Friday, 24 March 2017


The first avocets returned to the saltmarsh pools near the East Mersea Point on Tuesday 21st. Four were seen here on Tuesday by Charles Coltman and then seven birds were present on Wednesday.

Charles also found a firecrest in the clifftop pines at the country park on Tuesday and it was relocated in the car park bushes on Wednesday afternoon. Once it was tracked down, it was very confiding and showed well for about half an hour. A goldcrest was also in the same bushes just to confuse the issue.

 The lapwings have started to nest in the park's grazing fields with at least three birds sitting low down on the grass. The first bird was noted on Sunday 19th nesting. Most of the 22 lapwings are in the fields nearest the park with at least one pair in the further field.

The very distinctive feeding action of running forward a few paces and then reaching down to peck at food on the ground, before standing back up and waiting a few seconds before repeating the action.
The lapwings are very conspicuous at the moment as they perform their aerial tumbling display flights over the fields with their very evocative calling.

Present in the fields on Sunday 19th were 70 redshank, 28 shelduck, 400 wigeon, 25 shoveler, while ten tufted duck were on the pond and a red-legged partridge flew across the meadow behind the hide.

In the fields on Tuesday were 220 redshank roosting while behind the pond were a kestrel and sparrowhawk perched close to each other and the water rail showed by the edge of the pond. Three chiffchaffs were singing at the park and the first blackcap was heard singing from trees near the pond.
Fifty curlew and a black-tailed godwit were at the pools on Wednesday 22nd.

The water rail showed well by the pond for Charles Coltman on Thursday 23rd and two marsh harriers were seen over Langenhoe Point by him too.

A couple of pairs of long-tailed tits have been at the park recently, this one along the park's horseride.

The skulking Cetti's warbler paused long enough inside the bushes near the Oyster Fishery at East Mersea for Andy Field to snap this image above.

A corn bunting was singing from the roadside near Chapmans Lane on Thursday 23rd. A chiffchaff was singing back in Firs Chase on Thursday morning.

A grey squirrel was found run over on the East Mersea road about 100m to the east of Church Lane first thing on Wednesday 22nd. It was picked up by Chris Burr who reported that the squirrel was first seen near East Mersea Hall the previous day. A few traps had already been placed out to try and catch the grey squirrel but it appears it met its fate with a car instead.
A few days earlier a red squirrel had a luckily escape when I braked sharply to allow it to cross the East Mersea road carrying a walnut, near the old PYO field on Sunday 19th.

Despite the overnight rain on Wednesday 22nd, there were 75+ moths in the trap by the next morning including this worn dotted chestnut. A recent colonist to Essex, it is now a regular species at the park each early spring since first appearing here in 2011.

The first blossom underwing of the season was another noteworthy species to find in the trap. The first of several over the coming month.

Three red chestnut moths were noted along with lots of common quakers, several Hebrew characters, small quakers and clouded drabs.

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