Thursday, 28 February 2013


The sun made a brief appearance over the country park during Thursday 28th in the afternoon but generally it was still cloudy with a cold northerly wind. The fresh wind over the last week or so has dried out the ground a bit and the water levels in the park's grazing fields have dropped.

A sign that winter is drawing to a close and spring is round the corner was seeing some lapwings displaying to each other in the fields. The distinctive "pee-wit" calls and the tumbling flights of at least two birds is a real sign of spring. A handful of pairs have bred here in previous years and whether these actual birds will stay or not is difficult to tell. The other 100 lapwing in the fields were resting up.

There haven't been as many waders using the fields over the last week with the water levels dropping. Still lots of wigeon with 500+ and 300 teal feeding or resting up along with 20 snipe, 100 golden plover, 25 redshank, little egret and 30 curlew. Fifteen tufted duck were noted in a variety of water-courses.

The marsh harriers were the main highlight of the day with one male seen flying low over the saltmarsh near the Point in the morning. A second harrier was watched mid morning making the slow crossing from Colne Point, spiralling high above the mudflats by the park and then heading north over the park pond. At the end of the day a male marsh harrier crossed north over the grazing fields.

In the outer part of the river Colne 7 common scoter were busy feeding as were 15 red-breasted mergansers and 6 great crested grebes. Lining the edge of the mudflats in a number of places were 700 brent geese.

In the pond-field a water rail showed for the second time this week walking about the grass five metres away from the hedgeline, which seemed quite bold for a normally shy bird. The rail had also been seen here on Tuesday. Feeding on the ground under some alders were some finches with 10 chaffinches, 6 goldfinches and a brightly marked male siskin. On closer scrutiny four other siskins were feeding in the alders just above the finch flock.

At the end of the day a kestrel hovered high over the car park and a sparrowhawk flew over the pond into the copse, scattering 100 wood pigeons and 30 stock doves out the other side. A water rail fed in the field along the edge of the reeds by the pond and a snipe and curlew were also nearby too. Two green woodpeckers flew over the pond and the roost of ten magpies were also noted. Earlier in the day a pochard was seen on the pond, while to the north a flock of 20 fieldfares were seen with 150 starlings. A water vole swam between clumps of reeds at the pond.

A barn owl was glimpsed in the middle of the afternoon perched on a post amongst some long grass at the East Mersea Pick Your Own field. At the beginning of the day a corn bunting was singing on its regular bush near Bocking Hall farm.

At West Mersea Peter Triston noted 3 great northern divers, 2 Slavonian grebes, 4 common scoters and a shag on Wednesday.

Tucked up in a corner near the ceiling in the park's toilet buildings was this colourful herald moth. This one has probably been here all winter and not been noticed until this week. Whenever the spring arrives and the nights get a bit warmer, then this herald should be back on the wing again.
A dotted border was seen fluttering at a lighted window at the park early on Thursday evening.

No comments: