Friday, 12 November 2010


Visited the Rewsalls marshes on the south side of the Island on Friday 12th for a change as I'd not looked at the area for couple of months. Recent rains have transformed two grass fields into mud-baths, as the picture above shows. My visit coincided with the high tide which meant that lots of waders were gathered on the muddy fields for roosting and feeding. This was an unexpected bonus seeing 1000+ birds in the area with waders, brent geese and gulls to be seen.

Of the eight species of wader, most were plovers with 400 golden plover, 25 ringed plover, 50 lapwing and 10 grey plover, along with 250 dunlin, 20 turnstone, 50 curlew and 10 redshank. The dunlin were scuttling about as if they were out feeding on the tidal mudflats. Every so often all the birds rose into the air and circled round a few times beore settling back down. In the nearby wheat field 300 brent geese were happily chomping their way across the young crop.

Other birds noted included 23 mallard, 2 teal, 4 meadow pipits, great spotted woodpecker and a kestrel.
Along the East Mersea road there were hundreds of gulls, rooks, jackdaws, crows, starlings, pigeons feeding in the fields near Bocking Hall. At least fifty skylarks were also seen flying around these fields too.

The country park has been getting its fair share of autumnal weather over the last few days with heavy rain and strong winds although Wednesday brought a brief respite with lots of sunshine. There were also some high tides to contend with last weekend and into the start of this week and the beach and park cliff have taken more pounding from the sea.

In the park's grazing fields on Wednesday the first big flock of brent geese were feeding for the first time here this autumn. Around 600 geese were enjoying the autumnal flush of grass growth on a sunny afternoon, as was a group of 200 wigeon. Also in the same field was a flock of 400 golden plover feeding while the tide covered the nearby mudflats.

Around the muddy pools 30 black-tailed godwits, 50 curlew and 10 snipe were amongst small numbers of teal and wigeon. On the park pond 6 gadwall, 25 shoveler, 3 tufted ducks and 30 mallard were the main ducks present, while a fox snoozed in a nearby corner. In the nearby hedge 4 redwings fed on some rowan berries and 5 siskins flew off some alder trees. Still foraging along the hedgerows in the park are at least 4 goldcrests, often with the main mixed tit flock.

Martin Cock reported 4 bearded tits along the Maydays borrowdyke on Wednesday, the second sighting for this area in the last fortnight. Amongst the small bird flocks were 200 greenfinches, 50 linnet, 4 yellowhammers and several corn buntings too. In the Pyefleet there were 4 red-breasted mergansers and a goldeneye as well as a greenshank. From the West Mersea Esplanade the great northern diver was still present along with a common scoter and an eider.

David Nichols was lucky seeing a coal tit on his feeder in his garden in Queen Ann Drive at the beginning of the week. This species isn't resident on the Island although there have been one or two winter records at various feeders over the years.

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