Thursday, 16 January 2014


Another mixed weather day on Thursday 16th with mainly sunshine but also one or two showers. Seemed to be a lot of rain fell through Wednesday night into Thursday morning. There was the familiar mix of waterfowl on the park pond at the end of the day.

Ten tufted duck, 80 mallard, 15 shoveler and 6 gadwall were seen on the pond. One of the pairs of mallard was seen mating on the water, the second time this week that this has occurred. Maybe they sense spring is just round the corner!
Also in the area were the 20 moorhens and 10 coots, mainly feeding on the nearby grass. Recent evening roosts have seen a dozen magpies flying into the copse to roost while on Wednesday 30 stock doves were also gathering for the night.

Earlier in the day a sparrowhawk flew along the back of the pond and one was also seen over the mudflats buzzing some of the waders, before it picked up height and drifted across to Colne Point. A marsh harrier also headed over to Colne Point, passing over the East Mersea Point for its day's hunting. Three marsh harriers were seen late on Tuesday afternoon making the return journey back to the Langenhoe Point roost.

A barn owl was a nice surprise on Tuesday late afternoon flying around the grass field to the north of the park pond. As it crossed the field, it suddenly dropped down into the grass, staring anxiously around for a short while. After a minute or so on the ground, it flew off with what looked like a vole in its talons and headed towards Bromans Farm. Just after dark the next day on Wednesday, a barn owl was also seen briefly in the car headlights flying over the field alongside Bromans Lane.

Birds on the grazing fields on Wednesday in the middle of the day high tide roost, included 100 redshank, 30 black-tailed godwit, 25 turnstone, 200 teal, 400 wigeon, 20 curlew and a little egret.

In West Mersea David Nicholls reported seeing a chiffchaff in his garden on Thursday while the previous day Andy Field was pleased to see his first ever garden sighting of a blackcap. Both birds will be here for the winter period.

Two Bewick swans were seen heading towards East Mersea on Wednesday morning by Chris Balchin who was at Colne Point, unfortunately they weren't located anywhere on the Island after they crossed the river.

Off West Mersea on Wednesday Martin Cock and Andy saw a black-throated diver and a red-throated diver on the sea. together. A total of eight red-throated divers were seen flying past the mouth of the Blackwater.

This very hairy caterpillar of the cream-spot tiger moth was seen shuffling across the floor of the workshop building at the country park on Wednesday. The adult moth is usually on the wing during May and June and we hope the spring weather will be much better for them this year than it was last year. The caterpillars feed on a variety of herbaceous plants.

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