Monday, 29 November 2010


The Island woke up on Monday 29th to the first fall of snow, although as this picture of City Road shows it was just a thin coating of snow. With the sun shining and a light wind, it wasn't too cold for a brief walk near the Dabchicks Sailing Club in the morning.

Around the boat moorings opposite the Dabchicks was a scattering of 20+ dabchicks and probably if I'd looked harder, I might have had a similar count of the 30 birds that were present yesterday. The only other birds in the Mersea Quarters were a few cormorants and some brent geese. Typical waders noted on the mud were black-tailed godwits, bar-tailed godwits, curlew, redshank, oystercatcher, grey plover, lapwing, turnstone and dunlin.

Amongst the bushes near the caravan site were 25+ blackbirds, single redwing, also a few chaffinches, goldfinches, greenfinches, green woodpecker, reed buntings and a great spotted woodpecker.

Although there was no snow on the previous day, Sunday 28th, it was still very chilly and it appeared that it had been cold enough in the early hours of Sunday morning, to freeze some of the water at high tide. Along the side of the seawall there was a thin layer of ice where some parts of the high tide had frozen, as pictured above.

Returned again to the weedy field by the Strood to see what else could be seen here. The main highlight was watching an adult peregrine stooping and divebombing a ringtail hen harrier as it flew low over the fields. As both birds parted I couldn't decide which bird to continue watching but choose the peregrine as it headed towards me as I stood on the seawall. It provided a nice fly-past as it flew towards the Mersea Quarters. The hen harrier was lost to view in the general area of Strood Hill. A cursory glance beyond the Strood causeway on the mainland side, revealed 3 marsh harriers flying over the rough waste field.

The lapland buntings were still feeding in the fields with several sightings of birds as they flew around calling. At least three birds at various times were noted with one bird rising up and calling very loudly close-by. Whilst walking away from the field along the seawall, four more laplands flew towards the field from the direction of Copt Hall / Old Hall, meaning that there were at least seven birds seen. Sometimes the buntings mixed with the other flocks, where 100+ linnets, 50 skylarks and 10 reed buntings were feeding.

The squealing sound of a water rail was heard from the ditch beside the weedy field, whilst overhead one or two snipe were seen flying about. There were still small flocks of golden plover and lapwing in the nearby fields, and little egret and grey heron were also seen.

A spotted redshank flew high along the channel calling loudly as it headed south-west. The only other waders of interest in the channel were 200 knot near the Strood causeway. More teal were present with 300+ birds seen, along with lots of wigeon too. Nearly 1000 brent were seen flying off Peldon farmland into the Ray Channel.

Also on Sunday, at East Mersea two velvet scoter in the river seen from the Point was a rare sighting for here, presumably the same two birds seen further up the Colne the day before. At the country park a male hen harrier was seen by Steve Hunting flying over the fields and across the river to Brightlingsea. He also noted a water rail by the pond, 2 rock pipits on the saltmarsh, an eider, common scoter and 8 great crested grebes offshore. A Slavonian grebe was seen by Frank Keen offshore from the park.

Martin Cock found a small flock of 6 - 8 bearded tits again in the borrowdyke at Maydays Farm on Sunday, whilst Steve Entwistle saw the two coal tits at the north end of Shop Lane and also a woodcock here too.

No comments: