Sunday, 1 January 2017


Happy New Year to all.
The colourful gem of a kingfisher brightened up the start to the New Year on a dull Sunday 1st along the Strood seawall. The kingfisher perched obligingly on the metal piping beside the seawall sluice, for Andy Field to take this photo.

The kingfisher seemed to like this area of the sluice, perching on the inside of the seawall as above, as well as the outer side above the outflow.

It was watched several times during the seawall walk, flying back and forwards along the dyke. Each sighting involved the same male bird with its all black bill.

Andy and I were joined on our New Year's Day bird-bash by Jonathan Norgate - and Ben the JR too! Seventy bird species were logged during our extended morning walk between the Hard and the Strood reservoirs, proving a very rewarding session for a circuit just a short walk from our houses.

Amongst the highlights was the glossy ibis seen over on the Ray saltings opposite the houses on the Strood causeway. At times the ibis dropped down out of view in the saltings and was seen to make a few short flights with the tide coming in.

There were lots of finches and buntings feeding in the weedy field along the Strood with two Lapland buntings flying overhead calling being the most notable. Also 50 corn buntings, 50 reed buntings, 100 linnets and 20+ skylarks were regularly flying about over the field.

A female merlin flew low over the field and then crossed the Strood channel and perched on a tree on Ray Island. A kestrel hovered over the fields, a marsh harrier flew over the Peldon fields and a male sparrowhawk was displaying over the caravan site. Five marsh harriers were also seen in the air near the Old Hall marshes. A peregrine was seen from the causeway by Adrian Kettle while he watched the glossy ibis.

A green sandpiper flew along the dyke, 3 little egrets and 2 grey herons were also present while 500 brent geese were feeding in the wheat field by Strood Hill. A pair of stonechats were on the saltmarsh in front of the caravan site.

The main waders of interest along the Strood were 20+ avocets, 2 knot, 20 black-tailed godwits and at least one bar-tailed godwit.

Seven Mediterranean gulls were on the field behind the Strood reservoirs with another bird seen flying over the other Strood fields. Ten redwings were in a hedgerow near the Strood Hill. On the reservoirs a great crested grebe, 4 little grebes, 12 tufted duck, 20 mallard and ten coots were seen.

Birds seen along the Strood seawall during late morning on Saturday 31st were kingfisher, green sandpiper, pair of stonechat, snipe, 24 little grebe, 2 marsh harrier, 13 avocet, 10 bar-tailed godwit, 50 corn buntings, 30 linnets, 100 linnets, 2 meadow pipits, 2 rock pipits, 2 Mediterranean gulls, and there were two sanderling seen by the Hard car park.

A woodcock was seen at Maydays farm on Saturday by Martin Cock.

The tufty red squirrel made another appearance at the Firs Chase feeder mid afternoon on Sunday. It spent about ten minutes feeding on the nuts.

Tufty has some very long ear tufts and has become very recognisable and with some well manicured nails too!

Two red squirrels were on the Firs Chase cedar tree at the same time on Saturday morning with this individual pictured above lacking any ear tufts and having a greyer head. Both squirrels were taking nuts from the feeder but would take them up onto different tree-limbs to eat. They would only pass each other on opposite sides of the tree! They then both scarpered up and over Firs Chase after about ten minutes - with one following the other

Jon Norgate reported seeing a red squirrel along Shop Lane on Saturday 31st.

Andy Field recorded this short video of the water rail at the park pond filmed the week before Xmas - to view click on: Water Rail, Cudmore Grove CP, Mersea Island

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