Friday, 20 July 2012


The Pyfleet Channel looked very still during the high tide early afternoon on Friday 20th. The high tide was higher than usual covering most of the saltmarshes, which meant very few waders to watch. It feels as if nearly two months have passed since I last paid this area a visit.

However a male marsh harrier flew over Pewit Island on the north side of the Channel and flushed a number of different waders into the air. Fifty avocets caught the eye as they flew off the saltings while another 100 waders included redshank, grey plover, turnstone, dunlin and oystercatcher. On the Reeveshall side 50 black-tailed godwits stood on the last corner of saltmarsh during the high tide and a whimbrel flew away.

The main highlight of the hour-long walk along the seawall was a hobby circling over the Reeveshall seawall, then gliding over the Pyefleet before racing low over Pewit Island flushing the waders by a raptor for a second time. There has been a lack of hobby sightings on the Island for well over a month this summer.

There wasn't much to see on Reeveshall with only a little egret seen feeding on the pool with its high water level. A marsh harrier passed over but no sign of any over the nearby Broad Fleet, where they've bred in the past. On Langenhoe at least three marsh harriers were seen including the male described earlier.

Three male yellowhammers were seen in the Shop Lane area with two of the birds singing. One sang near the Oyster Fishery, while the other two were west of Shop Lane. A chiffchaff was singing from the Shop Lane wood and there was also the distinctive shrill calls of a young sparrowhawk from the conifer wood.

Amongst the butterflies seen on a partially cloudy afternoon were speckled wood, large skipper, Essex / small skipper, small white, comma, meadow brown, hedge brown and small heath. A black-tailed skimmer and ruddy darter dragonflies were also noted.

Along the East Mersea road the corn bunting was perched up on its dead bush near Bocking Hall again.

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