Saturday, 14 March 2015


An obliging female kingfisher was the highlight of a walk along the Strood seawall on Friday 13th. The bird spent some time at one section of borrowdyke at the southern end being seen at the start of the walk and was still there at the end of the walk an hour later.

This kingfisher didn't seem too bothered that myself and another walker were watching it from the nearby seawall as it perched in this tree, at the same time as a big dog ran into the field right behind this tree.

At one point the kingfisher caught a small tiddler and flew away with it, with the bright blue back showing well in the sunshine, as it disappeared along the dyke.
This time of year seems quite late for a kingfisher to still be on the Island as a winter visitor, as they normally head back to the mainland to breed a few weeks earlier than this.

Before the dog ran into the field, a black brant was seen amongst the 2000 brent geese. They all then took off and landed in the Strood Channel. The only waders of note on the mudflats were 30 knot and 50 black-tailed godwits.

A kestrel, little egret, grey heron and 2 reed buntings were the only other birds of note in the fields along the walk. A distant common buzzard was seen on the mainland circling over Copt Hall Grove, where one or two grey herons nests could be seen at the top of the trees.

The mimicking jay sounding like a Med gull was heard again, this time calling near the Firs Chase caravan site.

There haven't been many butterflies this year yet, the cold temperatures keeping individuals still in hibernation. This small tortoiseshell is the first one I've seen this year that's actually dropped down to rest, rather than just a fly-past, here by the Firs Chase caravan site on Friday morning.

A handful of goldfinches have been frequenting the country park in recent days with this one perching up beside the path near the bird hide on Thursday 12th. In nearby bushes a goldcrest was seen flitting amongst branches late afternoon but not sign of yesterday's firecrest.

At the end of the day the barn owl put on a prolonged display of hunting especially over the grass fields to the north of the park, seen from the hide. Earlier in the day a marsh harrier flew past the car park.

This curlew has been a regular to the small grass field by the pond, here seen from the hide, as it probed the soft mud for worms.
 The pond has been quiet for birds with 8 tufted duck dropping in, pair of little grebes duetting, family of mute swans all still together with one or two gadwall, shoveler and mallard present too.

This was my first glimpse of a common lizard at the park this spring, newly out of hibernation. Five adders were also out enjoying the sunshine on Thursday at the park

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos and blog Dougal, may I occasionally use some of your pics and info on Secret Mersea Island facebook page please? I would of course credit and include direct link to Mersea Wildlife blog. Thanks Paula