Sunday, 14 January 2018

WINTER SUNSHINE WALK

The sun broke through on Sunday 14th to make for a very pleasant day with no wind. I joined lots of people out enjoying the winter sunshine walking along Coast Road and on the beach at St Peters. The water was flat calm in the Mersea Quarters where a pair of red-breasted mergansers and ten little grebes were seen. Out in the Blackwater two great northern divers, 3 great crested grebes and a common seal were noted. Two bar-tailed godwits and 6 black-tailed godwits were seen along the edge of the mud while a marsh harrier flew over the Feldy marshes. At St Peters a rock pipit and 3 reed buntings were seen.
A goldcrest and 20 goldfinches were noted in trees at the Firs Chase garden on Sunday afternoon.

A great northern diver was a surprise bird in the Pyefleet Channel opposite Maydays farm on a dull Saturday 13th. I don't recall great northern diver ever being seen here previously.
Also along the channel were 6 red-breasted mergansers, great crested grebe and a little grebe.

As the tide was going out during the middle part of the day, 1000 dunlin, 70+ avocets were of note along with 300 wigeon and 200 teal
A peregrine stirred some of the waders beside Pewit Island before it perched on a fencepost on the Langenhoe marsh seawall. Three marsh harriers were flying around Langenhoe and one was also flying low over Reeveshall.

Three greylag geese were noted on Reeveshall, while 20 linnets, rock pipit and a fieldfare were at Maydays.

A woodcock was flushed and allowed to fly away during the pheasant shoot near Shop Lane on Saturday 13th.

On Friday 12th at Maydays a red kite was seen flying over Maydays by Martin Cock.
At the country park the water rail and little owl were seen near the park pond on Friday by Andy Field.

It was quite mild on Friday late morning along the Strood channel with the sun shining and little wind. Along the channel were 100 shelduck, 100 teal, 100 wigeon, 20 little grebes, 15 black-tailed godwits, one summer plumaged bar-tailed godwit and 2000 brent geese feeding on the Peldon side. A marsh harrier crossed from Ray Island and headed past the Strood reservoirs. A Mediterranean gull was seen near Strood Hill.

This male reed bunting was one of six seen along the dyke, with 10 skylarks and a rock pipit also seen. Two fieldfares and 20 blackbirds were feeding at an apple tree near the Firs Chase caravan site.

On Thursday 11th a common buzzard was in a field near Bocking Hall while at Bromans Lane 7 red-legged partridge were in a field.

There were 1000 wigeon feeding in the park's grazing fields on Wednesday 10th. Also 100 rooks were also pecking at the pasture in one of the fields. The water rail fed along the edge of the reeds at the park pond at the end of the day. On the mudflats beside the park 1000 golden plover roosted while 100+ avocets were feeding along the edge of both side of the Colne.

On Tuesday 9th a barn owl was hunting the side of the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall just after daybreak. Seven red-legged partridge were feeding in a field by Bromans Lane.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

CHILLY WIND OVER THE COLNE

A cold north-easterly wind blew across the country park for the visit of members of the local Colchester RSPB group on Sunday 7th. It wasn't a day for standing around for too long.
Two pairs of red-breasted mergansers were seen flying past the Point as they headed back up river. A great crested grebe was the only other bird seen on the river while on the mud were 200 golden plover and 100+ avocets. A stonechat showed briefly amongst the saltmarsh at the Point.

On the grazing fields 700 wigeon, 100 brent geese and 100 lapwing were the main birds on Sunday morning. A water rail was seen flying across the park pond in the morning, and one also showed in the afternoon.
Two muntjac deer were seen at the start of the Sunday near the park entrance.

At West Mersea 7 common scoter, 16 red-breasted merganser, 2 great northern divers, 5 sanderling and 7 Mediterranean gulls were seen by Steve Grimwade on Sunday.

On Saturday 6th the water rail was feeding beside the park pond, also 7 little egrets roosted, 50 mallard, 10 gadwall and five tufted ducks present.
A muntjac was seen in Bromans Lane just after dark on Saturday.

Offshore from West Mersea on Saturday were 10 common scoter, 3 great northern divers, 100 great crested grebes, shag, peregrine and a Mediterranean gull seen by Graham Ekins.

 The high spring tide on Friday 5th covered most of the saltmarsh in front of the park seawall early in the afternoon. In the nearby grazing fields 800 wigeon, 15 redshank, 9 grey plover and 100 lapwing were noted while at the park pond were 7 tufted duck and 5 little egrets.

The beach at East Mersea Point was completely under water during the very high tide on Friday. The small bit of exposed beach at the very Point had a mixed flock of 500 waders waiting for the water to recede. A pair of stonechat was also seen on the bushes.

The glossy ibis was seen on Ray Island on Friday 5th by Andy Field, also noted were 2 marsh harriers and a kingfisher along the Strood Channel while 10 common scoter, 4 red-breasted mergansers and great northern diver were off the Esplanade.

On Tuesday 2nd the glossy ibis was seen roosting on Ray Island by Martin Cock while offshore from the Esplanade was a great northern diver seen by David Allen.

A male blackcap was found by Ian Black on Christmas Eve in his garden shed in Mersea Avenue, it was later released back into the garden.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

RUFF START TO NEW YEAR

The New Year started dull and damp on Monday 1st with conditions not really brightening up during the day. The first walk of 2018 was along the Strood seawall where five ruff, one pictured above, were feeding on a flooded corner of an arable field.


A glossy ibis was seen on the Ray Island saltmarsh preening itself whilst it roosted during the late morning high tide. Mid afternoon it was seen by George Brown flying past the West Mersea Hard towards Old Hall.


The pair of stonechats was near the central ditch, 30 linnets and 15 skylarks were seen in the fields.
Feeding on the Peldon arable fields were 2000 brent geese.

Sixteen tufted ducks were on the Strood fishing lakes on New Years Day, also 2 great crested grebes, while a Mediterranean gull flew over and a common buzzard perched in a nearby hedgerow. Twenty fieldfares were in tree tops near the Mersea Barrow.

A shag and two red-breasted mergansers were seen from the Hard, feeding among the moorings.

Birds noted from the Esplanade by Graham Ekins and Steve Entwistle on New Years Day included 28 common scoter, 15 red-breasted mergansers, 4 red-throated divers, great northern diver, 100 great crested grebes, 2 Slavonian grebes, shag, guillemot, 2 Mediterranean gulls, also 2 peregrines on Bradwell while near the Dabchicks was a blackcap and five corn buntings flying over.


Sunday, 31 December 2017

BLUSTERY STROOD WALKS

It's been a blustery end to the year with grey skies, breezy and wet at times. Walked the Strood seawall a couple of times over the weekend with high tides receding late mornings allowing a good variety of waders onto the channel.
This redshank was feeding close to the seawall, one of about 300 redshank in the channel on Sunday 31st
Three ruff were feeding with 14 grey plover in a flooded field, later two of them were back on the mudflats on Sunday. One ruff flew onto the flooded corner of the field from the Strood on Saturday.

Ten black-tailed godwits were seen on both Saturday and Sunday along the Strood. The most numerous waders were the 1000 dunlin, 300 golden plover in a ploughed field and 20 ringed plovers feeding in one of the fields on Saturday.

The main brent goose flock of 2000 birds were feeding in a wheat field on the Peldon side, every so often the flock taking to the air and landing in the Ray Channel. Other wildfowl along the Strood were 50 shelduck, 70 wigeon and 50 teal, also 15 little grebes while a red-breasted merganser was seen from the Hard.
A marsh harrier and sparrowhawk were seen over the Ray Island on Sunday morning. The previous day a peregrine flew down channel scattering all the birds before it headed over to the Feldy marsh. Also a marsh harrier on Saturday flying over Feldy.

On the Strood fishing lakes on Sunday were 14 tufted duck, 36 mallard, 2 little egrets, 2 great crested grebes, grey heron and a Mediterranean gull.
Three stonechats were seen near the Strood dyke and central ditch on Sunday, just one bird seen on Saturday.

A brief visit to the Strood on Friday 29th revealed a red-breasted merganser in the channel while in the stubble field up by the houses were 50 carrion crows, 10 jackdaws and 50 skylarks.

A first winter glaucous gull was seen by Simon Wood flying past Coopers Beach heading into the Blackwater on Sunday 31st.
On Thursday 28th December 17 marsh harriers, merlin, peregrine, barn owl and 8 red-breasted mergansers were seen by Darrell Stile from East Mersea viewing the Langenhoe harrier roost.

One of the regular male red squirrels was back at the feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday morning. There hasn't been much activity at the feeder during December, possibly due to the colder weather.
A red squirrel was also seen on Xmas Eve by Martin Cock as it scampered across his garden in the Coverts for the first time. A visitation from someone wearing a red outfit on Xmas Eve! A nice present for the whole family!

Thursday, 28 December 2017

WINTER WILDFOWL

Amongst the wildfowl at the country park are lots of teal, some giving close views like this nicely patterned male seen swimming nearby in the dyke. Twenty shoveler were also seen on the dyke.

At least 1000 wigeon were feeding in the park fields on a sunny but chilly Thursday 28th. Also in the fields were four fieldfares, stonechat, pair of kestrels, 90 rooks and ten jackdaws.
A peregrine flew over the fields in the afternoon sending the wigeon to seek refuge on the dyke, before it headed north. Possibly the same peregrine flew over the mudflats in the morning as flocks of waders were gathering along the freshly exposed mudflats.

By the pond the little owl was enjoying the morning sun perched in the hedgerow, while 12 goldfinches fed in the alders above. A redwing called from a tall tree.

There wasn't much to see at the park in the pouring rain, sleet and snow during Wednesday 27th. The little owl had the sense to shelter from the cold weather in the little owl nestbox, peering out late afternoon.
Five sanderling and 77 shelduck were of note from the park.

Five greylag geese were in the park's fields on a sunny Boxing Day along with 500 wigeon, 300 brent geese and 150 lapwing. A common buzzard perched on the kestrel tree at the back of the fields late afternoon. At the pond the little egret 10 gadwall and 5 tufted duck were of interest and the little owl was seen by David Wallace.
In the Colne a male red-breasted merganser and five great crested grebes were seen from the Point.

Monday, 25 December 2017

PEREGRINE PAST POINT

Xmas greetings to everyone.
The wigeon were grazing the path inside the park seawall on Monday 25th. In total around 500 birds were feeding in the fields.
A peregrine flew downriver passing the Point and then heading low and fast around the far edge of the mudflats on Monday morning. A flock of 50 avocets took evasive action as they headed back up river, while lots of wader flocks flew out of the way of the passing peregrine.
Two great crested grebes and a common seal were the only other things of note in the river.

Ten gadwall and thirty mallard were the main ducks on the park pond on Monday morning.

On Sunday 24th six red-breasted mergansers were in the Colne, 800 golden plover on the mud, while in the park fields were 120 lapwing, common snipe, 15 goldfinch, 8 linnet, 10 meadow pipit and 10 skylarks. The pair of stonechat was in the field by Ivy Farm and 30 shoveler were on the saltmarsh lagoons. The Cetti's warbler sang briefly from bushes in the car park.

The water rail showed well for ten minutes at the park pond on Saturday 23rd as it fed along the marshy margin. Also in the area of the pond were little egret, ten gadwall, fieldfare and 8 stock dove.

From the park on Friday 22 Andy Field reported a great northern diver on the sea and 500 golden plover on the mud. There was a common seal swimming down the river. Two sparrowhawks flew over the back of the park fields where 660 wigeon were grazing. Four tufted ducks were on the pond and a Cetti's warbler in the car park.

Two male goldeneye were seen in the Pyefleet near Maydays on Friday 22nd by Martin Cock. 


Friday, 22 December 2017

GLOOMY AT GROVE

Recent dull and gloomy weather at the park and the fewer people visiting has allowed the wigeon to graze the grass on the side of the seawall. This small group on one section were part of 400 seen near and on the grazing fields on Thursday 21st.
At the park pond two water rails scuttled around the edge with one chasing the other, also 4 tufted ducks, ten gadwall and 70 mallard were on the water.

A winter male reed bunting perched on the seablite bushes at the East Mersea Point on Thursday.

The male stonechat was also perching on the bushes beside the saltmarsh at the Point, a robin at times chasing it about. A rock pipit was flying about the saltmarsh too.

A common seal peered through the mist over the Colne as it swam up-river at the Point on Thursday morning.


On Wednesday 20th at the park a sparrowhawk perched in a tree to the north, ten chaffinches, ten blackbirds in the car park and 50 shelduck offshore at high tide.


At Maydays on Tuesday 19th a ringtail hen harrier flying over the saltmarsh towards the Strood was seen by Martin Cock, also a Cetti's warbler at Maydays.
The Langenhoe harrier roost count on Monday 18th by Andy Field and Darrell Stile produced views of 17 marsh harriers and a merlin. The previous day 5 red-breasted mergansers were in the Pyefleet.


The Swallow Birding boat trip from West Mersea into the nearby creeks and Blackwater produced a scaup, 16 common scoter, 30 goldeneye, 35 red-breasted mergansers, 5 great northern divers, 2 black-necked grebe, 2 shag, glossy ibis, red kite, common buzzard, 9 marsh harriers, 170 avocet and a guillemot.


A great northern diver was close into the Hard at West Mersea on Friday 15th, also a great crested grebe, little grebe were amongst the boats while a marsh harrier flew over the mouth of Salcott Channel.

Lots of winter moths have been gathering shortly after dark on the office windows and nearby toilet building at the park with 78 counted on Wednesday 20th.

A mottled umber was found resting amongst a pile of wood at the park the pervious week.