Tuesday, 18 November 2014


 There was a report of a pod of about 30 long-finned pilot whales seen in the Blackwater river at some point on Tuesday18th. Seen by some of the local fishermen, the whales apparently swam up-river getting almost to the St Lawrence Bay area. Members of the British Divers Marine Mammal Rescue Unit joined the marine unit of Essex Police and the Lifeboat to ensure the whales stayed afloat and returned to the sea.

This pod sounds like the same group of long-finned pilot whales that have just come up from Kent  as 22-25 were seen near the mouth of the Medway river in north Kent two days ago. Six days previously 23 long-finned pilot whales were seen in north Norfolk off Cley while 20 were seen off the Suffolk coast at Dunwich on the 20th October.

The picture above shows some of the 500 wigeon seen in the park's grazing fields on a sunny Monday 17th.

The tide was going out during Monday morning and 2000+ dunlin packed the mudflats off the park along with a good variety of waders such as 100 knot.

The golden plovers rested in one big flock of 2000+ birds beside the Point until something disturbed them and they took to the air, separating into two flocks which settled back down either side of the Point.

Other birds seen were 3 red-breasted mergansers flying out of the river, pair of stonechats along the seawall, two male yellowhammers on the beach were nice to see, two rock pipits at the Point and a common seal.

At the end of Monday the kingfisher announced its arrival at the pond with lots of whistling and splashing into the water. It seemed to be settling down to spend the night in one of the willow bushes at the back. Two little owls appeared just to the north of the park, duetting to each other and both seen in the same field of view from the hide. One landed on the tops of the hedge beside the pond at dusk. Thirty greenfinches flew round the park at dusk before dropping down to roost.

The water rail showed briefly along the edge of the pond and was heard calling from the reedmace. The Cetti's warbler also sang just before dark from the copse at the back. On the water 80 mallard, 10 gadwall and 24 shoveler were the main ducks on show. The chiffchaff called earlier in the day and 15 goldfinches fed in the alders.

Martin Cock reported seeing a pintail in flight and kingfisher near the Golfhouse in the morning. Gilbert Lee saw the barn owl on Monday late afternoon near Home Farm.

It stayed dull and gloomy for most of Tuesday 18th with rain at various times. The main excitement out of the gloom was seeing this female marsh harrier fly over the park's grazing fields a few times stirring up what seemed like 2000 wigeon and teal into the air. The harrier flew over the pond with this picture snapped as it flew away.

At the end of the day the kingfisher made another late appearance for the night, one of the two calling little owls was seen perched on a garden fence to the north of the park and a barn owl called in the dark as it flew over the car park. Like the previous day, the chiffchaff was heard calling in the morning near the pond.

Andy Field watched 22 marsh harriers flying into the Langenhoe roost late on Tuesday afternoon.

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