Saturday, 17 April 2010


Here's a close-up look at a slow-worm that was discovered on the Strood seawall path near the caravan site on Saturday 17th. The picture below shows it on the dried out ground where it seemed to have exhausted itself trying to burrow downwards, regularly pressing its head against the hard ground. It started to wriggle about more when it was handled, so it seemed healthy enough. After one or two photos were taken, it was lifted off the path and put into the vegetation on the side so it wouldn't get trodden on.

The harsh chattering songs of a couple of sedge warblers were heard from bushes by the dyke. One of them showed briefly as it sang before skulking inside the bramble bush. A male reed bunting was also seen while a couple of corn buntings perched up singing. Three swallows flew over the saltings near the bottom of the Strood Hill.

Along the channel were 4 avocets, 2 whimbrel, 20 black-tailed godwits, 13 knot, 30 grey plover, 5 dunlin as well as a few redshank and oystercatchers. A little egret was noted and a pair of Mediterranean gulls flew over calling. As the tide came in late morning, a flock of 30 curlew flew high northwards calling loudly to each other, possibly on their way to northern breeding grounds.

In the distance over the mainland to the north a common buzzard soared round before it appeared to drop down into a small wood to the east of Peldon. A marsh harrier flew over the Ray Island saltings in the afternoon as it headed north-east.

One or two birds noted near Firs Chase during the day included singing chiffchaff and blackcap as well as a grey heron flying low over the gardens.

Not sure if the orangey haze to the sunset is a result of the volcanic dust in the atmosphere but it made a colourful end to the day anyway, pictured above next to the jetty at the West Mersea Hard.

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