Sunday, 30 October 2016

My First Visit of the Winter to Mersea Island

17th October 2016

So the holidaymakers have gone, the kids are back at school, so time for my first visit of the winter to Mersea Island. The first port of call was Cudmore Grove where I walked down the track past the hide and came across the ever-expanding Little Egret roost. The roost is now in excess of 90 birds, although here were only 20 or so birds present when I was there, with the inevitable jockeying for the best positions.

A number of birds were also flying around the lake giving some opportunities for some action shots.

But the best shots were when they settled with a few autumn berries in the background.

Rather surprisingly the floods on the grazing meadows were mainly dry with just a few puddles after last nights rain. No birds there then, so off to the sea wall to see what was on offer there. The borrow-dyke held a few returning Wigeon, although most were still in eclipse plumage. But the most unexpected find here was a Meadow Pipit, which was illuminated quite nicely in the morning sun.

On the shore were a number of returning Brent Geese, although the light was a bit in from the side so not ideal. However, there are always the flight shots.

Now on to The Point and the tide was gradually covering all the mud creating some movement among the ducks, geese and waders. This Brent Goose was coming in to land.

Also on The Point were a couple of Pied Wagtails.

At that point a magnificent schooner, the Trinovante, came chugging into the River Colne. This schooner was built just up river at Wivenhoe and was launched in 1994.

In the bay on the ever-decreasing mud were a number of waders including a handful of Grey Plovers. This particular individual stayed fairly close and positively shone and spangled in the sunshine.

Also, because of the rising tide, there were a number of opportunities for some flight shots, both singly and in flocks. I suspect that East Mersea is the flight shot capital of Essex.

And they eventually all settled down in their salt-marsh high tide roosts, that is until the Peregrine Falcon flew over and put the whole lot up.

Now on to West Mersea and, because of the particularly high tide, I drew a blank on Med Gulls at both ends of The Esplanade. However, at the jetty the Black-headed Gulls were a little more cooperative as they hovered around the crabbers in the hope of a bit of discarded bait. Even the Herring Gulls joined in.

But the star of the show today was Sammy, the Common Seal that always appears around the jetty at high tide when the crabbers are present. He is an expert at encouraging the crabbers to part with their bait, and will even take bacon from their fingers in a very gentle fashion so there is no chance of getting your fingers nipped.

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