Monday, 21 February 2011


Andy Field took this photo of a sparrowhawk which perched in his West Mersea garden one day last week. Sparrowhawks have become regular visitors to most gardens throughout the year with 3 or 4 pairs now breeding in West Mersea and at least another couple of pairs in East Mersea too.

Walked along the Strood seawall from West Mersea to the fishing lakes at the bottom of the Strood Hill on a dull Monday 21st. There was just the one female scaup present which spent most of the time snoozing but no sign of the second female. Also seen here were 14 tufted duck, a vocal great crested grebe, 6 mallard, one wigeon and at least 20 coot.

In the Strood fields at least 3 lapland buntings flew around the weedy field calling, with Roy Hume and his son seeing another couple of laplands in flight a short while earlier. There was no sign of any lapland flock this morning with the only other small birds seen being 25+ skylarks and about 10 reed buntings. A rock pipit on the seaward side was the only other small bird of note on the walk.

The flooded arable field lured lots of waders in for the high tide roost with 500 dunlin, 50 ringed plover the main birds although at least 3 knot were seen flying about, while oystercatcher and curlew were also noted. No doubt more waders gathered here as it got nearer to time of high tide.
A little egret flew out of the ditch, 3 stock doves flew away from the weedy field and a kestrel was seen perched up.

Along the Strood channel with the tide coming in, a greenshank and a spotted redshank stood along the water's edge about 50 metres apart. These are the first ones to be seen on the Island this year so far. Other waders included 15 bar-tailed godwit, 50 knot, 300 redshank, 50 lapwing along with the usual grey plovers, curlews, oystercatchers but just the one black-tailed godwit. The regular wildfowl flocks were the brent geese, wigeon and shelduck with a few teal too.

Two sparrowhawks tussled with each other over the Ray saltings whilst by the Strood causeway, a marsh harrier was seen hunting on the mainland side.
Martin Cock saw a merlin at Maydays Farm on Monday with 150 linnets being the only other birds of note during a gloomy and dull visit there. A Mediterranean gull was seen on the Victoria Esplanade greensward on Sunday afternoon.

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