Saturday, 7 March 2015

Hoping to get the Tides Right at Mistley Walls

21st February 2015

The last time we went to Mistley Walls we arrived an hour and a half before high tide, but the mud was already covered and therefore just a few waders. So this time we made sure of it and arrived a full two and a half hours early. This certainly worked as the tide was still a fair way out, as were the waders, so we diverted for a quick look at Mistley Quay.

I couldn't believe my luck. There were the usual crowd of Goldeneye just yards from the wall, albeit in shadow, and the usual sprinkling of Pintail and Wigeon on the mud bank. But the MEGA today, from a bird photography perspective, was a small group of Red-breasted Mergansers which initially were a long way off but then swam right in front of the fence just 20 yards away, incredible. One of the males was even displaying.

Back on The Walls waiting for the tide to push the waders up, so passed the time photographing the local Black-heads and the Mistley Mute Swans. Even an unexpected Jackdaw popped on to the beach for some shellfish.


Things were on the move now including a number of Shelduck that were moving further up the estuary as the tide covered the mud further downstream. And, as ever, small groups of Pintail were bobbing around in a hive of inactivity. Perhaps they do most of their feeding at night.

Back on shore the waders were getting closer and this Redshank was more adventurous than usual. Unlike the flock of Knot on a previous visit, today there was just a lone bird which, thankfully, gave some very close views.

But the stars of today were the Black-tailed Godwits, although fewer in number than on previous visits, were very close and very confiding. THE MAGIC OF MISTLEY!!

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