Saturday, 21 September 2013

Mersea in Late Summer

5th September 2013

Up to now I have only ever visited Mersea during the winter months when most self-respecting people stay indoors and I have the place to myself. However, now that the schools had gone back, I thought I would chance a visit to see if I could connect with any migrants. I headed off to the sea wall and stopped briefly by the floods on the grazing marsh.

Even this early in the birding Autumn, the floods were holding good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing and a good sprinkling of ducks. These are mainly godwits but you can see the orange legs of a couple of Redshank. Black-tailed Godwits are difficult to photograph when they are feeding, as for 90% of the time their heads are under the water. However, this one did stop for a moment to catch its breath.

In and around Hertford Little Egrets have become a regular site with one or two birds being seen frequently along the many rivers and gravel pits. However, here at Mersea they are really swelling in numbers and up to 60 birds are now roosting on the grazing meadow, especially at high tide.

Now on to the beach and The Point to try  my luck with the waders flying around at high tide, but horrors of horrors. For instead of the shoreline being full of waders, it was full of......people!! And where a couple of winters ago I photographed a flock of Snow Buntings, people were even swimming in the sea. Note to self: Wait to October next year for first visit of the winter. However, even with the number of people about, by choosing a particularly muddy part of the beech I was able to get a couple of shots of a young Ringed Plover, an adult Ringed Plover and a young plover taking issue with a Dunlin.

But the disappointment on the beach was more than compensated for by a quick call into the hide on the way back. Nothing obvious at first except for a herd of cattle feeding right in front. But then some movement underneath the cattle revealed a flock of Yellow Wagtails feeding on the insects disturbed by the cattle's hooves. The brown bird in the second photograph is a young bird.

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