Sunday, 8 September 2019


Very surprised and very pleased to stumble across this pied flycatcher in my Firs Chase back garden, only about 7 metres from me in the bird bath about midday on Saturday 7th. I had been walking through the back garden and my eye was taken by a bird alighting onto the bird-bath. Flashing the white wing-bars I could see that it was a pied flycatcher. The first pied flycatcher garden record!

The pied flycatcher had a drink and a poke around the last bit of water in the bird-bath, not too concerned that I was standing quite close by watching it. After a couple of minutes, it flew up into a birch tree above and was watched for a few more minutes before flying off.

Later in the afternoon I heard a gentle thump on the office window and saw this pied flycatcher just a metre away on the windowsill! I'm not sure if it briefly dazed itself as it closed its eye for a moment. It then flew up onto an overhead wire to survey the garden.

A third appearance of the pied flycatcher was late afternoon when it was seen from the office window in the back garden as it perched on a bit of wood. It then flew up to the roof of the house for half a minute and disappeared and not seen again.
There were two previous pied flycatchers seen two weeks earlier beside the Firs Chase caravan site as well as one in Shop Lane in East Mersea. These have been the most pied flycatchers seen on the Island during their autumn passage.

Two spotted flycatchers were still down the side of the Firs Chase caravan site on Sunday 8th, one present on Saturday 7th and the two first seen on Friday 6th when this one pictured above was watched with Roy Bloomfield. It has been a good autumn for spotted flycatchers in this small scrubby corner behind the caravan site.

At East Mersea on Sunday a green sandpiper and a clouded yellow butterfly were seen by Martin Cock near the Oyster Fishery.

Also seen on Sunday 8th along the Strood were 2 chiffchaffs, 3 blackcaps with the flycatchers, swift overhead and five meadow pipits flying over calling. Eighty linnets were feeding in the fields, sparrowhawk passed west high off the Island, 200 black-tailed godwits, 70 golden plover, 5 ringed plover and a knot were along the Channel.

A walk along the Strood seawall on Saturday 7th provided views of a sparrowhawk, 2 sand martins heading off the Island with a handful of house martins, greenshank calling, 200 redshank, 3 knot, 200 golden plover, 9 little grebes in the channel with another one in the dyke. A common buzzard circled over the mud near the Dabchicks as it gained height to head west.

Over the Firs Chase garden on Saturday were a common buzzard and sparrowhawk together, two swifts passed over while in the trees was a goldcrest calling with a tit party.

During a Strood seawall walk on Friday late morning a common buzzard sat in a field, 20 chiffchaffs and a blackcap were with the spotted flycatchers by the caravan site. 2 kestrels and 100 linnets were flying about the fields. Along the channel were a greenshank, a knot, 10 grey plover and 30 golden plover.

A wheatear was the highlight of a walk along the Strood seawall on Wednesday 4th, also 250 black-tailed godwits near the Dabchicks, 20 grey plover and 30 golden plover were along the Strood channel.

At Maydays farm on Wednesday the osprey was seen by Martin still sitting on the post in the Geedons, also a kingfisher flew closeby along the seawall.

A red squirrel was seen in the Firs Chase garden on Friday 6th, Saturday 7th and again on Sunday 8th when one was watched close-by burying some cobnuts in the lawn.

A fully grown large fox moth caterpillar was crossing the footpath by the Feldy View field. After hibernating as a caterpillar, it pupates early spring next year and emerges later as an adult in late spring/ early summer.

Several ivy bees were buzzing around the flowering ivy clump along the Firs Chase folly to The Lane. The ivy bee has rapidly colonised southern England since the first sighting in Dorset in 2001.

A speckled wood was by the Firs Chase caravan site on Friday 6th, a painted lady was seen on the Strood seawall on both Saturday and Sunday.

Pleased to see a small copper visit the flowering oregano in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday 8th - the first sighting here this year.
A hummingbird hawkmoth was also in the Firs Chase garden feeding on salvias, and another one was seen in Andy Field's High St North garden on Sunday.

An Old lady moth was the highlight of a mothing session in the back garden on Monday 2nd. Just after midnight 120 moths of 25 species were logged on a clear and breezy night.

A common marbled carpet added a little colour to the evening. Other moths included garden carpet, latticed heath, light emerald, brimstone, single dotted wave, copper underwing, square-spot rustic, white-point, spectacle and turnip.

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