Saturday, 9 February 2013


The grazing fields were holding good numbers of waders and wildfowl towards the period of high tide late morning on Saturday 9th. This black-tailed godwit was one of about 400 birds that were dropping onto the fields. Many of them roosted together in one of the fields, while other godwits carried on feeding which this one pictured above had been doing.
Also in the fields were 60+ common snipe, 300+ golden plover, 500+ dunlin, 100+ redshank as well as lapwing, curlew and a few turnstone.

Several hundred teal were present in the fields, some busy feeding next to the 500+ wigeon and some teal were busy snoozing along the flooded borrow-dyke, as these three above were. Other wildfowl were 20 shoveler, 400 brent geese, as well as mallard, tufted duck and gadwall mainly on the pond. At least two water rails were calling but no appearances, unlike last night at dusk when one walked along the edge of the reeds in the field.

Offshore today from the park looking south-west, the group of Slavonian grebes were present for the second day although 17 seen today compared with 19 birds seen yesterday. Around the time of high tide the grebes were probably at their closest, although still best seen with the help of a telescope. At one point the grebes got together in a close group of 14 birds - a rare sight to see! The previous highest count of Slavonians from the Island was in the same location, last year on 26th January when 19 birds were seen with 18 still present the following day.

Not much else on the water other than a few great crested grebes, a handful of mergansers and a common seal in the river. On Friday a red-throated diver was seen offshore from the park and at the end of the day 36 red-breasted mergansers flew out of the river to feed and display.

Next to the park pond 20 siskins were feeding in the alders along with one lesser redpoll and 5 goldfinches. This is the second day running that some siskins have been in these alders with 45+ birds performing nicely yesterday afternoon. A sparrowhawk was reported today from the park in the morning, while late afternoon a marsh harrier flew past the point towards Langenhoe. A mistle thrush was singing to the north of the park and 5 fieldfares perched in a tree in the same area. At dusk 100 rooks passed over the pond on their way to the St Osyth roost.

Martin Cock along with some friends watched the barn owl in the middle of the day hunting over a grass field next to Bromans Farm, along from the park entrance. A short while later whilst walking a path near the Fen Farm, there was a red flash of one of the recently introduced red squirrels crossing the path, dashing across so quickly that only one person managed to see it!

At West Mersea Saturday morning, Andy Field saw 2 shags, a great northern diver and 6 common scoter, while Martin Peers saw 3 red-throated divers, 2 Mediterranean gulls, 40 great crested grebes, a sanderling and a siskin.

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