Thursday, 3 January 2013


It stayed dry during Thursday 3rd with the sun briefly showing itself early in the afternoon. The most unexpected wildlife sighting that maybe reflects the recent mild spell was a pipistrelle bat hawking back and forwards along the track just inside the park's entrance gates. Just as darkness was descending the bat was watched for about five minutes. Most sensible bats would be tucked away in some building or old tree spending the winter months hibernating.

Just before dusk the water rail at the park pond, pictured above, showed itself in its usual spot again, out from the reeds feeding on the grass for about five minutes. A sparrowhawk glided low over the pond as it headed into the trees at the back for the evening roost. On the water 3 tufted ducks were amongst 100 other ducks mainly mallard and gadwall.

On the grazing fields the female stonechat was perched on the bramble bush at the dyke end of the central ditch. Two meadow pipits were feeding with a rock pipit and pied wagtail near the pools. Up to 300 teal were around the pools with many of the males displaying noisily to each other on the water. Four hundred brent geese were in the fields and although the pale bellied wasn't seen, it had been present the day before and was probably still around.

At the Point a sparrowhawk flew low along the saltmarsh, two linnets flew over, two red-breasted mergansers, 2 great crested grebes and a common seal were in the Colne river. In the afternoon several hundred wigeon were offshore on the water.

Along one of the muddy paths in the park, the footprints of a muntjac deer were noticed as being recently left.

As dawn broke at the beginning of the day two large flights of cormorants totalling 150 birds flew south-east over West Mersea from their Abberton roost out to the offshore feeding grounds off Colne Point. Also at daybreak a marsh harrier flew past the East Mersea church.

On Wednesday Andy Field walked the Reeveshall seawall and noted a female merlin and common buzzard both perched on Reeveshall while a peregrine was perched as usual on the Geedons. In the Pyefleet 3 scaup were still present near Pewit Island, while in the Colne 4 common scoter and 20 red-breasted mergansers were seen.

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