Monday, 17 November 2008


Recent rains have left flooded pools in the fields along the Strood on Monday 17th. A few birds were taking advantage of the waterlogged conditions to feed and this pool above was where a ruff was found amongst a handful of lapwing. As the tide came in, the ringed plovers were forced off the nearby mudflats and at least 40 arrived at these pools to continue feeding on the muddy field.

Another field was being grazed by 500 brent geese, heads down tucking into the winter wheat. That was until the local farmer arrived nearby and fired his gun to scare the birds off. This wasn't aimed at the brent geese although they quickly got the message but masses of wood pigeons tucking into his rape crop. It was only when the 2000 pigeons took to the air that the size of the flock could be appreciated.

Other birds seen around the fields were a flock of 30 skylarks, 25 corn buntings, stonechat, 3 reed buntings and 2 mistle thrushes. Along the sea-wall 10 meadow pipits, rock pipit, 5 greenfinches and 5 linnets were seen.

There was a notable concentration of waders at the east end of the Strood Channel on the last part of the mud to be covered by the incoming tide. The regular roost of 1500 golden plover waited until the last moment before flying off to nearby Feldy Marshes. Also on the mud were 200 knot and 1000 dunlin, along with grey plover, redshank and a few black-tailed godwits and curlew.

The usual wildfowl were seen along the edge of the Channel with brent geese spooked off from the field joining the wigeon, teal and a few shelduck.

Martin Cock was lucky enough to find a small flock of 7 twite feeding along the side of the seawall at Maydays Farm on Monday. One bird had some colour-rings on it, no doubt a bird originating from the north Pennine moors.

On Sunday Graham Ekins saw offshore from West Mersea a Mediterranean gull, 2 shags, 2 eider, red-throated diver, goldeneye and a pair of red-breasted mergansers.
Andy Field and Richard Hull visited the nearby Langenhoe Marshes and noted 2 short-eared owls, 14 marsh harriers, merlin, peregrine, 54 pintail, kingfisher, 8 red-breasted mergansers, 2 greenshank, 2 green sandpipers, 200 black-tailed godwits, 800 redshank, 800 knot, Cetti's warbler, 40 fieldfare and 4 stonechat.

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