Sunday, 17 January 2016


Pleased to see this shag close-by swimming along Besom Creek next to St Peters at West Mersea on Sunday 17th. The crest on the head shows well in the picture. Shame the sun was directly behind the shag, as it only shows up in silhouette.

The typical dive of the shag shown here as it leaps clear of the water to help it dive under. The cormorant doesn't come out of the water as much.
There appears to be a ring on the leg of this bird which is maybe the same shag seen here in the last couple of winters that was ringed on the Isle of May, on the east coast of Scotland.

Offshore from Kingsland Road on Sunday afternoon was the great northern diver, also seen the day before from the Esplanade by Ken Hudgell. Also 40 great crested grebes offshore.

The last hour of Sunday was spent helping Andy Field count harriers at the Langenhoe roost from the Shop Lane seawall. Our patience was rewarded when a ringtail hen harrier appeared for five minutes before dropping down for the night. Eight marsh harriers were also watched around the Langenhoe Point reedbed. A peregrine was on the Geedons and three barn owls were noted while a common buzzard was mobbed by crows by the conifer wood.

Also noted were 70+ avocets, 10+ bar-tailed godwits, 1000+ brent geese on Reeveshall, a rock pipit and a calling grey partridge as it got dark.

On the walk to the seawall, I stopped to admire a red squirrel emerge just a few metres to me from the nearby hedge, it then scampered up and overhead to the conifers in Fishponds Wood.

Earlier on Sunday Martin Cock reported seeing a short-eared owl, four marsh harriers and the pair of stonechats during his walk along the Reeveshall and Maydays seawall.

A frosty start to Saturday 16th was warmed up slightly during the day with plenty of sunshine. There was good visibility to be had during a walk along the Maydays seawall around the middle of the day.

Of note was a ringtail hen harrier and barn owl on Langenhoe, short-eared owl on Langenhoehall marsh, while four marsh harriers, four common buzzards, sparrowhawk and kestrel were also logged in the general area.

Along the Pyefleet 13 red-breasted mergansers, 100+ avocets, 200+ knot and 100+ oystercatchers were of note.

Birds of note inside the Maydays seawall on Sunday was a pair of the stonechats, kingfisher, 100+ linnets. A little owl was being mobbed in some bushes by 10 yellowhammers, 15 chaffinches and a few reed buntings. Forty fieldfares and 8 redwings were also seen in and around many of the bushes.

In the Weir Farm and Rewsalls area on Saturday 50 fieldfares, 500 golden plover, 300 lapwing and Mediterranean gull were seen feeding in the fields.

A chilly wind blew across a sunny Strood channel on Friday 15th.
The kingfisher was seen a couple of times in its usual section of borrowdyke, two green sandpipers along ditches, the male stonechat on the seawall and rock pipit on the saltmarsh. Three fieldfares were flying near the caravan site.

In the Strood channel 200 teal, 50 knot while 1000+ brent geese on the Peldon fields were of note. Three red-breasted mergansers were seen from the Hard.

Whilst being shown inside the Mersea Barrow on Saturday this long-eared bat was found tucked into a wee cranny. Pat Kirby from Mersea Museum said she hadn't seen any bats in here before.

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