Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Ian Black and I gave this brent goose standing up in this picture a good long look, as it fed in the wheat field next to the country park on Wednesday 25th. It was quite a clear view of this small group of geese seen through the hedge only about 50 metres away from the car park. It had the features of the black brant and certainly stood out from the other dark-bellied brent geese beside it. The white flank patch was brighter on the day than this picture shows and was the first feature that made you look at the bird.

The other striking feature was the big and bright white neck collar, which clearly shows up in this photo. Not only did the collar encircle the whole neck, there was some unusual white flecking down the back of the neck. This should make the bird easy to recognise during the rest of the winter. However the base of the chest didn't appear as dark black as the classic black-brant birds that have been seen here before, although its wings did seem to be slightly blacker than the wings of the other geese next to it.

Judgement might have to be reserved on this goose until a better view is obtained in some better light. The black brant is the vagrant race of the brent goose to our shores, that breeds in eastern Siberia and in North America. There have been a few other sightings in previous winters here on the Island of a black brant seen feeding amongst the dark-bellied brent geese.

The pools in the grazing fields continue to extend in size with all the recent rain. Wigeon and teal total about 500 birds with a few gadwall and shoveler. Also feeding in the pools were 10 black-tailed godwit and 4 snipe along with one or two curlew and redshank.

Three snow buntings were watched flying west along the seawall and beach, calling as they went.
On the mudflats at low tide a huge flock of golden plover were gathered in their usual spot with about 2000 birds clustered together.

Martin Cock saw the 10 snow buntings at the Point on Tuesday and 2 peregrines along the Pyefleet on Wednesday, while Richard Brown was lucky to see the 10 twite on the saltings near Maydays Farm on Wednesday.
Received an interesting report of a grey wagtail seen feeding around a garden water feature in a West Mersea garden. The yellow markings seen on this bird distinguished it from the more usual pied wagtail.

This herald moth unexpectedly dropped onto the floor in the house on Wednesday morning. No doubt it moved in recently to try and find somewhere sheltered where it could spend the winter before it gets back on the wing next spring.

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