Friday, 22 May 2020


A pair of stonechats was seen near the Coopers Beach slipway on Wednesday 20th, the male photographed here by Michael Thorley.

The stonechats seem to favour the rough corner of the old field to the west of the caravan site.

The stonechat pair might stay around to breed which would be noteworthy. A pair might have bred here last year as one bird was seen at the end of July which is an early date for a passage bird here - then two weeks later a family of four birds including two young ones were seen in this same rough field corner.

Also seen by Michael at Coopers on Wednesday were a pair of whitethroats, four linnets, four swallows and a reed bunting.

A male red-crested pochard was seen on a pool by the East Mersea Oyster Fishery on Wednesday 20th. The bird was first noticed as it flew around displaying an obvious white wing-bar.

The red-crested pochard stayed close to the reeds of the pond, viewable from the nearby seawall. It was still present till early evening when it was seen by Steve Entwistle first flying round to the country park, before returning. After a while it then flew over to Langenhoe and wasn't seen again. There were also three female pochard and a male present on the small pool. A Cetti's warbler and sedge warbler were singing from the borrowdyke with another sedge warbler singing from a nearby dyke. A common buzzard was also seen in the wooded area.

The main bird of note for this area by the Oyster Fishery on Wednesday morning was a long-eared owl found by Martin Cock as it perched out in the open on some fence-posts at the back of the pond with its ear tufts sticking up. It perched on several of the posts as it looked for prey below and was on view for an hour or so. However after some jackdaws and magpies arrived to mob it, the owl retreated to some nearby trees where it only made a few brief flights and wasn't seen again after late morning.

A visit to the Reeveshall pool on Wednesday showed the water level dropping quickly in the dry conditions. Three avocets, little egret and a lapwing were present while nearby three pairs of lapwing are apparently breeding in a rough field according to the farmer Alex Richardson. A pair of marsh harriers was flying over Langenhoe Point and a pair of Mediterranean gulls flew past calling.
A firecrest was heard singing briefly in the Fishponds Wood in Shop Lane.

Along the Strood Channel on Wednesday, Andy Field noted two male and a female cuckoo, three pochard, 12+ reed warblers singing, sedge warbler, marsh harrier and a buzzard. In the early evening Ian Black reported five singing sedge warblers, six yellow wagtails and a kestrel along the Strood.

The tide was high during the walk along the Strood seawall on Tuesday 19th in the morning. Birds noted included a male marsh harrier hunting over the fields, a pair of buzzards dropped down into an old crows nest at the back of the fields while a redshank was seen on Ray Island, a lapwing on the saltings and one common tern.

Eight yellow wagtails, two singing sedge warblers, four reed warblers were singing in the Strood dyke with another two beside the caravan site, also two cuckoos heard and a singing corn bunting.

A buzzard flew west over the Firs Chase garden on Tuesday morning while in High Street North, a pair of swifts returned to the nestbox on Andy Field's house with one bird spending the night inside.

At the country park on Tuesday, Steve Entwistle reported six pairs of avocets and a pair of common tern on the Golfhouse saltmarsh pools. Eight sand martins, four swallows and a house martin were flying over the fields and dyke, while at the park pond were five pairs of tufted duck, four pairs of pochard and the singing Cetti's warbler. Three sand martins were seen flying near the holes in the cliff.

One of two small heaths seen at the country park by Steve Entwistle.

An azure damselfly was photographed by Steve Entwistle at the country park on Tuesday, also a couple of hairy dragonflies.

At the country park on Monday 18th Steve reported twelve avocets, two common terns were on the Golfhouse pools, also pair of reed buntings, four whitethroats and a singing reed warbler. At the Point there was an adult ringed plover with a young chick running around, with a report that three chicks were seen the previous week. A common sandpiper was on the Point, two common terns flew past and a cuckoo heard.

Several red kites were seen at the west end of the Island during Monday with one seen flying south-west over the Strood fields at about noon, possibly it or a different bird had been seen a few minutes earlier over the Ray channel. Early afternoon Andy Field saw two red kites from his High St North house, one heading north and a short while later another coming in from the East circling over the Barrow. Mid afternoon another red kite was seen by Steve Entwistle flying south-west over the Strood fields towards the Dabchicks direction.

A marsh harrier flew over the Strood fields on Monday morning, also four buzzards and two kestrels but no further sign of the previous day's short-eared owl. Four Mediterranean gulls and two common terns were flying along the Strood channel with a lapwing and redshank noted too. Six yellow wagtails, sedge warbler, two lesser whitethroats and a cuckoo were heard. The first small copper of the spring was seen on the Strood seawall.

Four buzzards were seen late afternoon circling high over Copt Hall on Monday, while another was seen over West Mersea by Andy Field heading south.
A cuckoo was seen flying over to the Chatsworth Estate by Andy Field, another over Shaun Bater's house in Estuary Park Road and another heard over the Coverts area by Martin Cock. The first swift was heard calling inside the soffit box on Andy's house. At Bower Hall two red-legged partridge were seen in a field by Shaun Bater.

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