Sunday, 13 December 2009


A bright start to Saturday 12th with clouds gathering during the morning as seen at the West Mersea Hard pictured above. Despite the relatively calm conditions, there was little to see amongst the boats other than a couple of feeding cormorants and further up channel, 10 dabchicks. The familiar waders and wildfowl were along the Strood Channel feeding or resting on the mud with the tide on its way out.

Curlew, redshank, dunlin, oystercatcher, turnstone, black-tailed godwit, lapwing and dunlin were the main waders seen dotted along the mud in varying numbers. Along the side of the channel were 200 wigeon and several shelduck while the main flock of several hundred brent geese were west of Ray Island.

Andy Field couldn't see the smew from Coast Road that had been recently reported from Old Hall Point. However he did find a female mandarin duck later in the morning on the flooded grazing field at the country park. It didn't seem the sort of place to find one, grazing in an open field, when they normally prefer more enclosed watercourses like ponds and lakes.

Hugh Owen saw a short-eared owl flying over Langenhoehall Marshes on both Friday and Saturday, the latter sighting was after the bird was flushed by a couple of falconers.

Martin Peers reported a black-throated diver, great northern diver and a female eider off West Mersea on Sunday 13th. The black brant was with the main brent geese flock on Reeveshall, while 2 marsh harriers, 6 red-breasted mergansers, 40 avocets and 8 bar-tailed godwits were also noted.

Had a quiet walk along the Rewsalls seawall next to the Coopers Beach caravan site around the middle of the day on Friday 11th. The conditions were bright and there was only a slight breeze. After the overwintering 3 short-eared owls in these fields last winter, I thought it would be worth checking the area again for owls this winter but to no avail.

Two little owls briefly duetted together from the Youth Camp, a little egret flew along the seawall while in the dyke there were 10 mallard, 4 teal and a little grebe. There were plenty of waders scattered across the mudflats, although the only group to catch the eye were 200 golden plover.

In the trees by the East Mersea church were a mixed flock of 30 goldfinches and greenfinches. A song thrush was seen in one of the hedges on the marshes and a great spotted woodpecker flew over the caravan site.

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