Wednesday 7th January 2015

A great day spent wandering around the vast RSPB reserve of Old Hall Marshes. Huge flocks of BRENT GEESE were seen plus a few RUFF thrown in for good measure. MARSH HARRIERS were pretty much in evidence all day and could be frequently seen causing havoc amongst the waders and wildfowl. A KINGFISHER showed briefly on the Abbotts Hall Farm breach and in Salcott Channel were PINTAIL, GOLDEN PLOVER and hundreds of TEAL and WIGEON.

An incoming tide produced SHAG, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER and GOLDENEYE in Salcott Channel and on the grazing marsh we had distant views of a female MERLIN perched on a mound.

After a welcome lunch on the shore we carried on our walk along the southern shore of the reserve. 3 SLAVONIAN GREBES showed really well offshore and we had much better views of the female MERLIN as it hunted passerines in front of us.

Late afternoon it started to rain which dampened things slightly but didn’t stop us enjoying views of a female SMEW on Joyce’s Head.

Despite the rain we had a very enjoyable day and looked forward to the next Localbirder day on Mersea Island.