Tuesday, 6 December 2016

A Shag and Common Scoter at Mersea

28th November 2016

The end of November draws nigh so time for my second visit of the winter to Mersea. After the recent rains the grazing fields are flooded once more, but wader and wildfowl numbers are still well down especially Black-tailed Godwits of which there were no more than six compared to the usual several hundred. In fact today the most common wader was Curlew with a smattering of Redshank.

Wigeon numbers were already into their several hundreds and looking resplendent in the morning sun

A Fox was wandering around by the hedgerow at the back of the field, totally ignored by the Curlew just 30 yards away and all asleep. The Fox then decided that as he was having little success in catching mice or Rabbits decided to do a spot of blackberrying, standing on its hind legs to reach the fruit. Never seen that before.

Arrived at The Point at high tide in time to watch the thousand or so waders wheeling around as they settled in to the high tide roost on the saltmarsh pools. Not for long though as this large female Sparrowhawk spooked the whole lot providing some great opportunities for some flight shots.

An absolutely amazing sight and if you click on the photos to enlarge them you can pick out Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Grey Plover and Knot.

But the biggest surprise today was this female Common Scoter which was feeding just 30 yards off The Point. I have only seen one Common Scoter on East Mersea in the five years that I have been coming here and today there was not only this bird but also two others further out in Brightlingsea Reach.

Wow, what a great morning, so now for a quick look at West Mersea before heading off home. By now the tide was well on its way out and this huge Great Black-backed Gull was having a loaf on the mud.

There were also a couple of Cormorants diving off the hammerhead which I checked out just in case a Shag had slipped in as has been the case in previous years. Then I noticed a lone bird perched high on a pole just 30 yards away from the busy car park. There it was, a Shag, being totally ignored by all and sundry although it has to be said that there were no other birdwatchers there.

What a great end to a great day. Mersea never disappoints!!!

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