Thursday, 31 December 2009


The year ended with another dull and chilly day with some rain over the country park on Thursday 31st. There was a high tide late in the morning with the water flooding the saltings as in the picture above, taken at the Point.

The first glimpse of a merlin was seeing it in hot pursuit of a smaller bird like a pipit or lark over the seawall, the bigger bird stooping rapidly down on the smaller bird. The female merlin soon gave up the chase and flew low and fast over the saltmarsh, scattering the various waders and wildfowl in different directions. It perched on top of a tall post on the saltmarsh for several minutes, surveying the scene, before flying further along to sit on a lower post. It then crossed the Pyefleet Channel and disappeared amongst the big wheeling flocks of golden plover, lapwing, dunlin, godwits and brent geese that had risen into the air as the merlin approached.

Also from the Point was a close male red-breasted merganser with other mergansers further up-river, along with 4 eider drifting down the Colne. A water rail called from the saltmarsh at the Point and 3 rock pipits flew up calling. Offshore the big wigeon flock of 500 flew off when a boat passed nearby.

The wet fields held a variety of waders and ducks during the high tide with 100 black-tailed godwits, 100 teal and smaller numbers of dunlin, turnstone, lapwing, redshank, gadwall, wigeon, shoveler and mallard. The park pond held the usual small selection of ducks of recent days.

Ian Black watched a woodcock fly out of the wooded south-east corner of the park in the middle of the afternoon.

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