Thursday, 8 January 2015


This common seal was coming up for several breathers in the river Colne beside the East Mersea Point on Thursday 8th. At one point it swam to within a few metres of the beach as if to come out of the water, but then had a sudden change of mind, probably because I was watching it too closely.

 It swam out to a safer distance, still glancing back to see what I was up to.
There have been a couple of common seals in the river in the last couple of weeks.

A dozen turnstones were feeding along the edge of the water during the afternoon high tide.

This turnstone had a bit of an itch it was trying to scratch with its toes.

Twenty sanderling were also feeding along the beach at the Point with the turnstones.
Five red-breasted mergansers flew past the Point heading back up-river while five great crested grebes were also seen in the river.

There had been continuous rain during Thursday morning which left lots more surface water on the park's grazing fields. The afternoon high tide provided the ideal conditions for many waders to feed and roost in the waterlogged fields.

The regular flock of 1000 golden plover, pictured above, rested on the fields, until something spooked them up into the air. Prior to the disturbance, waders noted included 200 black-tailed godwits, 100 redshank, 500 dunlin, 150 lapwing, 100 curlew, 20 grey plover, 20 turnstone and 2 common snipe.

At the park pond there were 3 tufted ducks amongst the gadwall and mallard. At the end of the afternoon a male sparrowhawk, flew across the grazing fields and then low around the pond before perching up to show off its dark orange chest.
The little owl could just be seen inside the usual hedge near the park pond towards dusk and then a short while later as darkness descended, the white apparition of the barn owl was seen perched on a signpost in the car park.

Three stonechats were seen along the Strood seawall by Andy Field on Tuesday 6th, one photographed here. Also 4 tufted ducks seen on the Strood reservoirs.

It was great to hear that the red kite that was seen flying over the Strood on Monday morning was also seen by Brian Churches fifteen minutes later as it passed over Old Hall Marshes continuing rather sedately on its westward way.

Chris Burr found a barn owl with a broken wing at the beginning of the week in Shop Lane and took the bird into care, where sadly it couldn't be saved.
The Richardson family found a sick kestrel in their garden in the middle of West Mersea and took that into care where it appeared to be in need of some food.


Anonymous said...

Did he pop by to wish you a happy birthday Dougal?
If not he should have! Many happy returns of the day xx P and SJ xx

Dougal Urquhart said...

Many thanks P & SJ for the wishes. I think the expression on its face, meant he was happy too, although difficult to say through all those whiskers!