Saturday, 30 June 2018


Returning from a short break it was a big shock to see this male grey squirrel spend 15 minutes tucking into the nuts in our tree feeder in the Firs Chase garden late morning on Thursday 28th. It didn't appear to be the first time at this feeder as it seemed to know its way around. To find its way to this feeder and to work out which branches to travel along, this grey must have been following the scents through the various trees left behind by the regular red squirrels.

After quickly contacting members of the local Red Squirrel Project, two traps were brought round and set up late afternoon. Early the next morning the grey squirrel was back at the cedar tree with a red squirrel and just after 7am, the grey was watched venturing inside the baited trap placed near the base of the tree and triggering the door to close behind it. A successful capture within a day of it first being seen here. Sadly there have been several recent reports of a couple of grey squirrels on the Island, including a sighting of two elsewhere in Firs Chase by Miss Tapp, so there's still at least one more to catch. A grey squirrel has also been seen in recent days in the Lane near the caravan site by Heather Pembrey. Having seen a friend's video footage of a grey squirrel swimming across the river Colne from Fingringhoe a few years ago, I guess these recent greys on the Island have swum over from the mainland.

Luckily the red squirrels continue to visit the garden each day with two seen on Thursday morning at the same time as the grey was present. The water bowl in the tree is being well visited during this hot spell.

Another interesting mammal discovery in the Firs Chase garden was made by our J.R. terrier, who found this hedgehog hiding amongst the bushes on Thursday morning. It was lifted to safety to another part of the garden, away from the attention of the dog.

The slowworm was lying in the garden compost as usual on Thursday. A male house sparrow seen on the garden bird feeders is the first sighting here for many years.

A brief walk along the Strood seawall on a hot Thursday 28th during high tide provided views of 4 common terns in the channel, a little egret on Ray Island, also 3 reed warblers, 2 reed buntings and 2 linnets by the seawall.

Swifts were more noticeable over the houses on Thursday with 25 being seen late morning, ten of these later over the Firs Chase garden. Adrian Amos also noted twenty over his East Road garden in West Mersea the same day.

The little owls have bred in the East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane of Michael Thorley for the second year running, this adult pictured on the 17th. A chick was seen on the ground below the nest on Wednesday 20th, also a buzzard seen from his garden.

At Reeveshall a green sandpiper, black-tailed godwit and teal were seen by Andy Field on Wednesday 27th on the pool inside the seawall while in the Pyefleet was a yellow-legged gull.
A pochard with five young were seen on the country park pond by Martin Cock in mid June.

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