Saturday, 7 January 2012


It was a feeding frenzy for the gulls at the West Mersea Hard on Saturday 7th. It looked like a number of discarded small fish such as sprats were being washed up next to the jetty. Up to 300 gulls including great black-backed, lesser black-backed, herring, common and black-headed gulls were all trying to pounce on the fish which appeared to bob up to the surface near the shore. There were also a dozen turnstone feeding right beside the jetty as the tide receded.

A fleeting glimpse of a kingfisher was also seen heading towards the jetty although it couldn't be relocated in that actual area a few minutes later. Crossing high over the Mersea Quarters just after mid-day were several long lines of about 200 cormorants returning from some offshore fishing and heading inland to Abberton Reservoir.

The tide was still well-in during the midday walk along the Strood seawall with lots of flocks of roosting waders such as dunlin, redshank, grey plover and curlew dotted along the Ray Saltings. Every so often flocks of lapwing and golden plover would rise into the air and small flocks of brent geese were noted too.

Not much in the nearby fields except 25 brent geese, little egret, 10 skylarks, 3 reed buntings, 10 linnet, meadow pipit and also noted were a couple of rock pipits on the saltmarsh. No sign of any lapland buntings in the fields although the wind was quite fresh.

A look at the Strood reservoirs revealed a little egret, 20 mallard, 9 tufted duck, little grebe as well as coots and moorhens and a few gulls. Feeding in the nearby field were 30 fieldfares which perched in a bush by the reservoir. A male marsh harrier was seen slowly circling above the Strood causeway and over the Pyefleet Channel as it drifted north-east. A kestrel was also seen by the reservoir.

Five red-breasted mergansers were seen on Friday feeding in the Ray Channel, while at East Mersea 20 snow buntings were reported from the country park beach again.

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