Monday, 16 April 2012


A pair of very confiding robins joined in the gardening in Firs Chase over the weekend. Both birds were showing great interest as I turned the compost heap over, dropping down onto the compost to pick up spiders, centipedes, worms and other tasty morsels. It seemed as if the birds might have had young to feed as they carried beakfuls away with them.

Elsewhere in the garden the pied blackbird was still present, while singing from the nearby trees were a chiffchaff and blackcap. Overhead a pair of displaying stock doves glided together, above the gardens, which seemed an interesting sight for a bird not normally associated with gardens. One of the regular sparrowhawks passed overhead coming from The Lane, where there was a goldcrest heard singing.

This green-veined white butterfly was the only butterfly seen in the garden over the last few days, but then it has been surprisingly chilly in the northerly breeze.

A Monday evening walk alongside the Strood channel was a bit quiet as the sun went down and the tide came in. Twenty black-tailed godwits were the main waders of note other than the noisy 150+ redshank. A little egret and pochard were noted in the dyke and the two brent geese were still feeding in the fields, while a kestrel and 20 linnets were seen nearby.

A late afternoon walk on Friday by the Strood provided views of a short-eared owl hunting over the long grasslands on Ray Island, a pair of avocets in the channel, a male wheatear by the seawall and 2 singing corn buntings in the oil-seed rape crop.

Martin Cock heard the first nightingale back to the Island singing by the country park entrance on Saturday morning. This is eight days later than the first date last year when the nightingale was first heard. A lot of other migrants seem to be a bit later this year and the cold northerly winds won't be helping them.

Other birds noted by Martin at the park were a swallow, sand martins, common tern and also the first whitethroat by the Oyster Fishery. On Saturday swallows were also seen over the East Mersea Vineyard, Haycocks Lane and over Firs Chase too.

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