Friday, 7 January 2011


Considering the amount of rain and fog on Friday 7th, it was a surprise to see anything when I had a quick visit to the seawall near Shop Lane in East Mersea. Visibility was poor but the high tide had flooded the saltmarsh and masses of waders and wildfowl were gathered close-in. Not realising how close the birds were, several hundred birds flew off when I stuck my head above the seawall.

There was an impressive sight of 200 avocets that flew off, along with 50 black-tailed godwits. Three red-breasted mergansers were feeding close-in, as were 100 shelduck and lots of wigeon and teal. Nothing else could be seen beyond 100 metres or so because of the poor visibility.

In the nearby Shop Lane wood, 2 coal tits were still present, spending most of the time feeding in the tops of the conifers. One of them made a brief visit to the nearby bird feeders in the Saltings garden but soon headed back into the trees. The feeders were proving very popular with great tits, blue tits while nearby chaffinch, greenfinch, robin, and blackbirds were feeding nearby. Also in the wood was at least one goldcrest.

The blue sky made an appearance on Wednesday 5th and the continuing return to milder conditions brought in more wildfowl onto the park's grazing fields, pictured above. The most numerous were the 700+ wigeon with 400 brent geese also grazing. Around the pools were 200 teal with 12 shoveler a few mallard, as well as 30 black-tailed godwits.

Part of the park pond remained frozen although 120 mallard were noted here along with 30 gadwall and the 25 coots being the most obvious. Two pairs of tufted ducks were still present along with a few shoveler and teal. In the grass nearby 2 black-tailed godwits probed in the wet soil as did a snipe.

Martin Cock found a large covey of ten grey partridge feeding in a rape field alongside Shop Lane. This is the largest covey to have been seen on the Island for a few years. The two coal tits and a woodcock were seen in the conifer wood at the north end of the Lane. Along the East Mersea road 250+ skylarks and a small flock of linnets were seen in a field near Bocking Hall. Two lapland buntings were seen by the Maydays seawall on Tuesday.

Graham Ekins had a worthwhile visit to the Island on Tuesday seeing 2 waxwings near the Golfhouse, an eider and common scoter from the Point, coal tit, woodcock in Shop Lane, 2 lapland buntings with 50 skylarks near Bocking Hall, while 15 common scoter and a Slavonian grebe and a bull grey seal too were also seen from West Mersea.
Also on Tuesday a mistle thrush and a few fieldfares were seen in a horse paddock near the end of the East Mersea road.

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