Sunday, 5 January 2014

Let's Start With West Mersea

19th December 2013

Another trip to Essex and in accordance with protocol, a pit stop at Abberton. Abberton, like most other places was extremely quiet although there was a Heron standing on the bank on the eastern side of the Layer Breton causeway at the northern end. Not much significance in that apart from the fact that when it flew, it would have to fly right under me, so the trap was set. I edged my way forwards and as I got closer and closer, it eventually lost its nerve and launched itself on to its large wings. A rattle of shots in fast fire mode and the sequence was captured and this was the best one.

This time, by way of a departure, I next headed to West Mersea to try my luck along the beaches there. First stop was the car park by the Dabchicks sailing club but nothing doing there so I moved further along and went out on the boardwalk across St Peter's Marsh. There were a few dog-walkers but I soon lost them as I headed for the mud in front of the house-boats. Here there were four Brent Geese feeding on the mud by the water's edge and were quite confiding. If I got too close they would swim out on to the water but as soon as I retreated just a couple of feet they soon returned. Once we had established their safe distance I was able to get a number of shots.

On another section of the beach a small group of Turnstones were busily feeding. Turnstones are always very approachable and these were no exception, allowing many shots to be taken, even some in flight.

But the biggest surprise of all occurred as I was making my way back along the boardwalk. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement out on the saltmarsh and there, no more than 25 yards away was a Curlew busily feeding. I rattled off a few shots and then realised that the bird was totally unperturbed by my presence so I stepped off the boardwalk and picked my way carefully on to the saltmarsh being careful to avoid the numerous creeks. Eventually I was just 20 yards from the bird, which would sometimes stop feeding and look at me, but then carry on feeding. This was the closest I have ever been to a Curlew and, in the absence of a hide, is likely to be the closest I will ever get.

Now on to East Mersea.

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