Saturday, 9 July 2016


An obliging cuckoo has been seen on the East Mersea Point saltmarsh for a couple of days running. On Friday afternoon it flew over the lagoons spooking the wader roost as they thought a sparrowhawk was passing over. On Saturday morning it perched on a fencepost for several minutes before switching to this perch pictured above, on a shrubby sea-blite bush. I gather it was also seen on Friday morning in this area by Andrew Tilsley.
Four cuckoos were seen recently at Maydays farm by Steve Entwistle.

There was a nice selection of birds on the saltmarsh lagoons near the East Mersea Point late afternoon on Friday 7th which included this group of seven avocets with some black-tailed godwits.
It looks like the avocets have given up trying to breed with the sight of two chicks seen briefly late June being the only ones produced. Those chicks weren't seen again.

The black-tailed godwits are coming back in numbers from their Icelandic breeding grounds with 110 of them roosting on the saltmarsh island. Some of the godwits flew onto the grazing fields' pool to feed as well as the mudflats in front of the park.

After the common terns were seen to lose a chick at the beginning of the week, it was a relief to see a chick still being fed on the small island on Friday late afternoon. One of the adults kept watch while the other went off to fish. Any passing crow or large gull were chased away, as were some starlings that landed in the grass next to the chick.

Redshanks have also bred at these lagoons with one of the two half grown chicks seen wading round the edge of the water, seen here to the left of a lapwing. Three chicks from two broods were seen last weekend. Eight lapwing were seen hiding in the saltmarsh as was an oystercatcher and a shelduck.

At the Point on Friday two ringed plovers, one dunlin, six linnet and a brent goose on the mud were seen. As the tide receded 50 curlew and 75 redshank were seen arriving to feed early evening.

A large number of sand martins gathered over the grazing fields as the evening went on, starting with fifty late afternoon soon rising early evening to about 300 birds. At one point they all swarmed together when a sparrowhawk swooped unsuccessfully into them. Twenty swifts were passing westwards during the day and around 20 swallows have been present through the day too.

On the dyke three broods of tufted duck were noted with one of 7 young, another of four small ones and also one half grown-up duckling. Three teal and two shoveler were on the main pool in the fields.

Three kestrels were perched on their tree - presumably the three recently fledged youngsters. In the nearby copse 17 little egrets were perched high up during the afternoon high tide. The roost seems to have picked up numbers this week with 20 birds seen at the park pond on Monday morning.

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