Wednesday, 23 January 2013


This little owl was perched on one of its' regular trees near the entrance to the East Mersea Youth Camp, both images taken by Andy Field on Tuesday 22nd. This site has been the most consistently used one on the Island for over 20 years. They can be hard to spot sometimes as their markings match the colour of the tree trunk if they're perched next to it.

A couple of little owls were also seen near the park on Tuesday too with one seen late afternoon perched in a pine tree over the cliff-top path - its presence betrayed by anxious calling chaffinches. As night fell another little owl was seen in the car headlights on the tarmac in Bromans Lane.
The little owl was also seen in the park on Wednesday morning perched on a different pine tree in the south-west corner, quickly flying away after it had been spotted.

Continuing the owl theme, there was the nice ghostly-white sight of  a barn owl flying over the car park in the middle of Tuesday afternoon. As the bird flew over, the wings and body appeared brilliant white with the snow reflecting the brightness upwards. The owl carried on hunting over the rough grass field to the west side of the car park.
It was interesting to hear that Andy Field and Martin Cock had also seen a barn owl in mid afternoon, flying out of a barn in Shop Lane. Did this bird continue hunting over to the country park, or was it a different bird forced by the snow to hunt during the day?

Also noted at the park were two sparrrowhawks and a kestrel on Tuesday, with two sparrowhawk sightings also on Wednesday. At dusk on both afternoons, a sparrowhawk has headed over to the copse behind the pond, sending out lots of wood pigeons including 25 stock doves.

Close to the pond 10 snipe were feeding in the snow on Tuesday often close to lots of moorhens, which themselves totalled 61 birds in two groups either side of the pond. The ice was still covering a large part of the pond with 25 gadwall, 4 shoveler and a tufted duck noted amongst the many mallard.

The lack of visitors to the park has allowed at least one lapwing to feed in the car park while up to 20 golden plover have been feeding on the main field - free of walkers and their dogs.

There was still a thick cover of snow across the park's grazing fields at the start of Tuesday, but the thaw soon began when the sun shone mid-morning. A small flock of 150 golden plover huddled down amongst the snow to roost and a small flock of 30 dunlin landed in the snow along with one knot. Two snipe and a curlew were the only other birds noted here.

Andy and Martin did well to locate a woodcock as it flew out of a wooded ditch to the west of Shop Lane on Tuesday. The only woodcock reported so far this cold snap. Two great spotted woodpeckers together were also noted by them during their walk and two were also seen together at the park on the same day.

David Nicholls continues to see the badgers even in the snow, coming to his West Mersea garden to feed on his peanuts, which he says is costing him a small fortune, but worth it for the entertainment they provide! On the 13th January he counted four badgers in his garden, although usually its just one or two, occasionally three badgers.

Adrian Amos reported seeing a blackcap and a redwing in his East Rd garden in West Mersea on Tuesday.

No comments: