Sunday, 6 January 2013


There had been high hopes that the fog over Mersea Island would clear during Sunday 6th so that members of the Colchester RSPB Group could enjoy their annual visit to the country park. Sadly the fog never lifted and the visibility only improved slightly for about an hour early in the afternoon. Just over a dozen members fully kitted out and wrapped up warm headed out onto the foggy seawall round to the Oyster Fishery and then back again.

 At the park pond 3 tufted ducks were amongst the mallard and gadwall while a goldcrest and some long-tailed tits were watched along the path beside the grazing fields. Several hundred wigeon and teal could just be made out through the fog in the fields although only one common snipe was seen but few other waders in the fields in the morning.

The female stonechat perched briefly on the side of the seawall before flying across the dyke and hiding behind its usual bramble bush. It was relocated a few hours later back on the seawall before it again flew back to the safety of another bramble bush. A water rail was seen along the edge of the central ditch, feeding in the field, it soon disappeared when a crow landed nearby.

There was little chance of seeing anything in the river Colne when we got to the Point because of the fog. After we'd moved on, we got a call from Dave Barnard and his wife to say that they'd seen six snow buntings flying around and landing on the beach. Needless to say when we revisited the Point a couple of hours later, the buntings had vanished. Near the Point rock pipit, skylark and reed bunting were some of the very few small birds noted on the walk.

When the fog did lift slightly, we could see 3 marsh harriers on Langenhoe, 7 red-breasted mergansers, little egret, little grebe and 15 avocets as well as a common seal in the channel. The usual selection of waders were seen such as dunlin, ringed plover, turnstone, redshank, grey plover, lapwing, curlew, oystercatcher and also 40 knot, 20 bar-tailed godwits and 300 golden plover.

 Steve Entwistle saw two hen harriers heading into the Langenhoe roost on Saturday 5th and a Slavonian grebe was in the Pyefleet. Martin Cock saw the three scaup earlier in the day in the Pyefleet opposite Pewit Island.

Offshore from West Mersea Martin had seen 2 great northern divers were seen near Cobmarsh Island, with common scoter and 2 red-throated divers, 6 red-breasted mergansers and 40 great crested grebes off the Esplanade. There were the usual big plover flocks around the Mersea Quarters with 1000 lapwing and 2000 golden plover often rising into the air on Saturday.

The tide was very low during a walk along the Strood seawall in mid-morning on Friday 4th. The main highlight was a merlin flying rapidly over the fields from the Dabchicks end heading towards the Strood road. A short while earlier a male marsh harrier quartered the weedy field along the Strood before crossing over the Channel to Ray Island. Meanwhile a sparrowhawk was seen making the reverse journey from the Ray, crossing high over the weedy field back towards West Mersea.

The only small birds noted were three corn buntings perched on some wires, 20 linnets and 5 reed buntings along a hedge with rock pipit over the saltings.

Along the Channel were 200 wigeon and 100 teal that were seemingly being deliberately flushed by a greater black-backed gull looking for a snack. Main wader on the mud were redshank although 5 bar-tailed godwits were noted, while in the water were 24 little grebes amongst the boats.

No comments: