Saturday, 11 January 2014


 The weather calmed down for Saturday 10th with clear blue sky for most of the day. The visibility was so clear in the morning, the North Downs in Kent some thirty miles to the south could just be made out in the far distance through binoculars. There was quite a contrast in temperatures during the day with warm still conditions at noon but six hours later ice had to be scraped off the car windscreen at the park!

Most of the wildfowl at the park were on or near the borrowdyke such as this male tufted duck. The tufted ducks regularly commute between the dyke and the pond with up to ten birds being seen recently. The 400 wigeon and 100 teal were busy feeding in the fields most of the day. During the morning high tide 70 black-tailed godwits, 100 redshank and 10 dunlin were roosting in the fields. Three snipe were also noted back on the pools.

Along the foreshore 40 sanderling fed along the water's edge, 2 rock pipits with a great crested grebe and a red-breasted merganser being the only birds of note in the river. The main flock of brent geese were feeding near the Oyster Fishery with about 700+ birds seen.

At the park pond a male sparrowhawk flew low over the water to the copse behind and amongst the ducks 26 shoveler were noted with mallard, gadwall and tufted ducks. At least two water rails continue to call from the back of the pond and nearby ditch but remain hidden.

On Wednesday 30 red-breasted mergansers and a goldeneye were seen in the Colne by Andy Field. A common buzzard was at Bocking Hall in the morning. Twenty stock doves were by the pond copse late afternoon and a tawny owl could be heard calling in the distance at dusk at Manwood Grove area.

A day of sunshine and showers on Monday 6th for the walk along the Strood seawall. This ploughed field held a nice roost of plovers with 500 lapwing and 100 golden plover. The whole flock soon dispersed rapidly when a peregrine appeared and singled out a golden plover for the chase. The pursuit lasted several minutes and covered huge distances criss-crossing high over the fields and the Strood Channel. The birds flew further and further away and the outcome wasn't witnessed.

Later on the walk huge flocks of plovers rose up over the fields of Copt Hall and Feldy with 5000+ lapwing and 3000+ golden plover. On the wheat field at Peldon could be seen 500+ brent geese. The tide was coming back up the channel but wader numbers seemed lower than usual. Fifteen little grebe were seen amongst the moorings.

It was nice to see the pair of stonechats still frequenting the patch of rough ground beside the pond at the back of the Strood fields. The orange chest showed up well when the male bird perched on a bramble bush and the female appeared in view too after a few minutes. This pair has been seen several times over the last couple of months. Two rock pipits and a reed bunting were the only other small birds of note.

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