Thursday, 6 August 2020

STROOD GODWITS

There was a nice variety of waders along the Strood Channel on a hot Thursday 6th with at least fifty black-tailed godwits still sporting their breeding colours. Other waders of interest included 3 greenshank, 10 knot, 50 grey plover, a whimbrel and avocet, also 3 Mediterranean gulls and four common terns along the channel.
A marsh harrier headed down channel, a buzzard and three kestrels were over the fields where 200 house sparrows were in the central ditch. A lesser whitethroat and willow warbler were seen by Feldy View.
A willow warbler was seen in the Firs Chase garden in the company of a large 30+ mixed tit flock, while two willow warblers were seen in Martin Cock's garden in the Coverts.

On Thursday afternoon Steve Entwistle saw 3 southern migrant hawkers near the Oyster Fishery in East Mersea - first seen by Andy Field the day before. Also three common blue butterflies and a small copper.

Andy Field discovered the first southern migrant hawkers to be seen on the Island on Wednesday 5th in the borrowdyke just to the east of the Colchester Oyster Fishery building in East Mersea.

Also known as the blue-eyed hawker, the male's bright blue eyes and abdomen and largely blue sides to the thorax are the main features separating it from the commoner migrant hawker. It has been breeding in Essex for the last ten years.

Also seen in the that part of the Pyefleet by Andy were 280 black-tailed godwits including the first colour-ringed bird (LOY-OLO), little tern, 2 common terns while 2 or 3 young sparrowhawk juveniles were calling from Fishponds Wood.

Lots of butterflies were seen on the wing along the East Mersea footpath between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane on Wednesday 5th including this brown argus one of two seen. Two purple hairstreaks were seen high up in the oaks.

A tatty small heath was feeding on a fleabane flower, as was a small copper while a common blue was also on the wing. Other butterflies seen included lots of gatekeepers, meadow browns, red admiral, speckled wood, comma, small white and large white.

A willow warbler was calling from a field hedgerow, as were two yellowhammers on Wednesday.

First visit on Tuesday 4th to the East Mersea boating lake for almost two months, there were a few birds on the flooded marsh beside the lake. A common sandpiper was of note, also 16 redshank, turnstone and a pair of oystercatchers were the only birds present, while four yellow wagtails were seen flying about nearby.

At the Youth Camp on Tuesday a 210+ gull roost on the field during high tide included among the mainly black-headed gulls, 30 Mediterranean gulls( three pictured above, near and the left) and 20+ common gulls.

The young sparrowhawk family was still being noisy in the copse at the bottom of Cross Lane, while a willow warbler was calling in Waldegraves holiday park.

At Maydays farm on Tuesday afternoon, Martin Cock reported a common sandpiper, green sandpiper,  four yellowhammer, golden plover and grey plover and four buzzards, while a willow warbler was in his West Mersea garden.

On Monday 3rd along the Strood seawall were seen a greenshank, first golden plover flock of 20 birds, also 30 grey plover, whimbrel, 200 house sparrows while two willow warblers were in Feldy View.
Between Cudmore Grove and Reeveshall on Monday Martin Cock saw 2 grey plover, 190 black-tailed godwits, 25 avocets, snipe, 3 little terns, many lesser whitethroats and common whitethroats, willow warbler, 2 chiffchaff and 3 young sparrowhawk chicks in Fishponds Wood, also a muntjac deer.

A whinchat was perched on a bush in the central ditch by the Strood on Sunday 2nd. In the nearby bushes were 200+ house sparrows, while common whitethroat and a few linnets were also seen, A hobby and common buzzard were seen, also two whimbrel, first common gull of the autumn and yellow wagtail.

On Saturday 1st along the Strood were three greenshank, six black-tailed godwits, whimbrel, 5+ Mediterranean gulls and 200+ house sparrows. By the Glebe were 20 swifts, 20 house martins and 10 goldfinches.also a six spot burnet moth flying about.
There was the unusual sighting by Martin Cock of a turnstone seen feeding beside Firs Road near High St North turning on Saturday afternoon.

Just off the Island on the other side of the Strood, a turtle dove was seen perched on wires on Saturday by Jonathan Bustard.

By the Dabchicks on Friday 31st a male marsh harrier crossed over the boat moorings and headed over to the Strood fields, also ten turnstones resting on the boats.
Ian Black along the Strood seawall on Friday reported four greenshank, common buzzard, and three yellow wagtails.

This female speckled bush cricket was photographed by Michael Thorley among his strawberry plants in his East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane on Thursday.

A male speckled bush cricket was also seen by Michael among the strawberry plants.

A male oak bush cricket was in Steve Entwistle's upstairs bathroom on Thursday.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

SWALLOW FAMILY

A family of swallows including this juvenile, perched on wires beside the Feldy View field on Thursday 30th.

The swallow family with three juveniles rested on the wires for a few minutes in between flying around the field and nearby caravan site.
Also in Feldy View were a couple of willow warblers feeding in the birch trees, one of the birds sang briefly. Another willow warbler was heard singing from trees by the Nothe, behind the Dabchicks sailing club.
Two lesser whitethroats were near the Firs Chase caravan site, a young sparrowhawk was calling from the Lane, while 20 turnstone were roosting on boats near the Hard.

A brood of seven tufted ducklings were being led into the water in the dyke at Cudmore Grove CP by their mother on Wednesday 29th.
A garden warbler was seen in the bushes near the bird hide at the park along with a willow warbler and a mix of ten other warblers such as whitethroats, lesser whitethroats and blackcaps.
Offshore the summering eider was spotted swimming out of the Colne, 30 golden plover were on the mud as were at least eight black-tailed godwits and two Mediterranean gulls.

In the Firs Chase garden on Wednesday a wood warbler was seen briefly feeding with a long-tailed tit flock and also two willow warblers. The flock quickly moved into neighbouring gardens and the wood warbler was not seen again. The young sparrowhawk was calling loudly near Firs Chase while late in the afternoon a feeding flock of 100+ swifts seemed to be high overhead after ants.

Near Meeting Lane on Wednesday a little owl, yellow wagtail, 3 house martins, 4 swallows, willow warbler/ chiffchaff and five goldfinches were seen by Michael Thorley in his garden.

On Tuesday 28th Martin Cock reported near Meeting Lane plenty of warblers in the hedgerows and also a brown argus butterfly.
Also on Tuesday morning a willow warbler was quietly singing in Feldy View and two common blue butterflies were seen, while along the nearby Strood channel was a roost of 22 Mediterranean gulls, also two greenshank, 200+ redshank, turnstone, grey plover, three sand martins and 20 swifts.
Two common buzzards were circling separately over the East Mersea road on Tuesday afternoon.

A passage of 150+ swifts was noted heading west off the Island on Monday 27th, along the Strood were a greenshank, 25 black-tailed godwits, three whimbrel and a house martin.
Ian Black saw a very vocal green woodpecker escape the attention of a pursuing sparrowhawk along The Lane on Monday.

At Maydays on Sunday 26th two peregrines circled together over the Pyefleet, also a hobby, two marsh harriers and a common buzzard seen. Along the Pyefleet were three greenshank, whimbrel, bar-tailed godwit, ten black-tailed godwits, grey plover, shelduck family with five ducklings, great crested grebe and a common seal. Six sand martins, two yellowhammers and two yellow wagtails were also seen but there was no sign of the turtle dove at Haycocks Yard.

The turtle dove first seen by Jack Hoy a fortnight earlier and twice subsequently, was seen again on Saturday 26th in Haycocks Yard. It had been feeding on the ground before flying up to the roof of a nearby workshop unit. A willow warbler was calling from bushes near Haycocks Yard.
A greenshank and whimbrel were near the top end of the Pyefleet Channel near Bower Hall, also a brown hare on the saltmarsh and two yellowhammers in the hedgerows. Ten Mediterranean gulls were roosting near the Strood causeway.
A smart wheatear was seen by Ian Black on a wet Saturday along the Strood seawall, also three yellow wagtails and two sedge warblers.

On Friday 24th four common buzzards and two juvenile marsh harriers were seen along the Strood seawall. Along the channel were five greenshank, three whimbrel, twelve black-tailed godwits, turnstone, three dunlin, five common terns and four sand martins.
From the Firs Chase garden on Friday, a common buzzard drifted west off the Island, five Mediterranean gulls circled in the air after ants with the black-headed gulls, also the noisy young sparrowhawk. A noisy young sparrowhawk was seen by Ian Black in Mersea Avenue following an adult bird.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

SEA SWALLOWS

Five common terns, also known as sea swallows, were feeding along the Strood Channel on Thursday 23rd.

This particular common tern spent a few minutes checking the water beside the seawall sluice and made several attempts to dive down into the water after fish. A couple of noisy juvenile common terns were following their parents around.

Four greenshank, three whimbrel, four dunlin were amongst the large number of redshank and curlew in the channel as the tide came in. Also a little grebe was in the channel and 16 little egrets were noted roosting along the saltings.
A hobby passed over the seawall and crossed over to Ray Island, four common buzzards were seen in the air while a juvenile marsh harrier flew south-west over the Ray saltings. A corn bunting had earlier been heard singing by the Strood fields.

A female ruddy darter was resting on a stick in the sunshine at Feldy View on Thursday.

At East Mersea two common sandpipers were seen near the Oyster Fishery on Thursday by Martin Cock.

The first returning willow warbler of the autumn was found in the hedgeline near the Shop Lane seawall on Wednesday 22nd. This is the earliest one on the Island over the last ten year period at least. Another willow warbler was also found on Wednesday at Maydays farm by Martin Cock, while Michael Thorley also reported two willow warblers in his East Mersea garden on Wednesday.
A willow warbler / chiffchaff was seen in Ian Black's West Mersea garden while one was also seen by Sarah Thorley on Tuesday in her East Mersea garden.

Also seen on Wednesday, 20 avocets feeding in the Pyefleet near Shop Lane, 25+ swallows resting on a barn roof, a yellowhammer and two green woodpeckers near Fishponds Wood.

Later on Wednesday a great white egret was seen in the Strood Channel by Ian Black feeding on the saltmarsh edge and then flew onto Ray Island, also seen were two yellow wagtails and four common terns.

A mallard with nine ducklings in tow were seen at Waldegraves Holiday park on Tuesday 21st. Forty-five mallard were seen by the various lakes while offshore fifty common terns rested on the shingle island and three Mediterranean gulls were near the beach. At least two noisy juvenile sparrowhawks were flying around a small copse near the beach end of Cross Lane.

A turtle dove was seen again at Maydays farm by Jack Hoy on Tuesday morning - the third sighting in the area over the last fortnight.

A gatekeeper was resting on a lavender bush in Feldy View on Monday 20th. Amongst the various meadow browns, skippers and whites were two brown argus butterflies.

A peregrine flew over the Dabchicks on Monday morning heading over to Salcott Channel, also two separate common buzzards seen over the Hard area drifting west and a male marsh harrier and two more common buzzards were seen by the Strood channel.
Along the Strood channel were a greenshank, common tern, two whimbrel, Mediterranean gull and on the fields were three grey herons and a yellow wagtail.

Richard Brown watched a great white egret on Monday fly from Langenhoe ranges up the Pyefleet channel towards the Strood.
A hobby was seen over the High Street by Ian Black on Monday.

At East Mersea on Monday 20th the first clouded yellow butterfly of the year on the Island was photographed by Andy Field beside the seawall near the Oyster Fishery. Also seen in the area were a female eider near Langenhoe Point, common tern, cuckoo, three marsh harriers, sparrowhawk, ten avocets and forty black-tailed godwits.

Martin Cock also walked the same section of seawall between the Golfhouse and the Oyster Fishery on Monday and reported eight little terns, six common terns, six golden plover, four turnstone, whimbrel, 60 black-tailed godwits, 25 avocets and two young kestrels on the seawall. A grey squirrel was seen in a wood near the Oyster Fishery.

Monday, 20 July 2020

PEA FIELD ACTIVITY

A male yellowhammer was perched on a bush near the seawall at Maydays farm on Sunday 19th.
There was a variety of small birds flitting about and feeding along one of the ditch-lines between two pea fields. Five stonechats were the most noteworthy, possibly a family from the nearby Langenhoe ranges. Also a couple of corn buntings- one seen with food in its bill, as well as one or two reed buntings, yellow wagtails, whitethroats, linnets and a meadow pipit too.

A hobby flew low and quickly across the fields towards the seawall, a marsh harrier, buzzard and a kestrel were seen too. A couple of common seals were in the top end of the Pyefleet.

On Sunday evening Steve Entwistle reported from the Strood a greenshank, yellow wagtail, marsh harrier, kestrel, hobby, 15+ curlew, 7 little egrets, 40 linnets. There was no sign of the barn owl over the Strood fields that evening which had been reported by Dave Conway on the previous two evenings.

At dusk on Sunday in the Firs Chase garden, 44 pipistrelle bats were counted emerging from the soffit in the gable end of the house. The roost has only started to get used in the last few days as seen by the amount of bat droppings on the windowsill below the soffit. The first pipistrelle emerged at 9.15pm with other individuals dropping out during the next thirty-five minutes.
Andy Field reported three pipistrelle bats showing well over his High St North garden on Friday 17th.

On Saturday 18th a whimbrel was the only wader of interest in the top end of the Pyefleet channel near Bower Hall farm as the tide began to recede. A marsh harrier and a buzzard were seen near here while near Maydays two juvenile kestrels were following the female kestrel. Three yellowhammers, four yellow wagtails, meadow pipit and a brown hare were seen along the Bower Hall seawall section to the Strood.

Along the Strood channel on Saturday were a greenshank. whimbrel, 200+ redshank, 10 black-tailed godwits and 4 common terns. A brown hawker was nice to see along the Strood borrowdyke.

Steve Entwistle watched two little terns fly close to the seawall corner at Maydays farm on Saturday, also a grey seal in the Pyefleet. In the evening Steve reported that between the Golfhouse and the Oyster Fishery at East Mersea were four little terns, 25+ linnets, 35+ avocets, three bar-tailed godwits and a mixed flock of swallows and sand martins.
There was no sign from Mersea of the osprey seen by Glyn Evans near Alresford who watched it flying over the Colne and the Geedons on Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday a crossbill flew south over the Firs Chase garden calling as it passed by.
A peregrine was seen by Andy Field flying over the Chatsworth houses before heading north to the Strood on Saturday. Ian Black watched a sparrowhawk take a juvenile starling from his Mersea Avenue garden, while later a great spotted woodpecker and green woodpecker were seen in Firs Road, then at the Dabchicks two little terns, four black-tailed godwits and two Mediterranean gulls were seen by Ian.

Four brown argus butterflies were seen in a field corner of flowering bristly ox-tongue just west of the East Mersea church on a hot Friday 17th.

A common blue was also seen just west of the church, along with 100+ small and large whites, several meadow browns and gatekeepers with a couple of peacocks too.

Two distant stonechats were on the corner of the marsh near Coopers Beach on Friday, the male and either female or juvenile although they were some way off to tell which. Six little egrets, 20 mallard, two Mediterranean gulls, common tern over the boating lake, two whitethroats, eight linnets, 3 reed warblers were the birds of note while a common seal had caught a fish very close to the breach in the seawall.

A black tern flew over Steve Entwistle's garden in Empress Drive on Friday evening - a noteworthy sighting anywhere on the Island, let alone a garden! Also a sparrowhawk and twenty swifts over his garden that evening.

A sand martin was pictured by Andy Field on Thursday 16th peering out of its hole in the Cudmore Grove cliff, as was a predatory bee-wolf peering out of its hole a few inches to the side. Thirty sand martins were seen flying about the beach and park.
Also at the country park were a pochard with four very young ducklings on the pond, two little terns, two common terns, two whimbrel, seven golden plover, 12 dunlin, three ringed plover including a juvenile, hobby, three juvenile kestrels while a pair of marsh harriers were on Langenhoe Point.

Along the Strood seawall on Thursday, a green sandpiper flew out of the saltmarsh by the caravan site, the regular male marsh harrier was over the fields, three greenshank, whimbrel, six common terns were along the channel while ten Mediterranean gulls were also seen.
A sedge warbler sang a bit of a sub-song from a bush as it flitted about, a male corn bunting sang too, while fifty swifts were by the houses and a lesser whitethroat in Feldy View.
A buzzard drifted high north-west over Firs Chase and then over the Hard earlier on Thursday.

On Wednesday 15th three Sandwich terns flew past the Cudmore Grove shoreline calling as they headed west, also six common terns and a Mediterranean gull in the river. Six tufted ducklings were on the park pond with their mother, also at the park 30+ sand martins, yellow wagtail, a dunlin and two shovelers. Two black-tailed skimmers and 10+ small red-eyed damselflies were seen along the park dyke.

Two common buzzards were seen high over Ray Island by Ian Black on Wednesday 15th.

A small copper made one of its rare annual visits to the Firs Chase garden on Saturday 18th.

A common blue was also seen in the Firs Chase garden resting on some knapweed on Thursday 16th.

 Two large privet hawkmoth caterpillars were photographed by David Nicholls, as they munched their way through a lilac bush in his neighbour's garden.

Most of the various hawkmoth caterpillars have the distinctive horn growing out the end of the body.
Matt Cock photographed an adult privet hawkmoth resting during the day on a post in his East Road garden on Sunday 12th.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

SINGING SKYLARKS

A handful of skylarks were singing over the fields alongside the Strood channel on Tuesday 14th.
Flying low over the houses by Whittaker Way was a hobby, while a kestrel was hunting the fields. A greenshank and a whimbrel were noted in the channel while a female pochard flew fast down channel.
Ian Black also noted from the Strood seawall on Tuesday two avocets, three whimbrel and a long trail of footprints along the mud that looked like possibly muntjac deer.
Near Langenhoe Point two little terns were seen by Martin Cock on Tuesday afternoon.

A sunny dog-walk along the Strood channel on Monday 13th provided views of the usual male marsh harrier, two buzzards and a close view of a female sparrowhawk perched on the sluice railings. A large flock of 2000+ mainly black-headed gulls swarmed high in the sky over the houses, catching the ants. Three Mediterranean gulls and five common terns were seen along the channel, also 150+ redshank, two greenshank, grey plover and two black-tailed godwits. Two yellow wagtails were feeding on the seawall while two lesser whitethroats were seen in Feldy View.

At East Mersea on Monday the eider was near to Langenhoe Point, also a juvenile cuckoo and two marsh harriers seen by Martin Cock.
Three two inch long newly born slow-worms were found in Ian Black's Mersea Avenue garden while in the Firs Chase garden a hummingbird hawkmoth was seen on Monday afternoon.
On the nearby Fingringhoe ranges Andy Field reported seeing on Monday, three greenshank, ten green sandpipers and four bearded tits.

A brood of seven ducklings was being closely supervised by the mother mallard along the Strood borrowdyke on Monday 13th.

On Sunday 12th a honey buzzard was watched closely providing good views as it circled overhead above the Firs cemetery and Feldy View. The distinctive black banding on the underwings, the small head and long narrow tail quickly stood out as being different from the usual common buzzards. The bird drifted north-west down the side of the caravan site, picking up height before disappearing over to Feldy and Copt Hall on the mainland.

Over the Glebe field on Sunday were 50+ swifts along with twenty house martins over Wellhouse and another twenty near Strood Hill. By the Hard were a common tern and two Mediterranean gulls.

A female mandarin duck was a surprise sight in the Strood borrowdyke on Saturday 11th. It often stayed hidden by the rushes and seemed wary to venture out into view if anyone was nearby. It was seen later in the afternoon making a short flight along the dyke but was not seen the next day.

A Sandwich tern flew up channel calling on Saturday - a rare visitor to this channel, also two common terns, three Mediterranean gulls, hobby, two greenshank, marsh harrier and 100+ swifts.
From the Bower Hall seawall on Saturday a sparrowhawk took an oystercatcher chick from the saltmarsh, two marsh harriers, common sandpiper, dunlin, common tern and a shelduck pair with seven young ducklings in the channel while two yellowhammers were singing and a pair of yellow wagtails was seen.
At Maydays on Saturday a brown cuckoo was seen in flight, a male marsh harrier, buzzard, two yellowhammers singing and twenty house martins over the farm buildings.

At East Mersea on Saturday, Jonathan Bustard reported seeing near Ivy Dock and Oyster Fishery area common sandpiper, green sandpiper along the dyke, two Sandwich terns west along Pyefleet, little tern and two common terns as well as a few avocets.
Steve Entwistle later reported two Sandwich terns on the Golfhouse pools along with 100 black-headed gulls and 14 Mediterranean gulls.

Jonathan Bustard photographed this salsify on the East Mersea seawall in the morning with the flowerhead still open.

A aptly named leopard moth with all its black spots was in the Firs Chase garden moth trap on Saturday 11th.

The once scarce tree-lichen beauty is now a familiar sight on summer nights.

This brown-veined wainscot on the 13th is the first record for the Island and seems to have spread slowly in Essex in recent years.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

SEAWALL LINNETS

A male linnet perched on a bush to sing near the Firs Chase caravan park on Friday 10th. Up to ten linnets have been seen along the Strood seawall recently.
A peregrine was seen from the Hard, flying over Packing Shed Island and heading towards Copt Hall. A buzzard was mobbed by crows as it passed north over the fields, three kestrels were seen over the Strood fields. Along the Strood channel 110 redshank, 40 curlew, 3 black-tailed godwits, 8 little egrets and four common terns were seen. A mallard duck was seen in the dyke with seven very young ducklings.

This male green woodpecker and a streaky looking juvenile were perched on a telegraph pole by Feldy View on Friday.

This common lizard was enjoying the warmth on this wooden plaque in Feldy View.

A big shiny rose chafer beetle was feeding on bramble flowers beside the path down the side of the Firs Chase caravan park on Friday. A species that is spreading around the Colchester area in recent years, I believe this is the first sighting on the Island.

A juvenile pochard was photographed by Andy Field at Cudmore Grove country park on Friday 10th, two juvenile pochard were also seen. Also seen at the park were two little terns on mud near the Point, an eider in the river, 70 black-tailed godwits on the mudflats in front of the park. Up to 20 sand martins were flying over the beach and nearby dyke, 50+ swifts with a few swallows and house martins were high over the fields just before the rain. A blackcap singing snatches of nightingale, blackbird and marsh warbler was very confusing to hear.

Butterflies photographed at the park on Friday by Andy included this gatekeeper.

A comma also seen at the park by Andy.

A ringlet resting on some bramble flowers at the park on Friday.

The first colourful flocks of black-tailed godwits were seen at East Mersea on Thursday 9th with one group of 50 birds resting on the saltmarsh pools near the Golfhouse with a second flock on the mud near the Oyster Fishery of 45 birds.
Three Mediterranean gulls were on the saltmarsh, an eider seen near Ivy Dock, four little terns were fishing and resting on Langenhoe Point, five common terns and two great crested grebes, common seal in the Colne, while on the mud were three avocets and six shelduck.
A hobby flashed over Ivy Farm and headed east over the Point, while 75+ swifts were counted crossing west over the Colne in the space of five minutes. A Cetti's warbler sang near Ivy Farm, yellow wagtail flew over while at the Oyster Fishery a green sandpiper flew around calling.

On Wednesday 8th birds of note seen during a walk along the Strood seawall included two greenshank, 90+ redshank, four black-tailed godwits, six common terns, three avocets and a grey plover. A little grebe called from the dyke, a corn bunting was singing and four kestrels noted.
Later in the day a peregrine was seen over Ray Island by Ian Black.

At Coopers Beach on Wednesday Michael Thorley reported two stonechats, four linnets while near Fen Farm were two ringed plovers on the beach and five dunlin on the mud.

On Tuesday 7th a red kite drifted north over the Strood fields, then crossing over the channel to Ray Island and Feldy. A hobby, sparrowhawk, buzzard, marsh harrier and a kestrel were the other birds of prey seen during the morning walk.
Along the Strood channel were two greenshank, 55 redshank, ten curlew, four common terns, while a corn bunting was heard singing, a sand martin flew west, 100+ swifts were in the air and two reed warblers heard in the reeds.

There was still plenty of sand martin activity around the country park cliff on Monday 6th with 42 holes counted and at least fifty birds flying over the beach and fields.

Three juvenile kestrels appeared to have fledged very recently as they were seen on Monday sitting on top of their nestbox at the back of the park's grazing fields.
Other birds seen at the park included 7 little tern flying out of the Colne, a brent goose and an eider in the Colne, two avocets, three ringed plovers on the Point also there ten linnets and a reed bunting, female pochard in the dyke, Cetti's warbler, 12 Mediterranean gulls on the saltmarsh, 20 swifts, three little egrets at the pond.

Martin Cock counted forty Mediterranean gulls on the saltmarsh by the Golfhouse on Monday afternoon. Earlier at Maydays 350+ sand martins and 150 swifts were seen flying about. An adder was seen on the Maydays seawall on Monday morning by Sarah Thorley, also a yellowhammer and five little egrets noted there.

Ian Black heard a green sandpiper flying over his Mersea Avenue garden on Monday and later a sparrowhawk over the High Street.

A hedgehog curled up in the Firs Chase garden after being discovered by the dog last thing at night on Friday 10th.

One of the regular red squirrels with a tatty tail was at the Firs Chase garden feeder on Wednesday 8th. A male and a female are seemingly the regular visitors most days to the garden feeder.

A ringlet stopped off in the Firs Chase garden on Friday to feed on the oregano flowers.

A lilac beauty was the highlight of the mothing evening on 30th June - the first record for the garden.