Sunday, 21 November 2010


A hundred brent geese were feeding on the green algae on the mudflats just off from the country park, early on Sunday 21st. First thing in the morning the beach is usually deserted with nobody around, so the geese feel safe to come close to shore. As the tide came in 14 sanderling were seen along with a few turnstones, redshanks, grey plover and dunlin.

Further along the beach at the East Mersea Point, the incoming tide was just about to cover the last part of the mud where some fifty waders were still feeding. A casual scan of the dunlin and grey plover revealed an unexpected little stint picking its way over the mud. This would've been a more usual sight in late summer or early autumn when these stints stop off on their way south to Africa. Even in the autumn months they're not easy to find out on the huge expanse of mudflats around Mersea. A greenshank flying over the park was also of interest as most of these birds are already wintering in Africa.

Other birds noted from the Point included a marsh harrier flying high upriver, 5 red-breasted mergansers, 10 great crested grebes, 10 skylarks, 2 rock pipits and a sparrowhawk that scattered all the birds off the mud when it landed on the nearby saltmarsh.

Birds in the grazing fields were similar to previous days with 300 brent geese, 350 wigeon, 250 teal, 40 shoveler, 45 snipe, 50 redshank, 50 black-tailed godwit with one or two dunlin and grey plover also present during high tide, as were 2 greylag geese. At the park pond, 12 gadwall and 4 tufted ducks were noted with mallard and some of the shoveler. Six siskin were seen flying east across the park in the morning.

At the end of the day after the last car had left the car park at dusk, a sparrowhawk was seen clutching a squawking blackbird on the ground, whilst nearby other blackbirds were very agitated because a little owl was perched up on the bungalow roof.

Andy Field had earlier seen 5 Slavonian grebes offshore from the East Mersea Youth Camp and also 6 siskins in alder trees there too. Another Slavonian was seen from Coast Road in West Mersea. Martin Cock had enjoyed views from the Maydays seawall of a nice male hen harrier flying over the Langenhoe ranges. Also 11 red-breasted mergansers and 4 goldeneye seen in the Pyefleet.
On Saturday Andy had seen 4 common scoter, red-throated diver, eider and 2 goldeneye off West Mersea.

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