Sunday, 10 January 2021


Five red-crested pochard made a surprise appearance in the Pyefleet Channel on a dull and cold Sunday 10th. The four males and a female were first seen flying high as they headed down channel, before dropping down onto the water. It wasn't until they swam for a few minutes into view that the birds could be seen as red-crested pochards

After swimming slowly back up the Pyefleet for about ten minutes, the red-crested pochards flew 500m further up the channel and landed opposite Maydays beside some red-breasted mergansers. After a few minutes here, they took to the air again and flew low further up the Pyefleet as if heading to the Strood.
Last year a male red-crested pochard was seen in East Mersea near the Oyster Fishery on 20th May, the first island sighting for about fifteen years.

Also of note along the Pyefleet were 14 red-breasted mergansers, 7 pintail, 150+ avocets and 500+ knot. In and around the Maydays and Reeveshall fields were three marsh harriers, two buzzards, four corn buntings, three yellowhammers, stonechat, 30 linnets, 10 fieldfares, sparrowhawk and two green woodpeckers.

A common seal in the Pyefleet Channel was having a sleep on this blue floating pontoon.

Later on Sunday, Martin Cock visited Maydays and reported a short-eared owl, merlin, two marsh harriers and 12 red-breasted mergansers
Ian Black saw c55 grey geese fly over Ray Island on Sunday afternoon that possibly sounded like pink-feet geese.

On a sunny Saturday 9th a little owl was sunning itself on the side of a big Cupressus-type tree at the front of the East Mersea Youth Camp (pictured here heavily zoomed-in). It's probably the same bird that was seen a few times last spring perched on some nearby poplar trees.

At the nearby marshes beside the boating lake a marsh harrier flew over, ten snipe were flying about, while beside some fields to the west of East Mersea church 15 fieldfare, two redwing, two yellowhammer, ten reed bunting, chiffchaff and two buzzards were seen.

The black brant - pictured centre standing upright facing right, was feeding with 100 brent geese in a field between Cross Lane and Waldegraves. The leucistic starling was feeding with 100 starlings in Waldegraves and two song thrushes nearby. A great northern diver was offshore from the Esplanade and two Mediterranean gulls.

Along the Strood Channel on Saturday Andy Field saw a marsh harrier, buzzard, couple of avocets and a stonechat as well as a number of meadow pipits and rock pipits.
Two short-eared owls were seen by Martin Cock hunting along the Maydays borrowdyke on Saturday, also seen were a marsh harrier, buzzard, two stonechats, two corn buntings and three yellowhammers.

In West Mersea early evening on Saturday, Richard Brown reported a tawny owl over his Barfield Road garden. At East Mersea a barn owl was reported by Donna Moncur flying near the country park at dusk.

There wasn't much to see in the fog on Friday 8th, although a bearded tit was heard calling from the Strood reedbed. Also along the Strood seawall were seen a stonechat, snipe, 25 avocets, 300 golden plover, a marsh harrier over Ray Island and five redwing near the caravan park.

Also on the foggy Friday, Martin Cock reported two marsh harriers and two stonechats at Maydays, while Michael Thorley could only see at Coopers Beach 65 curlew on the football pitch. A buzzard was seen flying south over Ian Black's house in Mersea Avenue, while Jonathan Bustard saw 60 starlings in his garden.

This sparrowhawk was photographed by Shaun Bater as it perched on his garden fence in Estuary Park Road on Thursday. A red squirrel was also seen earlier in the garden.

Another of Shaun's photographs of the sparrowhawk in his garden.

On Thursday along the Strood seawall, two marsh harriers, two buzzards, two kestrels and two stonechats were seen while along the channel were 30 avocets and 300 golden plover of note.
A blackcap was seen in the Firs Chase garden on Thursday morning.

A Chinese water deer was seen near Bower Hall by Martin Cock as he walked along the seawall there on Thursday, also seen were a stonechat, redwing and fieldfare.

Richard Brown managed to find and photograph the purple sandpiper near East Mersea Point just before the mid afternoon high tide on Wednesday 6th when it flew in from the west with some ringed plovers.

Offshore from the West Mersea Esplanade on Wednesday, Andy Field reported seeing two great northern divers, female eider, red-necked grebe, 16 red-breasted mergansers and a marsh harrier. Michael Thorley reported three great northern divers and two black-throated divers offshore.

Along the Strood seawall on Wednesday the bearded tit was seen briefly as it perched up on some reeds, also two marsh harriers, three buzzards, stonechat, 25 avocets, with fifty ringed plovers seen feeding in the wet fields.
Later on Wednesday a short-eared owl was seen in the Strood fields area by Jonathan Bustard, the bird later seen perching on the seawall sluice.

Three snow buntings were still on the East Mersea Point on Tuesday 5th- the birds skulking amongst the grass and other plants making them hard to spot until you almost stood on them.
In the river Colne were five red-breasted mergansers.

The Golfhouse paddock was very wet on Tuesday and had twenty teal feeding in it as were fifty wigeon. In the nearby park grazing fields were 1500 wigeon, 70 teal, 50 black-tailed godwits, 90 greylag geese, seven gadwall and 50 redshank. A tufted duck was in the Golfhouse dyke and ten shoveler were on the saltmarsh lagoons. In the various hedges were 100 fieldfares, ten redwing and a mistle thrush.

The red-necked grebe was seen by Martin Cock offshore from Kingsland Road on Tuesday.

I had to dodge showers along the north side of the Island on Monday 4th, here a rainbow pictured from the Maydays seawall. A pale-bellied brent goose was feeding in the fields with 800 brent geese, also a big flock in the wet wheat fields of 1000 golden plover, 100 lapwing and also 70 grey plovers and 50 dunlin. Three marsh harriers, ten fieldfares and a stonechat were also noted at Maydays while in the Pyefleet were 1000 knot, red-breasted merganser and 100 avocets.

At East Mersea Point three snow buntings and the purple sandpiper were seen by Martin Cock on the wet Monday morning.

A red squirrel was seen visiting the nut feeder in the Firs Chase garden about midday on Wednesday 

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