Sunday, 4 January 2015


Members of the Colchester RSPB Members Group visited Cudmore Grove Country Park on Sunday 4th for their annual birdwatching walk. Sadly the park was shrouded in fog all morning with a visibility that was barely 50 metres most of the time. We peered through the fog to see dark shapes and silhouettes of birds and we could identify some birds by the call but not see them in the gloom. The overnight frost was slow to clear and some of the pools and splashes of water on the fields stayed frozen through the morning.

Luckily it was high tide which meant some waders were roosting close by on the saltmarsh as well as feeding on the grazing fields. On the fields 1000 golden plover, 300 dunlin, 400 teal were the main flocks along with a few black-tailed godwits and two snipe flew over. Offshore 200+ wigeon could just be seen through the fog as well as 20+ shelduck.

A variety of waders were roosting on the saltmarsh pools below the Golfhouse including 25 bar-tailed godwits, also black-tailed godwits, dunlin, grey plover, golden plover, knot and redshank. Around ten sanderling were seen feeding along the beach, while amongst forty brent geese feeding along the edge of the saltmarsh was a pale-bellied brent goose. Two little egrets fed on the saltmarsh and the female stonechat was flitting along the side of the seawall.

There was much more sunshine on Friday 2nd over the Golfhouse pools and much better conditions for viewing than Sunday. Can you spot the distant jack snipe in this photo taken by Andy Field? The bird is just right of centre in this photo along the edge of the very back of the pool. The top picture shows the birdwatching group on the seawall scanning this same pool in the vain hope of seeing this jack snipe but without success.

Andy also saw 1000 golden plovers in the fields as well as a couple of red-breasted mergansers offshore. At West Mersea a Mediterranean gull was the only bird of note at the Kingsland Beach.

This curlew pictured by Andy from the hide, has been feeding in the small field by the pond for the last few days here.

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