Monday, 17 January 2022

SUN, SEA AND SANDERLING

A flock of 70 sanderling fed along the beach at high tide near Waldegraves caravan park on Monday 17th. It was the perfect weather for a winter's walk along the shore between Cross Lane and Rewsalls marshes with little wind and lots of blue sky.

Most of the sanderling were on the Waldegraves beach with another small group roosting during the high tide on the shingle island just offshore.

The calm waters offshore from Rewsalls revealed 557+ great crested grebes, four Slavonian grebes, two red-throated divers, while a great northern diver was seen offshore from the bottom of Cross Lane.

A visit by Stuart Read, Jeff Higgott and Darren Underwood to Coopers Beach earlier on Monday produced 680+ great crested grebes, seven Slavonian grebes, two red-throated divers and a great northern diver. Later they saw two great northern divers from Kingsland Road and a shag at the Hard. The two great northern divers were also seen from the Esplanade by Steve Entwistle in the morning.

The black brant was with a flock of 100 brent geese on the East Mersea boating lake on Monday, later being seen feeding in the middle of the Waldegraves caravan park.

A juvenile dark-bellied brent goose swam away from the rest of the family along the old dyke at Rewsalls marshes.

A female kingfisher was seen perched beside the Rewsalls marshes on Monday as the high tide came in through the old seawall to flood the marshes.
Birds seen on the side-lake were a greenshank which flew off high to the north-west, 70 turnstone, 50 dunlin, 8 ringed plovers, 12 little grebes, while on the main marshes were 80 curlew, 2 snipe, 30 redshank and 100 brent geese.

Two rock pipits perched in front of the Youth Camp on Monday, while in the field to the west was a mixed flock of 70 fieldfare and 30 redwing, also fifty linnets, sparrowhawk and buzzard noted here.
From Cross Lane a buzzard perched up  and 30 redwing had been feeding in a rape field.

Michael Thorley visited Shop Lane on Monday afternoon to watch the harrier roost and counted 14 marsh harriers and a male hen harrier at 16.40, also 1200 brent geese on Reeveshall and 800 starlings beyond Langenhoe. Earlier six pied wagtails and a white wagtail were seen at Coopers Beach.

David Allen visited West Mersea on Monday and reported a black-throated diver off the Esplanade, also 18 sanderling, Mediterranean gull, 16 dunlin, 7 redshank, 3 ringed plover, 6 turnstone, 60 brent geese and 12 little grebes from the Hard.

There was a nice sunset from the West Mersea Hard on Sunday 16th - the sound of the 700 brent geese flying off Feldy marshes adding to the atmosphere. There were 15 little grebes, a male red-breasted merganser and 65 avocets in the Strood channel along with a stonechat and two buzzards beside the Strood fields.

At Maydays farm on Sunday there were ten corn buntings, 20 fieldfare, two redwing and a Cetti's warbler while along the Reeveshall seawall were 700 brent geese, 30 greylag geese, 8 red-breasted mergansers, three marsh harriers and three buzzards. A goldcrest was feeding with long tailed tits in Fishponds Wood in Shop Lane.

At the end of Sunday afternoon, Andy Field watched the Langenhoe harrier roost from the Shop Lane seawall and noted 17 marsh harriers, the male hen harrier at 16.40, short-eared owl, barn owl, peregrine, sparrowhawk and buzzard. There were 500 brent geese on Reeveshall and a goldcrest in Fishponds Wood.

Martin Cock on Sunday reported seeing from Coopers Beach two Slavonian grebes, 300+ great crested grebes and a red-throated diver.
A song thrush was singing from a tree in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday morning.

A goldcrest was photographed by Steve Entwistle on Saturday 15th beside Fishponds Wood in Shop Lane, also great spotted woodpecker and two red squirrels showed well twice. A woodcock was reported seen during the local pheasant shoot near Shop Lane.

In Cross Lane on Saturday a female blackcap, ten redwing were seen, while at Waldegraves caravan park were 55 mallard, 2 coot, 30 moorhens, kestrel with prey, 8 pied wagtails, 100 brent geese and 12 sanderling on the beach.

Shaun Bater saw a sparrowhawk with a starling in his Estuary Park Road garden also a greenfinch on Saturday.

Oliver Cottis reported seeing from the Esplanade on Saturday great northern diver, 50 brent geese, 9 shelduck, shoveler, 2 great crested grebes, 25 oystercatchers, four ringed plover, grey plover, 30 turnstone, 25 sanderling, 55 dunlin, 3 redshank, five common gulls, 3 Mediterranean gulls and 8 cormorants. A marsh harrier was seen by the Strood.

Liz Huxley walked east from the Strood towards Maydays on Saturday in the fog and noted 10 rock pipits, 20 fieldfare, two corn buntings, 50 reed buntings, 30 linnets, 800 brent geese, 9 red-breasted mergansers, 50 lapwing, 30 golden plover, 2 avocets, three buzzards and a marsh harrier.

A male pintail was feeding by itself on the side-lake next to the East Mersea boating lake on Friday 14th.

The over-wintering greenshank was roosting on the side-lake next to a couple of shelduck on Friday during the high tide.

Ninety turnstone were roosting on a small island in the side-lake at Rewsalls marsh, also seen here on Friday were 50 dunlin, 130 curlew, 4 snipe, 12 little grebes, 2 teal with 30 sanderling on the beach.
Offshore from Rewsalls were 364 great crested grebes, 3 Slavonian grebes and a great northern diver

Around some of the nearby fields and hedgerows at Rewsalls were 12 fieldfares, 2 mistle thrushes, four redwing, two yellowhammer, 30 reed buntings, Cetti's warbler, 30 goldfinches, seven pied wagtails, two buzzards and 34 skylarks.

At the end of Friday a visit to the Shop Lane seawall produced views of the male hen harrier seen flying west over Langenhoe at 16.00 then coming back to drop into the reedbed to roost at 16.35. Also 15+ marsh harriers, two buzzards, short-eared owl, while in the channel were five red-breasted mergansers and 200 lapwing. On Reeveshall 700 brent geese were grazing, a water rail called to the west from the rushes at the pool, with a second bird calling east towards the Oyster Fishery. A sparrowhawk was seen in Shop Lane.

At Maydays on Friday morning Martin Cock saw four buzzards, four marsh harriers, peregrine, sparrowhawk, nine red-breasted mergansers, eight pintail, four redwing, six fieldfare, singing corn bunting and a probable jack snipe seen in flight near the Maydays sluice.
There was no sign of the velvet scoter in the Pyefleet channel.

Matt Turner on Friday walked from the Strood east along the Pyefleet seawall noting 22 fieldfare, 8 redwing, 3 corn buntings, 9 red-breasted mergansers, buzzard, 6 avocets, red-legged partridge and also a short-eared owl flying south-east off marshes by the Strood late afternoon.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

COLLECTING BEDDING

A busy red squirrel was seen collecting nesting material beside Firs Chase on Friday 14th. After it had begun to carry it away, it paused briefly on top of the roof of a nearby bungalow, catching the early morning sunshine while it pondered its next move.

The red squirrel had spent a moment wrapping the strips of bark into a tight ball so that it could carry it in its mouth.

The red squirrel had first been spotted from the kitchen window stripping the bark from a thin branch on the opposite side of the road. I grabbed a camera and managed to take these pictures as I watched it over the passing traffic between us! It paused once and retreated a short way when a dog-walker passed close-by along the road but then came back to strip more off the branch.

The squirrel was watched for about five to ten minutes stripping the bark off and another five or so minutes as it carried it off through the trees.

Lime bark, also known as bast, is perfect for nest material as it strips off easily in long dry strips.

The red squirrel was thinking of crossing the road at ground level which is dangerous with all the traffic passing by. I went and stood in the entrance to our driveway so that it would be deterred from running across the road towards me. It did look at me from the low fence pictured above and then decided to turn back and use the longer route but safer aerial crossing using the branches high over the road. Once over the road, it scampered along the roof of our chalet bungalow - a regular route for it, dropped down into a tree in our patio and then away into the neighbour's garden, still carrying the ball of bark!

Thursday, 13 January 2022

PYEFLEET VELVET SCOTER

Plenty of sunshine and a light breeze on Thursday 13th provided perfect conditions for a walk along the north side of the Island from Shop Lane to Maydays. On the calm waters of the Pyefleet channel were 13 red-breasted mergansers including this male, while the velvet scoter was seen feeding on a crab mid channel - has been present for the last fortnight here, also two great crested grebes and six little grebes noted too.

Also along the channel during the low tide walk were 165 avocets, 120 black-tailed godwits, 300 lapwing, 1000 dunlin, 3 bar-tailed godwits, three knot and five ringed plovers - amongst lots of other regular waders. 

Four buzzards were enjoying the sunshine with this one perched on top of the seawall, also six marsh harriers seen while a short-eared owl was seen hunting over Langenhoe. A flock of 600 brent geese were grazing Reeveshall. In Fishponds Wood at Shop Lane a goldcrest was feeding with long-tailed tits.

On Wednesday 12th Andy Field walked the Reeveshall seawall to Maydays and saw the velvet scoter in the Pyefleet channel. A short You Tube video of it is at - https://youtu.be/Scu_SIBkmQo?t=9


Other highlights were two peregines - with one chasing a merlin, six buzzards, three marsh harriers, short-eared owl on Langenhoe, eight red-breasted mergansers, two corn buntings, six redwing and a little owl at Maydays farm. A  male merlin was watched sitting on the Maydays saltmarsh in the sun preening itself for 45 minutes.

Andy photographed this red squirrel on Wednesday beside Fishponds Wood in Shop Lane.

A second red squirrel photographed by Andy in Fishponds Wood on Wednesday was a bit shyer.
Two brown hares were seen boxing on the Reeveshall / Maydays by Andy.

In West Mersea a female blackcap and a great spotted woodpecker were seen in Shaun Bater's garden in Estuary Park Road.

It was also calm on Wednesday morning along the Strood channel where a great northern diver was feeding among the boats behind the Dabchicks sailing club. Over in the Ray Channel 1000 brent geese sought refuge after being disturbed off the Feldy Marshes. 
Birds noted along the Strood channel were 100 teal, 10 little grebes, 60 curlew, 44 avocets, one bar-tailed godwit, eight black-tailed godwits, a knot, two marsh harriers, two buzzards, a yellowhammer and a pair of mistle thrushes behind the caravan site. A fox was seen running over the Ray Island saltmarsh late morning.

There were sunny conditions on Tuesday 11th along the Strood Channel and this stonechat perched beside the Firs Caravan site. Four great spotted woodpeckers were around the caravan site, while over the fields were two buzzards and a marsh harrier over Ray Island. Fifteen snipe flew off the grass field, while in the channel were 83 shelduck, 200 teal, 50 wigeon, 50 avocets and 20 black-tailed godwits.

Steve Grimwade visited Mersea on Tuesday morning and caught up with the velvet scoter in the Pyefleet off Maydays, also female merlin, 87 avocets, 500 dunlin, 11 red-breasted mergansers, two marsh harriers, three buzzards, five corn buntings and also a kingfisher by the Strood layby. Two great northern divers were later seen offshore through the gloom from the Esplanade. The presumed same two great northern divers were seen earlier on Tuesday close in off the Esplanade by Jonathan Norgate.

A white-fronted goose was photographed by Richard Brown during his visit with permission onto the Langenhoe ranges on Monday 10th. Also seen out there were three short-eared owls in the air at the same time and at least thirty bearded tits feeding on the reed-tops in the early morning frost.

At Maydays on Monday the velvet scoter was seen in the Pyefleet again by Martin Cock and Steve Entwistle. Martin noted mid-morning a merlin, short-eared owl, two buzzards, three marsh harriers, seven pintail, two red-breasted mergansers, stonechat, yellowhammer, 12 corn buntings, seven redwing and 15 fieldfare.

Steve also noted during his visit to Maydays on Monday eight red-breasted mergansers, four little grebes, two bar-tailed godwits, five pintail, 15 golden plover, 200 dunlin, 50 avocets, corn bunting, three male yellowhammers, Cetti's warbler and four marsh harriers.

Jonathan Norgate photographed the velvet scoter in the Pyefleet channel on Sunday 9th, also seen were a male hen harrier, three bar-tailed godwits and three corn buntings.

At Cudmore Grove Andy Field on Sunday morning reported two pairs of stonechats, water rail calling from the clubrush in the fields, 60-70 greylag geese flew north over the park, a snipe on the Golfhouse pools and a mistle thrush by the Golfhouse.

Steve Entwistle spent most of Sunday on the Maydays seawall and saw two short-eared owls, possibly three - one on Reeveshall and another one maybe two on Langenhoe, velvet scoter, four red-breasted mergansers, four buzzards, four marsh harriers, two kestrels, little owl, 27 linnets, 20 fieldfares, eight redwing, two rock pipits, two meadow pipits, two greenfinch and a red-legged partridge in Haycocks Lane. Also a Chinese Water deer was seen twice at Maydays.

A kestrel perched over Charlie and Nicola Pollard's garden in Shop Lane on Sunday 9th.

The kestrel seemed used to people passing close-by.

A great white egret flew out of the reeds along Broad Fleet at Reeveshall before dropping back down again on Sunday. fourteen red-breasted mergansers were feeding with the velvet scoter in the Pyefleet, and two female pintail were near the top end of the Pyefleet. Four fieldfare, redwing and thirty reed buntings were at Maydays.

The male hen harrier was photographed by Paul Rowe from Old Hall, as the bird flew low over the saltmarsh at the entrance to Salcott Creek- pictured here with the toilet block at the West Mersea Hard in the background.

The sun set over the jetty at the Hard on Sunday 9th accompanied by the sound of 1000 brent geese heading off the Feldy fields to roost. Along the Strood channel late afternoon were 65 avocets, two marsh harriers, two buzzards, sparrowhawk, two stonechats while thirty goldfinches chattered away from tree-tops ready to roost.

On a drizzly Saturday 8th at Maydays, the velvet scoter was in the Pyefleet channel with 14 red-breasted mergansers, 70 avocets, 50 knot, 500 dunlin, two great crested grebes, three marsh harriers, sparrowhawk, Cetti's warbler, corn bunting, ten redwing, a leucistic starling, 30 reed buntings and 50 chaffinches.

David Bullock reported seeing a red kite flying over the north end of Dawes Lane on Saturday morning. At the south end of Dawes Lane Steve Entwistle saw 11 blackbirds, 11 pied wagtails, song thrush, six linnets, and two goldfinches in the field nearby.

Andy Field had a brief look out to sea at the Esplanade from the comfort of his car before the rain started blowing inside the car late Saturday morning. There were brief views of two great northern divers, Mediterranean gull and a few great crested grebes.

Friday, 7 January 2022

MISTLETOE THRUSHES

A pair of mistle thrush has been feeding recently on the mistletoe berries high up in the poplar trees at the top end of the Firs Caravan park. The bird pictured was one of two seen on Friday 7th, watched from the nearby footpath.
Four fieldfares, redwing, two stock doves and a green woodpecker were also seen in this area.

The mistle thrush was also seen on Thursday 6th high up in the poplar trees of the Firs Caravan park.

The mistle thrush can be hard to spot as you crane your neck up, although they're a bit easier to see when they're diving into a mistletoe clump to eat the white berries.

There are plenty of clumps of mistletoe on the tall poplar trees at the Firs Caravan park.

Birds seen on Friday during a walk along the Strood seawall included a male red-breasted merganser, 15 little grebes, 50 avocets, 700 brent geese, two buzzards high over the channel, stonechat, five rock pipits, 20 skylarks and two corn buntings.

Offshore from the Esplanade on Friday Steve Entwistle saw a black-throated diver, red-throated diver and two great northern divers.

Martin Cock on Friday reported seeing at the Reeveshall and Maydays areas a male hen harrier, a great white egret along Broad Fleet, three marsh harriers, buzzard and 12 red-breasted mergansers.
A blackcap was seen by Trevor Hearn in his West Mersea garden on Friday morning.

On Thursday 6th Martin saw at Maydays twenty fieldfares, three redwing and 13 corn buntings.

Along the Strood on Thursday were 700 brent geese, 150 teal, 66 avocets, 200 golden plover, Mediterranean gull, bar-tailed godwit, sparrowhawk, marsh harrier, two buzzards, 15 linnets, 7 rock pipits and two corn buntings.

On a sunny Wednesday 5th at Cudmore Grove Country Park, birds noted at the pond included a male sparrowhawk, tufted duck, six gadwall, four little egrets and two calling water rails. A song thrush was singing by the central track across the park.

Up to 200 wigeon were feeding on the saltmarsh and pools by the Golfhouse on Wednesday along with 20 shoveler, while 400 brent geese were grazing pasture near Ivy Dock. At the Point were 30+ sanderling, two stonechats, 12 linnets, four red-breasted mergansers and two rock pipits. Four fieldfares flew east from the Golfhouse and a mistle thrush was by the track down to the Golfhouse.

At Blue Row there were 100+ chaffinches feeding in the old sunflower stubble field also a buzzard present too.

For the second day running on Wednesday 5th, there was a very high tide with water across the Coast Road. Pictured is local oysterman Mike Dawson and his wife taking a short-cut with his boat along the flooded road.

Offshore from the Esplanade and Coast Road on Wednesday, Andy Field saw five great northern divers, two red-throated divers, Slavonian grebe, 12 red-breasted mergansers, Mediterranean gull, four sanderling and two bar-tailed godwits. A guillemot was also reported by some visiting birdwatchers from the Esplanade.

On Tuesday 4th at Coopers Beach there was a Slavonian grebe, 30 great crested grebes and two red-throated divers offshore. A wisp flock of 48 snipe flew off the Coopers marshes, a rock pipit and meadow pipit were also seen, while a mistle thrush was by East Mersea church.

From the Esplanade on Tuesday four red-throated divers, 65 great crested grebes and a Mediterranean gull were seen. Steve Entwistle saw three great northern divers from Kingsland Road on Tuesday morning, later 30+ greylag geese flew from Bradwell to Old Hall.

The velvet scoter was seen in the Pyefleet channel on Tuesday morning by Richard Brown when he visited the Langenhoe ranges.

Red squirrels are still daily visitors to the Firs Chase garden with this male seen pictured on Wednesday 5th.

Two male red squirrels were seen on the cedar tree in the Firs Chase garden on Thursday 6th, briefly chasing each other up the trunk. While this one rested on the main limb, the other one was on the feeder just underneath the limb.

A very dark and brazen fox strolled up the garden driveway in Firs Chase in the middle of the day on Thursday. It had a quick drink at the bird-bath, checked out the area by the cars and then trotted back down the drive again. It passed the front door-step without it noticing I was watching it from only five metres away!

Monday, 3 January 2022

NEW YEAR FOR BIRDS

Happy New Year.
A mixed flock of waders roosted on a small island on the side lake beside the flooded Rewsalls marshes during Monday 3rd's high tide. In this flock were turnstones, 25 ringed plovers and some dunlin.

The water levels were slowly rising with the tide flooding through the old breached seawall at Rewsalls. It wasn't long before there was nothing of the little island for the birds to stand on like these ringed plovers, dunlin and turnstones.

Also roosting on the Rewsalls side-lake were two greenshank that are overwintering here, pictured as the two paler waders. Also seen here are several redshank, turnstones and one black-tailed godwit. Three snipe were flying about, as were 20 golden plover, three little egrets and forty linnets. On the Youth Camp field were 100 curlew feeding, 12 pied wagtails, three green woodpeckers and a buzzard being mobbed by crows

A black brant was feeding with 300 brent geese on a wheat field between the Youth Camp and Waldegraves on Monday, as were 30 Mediterranean gulls and ten common gulls. Offshore was a great northern diver drifting west, while on the Waldegraves beach were 40 sanderling - some on the offshore island. Three coots and 40 moorhens were seen in Waldegraves caravan park.

A female blackcap paid a couple of visits to the garden feeder in Firs Chase on Monday, also a song thrush seen too.

Steve Entwistle on Monday saw two great northern divers and 15 great crested grebes off Seaview and then later a Slavonian grebe off Coopers Beach.

The sun made a brief appearance at the end of Sunday 2nd over the West Mersea Hard just after a dark rain cloud had passed by. Along the Strood seawall were the usual waders and wildfowl, with 30+ avocets, great crested grebe, sparrowhawk and stonechat being of interest.
Along the Bower Hall seawall there was a pair of yellowhammer, two rock pipits, marsh harrier and a buzzard.

The sun showed for a short while along the Pyefleet on Sunday early afternoon providing a view of the velvet scoter present for its fifth day. It spent a bit of time on the far side drifting down towards Pewit Island, then it flew to join some red-breasted mergansers mid channel, before flying back up to Maydays to join another small group of red-breasted mergansers - some of the 14 seen in the Pyefleet. A snipe flew along the Maydays creek.

A peregrine flew over Reeveshall and landed in a field for several minutes before heading over to Langenhoe. Four marsh harriers and a buzzard were seen and there was a feeding flock of 1000 starlings.
A short-eared owl was seen by Steve Entwistle flying over Langehoe on Sunday afternoon from Maydays, also a fieldfare seen, while earlier the great white egret was seen flying over Reeveshall, also two buzzards in Shop Lane and a meadow pipit in the horse paddock.

At Cudmore Grove Shaun Bater reported a sparrowhawk, kestrel, buzzard, calling water rail at the pond and four stonechats, as well as wigeon, teal and brent geese.

On New Year's Day on Saturday 1st, a walk along the Strood Channel from Firs Chase produced 65 bird species which was one less than last year's visit on New Year's Day here. The main birds of note were a great northern diver by the boat moorings, as well as a marsh harrier, buzzard, sparrowhawk, a stonechat, Cetti's warbler singing briefly, 15 skylarks, 20 linnets and 15 goldfinches

A mistle thrush was feeding on mistletoe berries at the top end of the Firs Caravan park, while a red squirrel ran across the top end of The Lane. Earlier in the day two mistle thrushes were seen feeding in the Firs caravan park mistletoe clumps by Steve Entwistle.

Along the Strood channel on New Year's Day were one or two turnstones, also 63 avocets, two black-tailed godwits and four Mediterranean gulls.

Andy Field kicked off the new year with a productive walk along the north side of the Island from Shop Lane to Maydays. The velvet scoter was still in the Pyefleet at Maydays, a great white egret had been feeding in the ditch beside the Reeveshall seawall and a male hen harrier flew over Reeveshall. Also seen were four marsh harriers including one male displaying over Langenhoe, seven red-breasted mergansers, fieldfare and a yellowhammer near Shop Lane.

A great white egret was seen on the saltmarsh in front of Bower Hall on Saturday by Steve Entwistle.

Friday, 31 December 2021

BALMY END TO YEAR

 

Festive Greetings to everyone.
A red admiral butterfly was enjoying the end of year warmth in Cross Lane on New Year's Eve, seen during a walk around West Mersea.
Fifty sanderling were feeding on the mudflats opposite the end of Cross Lane.

Amongst a small group of ten dark-bellied brent geese at the West Mersea Hard on Friday 31st, was this confiding pale-bellied brent goose that was preening itself on the edge of the mud close to the car park.

The regular black brant - front left, was also on the Hard on Friday with a small group of eight dark-bellied brent geese
The black brant was also seen here at the Hard yesterday Thursday by Martin Cock.

The female blackcap was seen in the Firs Chase garden on Friday morning. A mistle thrush was in the poplar trees with the mistletoe clumps at the topside of the Firs Caravan park, also a red squirrel along the folly footpath scrambling amongst the ivy at head height.

At Maydays farm the velvet scoter was seen by Martin Cock on Friday for its third day in the Pyefleet channel, also seen were 13 red-breasted mergansers, five marsh harriers and two buzzards.

 Richard Brown took these three pictures of the velvet scoter in the Pyefleet Channel on Thursday 30th, the sun coming out briefly late morning on an otherwise cloudy day.

The velvet scoter appears to be a first winter bird showing two white patches on the face.
This is the first record of a velvet scoter in the Pyefleet and providing reasonable views, as most previous records have been distant ones looking out to sea, such as the four seen earlier this year in the outer Colne.

The distinctive white wing-bar of the velvet scoter showed when the bird flapped its wings and was also partially visible when the wing was folded. The bird was diving regularly and was seen to feed on a crab at one point. It was feeding with a group of six red-breasted mergansers - another group of five red-breasted mergansers were further down the channel.

Also in the Pyefleet were 50 avocets, 100 knot, 500 dunlin, 400 lapwing, two Mediterranean gull and two great crested grebes.

As well as enjoying the sight of a rainbow over the Maydays marshes on Thursday morning, of greater interest for Richard Brown were two great white egrets on the Bower Hall saltmarsh. Later one great white egret flew onto Reeveshall landing on the field briefly before dropping into the nearby Broad Fleet.

A male hen harrier was seen flying along the Reeveshall and Maydays seawall, later being seen by Steve Entwistle over a game cover crop. Also three marsh harriers over Reeveshall and Maydays, a buzzard, sparrowhawk and five red-legged partridge near Haycocks Lane.

Richard saw two stonechats in a field beside the Shop Lane seawall on Thursday.

The tide was going out during the morning of Wednesday 29th along the Strood channel with lots of waders and wildfowl including this redshank feeding on the mud. Birds of interest noted were 300 teal, 150 wigeon, 90 shelduck, 70 avocets, 200 lapwing with six golden plover

A great northern diver was a nice find, feeding among the boat moorings behind the Dabchicks sailing club, opposite the old wooden jetty. A great crested grebe and ten little grebes also among the moorings.

A little egret was watching the water pour out of the Strood seawall sluice on Wednesday, two others were feeding along the dyke inside the seawall. The stonechat, 12 meadow pipits and three reed buntings were also along the dyke. A buzzard perched on a hedge and a sparrowhawk was seen on three occasions, possibly different birds.

In Firs Chase a sparrowhawk and 20 goldfinches passed over the garden and a red squirrel visited the feeder on Wednesday.

The velvet scoter was found in the Pyefleet on Wednesday afternoon by Martin Cock from Maydays, also 12 red-breasted mergansers.

Richard Brown took this picture of a great northern diver - one of five seen on Christmas Eve while out on his son's boat.

Also photographed by Richard from his son's boat was this red-throated diver - one of three seen just off West Mersea.

At Maydays on Friday 24th Steve Entwistle reported four corn buntings, two redwings, four red-legged partridges while later from the Victoria Esplanade were a great northern diver and 15 great crested grebes in the heavy mist.

From the Victoria Esplanade on Thursday 23rd, Andy Field reported six great northern divers, two Slavonian grebes, two red-throated divers, two Mediterranean gulls, ten red-breasted mergansers, three sanderling and two bar-tailed godwits.
The black brant was seen off the Esplanade by Jonathan Norgate.

At East Mersea on Thursday Steve Entwistle on a visit to the Golfhouse saw and heard the water rail in the horse paddock by the track, also a pair of stonechat near the seawall and a green woodpecker.

On Wednesday 22nd Martin Cock and Steve Entwistle reported seeing at Maydays a yellowhammer, four corn buntings, 20 fieldfare, four redwing, two song thrushes, six buzzards, marsh harrier, eight linnet and two skylark.
In the afternoon at the country park Steve saw a goldcrest with eight long-tailed tits and then 23 sanderling on the shore.