Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Wader Action at East Mersea

14th February 2017

An early afternoon high tide so ideal for a trip to East Mersea to get some waders on the incoming tide. But first, as is tradition, a pit stop at Abberton for breakfast and a cup of tea. Still very quiet with just a pair of Goldeneye and three Smew, a drake and two red-heads, from the Layer Breton causeway. Unfortunately, although the red-heads did at one stage come quite close to the reed bed, the drake stayed well out from the bank.

Even quieter at the Layer de la Haye causeway with just a handful of distant Goosanders and a trio of Redshank near the south-west corner of the main reservoir.

Fortunately, East Mersea was very different with lots of waders, particularly this large flock of Curlew, but strangely no Black-tailed Godwits at all. There are normally 1000+ here but hardly any this winter. Fingringhoe Wick is the same.

And of course there are always the ducks such as these magnificent drake Shoveler and good numbers of Wigeon. The Wigeon in particular were very vocal as they're were now pairing up, so much sparring with their rivals.

On the beach the tide still had a way to come in so many of the waders such as these Dunlin were taking it easy and having a nap. Even the Ringed Plovers and Turnstones had obviously been feeding well and were having a well-earned rest. But then it was time for all of them to lift off and fly the two hundred or so yards to the high tide roost pools on the saltmarsh.

Here there was lots of activity as the rising tide covered the mud on Brightlingsea and the River Colne and pushed the waders on to higher ground. Lapwing, Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plover were all pouring in and just a single Bar-tailed Godwit. Although Bar-tails are found the area, they do not usually join this particular roost site.

Eventually they settled down for the couple of hours over high tide, and the Teal were able to continue feeding in the restored tranquility.

But the stars of the show today were the Turnstones on the beach which as usual were very approachable. The problem with these birds is that they can come too close which can cause difficulties with minimum focus distance on a prime lens. I only wish I had that problem with all birds!!

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