Sunday, 17 March 2013


The brent geese flock of about 600 birds flew off the fields by the Strood and landed along the Channel providing a nice view of all the birds, during a walk along the seawall on Sunday 17th. The tide was just starting to come back in although there was still plenty of waders scattered along the mudflats. Despite a close look at the geese whilst in the nearby field as well as in the channel, they were all dark-bellied brent.

The main highlight was a pair of adult Mediterranean gulls flying around the fields on the edge of West Mersea, calling out loudly as they circled round. Also noted in the various fields were a grey heron, kestrel, 17 stock doves and 3 or 4 singing skylarks.

Also of note along the channel were 100 knot, 30 black-tailed godwits, 3 little egrets and 14 little grebes, while five redwings were feeding in a scrubby field along from the Dabchicks sailing club.

One of the more unexpected sights in the Strood field was this big seed-drill well and truly bogged down in the soft mud. Apparently the big caterpillar-tracked tractor had to abandon the job several days ago as the wheels of the seed-drill had sunk down a couple of feet, and was going nowhere except deeper down!

Joined Andy Field at the end of Sunday to count the harriers roosting on Langenhoe, viewed across the Pyefleet (pictured above) from the Shop Lane seawall. The drizzle held off which was a bonus although there was still a chilly breeze blowing from the south-east.

As usual the hen harriers left it till almost dark before arriving with the first sighting not until 6.20pm, a male briefly glimpsed before it dropped down, followed five minutes later by a ringtail and then a second male five minutes later again. As on previous roost-watches, the hen harriers have suddenly appeared in view and within five seconds or less, have dropped down into the usual reedbed spot at the east end of Langenhoe Point.

Less marsh harriers were counted, as would be expected for the tail-end of winter. At least thirteen birds were counted dropping into the Langenhoe Point and another two marsh harriers may've roosted further to the west. Two barn owls were out hunting Langenhoe in the last hour of daylight.

Also seen were 1000 brent geese feeding on a Reeveshall pasture, while in the Pyefleet 10 red-breasted mergansers were seen. There was a good variety of waders feeding along the edge of the water as the tide receded, while a Mediterranean gull flew over Shop Lane calling

At West Mersea 61 sanderling were seen by the beach near Seaview Avenue by Steve Entwistle on Sunday.

It was a bit windy along the Coopers Beach seawall during a walk along there on Friday 15th. The Rewsalls marshes are still waterlogged, pictured above, with 400 brent geese enjoying the wet conditions at the back of the field. Also seen were 70 curlew in the field and a kestrel hovering over the rough grassland. The only other waders seen during the high tide period were 25 turnstone on the Coopers beach.

 This sign in Church Lane near the East Mersea church caught my eye. I haven't heard of any recent sightings of red squirrels although one of them was seen over the winter a couple of times in this area.

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