Sunday, 6 July 2014


Back in circulation again after a fortnight across the Channel - that's the English one not just the Strood Channel! Trying to catch up with what's been happening in the last couple of weeks.
This picture shows the very successful emergence of five kestrel chicks from the nestbox at the back of the park grazing fields. Andy Field took this photo on Sunday 29th June showing five chicks on various perches.

The other surprise sight were these two very young avocet chicks on the grazing field pools on the 29th, photo by Andy again. Although there has been a small group of avocets present here over the last month, there was no sign of a nesting bird here although they must have done so out of view. This is the first occurrence of breeding on the park fields, although avocets have bred on the neighbouring saltmarsh.

The downside of having breeding avocets with chicks is that the parents chase most other birds away from the area. On Saturday 5th July the parents were seen chasing mallards dabbling too close, also moorhens and a passing redshank. When it started to drizzle, the mother bird crouched over the chicks to keep them dry. Two teal were the only other birds of note on the pools.

The great tits with their second attempt at raising a family, are still feeding their brood of chicks inside this breeze block at the front of the park house. This pair of great tits are presumed to be the ones that sadly failed to rear a family a couple of months ago from inside the plastic traffic bollard. They're now having much better luck with this proven nest site and the chicks should be flying within a week.

At Firs Chase in West Mersea a reed warbler was singing in a garden on the 5th July while a sparrowhawk drifted over in the afternoon and 50 swifts flew west earlier in the morning.

David Jobbins reported finding a black redstart at the East Mersea vineyard on Wednesday 2nd - a good discovery. It's not been reported by anyone since.
Martin Cock saw a barn owl flying over the park on Tuesday 1st while at Maydays a greenshank was noted and on Reeveshall a young marsh harrier was seen flying over the reedbed. Two buzzards sat in a tree near Gyants Marsh at the back of Reeveshall. The yellow-legged gull has been seen on a couple of occasions alongside the Strood causeway this last week.

There haven't been many reports of painted ladies this summer so far, although I managed to photograph this one at the park on 19th June.

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