Wednesday, 5 March 2014


 Blue sky all day over the Island and these two male pochards were looking particularly colourful in the bright sunshine on the park dyke on Wednesday 5th. Later in the day there were two pairs on the park pond with the males possibly these same two birds. Thirteen tufted ducks were on the dyke too in the morning with a few also on the park pond.

Around mid-day on the fields there were 700 brent geese, 5 snipe, 5 little egrets, 100 redshank, 20 black-tailed godwits, 10 dunlin, 500 wigeon, 300 teal with a kestrel and Mediterranean gull flying over.

At the Point a snow bunting was present again for the second day although by late morning it had flown back across the river. Offshore a great northern diver was feeding in the outer part of the Colne and there was a flock of about 100 golden plover on the mudflats.

At West Mersea Martin Cock and Mick Brewer saw a black-throated diver offshore on Wednesday morning.

 At least two adders were basking in the sunshine although in the shade there was still a slight chill to the light breeze.

It was worth spending the last hour of daylight alongside the Pyefleet seawall on the north side of the Island, watching the harriers coming into roost. This digiscoped image shows how distant the harriers are on the Langenhoe Point with one female marsh harrier seen perched on top of the seawall in the middle of the picture. Sixteen marsh harriers were seen in total with at least a dozen of them spending sometime perched on bushes or the seawall before they all dropped into the reedbed as the light faded.

One male hen harrier was seen coming from the west to the Point at about 5.40pm, circled round the reedbed for a few minutes before dropping down into the usual spot. Twenty minutes later a second male hen harrier appeared from the east, circled a couple of times and dropped down in the same area.

The regular peregrine was perched on its usual post on the Geedons during the evening. Six grey herons along the Pyefleet seemed a notable count for the area.

There was a brief tinge of pink to the sky just after the sun had dropped below the horizon, seen from the Shop Lane seawall. The barn owl was hunting the grass field close to the Oyster fishery in the last hour before dark. The big flock of 1000 brent geese flew off the North Farm field at dusk, to roost in the estuary.

A yellowhammer was heard calling from a nearby hedgeline.
Hawking along the wooded path next to the Shop Lane wood was a pipistrelle bat.

On Tuesday 4th a barn owl was seen heading into the park to hunt the last two hours of daylight.

The moth trap was put out on Tuesday night at the country park and despite the light frost on Wednesday morning, there was the surprising haul of 20 moths of 5 species including several of this aptly named March moth pictured above.

There were four dotted borders found but none of them in the trap, instead resting on nearby bushes or on the side of the nearby house.

One of the commonest moths of early spring is this common quaker pictured above, with 6 seen in the trap.

Just one clouded drab moth was found in the trap, widespread in small numbers in early spring.

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