Monday, 18 May 2020


 The short-eared owl was hunting the grass field by the Strood channel on Sunday 17th. It showed well for Jonathan Bustard to take these pictures.

The short-eared owl has been seen hunting over this same field since Thursday 14th, it must be finding some food here.

 The short-eared owl was not seen on Saturday or during the second half of Sunday morning when the seawall was walked for a couple of hours. It seems to hide up in the grass and the wheat fields for long periods.

The cooler temperatures in the early evening probably made hunting conditions more favourable. After watching the short-eared owl put on a fabulous display of over half an hour, Jonathan left the area with the bird perched on a telegraph pole in the wheat field.

Earlier on Sunday along the Strood seawall, pictured a whitethroat singing, three buzzards, cuckoo, wheatear, five yellow wagtails, sedge warbler, whimbrel, two common terns and two Mediterranean gulls were noted. Along the borrowdyke a great spotted woodpecker was visiting some of the single trees for food.
Steve Entwistle also reported from his Strood visit, four reed warblers, buzzard, two common terns, cuckoo, four yellow wagtails, as well as small heath and six holly blue butterflies.
A green hairstreak was seen briefly in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday, a buzzard, singing goldcrest and two Mediterranean gulls also noted here.

At Maydays farm Steve reported a hobby, sedge warbler, six reed warblers, two yellow wagtails, five buzzards, cuckoo and three small heaths.
Andy Field reported seeing a buzzard flying so low over his West Mersea garden he could see its full crop. A yellowhammer and marsh harrier were seen at Bower Farm by Shaun Bater and Ian Black reported a sparrowhawk in Firs Road and six whimbrel off the Hard.

David Bullock reported that at Cudmore Grove on Sunday he saw five pairs of avocet and two shelduck pairs on the saltmarsh pools, while in the grazing fields were a lapwing pair and possible chick, also a few greylag and a Canada goose. No sand martins were seen by the cliff at the time of his visit.

On Saturday 16th a common sandpiper was at the boating lake by the East Mersea Youth Camp, also here the calling cuckoo, three singing reed warblers, reed bunting, displaying meadow pipit, six tufted duck, five shelduck and a pair of Mediterranean gulls overhead.
A yellow wagtail and house martin were by Rewsalls farm, while a reed warbler was singing by Waldegraves. A sparrowhawk was seen by Seaview, three common terns and a great crested grebe offshore, also three common buzzards flew over West Mersea, while earlier two flew north-west over Firs Chase.

There was no sign on Saturday of the black redstart by the Firs Chase caravan site, however a cuckoo, yellow wagtail, singing firecrest and sedge warbler were seen in the area by Steve Entwistle. In the evening a hobby was seen flying over the Lane going to the caravan site by Ian Black.

At the Reeveshall seawall on Saturday, Steve reported a buzzard, two common terns and on the pool were lapwing, redshank and little egret.

A  female black redstart was a good find for Jonathan Bustard beside the Firs Chase caravan site on Friday 15th in the evening. Here it perched on one of the original Strood soldiers that was relocated to the small field beside the caravan site.

The black redstart perched on a roof of a caravan.

 The bird was in the same area where one was seen last autumn.

The black redstart is an annual passage migrant to the Island and was only seen on the Friday evening with no sign the next day despite being looked for.

The bird performed well for Jonathan to take these pictures of it.

Also on Friday 15th five yellow wagtails were seen along the Strood seawall and also by Feldy View.
The short-eared owl also showed over the grass field, hunting for about fifteen minutes late morning before it perched on a bush in a hedgeline.
Two marsh harriers passed over the fields, a hobby provided close views as it circled over the seawall path, also sparrowhawk and kestrel were noted on the walk. The wheatear was still in the field, two cuckoos heard calling, sedge warbler singing, while in the channel were a whimbrel, two common terns and two Mediterranean gulls flying past.

Two cuckoos were doing the rounds near High Street North early on Friday morning heard by Andy Field, while another one was heard at St Peters by Steve Entwistle, also noting there two common terns and a distant buzzard over Old Hall.

In East Mersea a red kite was seen flying west over fields between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane by Michael Thorley on Friday, also reporting corn buntings at Blue Row and Waldegraves. Also west of Shop Lane the Cetti's warbler heard singing by Martin Cock and cuckoo calling.
Ian Black reported eight whimbrel over the Lane early Friday evening and then later six whimbrel over his Mersea Avenue house.
In the Firs Chase garden a brimstone, orange-tip, small white and five holly blues were seen.

This red squirrel with a pale coat was a new visitor to the Firs Chase garden feeder on Saturday 16th. It stopped for a drink and feed for a few minutes before disappearing through the trees. A second red squirrel had also been seen passing through the same tree a few minutes earlier.

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