Friday, 22 February 2008


Returned from a fortnight's break to find spring has come on in leaps and bounds. There has been a noticeable lack of rain everywhere and many fields look very dry. In the park grazing fields, the water levels have dropped down and there aren't as many pools and wet flashes as a fortnight ago. Many bushes in the hedgerows are springing into life with the white blossom of cherry plums already out as are one or two sallow catkins.

In the picture above taken on Thursday 21st, the flock of wigeon have voted with their beaks as to which side of the water has the greenest grass. The grass in the fields in the background looks very brown, so it wasn't surprising to see about 300 wigeon taking the opportunity to graze the lusher grass on the path below the seawall. Very few folk had visited the park today because of the cold wind and grey skies, so the ducks were generally undisturbed.

The only things of interest at the Point were a male sparrowhawk crossing the river westwards very low onto East Mersea, 400 golden plover on the mud, 5 great crested grebes and 10 red-breasted mergansers in the river Colne.

At the park pond 11 tufted duck, 8 gadwall, 4 shoveler and one snipe were seen while a group of 11 wigeon were grazing the green grass near the pond edge.

Another cold wind on Friday 22 meant you had to wrap up warm for a walk round the park. This sadly coincided with the high tide, so the only bit of bird interest in the area was on the grazing fields. Something spooked the birds into the air and great flocks of several species wheeled round in different directions.

The noisiest were the 500 wigeon, then the 400 golden plover circled round along with 100 lapwing. Also into the air were 50 black-tailed godwits, 30 turnstone and various other birds like starlings, teal, wood pigeons and one or two stock doves.

Brief round-up of interesting sightings on Mersea over the last two weeks,
21st - Reeveshall - 15 twite and green sandpiper seen by Michael Thorley.
17th - Pyefleet - 11 twite, stonechat, 4 red-breasted mergansers, common seal with 5 marsh harriers and barn owl on Langenhoe seen by Steve Entwhistle and Andy Field.
16th - West Mersea - Red-throated diver, Slavonian grebe, 10 red-breasted merganser, eider, goldeneye, pintail and 14 little grebe. Also 120 pintail seen in Mersea Quarters from Old Hall.
Cudmore Grove - 280 golden plover, 550 wigeon, 650 brent geese. Pyefleet - 5 stonechat, 5 yellowhammer, 4 marsh harrier and 14 red-breasted merganser.
14th - West Mersea - eider, Slavonian grebe, red-throated diver seen by Martin Peers. Also at Reeveshall - hen harrier, 3 marsh harriers, buzzard; 2 snow buntings at the Point.
11th - Pyefleet - 2 common buzzards, 3 marsh harriers, 5 stonechats, 4 green sandpipers, 12 twite, hen harrier, common seal. Wellhouse Green - Black redstart still present. Langenhoehall marsh - barn owl and little owl. All noted by Glyn Evans.
10th - West Mersea - 3 great northern diver, eider, 3 red throated diver, 2 shags, 6 Slavonian grebes, 2 red breasted mergansers, 55 great crested grebes, 8 little grebes, 2 marsh harriers all seen by Graham Ekins.
10th - Reeveshall - 5 marsh harriers, 6 red breasted mergansers, stonechat, 500 knot seen by Andy Field. Also visited Wellhouse Green - Black redstart, 16 skylark and 21 linnet.
9th - Wellhouse Green - Black redstart seen by Tim Mendham.

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