Wednesday, 20 November 2013


There was the unexpected sight of these two white-fronted geese in the park's grazing fields on Wednesday 20th. Although there were greylag geese, brent geese and lots of wigeon in the fields, this pair of geese stood out as they were in the middle of the field by themselves. The white base around the bill can just be seen on the bird on the left. White-fronted geese are scarce visitors to the fields each winter with birds rarely staying for more than few days.

Not as many wildfowl or waders were on the fields during the late afternoon - maybe a raptor had passed by earlier and disturbed the birds off. This flock of wigeon in flight were some of the 300 wigeon noted while 200 teal were around the pools in the fields.

Several little egrets are regularly seen feeding along the saltmarsh creeks and in the saltmarsh pools too.

This bird was enjoying feeding in one of the saltmarsh pools beside the seawall in the late afternoon sunshine.

It was very busy with waders at the Point as they fed in the ebbing tide. The most numerous were the smallest with about 1000 dunlin spread out across the mud, some of them pictured above.

One of three marsh harriers seen late afternoon flying up the Colne towards the Langenhoe roost. This bird had been lined up to pass right over the camera whilst on the Point, but it spied me a hundred metres away standing behind sea-blite bushes and veered off to bypass me.

Andy Field and Martin Cock managed to count from East Mersea an impressive 28 marsh harriers at the Langenhoe roost on Tuesday 19th. A high count for the start of the winter period but sadly no hen harriers were seen.

Also at the Point on Wednesday was one snow bunting, although nine birds were still present first thing on Tuesday morning. Those nine birds had a lucky escape when they rose into the air as a female merlin appeared from nowhere and made a half-hearted lunge at them, before it carried on rapidly up-river.
As well as the merlin seen by Glyn at the Strood on the 18th, Martin saw a merlin chase a skylark at Maydays two days earlier

Ten red-breasted mergansers flew up river past the Point as did 100 avocets early on Tuesday and 2 rock pipits flew over the saltmarsh calling.

The birds are stripping the berries off the rowan trees in the car park but it's been great that they've lasted this long for the winter thrushes to enjoy. Up to ten blackbirds, 2 song thrushes, 2 mistle thrushes, one fieldfare, one or two jays and up to eight magpies were seen feeding on the berries during Wednesday.

Lots of loud alarm calls from blackbirds and finches in the trees by the overflow car park betrayed the presence of a little owl trying to rest half-way up a dense pine tree. A redpoll flew over the car park calling as did ten fieldares on Monday morning.

Daryl Rhymes noted a great northern diver, red-throated diver and three common scoter off West Mersea on Sunday 17th.

Two common seals were in the Colne on Tuesday 19th and one was just offshore from the park cliff feeding on a fish on Saturday 16th.

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