Thursday, 14 March 2013


Water rails have been showing themselves at a couple of places near the pond at the park on Thursday 14th. This one was snapped as it foraged towards the west end of the pond-field towards the park entrance. Every so often it scuttled back into the nearby ditch for safety. A second water rail was seen at the east side of the pond in the wet corner of the grazing fields, darting between the clumps of rushes before disappearing into the ditch.

Also in this area a lesser redpoll landed briefly in the alders in the afternoon before flying off. Below the alders were 10 chaffinches and 10 goldfinches feeding in the field. At the pond 2 pochard, 5 tufted duck and 20 gadwall were the main ducks here.

The clear skies on Thursday morning meant a frosty start to the day but it soon warmed up enough for three adders to be seen, including these two entwined with each other.

Around 600 brent geese were feeding in the grazing fields including a pale-bellied brent goose with them. Also in the fields towards the high tide in the early afternoon were 400 wigeon, 200 teal, 100 curlew, 100 golden plover, 160 redshank, 30 snipe, 16 shelduck as well as a few lapwing and dunlin and also two little egrets. Six skylarks were noted, one or two singing while reed bunting and meadow pipits were also seen.

Looking to the north towards Langenhoe Point seven marsh harriers were in the air together making the most of the sunshine with some birds soaring up high in the sky.

The sea offshore from the park has been quiet in the last few days with 10 red-breasted mergansers, 8 great crested grebes the main birds noted other than small flocks of wigeon on the water.

The highlight of Wednesday 13th was a very close fly-past of a barn owl at the park at 3pm in the afternoon. The owl was first spotted hunting over the long grass of the main field with the place devoid of walkers and dogs for a change. The owl seemed content quartering the same area, occasionally dropping down to try and pounce on prey. I crouched down close to a bramble bush and within a couple of minutes was treated to a memorable fly-over by the owl as it passed just a few feet over head. This owl didn't seem to realise it was a human crouching down watching it, usually they veer off at the last minute after they recognise the danger. This owl carried on hunting and was last seen flying low along the grass beside the cliff-top.

Also on Wednesday 10 fieldfares and a mistle thrush were feeding in the field near the park entrance.

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