Sunday, 6 February 2011


Andy Field and I had a walk along a windy seawall at Maydays farm on Sunday 6th. Although some of the mudflats were showing, the tide was coming back in along the Pyefleet Channel. We scanned in both directions with our telescopes as most birds were in the distance.

In the Pyefleet there were about 15 red-breasted mergansers, great crested grebe along with 100+ shelduck and 200+ wigeon and teal. There was no sign of the hybrid shelduck that had been seen here yesterday by Martin Cock.

We watched a ringtail hen harrier fly out of the borrowdyke and fly low over the fields towards Reeveshall. At least two marsh harriers were hunting over Reeveshall with another five seen over on the Langenhoe side. A kestrel perching on a bush was the only other raptor seen, although something disturbed masses of birds off the fields.

Amongst the sheep was a huge flock of 3000 starlings along with 1000 lapwings that all rose into the air together. Also noted were 25 stock doves, 100 brent geese on the Maydays fields with 25 linnets and a few greenfinches too. A little egret landed on the Maydays saltmarsh, dropping out of view, while around the game cover / young tree plantation were 5 yellowhammers. There was no sign of any bearded tits in the borrowdyke reedbed, although a couple of reed buntings were present.

A brief walk the previous day on Saturday morning along by the Firs Chase caravan site, provided a great view of a peregrine over the Strood Channel. The big falcon was first spotted on the Feldy side of the channel as hundreds of lapwings, waders and wildfowl all rose into the air to get out of its way. The peregrine crossed over towards the Dabchicks and then flew south along Coast road. A minute later there were more big flocks of lapwings and golden plovers rising into the sky from the direction of Cobmarsh and Packing Shed Islands.

Jonathan Norgate noted 24 lapland buntings in the weedy field along the Strood seawall on Saturday along with a few skylarks and linnets.

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