Sunday, 13 January 2013


There were some wintry skies to the east of Mersea Island during the morning of Sunday 13th and apart from a couple of tiny spots of "snow", the day stayed dry but cold. The north-east wind kept the temperatures down all day making for a bracing walk across the Park.

 At the East Mersea Point 300 brent geese were grazing the algae on the mudflats at the beginning of the day before taking to the air and heading round to Reeveshall to feed in the fields there. In the river 24 red-breasted mergansers were seen with most close to Sandy Point, along from Point Clear. As well as 6 great crested grebes there was a common seal in the river too.

In the grazing fields 500 wigeon and 300 teal were the most obvious birds here during the morning. On the mudflats 100 knot were of note amongst the usual dunlin, grey plover, redshank and oystercatchers.

In the afternoon Steve Entwistle saw at least 3 scaup in the Pyefleet near Pewit Island as well as peregrine and a barn owl on Langenhoe. Andy Field joined him later to see 3 hen harriers including two males dropping into the Langenhoe roost along with 18+ marsh harriers.

In the Mersea Quarters, Steve had seen two great northern divers behind Packing Shed Island earlier in the day. Ray Hempstead had a successful trip from West Mersea into the Blackwater on his Sorcerer boat with a group from Swallow Birding. They noted 4 great northern divers, 12 red-throated divers, 5 velvet scoters, 40 common scoter, 11 Slavonian grebes, black-necked grebe, eider, 40 goldeneye, 50 red-breasted mergansers and 3 Bewick swans. The birding boat trip the day before had also been equally successful seeing a similiar variety of species despite the very bracing wind.

On Saturday 12th a peregrine was in determined pursuit mode when it bombed over the grazing fields, scattering all the waders and wildfowl. It flew over the Point and quickly tucked its wings into its body and dropped like a stone onto an unsuspecting group of 20 turnstone and 3 sanderling. The waders fleed and despite a second follow-up stoop, the waders escaped and the peregrine got distracted having to fend off a mobbing greater black-backed gull.

Also seen at the Point were 25 bar-tailed godwits amongst lots of dunlin as the tide came in. The river seemed quiet for ducks with little noted other than a flypast of one merganser. On the saltmarsh 2 rock pipits flew over calling.

The female stonechat was seen at the west end of the seawall beside the main part of the park. In the alders behind the pond 8 lesser redpolls were feeding with a few goldfinches. A sparrowhawk was seen flying low over the park in the morning.

On Friday 11th two sparrowhawks were seen crossing west over the Colne fifteen minutes apart, the second bird being harrassed all the way across by a very determined carrion crow. Thirty linnets were feeding amongst the saltmarsh near the Point.
There was a report of two common buzzards over the East Mersea road near Weir Farm in the morning.

Two winter moths resting on a lit window at the park early on Friday evening were the first moths noted for this year.

No comments: