Sunday, 6 December 2009


The sun managed to come out around the middle of the day after it finished raining on Sunday 6th. Along some of the hedgerows at the park there are still several blackthorn bushes with lots of sloes on them, as in the picture above. Some of the blackbirds and thrushes stripped quite a few bushes earlier in the autumn. It was a much better crop this year and the birds will enjoy eating them later in the winter.

In the field by the car park the black brant was on show on both Saturday and Sunday feeding with about 1000 brent geese. It can be quite a challenge trying to find the bird in amongst the other geese when all their heads are down feeding. However if it sticks it's head up, it appears much blacker with the very big white neck collar and if the flank is on show, this is much whiter.
The geese seemed to have spent most of the day stripping the field of its winter wheat crop undisturbed and without being scared off.

In the now flooded grazing field, waders were gathering to roost ahead of the afternoon high tide. About 100 black-tailed godwits, 60 redshank and 60 curlew were noted along with the usual 200 wigeon and 100 teal.

At the park pond on Saturday, 6 little egrets arrived to roost during the high tide, standing amongst the clumps of reedmace at the back of the pond. At least 50 ducks were present at the pond including mallard, shoveler, gadwall, teal and tufted duck.

There was no sign of any snow buntings here at the Point on Saturday but the group of 13 birds were back again on Sunday around the middle of the day at least. Having been seen on the beach to start with, they took off and flew across the river Colne towards Colne Point but returned back to the beach 10 minutes later.

Big flocks of waders were gathering on the mud by the Point as the tide came in. The biggest group were 2000 dunlin, while 200 knot, 50 avocet and 8 sanderling were some of the other interesting waders. The pair of stonechats were seen by the Golfhouse on Sunday.

On Saturday a sparrowhawk flapped slowly over the Point and glided across the water to Point Clear. Ten skylarks, 4 reed buntings and a rock pipit kept their heads down as the hawk passed over.

Martin Cock saw a ringtail hen harrier at Maydays Farm on Saturday while Andy Field counted 9 marsh harriers going into the Langenhoe roost later in the same afternoon. The tawny owl was very vocal in the Shop Lane wood for Andy but didn't provide any views as darkness fell.
Earlier in the day a
marsh harrier flew south over the East Mersea road heading in the direction of the Rewsalls marshes. Andy had another marsh harrier near the Strood also during Saturday when it put the big flock of 1000 golden plover into the air.
On Sunday night the
little owl called very loudly from the side of the car park once the light had gone and the last of the visitors had just about gone home.

Martin Dence reported the unusual sight of a grey wagtail feeding around the dung heap at the back of his Bromans Farm near the park on Friday morning.

Despite the drizzle on Saturday evening, 8 winter moths were sitting on the outside of the lighted windows of the park house. These are the first ones noted here this winter and as the name suggests, they are on the wing in small numbers during the winter months.

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