Saturday, 27 November 2010


There was a good selection of waders and wildfowl along the Pyefleet section of Reeveshall at East Mersea on Saturday 27th. This group of waders in the picture above were snapped by "digi-binning" - pointing the camera through the binoculars. Most of the waders in this picture are the small dunlin with a few grey plovers too. The waders were gathering as the tide came in with 200 redshank and 150 avocets forming the main big flocks. The usual other waders curlew, bar-tailed godwit, black-tailed godwit, knot, oystercatcher and turnstone were noted too.

In the Pyefleet 14 red-breasted mergansers, 5 great crested grebes and 2 little grebes were seen along with a few hundred wigeon and teal dotted along the saltmarshes. Consorting with the Eurasian teal was the drake Australian chestnut teal, first seen at the country park in September. This chestnut teal is much more colourful than the previous sighting now that it has finished moulting, with its dark chestnut body and dark green head.

The pool at Reeveshall pool was frozen over and the only birds seen here were one grey heron flying away and a pair of mute swans feeding on grain put out by the farmer. Two marsh harriers were seen flying from Reeveshall to Langenhoe, where there were already a couple of harriers waiting for the late afternoon roost. A male sparrowhawk flew low along the seawall looking for small birds although the only ones seen were 5 linnet, 10 skylark and 5 meadow pipits.

On the Reeveshall fields 300 brent geese were feeding in one field and 50 greylag geese fed in another grass field.

Alongside the conifer wood at the north end of Shop Lane, lots of small birds have been feeding in one of the nearby gardens. Amongst the blue and great tits were two coal tits that were very obliging as they picked up seeds and then perched up in a bush to eat them. Coal tits are only scarce winter visitors to the Island with one or two previous sightings at feeders in West Mersea as well as one or two sightings here at this Shop Lane conifer wood.

Martin Cock has seen these two coal tits earlier in the morning as well as a woodcock flying over the wood. Richard Brown reported seeing one too during the East Mersea pheasant shoot.

The weedy field still with lots of black mustard flowers by the Strood was visited earlier on Saturday where I wanted to check the status of the buntings and finch flocks. I didn't have to wait long before the sound of a lapland bunting was heard as it passed over calling. Two other laplands were also present and all three birds dropped down amongst the weeds. The birds were later heard several times as they flew around, although one bird was later seen flying away from the Island towards Copt Hall.
Still present in the fields were 150 linnet, 50 skylark, 10 reed buntings and 2 rock pipits.

A female peregrine flew over the fields scattering all the birds including the 100 lapwing and 300 golden plover in the nearby fields. A short while later 2 marsh harriers were also seen around the Strood channel with one bird quartering the weedy field.

More snipe were noted flying around the fields with about 10 birds seen during the walk, while 10 little egrets and a grey heron were also seen. There was the usual variety of waders and ducks along the Strood channel although the 500 brent geese were in the Ray channel.

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