Thursday, 19 March 2009


Returned from a two week break chasing some winter sun, to find that spring has come on in leaps and bounds here following some recent sunny weather. By the time I got out to enjoy some of this sunshine on Wednesday 18th at East Mersea, the sun was already setting. The clear evening sky above the Reeveshall pool, turned a familiar pink shade.

In the last forty minutes of daylight along the Pyefleet seawall, there was the usual interesting sightings to make the walk worthwhile. Just after sunset 1000 noisy brent geese flew off a nearby grass field to roost alongside the Colne river. On the nearby Langenhoe Point two male and three female marsh harriers were flying above the reedbed lagoon ready to drop down to roost.

On the Reeveshall pool two grey herons and a little egret were noted as were 20 mallard, 5 teal and a black-tailed godwit. There was a nice close view of a barn owl hunting low along a nearby ditch, occasionally pouncing down into the long grass. In the big grass field 3 brown hares came to life, 2 golden plover flew onto the field and 7 greylag geese were also noted.
The only bird of note along the Pyefleet was a male red-breasted merganser flying out of the channel.

Other birds seen recently on the Island include a common buzzard and 2 Mediterranean gulls near Meeting Lane at East Mersea, seen by Andy Field on Saturday 14th. Later that day beside Coopers Beach the two Med gulls were seen again as well as 4 Slavonian grebes and 120 great crested grebes. At West Mersea there were still 3 great northern divers, 6 eider and the shag on the same Saturday.

Richard Brown watched 4 Med gulls following a tractor and plough at Maydays Farm, with one of the birds having a colour ring on its leg indicating it had been ringed as a north Essex chick in Hamford Water.

On Monday 16th Glyn Evans saw a large bird of prey over East Mersea heading towards the country park, which appeared to be a large goshawk. David Nicholls reported seeing a couple of siskins feeding on his bird feeder in West Mersea recently.

Earlier in the month, Martin Cock found a black brant amongst a large flock of brent geese feeding in the field beside the Strood. The spotted redshank was also seen in the Strood channel here.

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