Thursday, 10 January 2013


There was a definite drop in the temperature in the morning of Thursday 10th and the little bit of brightness at dawn soon disappeared under the cold fog. The watercourses hadn't frozen in the park's grazing fields, despite the very cold night.

The waders and wildfowl in the fields were much more wary in the morning gloom. Some of the 300+ teal were swimming about noisily displaying while 100+ wigeon paddled about in the water before flying off to graze. Up to 100 black-tailed godwits and 50 redshank had gathered for the high tide. On the park a sparrowhawk flashed low over the grass near the cliff-top. Two common seals were seen in the Colne, one swimming close to the beach only 20 metres away during the high tide.

The weather the day before on Wednesday 9th was a complete contrast with little wind and lots of blue sky. The calm morning conditions out to sea allowed distant views of a total of 30+ red-throated divers as they passed from Colne Point to the Blackwater. About ten of the birds were seen in the water while in the background a steady flow of other red-throats flew low over the water westwards. Also noted were 4 Slavonian grebes, 120 great crested grebes and a goldeneye.

A little owl provided a nice view in a tree overhead, its location near the overflow car park given away by anxious tits and blackbirds. The stonechat was beside the seawall while the pale-bellied brent stood out nearby without needing binoculars amongst 700 dark-bellied brent. Six little egrets flew off the mudflats and over the park at dusk on their way to roost.

The highlight on Tuesday 8th was the appearance of 40 snow buntings at the Point - the biggest flock here for several years. Martin Cock nearly gave the Point a miss during his morning walk around the seawall but saw from a distance a flock of small birds flying around which looked like snow buntings. His suspicions were confirmed when he went to investigate and he quickly relayed the news. The buntings were feeding along the lower beach, scurrying up to the tide-line, one or two brightly marked males present.

Andy Field arrived within twenty minutes but the snow buntings had just flown off, however another visit here an hour later and the birds were back again for him to get a more accurate count. The flock flew around a few times dropping down on the beach but soon returned back to the beach at Point Clear.

Also seen at the park were a nice flock of 10 lesser redpolls with 20 goldfinches on the alders near the pond. A striking male pintail was a surprise sight in the morning although it sadly didn't hang around too long on the pond. Along the seawall the female stonechat was seen perched both by the path and on bramble bushes. The pale-bellied brent was with 500 dark-bellied brent in the morning. All the hundreds of waders and wildfowl had their feeding and roosting interrupted when a marsh harrier casually flew over the fields and pond.

In the Pyefleet Andy Field saw one of the scaup still present near Pewit Island.

At dusk on Tuesday, the pipistrelle bat was seen flying into the park at 4.45pm, the second time in a week this bat has been seen near the entrance. A little owl was seen at dusk on top of a telegraph post in the car park.

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