Andy had earlier managed to see 3 snow buntings at the Point as well at least 2 possibly 3 immature little gulls feeding in the Colne. There was also the big flock of 1000 golden plover on the mud.
Andy, Martin Cock and I then spent the last hour of daylight at the north end of Shop Lane in East Mersea, watching the marsh harriers coming into roost on Langenhoe. In the dull and breezy conditions, only six birds were seen flying around. Not much to report from the adjacent Pyefleet Channel except a male pintail amongst a group of wigeon. Two yellowhammers flew over one of the fields at dusk.
As we walked past the conifer wood the tawny owl was heard calling nearby. Returning the call back to the bird, it moved further away before coming back and somehow doubling back over us to some neighbouring trees, still calling regularly. Although the light had virtually gone, we backed up to some bushes and waited to see if the owl would fly past us. Amazingly the dark silhouette of the tawny then shot past us just above head height between us, before disappearing into the trees.
Begrudging congratulations to Martin who added two new species today for his year list on the Island taking his tally to the set target of 150 species. The rest of us are following closely behind him in the Island race and in my case, just two species behind. However the year's not finished yet Martin!
Managed to walk along the Strood seawall late on the afternoon of Monday 30th, as dusk descended. Whilst counting the 16 dabchicks just up from the Dabchicks sailing club, a common seal swam slowly down channel. There have been lots of reports of a seal feeding around the area of the West Mersea Hard in recent weeks.
Amongst the various waders and wildfowl seen were 200 knot and 500 dunlin together, 200 wigeon and 90 shelduck feeding or roosting on the mud. The big noisy flock of 1000 brent geese flew off one of the fields next to the Ray Channel at dusk. At least 3 little egrets were ready for the night perched in the Ray Island trees. Two marsh harriers flew south-west over the Ray to their roost presumably on Old Hall marshes.
Two corn buntings, 2 reed buntings and a rock pipit were the only small birds of note seen along the seawall.