Sunday, 9 December 2018

BRENT FLOCK BUILDING UP

The flock of brent geese at the park has been building up recently with 700+ feeding in the park's grazing fields on Sunday 9th along with 70+ black-tailed godwits, some pictured in the foreground above. Also in the fields on Sunday morning were 400+ wigeon, 150 lapwing and 30+ curlew.
An avocet was on the saltmarsh pools by the Golfhouse as were 20+ shoveler, 100 teal and 100 wigeon.

Forty-five greylag geese were on the fields splashing about as they fed on the wet marshy area.
At the park pond a water rail showed briefly, also 3 little egrets and 8 gadwall present.

At West Mersea on Sunday 9th two great northern divers were seen offshore by Steve Entwistle.

On Saturday 8th there were two water rails at the side of the park pond at the end of the day, two fieldfares flew over the car park and 300 brent geese on the mudflats.

A buzzard flew east over the grazing fields on Friday 7th flushing some of the brent, wigeon and 19 black-tailed godwits off the fields. Forty greylag geese were in the fields, 500 golden plover flew overhead while at the pond at the end of the day were 40 mallard, Cetti's warbler seen flying into the reeds, 3 green woodpeckers and 30 goldfinches.
At West Mersea the black brant and great northern diver were seen by Sean Nixon on Friday.

Up to 400 wigeon were either in the park dyke or on the nearby saltmarsh on Thursday 6th. A merlin scattered lots of waders as it raced across the fields and mudflats as it headed westwards. A sparrowhawk perched up at the back of the fields, 40 greylags in the fields, 400 golden plover were on the mud while near the pond the water rail showed late on and fifteen magpies gathered to roost.

A red squirrel appeared to be eating sloes from a blackthorn bush near the park buildings early on Thursday.
A spoonbill was seen resting on Cobmarsh Island on Thursday by Andy Field, before it flew over to Old Hall Marshes. A great northern diver and red-throated diver were seen offshore from West Mersea.

Fifty fieldfare flew over the fields by Rewsalls farm on Wednesday 5th while at West Mersea the black brant and velvet scoter were seen offshore by Martin Cock. The velvet scoter was also seen on Tuesday 4th by Andy Field.
A flock of 100 fieldfare were seen near Rewsalls on Tuesday 4th and the previous day a barn owl was seen just after dark near Mortimers Farm by the allotments.
A red squirrel was seen near the Oyster Fishery by Martin Cock on Sunday 2nd.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

KEEN-EYED KESTREL

A male kestrel perched obligingly in a tree beside the Firs Chase caravan site at West Mersea on Sunday 2nd. 

The kestrel didn't seem concerned at having its photograph taken whilst walkers passed along the path beneath it. It was keeping a keen eye down on a scrubby corner at the back of the caravan site. A chiffchaff was seen in a nearby hedge also 10 goldfinches.

On one of the fields by the Strood were at least 200 brent geese feeding on the winter wheat. In the nearby Ray Channel a noisy flock of 1000 brent geese landed on the water having been flushed off a Peldon field.

Birds of interest noted during the walk along the Strood seawall were rock pipit, 10 reed buntings, 10 skylarks, 15 linnets, 300 lapwing, 50 golden plover and a marsh harrier over on the Feldy side. 

On Friday at the country park the first wigeon in the grazing fields this winter were seen with 300 noted also 200+ brent geese and 46 greylag geese. At the pond were 20 little egrets and the Cetti's warbler singing.
At West Mersea on Friday, a velvet scoter was seen from Coast Road by Andy Field.

At the country park a red squirrel was seen on Friday by Andy in trees by the horseride near the pillbox among the bushes.

Two red squirrels were in the Firs Chase garden on the cedar tree at the same time late morning on Sunday 2nd. They took it in turns to visit the feeder but both spending several minutes eating the assorted nut mix.

Both red squirrels are males that have been regular for several weeks here. This one is a bright orange colour with the long ear tufts.

The second red squirrel has a darker coat including the ear tufts which are a shade browner than the individual in the earlier photo.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

BRIEF VISIT BY BRAMBLING


A brambling made a brief appearance in the car park of the country park on Wednesday 28th. It was first spotted splashing about in a puddle in the car park along with a variety of other birds before it disappeared into the nearby bushes. It eventually reappeared to feed under the rowan trees for several minutes. Two song thrushes, 8 chaffinches, ten goldfinches and ten blackbirds were also in the car park, while a sparrowhawk passed quickly overhead.

Earlier 26 greylag geese were seen feeding in the park's grazing fields on the Wednesday, while the previous day 200 brent geese were seen in the fields.

A common seal swam close to the East Mersea Point as it headed up-river on a dull Monday 26th.
A female common scoter flew out of the river and there was a possible female scaup seen landing in the outer part of the river but a bit distant.
At the park pond 20 shoveler and 18 gadwall were the main ducks of note while a flock of 25 fieldfares flew to the north of the park, also 2 redwings, 15+ blackbirds.

At the park pond a common buzzard perched in the gloom in the trees above the water which worried the wildfowl below including the 22 shoveler and 18 gadwall. A flock of 25 fieldfares flew to the north of the park, also 2 redwings and 15+ blackbirds were seen at the park on Monday.
At West Mersea the black brant was seen near the Hard by Martin Cock on Monday.

On Sunday 25th a flock of 100 fieldfares flew south-west over the car park along with a couple of redwings. A big flock of 350+ fieldfares was seen by Martin also on Sunday, feeding in fields between Bromans Lane and Shop Lane. In the Pyefleet Channel on Sunday 6 red-breasted mergansers and a snipe were reported by Martin.
A barn owl flew over the East Mersea road at Bocking Hall early Sunday evening while earlier in the day 5 red-legged partridge were near Chapmans Lane.

Two rock pipits and 3 sanderling were at East Mersea Point on Saturday 24th

The snow bunting was last seen on the beach at East Mersea Point on Friday 23rd, its fifth day here and still very confiding on each day.
Four red-breasted mergansers and a common seal were in the Colne, a rock pipit at the Point, 40 curlews in the grazing fields while 5 goldcrests and a sparrowhawk were noted around the park.

A red squirrel was seen crossing East Mersea road near Church Lane early on Friday morning also two red squirrels together in the Firs Chase garden on Friday.

Lots of December moths dropped into the moth trap at the park during the night of Thursday 22nd, with 15 individuals noted which is the most ever seen here in one night. Most of the moths seemed in fresh condition and freshly emerged.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

CONFIDING SNOW BUNTING

A very confiding snow bunting was found on the beach at East Mersea Point on Monday 19th by Simon Patient. The bird blends in very well to the beach surroundings which makes it quite easy to overlook for anyone trying to find it. The picture above was taken by Andy Field on Tuesday 20th.


The snow bunting was still on the beach on Wednesday 21st when it was photographed here by Andrew Thompson with his phone. Three rock pipits were seen at the Point too.

This late flowering sea rocket on the East Mersea Point also caught the eye of Andrew on Wednesday.

Five eider were seen flying past the Point on Wednesday 21st as they headed up river before turning back and soon flying back out to sea. Also seen by the Point was a large wader gathering of mainly 200 knot and 500 dunlin as well as several grey plover and redshank.
On the park pond ten gadwall while from the nearby alders a siskin was seen flying away.


The black brant was back on the West Mersea foreshore along Coast Road on Wednesday 21st, first seen by Steve Hunting and then photographed above by Andy. It seems to be the same bird as in previous winters - there has been a black brant here for the last four winters.

On Thursday 22nd Andy Field reported that the snow bunting was still at East Mersea Point, 3 eider flew out of the river, also buzzard, a sparrowhawk and in the fields 120 brent geese were feeding.
Two common buzzards were by the field at Chapmans Lane on Thursday, while a barn owl perched by the East Mersea road just west of Meeting Lane shortly after dark.

Two red squirrels were at the Firs Chase feeder early before sun-rise on both Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

STROOD BRENT

There have been more brent geese along the Strood Channel in recent days with 100 of the geese feeding in the nearby fields on Friday 16th. Also seen during the seawall walk were a marsh harrier, sparrowhawk, four avocet, 40 wigeon, 30 linnets, 6 reed buntings and a snipe passing overhead.


One wader of interest along the Strood on Friday was this distant greenshank, presumably the same bird seen in the area a few days earlier by Martin Cock.


On Saturday 17th a peregrine, common buzzard and kestrel were seen near Reeveshall Farm as was a flock of 30 stock doves.


Along the Strood Channel on a sunny Sunday 18th, a marsh harrier, 400 brent geese, 50 wigeon, 50 teal, 20 black-tailed godwits and 22 little grebes were the main birds of note.
A common buzzard swooped low over gardens whilst being mobbed by crows in the Firs Chase and Firs Road area on Sunday.

On the Langenhoe ranges at the end of Sunday afternoon, 20 marsh harriers were watched from the Shop Lane seawall coming into roost, including one flock of nine birds arriving together late on. Also a merlin seen but no sign of any hen harriers.

On Monday 19th there were 500 brent geese seen in the area, although most of this flock were in the Ray Channel and feeding on the Peldon fields.
 Also along the Strood was a marsh harrier flying over, 10 knot with 300 dunlin, 25 little egrets on the saltings, while inside the seawall was a green sandpiper, fieldfare, 30 linnets and a common buzzard.


A snow bunting was found at East Mersea Point on Monday 19th by Simon Patient - the first record here this year.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

MUNTJAC IN MEADOWS

A muntjac deer wandered along the back of the park's grazing meadows on a sunny mid-morning on Wednesday 14th. After a few minutes browsing as it walked along, it then disappeared inside the hedge.

The regular common buzzard perched in a tall tree at the back of the pond, a siskin was briefly with some of the 30 goldfinches by the pond, a redwing was in nearby bushes.
In the grazing fields there were 20 juvenile brent geese among a flock of 60, later the flock increasing to 200 geese. At the Point were 2 rock pipits, 6 skylarks and 800+ brent geese on the mud.

On Thursday 15th at the park pond were common buzzard, sparrowhawk, blackcap, 40 goldfinches, 6 gadwall and 3 tufted ducks. Flying over the park were 400 golden plover, some seen later on the mud, also a snipe flew over calling and there were two goldcrests along one of the paths.

Two lesser redpolls flew west over the park on Tuesday 13th, briefly landing near the car park. Also noted were a common buzzard, 40 goldfinches, while on the pond were 20 shoveler. At the Point were 2 rock pipits, 5 meadow pipits and 2 reed buntings.

Ten siskin flew over the park on Monday 12th and a fieldfare was heard calling in the car park in the morning.
A red squirrel was seen briefly in the trees behind the park buildings on Monday morning. There was also the usual male red squirrel at the nut feeder in the Firs Chase garden first thing on Monday.

A merlin was seen perched on Pewit Island in the Pyefleet Channel by Andy Field on Sunday 11th, also two marsh harriers on Langenhoe.

The moth trap operated on a couple of recent nights with ten individuals on Tuesday 13th and then five the following night with seven species in total including this mottled umber pictured above.

A scarce umber was found resting on the moth trap beside the mottled umber, both typical early winter moths at the park. Also noted were large wainscot, red-green carpet, turnip, feathered thorn, November sp moth and yellow-line quaker.


Hiding among the fallen leaves on the ground near the trap was this well camouflaged angle-shades.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

PARK BUZZARD

A common buzzard perched briefly on the kestrel's oak tree at the back of the park's grazing fields on Saturday 10th. It has become a regular sight along this hedgeline in recent weeks. A yellowhammer flew west over the fields in the morning.
Fifteen little egrets were at the pond mid morning, the Cetti's warbler sang a few times, 30 goldfinches flew around the alder trees while out on the mudflats were 300 golden plover.


On Friday 9th it was busy at the park pond with 100 wigeon, 50 teal, 30 little egrets, grey heron, 4 gadwall and a buzzard in the nearby trees. Five siskin flew east over the park in the morning.

A kestrel perched on the sign at the East Mersea Point, after having a tussle with another kestrel nearby on Thursday 8th. A red breasted merganser flew up river and there was a rock pipit on the saltmarsh.


A pair of mute swans have been back on the dyke for the last few days, after an absence of two or three months. Joining the swans in the dyke were some of the 400 wigeon in the area, also a few shoveler and some teal. In the park's grazing fields were 300 brent geese and 25 greylag geese, while 40 little egrets were at the pond as was a late migrant hawker enjoying the sunshine.


On Wednesday 7th at the park, two siskin and fifty goldfinches were near the pond, 3 goldcrests, 12 chaffinches near the car park while 28 greylag geese were feeding in the fields.


A common buzzard was at the back of the park's fields on Tuesday 6th, a sparrowhawk to the north, while on the pond were 60+ teal and a tufted duck and gadwall. Three goldcrests were noted around the park and the little owl flew over the car park at dusk.


A stoat made a rare appearance near the park pond on Friday 9th, bounding along the ground with occasional glimpses of its distinctive black tip to the tail, seen from the hide.


The stoat would stop every so often to look around the field, before it scampered off to a nearby hedge. It's been a few years since the last stoat was seen at the park - and one of the last sightings was at this same location by the pond.
A red squirrel was seen moving along the hedgerow beside the car park first thing on Friday 9th. The previous day a red squirrel was at the feeder in the Firs Chase garden early on Thursday 8th.


Numbers of moths at the park have dwindled recently although ten were noted through the night of Thursday 8th. A few feathered thorns were noted, one pictured above, also large wainscot, large yellow underwing and November moths were logged.