards West Mersea.

In the Colne a female common scoter, 5 goldeneye, 6 red-breasted mergansers, 12 great crested grebes while 4 scaup were in the Pyefleet. Two marsh harriers flew over the Point in the afternoon while a sparrowhawk surprised some of the 50 greenfinches feeding along the dyke near Ivy Farm. A yellowhammer and a fieldfare were also seen near here.

Amongst the 100 or so birds on the half-frozen park pond were 8 gadwall, one of the males pictured above. Also seen were 60 mallard, 5 shoveler, 2 little grebes, 10 coots and five teal.

Two groups of moorhens were feeding beside the park pond, each group of about 20 each fed out on the grass on opposite sides of the pond. At dusk the 40 moorhens headed back to the safety of the pond and fluttered up to perch in the overhanging willows. Watching the moorhens gathering nearby was a fox standing up on a raised base of a willow tree. A water rail called from one of the nearby ditches - none have shown here so far this winter.

The bird highlight of Saturday 1st from the Island was a small flock of 6 waxwings seen perched up in Martin Cocks West Mersea garden. They were seen flying off and despite searching local streets and berry laden gardens, were not relocated. This is the first report of waxwings this winter on the Island, although not too unexpected considering the number of other sightings in north Essex within the last week.

At the country park on Saturday two different sparrowhawks were seen during the day with one female in the morning by the pond and a male along the back of the grazing fields in the afternoon. At the Point 3 common seals were in the Colne as was a goldeneye and 4 red-breasted mergansers.
A muntjac deer was seen crossing Bromans Lane first thing on Saturday morning by one of the regular visitors to the park.

Alan Reynolds photographed this female common scoter in the Colne on Friday and also reported seeing a male too.Two female common scoters have been present in the Colne for over a fortnight now.

Towards the end of Friday afternoon a kingfisher was first seen flying away from the pond and over the pools, where it was later seen flying along the beach near the Point. A male marsh harrier flew back from Colne Point, flushing the 500 brent geese off the fields as it headed back to Langenhoe. The pale-bellied brent goose was seen earlier with the geese in the fields. A sparrowhawk flew high over the fields as it headed west past the car park. There was a small increase in blackbirds around the park with about 20 noted in a number of locations.

No comments: