Friday, 1 January 2016


Happy New Year to everyone.
First creature of 2016 spotted in our Firs Chase garden was this red squirrel, seen back again on the nut feeder. It scampered along the roof of our house, to the other end of the garden where it ran along the top of a wicker fence to check out the second feeder. Sadly it was a bit empty thanks to a hungry wood-mouse. Later in the day we saw this wood-mouse jump into the nut-filled feeder over a dozen times, stealing the food away for itself.
The red squirrel was seen briefly in the garden again in the middle of the day.

A new year means a new list of birds to be seen around the Island. Last year I managed to see 150 species from and on the Island, as did Martin Cock, while Andy Field saw 147 and Steve Entwistle saw 145 species. In total about 160 species of bird were logged for the Island during the year, generally a lower count than some years. One of the best recent years was 2011 when a combined tally of 173 species were noted on the Island.

After a frosty start to Friday 1st, the sun faded away and it turned cloudy and breezy. Decided to walk along the muddy Strood seawall, checking out the farm reservoirs by the Strood, pictured above. After the mornings walk, fifty-five species were logged - a third of last year's total in just half a day!

Birds on the reservoir included 18 tufted duck, 40 mallard, 50 teal, little grebe as well as coot and moorhen. Along the Strood Channel ten species of wader including 500+ lapwing, 50 knot, bar-tailed godwit and black-tailed godwit. A marsh harrier was seen to the east of the Strood causeway.

Small birds around the fields were 10 reed buntings, 10 skylarks, 20 linnets, rock pipit and 5 meadow pipits. Five little egrets were along ditches and a kingfisher was heard in flight. Two fieldfares were feeding near the Nothe.

Big flocks of birds rose into the air over the Feldy marshes / Peldon side with 1000 brent geese, 1000 lapwing and 500 golden plover.

A merlin flew fast and low over Coast Road and over the Mersea Quarters where it perched on a post on the saltings. Three marsh harriers were flying around over Old Hall Marshes.

At East Mersea two siskin were seen near the Youth Camp, 150 fieldfare along the Youth Camp Lane and 7 red-legged partridge by Bromans Lane by Steve Entwistle.

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