Thursday, 5 March 2015

On the Shore at East Mersea

17th February 2015

After a superb morning at Abberton with the Smew, Goldeneye and White-fronted Geese, it was straight down to East Mersea. The floods on the grazing meadows have never really recovered from the earlier frosts which caused the water to freeze over, pushing off all the roosting birds. Now that warmer weather has returned, birds are slow to return as indicated by the mere handful of Black-tailed Godwits present. To make things worse the birds that were there were all at the back of the pools and therefore fairly distant for photographs. The only obliging subject was this rather immaculate Shelduck which paraded up and down in the middle of the lake.

Down on the sea wall the tide was on its way in so plenty of movement of birds leaving the rapidly disappearing mud, including this trio of Brent Geese taken against a beautiful blue sky. On the borrow-dyke a sole drake Teal looked resplendent in his summer attire.

Most of the waders were now being pushed quite close in to the beach and a stealthy approach allowed some fairly reasonable shots to be taken including this Oystercatcher and the several Dunlin present.

This very approachable Redshank was a bonus as they are normally very flighty and their alarm call often spooks the other birds as well. A single Grey Plover was also present and provided a useful size comparison with its smaller cousins the Knot and the Dunlin.

However, as is always the case, the stars of the show were the small group of Sanderling that on this occasion were running around on the beach rather than chasing the waves. It is absolutely impossible to resist taking just a few more shots of the charming and confiding little bird.

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