Thursday, 10 November 2011


The Cetti's warbler remains a scarce annual visitor to the Island, so one found by Andy Field the previous day at Rewsalls Marshes, provided the best opportunity of seeing one for the year on Thursday 10th. I joined Steve Entwistle and Martin Cock around lunchtime to see if we could catch a glimpse of this little skulker. The bird was singing a form of sub-song continuously from inside a thick blackthorn bush and hardly provided any views. The bird slowly worked its way along a ditch and we were rewarded with a nano-second view of the little brown bird flying fast across a field gate-way.

Whilst waiting for the Cetti's to show, a ringtail hen harrier seemed to be spending a bit of time hunting low over the surrounding fields. Two kestrels were present along the hedgelines and the regular little owl perched up in the willow tree near the Youth Camp entrance. There was no sign of the stonechat that had been seen the day before. However a silver-Y moth fluttered along the bottom of a hedgerow here.

Coopers Beach had provided some local excitement on Wednesday when Martin found a male black redstart near the clubhouse.The bird hopped around the grass and nearby seawall, perching up on fences and bushes, being chased away by a local robin. Also seen from here were 2 snow buntings on the seawall, a guillemot flying east, Mediterranean gull, two little egrets in the dyke with Andy later finding the Cetti's and a stonechat.

At the country park during Thursday, one snow bunting had been seen early in the morning at the Point before being disturbed by a dog-walker. Also at the Point were 3 rock pipits, 4 eider, 4 red-breasted mergansers, 4 sanderling and a marsh harrier flying up river. In the fields the black brant was back amongst the 400 brent geese and a goose that suggested pale-bellied. The jack snipe was seen at the pools by Andrew Thompson and Steve Grimwade, where many of the waders and wildfowl were spooked by a passing sparrowhawk as well as a fox on the prowl. Three fieldfares were also noted flying over the park and a late red admiral was seen on the wing.

The dull skies cleared on Wednesday afternoon and a nicely marked male wheatear was seen on this beach by the park. This is one of the latest records for a wheatear on the Island. At the Point 11 snow buntings were seen while Richard Brown was lucky enough to see 3 twite amongst the 30 linnets on the saltmarsh. Also seen from the Point were 3 red-breasted mergansers, male eider, marsh harrier, 2 sparrowhawks, 800 golden plover on the mud and 15 skylarks.

There seemed to be good numbers of wildfowl on the fields with 500 wigeon, 300 teal, 400 brent geese, pale-bellied brent goose and the greylag geese increasing to 24. The jack snipe was seen at the pools while 8 lesser redpolls flew over the pond and 15 fieldfares and 2 redwing were seen in the car park.

Earlier in the day Martin Cock watched a marsh harrier and a merlin as they flew over fields by the East Mersea road at Bocking Hall.

On Tuesday Steve Entwistle watched 2 "cracking-looking" twite feeding at the Point with some linnets. There was also the flock of at least 10 snow buntings flying around the beach here too.

The previous day on Monday Tim Mendham saw the pale bellied brent goose with the brent flock in the fields and counted 7 snow buntings at the Point which swelled to 9 by the end of the day. Two visiting birdwatchers were lucky enough to see a little auk flying into the Colne while 2 others were seen from nearby Old Hall Point as well as 8 little gulls at the entrance to the Mersea Quarters.

The moth trapping session during Wednesday night produced 7 moths of 5 species with this migrant micro-moth, the rusty-dot pearl the second one this autumn. Other moths were the November, yellow-line quaker, dark chestnut and chestnut. The bright full moon no doubt kept several moths away from the trap.

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