Friday, 21 November 2014


Having managed to see some of the long-finned pilot whales way out at sea from the park on both Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th, I tried from Coopers Beach during the morning high tide on Friday 21st but without any luck. The wind was fresher and the sea was a bit choppier which didn't help. Andy Field was also looking from the West Mersea beach scanning the mouth of the Blackwater. When we gathered that none of the pilot whales had been found by any of the local fishermen earlier on Friday morning, it sounded as if they've swam out to sea.

The pilot whales pod of up to 40 individuals have made the local and national media using some great photographs taken by Stacey Belbin. Emma Webb of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue Unit has been coordinating the rescue and the safe return of the pod back to the sea.

A small pod of at least ten pilot whales was watched from the country park a good mile offshore towards the end of Thursday 20th. Once the sun disappeared behind the low clouds, the light quickly faded and I gave up and stopped whale watching just after 4pm.

The pilot whales seemed to be swimming casually about, at first heading east and then turning back west but not at any great speed. There was a fairly regular show of various dorsal fins, the occasional broader fins of the males often being seen. At that distance it was difficult to tell how many were in the pod.

Earlier in the day there was a report of a dead female pilot whale found washed up at Goldhangar, inside the Blackwater estuary. The pod of whales was also seen inside the Blackwater during the day and as they drifted back out in the middle of the day, Andy Field saw a handful of them swim past West Mersea heading east.

Early on Wednesday morning the pilot whales were just to the west of Colne Point and although there were distant views from the country park, birdwatchers on Colne Point got much better views. Probably about ten whales were present were visible from the country park, although in the morning gloom, the best way of working out where the whales were, was to find the three fishing boats who had cut their engines to get close views.
Martin Cock also managed to see the whales on Wednesday morning looking from Coopers Beach.

With all this gazing out to sea, a few interesting birds have been seen recently.
On Friday a guillemot casually swam close inshore past Coopers Beach heading east, while offshore five great crested grebes were seen. Over the nearby Rewsalls fields, a marsh harrier was watched, a stonechat by the sewage plant, a flock of 50 skylarks and 200 brent geese on the marshes.

Early on Thursday morning Steve Entwistle missed the whales but was rewarded with a flypast overhead of a great white egret heading west. Also a merlin over the fields, a grey wagtail nearby and a kingfisher along the dyke.

From the country park early on Wednesday morning a gannet was seen flying east towards Colne Point, five immature male eiders flew into the river Colne, a red-breasted merganser in flight, ten great crested grebes and a common seal. A Mediterranean gull was seen seen later in the morning.
Near the park pond a chiffchaff was heard calling.
At Coopers Beach a black redstart was found by Martin Cock on Wednesday morning by the clubhouse but not seen again, while at West Mersea a red-throated diver was seen by Adrian Kettle first thing.

The weather hasn't been too great for mothing recently with either rain, wind or cold clear skies to deal with.
However the trap operated on a partially cloudy Wednesday night with a few individuals by the next morning. This December moth is the first one of the winter and judging by its faded colours, it has been on the wing for at over a week already.
The only other moths were a November moth, two rusty-dot pearls and a diamond-backed moth.

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