Monday, 17 February 2014

A Day in North-East Essex

Started at Jaywick and soon found the flock of 30+ Snow Buntings this morning, they were pretty flighty and at one point flew about 300 yards out to sea, before returning. I did manage one phonescoped image below. Thanks to Terry J, for his excellent directions.

 Leaving the cold easterly wind at Jaywick, I moved not too far away to St Osyth and the sewage works near Colne Point NR. The reserve is currently closed due to tidal damage, I found the 7 Bewick's Swans but they were quite distant from the sewage works. Spent the next hour looking for Grey Partridge to no avail, but did find a fabulous flock of 300+ Golden Plover in one of the fields, while even more flew over heading to the coast....wonderful!

Spent the afternoon walking the seawall from Holland Haven Country Park to Frinton. I was looking for the three Purple Sandpipers which have been present since at least early February. It was high tide as I arrived, the sun was shining (intermittently!) and the wind had eased....perfect!

As I walked towards Frinton, the tide was pretty much up to the seawall with nowhere for the sandpipers to roost. But has I got towards Frinton Golf Course, there were large rocks which the tide hadn't covered. I checked them all, but no luck, so I carried on walking. I could see more exposed rocks further on, and as I arrived I almost immediately picked up not three, but four Purple Sandpipers roosting just the other side of the seawall. I grabbed a couple of shots and decided to eat my lunch and hope they become more active.

Fortunately, it was such a nice afternoon, the view along the coast to the beach huts was tempting enough for a passing couple to stop and take it in. Where did they stop and talk? You've guessed it, exactly where the sandpipers were!

That was encouragement enough to set the Purple Sandpipers into feeding mode, because the tide was high they were never far from the seawall.   At times it was quite exquisite watching them dodge the occasional larger wave, they gave me a wonderful hour, before I headed back to Holland Haven.