Sunday, 30 October 2011


Andy Field was certainly delighted when he found five twite feeding amongst 25 linnets at the East Mersea Point on Friday 28th. The birds were obliging enough that he was able to take this photo of one of the birds, as well as seeing coloured rings on the legs of another of the twite. Previous colour-ringed birds in past winters on Mersea have shown the birds originated in the Pennine moors of Yorkshire / Lancashire.

I met up with Andy on the Saturday to see if we could re-locate the birds but without any luck.
Twite used to be a regular winter sight at the Point twenty years ago but numbers dwindled here and then gradually from the Pyefleet too so that last winter was the first one when no twite wintered on the Island.

A big high tide early in the afternoon seemed a good time to check the saltmarsh for twite as the water rose up to cover the plants. The small flock of 25 linnets were still feeding in the area but no twite. Two rock pipits flew past calling, 5 reed buntings at the Point, a wheatear flew from the seawall onto the field and a late common tern was flying over the water. A nice group of 21 eider drifted to the mouth of the Colne with 9 neatly marked adult males showing up well. Another male eider was close to the saltmarsh by Ivy Farm as was a great crested grebe and a common seal was seen in the Colne too. A male marsh harrier flew down-river towards Colne Point.

On the fields the jack snipe was bobbing nicely as it walked across one of the pools. There was the familiar gathering of 500+ waders and wildfowl on the pools during the high tide with teal, wigeon, snipe, black-tailed godwits, redshank being the main birds.
In conifers by the clifftop 2 goldcrests flitted through the branches while a small white butterfly by the car park was a late sighting and a silver Y moth was noted on the seawall.

For the last hour of daylight a quick visit was made to the Shop Lane seawall on Saturday. Four marsh harriers were seen gathering over Langenhoe, one of the birds crossing from Reeveshall.
By Langenhoe Point 100 avocets were feeding around the mud while the most numerous wader scattered along the Pyefleet were several hundred dunlin.

Only two mute swans and a brent goose were on the Reeveshall pool although 300 brent fed in the nearby grass field. A goldcrest and a grey partridge were heard calling by the Shop Lane wood.

This giant puffball was seen on Friday in the rape field looking down on the Strood Channel in the background in the photo above. Birds noted during a brief visit to the Strood seawall were 15+ skylarks flying around the fields, 200 brent geese feeding in the winter wheat field and 4 little egrets noted on the Ray Island.

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