Thursday, 7 February 2013


A cold start to Thursday 7th but at least the sun was shining. Water levels have risen recently in the borrow-dyke at the park with water covering the path inside the seawall. There was a similar flooding a year ago following lots of rain.

The wigeon and teal are taking advantage of the high water levels with over 200 ducks grazing the grass along the path, rather than their usual grass on the fields. Also with them were several black-tailed godwits and redshank probing the wet soil along the waterlogged grass path inside the seawall. Four hundred golden plover and forty snipe were seen in the fields along with the usual hundreds of teal and wigeon.

All the waders and wildfowl rose into the air, presumably in response to a bird of prey passing over like a peregrine. Surprisingly there was a more muted response to a marsh harrier that crossed low over the middle of the fields with only minimal evasion by wildfowl under its immediate flightpath as it headed past the Golfhouse

This little Ratty water vole posed briefly on the opposite side of the flooded dyke, long enough for a rare digi-binned picture. What was more memorable was seeing a kingfisher fly along the saltmarsh and then cross the seawall to perch in a bramble bush beside the water. The light was perfect to highlight the bright colours and also see the orange lower bill indicating a female kingfisher.

The kingfisher began to peer down at the water underneath it and I could see this water vole swimming a half a metre below the bird. The water vole then disappeared underneath the bush for a minute or so, before swimming back under the kingfisher, which stared back down again as the vole passed by.

After another minute the kingfisher flew off across the grazing fields towards the dyke near the Golfhouse, with the sun shining along the bird's brilliant turquoise-coloured back.

Three wigeon including this male, were grazing the grass beside the park pond along with a few moorhens and with a curlew present too. Amongst the familiar ducks on the pond were 12 tufted ducks but no sign of the female pintail that had been present two days earlier.

Flying over the car park during the morning were at least three great spotted woodpeckers while four mistle thrushes and a fieldfare were also noted.

Offshore a red-throated diver and a common seal were in the mouth of the estuary and 25+ red-breasted mergansers flew out of the river at the end of the day and ten avocets were on the mud.

At dusk on Wednesday 6th a buck muntjac deer slowly walked along the back of the grazing fields - the first sighting of one here for a couple of months.

Near Weir Farm a common buzzard flew close to the East Mersea road as it headed low over one of the fields. Also near here were 30 fieldfares perched in a bush beside some rape fields where 1000+ wood pigeons have recently stripped the crop bare in places.

Earlier on Thursday at West Mersea Richard Allen reported from St Peters beach seeing a velvet scoter, 3 great northern divers, 2 shags, one Slavonian grebe, 2 sparrowhawks and a kingfisher.

On Tuesday 5th, Andy Field saw 3 great northern divers, 2 red-throated divers, 4 common scoter, 5 red-breasted mergansers, one Mediterranean gull and 50 great crested grebes offshore from Kingsland Beach.

 A brief visit to the reservoirs beside the Strood, pictured above, late on Monday 4th provided an unexpected view of a ringtail hen harrier passing close-by as it headed rapidly eastwards over the East Mersea junction on the Strood. Two marsh harriers were also seen near here as they slowly drifted eastwards to Langenhoe too.

On the water 8 tufted ducks and 25 mallard were the only ducks present along with a few coots and moorhens. At the bottom of the East Mersea road 200 fieldfares were feeding in a field, before being interrupted by the hen harrier.

On Sunday 3rd Daryl Rhymes and Tony Wells from Kingsland Beach saw the 3 great northern divers, 12 common scoter, 5 Slavonian grebes, one black-necked grebe, 2 Mediterranean gull and 12 red-breasted mergansers.
At East Mersea Steve Entwistle saw a tawny owl in Shop Lane at dusk while a second bird called nearby. A little owl was seen in Bromans Lane at dusk too, while earlier in the day Alan Reynolds saw 3 Slavonian grebes from Coopers Beach.

No comments: