Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Andy Field and I walked along the beach at the park to East Mersea Point on a chilly and very grey Wednesday 30th. Despite the cold north-east wind in the morning, it did manage to stay dry, contrasting with the afternoon when it rained again. Our efforts in the cold were rewarded with a nice variety of winter birds typical of the Essex coast.

A peregrine was watched leisurely flying eastwards over the sea towards Colne Point, scattering flocks of the 200+ wigeon that were resting on the water. In the Colne 23 red-breasted mergansers were seen, a single great crested grebe, while over Langenhoe Point 2 marsh harriers were noted, one later crossing the river to Brightlingsea marshes.

By the Point 130 shelduck were on the water, 2 sanderling were with some turnstones on the beach and amongst a small group of dunlin was one knot. Later in the afternoon a group of 200 knot fed close into the park beach.

There was a nice variety of waders and wildfowl on the flooded field with 100 black-tailed godwits, 50 dunlin, 10 redshank and few turnstones being the main waders. Amongst the ducks, 100 teal, 30 shoveler, 30 wigeon were the main ducks of interest with a few gadwall and mallard also present. Towards the end of the day there was the now familiar gathering of stock doves by the copse at the pond with at least 70 birds arriving for the evening roost.

During a short spell in the hide overlooking the pond and nearby fields, 40 species of birds were noted which helped brighten up the dull day. The birds were the typical ones of the area with sparrowhawk, kestrel, 18 goldfinches, 2 song thrushes, green woodpecker, water rail calling amongst the regular resident birds.
As night fell a little owl was heard calling from the nearby Bromans Farm area.

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