Friday, 9 December 2011


Plenty of emergency vehicles were on hand again at the flooded Strood causeway onto the Island on Friday 9th. Warnings of a high surge tide hitting the East coast were obviously ignored by this white van-man who got his vehicle marooned halfway across by the tide. Three fire engines, 3 police vehicles and a paramedic car had made themselves available again and were seen in attendance during the high tide. The picture above shows 3 policemen specially kitted out to wade along the length of the flooded causeway, presumably checking that all cars could move when needed. The police 4x4 reversed back to the van and towed it to dry land so that the traffic could move freely once the tide receded. At least the lifeboat wasn't needed this time!

Whilst lying on my back on the side of the Strood seawall watching the drama unfold, a peregrine created a bit of chaos amongst the roosting waders behind me on the wheat field. Flying off in different directions were 100 dunlin, 20 grey plover, 30 lapwing, a few turnstone as well as 100 starlings and several skylarks. The peregrine hung in the air providing a nice view for a while before racing low down the Strood Channel towards the wader roosts at the west end of the Ray saltings.

The other highlight that made the walk worthwhile was seeing a kingfisher as it flew low along a ditch, by the seawall. The blue back was the only bit of colour glimpsed as it flew rapidly away where it appeared to perch in a bush at the end of the ditch. This area seems to be a favourite spot for the kingfisher this autumn with a recent sighting here a fortnight ago.

For almost an hour either side of the high tide, all the saltmarsh was covered by the sea. Various wader flocks were flying from one roost site to another as the water lapped around them. Three pintail were of interest amongst the numbers of teal and wigeon in the channel.

There seemed to be more skylarks around with 20 noted in the fields and another 20 or so flying west off the Island. Three rock pipits and 7 reed buntings were seen whilst walking along the seawall. In one of the other Strood fields 200 golden plover roosted with a few lapwing.

Coast Road was rather quiet during the high tide with the water preventing any traffic getting about. This picture in front of the West Mersea Yacht Club was taken about 30 minutes before the high tide and luckily most of the cars in the Hard car park escaped the worst of the tide. When the tide eventually receded the road was littered with lots of seaweed and other washed up bits of flotsam.

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