Sunday, 16 February 2014

Dabchicks Sailing Club

2nd February 2014

After the success with the male Goldeneye off the Layer de la Haye causeway, I thought I would go to West Mersea to see whether any divers were coming into the Strood Channel on the incoming tide. I parked in the car park next to the Dabchicks Sailing Club and it soon became apparent that I was likely to be unlucky as I had forgotten that it was a sunny day on the weekend. As a result there were lots of people around and also a fleet of sailing dinghys making their way out of the Strood Channel and into Virley Channel. Anyway, just to check I made my way on to the pontoon.

Certainly no divers in sight, but there was still a lot of activity. Here Turnstones, instead of running around your feet on the beach, run around in fishing boats looking for any discarded bait. Even right by the car park they were happy to carry on their frantic search for food just feet away from the hordes of families and dog walkers.

Also on the muddy beach were a selection of gulls but surprisingly no Mediterranean Gulls. These are normally found along the Esplanade which is a whole mile away. There were however several Black-headed Gulls standing around sleeping and preening.

One particular individual had obviously had enough of my attention and told me in no uncertain way to clear off and leave him in peace.

Common Gulls were also represented as well as a few Herring Gulls,one of which was accompanied by this year's offspring.

However the star attraction today was the flock of Brent Geese feeding on the mud just 20 yards away from the bustling crowd. Although the beach does look a bit dodgy, enough to deter most people, it is actually quite safe to walk on provided that you choose your route carefully and keep to the gravelly stretches. This allowed me to get much closer for some shots. Occasionally the geese would stop feeding and look at you but would then carry on, indicating that you were still at their "safe" distance.

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