Tuesday, 20 January 2015


"Look into my eyes!"

This common seal was resting on the saltmarsh at Maydays farm on a sunny morning on Monday 19th. It was enjoying a spot of winter basking, lifting its head up to watch me as I walked along the nearby seawall, on the opposite side of a creek.

Five common buzzards were seen during the two hour walk with this one pictured above, the nearest, although digiscoped in the 400m distance away on the mainland with the new solar-farm panels in the background. Another common buzzard was just along the same hedge, with a further two seen high in the air on the eastern end of Langenhoe Point and also a fifth buzzard perched on Reeveshall.

Five marsh harriers were flying about Langenhoe Point with some of them going through the early season motions of displaying to each other. Another couple of marsh harriers were also seen on Reeveshall while earlier a sparrowhawk flew from the Maydays dyke across to Langenhoe.

The late morning high tide meant there was no mud on show along the Pyefleet. A small flock of roosting redshank, dunlin and grey plover were the only waders noted. Amongst the small numbers of duck were two pairs of pintail further up channel but no sign of any red-breasted mergansers or goldeneye.
A kingfisher flew along the bottom of the seawall heading towards the Maydays saltings where it was seen again a short while later.

Small birds noted included rock pipit, 20 reed buntings, 12 linnets, yellowhammer and a corn bunting.

Along Chapmans Lane were a dozen corn buntings perched on wires above one of the fields on Monday morning. The black brant was seen at the West Mersea Hard also on Monday morning.

On the East Mersea saltmarsh near the Golfhouse a spotted redshank was found roosting at high tide with other waders by Glyn Evans on Monday.

Offshore from West Mersea on Sunday 18th, a great northern diver, common scoter, red-breasted merganser, 15 great crested grebes and a Mediterranean gull were seen by Daryl Rhymes.

A ringtail hen harrier was watched by Andy Field late on Sunday afternoon from the Shop Lane seawall at the harrier roost on Langenhoe Point for the first time this winter, along with 12 marsh harriers. Also a big flock of 4 - 5000 brent geese flew east along the Pyefleet at dusk.
Steve Entwistle reported a stonechat on the Strood seawall and also nearby a kingfisher and five tufted ducks on the farm reservoirs.
The water rail was seen from the hide by Martin Cock as it fed alongside the edge of the reeds of the park pond on Sunday.

On Friday 16th this black brant was back again feeding on the mud at the West Mersea Hard, just twenty metres from the car park. Further along the Strood seawall 500 brent geese were feeding in the nearby wheat fields.

A pair of stonechats was seen at the back of one of the fields while two corn buntings were seen alongside the seawall. Feeding in one of the muddy fields were 20 pied wagtails, 15 meadow pipits and 20 linnets.
In Firs Chase the regular pied blackbird was seen again feeding on holly berries above the road.

 Matt Larkin took this video-grab of a lapwing and a snipe in the park's grazing fields on Saturday 17th.

There was a good gathering of 15 blackbirds and 25 chaffinches feeding in the garden of Adrian Amos in West Mersea on Saturday.

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