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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Wallasea Island RSPB - first visit

December 6th

I have for quite a while been planning to visit this Reserve ,mostly spurred on by the Raptor reports, on a whim the night before I decided it’s about time. Having read the reports on the site I know it is a work in motion and ongoing.

Of course I had looked at the projected forecast and seeing wall to wall sunshine sealed it, I headed down from Hornchurch and 55 minutes later arrived just as the sun came up.

Not unexpectedly it is out in the middle of nowhere, a long track eventually leads to a car park, from there it is up on the sea wall for a walk along the Estuary.

The view over the Crouch towards Burnham

The car park all to myself - beyond is the fields the Harriers frequented.

Looking back along the entrance track.

However before I undertook the walk I checked the fields, 3 Kestrels were already in the air and it wasn’t long before I saw my first Hen Harrier, a Ring Tail, stunning birds as always.

Working the fields - rudder of a tail

I eventually headed out along the Crouch; the usual commoner waders were present with many distant flocks of Dark Bellied Brent Geese seen on fields.

Soil arriving all the time from the River

This being my first visit and having chatted to a local earlier, I understand as yet you cannot do a round robin walk like Old Hall, I may be wrong on this, anyone out there knows different please correct me.

After a mile or so I retraced my steps but on the way had had some ‘good’ birds.

3 Ring Tail Hen Harriers interacting aloft together – distant but quite a sight.

A Ring Tail Hen Harrier, presumably one of the 3 seen earlier skirmishing briefly with a Short Eared Owl.

A female Merlin singling out a Starling from a flock giving chase, I did not see the outcome.

I have also never seen so many Corn Buntings together, I would suspect numbers and flocks seen are up in the 200 + mark.
Arriving back at the car park I watched a dot of a Marsh Harrier and then got on to a single Hen Harrier hunting, at times very acrobatic and Owl like in its strategy.

A good site and I can see myself visiting more often.

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