Sunday, 1 December 2013


This confiding rock pipit was feeding at the East Mersea Point on Sunday 1st. It was only after I checked the photos afterwards that I realised the bird had a small metal ring on its leg. Sadly not close enough to read any detail. There are usually a couple of rock pipits spend the whole winter around the saltmarsh and beach near the Point.

Two snow buntings flew over the Point calling this morning, although they weren't watched to see if they came down. Yesterday there were six snow buntings on  Saturday seen feeding on the beach before they flew east across the river to Point Clear.

Offshore five Slavonian grebes were seen in a little feeding group as they drifted west in front of the park during the morning high tide. About ten great crested grebes seemed a small influx while a big gathering of 200 shelduck rested on the water just out of the Colne mouth with another 40 inside the river.
A marsh harrier made a slow crossing over the sea from Colne Point towards the Mersea Youth Camp direction.

Big numbers of wigeon were feeding in the park's grazing fields with 1000+ birds spread across large areas. In the afternoon something spooked the wigeon and hundreds flew off to rest on the sea well beyond the low-tide mudflats.
Other high tide flocks in the fields included 400 brent geese, 200 golden plover, 50 lapwing, 300 teal, 50 redshank, 8 snipe and 100 black-tailed godwits.

At the park pond 22 shoveler, 70 mallard, 8 gadwall and a tufted duck were present on the water. A water rail was seen scurrying nervously along the field edge as it hurried back to the reeds for dark. At least one other water rail squealed from the back of the pond, possibly duetting with a second bird.

A sparrowhawk flew inside the pond-copse at dusk sending 11 stock doves out the other side. In the morning a little owl was seen perched in a hedge to the north of the park, enjoying the winter sun. A goldcrest was in the car park bushes and a fieldfare was by the Golfhouse.

On Saturday Andy Field saw a black brant type in the fields amongst 1000 brent geese, while a peregrine flashed briefly over the fields and a marsh harrier flew over the fields in the morning.

At West Mersea the long-tailed duck was seen again near the Dabchicks sailing club on Sunday morning along with the sight at dawn of 300+ cormorants heading out to sea from Abberton reservoir.
On Saturday Andy saw 2 common scoter and a shag from St Peters at West Mersea.

Opportunities for moth-trapping have been getting scarce with the decreasing night-time temperatures and general lack of dry, calm and cloudy nights. However the trap was put out on the 27th on a still night and was rewarded with ten December moths, one pictured above. Not sure if I've had this many Decembers in one night before. Also four November sp moths too.
The trap was also switched on the following night on the 28th with 2 Decembers re-appearing.

Two mottled umbers, one pictured above,were found in the morning resting on the grass a few feet from the trap.

This yellow-line quaker was found in the trap in the morning.

Also making a late seasonal appearance was this faded red-green carpet, appearing over a month since the last sighting here.

David Morris reported seeing two muntjac deer cross Dawes Lane in the late evening on the 22nd November.

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