Monday, 2 February 2015


The sun was shining but the northerly wind still had an icy touch to it, as it blew across the Pyefleet Channel at Maydays onto Andy Field and myself on Monday 2nd. Overnight temperatures had dropped to freezing overnight leaving patches of ice on the Maydays saltmarsh where the high tide had been late last night.

There wasn't too much to see along the Pyefleet as the tide was up. Six red-breasted mergansers and a great crested grebe were noted along with small numbers of teal, wigeon and shelduck along the water's edge.

The main group of waders was a mixed flock on a Maydays field with 400 golden plover, 70+ lapwing, 400+ dunlin with a few grey plover too. Another mixed plover flock was on Reeveshall with about 500 birds seen in the air at one point.

At least three marsh harriers were seen over Langenhoe, another over Reeveshall and a fifth bird further up channel towards the Strood. A kestrel was seen hovering by Maydays farm.

Smaller birds noted included a stonechat by the dyke, 5 yellowhammers, 10 reed buntings, 10 chaffinch, 20 meadow pipits, 1 rock pipit, 5 house sparrows and 10 skylarks.

On the west side of West Mersea a corn bunting was perched up on wires alongside Chapmans Lane on Monday morning. Looking offshore from Kingsland Road a great northern diver was near the Nass beacon while 2 red-breasted mergansers flew up river.

This thick hedge provided some shelter from the strong wind that blew during Sunday 1st, on the walk between Meeting Lane and Shop Lane in East Mersea. Despite the shelter many small birds kept a low profile.

Three main flocks were noted though. A thousand wood pigeons flew over Meeting Lane as if they'd been disturbed from a nearby rape field. At the back of Reeveshall a flock of about 700 golden plover were feeding in a field with some lapwing. Closer to the Reeveshall seawall were 700+ brent geese feeding on one of the pastures.

Offshore from West Mersea 3 red-throated divers and 2 Slavonian grebes were seen by Daryl Rhymes on Sunday, while a shag was seen amongst the moorings from the Hard by Andy Field.

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