Monday, 3 November 2008


After lots of days recently with lots of blue skies, it's back to the typical November weather of low cloud and light drizzle on Monday 3rd. It stayed dry long enough for a reasonable walk along the Strood seawall in the late morning.

No unusual sightings to report but what was nice, was the sight of a wide variety of typical estuary waders and wildfowl for the winter here. Numbers of many birds have only recently increased following last week's easterly winds and the drop in temperatures too. The timing of the walk as the tide came in, provided more birds to look at.

A scan along a short section of mud on the north-west side of the Strood Channel revealed a wildfowl mix of brent geese, wigeon, teal and shelduck feeding alongside dunlin, ringed plover, grey plover, redshank, black-tailed godwit, knot, curlew and one or two oystercatchers. It was great seeing such a concentration of activity in the one area, not involving huge numbers but a good variety. On the mud near the Strood causeway was a golden plover roost of 1000 birds.

Today was the first day the brent geese started to feed on the newly sprouted winter wheat crop inside the Strood seawall. About 100 geese were on the crop while another 150 were still along the Channel. It was interesting to find a family of 3 juveniles with their parents, the only young ones seen this year so far. It appears to have been a breeding failure for the brent geese this year in Siberia with one recent south Essex count finding no young amongst 2500 geese!

The only other birds of interest along the Channel were 20 little grebes and about 5 little egrets.

The big winter wheat field seemed popular with lots of other birds too with 500 starlings, 50 lapwing, 50 golden plover, 20 skylarks and 20 corn buntings. Also seen along the walk were kestrel, stonechat, 2 rock pipits, 3 reed buntings and a few meadow pipits.

At East Mersea at least two of the crossbills were still present in the Shop Lane conifer wood. Seen by both Martin Cock and Andy Field, the birds were as quiet as yesterday but were eventually located feeding in the tops of the pine trees.


colleen said...

What a lovely blog (found through Juliet Doyle's musings). I do find it hard to read blue text on top of green though - must be old age.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Dougal Urquhart said...

Pleased to hear you like reading about the wildlife around the Island. I shall wait and see if there are lots of other readers who find blue text on green too busy too. It's the first comment about it since the blog started nearly 2 years ago. Happy reading.