Monday, 17 February 2014


There were plenty of brent geese along the Strood Channel on Monday 17th but this black brant pictured above was a reward for looking at nearly all of the thousand birds that were dotted along the channel.

Alongside the dark-bellied brent, this black brant quickly stood out as being blacker and having the white flanks patch too. The bird was easy to watch as it bobbed about on the water just fifty metres offshore near the caravan site.
The bird also showed the typical whiter collar of black brants which in this picture above, is continuous around the front of the neck. On the back of the neck there was the thinnest of breaks in this white collar.

This curlew was feeding close into the shore as the tide came in, just along from the Dabchicks sailing club at West Mersea.
Also noted along the Strood was the wintering pair of stonechats seen beside the borrow-dyke, rock pipit, 4 skylarks, 2 reed buntings and a small flock of linnets and goldfinches near the caravan site.
A marsh harrier flew west over Ray Island while over Copt Hall and Feldy were 5000+ of lapwings and golden plovers again.

Seven corn buntings were perched on wires above a field by Chapmans Lane on Monday afternoon.

Andy Field was straining through the telescope on Sunday 16th to count the harriers going to roost on the Langenhoe ranges. By nightfall two male hen harriers and a ringtail provided the highlight appearing in the air together at about 5.30pm. The final tally of marsh harriers was 18 birds, which is slightly lower than recent winters here. Interestingly the Old Hall Marshes harrier count carried out at the same time reported one hen harrier and 22 marsh harriers.

Also towards the end of the afternoon a pair of barn owls were hunting the long grass fields near the Oyster Fishery, with one bird being seen over Shop Lane too. A barn owl was seen hunting the Langenhoe ranges. Just after nightfall a barn owl was also seen perched on a tree in Bromans Lane, possibly a different bird. A tawny owl called at dusk from the likely direction of Gyants Marsh.

Other birds of interest were 4 red-breasted mergansers in the Pyefleet, 700+ brent geese feeding on Reeveshall, a distant peregrine on a post on the Geedons and 200+ avocets seen in flight.

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