Saturday, 23 November 2013

Southend Pier and Sanderlings

We stayed in Essex today starting our day at Wallasea where we watched two Ring-tailed Hen Harriers hunting the marsh along with Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Merlin and Kestrel. Corn Buntings were still present in good numbers with over a hundred counted during our visit and a pair of Bewick's Swans flew over the marsh and out of sight.
Corn Bunting
Hen Harrier at Wallasea
Despite the freezing temperatures we decided to try Southend Pier having read several blog posts recently detailing how good the views of Med Gulls have been. On arrival we paid the £1 entrance fee and walked the length of the pier. (A train runs at quarter to and quarter past the hour costing £4 for the return trip)
After our 1.34mile walk we arrived at the pier end to find several Turnstones and Med Gulls showing really well but although the sun was shining in a clear sky the wind was blowing in the wrong direction meaning that the gulls hanging in the air had the sun on their backs casting shadow over them and leaving photographic opportunities for another day. Mick and Dick turned up with stacks of bread which increased the mobility of the gulls but they still proved difficult subjects.
Med Gull on Southend Pier
After a nice chat we departed and moved on to our next target bird which was to find Sanderling on the high tide at Westcliff which we did with ease and after a spell lying on the sand I managed to get some acceptable shots of these wonderful Essex birds wintering on our coast.

Sanderling at Westcliff
Sanderling and Southend Pier
Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world, a grade 11 listed building 1.34miles long. Work started in July 1829 and during World War 11 the pier was taken over by the Navy and renamed HMS Leigh. In 2005 a fire threatened the structure but thankfully it survived with a little reconstruction and remains a top tourist attraction for Essex. 

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