Friday, 27 May 2011


It was mainly gulls that were seen along a breezy Strood Channel as the tide went out on Friday 27th. A mixture of black-headed, herring and lesser black-backed gulls were seen feeding. Just the one little tern was seen as it headed east over the Strood causeway and along the Pyefleet. A whimbrel and a curlew were the only non-resident waders other than a few redshank and several oystercatchers.

It was also here that a male marsh harrier was seen flying about. Half an hour later another male marsh harrier hunted low over the Strood fields before crossing the seawall and heading over to Ray Island. The wind helped to carry the songs of a nightingale and a cuckoo across the channel from Ray Island, the latter bird was seen chasing a second cuckoo. Three little egrets were seen flying over the Ray Island saltings.

Around some of the Strood fields were 2 singing corn buntings, 3 sedge warblers, 3 reed buntings, 6 reed warblers, 3 whitethroats, meadow pipit as well as 5 yellow wagtails flying about. Overhead there was a gathering of 150 swifts circling high over the Strood fields. A handful of swallows and two house martins were also seen too.

A kestrel was often seen hovering over various points along the Strood fields and seawall. Later in the afternoon two sparrowhawks were flying high over Coast Road.

This big bramble bush has been a regular home for a sedge warbler over the years. This spring it has been devastated by masses of hungry caterpillars of the brown-tail moth. There are one or two small young leaves newly emerged but they're hard to spot amongst all the dead material. There are some similar looking bare bushes at the bottom of the Strood Hill close to the East Mersea road junction. These bushes have always been a favourite with the brown-tail moth except this year the bushes look as bare as in the winter.

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