Monday, 20 November 2017

RESTING REDSHANK

This redshank rested briefly on a lump of mud as the tide came in along the Strood channel on a sunny Friday 17th. Other birds noted during the brief visit included a green sandpiper heading to the borrowdyke, a common buzzard over the fields, a marsh harrier flying along the Feldy seawall on the Peldon side and a rock pipit calling over the saltmarsh.

Conditions on Friday were flat calm along the Strood Channel on Friday. Dotted along the edge of the channel were 100 brent geese.

A flock of twenty goldfinches was feeding on alders near the entrance to the East Mersea Youth Camp on Sunday 19th. A grey wagtail on the pond by the Youth Camp entrance was unexpected. A pair of stonechats was on the Rewsalls marshes near Coopers Beach, as were 6 little egrets and 8 little grebes on the pond.

Sixty curlew, two golden plover, 6 red-legged partridge, 3 kestrels and a common buzzard were seen in or over some of the nearby fields.

Eighty sanderling were feeding along the beach by the Youth Camp on Sunday as were a few turnstones and a ringed plover.

Also on Sunday a kingfisher was seen at the park pond and 14 red-breasted mergansers in the Pyefleet by Andy Field. Eleven ruff were seen by the Strood by Charlie Williams on Sunday.

A walk along the Strood seawall on Monday 20th provided views of a peregrine being forced by some crows to drop its recent catch onto a field where a buzzard then flew in to steal it for itself. Two marsh harriers were seen flying over the Ray Saltings.
Two ruff and a green sandpiper were seen flying over the Strood fields and a pair of stonechats was by the seawall. Twenty little grebes were feeding in the Strood Channel, while four juvenile brent geese were noteworthy amongst 25 brent geese by the Hard.

Two eider and a Slavonian grebe were seen off the Esplanade on Monday 20th by Martin Cock.
At East Mersea 500 brent geese, 6 red-legged partridge and 2 muntjac deer were in a wheat field by Bromans Lane on Monday afternoon.

This male red squirrel with the nice ear tufts made another of its regular appearances at the nut feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday 19th.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

WHISTLING WIGEON

Up to 400 wigeon have been feeding in the fields at the country park during recent days. As the fields are so dry, the nearest bit of water for the wigeon is the nearby borrowdyke where they spend a lot of time whistling to each other.
The male stonechat was by the dyke on Wednesday 15th

At the park on Wednesday the water rail and kingfisher both showed at the pond while the little owl was being mobbed near the horseride by blackbirds. Two green woodpeckers and two great spotted woodpeckers, goldcrest and 20 goldfinch were seen at the park.
Offshore 60 great crested grebes and a common scoter were seen from the park at high tide while later 1000 golden plover were seen on the mudflats.

Fifteen chaffinches fed on the fallen rowan berries in the car park on Tuesday 14th but no more sign of bramblings for ten days. At the park pond five gadwall were seen and 400 golden plover flying over the Bromans lane fields.

The kingfisher returned to the park pond late afternoon on Monday 13th, presumably to roost in the bushes. Two water rails were heard calling from opposite ends of the pond.
At West Mersea a brambling flew over Firs Chase at daybreak, while David Allen reported 350 brent geese and a Slavonian grebe offshore from Kingsland Road on Monday.

At the park on Sunday 12th a peregrine passed over the Point and headed over to Point Clear, a marsh harrier crossed north over the grazing fields and a sparrowhawk flew low over the fields. Twelve greylag geese were on the fields, a stonechat and rock pipit were noted while on the pond were 100 teal, tufted duck and a pair of gadwall. A muntjac deer was reported in the park in the morning.
The great northern diver was seen from the Esplanade at West Mersea on Sunday by Andy Field.

A common buzzard flew along the back of the park fields on Saturday 11th, also 70 greylag geese, 300 brent geese, 400 wigeon and 20 lapwing on the fields. Two rock pipits were at the Point and 14 little egrets roosted at the pond.

At Maydays farm four marsh harriers, 2 common buzzards and a peregrine were seen by Martin Cock on Saturday 11th.


Three freshly marked December moths came to the park moth trap on the night of Tuesday 14th, also a couple of November moths.

The dark arches is normally present in large numbers at the park in mid summer. This is the first time one has been recorded here in mid November.
The temperatures climbed slightly on Tuesday and Wednesday nights compared with some chilly nights previously. Other species noted were feathered thorn, yellow-line quaker, dark chestnut and satellite.

Andrew Palmer discovered this scarce species of earwig - Lesne's earwig at the park back in September. It's listed as an Essex Red Data Book species and has not been recorded on Mersea before.

Friday, 10 November 2017

PARK PIPITS

Half a dozen meadow pipits were on the park beach on Friday 10th with another five in the long grass on the main part of the park. Two rock pipits flew around calling over the saltmarsh by the Point and the male stonechat perched on a bush by the old fort. A lesser redpoll flew west over the car park on Friday morning.


Also seen from the Point on Friday were a female common scoter in the river Colne, as well as four great crested grebes. On the mud were 90 shelduck, 100 avocets and 200 golden plover.

Among a flock of 100 adult brent geese feeding on the algae on the mud was just the one juvenile brent. Three others were seen among another flock of 100 brent in the park's grazing fields on Friday.
On Thursday 500 brent geese were feeding in the fields.


Also on Thursday a kingfisher flew along the park dyke, a female marsh harrier flew north over the fields, a common buzzard flew into the copse at the back of the pond, the pair of stonechat was in the fields and four grey partridge flew onto the fields late afternoon. Grazing the fields were 500 brent geese and 400 wigeon.
A common buzzard was seen in the fields by Chapmans Lane on Thursday morning.


At the park on Wednesday the kingfisher made a brief but noisy show at the park pond, also 22 little egrets here while 22 chaffinches were feeding in the car park. A big flock of 600+ cormorants was gathered along the edge of the Mersea Flats, some feeding in the shallow waters as the tide came in while others packed onto small shingle islands.
David Low counted 530 dark-bellied brent geese and one pale-bellied brent geese on the park fields on Wednesday.


At Maydays farm on Wednesday a flighty ring ouzel was seen perching briefly with a fieldfare by Martin Cock and Andrew Tilsley. Offshore from the Esplanade a great northern diver and a red-throated diver were seen by Andy Field.

A female pintail paid the park pond a rare visit on Tuesday 7th, spending most of the time asleep other than when a grey heron passed overhead. Sixty mallard and seven shoveler were also on the pond. The Cetti's warbler and the water rail were heard calling while four siskin were seen landing in nearby alder trees. A sparrowhawk landed in the car park trees before being mobbed by a magpie. Feeding in the grazing fields were 500 brent geese.

Five redwing flew over Firs Chase in West Mersea just after daybreak on Tuesday 7th.

A black brant was seen on Packing Shed Island on Sunday 5th by Steve Grimwade's Swallow Birding boat trip
Three brambling continued to feed on the rowan berries in the Cudmore Grove car park on Saturday 4th.

At West Mersea on Friday 3rd in the area of the Firs Chase caravan site a brambling flew west, fifty redwing landed in a Firs Chase garden, 20 fieldfare flew west as did a lesser redpoll while 3 green sandpipers flew to the Strood fields.



Thursday, 2 November 2017

BRAMBLING PAIR ON THE BERRIES

A pair of bramblings was present for the second day at the country park on Thursday 2nd, feeding on rowan berries in the car park. Here the brightly patterned male tucking into the berries, these three photos taken by Andy Field.

The bramblings were very confiding allowing an approach up to just a few metres, before hopping to the back of the tree. The birds were present on and off during the day, sometimes flying to nearby trees and also feeding somewhere nearby.

The female brambling also had some orange on her upper chest and was tucking into the berries on a nearby branch. The berries have lasted well since some mistle thrushes first began eating some of them back in August.

One of my own photos of the female brambling taken earlier in the morning. The pair was also seen yesterday feeding on the berries as well.
Two redwings and two song thrushes were seen in the car park during the morning.

Eight red-legged partridge were in a field by Bromans Lane on Thursday morning.

A group of waders was roosting on the saltmarsh pool by the East Mersea Point on Wednesday 1st. Pictured are mainly dunlin and grey plover with a few knot, also bar-tailed godwit, redshank and turnstone, totalling on the pool about 500 birds.
A group of 15 avocets had been feeding in the pool but flew onto the nearby river Colne and drifted along on the high tide. Ten great crested grebes were on the sea offshore from the park.

This little egret was feeding in a pool by the beach near the Point on Wednesday with another nine birds roosting on the nearby saltmarsh at high tide.
Two fieldfares, 40 linnets, pair of stonechat were near the Golfhouse with a tufted duck in the dyke.
At the park pond a water rail called and three gadwall were present.

Three siskin and 2 redpolls were seen at the park on Wednesday, while on Tuesday a siskin and ten chaffinches were noted, also 100 brent geese in the park grazing field.

Also on Wednesday at the Youth Camp 3 common scoter, stonechat, 15 little grebes and a kingfisher were seen by Andy. Also in the same area a Mediterranean gull and forty blackbirds were reported at Coopers Beach on Wednesday by Richard Allen.

Amongst a flock of 90 greylag geese that landed on the mud off the park on Monday 30th were four barnacle geese - not one of the regularly seen geese here but probably of feral origin.

The greylags and barnacle geese spent several hours on the mud during the middle of the day before flying back up the Colne estuary. Two barnacles can just about be pictured in the middle of the picture.

Also on Monday at the park 2 siskin, redpoll and a brambling heard calling by the car park. A peregrine stooped down on the flock of waders on the mud sending them scattering and then it headed west over the mudflats. The pair of stonechats were in the fields as were two snipe, hunting sparrowhawk at dusk while back in the car park was a redwing.

In West Mersea 1500 wood pigeons flew west off the Island over Coast Road just after dawn on Monday 30th. A fieldfare flew over Upland Road first thing on Monday.

Crossing the East Mersea road near Shop Lane was a red squirrel first thing on Monday.
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Andy found this very arboreal rat at the country park high up in a maple tree feeding on the seeds on the outer branches in broad daylight - definitely not a squirrel!