Tuesday, 15 November 2011


The red-breasted goose, pictured in the centre of the photo above, was seen by a number of birdwatchers throughout the day in the wheat field next to the Strood during Tuesday 15th. Although the sun was shining for most of the day, this digiscoped photo taken at lunchtime, was looking straight into the sun. It was certainly much better conditions than yesterday afternoon's gloom.

The red-breasted goose showed up well as it fed amongst the 500 dark-bellied brent geese. However my first view of the bird today was on the water in the Strood Channel when all the geese flew off the fields. After 15 minutes, there was the colourful image of the red-breasted goose flying back onto the fields, with the sun shining on the deep russet head and neck. A very striking bird in the bright sunshine. No rings were seen on the legs of the bird so it still suggests a wild origin. This corner of Mersea has never been used by any feral geese in the past.

The black brant goose was seen in the same flock while overhead a skein of 9 white-fronted geese circled above the brent before flying east to the Pyefleet. Earlier in the day a skein of 35 white-fronts were reported flying over the area heading east. Two marsh harriers were seen flying over the Channel in the afternoon while in the morning a short-eared owl was seen in the fields by Martin Cock. Also noted in the morning were 1500 golden plover.

At the country park the waders and wildfowl were out in force on the grazing fields with about 2000 birds of various species. Around 500 wigeon, some in the photo above and 400 brent geese were the main birds with 400 teal concentrated at the pools. The black brant and pale-bellied were still in the main brent flock. The snipe were more obvious in the bright morning sunshine with 44 birds noted although the jack snipe was probably still present but hiding.

There was the great sight of ringtail hen harrier crossing over the mudflats, hunting low along the seawall and then flying low inside the central ditch, so low it disappeared out of view, flushing a few snipe as it went along. The ringtail turned back at the end of the ditch, crossed over the pools and pond sending clouds of wildfowl into the air. A short while later a marsh harrier flew over the fields too and another second bird passed high overhead later in the morning.

This obliging little egret was feeding close to the seawall and was quickly digi-binned before it flew off. Two corn buntings flew east over the Point and 2 lesser redpolls flew over the park calling. Shelduck numbers have increased in recent days with 90 birds seen on mud near the Point. A common seal was seen with a fish in the middle of the Colne.

After dark last night a badger was seen in Bromans Lane whilost driving back late to the park.

This clump of sea rocket is enjoying the mild autumnal weather, is continuing to flower on the beach at the Point.

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