Friday, 16 October 2015


Excitement near the East Mersea churchyard on Thursday 15th after professional bird artist Richard Allen visiting from Wivenhoe found a juvenile rose-coloured starling. It was first seen in the morning on wires along the track to the beach and then seen well by the churchyard. Unfortunately the bird didn't seem to hang around for long and by the time other birdwatchers arrived it had virtually disappeared other than one last brief view as it perched on East Mersea Hall.
Richard as always, captures the bird perfectly with his sketchbook rather than needing a camera!

This is the first confirmed record of a rose-coloured starling on the Island, although there was an unconfirmed sighting by John Wilson on 2 June 1992 of an pink bird feeding with 20 other starlings on the seawall near Ivy Farm. A few days later an adult was seen well at Bradfield near Manningtree, so possibly the same bird.

Richard also found two ring ouzels by the churchyard, one of which was seen later by other birders. One of the ouzels is pencil-sketched above. Eleven redwings and nine swallows also seen in the area.

Despite more searching the next day on a drizzly Friday, there was still no sign of the rose-coloured starling or any ring ouzels. A visiting birdwatcher located the regular leucistic starling with sandy coloured wings in Rewsalls Lane area feeding with other starlings. Andy Field reported seeing a marsh harrier, sparrowhawk and at least 12 swallows, while Martin Cock saw 4 redwings and 30+ swallows in that Coopers Beach area.

At the country park 8 swallows flew over during Friday, as did a lesser redpoll first thing while two chiffchaffs were heard calling. At the end of the day 25 stock doves settled into the copse behind the pond for the night.

Darrell Stiles reported seeing a short-eared owl fly from Langenhoe to East Mersea on Thursday afternoon. There was also a report of a possible short-eared owl seen flying over the park's grazing fields on Monday 12th. A common buzzard was in a field by Weir Farm on Wednesday 14th.

 The kingfisher made a couple of appearances at the park pond during Wednesday 14th, here pictured perched at the back of the pond. It was also seen here the day before too. Also here were fifty little egrets roosting and a tufted duck on the water was a new arrival. 

 Amongst the tit flocks at the park which include blue tits like the one above, are several goldcrests. At least five crests were heard calling from various bushes, some with the long-tailed tits. On Tuesday four chiffchaffs and a blackcap were present, while 20+ swallows were flying about.
A yellowhammer and two lesser redpolls passed over the park on Tuesday morning.

On the grazing fields at the park the pale-bellied brent goose was seen again with 500 brent geese on both Tuesday and Wednesday with 500 wigeon also grazing alongside.

A weasel ran down off the park seawall on Wednesday 14th. A  muntjac deer was feeding beside Manwood Grove on Tuesday 13th while another muntjac was also reported in West Mersea coming out of the Butlins driveway in the upper part of Firs Chase, on Thursday 8th.

The moth trap at the park on Thursday night produced eighty moths of 18 species under a cloudy sky. This feathered thorn is a regular each autumn, this one the first of the season here.

This red-green carpet was resting on the side of the bulb stand, another regular visitor in the autumn in ones or twos.
Other moths caught included several November moths, mallow, barred sallow, dusky-lemon sallow, red-line quaker, yellow-line quaker, L-album wainscot, white-point, deep-brown dart, autumnal rustic, lunar underwing, snout and beaded chestnut.

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