Sunday, 29 December 2013


The sporadic spells of sunshine recently have encouraged some birds to think ahead to spring, such as this singing corn bunting which posed perfectly on a bush alongside the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall as I drove past on Boxing Day. It immediately sang its distinctive jangling song just a few metres from the car. Another 100 metres along the same road was another corn bunting on another bush.

Hopefully these corn buntings will still be here in the spring to breed in the adjacent fields. Numbers of corn buntings breeding on the Island have been gradually declining, as they have been elsewhere in the country, and only about seven pairs were located this spring.

There was plenty of sunshine throughout Sunday 29th providing good clear views of many waders on the Colne estuary such as this flock of dunlin feeding on the receding tide by East Mersea Point.

The main birds of note on Sunday were 5 Slavonian grebes seen offshore from the park looking slightly south-west. Little else on the water other than 5 great crested grebes and a common seal. Two marsh harriers were seen crossing the Colne during the morning.

Also by the Point was this oystercatcher waiting for a bit more mud to get exposed. Eight sanderling were noted here on Sunday while 30 were seen on the beach the day before. Two rock pipits were amongst the sea-blite bushes at the Point on Saturday too.

Birds in the area have been fairly consistent over the last fortnight with little change noted.
Of interest were 300 avocets and 7 red-breasted mergansers near Langenhoe Point on Saturday while 250 knot were on the mud near the Point.

There was the familiar sight of lots of wildfowl on the park's grazing fields over the weekend with at times up to 700+ brent geese, 1000+ wigeon, 300+ teal, 100+ lapwing and some very elusive nine snipe noted on Sunday. A small group of rooks have been feeding in the fields recently with sixty birds noted on Friday along with a few jackdaws too. Up to ten skylarks have been feeding in the fields and saltmarsh area.

The usual mix of ducks on the park pond have consisted roughly of 5 tufted duck, 25 shoveler, 12 gadwall and 60 mallard. A grey heron was by the pond on Saturday while up to five little egrets were around the saltmarsh. A sparrowhawk flew north from the park entrance on Saturday and a male kestrel flew over the fields on Sunday.

The crop of sloes on the blackthorn bushes have been slowly disappearing recently around the park as the flock of up to 25 blackbirds have been tucking into them. Four mistle thrushes were perched on a tree at the back of the fields on Saturday, while one was heard singing in Bromans Lane on Sunday morning.

Elsewhere Alan Reynolds saw a Mediterranean gull in the Seaview Avenue car park on Sunday.
David Jones reported seeing five woodcock fly away during the East Mersea pheasant shoot on Saturday, with four in the wood near North Farm and one other from Gyants marsh.

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