Thursday, 1 January 2015


Wishing everyone a prosperous New Year.
Sadly the well observed and popular mute swan family at the park ended their year on a sad note when one of the cygnets yesterday broke a wing flying into some overhead telegraph wires. Libby and Jo Watkins were walking the path a couple of fields to the north of the park when they heard a thud and noticed a swan had fallen onto the ground. They took the injured cygnet to the local vet, who sadly had to amputate the broken wing. The cygnet was then taken to Sue Morgan of the local Swan Rescue in nearby Salcott, where it will recuperate and then get used to being looked after indefinitely in captivity.

The previous blog posting here yesterday showed the whole swan family of five in flight earlier in the morning, flying around because their usual feeding ground on the dyke was frozen over. Yesterday was the first time I'd seen the whole family out in the river Colne, and a short while later they went for a fly around East Mersea....
The picture above shows the family on the park pond on New Years Day with the two remaining cygnets on either side of the parents.

New Years Day was overcast, grey and with the wind increasing through the day. Some of the watercourses still had a covering of ice on them. Sharp contrast to the sunshine of yesterday. A walk around the park during the morning up until noon, produced sightings of 68 species, two less than a couple of years ago.

Highlights were a peregrine giving prolonged views over Langenhoe Point, tussling with the marsh harriers and seemingly knocking an avocet into the Colne which the big gulls then fought over. The kingfisher was seen twice near the seawall, the second view perching up by Ivy Dock to see it as a female. A male goldeneye was the most notable bird in the river Colne. The female stonechat was still feeding along the seawall.

The big flock of 1000 golden plovers provided a nice spectacle when they took to the air during the morning. Other flocks on the fields were 500 wigeon, 100 lapwing along with 20 meadow pipits and 10 pied wagtails.
Two common snipe showed briefly as they fed amongst the rushes in the fields. There was no sign of the jack snipe on the saltmarsh.

Amongst many waders feeding on the mud as the tide went out were ten sanderling, 50 bar-tailed godwits and 100 avocets on Langenhoe Point. Five marsh harriers were flying around Langenhoe, and a kestrel was seen near Ivy Farm.

Other birds of interest included two goldcrests, mistle thrush, 5 goldfinches, 10 skylarks and a rock pipit.


dave blackwell said...

Hi Dougal what's the best place to get some shots of waders don't know mersea to well regards dave

Dougal Urquhart said...

Hi Dave,
Around the East Mersea Point there's a good selection of waders can get quite close either just before high tide or especially just after high tide. Some big flocks here in the winter.
The beach at West Mersea can have obliging sanderling and turnstones around high tide time.
Good luck