Thursday, 1 January 2015

....and on to Mersea for the Last Visit of the Year

10th December 2014

After breakfast and Goldeneyes at Abberton it was time to move on to Mersea for our last visit of the year, and because of the rising tide we started at West Mersea by Dabchicks Sailing Club. Although I had read the tide tables correctly I had overlooked that it was a particularly high hide and therefore, although we arrived a good couple of hours before high tide, most of the mud was already covered and hence no sign of the Black Brant that had been frequenting the area of late. In fact, all that was left was a few Black-headed and Herring Gulls, although it was noticeable that one of the Black-heads was already sporting the start of his chocolate-brown head ready for the summer.

On to East Mersea and straight to the sea wall where the usual Wigeon were sheltering on the borrowdyke and a fair amount of activity with both Wigeon and Brent Geese flying in from the sea to the grazing meadows. Also along the sea wall was a pair of Stonechats. Stonechats seem to be having a very good year but typically the male kept his distance. The female was more confiding but managed to remain obscured most of the time, but did pose for just one photo.

Past Stone Point and on our way to the Oyster Fishery, the tide was now right in and pushing all the waders on to the salt marsh. This Curlew stayed around long enough for a shot but the highlight here today was a single Grey Plover which was perched on the jetty of the Fishery itself. Normally I find Grey Plovers very hard to approach but I suspect that particular individual is used to the fishermen working nearby.

Back on Stone Point the Turnstones were making the most of the waves crashing over the tide wrack and disturbing tiny morsels, but the stars of the show today were the army of 10 Sanderlings rushing about so enthusiastically as to not notice our presence, allowing shots down to just eight yards. What a superb way to end the day.

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