Tuesday, 23 February 2016


The first adder of the spring was spotted at the country park on Tuesday 23rd. It seemed very wary and was quick to slip back into the cover of the bramble bushes. Other than some March appearances in the last couple of years, this last week of February has been the usual time for the first adder to be seen. The earliest date was on the 21st Feb in 2007. A colleague in south Essex at the Hadleigh Country Park told me he'd seen his first adder there two weeks ago - the earliest ever date there.

The brown hare has continued to frequent the same part of the nearby wheat field near the country park.

A new visitor this year to the park on Monday 22nd was this female pochard seen in the dyke with ten tufted duck. Maybe with spring round the corner, this pochard is checking out potential breeding sites, such as this dyke where they've nested before. There was no sign of the bird the following day.

Other birds seen at the park on Tuesday included a merlin flashing fast across the park cliff and then out over the mudflats where it sent flocks of waders scattering. Two red-breasted mergansers were seen late afternoon offshore while a male pintail dropped onto the saltmarsh near the Golfhouse. A common buzzard was soaring high over Brightlingsea mid afternoon.

Three siskins were feeding in some alders by the path and also a goldcrest seen near the hide in the morning, while later in the day a Cetti's warbler was calling repeatedly from the edge of the pond but without showing. A little egret and grey heron were resting at the pond during the high tide.

A barn owl provided good views of hunting over the park and nearby fields in the last hour of daylight on Tuesday. The previous afternoon a kestrel stole a recently caught vole from the barn owl and then carried it away to eat it on its tree.

On Monday 22nd there were 580 great crested grebes counted offshore from the park along with a red-throated diver and seven Slavonian grebes.

By the park pond on Sunday 21st was a very musical flock of 16 siskins singing in the trees before feeding in the alders, as were ten goldfinches.
On the grazing fields were 1000 golden plover feeding in the morning as were 500 wigeon.

Noted at the park on Saturday 20th were a common buzzard flying over the houses to the north of the park, a red-breasted merganser in the river, 20 meadow pipits feeding in the grazing fields as were 100 black-tailed godwits and 100 redshank during high tide. The big flock of 1000 golden plover was feeding in the fields again with at least three birds already sporting their black breeding underparts.

A common buzzard was in a field by the East Mersea road near Weir Farm early on Sunday morning.

Andrew Neal sent me these two great photos of the barn owl hunting the Rewsalls marshes on Monday afternoon at 4pm.

This is the same bird that was also photographed by Andy Field a few days earlier.

Whilst Andy Field and Glyn Evans were walking the north side of the Island on Monday 22nd, this male stonechat posed nicely for Glyn at Maydays farm.

The male stonechat has spent the winter close to the seawall here usually with a female for company too.

Also noted on the walk were two white-fronted geese still on Reeveshall, a kingfisher by the Oyster Fishery and a merlin over the park's grazing fields.

This corn bunting perched up near the seawall between the Strood and Maydays, allowing Glyn to photograph it.

Another corn bunting has started to perch on wires by Chapmans Lane, taking up its territory for the forthcoming breeding season. One seen on Saturday 20th and then again here on Tuesday 23rd.

Two red squirrels and a common buzzard were reported being seen in Fishponds Wood on Tuesday 23rd.

1 comment:

LS said...

So cool!
I saw a fox there last sunday, but I just have a video.

I'd loved see this one!