Thursday, 5 November 2015


It has been generally dull and at times wet over the last few days at the country park. Numbers of birds on the park's grazing fields haven't been varying much from day to day. At least 700 wigeon were on the much wetter fields on Thursday, some pictured above in the dyke. Several hundred brent geese have been grazing but no sign of the black brant since last Friday.

A little owl perched in an elm tree alongside the car park caused much consternation among many small birds in the morning of Thursday 5th. As well as several tits and finches, 20 blackbirds, five song thrushes and two reed buntings were all voicing their anxiety at the owl which then flew along the field edge. In the nearby field 7 red-legged partridge fed while a sparrowhawk flew west overhead.

On the mud near the Point 1000 golden plover were seen roosting on both Wednesday and Tuesday while 90 avocets were noted feeding across the mud between the Point and Ivy Dock.

The kingfisher made a late appearance at the park pond on Wednesday just before dusk, where it roosted for the night in the usual willow bush at the back. Four siskins were in the alders, the tufted duck was on the pond, the Cetti's warbler sang loudly nearby, while 24 little egrets and a grey heron roosted in the trees.

Four redpolls flew over the car park calling on Tuesday while a fieldfare perched in a tree chacking out loudly in the fog on Monday morning. Two snipe flew over the pond calling through the fog.

It was difficult seeing much on Sunday 31st and Monday 1st with fog smothering all of the park for most of those days. Despite the fog over the park pond, 8 siskin flew out of alders and a female tufted duck was on the water on Sunday.

On Saturday 30th a marsh harrier flew over the Point, 50 linnets flew around the fields and saltmarsh, 600 brent geese were on the fields, four siskin flew out of the alders and a sparrowhawk flew low along the hedge by the pond.

Elsewhere on the Island the rose-coloured starling was relocated after almost a week's absence in East Mersea by Liz Huxley on Monday 2nd in the afternoon. It was found feeding on the sloes near the water tower opposite East Mersea church.
A late chiffchaff was seen in the church trees by Martin Cock on Tuesday but no sign of the starling. A .common buzzard was by Weir farm first thing on Tuesday

A goosander was seen in the Pyefleet on Thursday 5th by Martin.

Twenty conservation students from Writtle college helped plant 600 hogs fennel plugs at the country park  on Tuesday 3rd under the guidance of Dr Zoe Ringwood. Once these plants get as established as the existing 400 plants already on site, then there are plans to introduce the nationally rare Fishers Estuarine moth to the site, probably in spring 2017.

Tucked into the corner of the saltmarsh by the park seawall is this very colourful glasswort clump with vivid scarlet stalks.

Opportunities for moth trapping are dwindling as the weather becomes less favourable. The trap at the park was a bit wet by morning on Thursday 5th after some rain. Fourteen moths of six species were noted including this well marked mottled umber, the first one of the autumn.

This silver-Y pictured above is a late date for this migrant moth although the season has been extended with the mild autumn weather. Also noted were green-brindled crescent, dark chestnut, feathered thorn and November sp.

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