Saturday, 6 October 2012

....and so on to East Mersea

Today I decided to park at Cudmore Grove Country Park, as one of the reasons for coming to East Mersea was the hope of finding some migrant passerines in the bushes on the way down to the sea wall. Unfortunately, like everywhere else this year, the migrants had seemed to have departed particularly early as the bushes were very quiet. There was also the tell-tale signs of bunches of ripe Elder berries hanging there uneaten.

I therefore made my way past the hide down to the floods on the meadows which never disappoint. It is still a bit early for large numbers so that there were only half a dozen Snipe, a few Teal and a single Black-tailed Godwit, although there was a most impressive gathering of Redshank which were taking refuge from an in-coming tide.

I continued down to the seawall and had a look at the pools of saltwater that had been left from the previous tide. Still too early for any pipits, especially the hoped for Rock Pipits, although there was a lone Black-headed Gull feeding in the pool. Next to the gull is a sprig of Glasswort Salicornia europaea, which on the North Norfolk coast is sold as Samphire (pronounced samfer), apparently tasting like a cross between asparagus and thin green beans. I am reliably informed that now you can even buy it in Waitrose under the name of Marsh Samphire.

And so on to the beach or, when the tide is still a way out, mudflats. As for the pools, it is still too early for large numbers of waders, but a few Turnstones were in evidence with distant Oystercatchers, Curlew and Dunlin.

But if the Yellow Wagtails got the medal of the day at Abberton, then at East Mersea it must go to the six Golden Plover, freshly arrived back for the Winter. Although their colouration makes them very hard to see at times, especially against a muddy background, when the sun comes out they positively glow.

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