Sunday, 22 March 2009


There was lots of sunshine during the first half of Sunday 22nd along the Pyefleet Channel where this common seal was enjoying the warm weather as it basked on the mud. The seal was in the favoured area for seals, the secluded and quiet spot opposite the seawall corner at Maydays.

The sunny conditions were ideal for bird of prey activity despite the heat haze with marsh harrier and common buzzards soaring over the Langenhoe marshes to the north of the Island. Steve Entwistle pictured below, was also out enjoying the raptor show.

At least 3 common buzzards were seen in the air together and at various other times during the mid-day vigil, marsh harriers were often seen tussling with them. Three male marsh harriers were seen with two of them displaying high up in the sky at the same time, climbing steeply up with deep wing-beats and then plunging down like a peregrine. The high pitched calls were often heard carrying over to the Island as the harriers displayed. A number of female and sub-adult marsh harriers were also seen both on Langenhoe and over Reeveshall with at least half a dozen birds involved.

Other raptors seen were 4 kestrels continually hovering over Langenhoe and a sparrowhawk crossing the Pyefleet onto Reeveshall. Steve had a brief view of a peregrine earlier in the morning.

Despite the tide being out the main wader on show were several hundred redshank and only a few of other wader species. One ruff was with some lapwing along the Pyefleet, a green sandpiper flew out of a Maydays ditch, while a low-flying kestrel flushed two snipe from the saltmarsh.
Also along the Pyefleet were 110 shelduck and 4 great crested grebes on the middle section of the Channel.

Only the one little egret was seen close to this creek at Maydays but no sign of the kingfisher seen here a few times in recent weeks. On the Reeveshall fields was a big mixed flock of 500 birds of jackdaws and rooks along with lots of starlings too. One brown hare was seen here too.
The only small birds seen of interest were a flock of 25 linnets, 2 yellowhammers and one corn bunting. A small tortoiseshell butterfly flew rapidly along a track by Maydays farm.

Andy Field saw two Mediterranean gulls at Coopers Beach on Sunday and also managed to find the first returning summer migrant the day before- a chiffchaff at the country park on Saturday. The ruff was also still seen in the grazing fields with some black-tailed godwits.

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