Friday, 26 December 2014


Seasonal greetings to all the followers of Mersea Wildlife.
Joined the large crowd on the West Mersea beach as a spectator only - of course, to watch the annual Boxing Day dip in aid of the RNLI. Around 100 folk attempted to wash away their Xmas excesses by diving into the freezing cold sea, many of them dressed in fancy dress. I believe the two-man giraffe won the fancy dress competition!

Not much to observe bird wise in that St Peters area late morning with such a large crowd gathered and several boats zooming around the water. However usual waders noted as the tide came in were dunlin, redshank and oystercatcher, while a little egret was seen on the saltmarsh.

Ron Harvey reported seeing five stonechats from the Strood seawall recently.

 The temperature was near freezing first thing on Boxing Day resulting in a frost at the country park and a thin layer of ice on some of the pools in the fields.The dyke at the park remained unfrozen and the wigeon, mallard and swans enjoyed swimming about. A fox ran across the middle of the empty fields in the morning.

A fieldfare in the car park first thing was a rare sighting this winter here and this bird didn't stay around for long. A flock of 20 meadow pipits flew over the long grass of the park and at least ten skylarks had been feeding on the beach. Five snipe also flew off the saltmarsh near the Point.

In the Colne 7 red-breasted mergansers and two common seals were noted in the calm water. A marsh harrier flew down river mid morning towards Colne Point. A sparrowhawk flew into the pond copse at dusk.

Also on Boxing Day an Egyptian goose was found in the Pyefleet Channel at Maydays by Martin Cock, only the second record for Mersea. It's five years since the last sighting on the Island. A white-fronted goose was also seen feeding amongst a big flock of brent geese at Maydays.

On Xmas Day the wigeon enjoyed a quieter park in the morning with 200+ eating the grass inside the seawall where it's still long and lush. Around 700 wigeon were in the fields along with 200 black-tailed godwits and 100 lapwing.

The stonechat was still flitting along the side of the seawall in the morning and a reed bunting was seen at the Point. The Colne seemed quite quiet although 300 brent geese were gathered on the east side near Batemans Tower and also 70+ avocets in front of Brightlingsea.

The little owl was enjoying the morning sunshine sitting in a Leylandii hedge in a garden to the north of the park.
A barn owl flew across the East Mersea road just after dark near the Dog and Pheasant pub.

The park beach was deserted first thing on Xmas Day with the morning sun shining onto the park cliff, showing the pounding it has suffered by recent high tides. The sun shone all day.

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