Friday, 22 January 2016


A male eider was watched offshore from the West Mersea Esplanade on Tuesday 19th by Martin Cock and Andy Field. It was also seen again on Thursday by Moira Jackson. Eider have become quite scarce in recent winters so it was nice this one especially this smart adult male.

Also offshore was the great northern diver seen on Tuesday and by Moira on Thursday who also reported five sanderling and a Mediterranean gull. Four red-breasted mergansers from the Hard on Tuesday.

The calm sea first thing on Tuesday morning from the country park helped provide a count of four Slavonian grebes and a large count of 430 great crested grebes offshore. Three Slavonians were seen again the next day by Andy.

From the Maydays seawall on Tuesday two short-eared owls on Langenhoehall, four marsh harriers on Langenhoe ranges, merlin, pair of stonechat, goldeneye and 1000 brent geese were all reported by Andy and Martin.

One of the short-eared owls on Langenhoehall was seen by Moira, as was a kingfisher by the Strood. 

Three days of frosty weather saw over half of the park pond freeze over. Here some of the 70 mallard are standing on the ice during Tuesday afternoon. Four tufted duck were amongst some of the other ducks here making use of the unfrozen section.

A common snipe fed in the grass by the pond and a water rail was seen near the pond on Wednesday by Andy.

Gadwall numbers have doubled at the pond during this cold snap with 25 being counted on Thursday 21st. Ten of the gadwall were unusually for here grazing the field in front of the hide, a pair pictured above.
Also on Thursday a sparrowhawk perched up in a tree over the pond, a grey heron noted, two green woodpeckers and at least 25 magpies gathered to roost.

The barn owl has been out hunting over the park and nearby fields most recent afternoons just before dark. On a couple of dusks, it has flown close to the hide including passing right over the top from behind. On Friday at dusk the barn owl caught a vole and ate it whilst perched on a post and rail to the north of the park. It was also seen over the park a couple of times last weekend by Neil Mortimer.

On Wednesday 20th a sparrowhawk flew alongside the car park at the park, also now 8 red-legged partridges in the Bromans Lane field.

Waders were gathering at the East Mersea Point on Friday 22nd as the tide came in. The main birds pictured above were 250 knot and 200 dunlin along with a few shelduck.
Along the beach were 20 sanderling on Friday while in the river a red-breasted merganser flew out and a common seal was noted. A rock pipit was seen feeding in saltings near the seawall.
Twenty-five blackbirds, 2 song thrushes, 2 goldcrests and 10 goldfinches fed in the car park on Friday.

On Thursday 21st on the mudflats off the park, 500 knot and 100 avocets were feeding while on the grazing fields 1000+ wigeon were seen.

A grainy picture of a fox taken as it started to get dark at the park pond on Friday late afternoon.

The sun setting over a calm Blackwater, as seen from the Esplanade on Tuesday 19th.

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