Saturday, 22 January 2011


It was high tide when I went for a walk along the Strood Channel on Saturday 22nd. Waders and wildfowl such as these brent geese were gathering along the edges of the saltmarshes. Wigeon and teal were the main ducks noted along the channel.

Came back to this muddy arable field next to the Strood Hill to have another look for the lapland buntings. It took a while to find the skylark flock which the laplands were feeding with, but eventually about 70 larks/buntings were seen flying around the back of the field. Through the telescope 25 laplands buntings were seen on the ground, feeding in the short winter wheat crop as they scuttled along. Every so often the flock would take off and fly around a few times before landing in another part of the field. Amongst the laplands are some birds developing some colourful markings, with nice chestnut mantles and blackish throat markings.

A peregrine flew slowly over the fields clutching a bird in its talons, as it headed up the slope towards West Mersea, scattering all the birds on the field. The muddy pools in the field brought in various waders for the high tide with 150 dunlin, 25 golden plover, 20 ringed plover, 3 redshank, curlew and 3 grey plover. A rock pipit was heard calling as it passed along the seawall.

A later visit to look offshore from Kingsland road in West Mersea during the high tide provided views of 100 great crested grebes, Slavonian grebe, 6 common scoter, red-breasted merganser and hundreds of gulls that may've been feeding on sprats.

A visit to Reeveshall on Friday 21st was also made during the high tide so no waders of note were seen feeding along the Pyefleet. A thousand golden plover rose off Langenhoe Point when a marsh harrier passed nearby. Five marsh harriers and a ringtail hen harrier were seen on Langenhoe. In the Pyefleet were 10 red-breasted mergansers, 2 goldeneye, while 6 pintail were with lots of wigeon and teal by Pewit Island. On Reeveshall 10 Canada geese and a little egret were seen but only a pair of mute swans on the Pool. In the Shop Lane wood a coal tit was heard calling.

No comments: