Monday, 26 March 2018


A sign of spring in the Firs Chase garden on a sunny Monday 26th was this colourful peacock butterfly fluttering around the flowering cherry plum tree.

Whilst watching the male blackcap feeding on the fat balls in the garden, a chiffchaff was also seen feeding nearby in the cherry plum blossom. The male blackcap is most likely the wintering bird still with a taste for the fat, while the chiffchaff is probably a newly arrived migrant.

The confiding robin was looking closely at the compost pile in the corner of the Firs Chase garden.

Another sign of spring during the walk onto the Strood seawall was the sight of two small tortoiseshells, this one on flowering rosemary in Feldy View.

The first singing chiffchaff was from a bird in a tree by the Strood borrowdyke on a sunny Monday morning. Another chiffchaff was also seen a short while earlier by the Firs Chase caravan site.

A black brant was resting on the Strood Channel on Monday, here on the left of two dark-bellied brent geese. Also along the channel at low tide were 200 dark-bellied brent geese, 30 teal and 50 wigeon while a pair of pintail flew south out of the Ray Channel.
A sparrowhawk circled high over the fields, a green woodpecker crossed over the channel to land in the trees on Ray Island, 50 golden plover were in the ploughed field and 4 black-tailed godwits on the mud.
A distant male marsh harrier could be seen from the Hard, high over Old Hall Marshes doing its roller-coaster display flight.

On Sunday 25th during a visit to Maydays Farm, highlights were displaying marsh harrier over Langenhoe and Reeveshall, four birds seen in total, 3 common buzzards on the Mersea side, 2 little egrets, 4 red-breasted mergansers, 5 great crested grebes, 30 greylag geese, 4 Canada geese with four black-tailed godwits on the Pyefleet mud.
On the game-cover crop were 40 linnets, 30 chaffinches, 4 yellowhammers while ten redwing were near Haycocks Lane. Two muntjac deer were seen running over the Maydays fields by Martin Cock.

A walk along the Strood seawall on Saturday 24th provided views of two black brants with 1000 dark-bellied brent geese - one of the brants seen front right in the picture.

Both black brants were picked out among the large flock of brent geese as they fed on the wheat field on Strood Hill - before the flock flew off to sit in the Strood channel.
Also noted on the walk was one avocet, 5 black-tailed godwits, 50 teal, 50 wigeon, 30 linnets, 2 reed buntings while from the Hard were two more avocets and a red-breasted merganser.

On Friday 23rd one black brant was with the 600 brent geese by the Strood, also 5 common buzzards, kestrel, 100 knot, 5 black-tailed godwit, grey heron and a great crested grebe.
In the Firs Chase garden a female blackcap, goldcrest and a sparrowhawk were seen on Friday.

At the country park on Wednesday 21st a chiffchaff was heard calling near the pond. A buzzard circled over the fields near the East Mersea church while earlier in the day a marsh harrier flew over fields towards Rewsalls. A Cetti's warbler was heard singing near the Oyster Fishery by Martin.

The male black redstart was still at Coopers Beach on Tuesday 20th, here photographed by Martin Cock who also saw the immature male bird here too. Over West Mersea a red kite was seen by Martin, flying north-west over Yorick Road on Tuesday.

At the country park the barn owl was hunting late afternoon on Tuesday, a snipe was by the pond and two small 'crests' were busy feeding in bushes at the back of the pond.

The red squirrel made another visit to the nut feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Saturday 24th in the morning. This male has been making brief visits to the feeder most days over the last fortnight. It has also been seen recently in the neighbouring garden of the Marshalls.
A red squirrel has also been seen recently in the Entwistles garden in Empress Drive on 22nd and 23rd March.

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