Saturday, 23 February 2008


It's that time of year when the local toads have to make their perilous journey to the local ponds. I hadn't realised it had rained last night in West Mersea until I walked along part of Firs Chase. Within a couple of paces onto the road on Saturday 23rd the first dead toad was seen, one of about 30 individuals along a 100 metre section.

It has remained dry at night for the last 2 or 3 weeks and the toads will be eager to get to the pond when the first sniff of rain at night comes along. The mild weather will have brought the toads recently out of hibernation. Sadly there will be more road casualties in the coming period as more toads make their way to the local Firs Chase pond.

Although the skies were grey and the wind was cool, there was plenty of spring birdsong in the air. The male great spotted woodpecker was drumming on a tree in the nearby caravan site and the fluty song of a mistle thrush was heard loud and clear. On a brief circuit past various gardens, the usual birds seen included goldcrests, goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches all busy singing. Two fieldfares were also seen near some old apple trees and across the fields a corn bunting sang its jangled song from some power lines.

The tide was out along the Strood Channel and the only waders of note near the Dabchicks were a small group of bar-tailed and black-tailed godwits feeding together on the same area of mud. About 400 brent geese were gathered along the edge of the Channel, waiting for the signal to head to the nearest farmers winter wheat field for a spot of grazing.

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