Monday, 5 January 2015


Brent geese were flying onto the muddy wheat field alongside the Strood during the morning on Monday 5th.
Despite the bird-scarer gas guns blasting off regularly from the edge of the field, the geese barely flinched and carried on feeding. At least 300 geese were on the fields with more flocks arriving with the onset of high tide.

The unexpected highlight of the morning walk was watching a red kite fly slowly and leisurely across the Strood fields towards me. It then passed over towards Ray Island, continuing westwards and into the distance over Copt Hall. Fortunately the kite was picked up in flight early on as it disturbed flocks of birds at the bottom of the Strood Hill.
It appeared the bird had flown along the Pyefleet and was on a course straight towards me. At first glance the bird didn't seem right for the usual marsh harriers with its big wing-beats and a glide lacking the V profile, it wasn't long before I glimpsed its forked tail, that identified this as a typical red kite.

Like most of the other red kites that have been seen over Mersea Island, they just pass over without any hesitation, continuing in a straightish line and most of them always passing westwards. One or two red kites are seen each year with the last one being three months ago.

Two marsh harriers were seen flying north-east over Ray Island and then high over the traffic on the Strood causeway towards Langenhoe.

Recent rains adding to the wet winter have flooded sections of the Strood fields. This seems ideal for some of the waders who can continue feeding on this mud when the high tide covers the nearby Strood mudflats. Fifty ringed plover and fifty dunlin were soon being joined by a few curlew and redshank, as well as a little egret in the ditch.

Small birds noted included 3 stonechats, 24 linnets, 20 pied wagtails, 10 meadow pipits, 2 rock pipits, 2 reed buntings, while 9 corn buntings passed overhead towards Copt Hall.

There was the usual selection of waders along the Strood as the tide crept back up channel. Of interest were 7 avocet, 20 knot, 300 golden plover and 1000+ dunlin.

A much bigger flock of golden plover were seen later on Packing Shed and Cobmarsh with 2000+ birds rising into the air. Amongst the moorings were 6 red-breasted mergansers, 10 little grebes and a kingfisher in flight near Packing Shed Island.

A barn owl was seen late on Sunday night at the bottom of Strood Hill by Martin Cock.

No comments: