|We had checked the tide timetable before driving over the Strood to Mersea Island ...|
|The weather was bitter and blustery and it was hard to steady the camera ...|
|... I was determined, however, to try to capture these geese.|
|I suspect these are all Brent (rather than Brant) Geese ...|
|They were foraging in the tidal mud.|
|The one at the back looks as if it has a white collar that goes (almost?) all the way round.|
West Mersea is an extraordinary place, with an unusual mix of wild, windswept coastal regions and small settled communities. We even noticed a Tesco! You can read about the history of the island here.
I checked the geese against the goose photos on the Mersea Wildlife blog, and am pretty sure that they are probably Dark-bellied Brent Geese (and not Black Brant Geese). It's a shame my record shots are just that due to the adverse weather conditions, but I was struck by the white collar on the goose at the back of the top photo. We must go back and explore the island further in better weather conditions.
I was intrigued to learn that the Reverend Sabine Baring Gould (who wrote the words of 'Onward Christian Soldiers') spent a decade on the island as Rector of East Mersea. His book, Mehalah - A Story of the Salt Marshes, a best-selling Gothic Victorian tale, was based upon some of his island experiences. One of his other works was a biography of the eccentric Cornish clergyman, the Reverend Stephen Hawker of Morwenstow, who wrote ballads and kept an eye out for mermaids and shipwrecks from his cliffside hut.