Monday, 9 January 2017


A dozen members of the Colchester RSPB Members Group had an enjoyable and rewarding time during their annual winter visit to the country park on Sunday 8th.
The weather was brighter and calmer than predicted and also much better than some of the group's previous January visits.

The highlight was the black-throated diver - digiscoped above, which was still present in the Colne for it's seventh day. We enjoyed watching it on a calm river slowly drifting down with the tide towards us while we stood on the Point.

Also in the river were seen 4 common scoter, 12 red-breasted mergansers and a common seal while beyond the Mersea mudflats from the park were 5 Slavonian grebes, 75+ great crested grebes and a peregrine that was chased off its prey on the water by some gulls.

Waders seen on the mud included 100 avocets, 300 golden plover, 1000 knot while on the grazing fields a lone ruff was a notable find as it fed with the wigeon. Before a small purple balloon dropped from the sky a single snipe was seen briefly but 500 teal flew off and some of the 700 wigeon looked worried too. A small flock of 25 linnets flew around the fields and 2 rock pipits flew over the saltmarsh.

A distant peregrine was perched on the regular post on the Geedons, a sparrowhawk flew along the back of the fields and at the end of the day a common buzzard was mobbed by crows near the pond.

At dusk the water rail fed along the edge of the pond and five little egrets appeared to come into roost for the night perching on the trees. A pipistrelle bat was hawking insects just inside the park entrance as darkness fell on Sunday.

Earlier in the day the tawny owl was seen in the tree by Manwood Grove, while at West Mersea 2 great northern divers, 4 red-throated divers and 2 shags were seen by Andy Field and Adrian Kettle.
Two short-eared owls were seen on Langenhoehall marsh on Sunday by Martin Cock.

On Saturday 7th 4 common scoter were seen in the Colne by Liz Huxley while at West Mersea a red-throated diver and great northern diver were seen by Steve Entwistle.

On Friday 6th three red-breasted mergansers and a common seal were in the river while at the park pond the common buzzard perched inside the copse and the Cetti's warbler was in the bushes alongside the hide.
A barn owl perched by the East Mersea road near Meeting lane just after dark on Friday 6th.

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