Sunday, 15 February 2015


It had been quite mild during Sunday 15th when the sun was out. However towards the end of the afternoon it turned cold again when the murk descended, which made for a chilly harrier-watch on the Shop Lane seawall. Here Andy Field and Matt Larkin were scanning the distant Langenhoe Point for marsh harriers, watching them as they came into roost.

At least thirteen marsh harriers were counted, possibly one or two more but sadly no sign of any hen harriers. There was a female merlin however which sat on a bush for a few minutes, before flying rapidly off.
(The harrier roost count carried out at the same time opposite West Mersea on the Old Hall Marshes revealed 32 marsh harriers but no hen harriers).

Other birds noted were a male goldeneye, 8 red-breasted mergansers, 20 avocets, one common snipe, and ten linnets.
Matt reported seeing a muntjac deer in a pig paddock in Shop Lane mid afternoon.

Two common buzzards were seen whilst walking the Maydays seawall on Saturday 14th, one bird circling overhead, pictured above, while the second bird perched on a bush on Langenhoehall Marsh. The marsh harriers were showing well with a couple of males displaying over the back of the Island and at least five other birds seen on Langenhoe ranges.

In the Pyefleet a pair of red-breasted mergansers and a great crested grebe were the only birds of note along with lots of wigeon, teal and shelduck.

A pair of grey partridge were unexpectedly seen in one of the Maydays fields, the male bird calling out loudly. The male stonechat was still present while other small birds on the farm included 10 reed buntings, 15 yellowhammers and 15 corn buntings.

A walk along the Strood seawall on Friday 13th produced good views of a kingfisher along the dyke, on one occasion diving down and catching a small tiddler. Also a common buzzard mobbed off the Island by a pair of carrion crows. After the buzzard had crossed the channel and then Ray Island, another crow mobbed it when it reached the Peldon side. A marsh harrier flew along the Peldon seawall.

A stonechat, ten linnets, rock pipit and five skylarks were the main small birds noted.

Amongst the boat moorings from the Hard were seen two shags perched on buoys in the far channel next to the Sorcerer boat.

In Firs Chase, West Mersea, the pied blackbird was seen in a neighbours garden, a robin was building a nest in a ivy covered tree and a tawny owl called at night.

On Thursday 12th Steve Entwistle saw two Slavonian grebes and 12 red-breasted mergansers off West Mersea.

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