Tuesday, 7 June 2016


The short-eared owl was still present on the Rewsalls marshes on Monday 6th - a fortnight after it was last seen. The owl was hunting over the rough grass fields between the Coopers Beach caravan site and the Youth Camp, as pictured above.

It seemed strange watching a short-eared owl flying about in the late morning sunshine and warmth, when we're normally used to seeing them on windy and cold days as winter visitors to the Island.

The short-eared owl at times flew with very pronounced deep wing-beats as if doing a display flight. As far as I can recall I don't think a short-eared owl has ever spent the summer on the Island before, certainly not in the last 30 years or so.

By coincidence another short-eared owl was being watched in East Mersea hunting over fields near the Oyster Fishery, seen by Martin Cock on Monday morning. This bird has also been in this area for the last two weeks at least.

The Rewsalls short-eared owl glided back and forwards across the three fields, sometimes perching on posts or dropping down into the grass.

At least three pairs of yellow wagtails are in and around the Rewsalls fields, this bright male perched on a bush quite close to Coopers Beach football pitch.

A cuckoo provided a couple of nice fly-pasts in between lots of calling from tree-tops at the back of the Rewsalls marshes.

Three male reed buntings were singing on the Rewsalls marshes, seems a slightly better year for them on the Island. Five males were seen singing in one rape field along the Strood a couple of days earlier.

Other small birds noted around the Rewsalls area included Cetti's warbler, 5 whitethroats, 2 lesser whitethroats, 15 linnets and 5 reed warblers.

Two little egrets were seen on the Rewsalls marshes along with 15 mallard, one tufted duck, 4 shelduck and 20 oystercatcher.
The only butterflies seen were 4 small heaths, large white, small white and a couple of holly blues.

On his morning circuit of the eastern end of the Island, Martin noted a pair of grey partridge in horse paddocks north of the park, 12 avocets and a pair of common terns on the saltmarsh lagoon.

At West Mersea along the Strood on Sunday 5th, a cuckoo called briefly from a bush before crossing over to Ray Island, also a marsh harrier over the fields, pair of Mediterranean gulls, a grey plover and one yellow wagtail.

Mark and Jane Dixon reported seeing an albino-type swallow flying around Coast Road near the Dabchicks and Hard last week. The bird perched up long enough for a few photos to be taken showing it with a faint pinkish throat but otherwise a whitish colouration all over, although with dark eyes.

Two slow-worms were enjoying the warmth on the compost heap in the Firs Chase garden on Monday.

A goldcrest sang from various trees in Firs Chase on Monday as did blackcap and chiffchaff. Ten swifts and five swallows were seen passing overhead.

Rosemary beetles seem to have become well established in the garden since first being found here last year. Now a dozen were counted on both lavender and rosemary bushes.

Butterflies in the garden over the weekend were 5 holly blues, orange-tip, small white 2 and a red admiral.

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