Wednesday, 23 March 2016


The grazing fields at the country park enjoyed plenty of sunshine on Tuesday 22nd. Amongst the birds present here in the morning were 1000 wigeon, 200 teal, 30 shelduck, 10 shoveler, 50 black-tailed godwits, 70 redshank, 10 curlew and 30 golden plover. Half a dozen pairs of lapwings and a pair of oystercatcher were the potential breeding pairs.

Passing over the park on Tuesday were a couple of common buzzards and a sparrowhawk was seen to the north.

At the Point 3 avocets were on the saltmarsh pools on Tuesday and the previous day too, hopefully checking the area out for the breeding season.
A hundred knot were on the mud by the Point on Monday as the tide came in and ten great crested grebes were in the Colne while a pair of red-breasted mergansers flew back up river.

Also noted on Monday morning was a group of 25 brent geese leaving the estuary for the continent as did 30 wigeon a little later. Both flew high and direct out of the river past Colne Point, the start of their long journey back to breeding grounds in Siberia for the summer.

The rarest bird seen at the park in the last few days was a smart male bullfinch seen on top of the hedge behind the pond on Monday. It perched for less a minute surveying the surroundings before flying away east. This is the first one I've seen here at the park since they stopped breeding here about fifteen years ago. There have only been a couple of other brief sightings at the park in that time.

Offshore on Sunday 20th a pair of eider was noted as were 175 great crested grebes and two Slavonian grebes. The previous day two red-throated divers were seen from the park.
At West Mersea the great northern diver was seen offshore on Sunday by Steve Entwistle.

The Clacton Birdwatching Society visiting the park on Sunday reported ten red-breasted mergansers in the Colne, 7 fieldfare, 2 fieldfare in nearby paddocks and also a common snipe and water rail by the pond.

The first spring migrant back at the park was a chiffchaff singing from the copse at the back of the pond on Saturday 19th. This is a fairly typical arrival date for the first chiffchaff, the next to follow is usually a blackcap or a swallow right at the end of the month.

Making the most of the sunshine on Tuesday 22nd were four adders while over the car park were seen two peacocks and a small tortoiseshell, the first butterflies of the year here.

Singing its jangling song from wires along Chapmans Lane on a sunny Tuesday early morning was this regular corn bunting.

There seem to be a good scattering of song thrushes around the park at the moment, this one seen near the hide at the park.

This pale coated red squirrel in our Firs Chase cedar tree was first detected being heard scampering along our house roof, on its way to our nut feeder early on Sunday 20th. In our excitement at dashing to watch it from the nearest window, it spotted our curious terrier Ben who'd jumped onto the windowsill to see what the fuss was about, so the squirrel decided to give the feeder a miss today! It headed up and over Firs Chase to the tall trees across the road.

The moth trap was finally brought out at the park after a winter's break. A still night on Monday 21st resulted in 18 moths by the next morning, including this nicely patterned shoulder-stripe moth pictured above.

Several Hebrew characters were present in the trap, a common moth in early spring.

The common quaker is another common moth in early spring. Also noted were clouded drab, small quaker and several March moths.

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