Sunday, 21 August 2011


Enjoyed a day at the west end of the Island with a walk along the Strood Channel in the morning and then an afternoon canoe in the Mersea Quarters on Saturday 20th. The morning's sunshine faded away in the afternoon with the air soon cooled down by some rain in mid afternoon. The view above is looking back to West Mersea's Coast Road area, taken from Old Hall Point.

There was a good scattering of the regular waders along the Strood Channel during the low tide in the morning. Waders of note included 4 greenshank, 10 knot, 20 grey plover, dunlin and 20 black-tailed godwits. A hobby was seen circling high over the Channel and then drifting north towards the Peldon area. Around the Quarters were 10 common terns, 2 little terns, 3 little egrets and 4 swifts heading west over the water and the first little grebe of the autumn amongst the moorings.

A restless painted lady along the seawall was the main butterfly of interest by the Strood during the morning, also seen were small heath, small white, green-veined white, small tortoiseshell and meadow brown.

On the western edge of the Quarters on the Old Hall Marshes RSPB reserve is this bird-rich saline lagoon -Pennyhole Bottom, pictured above. It was great to see water still present here as some previous Augusts, it has dried out completely. Up to 400 waders were roosting or feeding during the late afternoon high tide. Unfortunately most of the birds were some distance away from the seawall and looking into the sun didn't help.

In less than an hour on the seawall a noteworthy 19 species of wader were logged either on Pennyhole or on the adjacent mudflats as the tide receded. Two little stint, 3 little ringed plover, spotted redshank, 2 greenshank, 4 green sandpiper, common sandpiper, 5 avocets, 5 knot, along with varying numbers of the commoner waders such as redshank, curlew, oystercatcher, lapwing, golden plover, grey plover, ringed plover, dunlin, turnstone, black-tailed godwit and bar-tailed godwit.

In bushes nearby 2 whinchats perched up as did sedge warbler and some reed warblers. Up to 25 yellow wagtails flew around calling and flying over the main reedbed were a couple of marsh harriers.

The following day 3 willow warblers were in a small birch tree in Firs Chase, West Mersea and a greenshank flew south over Coast Road in the afternoon.

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