Saturday, 2 February 2008


Andy Field and I scoured the park for anything interesting on Saturday 2nd. Amongst a group of 43 black-tailed godwits feeding in the grazing fields, was this colour-ringed bird. Having noted the exact combination of the colours, I checked my records and discovered that I had already seen this exact bird in the same fields in early March 2005! It's like seeing an old friend again.

This bird known as WN-RW is a female at least ten years old as it was ringed at Terrington, Lincolnshire by the Wash in August 1998 having just arrived from Iceland. It was then seen during several winters at Fingringhoe further up the Colne in 2000, Snettisham by the Wash, Norfolk in 2002, the Blackwater estuary, Essex in 2003, Cudmore Grove in March 2005 and then in the Stour estuary in north Essex a month later. I don't have more up to date sightings at the moment.

I shall relay the sighting to the research team at the University of East Anglia, who have been tracking a number of these birds from their breeding grounds in Iceland. There should be other sightings of this bird from elsewhere in England over the last few years, as well knowing that it flew to Iceland several times to nest.

Also on the fields were the usual large numbers of 600+ wigeon, 100 teal, 50 lapwing and 30 curlew and 2 snipe. Feeding in the grass field at the rear, was a sizeable flock of 1000 brent geese.

The bright sunshine enticed three foxes onto the edge of the fields near the pond. Its rare to see three together here sunbathing in the daylight at this time of the year. One of the foxes was helping the other one out with its morning bathing, by licking behind his ears!

Around the pond area were seen stock dove, kestrel, 2 fieldfares whilst 16 tufted duck and a snipe were the main birds of note along with the usual numbers of shoveler, gadwall and mallard on the pond. Earlier in the day 4 redwings were present by the entrance to the park.

At the Point four snow buntings stayed very low along the top of the beach, making them difficult to locate. It was only when they scuttled about, that you noticed where they were. The buntings were present until the end of the day.

Great flocks of waders were sent flying in different directions at the end of the day by a peregrine that passed slowly over the mud. However I had to take my eyes of it to find out why all the hundreds of wigeon and other waders were disturbed off the nearby grazing fields. The distinctive profile of a male marsh harrier was flying low over the fields. This east end of the Island at the moment seems to be a popular place for raptors at dusk, what with the hen harrier passing here yesterday.

Amongst some of the waders noted in the area included 1000 dunlin, 500 knot, 200 golden plover and 30+ bar-tailed godwits.

At least ten great crested grebes could be seen in the river while at dusk, 11 red-breasted mergansers flew out of the river. One common seal was also seen in the river

Earlier in the day, Andy saw the black redstart still at Wellhouse Green, while offshore there was an eider by the Dabchicks and a Mediterranean gull by the Kingsland road beach

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I so enjoyed our walk along the beach on Saturday. Although the weather at this time of year seems unpromising if you've good warm coat and gloves, it's great to have the place to yourself - and all that fresh air for the price of a parking ticket. Thanks Dougal.