Saturday, 23 November 2013


Curlew was one of eleven species of wader seen along the Strood Channel on a sunny Saturday 23th. Of interest were 5 avocet, 30 knot, one bar-tailed godwit, 50 black-tailed godwit and 100 golden plover.

All the birds were on high alert as a peregrine flew up and down the Strood a couple of times and then spent half an hour resting on the edge of the saltings, watching the birds feeding on the nearby mud. A second peregrine then appeared, scattering all the waders as it flew north over the channel and beyond Ray Island. Soon after this, the first peregrine took off and flew low over the saltmarsh also heading north.
A couple of marsh harriers flew over the Ray Island and a kestrel was seen hovering over the rough grassland.

Whilst counting the regular group of little grebes in the channel, the distinctive but very unexpected profile of a long-tailed duck was found. The duck was keeping close company with the little grebes at the top end of the boat moorings, which is a surprising location for it and the first long-tailed duck in the channel for many years.

The long-tailed duck drifted down channel, despite the rising tide, diving along with a couple of little grebes. By one o'clock it could be seen distantly from the Dabchicks sailing club. Some time later in the afternoon, there was the report from Richard Allen seeing a long-tailed duck from St Peters - presumably the same bird drifted right down through the moorings.

Also noted were 24 little grebes, 25 shelduck, 1000 brent geese on the Peldon side, 400 mixed flock of teal and wigeon. Small birds seen included 25 skylarks, 10 linnets and two rock pipits.

Richard Allen also saw off St Peters 2 common scoter, 30 great crested grebes while alongside the Shop Lane seawall in East Mersea there was at least one twite calling amongst 4 finches, peregrine and ten marsh harriers.

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