Wednesday, 31 October 2012


The dark clouds blew faster across the sky on Wednesday 31st as the wind picked up during the day. There was a choppy sea opposite the park by the afternoon. Ten sanderling flew along the shore as the tide receded.

On the park's grazing fields the jack snipe was discovered on the pools with relative ease as it bobbed its way along a muddy margin with some common snipe standing nearby for size comparison. This is the first sighting this winter of jack snipe although with so much marshy vegetation around, it could've been present for sometime. The first one last autumn was spotted nine days earlier than this one.

Good numbers of waders and wildfowl as usual in and around the pools especially during the high tide. Amongst the 600 dark-bellied brent geese was the pale-bellied brent, while only ten juvenile dark-bellies were found in the whole flock. Keeping very much to themselves were the two white-fronted geese, while near the pools were the 50 greylag geese.

The dense wader roost suggested 400+ black-tailed godwits and about 300 redshank, with at leat 25 snipe lurking. Usual duck numbers with about 400 teal and 500 wigeon with a few shoveler on the pools and pond. Three swallows circled several times over the fields in the morning, while 8 little egrets roosted briefly on an oak tree.

Over the park 3 redpolls flew west calling, 2 male kestrels tussled near the park entrance, while 5 fieldfares were noted just to the north of the park.

At West Mersea the dotterel was not found despite being looked for in the same place at the Strood by Martin Cock. Six ruff were found on the mud, which surprisingly is the first ruff sighting for the Island this year. Around 100 knot in the Strood was a good count too. Yesterday there was a report of a curlew sandpiper flying past the observer.

The weather was much better the previous day on Tuesday 30th with light winds and blue skies for the best part of the day. Even a red admiral butterfly fluttered past the car park late in the morning.

A lapland bunting flew east over the park calling as it headed high towards the Point. The sunny weather saw a trickle of late swallows over the park during the morning with a final tally of 20 birds noted. A dozen siskins flew over in one flock while a similar amount of redpolls passed over in twos and threes. Early in the morning 15 fieldfares flew off from the top of a tree.

The two white-fronted geese and the pale-bellied brent were in the fields along with 700 brent geese. The kingfisher perched on its usual twig at the pond in the afternoon, where there were 15 gadwall also noted.

There was a nice view of a pair of muntjac deer walking across the field next to the car park, the buck showing a keen interest in how receptive the doe might be, who was cocking her little tail up whenever he got close!

The clear sky and bright full moon meant very few moths in the trap during Tuesday night. Even this feathered thorn was discovered by chance resting upside down in the nearby grass. Four November moths were the only other moths noted.

Monday, 29 October 2012


The late afternoon walk along the Strood seawall on Monday 29th was rewarded by the discovery of a dotterel on the mud. The bird looked like an unusual plover that suggested a dotterel rather than a golden plover, but unfortunately it was about 50 metres away. As I only had a pair of binoculars with me, I summoned Andy Field by mobile and asked him to bring his telescope so we could get a better view. Confirmation was duly provided of a juvenile dotterel and this photograph by Andy shows the bird before the light faded.

Andy was busy texting and calling the news out that included to Adrian Kettle, above on the right. Martin Cock left work early in Colchester to dash back and managed to see the bird just as the darkness began to descend.

The outgoing tide in the channel was at an ideal stage for waders with a good variety and number seen. Having sat down to count a flock of knot (whose count was never completed but about 50), a "golden plover" type bird was spotted on the mud that didn't look right for a goldie. The white stripe above the eye was more striking, the bird was less golden, the chest was more buffy, the different head shape and the pale chest stripe could just be seen too.

The dotterel was watched for about an hour, spending most of the time in the one spot, occasionally walking down into a little rill in the mud, so that only the black crown and white eye stripe were visible. On the opposite side of the Strood Channel was a roost of 1000+ golden plover, which helped provide comparisons, as did a number of grey plovers feeding nearby too. It's possible that this dotterel was seen flying off the nearby wheat field as I was walking along the seawall, prior to me finding the bird, as I watched a single "golden plover" fly away from 30 lapwings and headed to the Strood.

Dotterels are scarce passage birds in Essex and it will be interesting to see if this bird stays around for the winter. The last dotterel sighted on the Island was thirty years ago in the winter 1982/83, which was the first wintering bird for Essex. It frequented the fields near Chapmans Lane amongst a flock of golden plover staying for several weeks.It was just before my arrival on Mersea but I heard from a local policemen working at that time, that it caused a bit of a stir and some traffic congestion issues along the Lane with all the birdwatchers cars!

Other birds of note along the Strood on Monday's walk were 200+ dunlin, 100+ black-tailed godwit, one avocet, 100 wigeon, 50 teal, 50 brent geese, 50 greylag geese flying over and 17 little grebes in the channel. Other birds seen included 2 rock pipits, 30 skylarks, 40 linnets with 10 blackbirds near the caravan site.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


There was a good number of brent geese feeding in the park's grazing fields over the weekend, the first sizeable flock of the autumn. A flock of about 700 dark-bellied brent were in the fields on Sunday afternoon, as they had been on Saturday afternoon too. A scan of the flock revealed one pale-bellied brent on both days and a thin scattering of about ten juveniles, indicating their poor breeding season.

Of more interest in the fields were two white-fronted geese first found on Saturday morning by Andy Field. They were seen switching fields and spent the rest of the weekend feeding mainly by themselves, although some of the 40 greylags wandered close-by. It has been a few years since white-fronts have visited the park's fields.

Numbers of duck in the fields especially by the pools were high too with 500+ teal and 500+ wigeon along with 20+ shoveler. Black-tailed godwits, redshank and snipe were feeding or roosting as usual too in good numbers.

From the Point on Sunday, 8 red-breasted mergansers were seen in the Colne, one or two flying past. On the mud 1000 golden plover and 1000 dunlin formed the biggest flocks, while 50 shelduck were also resting on the mud. A flock of 20 linnets and a rock pipit were also seen when they flew out of the saltmarsh.

Also on Sunday a single redpoll flew over the park pond calling and landed in the alders nearby, while on the water 8 gadwall were present with 25 mallard. Around the park 2 goldcrests and a group of 10 blackbirds were seen.

Mammals seen at the park on Sunday included a fox standing on its back legs whilst reaching up to eat blackberries at the back of the fields, a weasel on the seawall and a common seal with a fish in the Colne.

Fifteen fieldfares flew over the East Mersea road by Weir Farm, while Steve Entwistle watched a flock of 100 chaffinches at Maydays Farm.

Fitted in a walk along the Strood seawall on Sunday morning as the tide was covering the mud. Along the channel 100 black-tailed godwits, one bar-tailed godwit and an avocet were seen along with the usual numbers of redshank, dunlin, grey plover and curlew. More numbers of wigeon than the last visit here with 200 dotted along the edge of the saltings, as were 30 shelduck and about 150 brent geese.

A kingfisher whistled loudly as it headed down part of the channel from the Strood causeway, flipping up and over the seawall and then hurtling along the dyke towards West Mersea. A scan of the Peldon seawall beyond Ray Island revealed two common buzzards tussling with a female marsh harrier, while 200 golden plover headed away from the action.

In the Strood-side fields a female stonechat perched on a bush on a waste pile, 4 rock pipits were noted at various points, 50 linnets, 10 skylarks, 5 meadow pipits, one corn bunting, 3 snipe, grey heron and a kestrel.
There was the briefest and faintest calling from a possible lapland bunting as it flew west off the Island. Two fieldfares also thought about flying off the Island.

In Firs Chase the male pied blackbird was seen in the garden while a couple of goldcrests called from trees above.

Friday, 26 October 2012


Decided to visit the Rewsalls marshes next to Coopers Beach caravan site in East Mersea on a grey and chilly Friday 26th. The scrubby corner pictured above near the caravan site, held a variety of small birds in it, of which fifteen lesser redpolls were of most interest. For a change on the Island, these redpolls were actually feeding low down and then perching in bushes nearby, providing obliging views. Several males in the flock were sporting the pretty red foreheads.

Also in this corner and also on the nearby track were about 50 birds with a mix of blackbirds, song thrushes, chaffinches, goldfinches, blue and great tits as well as one chiffchaff. Flying low over the fields was one late swallow, while a kestrel hovered above the marshes. In a grass field near the church 8 fieldfares were feeding.

In the Rewsalls dyke 4 teal and 25 mallard were noted and the only other wildfowl seen were 20+ brent geese flying along the coast.

The only birds of note seen on Thursday 25th at the country park were a swallow over the car park, a marsh harrier to the north of the car park and another late afternoon appearance by the sparrowhawk.

The conditions weren't too gloomy at East Mersea Point on Wednesday 24th, pictured above, to see a nice gathering of waders arriving as the tide began to turn. Waders of interest here were 40 bar-tailed godwits, 25 knot and 400 golden plover, amongst the other regular waders. A low-flying sparrowhawk hurtled over the saltmarsh and nearly disrupted the waders before heading back inland.
A female red-breasted merganser flew into the river with 3 wigeon, the first merganser sighting of the winter here. A rock pipit called as it rose out of one of the small creeks.

On the pools in the fields snipe numbers have risen to at least 40 birds, with 400 wigeon, 300 teal and 200 black-tailed godwits noted along with 40 greylag geese.

Around the park the first fieldfare of the winter flew over the car park calling. Two redwings were seen by the pond as was a swallow. A brambling called as it flew over as did 4 siskins and a handful of lesser redpolls.The kingfisher made a fleeting visit to the park pond in the morning.

There was an interesting report from Coopers Beach of a ring ouzel seen on Wednesday - the only sighting on the Island this autumn.

The moth trap operated on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, catching about 40 individuals on the first and then 23 on the second night. This beaded chestnut pictured above is one of the typical moths of the season with one or two on both nights.

The mallow moth pictured above, has been a regular visitor to the trap during October in small numbers.
Other moths noted were November sps, red-line quaker, common marbled carpet, green brindled crescent, setaceous hebrew character, large yellow underwing and Blairs shoulder knot.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Through the fog over the last couple of days black redstarts have been found at three different locations in East Mersea. This one pictured above and below photographed by Andy Field, was first found by Martin Dence at Bromans Farm on Monday 22nd. It was seen around the horse paddocks and buildings, even popping briefly inside an owl box in one of the barns. Despite the foggy conditions the bird was much more recognisable than these gloomy photos suggest. The orangey-red tail was often flickered in typical redstart fashion. The hint of white feathers on the wings suggest this is a young male bird.

Amazingly for Bromans Farm, this is about the fourth or fifth black redstart to have been seen on this farm over the last twenty years.

Today, Tuesday 23rd, Martin Cock found a second black redstart near the Youth Camp seen near the seawall before flying over to the Camp buildings. Later in the morning a third black redstart was found, again by Martin, along the front of the Coopers Beach caravan site.

Other birds noted during Monday were a sparrowhawk seen a couple of times close to the black redstart at Bromans Farm and a green woodpecker too. At the park 3 bramblings flew over calling, 4 redpolls, 8 siskins by the pond and 2 redwings amongst several blackbirds and song thrushes. On the pools 12 little egrets roosted for the high tide.Martin Cock noted a wheatear along the Rewsalls seawall and a brambling called as it passed over the East Mersea shop.

Andy Field was surprised to see a red squirrel appear briefly in the middle of Church Lane, before darting back into the trees of the nearby East Mersea churchyard on Monday. Apparently one had been reported being seen in the garden opposite this churchyard, so maybe it's hanging around. Another recent sighting was in Maydays Lane, a fair distance from the initial release site.

The fog stayed around all day on Tuesday too, so not helping with views of much. The calls of grey wagtail, rock pipit and brambling passed over the park without being seen, while six redpolls were seen as they flew east. A trickle of swallows passed over during the day with 8 at the park and two seen at Rewsalls. Fifty redwings were seen at Rewsalls.

A peregrine loomed out of the fog over the park from the mudflats and headed inland over the fields scattering a flock of 400 golden plover into the air. The little egret roost by the pools was 15 birds noted in the afternoon. A flock of 1000 starlings were feeding in a field near Bromans Farm in the afternoon. A migrant hawker was chasing after insects in the afternoon at the park. At dusk at least four different little owls could be heard calling from trees close to the park.

Martin Cock located a brambling feeding with a large flock of 200+ chaffinches in a field near Chapmans Lane.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Recent rain has been great for amphibians with this toad seen crossing Firs Chase in West Mersea during the wet evening of Friday 19th. It was lucky to make it across to the other side of the road safely, despite pausing several times in the middle as cars passed over the top of it. It was prodded with the foot to make sure it completed the crossing.

The highlight at the park on a still but overcast Saturday 20th was a bearded tit seen flying towards the pond calling and then dropping down into the thick stand of reedmace. It stayed well hidden amongst the reedmace although the stalks twitched as the bird moved along and occasional "pinging" calls could be heard too. When the bird did show briefly, it appeared to be a pale brown juvenile bird. The bird was present for most of the second half of the morning at least.

This is the second record of bearded tit for the park with the first sighting being two years ago in mid October here at the pond. On that occasion 8 birds were unexpectedly discovered feeding amongst the reedmace but didn't stay longer than the one day.

Also taking a look at the bearded tit was the kingfisher which during the hour that it spent at the pond, it flew over to the reedmace stand and hovered close to where the bearded tit was. The kingfisher soon returned back to it's favourite perch at the back of the pond before flying low over the fields. In the evening the bird was heard whistling loudly as it came back to roost at the pond however it didn't provide any views up until dark.

Also noted during the morning were the first 2 redwing of the autumn, 10+ blackbirds, 4 song thrushes all near the park entrance. A swallow, reed warbler, blackcap and 3 chiffchaffs were seen or heard near the pond. Four siskins flew over as did five redpolls calling as they went. A sparrowhawk was seen by the pond in the morning. A migrant hawker dragonfly was flying about next to the pond despite the dull weather.

The picture above shows the pools in the park fields in the early evening. There was a sizeable high tide roost of black-tailed godwits with about 800 birds roosting with 200 redshank - an impressive sight. Earlier there were 12 little egrets also in the fields for hgh tide. Thirty greylag geese were feeding in the pools as were 300+ teal and 300 wigeon with at least 10 snipe also seen.

There was a big gathering of waders and wildfowl in the fields during the very high tide on Wednesday 17th as witnessed by Andy Field.  Rough estimates were 500+ teal, 300+ wigeon, 300+ redshank, 350 black-tailed godwits and 400+ golden plover along with smaller flocks of 28 greylags and 50 brent geese.

A marsh harrier flew down river in the Saturday morning while around the mouth of the Colne 300+ brent geese were scattered about on both sides. Closer to the park 500 golden plover roosted on the mud, 100 avocets fed on the outer edge of the mud and a rock pipit was heard calling over the beach.

The previous day at the Point, 25 shelduck were feeding on the mud - the first group I've seen here since early summer. Amongst a group of 80 brent geese was just one juvenile, a sign of a poor breeding season.

A brambling was heard flying westwards past the East Mersea village shop early on Saturday morning. Steve Entwistle watched a common buzzard fly over the East Mersea road and perch on a telegraph post at the end of the afternoon.

During the previous weekend 13th / 14th Andy Field noted a grey wagtail at Coopers Beach. Martin Cock then had a peregrine feeding on a recent bird-kill also at Coopers Beach while at Maydays he saw a merlin.

Some of the moths got rather wet in and around the trap at the park during Thursday nights downpour as this November sps moth shows. It was one of sixty moths of 14 species noted by Friday morning.

This red-green carpet was brought in from the rain although wiping the rain-drops away from it would've flushed the moth away. Other moths noted were mallow, black rustic, L-album wainscot, barred sallow, common marbled carpet, Blair's shoulder knot, green-brindled crescent, setaceous hebrew character, dark chestnut, beaded chestnut, lunar underwing and large yellow underwing.

Helen Musset reported seeing a hummingbird hawkmoth in her Garden Farm garden during the week.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


This stonechat at Maydays Farm was one of the birds found by Glyn Evans and Andy Field during the monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) carried out from the Strood to the Park on Monday 15th. Glyn took these four photos during the walk.

Jays have been very noticeable over the past month or so, although it's difficult to say which ones are local Mersea ones or wanderers that have recently arrived in search of food. The shortage of acorns this autumn has led to many reports across the region of flocks of jays on the move in their search for more food.

The beach at the Park and especially at the Point is a good place to see sanderlings. Nine were seen on Monday.

The outfall sluices beside the seawall provide an ideal perch for kingfishers as they fly along the creeks and dykes.

Other birds of note seen during the walk were a red-throated diver, spotted redshank, greenshank, rock pipit and 3 siskin.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


The weekend was full of autumn sunshine with little wind during Saturday 6th and the Sunday 7th. It was surprisingly warm in the middle of the day with a number of butterflies such as this small copper seen on some ragwort, one of five seen on Saturday. Speckled wood, small whites, large white while up to 10 red admirals passed west over the park. Lots of common darters were resting on the sides of bushes and a common lizard basked on a fencepost.

Saturday was the better of the two days for autumn birds at the country park. Two brambling, 4 siskin, grey wagtail, 2 lesser redpolls flew west over the park, while at dusk 6 more lesser redpolls dropped down to roost in some trees. In bushes near the entrance 5 chiffchaffs and 4 blackcaps were seen while 4 goldcrests foraged along the hedgerows.

In the midday warmth lots of flying ants were being snapped up in mid-air to the west of the car park by 200+ black-headed gulls. Also flying with them were 3 Mediterranean gulls which at times circled over the car park giving some great views above. To the west of the park was a marsh harrier circling over fields near the East Mersea pub.

There was a big passage of martins over the park on the Saturday morning with 300+ house martins and 100+ swallows flying low over the fields and some drinking fom the dyke pictured above as they headed west. Also flying with them were at least two late sand martins.

At the Point 40 linnets and 2 wheatears were seen and nearby 40 goldfinches flew over and 10 skylarks rose into the air.

In the trees by the pond 17 little egrets roosted for the high tide and on the pools 200 redshank, 400 teal and 100 wigeon provided a great spectacle when they all rose into the air. At dusk the kingfisher came back to the pond late on to roost and amongst the 80 mallard was a female pintail and 24 greylag geese circled briefly over the fields before heading away.

The main highlight offshore was a harbour porpoise seen twice during the day, in the morning it was seen swimming upriver towards the Point while in the late afternoon it was seen through the telescope way offshore heading west. This is the first sighting from the park this year although there have been other sightings in the Blackwater. Three common seals were also seen from the park late afternoon.

Also offshore were 4 great crested grebes, 11 brent geese arriving from the east and five common terns flying west.

As darkness fell two little owls perched up at opposite ends of the car park and a third bird was seen as it called from a hedge to the north of the park. Four pipistrelle bats came into the park and hawked along the hedgerows and a badger was seen beside the car park gates an hour after dark.

Sunday was very much quieter at the park for passage birds and for other birds of note too. The kingfisher made it's early evening appearance at the pond as it did the night before. On the mudflats 50 brent geese were grazing the algae and forty golden plover flew over. Siskin and repoll flew over the park during the day but little other movement.

The temperature dropped down to 4 degrees C during Saturday night. Despite the very cold night there were 23 moths of 13 species in the trap on Sunday morning. There were two of these chestnut moths, one shown above, a typical autumn moth with an autumnal colouration too.

The first large wainscot of the autumn was noted, a fairly regular moth to the trap in October here.

Two of these feathered ranunculus moths were the first of the season in the trap.
Also seen were L-album wainscot, large yellow underwing, garden carpet, red green carpet, square spot rustic, lunar underwing, setaceous hebrew character, black rustic and green brindled crescent.

David Nicholls saw a hummingbird hawkmoth visit his West Mersea garden in the middle of the day.

Friday, 5 October 2012


The pools in the country park fields filled up with birds again for the high tide roost on Friday 5th. Four greylag geese were busy grazing throughout the day, maybe some of the group of 14 greylags that circled over before dusk yesterday. The redshank have continued to enjoy the refuge with 200+ birds roosting over the last few high tides. Up to 30 black-tailed godwits, some in the picture above, either rested up or carried on feeding around the pools.

The ducks have spread into the grassland with 150 wigeon and 200 teal present, although most of the 18 shoveler were sleeping. Most of the ducks in the picture are wigeon. The most interesting sight in recent days has been the roost of little egrets in the nearby trees with 18 birds counted today while at least 19 were perched up yesterday. Most of these roosting egrets seemed happy to stay in the trees for tonight, as the high tide was quite late in the afternoon.

The sight of two kingfishers at the pond were enjoyed by members of the South Woodham Ferrers U3A. The birds putting on a nice display and showing off their colours in the sunshine. I had to make do with a duller sight of a kingfisher towards dusk as one of the birds returned to roost for the night.

The tractor has been busy in the fields in recent days tidying up the grassland ready for the arrival of the brent geese for the winter. The thistles escaped weed-wiping earlier on in the summer because of the wet weather and were in need of swiping down with this machine pictured above. Nine brent geese flew over the nearby saltmarsh on Thursday afternoon.

Making the most of the thistles while they were still standing yesterday was an impressive charm of 150 goldfinches, which hadn't been noticed here before. The flock bounded along from one part of the field to another part feeding either on the ground or perching on the thistle-heads. Some of this flock may've arrived during the day as part of a big goldfinch movement down the Essex coast. One observer counted nearly 3000 goldfinches flying south past Frinton during the day - an impressive day's total that even exceeded his monthly goldfinch totals made for the whole of October in 2006 and also 2007!

There were only 50 goldfinches seen at the park today and those were flying east over the car park in the morning. In the fields in the afternoon, only four goldfinches were seen along with 6 skylarks.

The big flock today over the fields were masses of house martins - another big day of passage for them. Flocks seemed to be moving through all day with about 400+ passing over. Several big flocks of 50 -100 birds appeared at intervals over the fields, circling round a few times before drifting west. Mixed in amongst them were 100+ swallows.

Four siskins flew west in the morning while fourteen had stopped off yesterday to feed in the alders by the pond. A handful of pied wagtails were also seen flying west yesterday along with 30 meadow pipits. A reed warbler skulked through the reeds at the park on Thursday. On Wednesday a lesser whitethroat was feeding with 6 blackcaps and 4 chiffchaffs near the pond, as were 3 song thrushes.

A marsh harrier was seen flying by the pond on Friday by Helen Mussett and one was also seen the day before resting on the side of the dyke before flying towards the Point. Just after middday on Thursday a common buzzard flew west over the park entrance being mobbed by a carrion crow.A pair of kestrels were seen hunting near the grazing fields on Thursday too. Ian Black saw a water rail along Bromans Lane flying away from the roadside pond as he drove along on Friday late afternoon.

Helen Mussett was surprised to see a badger dash for cover across the small field by the park pond in the middle of Friday morning. One was seen behaving more normally yesterday evening crossing Bromans Lane in the car headlights.One pipistrelle bat was hawking over the car park as night fell yesterday. In the Colne a common seal was seen today and also the day before when it was seen to swallow a flatfish near the Point.

The sunshine during Thursday morning saw 10+ red admirals passing west over the park, while 10+ small whites fluttered around the park. Also enjoying the sun were 3 common lizards and 5 Roesels bush crickets.

There haven't been many ideal nights for moth-trapping recently, although it stayed dry but cold on Tuesday night for the trap to be left out. In the morning about 30 moths of 10 species had been noted including two orange sallow moths, one pictured above. Also noted were barred sallow, lunar underwing, L-album wainscot, large yellow underwing, square spot rustic, setaceous hebrew character and vines rustic.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Despite the strong breeze, one or two butterflies were still on the wing on Tuesday 2nd. It was still worth noting this small heath pictured above,one of two seen, flitting along the ground at Rewsalls marshes during a quick lunchtime visit there. The season for small heaths doesn't stretch much into October so this might be the last sighting of the year.
Also seen here were a comma and a couple of small whites.

Martin Cock found a male stonechat, the first of the autumn here on the Island, on the Rewsalls marshes. Also present were two wheatears sitting on the big round bales and a late whinchat. A kestrel was also seen perching on the big bales and a couple of linnets and goldfinches flew over the fields.
Earlier in the morning there was a steady passage of 80+ meadow pipits and several swallows with a few house martins too over Rewsalls. One brent goose flew along the coast.

There was a more noticeable swallow passage at the country park with a steady westwards flow over the Colne of 150+ birds along with 20+ house martins during the first part of the morning. However only a handful of meadow pipits were noted at the park. Nine jays flapped up high to the edge of the saltings near Ivy Farm but didn't have the courage to cross the Colne to Brightlingsea. One collared dove did make the eastward flight across the river.

In the river 6 common terns hunted over the water, while 70+ avocets flew past the Point up-river, while a common seal was also noted.

On the pools 120 wigeon, 200 teal and 14 shoveler were the main ducks here, while 5 tufted ducks were seen on the dyke.

Other birds on the park included 2 goldcrests calling from the trees, as did 2 chiffchaffs, 2 blackcaps by the pond and 5 mistle thrushes on the rowan trees in the car park.

Monday, 1 October 2012


Recent rains have been topping up the muddy pools in the park grazing fields, pictured above. The fields were looking nice and wet on Monday 1st while it rained, enticing the waders and several egrets to roost for the high tide.

There was a nice flock of 15 little egrets which circled above the pools with some dropping down to the water while others flew to roost in the nearby trees overlooking the fields. There have been some large gatherings of little egrets seen recently off the park with this group being the largest seen in the pools / park pond area.

The redshank roost of 200+ birds was another big flock for the site, while 20 snipe, 40 lapwing, 30 black-tailed godwits were also present. In the nearby grass field 100 curlew were roosting. There seemed to be a good spread of wildfowl on the pools and nearby grassland with 200 teal and 150 wigeon.
On the park pond 5 gadwall, 9 shoveler and 2 tufted ducks were the main ducks of note.

At least fifty swallows passed over the park during the morning, five mistle thrushes were seen in the car park and a couple of chiffchaffs were heard calling from bushes.

A late afternoon walk along the Strood seawall on Sunday 30th provided views of various waders during the low tide. Two greenshanks and one avocet feeding along the bottom of the channel were the main waders of note, while amongst the other regular waders 80 golden plover and 25 ringed plover were also noticed.

Not many ducks as a couple of days earlier with only 10 wigeon and about 10 teal seen while 4 little grebes were amongst the boat moorings. Ten little egrets were seen along the channel and across the saltings.

In the fields 300 starlings were feeding in a stubble field and a flock of 100 linnets were seen briefly before heading off to roost. No small birds were seen in the weedy field as noted the day before. Thirty meadow pipits flew off the Island to roost in three small flocks. A marsh harrier flew north-east over the Ray saltings as it headed towards the Langenhoe evening roost.

Andy Field reported from Langenhoe ranges that on Sunday there were curlew sandpiper, spotted redshank, 2 greenshank, 15 green sandpiper, peregrine, common buzzard, 6 marsh harriers and a short eared owl on Langenhoehall marshes.
Hugh Owen saw 2 short-eared owls, common buzzard and a marsh harrier over Langenhoehall marshes on Saturday.