Thursday, 18 November 2021


A black brant was feeding among a flock of 800 dark-bellied brent geese on Thursday 18th on a wheat field behind the East Mersea boating lake. 

At one point the whole brent goose flock were startled from the field by something and all the geese landed on the lake for twenty minutes for a bathe and preen. They then flew back to the field and continued their feeding on the winter wheat crop.

On the old Rewsalls marshes and the side lake a greenshank was seen briefly and heard calling, 125 curlews, 60 golden plovers, 18 ringed plovers, 30 dunlin, 20 black-tailed godwits, 11 little grebes and 35 Mediterranean gulls were some of the birds present at high tide. Offshore were 22 great crested grebes.

Several small birds were feeding in the game cover crops near Rewsalls including 10 reed buntings, a yellowhammer, ten chaffinches, 20 house sparrows and a fieldfare, while a Cetti's warbler was singing from bushes behind the Youth Camp beach. A sparrowhawk was seen passing low along a hedgeline.
Two buzzards were in a field west of East Mersea church and a male marsh harrier drifted north over the church.

At Maydays farm on Thursday four pintail, two buzzards, two marsh harriers and a yellowhammer were seen by Martin Cock.

On Wednesday 17th there were about 600 brent geese feeding in the wheat field behind the boating lake. On the Rewsalls marshes at high tide were 70 curlew, 20 ringed plover, 45 golden plover, 30 black-tailed godwits, three snipe and 16 Mediterranean gulls. A female marsh harrier flew over the back of the marshes and a buzzard soared over Rewsalls farm. A Cetti's warbler was singing at the back of the Youth Camp beach.

The warm sunshine on the Wednesday saw a late swallow hurriedly flying west along the shore near the Youth Camp. There was also a red admiral and common darter seen at the Youth Camp enjoying the sun. Two siskins and ten goldfinches were feeding in alders near the Youth Camp.
Offshore was a great northern diver and 58 great crested grebes.

Twenty mallard were seen beside the fishing lakes at Waldegraves holiday park, also a little egret, redshank, 20+ moorhens and two coots while a siskin and a little owl were heard calling.

Cross Lane on Wednesday was looking very autumnal where a chiffchaff was heard calling at the south end, also a song thrush seen here too.

Steve Entwistle at Cudmore Grove on Wednesday morning noted a mistle thrush in the car park and a Cetti's warbler at the park pond while at Maydays in the afternoon he saw two brambling, a knot, two greylag geese and a little owl.

At Coopers Beach on Tuesday 16th a gannet, common scoter, 55 great crested grebes, 123 wigeon, 99 curlew, 18 mallards, 20 turnstone and a rock pipit were seen by Steve Entwistle. At Maydays Martin Cock reported a short-eared owl, buzzard, marsh harrier, four stonechats, red-breasted merganser, and two corn buntings among a mixed finch and bunting flock. Later on Tuesday at Maydays Steve saw two yellowhammer, 8 linnets, 30 avocets and two knot.

On Monday 15th from Coopers Beach a male goldeneye was seen on the sea among some of the 42 great crested grebes. Also a great northern diver, female common scoter and a gannet offshore while gathered on the shingle island off from Waldegraves were 350 cormorants. A flock of fifty siskins flew north over the Coopers caravan site while a rock pipit, four meadow pipits and ten reed buntings also noted.

At Maydays on Monday a pintail, two stonechats, two siskins and two marsh harriers were seen by Martin Cock.

Walking the north side of the Island on Sunday 14th produced views along the Pyefleet of a peregrine, 1000 golden plover, 1000 dunlin, 100 avocets, 50 knot and two shoveler. A leucistic starling was with 200 starlings on Reeveshall as was a buzzard and 30 linnets. A red-legged partridge was near the Bower Hall seawall while along the Strood were 100 wigeon, 50 teal, eight little grebes, 300 golden plover, stonechat and a marsh harrier.

A male hen harrier was seen quartering the Maydays and Bower Hall saltmarsh on Saturday 13th. The bird was only spotted after hearing the alarm calls of a redshank as the hen harrier passed it by. It was watched for several minutes as it skimmed low over the marsh on its west-ward meandering way to the Strood, although it stopped short when it dropped down on the marsh. A short-eared owl was nearly stood on the Maydays seawall as it waited till the last moment before taking off and crossing over the Pyefleet to Langenhoe. At Maydays two marsh harriers, two buzzards, two red-breasted mergansers, 115 shelduck, 1000 dunlin and 300 knot were of note. 

Small birds of interest from the Maydays seawall were a stonechat, lesser redpoll, brambling, 30 reed buntings, ten corn buntings, 2 yellowhammers and 30 chaffinches - most of the birds beside a game crop.

There was the interesting sight of a grey seal not actually grey in colour, resting on a pontoon in the Pyefleet at Maydays on Saturday. Many common seals round Mersea have an orange brown coat due to oxides in the mud and it obviously happens to grey seals as well - as shown by this individual, but not something I've noticed previously. A common seal was also lounging on a nearby pontoon - looking more grey in colour than the grey seal!

No comments: