Monday, 1 December 2008


The picture doesn't show how chilly the wind was blowing along the Reeveshall seawall on Monday 1st. Luckily the showers that had been forecasted never materialised, so it was great to see the blue sky again after recent grey days. Visibility was good looking away from the sun but it was a challenge keeping the telescope steady in the strong wind.

Managed to cover 2.5 kms of the Reeveshall seawall along to the Maydays section and then back again to Shop Lane, in which time the tide had covered all of the Pyefleet mud. The main waders on show were dunlin, grey plover and redshank, while several large groups of oystercatchers headed east to roost. Rat Island and especially Langenhoe Point held the largest concentrations of waders at high tide, with the latter holding about 2000 birds of various wader species. Twenty avocets were seen feeding in the Pyefleet, one snipe flew off the saltmarsh while a green sandpiper flew out of a Reeveshall ditch.

In the Pyefleet, 200 shelduck, 10 red-breasted mergansers, 4 great crested grebes, plus several hundred wigeon loafing along the edge at the western end, pictured in the middle distance in the picture below.

This picture is taken at the corner of the Maydays seawall looking westwards as the tide comes in. A common seal was seen in the water near here, one of the regular sites for the seals. No sign of the dozen twite that have been seen recently along this section of the seawall. The only small birds noted were 12 goldfinches, 3 pairs of stonechats, 2 rock pipits, 15 skylarks and a large flock of about 70 corn buntings which perched up on a Maydays bush.

Marsh harriers were constantly seen both over Reeveshall and on the Langenhoe area. At least two female / immatures hunted over the the former areas with a further 4 birds seen during the walk over the latter area of Langenhoe. Other than a couple of kestrels the only other bird of prey noted was a common buzzard flying low over Langenhoe, which at one point had a tussle with two of the harriers.

On Reeveshall 50 brent geese including 3 youngsters, fed in the grass field, while 200 golden plover roosted in another. There were also 25 stock doves, a few curlew and lapwings seen in the fields too. Four little egrets were either sheltering from the cold wind by the seawall or finding rich pickings by stalking the water-filled ditches.

At the beginning of the day a barn owl was the first bird of the day to be noted, swooping past the entrance gates as I opened the country park at 8am. The owl first headed to the area of long grass behind the car park, before heading swiftly over the big arable field to the west towards Fen Farm.

Richard Brown had good views of 17 snow buntings back at East Mersea Point early on Monday afternoon.

One of the plants that has been catching my eye in recent days along Bromans Lane in East Mersea, has been this cow parsley in flower. Normally seen in flower during the spring and early summer, this just seems to show how topsy-turvy the seasons are!

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