Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A Visit to Mersea Island

6th November 2017

Starting at Cudmore Grove we walked down the eastern track to the hide where a Jay was collecting food not far from the hide. Even better, as we walked further on we startled a Fox which glared at us before loping off into the vegetation. What a great start to the day.

Due to the lack of rain in this part of the world, the normally flooded grazing fields are still dry so no waders or wildfowl. The only exception was a tidy flock of some 80 Curlews which aren't dependent on pools for food or roosting habitat, especially when most of you are asleep.

On the borrowdyke most of the wildfowl were basking in the warm sunshine like this drake Teal and the numerous Wigeon which were still emerging from their eclipse plumage.

They were eventually spooked by a dog walker which provided a couple of flight shots. Also on the borrowdyke were a handul of Brent Geese which had been displaced from the field.

There was also a great deal of movement as the birds commuted between the fields and the estuary.

It was now high tide and most of the waders were gathered on the saltmarsh pools by the golf house. A mixture of Redshank, Grey Plover, Turnstone and Dunlin, they slept until the exceptionally high tide forced them to move to drier ground.

Today our last port of call was West Mersea armed with a couple of slices of Mediterranean Gull bread. This of course was stuffed with olives and cherry tomatoes. A few chunks soon got them airborne and successive offerings produced an hour of joy trying to capture these pirates of the sky as they zoomed overhead.

Eventually a couple of did land making life a little easier.

I thought this last photo would be useful as it does highlight the differences between the Black-headed Gull on the left and the Mediterranean Gull on the right. Note that the Mediterannean Gull has a heavier bill, pure white wings and a smudge behind the eye instead of a second eye. This of course only applies to adult birds.

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