Sunday, 7 September 2014


This grey squirrel was found on the beach by Cosways caravan park in East Mersea by Roo Watkins on Sunday 7th. Being found on the beach would suggest that it had been recently washed up by the sea with the first report of it here was a couple of days ago.

There was an interesting observation earlier in the week of a grey squirrel seen swimming across the river Colne from Fingringhoe, scrabbling across the mud on the east shore and then scampering into nearby Alresford Grange Wood. It will be a worry if more try their luck by swimming onto Mersea Island.

Following the release of red squirrels from the wood near Victory Road in West Mersea last week, I had two more reports of sightings of one of the reds. David Nicholls relayed a sighting by a friend near Queen Ann Road and Prince Albert Road on Friday. About the same time Ann Cock enjoyed good views of one in Willoughby car park, presumably the same individual.

Apart from watching the swans swim serenely across the park pond on Sunday, the main highlight was seeing an osprey fly over late morning. It was watched approaching the pond from the east, passing over the grazing fields, then over the pond which it glanced down at whilst continuing purposely onwards to the west.
Interestingly, there was a report of an osprey seen flying west over the Abberton Reservoir visitor centre, about forty minutes later, presumably the same bird.

During mid afternoon a common buzzard flew west over the pond, fairly low down and as it was being watched passing overhead, a second bird could be seen much higher up, followed a few minutes later by another common buzzard high up. All the birds of prey seen drifting westwards over the park.

A female sparrowhawk was keeping low when it headed low over the fields and into the copse behind the pond. The kingfisher showed well again at least twice during the day, seen dropping into the water to catch small fish as well as diving in several times to help with preening. When it left the pond in the morning, the kingfisher flew directly towards and over the top of the hide as it headed south.

On Saturday 6th two wheatears were on the beach, 2 sanderling, the kingfisher flew along the dyke in the morning, 2 whimbrel calling, 100 golden plover flew overhead,10 common terns were feeding with a group of gulls in the river and there was also a feeding flock of 20 cormorants swimming in close formation in the river.

On the fields 200 teal, 5 wigeon, 2 snipe, 100 redshank, 10 black-tailed godwit, 5 shoveler were seen with 25 little egrets in the trees, 2 gadwall and 3 tufted duck on the pond. The kestrel was perched back on its tree.

Around the park 2 goldcrest were calling from the clifftop trees, a swift flew over the car park with 30 swallows and 5 house martins. Three blackcaps, lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, chiffchaff and reed warblers were seen in various bushes near the pond.

On Friday a spotted flycatcher perched briefly on top of a bush in the car park in the morning before flying west.

After a misty start to Sunday with a short light shower late morning, the day improved with plenty of sunshine. Some flowering ivy bushes in a hedge just north of the park were buzzing with bees and also this red admiral too.

Butterflies seen in the park on Sunday were 3 common blue, 4 speckled wood, 4 small heath, 2 large white, 10 small white and a comma. Five small red-eyed damselflies were seen on the park dyke resting on the vegetation on the surface.
Two adders were basking in the sun on Sunday at the park and one was also reported on Friday in a field near the bus turning circle.

A doe muntjac deer strolled along the hedge at the back of the grazing fields on Saturday mid morning, nibbling leaves as it went. Offshore from the park a common seal swam past 70m from the shore at high tide.

Fifty moths were in the trap at the park after Saturday night session with this L-album wainscot the only new one for the season. There should be several more of these ones noted at the park over the next two or three weeks.

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