Friday, 5 April 2013


More cold easterly winds brought further snow to the Island on Thursday 4th with this view of the Cudmore Grove car park in mid afternoon. A combination of sleet, hail and snow showers eventually carpeted the ground in about 15mm of very wet snow. The biting cold winds provided a good excuse to spend most of the day inside except for a brief visit to the hide at the end of the afternoon.

One of the water rails was seen feeding under the alder trees at the bottom of the pond-field. The bird was partially obscured and only spotted because this area has been a favourite haunt for it recently. Nearby on a very saturated part of the snow-covered field were four snipe and a curlew.

Sheltering out of the cold wind were two little egrets resting on low branches at the back of the pond. The only ducks on the water were 8 tufted duck, 6 shoveler and a few teal. A sparrowhawk flew away from the copse being mobbed by some crows as it headed low over the fields to the north.

The weather improved slightly on Friday 5th with the snow all gone and the sun managing to break through late in the day. Even one of the regular adders was brave enough to find a spot out of the east wind late in the day.
The pair of swans on the pond must feel the winter weather finished yesterday as they started building a nest today amongst the lesser reedmace in the middle of the pond. Two green woodpeckers flew across the pond in the afternoon.

A sparrowhawk flew from the park out over the mudflats, providing a good reason for the waders to head off to roost with the tide coming in. The last of the waders off the mud were varying numbers of dunlin, turnstone, knot, grey plover, curlew, redshank, oystercatcher, ringed plover and bar-tailed godwit. Offshore one red-breasted merganser and 3 great crested grebes were noted in a quick scan.

In the grazing fields 50 shelduck, 60 teal, 10 redshank, 300 wigeon, 12 snipe, 10 lapwing and 10 gadwall were seen and also a pair of greylag geese. The male kestrel was sitting inside the nestbox at the back of the fields, the first time he's been seen inside for nearly a month.

Near the park entrance a fieldfare and 2 mistle thrushes were feeding in the wheat field with 30 curlews feeding in the other wheat field at high tide.
Earlier in the day one of the Island's very elusive red-legged partridges was seen beside the East Mersea road close to the Bocking Hall farm drive.

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