Monday, 1 December 2014


The black brant proved very obliging again when it was seen by Martin Cock beside the West Mersea Hard, feeding on algae on the mud on a very dull Monday 1st. Both these pictures above and below, were taken by Andy Field a few days earlier on Thursday 28th.

There have been much more striking black brants seen here in the past showing a blacker back and upperwings as well as a whiter flank. The big white collar on this bird is typical of black brant, seen here standing next to a dark-bellied brent goose.

Also seen in the Mersea Quarters on Monday morning was a shag swimming along one of the channels.

At the country park a pintail flew over the grazing fields and headed back up the Colne, a Mediterranean gull flew past the Point with a group of other gulls and a lesser redpoll flew west over the Point. On the mud about 500 golden plover were gathered at low tide.

Wildfowl numbers were a bit lower than recent days, with only about 300 wigeon, 400 teal and fifty black-tailed godwits the main birds of interest. A sparrowhawk was seen a few times by the pond, across the fields and over the saltmarsh.

Andy Field finally caught up with an Island green sandpiper this year at Rewsalls and also watched two marsh harriers, little owl and fifteen fieldfares in the same Youth Camp/ Rewsalls area.

The sun came out briefly during the middle of Sunday 30th, following up the previous day's blue skies and low wind. In the fields 1000 wigeon were spread out feeding on the grass while 600 teal were mainly around the wetter areas.

At the end of the afternoon 15 little egrets looked like they were settling down to roost for the night in the trees by the pond, until a fox jogged past, which spooked seven birds to fly off. Two little owls duetted as usual from a nearby garden, two water rails also called to each other by the pond but only one of the Cetti's warblers sang late afternoon. There was a brief flash of a white wing of a barn owl as it flew low behind a hedge near the pond at dusk.

At Maydays farm a peregrine helped flush 600 brent geese off the fields and a stonechat was seen too by Martin Cock on Sunday. At the end of the afternoon Andy Field noted 20+ marsh harriers at their Langenhoe roost including the sight of seven males in the air together.

On Saturday a peregrine provided a nice flypast over the Point as it headed high towards the outer reaches of the river, before banking down over the East Mersea mudflats. In the bushes at the Point a stonechat was seen as were six reed buntings, 4 dunnocks as well as 3 rock pipits with a few meadow pipits.

In the fields 400 brent geese were feeding in the morning along with 700 wigeon and 400 teal. At the park pond the high tide roost of 28 little egrets was the highest for some time and the pair of kestrels rested on their oak tree side by side.

On Thursday 28th a water rail showed itself again along the edge of the pond feeding on the field. On the dyke the three juvenile mute swans took their first flights although only for fifty metres or so with their parents watching nearby.

The call of the tawny owl has been heard in West Mersea recently from the Kingsland Road /  Grove avenue area as well as Broomhills / Coverts area.

This scarce umber was one of a few moths that turned up at the trap during the night of Wednesday 27th. Despite its name it is reasonably widespread although its probably not often found as most traps have already been put away for the winter.

There were a couple of winter moths found too, this one resting on a window on the nearby house.
Other moths included a yellow-line quaker and four December moths.

It seems to have been a good autumn for the small rusty dot pearl with three found in the trap by Thursday morning. A diamond-back moth was also found inside the trap.

Adrian Amos reported a red admiral in his West Mersea garden on the sunny Saturday 29th, while one was noted flying west over the country park the previous day on Friday.

A dead badger was reported beside the East Mersea road near Cosways caravan site first thing on Saturday 22nd.

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