Monday, 14 December 2015


It has been so mild this winter that the stock doves at the country park have been going in and out of nestboxes as if it's spring! A pair have been spending a lot of time beside this little owl box, pictured above in the hedge near the pond. A stock dove was also seen recently checking out the kestrel box too. At least ten stock doves are roosting near the pond most evenings.

One of the hawthorn bushes at the park has several small clusters of flowers out. Whenever we get that first frost, if we get that frost, the flowers will soon die off.

One of the male chaffinches at the park has the papilloma virus which has resulted in a big pinkish growth on its left foot, pictured above.

Despite the seemingly wet start to winter, the water levels in the park fields had actually been drying up through the first week of December. That has all changed in the last few days and the various pools in the fields are now one big flood flowing into the borrowdyke.

A peregrine has paid a couple of visits to the fields in recent days scaring all of the waders and wildfowl in the process. The first visit this winter was on Thursday 10th with a bird lunging after a wigeon near the dyke before continuing empty-handed westwards. It was then seen again a couple of days later passing over the fields as flocks of birds wheeled out of the way.

Three red-breasted mergansers flew out of the river on Thursday while just a single bird was seen on Saturday and also on Sunday. Also of interest around the outer part of the estuary have been lots of great black-backed gulls with at least 100 birds noted some in the air, some on the mud and others out to sea.

Five hundred brent geese were in the fields on Thursday with a common snipe glimpsed amongst the rushes. Wigeon numbered about 700 birds and 100 greylags were still present too.

At the Point 16 sanderling were feeding on the beach on Sunday 13th, while the day before two rock pipits, 8 linnets and 9 skylarks were noted.

At the park pond the water rail appeared out in the open on some nearby grass for several minutes on Sunday. Sixteen siskins were feeding in the alders by the pond on Thursday. A fieldfare was heard near the car park calling on Saturday.

At West Mersea on Sunday two red-throated divers were seen offshore and the black brant was near the Dabchicks. A common buzzard was in the field near Weir Farm just after daybreak on Saturday.

The moth trap operated on another mild Sunday night at the park and by dawn this nicely marked mottled umber was found resting on a leaf next to the trap where it stayed still for the rest of the day.

Ten winter moths were found both in the trap and some of them around it. There have been several winter moths seen recently at the lit windows at the park just after dark.

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