Sunday, 5 February 2012


The Island woke up on Sunday 5th to 15 cms of snow laying everywhere. The normally busy Coast Road in West Mersea pictured above, was virtually deserted during the morning with lots of families out instead with their sledges.

Despite the noise from the children sledging down the slope on St Peters Meadow, a kingfisher was glimpsed twice in the area within an hour. The first glimpse was as it flashed low over the saltmarsh near the boardwalk, while the second view was closer as it flew away from this ditch pictured above, along from St Peters well. Also in the ditch were a snipe, little egret and a mallard while rock pipit and reed bunting were feeding on the saltmarsh.

I didn't check the beach at the Point near here for snow buntings as there were lots of walkers around, however up to 12 were seen by Mark Dixon on Thursday. There was even a report of a black redstart here on Thursday.

As the tide started to recede various waders were eager to feed with sanderling and bar-tailed godwit noted amongst the commoner waders close to the beach A Mediterranean gull flew along the shore while a sparrowhawk appeared over the nearby gardens. Thirty skylarks flew west past the church heading off the Island.

Amongst the boat moorings were at least 30 little grebes scattered along in various groups. Five red-breasted mergansers were in the Quarters with another five seen flying about. On the Feldy marshes three marsh harriers were flying around low with one of the regular birds perching atop a tall post.
On one of the snow-covered wheat fields near Peldon in the distance, could be seen a big feeding flock of 3000 brent geese.

The path down past the Firs Chase caravan site was covered in snow but at least it wasn't muddy like it has been recently. An apple tree along from the Dabchicks had 30 blackbirds, 5 fieldfares and a few starlings feeding on the apples. A snipe flew over the caravan site while a few skylarks and meadow pipits fed on the saltings.

On the snow covered rape field near Whittaker Way there was a big flock of 200+ skylarks feeding on the rape plants. There were also 20 meadow pipits nearby while by the Strood Hill 100 fieldfares were seen again and 3 redwings had been seen earlier in the morning. The calls from a chiffchaff were heard from a wooded garden in Firs Chase.

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