Friday, 1 February 2008


Only found time at the very end of the day to get outside and take a walk across the park to East Mersea Point. No sign of any snow buntings but was very pleased to see the ringtail (female / immature) hen harrier flying low over the saltmarsh at the Point. All the waders and some of the wildfowl scattered in different directions, as the bird came over from Colne Point, across the river returning back to the regular roost site on Langenhoe. Two carrion crows rose up to the harrier to escort it out of their territory.

There used to be a dozen hen harriers 20 years ago roosting each night on Langenhoe but that has dwindled down to this one solitary ringtail. Sightings locally have become much scarcer this year and this hen harrier over the Point today, is the first record for the park this winter.

Straining the eyes in the fading light towards Langenhoe, five large dark brown birds were circling over the marshes, these being the regular marsh harriers gathering for their night-time roost.

The main group of waders that were disturbed by the hen harrier were 800 golden plover, enjoying the last bit of mud before the tide came in. The picture above shows the dark mass of the plovers gathered on the water's edge. Also here were 50 shelduck, several dunlin and redshank.

The distinctive flight-silhouettes of 5 red-breasted mergansers flew high and fast out of the river.

Walking back along the seawall there was the surround-sound of hundreds of whistling wigeon, with some in the fields, some in the nearby dyke, others in the air flying overhead, while most appeared to be settling down on the edge of the nearby sea.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What are all those bits of wood sticking out of the water - are they an old abandoned boat or remnants of a pier?