Sunday, 2 February 2014


There was enough warmth around on Sunday 2nd for this rather tatty peacock butterfly to be seen fluttering around Maydays Farm. It settled on the ground and out of the breeze for a few minutes soaking up some of the sunshine onto the remnants of its worn wings.

Spotted this young common newt in a pheasant's drinking container at Maydays Farm. This youngster from last year seems to be early out from hibernation this year. When I stuck my finger into the water it wiggled its feet and moved away, so it was certainly awake and alert.

There was a strong breeze on the Maydays seawall but there was good visibility along the Pyefleet and over to Langenhoe.The main highlight was watching a ringtail hen harrier flying low over a fair distance of the Langenhoe ranges. Its flight was determined and straight as it headed east towards the Point. Also over the ranges were a common buzzard, 3 marsh harriers and a kestrel.

The incoming tide pushed big flocks of waders up the Pyefleet with main birds being dunlin, knot, grey plover and redshank. At the top end of the Pyefleet 3 pintail were amongst lots of wigeon and shelduck.
A common seal was also seen swimming up with the tide.

The big grazing fields on Reeveshall held a flock of 500 lapwing and 200 starlings at first, although they flew off when one of three marsh harriers seen over the area, passed by. Five little egrets were resting on the saltmarsh as high tide approached and a kestrel flew over the fields.
Most small birds were close to the farm buildings with 20 chaffinch and 20 collared doves while nearby 3 yellowhammer, 2 redwing, 2 reed buntings were also seen.

Martin Cock visited Maydays shortly after my visit and flushed a jack snipe a couple of times, first from the saltmarsh and then from inside the seawall. A red-breasted merganser was seen in the Pyefleet and a spotted redshank was heard calling.

At Cudmore Grove Andy Field saw two pintail on the flooded grazing fields along with big numbers of waders and wildfowl including 1000+ brent geese, 1000+ wigeon, 500+ teal, 200+ redshank, 300+ dunlin and 200 lapwing. Seen in the River was a red-throated diver, goldeneye and a few red-breasted mergansers.

A visit to a breezy Shop Lane seawall on Saturday mid-day time, proved rather quiet as it coincided with high tide. Two marsh harriers were flying over Langenhoe and 8 red-breasted mergansers were in the Pyefleet. On Reeveshall 1000 lapwing, 100 golden plover and 100 dunlin were feeding on one of the pastures.

A walk along the muddy Strood seawall on Friday 31st provided views of the familiar waders and wildfowl. Huge flocks of lapwing and golden plover were often in the sky usually over Feldy /  Copt Hall fields but also close to the Strood causeway. Rather surprisingly no raptors were seen during the ninety minute walk.

In behind the seawall 400 golden plover, 200 lapwing were briefly on a ploughed field, 3 mute swans,10 linnets were on wires, 2 reed buntings, 4 skylarks and a rock pipit were seen.

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