Friday, 30 October 2015


Amongst a large flock of 1000 dark-bellied brent geese was a single black brant on the grazing fields at the country park on Friday 30th. Ian Black and I soon found out it was easy to pick out with its blacker wings and upper chest contrasting with the whiter flank than the other brent geese show. The white neck collar is broader and extends unbroken under the chin.

The pale-bellied brent goose was also seen in the field along with the dark-bellied brent on Friday too. Here it obligingly showed off all its pale belly when it flapped its wings along the shoreline near the Point on Thursday 29th when 600 dark-bellied brent were on the fields.

The high spring tide on Friday early afternoon meant a number of birds were roosting and feeding on the fields. These included 600+ black-tailed godwits and about 300 redshank roosting on the pools. Godwit numbers seem to have picked up on the fields during this current spell of spring tides following a recent lean period. On Tuesday 250 black-tailed godwits were present with the same number the next day along with 100 redshank too.

Six snipe broke cover to feed while nearby 100 golden plover, 50 curlew and 70 lapwing were present as were 40 linnets. Ten sanderling and 25 turnstone were on the beach at high tide with a rock pipit and 300+ wigeon on the saltings.

On the pond the kingfisher returned at dusk on Friday to roost in the sallow bush at the back, as it also did at Wednesday dusk too. Seven gadwall, grey heron, 20 little egrets, calling water rail and calling Cetti's warbler were noted.
 The water rail revealed itself for the first time this autumn, emerging briefly along the edge of the reedmace at the pond on Tuesday 27th. Six siskins flew over the pond on Tuesday with three seen on Wednesday. The first fieldfare at the park this autumn perched in a tree by the buildings for several minutes in the rain on Wednesday morning. Three calling redpolls flew west over the park on Tuesday and 25 goldfinches were also seen.

A marsh harrier flew up-river at dusk over the East Mersea Point heading back to Langenhoe Point on Tuesday. Three little owls were heard calling at dusk at locations just outside the park.

A common buzzard perched on trees near the East Mersea road near the Weir Farm / Bocking Hall area first thing on both Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

The black redstart was seen at West Mersea early on Tuesday morning by Steve Entwistle along Victoria Esplanade.

The moth trap ran through the wet night of Tuesday 27th into Wednesday morning and managed to lure in 33 moths including this brick moth, a common moth whose foodplant here at the park is probably poplar.
Half of the moth catch was made up with the November Moth sps, while other species recorded were feathered thorn, green-brindled crescent, large yellow underwing, red-line quaker, yellow-line quaker, setaceous hebrew character and beaded chestnut.

During the night of Thursday 29th there were 32 moths came to the trap including this pine carpet, once a rare moth in the county but seems to have become well established recently. A fresh black rustic was the only different species to the Tuesday night session. Most of the catch were the November Moth sps again, with 28 counted.

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