Wednesday, 31 December 2014


The mute swan family had been forced off their frozen dyke at the park's grazing fields and were flying about East Mersea Point on Wednesday 31st.

The whole family of five swans have been present almost every day since the spring and the three grown up cygnets hadn't done much flying about until now.

The most eyecatching flight early on Wednesday morning were the big flocks of 300+ cormorants passing high over the fields to the east of East Mersea just before sunrise, as they headed from their Abberton reservoir roost out to the fishing grounds off Colne Point.

The brent geese were feeding along the park foreshore as the tide went out first thing in the morning with about 200 birds noted.

By East Mersea Point a flock of 400 golden plover roosted on the recently uncovered mud.

Amongst the many waders were several oystercatchers such as this one seen at the Point.

There was no sign today of the jack snipe, although it was seen yesterday for the second day running on the saltmarsh pool by the Golfhouse, however one common snipe was seen. A kingfisher provided a fleeting flash of blue as it sped across one of the pools.

The river Colne was flat calm although a bit of a mist remained in the distance upriver. Birds noted in the river included seven red-breasted mergansers and 25 great crested grebes, along with 3 marsh harriers over Langenhoe.

The female stonechat hasn't deserted the area following the recent spell of freezing temperatures. Today it was halfway along the main section of seawall, while yesterday it was further round near the Golfhouse.

Five fieldfares flew over the fields, 25 meadow pipits fed along with 3 rock pipits in the frosty field while 10 skylarks were feeding in the muddy Golfhouse paddock.
The pond was three-quarters frozen over with a big gathering of 160 mallard resting mainly on the ice and three snipe and a curlew feeding on nearby grass. Twenty magpies, six little egrets and twelve stock doves roosted in the trees while a sparrowhawk flew past at dusk.

A barn owl hunted over the field to the north of the park at the end of the afternoon and at least one little owl appeared at dusk by the pond, possibly two birds seen.

This distant image is one of the little owls perched in the hedge and enjoying the sun in the middle of Tuesday morning, below the hide near the park pond.
The Cetti's warbler sang a loud couple of bursts mid morning near the park entrance that could be heard from the far end of the car park.

The sun set behind the park's grazing fields on Tuesday 30th, after another frosty day. Many of the 500+ wigeon were resting on the sea, waiting for the grass on the fields to thaw out. Fifteen little egrets spent the night at the pond for a change.
A sparrowhawk flew low over the saltmarsh at the end of the afternoon.

At Maydays on Wednesday morning Martin Cock saw 3 common buzzards, 3 marsh harriers, green sandpiper and a peregrine.

Ken Hudgell had his visit to the park on Boxing Day rewarded by a view of a ringtail hen harrier appearing from the Brightlingsea direction, quartering the saltmarsh near the Golfhouse before it headed back across the river. This is the first hen harrier sighting this winter on the Island.

David Smith saw a ringed Mediterranean gull on the West Mersea beach again, on Monday 29th.

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