Monday, 24 December 2012


Christmas came a day early to East Mersea when three waxwings were spotted on some roadside wires beside the Thorleys garden along from Meeting Lane. The large waxwing invasion that hit northern UK earlier in the winter, reached West Mersea a fortnight ago and finally East Mersea has now joined in the excitement as well.

Having just spent an uneventful hour walking the Rewsalls seawall, I drove towards West Mersea and spotted three birds with crests sitting on some roadside telegraph wires beside the Thorleys garden. I had to continue driving for quarter of a mile so that I could turn the car round to come back and confirm the possible ID of these being waxwings.

It was nice to be able to knock on Michael and Sarah Thorley's door and tell them they had some waxwings in their front garden. Amazingly the same garden also had a small flock of waxwings for a few days two years ago. Maybe some of these birds remembered their last visit here. These birds were very obliging as they occasionally dropped down to feed on some rose-hips as seen in the digi-binned image above.

There weren't many birds to be seen on the Rewsalls marshes, but there was the amazing sight of two huge lagoons covering the grass fields following lots of recent rain. I'm not sure if this has happened before but I've never seen this sight here before. The picture above shows lots of big round hay bales half-submerged in the water.

Not surprisingly 40 mallard were enjoying the flooded scene with one or two ducks enjoying the view from the tops of some of the bales. A couple of brent geese dropped in but the main flock of 200 birds were feeding on the Youth Camp field beside the huts, along with 25 curlew.

The tide was receding by early afternoon and amongst the regular waders were 50 bar-tailed godwits with one in full ginger summer plumage. A colourful bird that has often been noted here in recent winters. Fifty turnstone were feeding close to the seawall as the tide turned.

Other birds noted were a male kestrel, green woodpecker, reed bunting and 3 greenfinches.

The previous day on Sunday morning along the beach at West Mersea a peregrine flew over the church scattering all the pigeons as it headed over St Peters Marsh. It continued flying westwards and thirty seconds later, 3000 golden plover and 500 lapwing rose up in several flocks above Cobmarsh and Packing Shed Islands. A marsh harrier was seen flying over Old Hall Marshes.

Offshore an immature eider was seen feeding along with a herring gull for company. Not much else on the water except for 3 great crested grebes and small flocks of wigeon and brent geese flying past. Lots of oystercatchers were flying past and turnstone, dunlin, bar-tailed godwit and sanderling were also noted.

Andy Field and Steve Entwistle counted 21 marsh harriers and two hen harriers including one ringtail, as they came into the Sunday night evening roost on Langenhoe Point. Andy also managed to find a ruff on the flooded fields at Cudmore Grove on Saturday.

No comments: