Tuesday, 28 August 2018


A surprise visitor to our Firs Chase garden on a very wet and blustery afternoon on Sunday 26th was this female muntjac deer. My wife Nolly beckoned me over to our kitchen window to look at what was feeding under our bird feeders. The muntjac was in a state of high alert and nervousness during the worst of the wind and rain in late afternoon with ears and eyes on the listen and look out for danger. After about a minute in view, it jogged away to a neighbour's garden but returned two hours later for another brief feed in the fading light.

The deserted streets due to the bad weather probably convinced the muntjac deer it was safe to roam across a few gardens. This is the first one we've had in our garden although Nolly saw one a few years ago running out of our neighbour's drive.

Before the bad weather set in on Sunday, there was time for a walk along the Strood seawall in the morning. The highlight was a juvenile brown cuckoo flying off the Island and spooking some of the waders on the mudflats as it flew over to Ray Island. Other migrants noted were a yellow wagtail and 8 swallows.

On the mud were 2 greenshank, 300 redshank, 50 curlew, 180 golden plover, 40 grey plover, 2 knot, 5 dunlin, 2 ringed plover, 5 lapwing while 80 black-tailed godwits were near the Dabchicks and 50 turnstone near the Hard. Four Mediterranean gulls were on the mud, 3 common terns flew down channel, 6 little grebes were in the channel and 15 little egrets were also noted - one pictured above.

Six crossbills were seen on Sunday morning by Ian Black circling high and calling loudly over his garden in Mersea Avenue before they flew west.
At Maydays Farm farmyard a turtle dove was seen on Sunday with a handful of collared doves by Steve Entwistle.

On Monday 27th a walk along the Maydays and Reeveshall seawalls provided a very distant view of an osprey perched on a tall post on the Geedon Saltings. A hobby flew after some of the 30+ house martins in the farmyard, a marsh harrier and a kestrel were seen by the farm while a common buzzard was seen on Langenhoe.

A wheatear and whinchat were seen near the seawall, 100 swallows, 3 sand martins, 6 yellow wagtails and 10 linnets were seen over the fields. Three common sandpipers, greenshank and 2 avocets were the main waders of note as the tide had covered most of the mud. Ten common terns flew up the Pyefleet as did a pair of little terns. Two common seals were resting on the saltmarsh.

On Friday 24th an osprey was seen by Charles Crafford flying over the country park carrying a fish. At Coopers Beach on Friday two wheatears were seen near the borrowdyke by Michael Thorley.

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