Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Snow Buntings at Jaywick Sands

5th January 2017

It was the 24th November 2014 that I last photographed a flock of eight Snow Buntings at Jaywick Sands ie two winters ago. A group of six has been reported again this year so time for a trip to see if I could find them, but as I was in the area I made a small diversion to Colne Point at the mouth of the River Colne.

Colne Point is a rather desolate area with just a handful of residents at Lee-over-Sands and is primarily saltmarsh. I made my way to the Jetty Hide and gently opened the flap overlooking the creek. The tide was still out so there was a large expanse of mud with a trickle of water down the centre. Not many birds around with just the usual suspects ie Redshank, Grey Plover and Oystercatcher.

On the way back to the car there were several pipits flying round the marsh, nearly all Meadow Pipits, but luckily the one pipit which landed on a post instead of dropping down into long grass was this Rock Pipit. How lucky is that?

Anyway, back to the business at hand so on to Jaywick Sands to search for the Snow Buntings. I walked along the sea wall and on to the beach and headed straight for the spot that they seemed to like in 2014. To my utter astonishment they were in exactly the same place to within + 10 yards, but this time only six birds.

Then a rather strange thing happened. They suddenly rose into the sky and after a couple of laps of the beach landed on the piles of huge rocks that form the breakwaters of the sea defences. I have seen hundreds of Snow Buntings scurrying round on the tide wrack on beaches, but have never seen one on a rock!!

What a fantastic end to the day and especially at a place where I spent so much of my childhood and learnt much of my early birding.

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