Monday, 18 February 2019

KESTREL IN THE SUN

This kestrel was perched in the sunshine on a telegraph pole in Haycocks Lane and was briefly snapped with the camera through the car windscreen before it flew off on Sunday 17th.
On the opposite side of the field a sparrowhawk was perched on a tree near Haycocks Lane, while a bit later a common buzzard was seen in a tree near Maydays Grove. A marsh harrier and 3 common buzzards were seen over Langenhoe.

Birds of prey seen by Andy Field from the north side of the Island on Sunday included a merlin at Reeveshall and then at the end of the afternoon 11 marsh harriers at the Langenhoe roost and a little owl seen on a top of a tree near Shop Lane.


A flock of 15 corn buntings perched in a bush near the Maydays seawall, some of them singing in the sun, as were some of the dozen yellowhammers in the same area of game crop. Also present here were 15 reed buntings, 25 chaffinch, 10 goldfinch and 40 linnets. At least 20 fieldfares perched in a hedgeline at Maydays and a green woodpecker was by the farm.
A pair of red-breasted mergansers and 20 knot were the only birds of note among the usual variety along the Pyefleet Channel. Five Canada geese flew along the Pyefleet Channel.

Four brown hares and 2 peacocks and a small tortoiseshell were seen at Maydays by Martin Cock on Sunday.
Three red-legged partridge were next to Chapmans Lane on Sunday while in Firs Chase the female blackcap was on the garden seed feeder again on Sunday.

Offshore from the Esplanade at West Mersea on Sunday, a great northern diver, red-throated diver, 3 Mediterranean gulls, 76 great crested grebes and a red-breasted merganser were seen by Steve Entwistle.

A flock of 400 brent geese were busy grazing one of the Rewsalls marshes on a dull Saturday 16th.
Also enjoying the wet pasture were 50 curlew at high tide, also 4 snipe flew off, redshank and a flock of 40 meadow pipits.
A male marsh harrier flew slowly over the marshes late morning and a short while later a female marsh harrier also quartered the fields. A common buzzard was mobbed by crows as it flew away.

Three little egrets were seen on the Rewsalls marshes, this one feeding in the dyke.

There's a bit more water around the marshes following some recent ditching work. At the Coopers Beach pond, there were 25 mallard, 10 teal and a redshank.

A mixed flock of 50 fieldfares and 50 redwing was feeding in a stubble field to the west of the East Mersea church, while 10 greenfinches and 5 stock doves were by the Youth Camp and 10 goldfinches by Coopers.

On a sunny Friday 15th, the waters were flat calm in the Mersea Quarters. A great northern diver was seen offshore from St Peters, also 5 rock pipits, 10 bar-tailed godwits, sparrowhawk and little egret were of note.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

SINGING STOCK DOVE

Three stock doves were perched above the path along the top of the Firs Chase caravan site on Thursday 14th. One stock dove has been heard singing in recent mornings near the Lane.

A female marsh harrier flew low over the Strood fields on Thursday, hunting low along one of the ditches before heading south-west towards the Hard. The bird passed close to me but unfortunately looking straight into the sun, as picture shows.
The marsh harrier passed right over a section of ditch near where a pair of grey partridge had been feeding only a few minutes earlier. Luckily they managed to stay hidden while the harrier passed over.

The pair of stonechat was in the usual area near the borrowdyke on Thursday, also 10 reed buntings, 10 skylarks, 4 meadow pipits and 3 rock pipits noted.

Some of the 500 brent geese were gathered along the Strood channel having been flushed off the Strood fields. A Mediterranean gull was flying over fields by the Strood Hill.

Off West Mersea's Esplanade on Thursday 14th, a possible black-throated diver, great northern diver and red-throated diver were seen by Martin Cock. Two great northern divers and a black-necked grebe were seen offshore from the Esplanade on Wednesday 13th by Andy Field.

On Tuesday 12th a common buzzard, kestrel and a flock of 50 skylarks were seen near Cross Lane, while at the south end of Shop Lane a sparrowhawk flew over and 16 pied wagtails were feeding in a horse paddock.

Fifty wigeon were resting along the Strood Channel on Monday 11th, also 50 teal seen too, while eight avocets and 25 little grebes were also noted.
The pair of stonechats were by the seawall, a corn bunting was feeding near the seawall as were a dozen reed buntings.

The sunny weather saw common buzzards in the air with three together over Ray Island, another two high over the Strood fields while one flew west high over Firs Chase on Monday midday. A sparrowhawk hunted low over the saltings by Strood Hill and a Mediterranean gull flew over the fields.

At the end of Monday afternoon Andy Field and I watched the harriers going into the Langenhoe roost from the Shop Lane seawall. Twelve marsh harriers were seen but no sign of the ringtail hen harrier seen the previous two evenings by Darrell Stile from the Brightlingsea seawall. Also four common buzzards over Langenhoe, a barn owl hunting over Reeveshall and a little owl calling near Fishponds Wood. Six red-breasted mergansers were in the Pyefleet.

Two muntjac deer were grazing one of the Reeveshall pastures late Monday afternoon and a red squirrel scrambled away from the footpath up into the trees of Fishponds Wood by the old decoy-bunker.
On Friday 8th a dancing stoat and a muntjac deer were seen by the country park pond by Martin Cock.

On Sunday 10th three great northern divers, red-throated diver, Slavonian grebe and a common scoter were seen off the Esplanade by Graham Ekins.

The female blackcap has been a regular visitor to the bird feeders in the Firs Chase garden in recent days. A house sparrow made a rare brief visit to the feeders on Thursday 14th.

An early red admiral was out in the sunshine in Adrian Amos's West Mersea garden on Wednesday 13th.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

WINDY STROOD

Sixteen avocets were feeding along the edge of the Strood channel during a windy morning of Thursday 7th. There has been a small flock of up to 25 avocets over the last fortnight feeding along this channel.

Nice and sunny but windy along the Strood seawall on Thursday. Not much different from recent walks with 200 golden plover, 200 lapwing, 100 shelduck, 400 brent geese, 50 wigeon, 10 black-tailed godwits being the main birds of interest.

A flat sea on Wednesday made it easy to see birds on the water such as these two distant great northern divers seen from the beach at St Peters. A black-necked grebe was located in the afternoon by Andy Field, first found by Brian Churches off Old Hall. Andy also noted offshore 5 great northern divers, 3 red-throated divers, guillemot and 27 red-breasted mergansers.

Also seen at St Peters were a little egret, rock pipit, reed bunting, sparrowhawk, while 20 sanderling, bar-tailed godwit and ten black-tailed godwits were on Cobmarsh Island. A male marsh harrier was displaying high over Old Hall Marshes and a black swan was seen flying with a mute swan up Ray Channel. A kingfisher was reported flying over St Peters Marsh in the afternoon.
There was no sign of the yellow-legged gull seen the previous day on Packing Shed island by Steve Hunting.

A flock of 700 brent geese was feeding in the increasingly muddy field by the Strood on Tuesday 5th. A flock of 50 ringed plovers was also feeding in this muddy field.
The pair of stonechat and a rock pipit were noted while 30 goldfinches were feeding on birches in Feldy View.

A red kite flew east over Martin Cock's West Mersea garden in the early afternoon of Tuesday.
A female goosander was seen by Martin in the Pyefleet channel at Maydays on Monday 4th.
David Allen reported seeing a great northern diver, 2 Mediterranean gulls, 16 sanderling, and a red-breasted merganser off West Mersea on a wet Monday.

Two common buzzards were perched together near the seawall below Bower Hall on Sunday 3rd.

A short while later one of the buzzards sat on a nest that looked like an old crows nest.
Also seen in the Bower Hall and Maydays area on Sunday were 3 marsh harriers, sparrowhawk and at least 2 peregrines, possibly three, high over Bocking Hall having scattered 1000 golden plover and 200 lapwing into the air.

Small birds at Maydays were 10 yellowhammers, 50 chaffinch, 50 linnet, 20 reed buntings, 50 skylarks, great spotted woodpecker and 10 fieldfares.

The tide was receding from the top end of the Pyefleet Channel with a small number of redshank, grey plover, grey plover, dunlin and shelduck on the mud. Three little egrets and 2 Mediterranean gulls and a grey heron noted, also two common seals basking on the saltmarsh.

Later on Sunday afternoon Steve Entwistle noted 11 yellowhammers, corn bunting, 50 linnet, marsh harrier while hunting over Langenhoe were seen short-eared owl, merlin and barn owl. Also a great northern diver seen off the Esplanade by Steve on Sunday.

A covey of 5 red-legged partridge were close to the roadside at Chapmans Lane on Sunday.

A female blackcap was an unexpected visitor to the bird feeder for a few minutes in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday 3rd.

A red squirrel made a rare visit onto the lawn of the Firs Chase garden, carrying a walnut which it then proceeded to bury on Monday 4th.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

BRANT WITH BRENT

The black brant was found feeding with 500 brent geese in a field beside Cross Lane on the east side of West Mersea on Saturday 2nd.

The brent flock looked like they were feeding on a field of winter wheat, two fields back in from the beach. A Mediterranean gull flew over one of the fields.

The brent geese flew off the field and rested on the nearby sea in front of Waldegraves caravan site for over half an hour. The black brant wasn't seen when the geese were on the sea.

Up to 100 sanderling fed along the beach near Waldegraves during the high tide period, frequently having to dodge the many dog walkers on the beach.

Offshore two great northern divers, Slavonian grebe, 4 red-breasted mergansers and ten great crested grebes were noted.

Four song thrushes and 12 blackbirds were feeding on the short grass next to the beach.

The song thrushes seemed quite confiding when they were out feeding but every so often all the birds would fly back into the nearby bushes for safety.

On Friday 1st along the Strood seawall two marsh harriers were noted at separate times over Ray Island, 45 ringed plovers were feeding in an increasingly muddy wheat field during high tide, also a rock pipit along the saltmarsh.

One of the regular red squirrels, the darker coated male, was seen on the feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Friday 1st.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

FOGGY MORN

Fog descended mid morning on West Mersea, reducing visibility to about 40 metres in places such as this scene along from the Dabchicks sailing club.
Three fieldfares were calling from a tree top in the caravan site before flying off. A bar-tailed godwit was feeding in the fog near the Dabchicks along with a few dunlin, grey plover and redshank.

Much of the snow that fell overnight on Tuesday had already melted by Wednesday mid-morning such as this field in the Firs Road cemetery.

There was plenty of blue sky above the Strood channel during a walk along the seawall on Wednesday 30th. A redshank waded across the mudflats to feed during low tide. Among the usual waders on show, the ones of note were a couple of avocets, 20 knot and 20 black-tailed godwits.

Amongst the wildfowl along the Strood were 500 brent geese, some flying onto the nearby field to feed, also 50 wigeon and 100+ shelduck.
A marsh harrier flew over the saltmarsh near the Strood while a buzzard was high over Bonners Barn on the mainland side.

Amongst the small bird noted were pair of stonechat, 50 linnet in two flocks, 20 skylarks, 20 reed buntings, 10 goldfinch and 2 meadow pipit.

On Tuesday 29th a pair of red-breasted merganser were in Besom Channel near Cobmarsh Island, 2 rock pipits on St Peters saltmarsh, marsh harrier near Old Hall Point, 200 brent geese, 8 black-tailed godwits and a bar-tailed godwit feeding on the mud.

Several of the ten reed buntings seen along the Strood seawall on Monday 28th were feeding on the edge of the mud in the Strood channel, like this male.
The pair of stonechat was still by the corner of the dyke, as was a snipe, also 25 linnet, 15 goldfinch while 30 greenfinches were gathering to roost in Firs Chase late afternoon.

This common buzzard was flying over the Strood field on Monday, also a marsh harrier seen, grey heron, 200 golden plover, 5 avocet, 5 knot, 600+ brent geese and 500 dunlin seen from the Strood seawall.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

HALF-HIDDEN HARE

This brown hare was keeping its big eye on the passing traffic on the nearby Chapmans Lane on Sunday 27th. The hare was half-hidden in the short crop of winter wheat so it wouldn't get noticed.

A strong northerly wind blew across the Maydays seawall during a walk there on Sunday 27th.
Three marsh harriers and a sparrowhawk were seen hunting over the fields and saltmarsh while feeding in the fields were 1000 golden plover, 50 lapwing and 50 curlew.

A large flock of 100 chaffinches were feeding in some game cover strips along with 5 yellowhammers, 10 reed buntings, 40 linnets and 20 house sparrows. Five fieldfares, five redwing and a couple of song thrushes were feeding in one of the fields.
There was no sign of any corn buntings, one of which was noted here on Friday 25th by Martin Cock.

In the Pyefleet a pair of red-breasted mergansers, 100+ mixed wigeon and teal and ten avocets were of note.

Steve Entwistle saw a pale-bellied brent goose with 70 brent geese at the West Mersea Hard and also reported a great northern diver from the Esplanade on Sunday 27th.

A pair of stonechat was found along the Strood borrowdyke on Saturday 26th, the female pictured here on a bramble bush. Ten reed buntings were the only other small birds seen along seawall.
A common buzzard and Mediterranean gull flew over the Strood fields.

A flock of 500 brent geese was feeding in the increasingly bare and muddy fields inside the Strood seawall.

Amongst the 30 black tailed godwits along the Strood channel on Saturday was this coloured ringed bird. Also 200 golden plover, 20 avocets, 180 shelduck, 50 wigeon and 4 knot were of interest.

Along the Strood seawall on Friday 25th was a pale-bellied brent goose with 500 brent geese, sparrowhawk, 15 avocets and a flock of 15 goldfinch.
The pale-bellied brent goose was also seen on Friday at the Hard by Richard Allen who also reported seeing 22 red-breasted mergansers from the Esplanade.
At the end of Friday a barn owl was seen by Martin Cock hunting near the park pond, later a different barn owl near Church Lane.
A common buzzard was perched in a hedgeline near Bocking Hall on Thursday 24th.

A marsh harrier was hunting over the fields near the East Mersea road near Weir Farm on Wednesday 23rd, while 200 golden plover were in the Chapmans Lane field. Sixteen red-breasted mergansers were seen in the Colne by Andy Field.

On Tuesday 22nd three eider, nine Slavonian grebes, red-throated diver were seen offshore from Coopers Beach by Martin, also a stonechat near the caravan park.
Near the Dabchicks on Tuesday were 30 avocets, 25 black-tailed godwits and a passing sparrowhawk.

Offshore from the country park on Monday 21st were 3 Slavonian grebes and a pair of red-breasted mergansers. A little owl was being mobbed in the clifftop trees by several noisy blackbirds. Two Slavonian grebes were seen by Martin offshore from Coopers Beach on Tuesday.

Monday, 21 January 2019

STOAT SHOW

A stoat put in another brief appearance at the park pond on Sunday 20th, hanging around long enough for Andy Field to take this photograph of it. One was seen here three weeks ago, so maybe the same individual out hunting.

A common buzzard was photographed by Andy perched in the trees above the park pond on Sunday.
By the Golfhouse a water rail was reported being seen beside the dyke.

Sixteen red-breasted mergansers were seen by Andy during a walk along the north side of the Island on Sunday, these two seen along with another pair at Maydays while 12 others were in the Colne.
A greenshank was seen along the Strood channel by Charlie Williams.

Offshore from Church Lane/ Coopers Beach one great northern diver, 5 red-throated divers and 3 Slavonian grebes were seen by Darren Underwood on Sunday 20th.

There was a colourful sunrise out to sea from the country park first thing on Saturday 19th.

Twenty teal were busy on the park pond on Saturday feeding and displaying noisily to each other. Also 14 gadwall and a Cetti's warbler was heard calling from the nearby hedgeline.

Out to sea from the small grass field to the west of the park was a nice mix of divers and grebes seen on a flat sea on the morning high tide on Friday 18th. A black-throated diver, four great northern divers, 12 Slavonian grebes, 250+ great crested grebes, 500+ cormorants and 224 shelduck.

Over the park at the end of the day a buzzard flew over some recently mown grassland. In the early Friday evening a barn owl perched by the East Mersea road near Church Lane.

On Thursday 17th a black-throated diver, 4 great northern divers, 20 great crested grebes, 4 red-breasted mergansers, 2000 black-headed gulls and 3 sanderling were seen by Steve Grimwade off Seaview Avenue.

Martin Cock reported seeing a pair of grey partridge at Maydays Farm on Wednesday 16th and a barn owl near Bromans Lane on Tuesday 15th.