Sunday, 18 February 2018

PARK POCHARD

A female pochard was in the park dyke on Sunday 18th, diving down to feed every so often. Several tufted ducks were also present, nine later gathered on the nearby park pond.

Eighteen redshank roosted on the main pool in the park's fields on Saturday and Sunday at high tide, as did 2 black-tailed godwits.

The sunshine on Sunday inspired several lapwings to display over the grazing fields - spring just round the corner. At the pools were 100 wigeon, 30 teal, 6 gadwall, 4 shoveler and 20 mallard, while in the rest of the fields were 300 brent geese, 600+ wigeon and 2 greylag geese. Thirty curlew roosted in the fields on Sunday but 70 the previous day.


From the Point on Sunday morning 14 red-breasted mergansers were in the river and a rock pipit on the saltmarsh.

Eight little egrets were on the trees by the park pond on Sunday, seven present on Saturday. The water rail showed again on both days feeding along the outer edge with the field.
The Cetti's warbler was singing by the pond on Sunday and there was also one singing in the hedge at the west end of Bromans Lane first thing on Sunday morning.


Elsewhere on the Island on Sunday 18th, the black redstart was seen at Coopers Beach by Steve Entwistle along with 130 great crested grebes and 4 Slavonian grebes. A merlin was seen on Langenhoe marsh by Andy Field and also two snipe on the Golfhouse saltmarsh, while from the Strood seawall the glossy ibis and a merlin were seen on Ray Island by Charlie Williams.

A surprise sight on Saturday 17th was a short-eared owl circling high over the grass field behind the park pond late afternoon. It landed briefly in a tall tree in one of the nearby gardens where the crows began to pester it. After a couple of minutes it took off east over the fields and appeared to land while dropping out of sight behind a hedge in the park's grazing fields.


Two great spotted woodpeckers and a pair of house sparrows were in the Cudmore Grove car park on Saturday.


The black redstart was seen at Coopers Beach by Glenn Moore lunchtime on Saturday but it couldn't be found later in the afternoon by Steve Grimwade, although barn owl, pair of stonechats and a Mediterranean gull did show.


The Swallow Birding boat trip from West Mersea into the Blackwater on Saturday 17th reported 5 common scoter, 35 goldeneye, 70 red- breasted mergansers, 6 great northern divers, shag, Slavonian grebe, 4 marsh harriers, 5 common buzzards, peregrine, 130 avocets and 2 Mediterranean gulls.

The wintering pair of stonechat was along the Strood seawall on Friday 16th. The black brant was in the Strood channel along with part of the 1500 brent geese flock that came of the Peldon fields. A common buzzard circled in the air near Bonners Barn and 50 fieldfares near the East Mersea road up the hill. Ten meadow pipits and 2 reed buntings were feeding beside the Strood seawall.

A few redshank were still feeding in the shallow waters along the Strood as the tide came in on Friday 16th. In the nearby field were 62 golden plover and ten black-tailed godwits flew up-channel.


At the country park the little owl and water rail were seen on Friday afternoon.

Friday, 16 February 2018

WETTER PASTURE

Water levels have crept up in the park's grazing pastures following recent rains providing more feeding opportunities for the waders such as this black-tailed godwit, photographed by Andy Field on Thursday 15th.

The black-tailed godwit has been feeding around the pools of water in the fields for a couple of days.
A redshank was also feeding in the pools on Wednesday, while other waders in the fields included 50+ roosting curlew and 100+ lapwing.

Wigeon are still grazing different parts of the two grazing fields, these ones above seen feeding close for Andy to picture them.
On the nearby park pond 15 gadwall and a pochard were of interest, while 9 tufted ducks were present on Wednesday.


The regular water rail was out in the open for several minutes by the pond for Andy to photograph on Thursday. It was also seen feeding on Tuesday 13th.
Andy's short video clip of the water rail is at - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9haaRs4hDrc&feature=youtu.be;

The little owl was partially hidden in its usual spot along the alder hedge during Thursday 15th.

This kestrel perched on a bush near the Rewsalls marshes for Andy to photograph on Thursday 15th.
Also seen here were a greenshank, pair of stonechat, common buzzard, 100 curlew, sparrowhawk, goldcrest and 30 fieldfares. The black redstart was found again by Michael Thorley at the eastern end of the Coopers Caravan site along the seafront on Thursday morning.

At West Mersea by St Peters, a water rail, 13 sanderling and a great northern diver were seen by Andy on Wednesday 14th.
A wintering chiffchaff was seen by the Youth Camp entrance on Monday 12th by Martin Cock.

A dotted border moth was resting on the park's toilet building door just after dusk on Thursday 15th. A typical early spring moth at the park.

Monday, 12 February 2018

MAYDAYS SEAWALL WALK

A pair of yellowhammers brightened up a bush by the Maydays farmyard on a sunny Monday 12th. Half a dozen yellowhammers in total were feeding at the edge of bushes near the yard.

Other small birds seen around the Maydays farmland were 40 linnets, pair of stonechats, calling Cetti's warbler, 10 chaffinch, 15 goldfinch, 10 meadow pipit, 4 reed bunting and ten skylarks.

One fieldfare perched in a tree at Maydays calling out a few times before flying off.

The tide was going out during the late morning walk along the Maydays seawall. Of note were 2000 dunlin feeding on the mud, also 6 black-tailed godwits were seen. In the Pyefleet channel were 8 red-breasted mergansers, great crested grebe, 100 wigeon and 70 teal with a common seal resting on the saltmarsh

On Reeveshall a common buzzard flew over, 74 greylag geese, 150 lapwing, grey heron and 25 golden plover were noted. On Langenhoe a common buzzard and a marsh harrier were seen in flight.

At West Mersea on Monday afternoon a black-necked grebe was found of St Peters by Steve Hunting. Also here were great northern diver, shag, 2 common scoter, 9 red-breasted mergansers and a Mediterranean gull. Two rock pipits were seen by the houseboats.
Earlier on Monday Steve had seen 3 Slavonian grebes and red-throated diver off Coopers Beach but no sign of the black redstart on Monday.
Also reported from West Mersea on Monday by Martin Peers were 3 great northern divers, 23 sanderling and 5 Mediterranean gulls.

On Sunday 11th at East Mersea the black redstart and grey wagtail were seen at Coopers Beach by Steve Entwistle. The black redstart and grey wagtail were seen at Coopers beach on Saturday 10th by Andy Field.

The regular red squirrel was back on the feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday 11th late morning, spending a few minutes eating some of the peanuts on offer. This individual was also seen early morning on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

GREY WAG SURPRISE

A grey wagtail found feeding in a waterlogged corner of the Coopers Beach football pitch on Friday 9th was a nice surprise. After a few minutes walking about the big puddle, it flew off heading to a nearby ditch and pond.

It was also nice to see the black redstart is still between the caravans - ten days after first being found. The black redstart was relocated on Thursday by Martin Cock. A sparrowhawk flew over the caravans and dropped down to fly fast between them. 
Offshore a pair of pintail flew along the edge of the mudflats from the east but then returned back to the Colne. Along the Coopers borrowdyke 18 mallard, pair of shoveler and two little egrets were noted on Friday. The barn owl was seen hunting over the Rewsalls marshes again by Martin Cock on Thursday 8th.

Ice covered most of the park pond in the morning of Thursday 8th, with 90+ mallard resting along with 15 gadwall and three teal present. A sparrowhawk landed briefly in the grazing fields before heading into the copse by the pond. The little owl was in the usual alder hedge enjoying the morning sunshine.
A muntjac deer ran in front of the hide and two foxes were resting on each side of the pond on Thursday morning.

Five hundred wigeon were feeding on the frosty fields with some standing on the ice on the dyke. Also 100 lapwing and six skylarks in the fields.

A pair of mallard seen walking along the ice on the park dyke.

From the Point on Thursday a red-breasted merganser flew up the Colne, 500 knot feeding on the mud and 15 shoveler on the saltmarsh lagoons. Later in the day 11 red-breasted mergansers were offshore and a sparrowhawk flew low over the car park.


There was a light dusting of snow across the country park on Wednesday morning. It wasn't long before it all disappeared.
A common buzzard flew over the car park drifting west and four little egrets were at the park pond roost.

Offshore from West Mersea on Wednesday 4 great northern divers, 2 common scoter, 17 red-breasted mergansers and a Mediterranean gull were seen by Andy Field, while later 2 common buzzards were seen at Rewsalls.

On Tuesday 6th a female pochard was on the park pond, the little owl in the alder hedge, 600 wigeon and 150 lapwing in the grazing fields.
A barn owl showed well at the park in the late afternoon of Monday 5th, hunting over the long grass and catching a small mammal before flying off. Twelve stock doves gathered at the park pond copse at the end of the Monday.

At West Mersea during light snow flurries on Tuesday 6th David Allen recorded in the Blackwater 3 common scoter, 12 red-breasted mergansers, 8 great northern divers, 3 Slavonian grebes, black-necked grebe, shag, 16 sanderling and a Mediterranean gull.

Recent rains at the park have seen 3 song thrushes, 20+ blackbirds and several robins feeding on the grass after the worms.
A muntjac deer was seen trotting across the football pitch at Coopers Beach by Andy Field on Wednesday 31st Jan. A video taken of it  - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPCRwny3HQ8;

Friday, 9 February 2018

DIVERS AND GREBES


A boat trip from West Mersea into the Blackwater and nearby creeks provided close views of a variety of birds, for a small group of birders including Andy Field who took several photos on Saturday 3rd. The conditions were prefect with very light winds and very good visibility. One of five great northern divers seen in the estuary allowed the close photo above, also two red-throated divers noted.

A glossy ibis was seen flying near Ray Island, peregrine over the river, guillemot, 38 pintail, 5 common scoter, 37 goldeneye in the inner Blackwater and 37 red-breasted mergansers

Two shags were seen, one in winter plumage and one still showing some juvenile feathering.

Three Slavonian grebes were in the river, also two black-necked grebes and 100 great crested grebes.
Smaller birds noted by Graham Ekins on Saturday included 5 corn buntings and 7 linnets near Ray Island and also a blackcap near St Peters marsh.


The flat sea on Saturday afternoon at the country park provided distant views of 9 Slavonian grebes, two pictured above, also 500+ great crested grebes and three great northern divers.

On Friday 2nd the water rail, 20 gadwall and a sparrowhawk were seen by the park pond. In the early evening a badger was seen in Bromans Lane. At West Mersea a blackcap was in the Firs Chase garden.

Two water rails were seen at the park on Sunday 4th with the regular one at the pond but with a second bird feeding amongst the reeds by the dyke. On the grazing fields 600 wigeon were grazing until a marsh harrier flew north in the morning. Later a common buzzard passed over the car park being mobbed by crows.

Near the Point 30 shoveler and one avocet were on the saltmarsh pools while 400 golden plover and 150 were on the mud and in the river were 16 red-breasted mergansers.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

COOPERS BLACK RED

A black redstart was found by Michael and Sarah Thorley at Coopers Beach caravan park in the afternoon of Tuesday 30th. The flashing of the orange tail first alerted them to this bird as it flitted between caravans. First three photos here taken by Michael.

The black redstart was found along the front, sometimes hopping in between the caravans, sometimes on top of the caravans, or feeding out in the open and then disappearing for a time.

The whitish feathers on the wings suggest this bird is a young male in its first winter bird.

The black redstart was still present in the same area of the caravan site on Wednesday morning and was seen by Martin Cock and Andy Field- who managed to take these two photos.


The bird seemed to disappear in the afternoon and hasn't been reported since then.
It may still be in the area as the last mid-winter sighting of a black redstart on Mersea spent two weeks at the Wellhouse Green building development during the end of January / first half of February in 2008 - ten years ago.

Also seen at Coopers Beach on Tuesday was a barn owl over the marshes by Martin Cock. On Wednesday 31st, 25 fieldfares, 600 brent geese pictured above, and a sparrowhawk were seen near the caravan park.

A common gull photographed by Michael at Coopers Beach on the 4th.

At the country park on Tuesday 9 tufted ducks were along the dyke, while in the fields were 400 wigeon, 70 curlew, 50 lapwing and 5 skylarks. On the saltmarsh by the Golfhouse was a high tide roost of 500 dunlin, 150 grey plover, 150 redshank, one avocet and two common snipe.

A fox trotted over the grass field by the pond, here stopping behind an old stump to glance back.
At the pond was the water rail, 50 teal, pochard, 10 gadwall and 30 mallard. Nearby the little owl was perched in the alder hedgeline.

Offshore 9 Slavonian grebes, 425 great crested grebes and a red-breasted merganser were seen from the park on Tuesday 30th.
Along the East Mersea road early on Tuesday, a common buzzard was at Bocking Hall, two red-legged partridge near Weir Farm and a muntjac deer by Manwood Grove at the top of Shop Lane. 

The super blue blood moon loomed large to the east of the park over the river Colne at dusk on Wednesday 31st.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

GREEN WOODS

Three green woodpeckers and a fieldfare were feeding in a horse paddock near the east end of the East Mersea road on Monday 29th. A pair of mistle thrushes nearby were in trees with lots of clumps of mistletoe.


An avocet seemed to be practising early for the breeding season, sitting on one of the saltmarsh islands near the Golfhouse, where several pairs usually try and nest each late spring. Also on these pools on Monday were 25+ shoveler, with 1000 dunlin on the nearby mud. A stonechat was by the Golfhouse, a female kingfisher flew up and down the dyke by the Oyster Fishery and two rock pipits were on the saltmarsh. In the Colne 10 red-breasted mergansers were seen and a marsh harrier was on Langenhoe Point.


The song thrush in the Firs Chase garden has been in full song at dawn since the turn of the year. A female blackcap was an unexpected sight in the garden on Monday 29th, checking out the various ivy clumps. Also in the garden were 6 greenfinches and a goldcrest. A goldcrest made a rare appearance in Andy Field's garden in High St North on Sunday.

A red squirrel visited the garden feeder in Firs Chase in the morning of Monday 30th.

The red squirrel visits have not been every day through this winter period, maybe just two or three times a week.


A bit of early morning upside down stretching on the tree on Friday 26th needs a good grip on the tree with those back feet!

Visited the north-west corner of the Island for the change between the Strood and Maydays Farm on a sunny Sunday 28th. At the top of the Pyefleet channel were a scattering of redshank, shelduck and grey plover. Two common seals were resting on the saltmarsh. A common buzzard flew up channel and another one by Haycocks Lane. Two marsh harriers were hunting Reeveshall, one over Bower Hall and one on Langenhoe. Eighteen greylag geese were feeding on Reeveshall.


Two flock of fieldfares were seen -70 at Maydays and 150 near the Strood, while a redwing, 12 yellowhammers, 10 goldfinch, 20 chaffinch, 30 linnets, 2 grey partridge and a kingfisher were at Maydays Farm.

Two walks were taken along the Strood seawall over the weekend, a pair of stonechat was the highlight on Saturday 27th, also 15 little grebes, 2 red-breasted mergansers and four black-tailed godwits.


The glossy ibis on Ray Island was the highlight on Friday 26th. As it was feeding on the saltmarsh a fox walked past it, the ibis took to the air calling anxiously, it then circled above the fox a couple of times before settling back down again. Later the glossy ibis flew onto the mainland side and landed behind the seawall near the Feldy marsh.


Two female marsh harriers flew over the Ray saltmarsh, 3000 brent geese rose into the air on the Peldon side, 4 Canada geese flew past the Ray and a pair of pochard flew down channel. Along the Strood channel 200 wigeon, 100 teal, Mediterranean gull, 25 little grebes, and the only wader of interest were three black-tailed godwits. Two grey herons, 2 little egrets, rock pipit and four reed buntings were also noted while 6 red-breasted mergansers were seen from the Hard.


A distant common buzzard was photographed nearly 350 yards away by Michael Thorley from his garden near Meeting Lane on 12th January.