Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Enjoyed an evening walk along the Pyefleet Channel for the last couple of hours on Wednesday 24th. It was a very rewarding session with a good variety of wildlife to admire, even without the trusty telescope for a change. The incoming tide brought many birds closer to the shore with this group of roosting gulls digi-binned for a slightly closer image, were seen in the Reeveshall bay. This group of mainly black-headed gulls were some of the 2000 gulls following a tractor and cultivator in a nearby field.

Eighteen species of waders on the walk was a good tally despite the nearness to high tide and lack of mud on show. For a change it was good to see some waders using the Reeveshall pool, the first ones this summer since the avocets stopped using it to raise their families. Three green sandpipers, 3 greenshank, 2 redshank, 4 lapwing and 7 teal were noted here.

Other waders seen on the Pyefleet were 2 ruff, 4 whimbrel, 50 curlew, 3 knot, 250+ black-tailed godwit, 15 bar-tailed godwit, 25 oystercatcher, 100 redshank, 40 avocet, 10 golden plover, 20 grey plover, 10 ringed plover, 25 lapwing, 10 turnstone, 3 common sandpiper and 1 dunlin.

Twelve little terns flew up and down the Channel and 20 common terns also seen with some resting on Langenhoe Point. Close to high tide the four local eider drifted to Langenhoe Point to rest, while earlier 15 cormorants, 3 grey herons, 4 little egrets were noted along the Channel.

Two common seals drifted along the Pyefleet on the rising tide towards their usual resting spot further west by Maydays saltings.

On Langenhoe 6 marsh harriers were seen late in the evening settling down to roost with one of the birds seen hunting over Reeveshall earlier in the evening. A sparrowhawk crossed low over the Pyefleet to Reeveshall and a second bird was seen by the tree plantation near the Oyster Fishery. Two kestrels were seen at opposite sides of Reeveshall, hovering over the fields.

There was a nice red colour to the borrow-dyke to the north of Shop Lane as the last of the light began to fade. Managed to get a nice but brief view looking down on a water vole in the dyke but as it wasn't expecting to see my big silhouette so close, it quickly swam back to the clump of club-rushes. A brown hare was seen crouching low by the Reeveshall pool at dusk.

Five wheatears were still perching on fenceposts and feeding on the ground near the Shop Lane seawall as the light faded. A sixth wheatear was found on a fence on the western edge of Reveshall. Several flocks of yellow wagtails were flying back and forwards across the Pyefleet looking for somewhere to roost and it was difficult to tell if they were the same birds seen earlier but at least 30 birds were noted.

Andy Field had walked part of the same seawall from the country park earlier in the day and noted hobby, 6 wheatears and 2 whinchat between Shop Lane and the Oyster Fishery, ruff and 6 green sandpipers on the Reeveshall pool, a total of 20 yellow wagtails, 2 sedge warblers, while 7 of the 8 eider were seen from the park.

Earlier in the day at the country park a common buzzard drifted south to the park, turning back near the pond where lots of the wood pigeons took fright and flew off. Chris Burr reported seeing a common buzzard two days earlier over Shop Lane. A turtle dove and willow warbler were noted in the morning at the pond and a second willow warbler called from the car park. A green sandpiper flew along the park beach and later a greenshank flew over the park calling. Martin Cock found a wheatear in the horse fields by the Golfhouse and the previous day Martin Dence had reported a dozen yellow wagtails with horses north of the park. At the Point on Tuesday linnet numbers appear to have built up gradually to about 150 birds now and the avocet family are still on the pools near the Golfhouse.

Two adders were seen basking in the afternoon sunshine along the park track, one individual a small sub-adult maybe born last year. Butterflies have included red admiral, small heath, speckled wood, meadow brown and small white.

Just outside the mouth of the river Colne, the harbour porpoise was seen again with it coming to the surface regularly and reasonably easy to follow. On a couple of occasions it needed to swim out of the way of a big coaster and then a yacht that passed nearby. A common seal was seen from the Point and may've been one of the ones seen later swimming up the Pyefleet.

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