Mersea Island Februiary 2018

BLACKBOURNE U3A BIRDING GROUP VISIT TO MERSEA ISLAND

Tuesday the 20th February 2018

Tony and Ann had organised a boat trip for us from Mersea Island. Mersea Island is in Essex and it sits at the mouth of the River Blackwater In this area there are numerous small creeks, islands and mud flats which makes it perfect for waders, Ducks and other birds.

The weather forecast was quite dismal, promising constant light rain and therefore poor visibility. 8 of us met up at the Island Art Café which is about a mile from where the boat departs. We enjoyed hot chocolate andcoffees and then proceeded to the Coast Inn car park which was a stone’sfrom the boat.

We donned numerous layers of warm and waterproof clothing and then proceeded along the marina walkway to the boat. The boat, which wascalled ‘Lady Grace’ was skippered by Stacey who told us that she came from a long line of sailors.

We were soon underway and making good progress out in to the mouth of the estuary. There were birds everywhere but most were just Herring Gulls and Dunlin.

The mudflats revealed flocks of Avocet and Black Tailed Godwit. When they took off together it was a most spectacular sight. The weather perked up considerably and the Sun even came out.

Several boats were working in the creeks and they appeared to be throwing things in rather than fishing them out. Stacey explained that they were seeding Oysters from other areas in to the creeks for harvest in the future. The spots were marked by long thin branches sticking out of the mud.

We were treated to the sight, albeit briefly, of a Peregrine as it flew across the creek. It was time to turn for the marina and as we changed direction it was apparent that the rain had returned and the wind had increased. We were given quite buffeting and those at the front(?prow) got quite wet from the spray. On the way back we saw some Mergansers and also some Goldeneye and Little Grebes.

Once off the boat we made for the pub to seek sanctuary in its innerwarmth. The meal, after some confusion about ‘mushy’ or ‘round’ peaswas enjoyed by everyone. The seafood medley looked particularly good.

A big thank you to Tony and Ann for their scouting and for organising the boat and the pub. We saw a total of 25 species which, although not a high number compared to Titchwell for instance, did contain some good spots such as the Mergansers, Goldeneye and Peregrine.

Species seen: Grey Plover, Marsh Harrier, Little Grebe, Shelduck, Teal, Lapwing, Peregrine, Avocet, Carrion Crow, Wigeon, Ringed Plover, Goldeneye, Wood Pigeon, Brent Goose, Herring Gull, Oyster Catcher, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Turnstone, Redshank, Dunlin, Cormorant, Little Egret, Black Headed Gull, Merganser, Black Tailed Godwit.