Sunday, 9 November 2014


Amazed to see this red squirrel posing on our cedar tree in our garden in Firs Chase on Sunday 9th. My wife Nolly and I were treated to a couple of minutes of squirrel show, with the morning sunshine highlighting the red coat. For once the camera was close at hand, these pictures taken through the window, and we were able to watch it without disturbing it from inside our house.

The red squirrel appeared to be nibbling at the bark of one of the limbs, pictured below, probably after some weeping resin. It then scrambled onto a nearby birch tree, leapt onto the roof of our neighbour's garage and then shot up a pine tree to the top.

I was fortunate in seeing this red squirrel fifteen minutes earlier in another neighbours garden whilst taking the dog on a quick walk down Firs Chase. It was perching motionless in a bare ash tree alongside the road. However I had made the mistake of leaving the house without the camera and thought I'd paid the price for not carrying it!
Two of the local Firs Chase residents had also appeared with their cameras but the squirrel had disappeared. What a surprise to discover it had moved a few gardens up the road - to our garden - providing my wife with her second garden sighting in a week!

Three red squirrels were released in West Mersea in the summer and a further four animals were released last Monday.

It was nice to see our old friend the pied blackbird back in our garden foraging amongst a honeysuckle bush for berries. The bird has spent the summer several gardens away from us, having bred successfully in our garden the previous year.
There was the interesting sighting in the garden on Friday of a late female blackcap also seen in this same honeysuckle bush.

A red admiral flew across the garden during the sunny morning on Sunday.

The sun set across the Strood Channel with lots of waders gathering as the tide receded late on Sunday.
A marsh harrier perched briefly on top of a tree on Ray Island before heading down channel towards the Old Hall Marshes roost. A second marsh harrier was also seen heading in the same direction.
At least ten little egrets were perching on the Ray Island trees as dusk approached.
Thirty skylarks flew around one of the Strood fields and a couple of rock pipits were on the saltmarsh.

There was a big brent goose flock of 1500+ birds that flew off the wheat fields very noisily late afternoon. Most of the geese dropped down into the Strood Channel although many also headed to the Ray Channel. After 20 - 30 minutes, the geese had flown over to feed on the wheat fields on the Peldon side.

Amongst the several hundred dark-bellied brent geese was the black brant that had been seen on Friday - pictured below.

Scanning the flock of 400 brent geese on Friday at the Strood, this black brant was picked out. The picture above shows the much blacker brant goose on the left with the very white collar, almost meeting on the hind-neck and certainly meeting under the chin too. Unfortunately the goose didn't pose side-on as the flock took to the air just after this picture was taken. The white flank patch had been seen a short while earlier.

The only wader flock of note on Friday was the 500+ golden plovers that were flying over the fields during the high tide.

This black-headed gull was standing firmly on this wooden post near the Dabchicks Sailing Club on a windy Friday.

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