Tuesday, 7 April 2015


The last few days have seen a small group of avocets take up residence on the saltmarsh pools near the East Mersea Point. Pictured above are three of the eight birds seen on Monday 6th. Hopefully they will remain in this area over the next few weeks.

Nearby a meadow pipit was doing its parachute display flight, a swallow was seen flying over the grazing fields on Sunday 5th and one flew over these saltmarsh pools on Saturday morning.

In the grazing fields up to 200 brent geese have been feeding, as was a pair of Canada geese. Other wildfowl numbers have dropped with 50+ teal, 10 wigeon, 10 shoveler being the main ones noted. Four pairs of lapwing are present with at least three birds sitting, 15+ black-tailed godwits have been feeding as was a snipe.

At the park pond the Cetti's warbler gave a good view from the hide as it sang a loud burst whilst perched on top of a near bramble bush

It was a relief to see the female kestrel in the old oak tree at the back of the grazing fields on Tuesday 7th. The male kestrel was also perched on the tree earlier in the morning before it set off hunting over the park.

Having been told about a kestrel found dead the previous day a couple of fields to the north of the park, there was a worry that the park female was involved.

Mike Dawson found this female kestrel looking poorly on his land at Home Farm on Monday, whereupon it was later found dead a short while later. There was no indication as to why it might have died and it seemed in good health. The body has been temporarily kept and will be sent off for analysis to find out the cause of death.

The kestrel's wings and body seemed in good nick. I believe the barred tail showing a grey rump and some grey in the tail is a feature of older female kestrels - but I might be wrong!

Adding to the concern about a bird of prey dying, a barn owl was also found dead, here the wings remaining in the park's grazing fields on Monday. The owl corpse was first spotted on Sunday afternoon amongst a scattering of white feathers. Less remained the next day after being scavenged possibly by a fox or crows.

It's maybe just a coincidence that these two have been found dead on the same day just a kilometre apart. After a good vole year last summer, the kestrel family at the park produced five young, while the barn owl family at Mike Dawsons at Home Farm had six young in two broods. Maybe there wasn't enough food around for all of these birds and two didn't survive.

A blackcap was heard singing in the park's car park on Saturday morning, and a pair of red-legged partridge was in a nearby field.

Other migrants noted on the Island in recent days include 3 swallows over Rewsalls and a blackcap near the East Mersea church on Tuesday 7th, also on this date a blackcap singing in Firs Chase, West Mersea. On Monday 6th a sand martin and three swallows were seen at Maydays by Martin Cock and Steve Entwistle and the swallow was back at Blue Row on Monday.
Ian Black reported seeing a swallow over the park pond on Thursday 2nd.

It was nice to find this female adder again, basking at the park on both Sunday and Monday. This one has been "missing" for the last month since it was the first adder to emerge from hibernation at the end of February.
Five adders were seen on Sunday as was a common lizard, while four adders were seen on Monday.

A small tortoiseshell was seen at the park on Sunday 5th.

This badger was found feeding in broad daylight on the nearby Langenhoe ranges on Monday 6th, seen by Richard Hull and Andy Field.

The badger crossed one of the tracks on the ranges, possibly an old animal on the hunt for worms in the grassland.

Birds noted there were ten marsh harriers, merlin, 2 common buzzards and one bearded tit calling.

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