Tuesday 11 June 2024


There was still a chilly northerly breeze on Tuesday 11th. This holly blue had found a sunny spot in Feldy View out of the wind. A small heath and two ruddy darters were also seen here.

The ox-eye daisies are adding some colour to Feldy View. Two common buzzards slowly headed north-west past Feldy View being mobbed by carrion crows. Forty swifts were also heading north-west off the island during the late morning walk.

An oystercatcher has a nest high up on small cruiser boat in the Strood channel.
Along the channel on Tuesday were four avocets, four redshank, seven curlew, two shelduck, two common terns. A cuckoo was calling from Ray Island.

At Cudmore Grove on Tuesday, Lea Merclova found a new small ringed plover chick on the beach near the tarmac ramp, also two eggs in a new nest round the back of the Point - now roped off. 

On Monday 10th thirteen avocets were in the Strood channel, along with two common terns and twenty swifts passing north-west off the island.
In Firs Chase a song thrush was seen singing in the garden, first for a couple of months, and a red admiral rested on the house in the sunshine.

There was an unusual sight on Sunday 9th of two corn buntings tussling on the mud next to the Dabchicks with at least one bird singing the distinctive jangling song. Both birds stood on the mud for several minutes whilst singing, followed by a bit of chasing each other round a boat! Seemed a strange habitat to be seen squabbling over!

Also on Sunday by the Dabchicks the nesting oystercatchers have now got young to feed with the parents carrying lugworms to the chicks still in the dinghy. Fifty swifts passed west off the island, two avocets and two little egrets in the channel.

At Maydays on Saturday 8th a spoonbill was feeding along the north side of the Pyefleet channel.

After being watched for about ten minutes feeding, the spoonbill took off west towards the Strood, showing black wing-tips in flight of a subadult bird.

Also at Maydays were two great crested grebes, 15 shelduck including a brood of nine small young, two avocets and four common terns. Five marsh harriers and a buzzard were seen, while a cuckoo was calling, twenty swifts flew over, the pair of stonechats was seen feeding at least one young, while four reed warblers, three Cetti's warblers and a sedge warbler were all heard singing.
Two adders were basking five metres apart on top of the Maydays seawall near the sluice, also a brown hare, two meadow browns and a small heath seen.
Two buzzards were seen on Friday 7th during a walk along part of the Strood seawall, also a male marsh harrier quartering the Strood fields. Along the channel were two shelduck, redshank displaying, two curlew, two common terns and four lapwing passing over. A cuckoo was calling, two sedge warblers and three reed warblers also noted. Three brown hares were in a field, two emperor dragonflies were along the dyke and two small heaths in Feldy View.

Thursday 6 June 2024


At least two ringed plover chicks were seen at East Mersea Point on Thursday 6th, here a parent with a chick photographed by Andy Field.

The two ringed plover chicks were photographed by Andy running around on the beach at the Point, maybe other chicks were hiding among the grass. This nest site was roped off on the 15th May when it was first discovered on the beach, so the eggs have hatched three weeks later - or thereabouts.

Three Sandwich terns flew out of the Colne past the Point and headed west on Thursday morning - earlier they had been seen in front of the East Mersea Oyster Fishery by Martin Cock.

A family of Canada geese was photographed by Andy on Thursday with a brood of five goslings in the Pyefleet at Reeveshall. Also seen in the Reeveshall area were thirteen other Canada geese, barn owl, three marsh harriers and a corn bunting.

Michael Thorley visited East Mersea Point on Thursday afternoon and saw one ringed plover adult as a couple of carrions crows and black-headed gulls were keeping a close watch on the area. Also four linnets, a reed bunting singing and 49 oystercatchers on an uncovering sandbank.

Along the Strood seawall on Thursday, a large and noisy flock of 39 Canada geese and a greylag goose flew over the Strood causeway and continued down channel towards Salcott Channel and Old Hall. Two common terns hunted along the channel, the nightingale and a cuckoo were heard singing from Ray Island and another cuckoo singing by Feldy View. A buzzard, sparrowhawk, lapwing, pair of mute swans and four reed warblers were also noted during the walk.

Sixty-three common spotted orchids were in flower in the back garden of David Chadwick - who kindly allowed me to visit and admire them.

Most of the common spotted orchids flowers were this pale pink colour. All of the hundreds of green-winged orchids had finished flowering last month.

After much scrutiny a couple of adder's tongue ferns were found with the orchids in David's back garden.

An emperor dragonfly was photographed by Michael Thorley ovipositing in his East Mersea garden pond.

The emperor on a water lily photographed by Michael.

Rob Lee watched a stoat moving her six kitts across the patio of his house on Barrow Hill on Thursday afternoon, each kitt being carried individually in the mouth. Two cuckoos flew over, a female being chased by two males.

A little owl was seen perched on a telegraph post near Bocking Hall on Thursday evening and was photographed by Mark.

As well as seeing this little owl on the top of the pole near Bocking Hall, another one was also seen by Mark in a tree by the entrance to Cudmore Grove on Thursday, then while walking along Bromans Lane saw another one - three in one evening!
The barn owls were active at the park, also the kestrel chicks seen in their nestbox and a corn bunting heard singing in the park's fields on Thursday and also the previous evening too.

On Wednesday 5th a lone brent goose was seen feeding in one of the park's grazing fields, elsewhere a pair of lapwing was calling anxiously as if chicks were present in amongst the long grass. 

A reed warbler was singing from reeds beside the park dyke on Wednesday, three others heard and a sedge warbler as well.

Most unusual sight at Cudmore Grove this spring was seeing a corn bunting singing in the grazing field. I can't recall the last time this happened - if at all in the last forty years! Even when corn buntings were more widespread across the island up until the late 1990's, they never bred in the grazing fields.

Two lesser whitethroats, two whitethroats, Cetti's warbler and reed bunting were noted during the walk of the Cudmore circuit. Four sand martins, ten swallows and twenty swifts flew over, ten linnets, kestrel, six tufted ducks and five little egrets were seen too.

On the Golfhouse saltmarsh pools on Wednesday a pair of black-headed gulls was on its nest on the island while a chick was seen on a another nest nearby. A pair of redshank was calling anxiously and eventually a chick was seen in the saltmarsh, while a common tern was still sitting on her nest on the island. A grey plover roosted at high tide in the saltmarsh, a pair of ringed plovers was seen at the Point with at least one chick and a Sandwich tern flew out of the Colne.

Two young robins were calling continuously in Michael Thorley's garden, waiting to the fed by the parents.

On Tuesday 4th a barn owl was seen hunting over the park's grazing field by Caroline White in the evening. Also two common terns and a greenshank on the Golfhouse pools, the kestrel chicks showing in the box, two tufted ducks on the dyke, chiffchaff, Cetti's warbler, four reed warblers and three reed buntings noted during her evening park walk.

A brief circuit by the Firs Caravan park on Tuesday morning produced 24 swifts, lapwing, pair of mute swans, two reed warblers, whitethroat and a song thrush.

Andy Field walked the Cudmore circuit on Monday 3rd and photographed this ringed plover on the beach at the Point with 13 others on the nearby mud. A black-headed gull young chick was on its nest on the island on the Golfhouse pools, also common tern on its nest too here, while a pair of redshank were calling presumably chicks nearby. A whitethroat was noted, lapwing still on fields, five kestrel chicks in the box, little owl calling near the park pond, while on Langenhoe three marsh harriers were seen.

A couple of young linnets were photographed by Andy at Cudmore Grove on Monday.

A few Red-banded sand wasps Ammophila sabulosa were seen at the Point by Andy on Monday.

The Japanese Rose flowering at present at the Point photographed by Andy.

At Maydays farm on Monday morning Martin Cock reported seeing the osprey sitting on the distant post on the Geedons, also a peregrine seen, buzzard and the stonechat pair with two youngsters.

Michael Thorley visited Cudmore on Monday afternoon and saw the barn owl quartering the park's grazing fields, also three tufted ducks and four reed warblers along the park dyke.

Along the Strood on Monday morning three pochard flew down channel, marsh harrier, two buzzards and a sparrowhawk were seen, a cuckoo was heard calling as was the nightingale singing on Ray Island. Two common terns, three reed warblers, sedge warbler, six linnets and a Cetti's warbler were noted while 20 swifts were seen over the houses.
At Firs Chase a goldcrest was singing in the garden repeatedly while a buzzard circled overhead.

David Bullock photographed this male stag beetle in his East Mersea Road garden near the corner to the Oyster Fishery on Monday. The last one seen on the island was in 2017 while the last apparent record for East Mersea was back in 1963.

An emperor dragonfly was ovipositing in Michael Thorley's East Mersea garden pond on Sunday, also a cinnamon bug seen there too.

One of the two common terns seen flying up and down the Strood Channel on Monday.

Following the sighting last year of a broomrape in my sister in law's garden in Strood Close, I returned on Monday and counted twenty spikes growing in her unmown front lawn.

Also of interest in my sister in law's front lawn was a patch of mouse-eared hawkweed, usually found on sandy and acid soils.

On Sunday 2nd along the Strood seawall, a recently fledged stonechat was seen feeding by itself along the central ditch. The youngster still had the white spots on the back and wings but seemed very independent and sure of itself. The previous day at nearby Maydays a young stonechat was still being fed by the very concerned parents, so the Strood youngster must be from elsewhere.

Also seen from the Strood seawall were a red-legged partridge, six avocets, whimbrel, two common terns, two marsh harriers, four buzzards, two kestrels, cuckoo, two sedge warblers, three reed warblers, two whitethroats, lesser whitethroat, Cetti's warbler by the layby, nightingale singing on Ray Island, 16 swifts over the houses.

Chrissie Westgate had an unexpected visitor to her house behind the Dabchicks on Sunday when a muntjac deer took a wrong turning in her back garden and ran inside her house causing carnage to the living room as it tried to get out. Colin managed to open the front door and it duly escaped!

Among the very few moths noted in the Firs Chase moth trap was this Peppered moth on the 2nd June.

Silver Y moth.

Barred Yellow on the 4th.

Cream-spot Bark Moth Dasycera oliviella.

Dark-bordered Pearl Evergestis limbata.

Saturday 1 June 2024


A pair of stonechat has bred on the Island for only the second time in many decades. A youngster was seen being fed by its parents beside the borrowdyke at Maydays farm on Saturday 1st. Both birds have been behaving more anxiously over the last week as if young were in the area.

After sitting down on the seawall and waiting, the stonechat youngster eventually showed out of a bush and was calling out to be fed. The male and female stonechats have been present since the start of May and breeding was expected after they stayed around. The last time stonechats bred on the Island was in 2020 at Coopers Beach.

Also at Maydays was a calling cuckoo, a flock of 15 presumed failed breeding lapwings in a field, two Cetti's warblers, two reed warblers, lesser whitethroat, three whitethroats, ten linnets, three swifts, singing yellowhammer, buzzard and a marsh harrier on Langenhoe.

The osprey was perched on a post on the Geedons Marsh on Saturday morning having caught and eating a fish, viewable from Fingringhoe.

A female adder was lying on the seawall path at Maydays near the sluice on Saturday and a little further on a very small adder which would be a youngster from last summer. Three brown hares were seen in one of the fields.

A cream-spot tiger moth was photographed by Caroline White beside the Cudmore Grove beach on Saturday. Also seen at the park were kestrel chicks visible in their nestbox, Cetti's warbler calling by the pond, two chiffchaffs and a green woodpecker
A barn owl was seen by Mollie Kirk flying through their garden of the park bungalow on Saturday evening, followed a bit later by a sparrowhawk.
Earlier in Saturday evening Caroline saw a barn owl quartering the field near Chapmans Lane / East Mersea Road. Tony Clifton reported seeing earlier in the week a barn owl perch in his garden along East Mersea road near Meeting Lane on Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th. 

A red kite was seen on Saturday by Andy Field flying over Firs Chase.

A pair of Egyptian geese was on a pool at the back of one of the Strood fields on Thursday 30th. A pair of lapwing and oystercatcher appeared to be nesting in the recently sown maize field, while a pair of mute swans was on the pond at the back of the fields. Along the dyke were two sedge warblers, two reed warblers also eight linnets, buzzard, sparrowhawk noted and a whitethroat in Feldy View.

A movement of swifts headed north-west off the island on Thursday morning with at least 200 counted, along with five house martins heading off island too. Along the Strood Channel were three common terns, curlew, avocet, four shelduck, Mediterranean gull and five pochard flying down to Old Hall.
Andy Field saw similar birds along the Strood channel but also saw a yellow wagtail and four reed warblers.

An oystercatcher was sitting tight on its shingle nest in the old fishing box in a dinghy near the Dabchicks on Thursday.

In East Mersea Caroline White saw the four kestrel chicks showing nicely at Cudmore Grove, the nightingale singing near the car park, ten long-tailed tits, and two chaffinches.
Martin Cock saw a red kite and marsh harriers from the Shop Lane seawall but not the osprey on the Geedons which had been reported. A grey squirrel was seen in Shop Lane.

Michael Thorley photographed this Cucumber Green Spider at Cudmore Grove.

The hoverfly Merodon equestris was photographed in East Mersea by Michael.

Two swift eggs were visible in the nestbox on Andy Field's house in High Street North on Wednesday 29th.

A brief visit circuit around Firs Caravan park perimeter footpaths produced a pochard and common tern over the channel while a song thrush was heard singing.

A peregrine was seen flying over Barrow Hill on Wednesday by Rob Lee.
A little owl was seen at the Cudmore Grove turning circle on Wednesday evening by Daniel Woollard.

On Tuesday 28th Andy Field walked the Cudmore Grove circuit and noted common tern still sitting on the Golfhouse pool island, also black-headed gull sitting, lapwing and redshank still on grazing field, two pairs of ringed plovers along the beach - one on the Point and the other by the tarmac ramp. Also four kestrel chicks in the box, barn owl in its nestbox, buzzard, sedge warbler, four reed warblers and the nightingale still singing near the car park.

At Maydays on Tuesday Martin Cock flushed a grey partridge from the seawall, also the pair of stonechat still present and two yellowhammers singing.

A garden warbler was discovered singing in Michael and Sarah Thorley's East Mersea garden on Tuesday morning - but not seen later.

Two spoonbills flew down the Strood channel on Tuesday and continued south-westerly over Feldy Marsh. Also seen during the morning walk along the Strood seawall were a greylag goose, mute swan, six pochard, six avocets, four common terns, marsh harrier, sedge warbler and a reed warbler.

A shrew was spotted stationary on the Strood seawall path on Monday 27th. The pair of mute swans were on the pond, a pochard flew along the channel, two avocets, common tern, three buzzards, two sedge warblers, two reed warblers and a blackcap singing near the caravan park.

A Wasp Beetle was in Feldy View on Monday- the second sighting there this month.

A male marsh harrier quartered the Strood fields on Sunday 26th, one of two seen. A hobby flew high over the Strood causeway before drifting off the Island, four buzzards and two kestrels were also noted.
Along the channel were three redshank, ringed plover, two pochard in flight, while a gadwall pair were on the fields. A Cetti's warbler sang by the Strood layby, a flock of 25 linnets in the weedy field, sedge warbler and three reed warbler were singing.

An osprey was reported in the Colne perched on a post on the Geedons, seen from Fingringhoe on Sunday.

A Hairy Dragonfly was resting along the Strood seawall on Sunday, also an Emperor Dragonfly flying over the dyke.

Always nice to see the first Elephant Hawkmoth of the summer in the Firs Chase garden moth trap on the 29th.

Pale Tussock on the 25th.