Sunday, 22 March 2020


Two chiffchaffs were photographed by Michael Thorley in his East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane on Friday 20th. A chiffchaff was also seen in the garden on Thursday 19th. These four chiffchaff photos taken by Michael.

Chiffchaffs have started turning up in several different Island locations in recent days as migrants arrive back from Africa.

Several pairs of chiffchaff breed on the Island, others seen at this time of year are just passing through.

There have been two or three overwintering chiffchaffs seen on the Island.

Despite the spring sunshine on Saturday 21st, there was a chilly north-easterly wind. Two peacocks were keeping out of the wind along the path between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane.

Tucked out of the wind but soaking up the sunshine at the base of the hedgerow were two lizards and also an adder.

Birds noted between Shop and Meeting Lanes were a pair of mistle thrush, pair of red-legged partridge, pair of kestrels, green woodpecker and a great spotted woodpecker.
A sparrowhawk narrowly avoided the traffic in Chapmans Lane whilst it hunted on Saturday.

The ditch beside Shop Lane has a nice display of lesser celandines in flower.

A flock of 300 brent geese rested on the East Mersea boating lake in between feeds on the nearby winter wheat crop on Friday 20th. Also by the lake were 12 shelduck, pair of tufted duck, pair of gadwall, 65 curlew and 10 redshank. A male and a female marsh harrier hunted low over the Rewsalls marshes an hour apart. Two chiffchaffs were at opposite sides of the Youth Camp, a Mediterranean gull flew over calling, one sanderling on the beach and two green woodpeckers also at the Youth Camp.

Earlier in the morning a male wheatear was seen at the boating lake by Martin Cock. Later a male wheatear was seen near Coopers Beach which may've been the same bird. Also a female stonechat and six little egrets at the caravan park end.

At the country park a firecrest was found near the pond on Friday by Andy Field, also a blackcap, three chiffchaffs and the singing Cetti's warbler.

On Thursday 19th a chiffchaff was heard singing at the bottom corner of the Firs Chase caravan park. Along the seawall a buzzard, kestrel, four Mediterranean gulls, 100+ brent geese, 2 great crested grebes, 4 greylag geese, 7 black-tailed godwits and 12 linnets were seen.

A ringtail hen harrier, marsh harrier, buzzard and a brown hare were seen on Thursday at Maydays farm by Martin Cock.

On Reeveshall on Wednesday 18th a male and two female marsh harriers were flying over the reedbed and nearby fields. Eight greylag geese were also on Reeveshall, two of the pairs on this pool. Also a pair of Mediterranean gulls while in the Pyefleet channel were 9 red-breasted mergansers and a great crested grebe. Small birds of interest were a corn bunting perching in a bush and five meadow pipits along the seawall.

Towards Maydays farm on Wednesday, the brambling, four corn buntings and 14 yellowhammers feeding on the spilt grain, were seen by Michael Thorley in Haycocks Lane.
Also seen on Wednesday at Maydays by Martin Cock were two green sandpipers, singing Cetti's warbler, 2 buzzards and 5 Canada geese.
In West Mersea a firecrest was seen in the back garden of Firs Chase, along with the regular blackcap pair, while two Mediterranean gulls were heard flying over Jonathan Bustard's house in the Chatsworth area.

A black redstart was found on Tuesday 17th on the houses backing onto Reymead field by Jonathan Bustard. The bird showed a silvery-grey flash with rusty-red tail seen quivering. The bird perched briefly on roof-tops on Reymead Close and was also on back garden sheds. There was no sign of the bird in the area the next day. A sparrowhawk was seen flying fast into Reymead Wood.

After a seemingly long period of little squirrel activity, it is nice to see at least one red squirrel back at the feeder in the Firs Chase garden with two sightings on Thursday 19th and one the day before.

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