Sunday, 10 March 2013


More rain in the last few days has brought water levels back up again in the park grazing fields, as pictured above on Sunday 10th. The return of waterlogged conditions was good news for the waders and wildfowl who were back in good numbers again around the mid-morning high tide. Despite the cold easterly wind and flurries of sleety rain, there were plenty of birds to enjoy on the fields.

The most interesting sight were two pairs of pintail which after circling over the fields, landed to feed in one of the flooded areas. A little later three more pintail were seen in flight, circling over the adjoining field before settling down. These three birds brought the tally of pintail to seven, a site record for these fields. Curious that they're not seen here more often with seemingly ideal wet conditions for them.

Two female marsh harriers flew north over the fields in quick succession mid morning, causing a bit of panic amongst the many birds especially the wigeon. Prior to this a sparrowhawk also passed low over the fields, as it glided quickly into the copse behind the pond.

Rough estimates of birds in the fields were 400 wigeon, 250 teal, 20 shoveler, 20 gadwall,16 shelduck, 400 black-tailed godwit, 500 dunlin, 100 golden plover, 200 redshank, 40 snipe, 20 turnstone, 5 ringed plover and one knot, Ten tufted duck were in the dyke while 2 little egrets, 5 skylark, rock pipit and meadow pipits were also noted in the fields.

Offshore from the park at high tide one Slavonian grebe was seen, while to the west at Coopers Beach, Steve Bunn saw a gannet as it was flew westwards towards the Blackwater. Two great northern divers and 4 eider were seen offshore at West Mersea.

The Swallow Birding boat trip from West Mersea into the Blackwater were rewarded with a good variety of birds. Closest to West Mersea was a black brant on the shore while 2 shags were still present in the Quarters.

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