Sunday, 9 December 2018

BRENT FLOCK BUILDING UP

The flock of brent geese at the park has been building up recently with 700+ feeding in the park's grazing fields on Sunday 9th along with 70+ black-tailed godwits, some pictured in the foreground above. Also in the fields on Sunday morning were 400+ wigeon, 150 lapwing and 30+ curlew.
An avocet was on the saltmarsh pools by the Golfhouse as were 20+ shoveler, 100 teal and 100 wigeon.

Forty-five greylag geese were on the fields splashing about as they fed on the wet marshy area.
At the park pond a water rail showed briefly, also 3 little egrets and 8 gadwall present.

At West Mersea on Sunday 9th two great northern divers were seen offshore by Steve Entwistle.

On Saturday 8th there were two water rails at the side of the park pond at the end of the day, two fieldfares flew over the car park and 300 brent geese on the mudflats.

A buzzard flew east over the grazing fields on Friday 7th flushing some of the brent, wigeon and 19 black-tailed godwits off the fields. Forty greylag geese were in the fields, 500 golden plover flew overhead while at the pond at the end of the day were 40 mallard, Cetti's warbler seen flying into the reeds, 3 green woodpeckers and 30 goldfinches.
At West Mersea the black brant and great northern diver were seen by Sean Nixon on Friday.

Up to 400 wigeon were either in the park dyke or on the nearby saltmarsh on Thursday 6th. A merlin scattered lots of waders as it raced across the fields and mudflats as it headed westwards. A sparrowhawk perched up at the back of the fields, 40 greylags in the fields, 400 golden plover were on the mud while near the pond the water rail showed late on and fifteen magpies gathered to roost.

A red squirrel appeared to be eating sloes from a blackthorn bush near the park buildings early on Thursday.
A spoonbill was seen resting on Cobmarsh Island on Thursday by Andy Field, before it flew over to Old Hall Marshes. A great northern diver and red-throated diver were seen offshore from West Mersea.

Fifty fieldfare flew over the fields by Rewsalls farm on Wednesday 5th while at West Mersea the black brant and velvet scoter were seen offshore by Martin Cock. The velvet scoter was also seen on Tuesday 4th by Andy Field.
A flock of 100 fieldfare were seen near Rewsalls on Tuesday 4th and the previous day a barn owl was seen just after dark near Mortimers Farm by the allotments.
A red squirrel was seen near the Oyster Fishery by Martin Cock on Sunday 2nd.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

KEEN-EYED KESTREL

A male kestrel perched obligingly in a tree beside the Firs Chase caravan site at West Mersea on Sunday 2nd. 

The kestrel didn't seem concerned at having its photograph taken whilst walkers passed along the path beneath it. It was keeping a keen eye down on a scrubby corner at the back of the caravan site. A chiffchaff was seen in a nearby hedge also 10 goldfinches.

On one of the fields by the Strood were at least 200 brent geese feeding on the winter wheat. In the nearby Ray Channel a noisy flock of 1000 brent geese landed on the water having been flushed off a Peldon field.

Birds of interest noted during the walk along the Strood seawall were rock pipit, 10 reed buntings, 10 skylarks, 15 linnets, 300 lapwing, 50 golden plover and a marsh harrier over on the Feldy side. 

On Friday at the country park the first wigeon in the grazing fields this winter were seen with 300 noted also 200+ brent geese and 46 greylag geese. At the pond were 20 little egrets and the Cetti's warbler singing.
At West Mersea on Friday, a velvet scoter was seen from Coast Road by Andy Field.

At the country park a red squirrel was seen on Friday by Andy in trees by the horseride near the pillbox among the bushes.

Two red squirrels were in the Firs Chase garden on the cedar tree at the same time late morning on Sunday 2nd. They took it in turns to visit the feeder but both spending several minutes eating the assorted nut mix.

Both red squirrels are males that have been regular for several weeks here. This one is a bright orange colour with the long ear tufts.

The second red squirrel has a darker coat including the ear tufts which are a shade browner than the individual in the earlier photo.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

BRIEF VISIT BY BRAMBLING


A brambling made a brief appearance in the car park of the country park on Wednesday 28th. It was first spotted splashing about in a puddle in the car park along with a variety of other birds before it disappeared into the nearby bushes. It eventually reappeared to feed under the rowan trees for several minutes. Two song thrushes, 8 chaffinches, ten goldfinches and ten blackbirds were also in the car park, while a sparrowhawk passed quickly overhead.

Earlier 26 greylag geese were seen feeding in the park's grazing fields on the Wednesday, while the previous day 200 brent geese were seen in the fields.

A common seal swam close to the East Mersea Point as it headed up-river on a dull Monday 26th.
A female common scoter flew out of the river and there was a possible female scaup seen landing in the outer part of the river but a bit distant.
At the park pond 20 shoveler and 18 gadwall were the main ducks of note while a flock of 25 fieldfares flew to the north of the park, also 2 redwings, 15+ blackbirds.

At the park pond a common buzzard perched in the gloom in the trees above the water which worried the wildfowl below including the 22 shoveler and 18 gadwall. A flock of 25 fieldfares flew to the north of the park, also 2 redwings and 15+ blackbirds were seen at the park on Monday.
At West Mersea the black brant was seen near the Hard by Martin Cock on Monday.

On Sunday 25th a flock of 100 fieldfares flew south-west over the car park along with a couple of redwings. A big flock of 350+ fieldfares was seen by Martin also on Sunday, feeding in fields between Bromans Lane and Shop Lane. In the Pyefleet Channel on Sunday 6 red-breasted mergansers and a snipe were reported by Martin.
A barn owl flew over the East Mersea road at Bocking Hall early Sunday evening while earlier in the day 5 red-legged partridge were near Chapmans Lane.

Two rock pipits and 3 sanderling were at East Mersea Point on Saturday 24th

The snow bunting was last seen on the beach at East Mersea Point on Friday 23rd, its fifth day here and still very confiding on each day.
Four red-breasted mergansers and a common seal were in the Colne, a rock pipit at the Point, 40 curlews in the grazing fields while 5 goldcrests and a sparrowhawk were noted around the park.

A red squirrel was seen crossing East Mersea road near Church Lane early on Friday morning also two red squirrels together in the Firs Chase garden on Friday.

Lots of December moths dropped into the moth trap at the park during the night of Thursday 22nd, with 15 individuals noted which is the most ever seen here in one night. Most of the moths seemed in fresh condition and freshly emerged.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

CONFIDING SNOW BUNTING

A very confiding snow bunting was found on the beach at East Mersea Point on Monday 19th by Simon Patient. The bird blends in very well to the beach surroundings which makes it quite easy to overlook for anyone trying to find it. The picture above was taken by Andy Field on Tuesday 20th.


The snow bunting was still on the beach on Wednesday 21st when it was photographed here by Andrew Thompson with his phone. Three rock pipits were seen at the Point too.

This late flowering sea rocket on the East Mersea Point also caught the eye of Andrew on Wednesday.

Five eider were seen flying past the Point on Wednesday 21st as they headed up river before turning back and soon flying back out to sea. Also seen by the Point was a large wader gathering of mainly 200 knot and 500 dunlin as well as several grey plover and redshank.
On the park pond ten gadwall while from the nearby alders a siskin was seen flying away.


The black brant was back on the West Mersea foreshore along Coast Road on Wednesday 21st, first seen by Steve Hunting and then photographed above by Andy. It seems to be the same bird as in previous winters - there has been a black brant here for the last four winters.

On Thursday 22nd Andy Field reported that the snow bunting was still at East Mersea Point, 3 eider flew out of the river, also buzzard, a sparrowhawk and in the fields 120 brent geese were feeding.
Two common buzzards were by the field at Chapmans Lane on Thursday, while a barn owl perched by the East Mersea road just west of Meeting Lane shortly after dark.

Two red squirrels were at the Firs Chase feeder early before sun-rise on both Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

STROOD BRENT

There have been more brent geese along the Strood Channel in recent days with 100 of the geese feeding in the nearby fields on Friday 16th. Also seen during the seawall walk were a marsh harrier, sparrowhawk, four avocet, 40 wigeon, 30 linnets, 6 reed buntings and a snipe passing overhead.


One wader of interest along the Strood on Friday was this distant greenshank, presumably the same bird seen in the area a few days earlier by Martin Cock.


On Saturday 17th a peregrine, common buzzard and kestrel were seen near Reeveshall Farm as was a flock of 30 stock doves.


Along the Strood Channel on a sunny Sunday 18th, a marsh harrier, 400 brent geese, 50 wigeon, 50 teal, 20 black-tailed godwits and 22 little grebes were the main birds of note.
A common buzzard swooped low over gardens whilst being mobbed by crows in the Firs Chase and Firs Road area on Sunday.

On the Langenhoe ranges at the end of Sunday afternoon, 20 marsh harriers were watched from the Shop Lane seawall coming into roost, including one flock of nine birds arriving together late on. Also a merlin seen but no sign of any hen harriers.

On Monday 19th there were 500 brent geese seen in the area, although most of this flock were in the Ray Channel and feeding on the Peldon fields.
 Also along the Strood was a marsh harrier flying over, 10 knot with 300 dunlin, 25 little egrets on the saltings, while inside the seawall was a green sandpiper, fieldfare, 30 linnets and a common buzzard.


A snow bunting was found at East Mersea Point on Monday 19th by Simon Patient - the first record here this year.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

MUNTJAC IN MEADOWS

A muntjac deer wandered along the back of the park's grazing meadows on a sunny mid-morning on Wednesday 14th. After a few minutes browsing as it walked along, it then disappeared inside the hedge.

The regular common buzzard perched in a tall tree at the back of the pond, a siskin was briefly with some of the 30 goldfinches by the pond, a redwing was in nearby bushes.
In the grazing fields there were 20 juvenile brent geese among a flock of 60, later the flock increasing to 200 geese. At the Point were 2 rock pipits, 6 skylarks and 800+ brent geese on the mud.

On Thursday 15th at the park pond were common buzzard, sparrowhawk, blackcap, 40 goldfinches, 6 gadwall and 3 tufted ducks. Flying over the park were 400 golden plover, some seen later on the mud, also a snipe flew over calling and there were two goldcrests along one of the paths.

Two lesser redpolls flew west over the park on Tuesday 13th, briefly landing near the car park. Also noted were a common buzzard, 40 goldfinches, while on the pond were 20 shoveler. At the Point were 2 rock pipits, 5 meadow pipits and 2 reed buntings.

Ten siskin flew over the park on Monday 12th and a fieldfare was heard calling in the car park in the morning.
A red squirrel was seen briefly in the trees behind the park buildings on Monday morning. There was also the usual male red squirrel at the nut feeder in the Firs Chase garden first thing on Monday.

A merlin was seen perched on Pewit Island in the Pyefleet Channel by Andy Field on Sunday 11th, also two marsh harriers on Langenhoe.

The moth trap operated on a couple of recent nights with ten individuals on Tuesday 13th and then five the following night with seven species in total including this mottled umber pictured above.

A scarce umber was found resting on the moth trap beside the mottled umber, both typical early winter moths at the park. Also noted were large wainscot, red-green carpet, turnip, feathered thorn, November sp moth and yellow-line quaker.


Hiding among the fallen leaves on the ground near the trap was this well camouflaged angle-shades.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

PARK BUZZARD

A common buzzard perched briefly on the kestrel's oak tree at the back of the park's grazing fields on Saturday 10th. It has become a regular sight along this hedgeline in recent weeks. A yellowhammer flew west over the fields in the morning.
Fifteen little egrets were at the pond mid morning, the Cetti's warbler sang a few times, 30 goldfinches flew around the alder trees while out on the mudflats were 300 golden plover.


On Friday 9th it was busy at the park pond with 100 wigeon, 50 teal, 30 little egrets, grey heron, 4 gadwall and a buzzard in the nearby trees. Five siskin flew east over the park in the morning.

A kestrel perched on the sign at the East Mersea Point, after having a tussle with another kestrel nearby on Thursday 8th. A red breasted merganser flew up river and there was a rock pipit on the saltmarsh.


A pair of mute swans have been back on the dyke for the last few days, after an absence of two or three months. Joining the swans in the dyke were some of the 400 wigeon in the area, also a few shoveler and some teal. In the park's grazing fields were 300 brent geese and 25 greylag geese, while 40 little egrets were at the pond as was a late migrant hawker enjoying the sunshine.


On Wednesday 7th at the park, two siskin and fifty goldfinches were near the pond, 3 goldcrests, 12 chaffinches near the car park while 28 greylag geese were feeding in the fields.


A common buzzard was at the back of the park's fields on Tuesday 6th, a sparrowhawk to the north, while on the pond were 60+ teal and a tufted duck and gadwall. Three goldcrests were noted around the park and the little owl flew over the car park at dusk.


A stoat made a rare appearance near the park pond on Friday 9th, bounding along the ground with occasional glimpses of its distinctive black tip to the tail, seen from the hide.


The stoat would stop every so often to look around the field, before it scampered off to a nearby hedge. It's been a few years since the last stoat was seen at the park - and one of the last sightings was at this same location by the pond.
A red squirrel was seen moving along the hedgerow beside the car park first thing on Friday 9th. The previous day a red squirrel was at the feeder in the Firs Chase garden early on Thursday 8th.


Numbers of moths at the park have dwindled recently although ten were noted through the night of Thursday 8th. A few feathered thorns were noted, one pictured above, also large wainscot, large yellow underwing and November moths were logged.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

WALDEGRAVES WOODPECKERS



Two green woodpeckers were feeding in a field beside Waldegraves caravan park on Monday 5th. A flock of fifty goldfinches were also feeding in a weedy corner of the field, while 50 linnets and 20 chaffinches were noted in the area too.


A great northern diver was feeding offshore from Decoy Point at Waldegraves on Monday and a second great northern diver was seen further along to the east by Andy Field off the Youth Camp.
The shingle island off Waldegraves held 100 cormorant, 100 curlew, 50 sanderling and 7 little egrets. A Mediterranean gull flew past the beach.

A female blackbird was seen in Cross Lane with a white epaulette patch on its wing on Monday 5th, also a redwing, 3 goldcrests, buzzard, sparrowhawk and a kestrel.


At Maydays on Monday two stonechats and peregrine and a common seal leaping out of the water like a dolphin, were seen by Martin Cock, while another peregrine was seen on a post on Langenhoe by Andy Field from the Shop Lane seawall, also 700+ dunlin seen in the Pyefleet.


There was a good percentage of young brent geese feeding in the flock beside the Strood Hill on Sunday 4th with 19 juveniles out of the 44 geese. Other birds seen along the Strood seawall walk were 150 dunlin, 10 black-tailed godwits, 100 golden plover, 20 linnets and 16 little grebes.


Twenty mallard and a little grebe were on the Coopers Beach pond on Saturday 3rd. In the nearby fields a common buzzard, 25 linnets, 10 goldfinches, 100 skylarks and 40 lapwing were noted. A goldcrest was by the Youth Camp entrance while on the mudflats were 100 golden plover.


One of the regular male red squirrels was back on the feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Saturday 3rd, pausing briefly in mid afternoon for a quick drink and feed.
A red admiral fluttered through the garden that sunny Saturday.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

STROOD STONECHAT

A stonechat was seen perched on a bush beside the Strood seawall on a sunny Friday 2nd.
A kingfisher flew along the borrowdyke calling while being pursued by a reed bunting, which seemed a strange thing to be chased by. Ten reed buntings were noted feeding on some of the plants beside the dyke and a flock of 20 carrion crows were feeding on the mudflat.

There seem to be more juvenile brent geese around than last winter with this one pictured being part of one of two families that had three young each. At least 100 brent were seen at various points along the Strood to the Hard.
A merlin flew fast off the Island over the channel to the Ray, flushing many of the birds off the mud. Two common buzzards circled above the Peldon fields.

Resting on the mud was this small group of wigeon, some of the 100 seen along the Strood, also 25 shelduck and 26 little grebes near the boat moorings. A greenshank was the only wader of note among the usual variety.

At the country park a muntjac deer was by the pond at dusk on Thursday 1st while on Wednesday 31st a marsh harrier flew east long the clifftop in the morning, also two redpoll sps flew west over the car park calling.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

CHILLY BREEZE


A lapwing was feeding near the East Mersea Golfhouse on a chilly autumnal Monday 29th with 20 more seen flying off the nearby saltmarsh. Also on the saltmarsh were 200+ wigeon, 50 teal, snipe,  while a rock pipit and 50 linnets were also in the area. In the Colne 3 red-breasted mergansers flew up river and 70 avocets were seen on Langenhoe Point.


The first group of brent geese was seen feeding in the park's grazing field this winter with 50 present on Monday. On the nearby mud another group of 70+ brent geese was feeding including a couple of families with youngsters.
At the park pond 23 shoveler were present on Monday, three siskin flew east over the park and a redwing was in a bush by the pond.
At the end of Monday afternoon a ring ouzel was seen briefly at a puddle in the car park along with 10 blackbirds and a redwing. A kingfisher was seen near the Oyster Fishery on Monday by Martin Cock.

On Sunday a short-eared owl flew high over the park being mobbed by crows which forced it to fly south high out to sea. Twenty minutes later presumably the same owl was seen flying back to the park coming low over the water and being mobbed by gulls as it passed over the Point and round the back of East Mersea.
Three immature gannets were seen off the park just about the time of the early afternoon high tide while the chilly wind was blowing from the north. Five red-breasted mergansers flew into the Colne, 3 common scoters flew past the park with a further six being seen later by Andy Field. Earlier on Sunday an eider was seen near Cobmarsh Island by Andy.

A female pintail was at the park pond, later in the day 80 wigeon were on the pond. A common buzzard was mobbed by crows to the north of the park, while in park bushes 10 redwing, 10 blackbirds, goldcrest, 50 goldfinches, redpoll sp and a chiffchaff were noted during Sunday.

A red squirrel scrambled through the trees just inside the park entrance on Sunday morning as it headed along the car park hedgeline. A muntjac was seen beside Bromans Lane late Sunday and another muntjac just after dark near the old PYO field/ new Mersea Barns site.

Fifty-six little egrets roosted in the trees by the park pond on Thursday 25th with a pair of tufted duck and a pair of gadwall also of interest on the pond. Four redwing flew over the park, a blackcap in the bushes and a sparrowhawk was seen in the car park. After dark a barn owl flew over Bromans Lane.

A common buzzard flew over the car park on Wednesday 24th and fifty goldfinches were feeding near the car park. A rock pipit was present near the seawall.
On Tuesday 23rd a siskin flew over the park calling as it headed west.


A male and female grey squirrel were caught within a few days of each other, in a garden near the Fox pub, West Mersea on the 20th and 23rd October.

The moth trap operated during the night of Wednesday 24th with a much reduced catch of moths as temperatures drop. Only twenty individuals were noted with green-brindled crescents making up nearly half the catch. Also noted were yellow-line quaker, large wainscot, November moth and setaceous Hebrew character.

Monday, 22 October 2018

SUUNY ALONG STROOD

The tide was already covering the Strood channel on Monday 22nd during a walk along the seawall on a sunny morning but with a chill in the northerly breeze. Only a few redshank, as pictured above and a few black-tailed godwits were still feeding in the shallows. 
Several mixed wader flocks were roosting along the edge of the Ray saltings - as was a yellow-legged gull, Mediterranean gull, 50 brent geese and ten little egrets.


A marsh harrier flew low over the Ray saltings, a common buzzard was being mobbed over the Ray trees, two common buzzards were at the back of the Strood fields and a kestrel and sparrowhawk were seen by the caravan site

Eight lesser redpolls flew along the seawall and joined some linnets to feed near the dyke. A single redpoll also flew west near the caravan site and another bird flew west over the Firs Chase garden.
Also in the Strood fields were 30 skylarks, 5 meadow pipits, 5 reed buntings and 100+ linnets.

Three little egrets were seen on Sunday 21st along the Pyefleet channel feeding in the shallow water as the tide receded. A total of fifteen little egrets were seen along the channel and on the Maydays saltmarsh. The only flocks of waders seen were mainly a mix of grey plover and dunlin.

A kingfisher showed off its bright blue colours in the sunshine as it flew from one side of the Maydays seawall sluice round to the other side where it perched for about an hour. Six stonechats were perched on top of tall plants and bushes, 30 linnets, 20 skylarks and 10 meadow pipits were seen over the fields.
A marsh harrier circled high over the Maydays saltings, another one seen on Langenhoe where a barn owl was seen perched in a window on an old barn on the Ranges. Five kestrels made the most of the fine weather and were all hovering at the same time over the Ranges, another two on Reeveshall.
A common seal was resting on the edge of the saltmarsh in the Pyefleet.

Two red admirals chose the car bonnet in the driveway of the Firs Chase garden to lock bodies, another two also on the wing in the garden on Sunday 21st. A hummingbird hawkmoth flew over the garden on the sunny afternoon. A chiffchaff and two goldcrests passed through the garden in the company of a large mixed tit flock.
A red squirrel passed quickly through the trees in the Firs Chase garden on its way to the neighbours late on Sunday 21st.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

MERLIN OVER MARSHES

A very obliging merlin was watched for over half an hour hunting over the Rewsalls Marshes at East Mersea on a sunny Saturday 20th. Most merlin sightings on the Island are usually just fast flight views but this individual stayed around and was perching on various fenceposts in between catching darter dragonflies over the borrowdyke. The markings suggest this is a juvenile bird.

The merlin watched for dragonflies over the dyke and would then swoop low over the water to catch them before returning to a fencepost to eat them. It also flew over the fields a couple of times to have a tussle with a local kestrel, one occasion grappled with it and forcing it down into the hedge, presumably to steal some food off it. The kestrel crawled out first from the hedge bottom, flew up to the hedge-top calling anxiously as if very annoyed with what the merlin had just done.

Also seen over the Rewsalls fields were a common buzzard, 30 linnets, 30 skylarks, 2 reed buntings, 15 magpies, four golden plovers as well as a single swallow by the Coopers Beach caravan park.

A rock pipit was feeding along the broken down seawall near Coopers Beach. On the pond in the field were 2 little egrets, 5 little grebes, 12 mallard and 8 teal, while offshore were 50 brent geese.

Two clouded yellows tussled with each other in front of the line of alders below the East Mersea Vineyard on Saturday, also a comma, red admiral and small white were noted too.

Along the Strood seawall on Friday 19th a merlin was glimpsed in usual manner flashing over the top fields scattering up bird flocks before racing over West Mersea. A buzzard was mobbed by crows, a marsh harrier crossed over the Ray Island saltings to Feldy and a sparrowhawk circled over the caravan site.
In the fields were 30 skylarks, 50 linnets, 10 reed buntings while two rock pipits were seen along the seawall. Overhead 120+ cormorants were returning to Abberton reservoir from their feeding trip out to sea, 50 black-tailed godwits, one bar-tailed godwit, greenshank, 200 dunlin, 100 wigeon, 21 little grebes and a snipe were noted along the channel.

At the country park on Wednesday 17th the two little owls were heard duetting to the north, 400 golden plover were on the mudflats as were 70 brent geese.
On Tuesday a redpoll flew over the park pond, a brambling called near the car park and nine shoveler and a reed bunting were also at the pond. A red squirrel was seen in the park on Tuesday 16th near the car park.

A buzzard was mobbed by crows over the park fields on Monday 15th while at the pond were 7 shoveler, pair of gadwall. At the Point 50 wigeon were on the saltmarsh, 100 brent geese in the Colne, 25 shelduck and 200 golden plover on the mud, while rock pipit, 150 linnets and 30 goldfinches were near the Golfhouse. A fieldfare was in the rowan tree in the car park.
At Maydays farm two woodlarks were seen feeding on the ground on Monday by Martin Cock.

Several migrant moths were trapped at the park on Tuesday 16th with this vestal a nice surprise.

A scarce bordered straw was another migrant noted that night as were silver-Y, white-point along with a couple of diamond-backs and a rusty dot pearl.

Some of the fruiting fungi photographed in the Firs Chase garden by my wife Nolly. A hedgehog was also seen tucked up in a corner of the garden on Tuesday 16th.