Thursday, 1 June 2017


A number of avocet chicks have hatched out on the saltmarsh pools near the East Mersea Point over the last couple of weeks. Exact numbers have been hard to gauge as some chicks have disappeared probably through predation while others have moved around. Seven chicks from two broods were counted on the 25th dropping to five three days later.

This brood of three avocets chicks were watched on Sunday 28th feeding in one of the corners but a few days later there was no sign of any in this spot.

At least seven avocet pairs were present on 23rd May, dropping to four pairs on Sunday 28th. It appeared that the high tides over that weekend flooded the avocet nests on the small island as well as flooding the four black-headed gull nests too.

On Wednesday 31st three avocet chicks were feeling very adventurous and marched out onto the open mudflats much to the consternation of the parents. Any birds getting too close were quickly chased away including a pair of Mediterranean gulls who flew too low.
On Thursday 1st, the chicks rested up on the saltmarsh pools during the afternoon high tide, pictured above. When the tide receded the chicks clambered through the saltmarsh and back out on the mudflats again. These were the only chicks amongst the ten adult avocets present, one pair sitting on a nest.

Three pairs of common terns are nesting this year, one pictured above with two avocets. Every so often the male terns would bring back a fish for the sitting females.

Two well grown lapwing chicks on the saltmarsh pools on the 31st were most likely the two from the nearby grazing fields - these being the only lapwing chicks to fledge from the fields this year.

A pair of ringed plover has just produced its clutch of well camouflaged eggs on the shingle at East Mersea Point. Two eggs were first discovered on Wednesday 31st with a third one found laid the next day.

The eggs are very vulnerable to accidental trampling by walkers on the beach, so the area was roped off to help protect the nest. Ringed plovers have mixed success at the Point although this area round the corner is a bit quieter for walkers so the birds may be lucky. Any dog walkers need to keep their dogs away from this cordoned off area.

Five mallard ducklings were closely following their mother along the park dyke on Thursday 1st. Another brood of six mallard ducklings has been seen on the park pond.

The pair of ringed plovers will be able to enjoy the nice sunsets over the mudflats by the Point such as this one on Thursday evening.

Other birds noted at the park on Thursday 1st included a hobby over the car park, a cuckoo calling from a tree-top behind the pond, a sand martin and two house martins over the pond and a little owl perched on wires near the park entrance at dusk upsetting the local blackbirds.

On Wednesday a single brent goose was on the saltmarsh near the Golfhouse, a pair of Mediterranean gulls flew over the car park calling while at dusk a tawny owl perched on a telegraph post at the top end of Bromans Lane. On the mud 20 turnstone, ten dunlin, 20 oystercatchers and 6 little egrets were noted.

Ten swifts passed over the park during Tuesday 30th, a pair of Mediterranean gulls passed over the park and a little owl was seen on a barn roof in the morning at Bromans Farm by Helen Mussett. A grey heron, two little egrets, 6 tufted ducks and a pair of pochard were on the park pond that day.

Whilst watching several black-headed gulls on the saltmarsh pools staring skywards on Sunday 28th, I too peered up and noticed a red kite high up slowly drifting westwards. Another two red kites were seen flying over the park about three hours later by Simon Patient. A pair of common buzzards was soaring over fields to the north of the park.
Two cuckoos flew low over the park's grazing fields, perching in trees on two of the field sides, one bird calling regularly. A little tern, house martin, two pairs of pochard three singing reed warblers and a pair of Mediterranean gulls were also noted on Sunday.

Other wildlife seen at the park in recent days included a water vole swimming across the dyke on Thursday, single adders noted on Tuesday and Thursday and a small toad crossing a path at dusk on Wednesday.

Butterflies at the park have included six small heaths, five speckled woods, 2 holly blue and 2 red admirals on Thursday along with a cream-spot tiger moth disturbed from some grass. A hairy dragonfly was reported at the park on Thursday. A small tortoiseshell was seen on Wednesday.
A hummingbird hawkmoth spent a few minutes buzzing round the Firs Chase garden early evening on Monday 29th.

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