Monday, 4 May 2009


Andy Field took this photo of an obliging grasshopper warbler, one of two singing birds on the nearby Langenhoe Ranges on Monday 4th. After three singing birds stopped off last spring at East Mersea for varying amounts of time, hopes were high that one would be found again here this year but sadly none yet.

Also on Langenhoe a hobby, 3 common buzzards, 6 marsh harriers, 7 pairs of Mediterranean gulls, greenshank, 2 nightingales, Cettis warbler, 60 black-tailed godwits, 100 grey plover, 240 dunlin, 4 knot and three pairs of avocet were noted by Andy and Richard Hull.

The fields on the north-west side of West Mersea are showing the bright yellow flowers of the oil-seed rape crops. It's not everyone's favourite crop but the bees like it and it does add a bit of colour.

This male reed bunting with the distinctive black head pictured below, was surprisingly tame as it perched close-by in the crop. Later it perched on some overhead wires and then had a tussle with a rival male. A third male was seen later singing by the dyke along the Strood seawall.

Other birds seen around the fields by the Strood included 2 reed warblers singing, 2 sedge warblers, 2 whitethroats, corn bunting, 10 swifts, 5 house martins and 10 swallows.

On the nearby Ray Island the cuckoo was heard singing, the sound carrying across the channel. A second bird appeared and the two of them flew off towards Copt Hall. In the Strood Channel, 12 whimbrel was the main wader species of note, although a few turnstone and oystercatchers were seen and 30 black-tailed godwits coud be seen landing in the Pyefleet Channel. A little egret fed along the dyke and then stood in the field.

A sparrowhawk glided over the fields and then over West Mersea. By the Hard a pair of Mediterranean gulls flew over the jetty and car park area, calling as they went. Amongst the moorings a pair of common terns were seen too. Three marsh harriers were seen high over the east end of Old Hall Marshes, including a displaying male flying straight up and down several times as if it was on a bungee rope!

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