Thursday, 29 January 2015


This curlew obligingly passed over the camera of Alan Reynolds, allowing this flight view at the country park on Friday 23rd.
Curlew often pass overhead as they fly over the seawall, commuting between the fields and the mudflats

One of the 2000+ dunlin also photographed by Alan on the mudflats beside the park.

A day of contrasting weather during Thursday 29th, here this pair of oystercatchers enjoying the morning sunshine beside the Point. It clouded over in the afternoon, eventually turning very dark when a snow shower passed over at the end of the day.

The tide was just starting to ebb and the usual mix of waders gathered along the water's edge such as dunlin, knot, grey plover, redshank, turnstone, ringed plover and also 20 sanderling in front of the cliff.

Nothing noted on a choppy and cold river Colne, while a rock pipit and reed bunting were seen at the Point.

A sparrowhawk flew low inland over the fields from the direction of the Point, not quite heading towards another sparrowhawk perched in a tree near the park pond. A little egret also perched up in the sunshine during the early morning high tide.

In the fields 200 golden plover, 500 wigeon, 150 teal and 50 lapwing were the main flocks at high tide. The female stonechat perched on the back of the truck beside the seawall.

Ten tufted ducks were on the park pond with another four along the dyke. This male seemed to be doing a spot of quacking. Ten gadwall were also present along with a few mallard and shoveler.

Two female teal were feeding in the grass field in front of the hide on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday 28th a Slavonian grebe and common scoter were seen offshore by Andy Field.

There was the very rare Island sighting of two bullfinches along hedgerows in East Mersea between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane, seen by Martin Cock. The birds did not hang around long and weren't seen again after this initial sighting. This is the first bullfinch Martin has seen on the Island for almost 15 years.
Also noted here was a wintering chiffchaff, the second one seen in consecutive days after another earlier one was seen in Cross Lane the day before.
Amongst the brent geese flock feeding next to Cross Lane was a brent with a white neck and white in the wings, reported by Martin and sounding like a partial albino.

A barn owl put on a nice hunting display across the whole park in the last hour of Tuesday 27th, dropping down into the long grass on several occasions but without catching any prey. At one point I lost it to view and walked over to the patch of long grass to look for it, whereupon it suddenly took flight just in front of me, continuing on its way.

Also that afternoon the little owl was heard calling from the north side of the park while in the early evening the rare sound of a tawny owl called loud and clear several times from a tree in West Mersea between The Lane and Firs Chase.

Other birds noted at the park have been 20 blackbirds and 3 song thrushes feeding together in the car park, 2 goldcrests feeding with the tit flock and two great spotted woodpeckers have often been flying across the park together.

A weasel scampered across the car park on a hunting trip on Wednesday 28th. There was a belated report that Emily Mussett was lucky to see a red squirrel on the ground under the trees behind the bird hide about a month ago. The squirrel quickly disappeared and wasn't seen again.

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