Wednesday, 12 May 2021


A cuckoo was calling out across Cudmore Grove country park on a sunny Wednesday 12th. This one landed in a tree over a path and called for a couple of minutes before moving on.

The same cuckoo was also photographed earlier at the park on Wednesday morning by Andy Field.

There could be half a dozen cuckoos calling across the Island this spring, similar numbers to last year.

There was the nice find by Andy at the park of a spotted flycatcher just inside the park entrance. Later it was seen feeding actively from bare branches to the east side of the park pond. The third spotted flycatcher sighting this spring on the island.
The distinctive song of a nightingale was heard mid Wednesday morning coming from the hedgeline at the back of the grazing fields just east of the park pond. There was little chance of seeing the bird across the field but it was nice to stand and listen to the rich and varied song. The bird was heard singing in the early evening too by Martin Cock.

Other songsters heard during the circuit walk from the bus turning circle through the park and then back towards the Golfhouse via the seawall included - 20 whitethroats, four lesser whitethroats, five blackcaps, eight reed warblers, two sedge warblers, three chiffchaffs, two Cetti's warblers, and also two male reed buntings at the Point. At least twenty sand martins were flying over the fields with a few by the cliff too.

There was a colourful display of bluebells at the park on Wednesday, hiding underneath the old oak tree.

Four lapwing chicks continue to thrive on the park's grazing fields, this chick photographed by Andy Field on Wednesday. Eight adult lapwings were still on the fields but no sign of any other chicks yet. Also on the fields were three shelduck, a greylag goose, pair of oystercatchers while on the pond were two pochard and two pairs of tufted ducks. The kestrel was seen beside the box at the back of the fields with a pair of stock doves also in the tree.

A pair of avocet was on the saltmarsh pools by the Golfhouse, also 35 dunlin and a redshank with six ringed plovers near the Point.

Andy watched two fulmars flying high north-east over the park and up the Colne on Wednesday morning - a rare sight on Mersea these days and only his second island sighting in his nineteen years here!

A painted lady was photographed by Andy at the park on Wednesday.
Also on the wing at the park were orange-tip, small white, peacock and speckled wood.

Martin Cock walked the East Mersea footpath between Meeting Lane and Shop Lane on Wednesday morning and reported four lesser whitethroats, three Cetti's warblers, two yellowhammers, many whitethroats, two buzzards, blackcaps and chiffchaffs. A holly blue and a painted lady were in his West Mersea garden.
A corn bunting was heard singing from a tree beside Cross Lane on Wednesday by Steve Entwistle.
An orange-tip butterfly was seen by Jonathan Bustard by the Feldy View path to the seawall.

A female wheatear was the highlight of a walk from Cross Lane to the East Mersea boating lake on Tuesday 11th.

The wheatear was first seen amongst the broken down section of the seawall and then later it was feeding on the beach by the Youth Camp.
Also in the area around the boating lake were the calling cuckoo, four house martins collecting mud, reed warbler, little egret, whimbrel, six shelduck, four turnstone and a redshank.
A buzzard was being mobbed by crows at Waldegraves and a corn bunting was singing in Cross Lane, as were four whitethroats and two chiffchaffs. A painted lady was by the beach at Waldegraves.

At St Peters on Tuesday morning, Steve Entwistle saw the black brant and the pale-bellied brent goose feeding with 70 dark-bellied brent geese on Cobmarsh Island.

A long-eared bat was found by Sandra and Keith Bird in their Fairhaven Avenue garden looking rather poorly on Tuesday. It landed on the back door on Tuesday afternoon and was still clinging there into Wednesday morning. Contact was then made with the Bat Rescue team of the Essex Bat Group who came to collect it and take it into care for a while.

A lunar marbled brown moth was found in the Firs Chase garden moth trap on Tuesday 11th, along with fifteen other moths of seven species.

The least black arches was also noted that night along with chamomile shark, common quaker, early grey, turnip and ten shuttle-shaped darts.

Monday, 10 May 2021


A green hairstreak took a short flight on the top of the Strood seawall on a windy Monday 10th, before it settled down amongst the grass. Once it closed its wings it would've been hard to find amongst all the greenery if I hadn't seen where it landed.

Two painted ladies were noted on Monday's walk, this one in the field beside the Firs caravan park and another one seen briefly along the Strood seawall. Martin Cock saw a painted lady in the morning at Cudmore Grove.

Two cuckoos were following each other across the Firs Road cemetery and perched up on wires with one bird calling. Later one cuckoo was on overhead wires by the Strood fields calling continuously. One sedge warbler was doing its display flight over the reeds while three reed warblers were heard singing along the dyke too. Two male reed buntings were chasing each other, whitethroat and yellow wagtail were also noted. Along the channel during the high tide, a common tern, 12 brent geese, grey plover and three whimbrel were seen and a buzzard was in the air on the Peldon seawall.

At Cudmore Grove on Monday, Michael Thorley took these two digiscoped photos of a whimbrel feeding in the grazing fields.

Also noted by Michael were six linnets, two male reed buntings and skylarks at the East Mersea Point.

Earlier in the morning Martin Cock at Cudmore Grove saw two Egyptian geese, two brent geese, three lapwing chicks getting quite big now, greenshank, 30 sand martins, two cuckoos and plenty of warblers.

A walk along the whole of the north side of the Island on Sunday 9th revealed four single wheatears at four different locations - one at the country park, this one pictured on the Reeveshall saltmarsh, one at Maydays and another on the Strood seawall.

Two whimbrel and a pair of teal were of interest in the park's grazing fields on Sunday, while on the saltmarsh were two pairs of avocets. Three reed warblers were singing beside the dyke and two common terns and two great crested grebes were in the river.
Two Cetti's warblers were singing either side of the Oyster Fishery, two male pochard were on a nearby pond while along the Pyefleet channel were eight grey plover, one whimbrel,12 dunlin, seven pairs of oystercatchers, 27 brent geese with two greylag geese while two common terns and two great crested grebes were along the Pyefleet. On Reeveshall was the pair of marsh harriers, seven lapwings in the fields, yellow wagtail and two little egrets

Further along the seawall walk on Sunday, there was a common sandpiper in the Maydays creek with five redshank while two whimbrel, curlew also noted. Two sedge warblers, two whitethroats and a reed warbler were singing, a yellow wagtail flew over and eight house martins were flying over the farmyard.
Three gadwall flew over the marshes from Bower hall farm, three whimbrel, three redshank, eight turnstone and a great crested grebe were also seen. An escaped helmeted guineafowl ran off the seawall and sprinted for cover in the nearby field, adding a brief African flavour to the walk!

Steve Entwistle on an afternoon visit to Maydays farm on Sunday reported three cuckoos, five grey plover, six dunlin, four lesser black-backed gulls a pair of yellowhammers and four painted ladies.

Andy Field photographed the yellow wagtail with the dicky left leg, when he saw it on Sunday morning along the Strood seawall. Earlier he watched a spotted flycatcher briefly down the side of the Firs Caravan park which didn't stay around for long. Two wheatears were in the Strood field, cuckoo, three common terns, two lesser whitethroats, sedge warbler, seven reed warblers were also recorded.

Michael Thorley later along the Strood added a common tern, three yellow wagtails, two male reed buntings, two linnets, two little egrets and a painted lady butterfly.
My last leg of Sunday's walk along the north side of the island was the Strood channel late afternoon where two avocets, 20 whimbrel, six shelduck and a buzzard were seen.

At the country park on Sunday two Egyptian geese were seen again in the grazing fields by Shaun Bater, while Martin Cock earlier in the day at the park saw the wheatear, three whimbrel, four avocets, two brent geese, sedge warbler, 500 dunlin, 30 ringed plovers, a willow warbler and sedge warbler at Ivy Farm and three Cetti's warblers, two cuckoos and lesser whitethroat near the Oyster Fishery.

A greenshank, common gull, Canada geese pair and yellow wagtail were also added by Steve Entwistle on Sunday at the park.

Ian Black reported in his Mersea Avenue garden on Sunday, an orange-tip and painted lady butterfly and a sparrowhawk checking out where the starlings are nesting.

Saturday, 8 May 2021


After the morning rains this yellow wagtail was seen along the Strood seawall on Saturday 8th, seemed to have injured its left leg as it was being held in an abnormal position. Four other yellow wagtails were seen during the walk on a windy late morning visit. Along the dyke were two reed warblers, two little egrets, whitethroat and a male reed bunting, while a lesser whitethroat was singing by the caravan site.
Ten swallows and a swift were seen on the wing over the fields and seawall.

A handful of skylarks were singing over the Strood fields, this one was singing from a bramble bush. A cuckoo was watched fly along the length of the seawall, then half an hour later two others were seen flying from Ray Island towards the Strood Hill with one of the birds calling. Later a cuckoo was heard calling from the back of the Firs Caravan park - probably three different birds noted during the walk.

On the mud ten grey plover were feeding with forty dunlin while five whimbrel were also along the channel. Two Mediterranean gulls flew over the Feldy View field calling.

Two Egyptian geese were photographed in the country park's grazing fields on Friday 8th by Michael Thorley. They were later seen by Steve Entwistle with a greylag goose trying to frighten off a couple of foxes with a lot of noise.
On the nearby mudflats were four sanderling including one in reddy summer plumage, 45 dunlin, 25 ringed plover, nine turnstone and 55 oystercatchers.

At Coopers beach on Friday morning the tide was flooding into the marshes. A male wheatear was on the wet marshes, two whimbrel, redshank, pair of shelduck and two little egrets, while 25 turnstones were roosting on the caravan park frontage. A cuckoo called to the west of East Mersea church and a sparrowhawk circled nearby. Five whitethroats and two blackcaps were heard singing in the area.

Jonathan Bustard noted along the Strood seawall on Friday a cuckoo in flight, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat, blackcap, reed warbler and reed bunting also a buzzard hovering.
A female cuckoo flew over Firs Chase doing its bubbling call as it headed towards the Dabchicks, also in the afternoon two buzzards flew over Firs Chase westwards.

On Thursday 6th the black brant was seen on Cobmarsh Island, pictured here on the right, along with the pale-bellied brent goose, on the left in the picture. A dark-bellied brent goose was in between which provided a good comparison of these three brent races. There were 120 dark-bellied brent geese on Cobmarsh and two great crested grebes seen offshore.

A great white egret was seen by Steve Entwistle on Thursday flying from the Strood channel south past the Hard / Firs Chase. A willow warbler was heard singing in Feldy View. Ian Black saw a hobby fly over the Lane near the caravan site.
At Maydays farm on Thursday evening, a stunning male wheatear was seen by Martin Cock, also five sedge warblers, six reed warblers, one Cetti's warbler and two yellowhammers were all heard singing while six whimbrel and 50 dunlin were seen in the Pyefleet.
A marsh harrier was seen over fields near Meeting Lane by Michael Thorley on Thursday.

Six species of bird of prey were seen on Wednesday 5th during a mid morning walk along the Strood seawall. A peregrine briefly over the seawall, a hobby low over the fields towards the Ray, two marsh harriers, three buzzards, a distant sparrowhawk over the houses and a kestrel by the seawall.
Twelve swifts, female cuckoo doing bubbling call, three yellow wagtails, singing sedge warbler, three reed warblers and a house martin over the reservoirs. On the mud were 100 dunlin, 15 whimbrel and two common terns, with a pair of Canada geese flying down channel.
Later an unidentified harrier was seen along the Strood by Jonathan Bustard.

Ay Maydays farm on Wednesday Steve Entwistle reported a common sandpiper, green sandpiper, greenshank, seven whimbrel, ten house martins, three swallows, two yellow wagtails, Canada geese pair, greylag geese pair, three male reed buntings, two buzzards, kestrel, whitethroat and lesser whitethroat.

Martin Cock walked the seawall between the Golfhouse and Cudmore Grove and noted a late fieldfare, five sedge warblers, three reed warblers, two Cetti's warblers, three lesser whitethroats, 25 dunlin, 20 ringed plover, ten sand martins and a pair of avocets. Later Steve Entwistle saw 30 ringed plover, 25 dunlin, 100 swallows, 20 sand martins, avocet pair and the fieldfare still in the fields.

Also out walking the East Mersea footpaths on Wednesday was Andy Field who reported from the Shop Lane to Meeting Lane area - three lesser whitethroats, "more whitethroats than you can shake a stick at!" cuckoo, marsh harrier, two buzzards, two yellowhammers, numerous chiffchaffs, blackcap and swallows and most unexpected was flushing a woodcock from an orchard to the west of Shop Lane. Also four brown hares seen in the fields.

Several large white butterflies showing their pale yellow underwing were resting on the side of the house in Firs Chase, having recently emerged from pupation. An orange-tip butterfly was seen in the garden on Thursday and Friday.

The moth trap on Friday 8th produced ten moths with eight of them being shuttle-shaped dart, pictured above, also common quaker and a clouded drab

Tuesday, 4 May 2021


A wheatear was resting on the top of the Strood seawall on a windy Tuesday 4th, sheltering behind a tussock of grass out of the wind. Two hobbies flew together along the top of the Firs caravan park before heading back over the fields to chase a small bird. Four swifts seemed to manage flying swiftly in the strong wind as they headed north over the Strood channel while two house martins flew over Feldy View.
Four whimbrel were noted along the channel and two little egrets by the dyke.

A pair of skylarks was feeding along the top of the Strood seawall on Tuesday. A reed warbler was singing from the reeds, also a whitethroat in the dyke and two yellow wagtails seen from the seawall.

Also on Tuesday Martin Cock reported seeing a peregrine, buzzard, sparrowhawk and two swifts near Meeting Lane.
A ringtail harrier of unknown species was seen by Adam Norgate flying from Langenhoe towards Mersea, appeared to have a butterfly-type flight action.

On Monday 3rd a spotted flycatcher was found at Gyants Marsh near Meeting Lane by Martin Cock.

Along the Strood seawall on Monday were a cuckoo calling on wires, singing sedge warbler, three singing reed warblers, lesser whitethroat, three whitethroats and two buzzards seen. Along the channel were two avocets, ten whimbrel, four grey plover, one knot and three turnstones by the Hard.

A walk along the north side of the Island on Sunday 2nd provided a nice view of this yellow wagtail on the saltmarsh at Bower Hall. There was also a cuckoo calling there, buzzard, two redshank and two whimbrel. At the Maydays section two meadow pipits were noteworthy, also a sedge warbler and five redshank, yellow wagtail here.
Along the Pyefleet were 14 grey plover, three bar-tailed godwits, 30 dunlin, four common terns, five whimbrel and a common seal. Two teal, marsh harrier, cuckoo, eight lapwing and two broods of small greylag goslings were noted on Reeveshall. Three hares were seen on Reeveshall with another two at Bower Hall.

Two Cetti's warblers were singing either side of the Oyster Fishery, while at the Golfhouse pools were a greenshank briefly, two pairs of avocets with one bird sitting, also forty brent on the saltmarsh and two sedge warblers singing by the dyke. Four ringed plovers and two whimbrel and five dunlin were on the mud.

A single knot was resting on the saltmarsh by the Strood at high tide on Sunday, also eight whimbrel on the Ray saltmarsh.
A garden warbler made a brief appearance by the Strood reservoirs, seen from the layby as it feed in a willow bush by the water's edge. The Cetti's warbler and a reed warbler were singing near here too.
Steve Entwistle noted at the Strood reservoirs a pair of pochard, pair of swans, willow warbler, two blackcaps, cuckoo, 30 swallows, lesser whitethroat and three singing reed warblers.

The swallow with the rusty-coloured chest was perched on wires beside the Dabchicks on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday morning along the Strood, Andy Field reported three singing reed warblers, sedge warbler, four whitethroats, Mediterranean gull, lesser whitethroat, two common terns, cuckoo, two marsh harriers, six buzzards, two yellow wagtails and six whimbrel.

Jonathan Bustard reported two female blackcaps at Feldy View, while Ian Black saw a large female peregrine over his Mersea Avenue house, four calling Mediterranean gulls and daily visits by a sparrowhawk.

At Maydays on Sunday Martin Cock reported three cuckoos, lesser whitethroat, three reed warblers, four sedge warblers, two corn buntings, three whimbrel, eight grey plover, pair of marsh harriers and a buzzard were seen also three brown hares.

Steve Entwistle walked between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane on Sunday morning and noted lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, two great spotted woodpecker, also whitethroat west of Meeting Lane. 
Two swifts were over his Empress Drive house in West Mersea, while seven swifts were seen by Georgina Nicholls over Queen Ann Road also on Sunday.

On Saturday 1st May the first hobby was watched a couple of times from the Strood seawall, presumably the same bird although both sightings were an hour apart. Nine swifts were high over the houses near the Glebe, cuckoo called, sedge warbler singing was a new bird in, two reed warblers, two lesser whitethroats, Cetti's warbler and three whitethroats also heard. 
A male marsh harrier, three sparrowhawks together over the houses, while along the channel were four avocets, four common terns, 30 whimbrel and a grey plover. A slow-worm was seen on the path by the caravan park.

At East Mersea on Saturday, Martin Cock noted in the Oyster Fishery area 20+ singing whitethroats, five lesser whitethroats, eight chiffchaffs, six blackcaps, three Cetti's warblers, six green woodpeckers, three brown hares, two muntjac deer and several speckled wood butterflies.

A red squirrel was spotted in Fishponds Wood in East Mersea, close to the path down the side of the wood on Friday 30th.

The red squirrel was first seen on the ground looking for food. Both these pictures were taken whilst holding the camera with one hand as the other hand was holding the dog on the lead! Even Ben watched the red squirrel as it scampered along the ground and up the tree. Two speckled wood butterflies also seen.

By the country park borrowdyke on Friday 30th were a singing sedge warbler and three reed warblers

On the saltmarsh lagoons by the Golfhouse on Friday was this pair of prospecting avocets. Two redshank were also nearby while a whimbrel, two ringed plover were on the mudflats and three common terns over the river.

A mallard brood of four ducklings was on the Golfhouse dyke on Friday. At the nearby Oyster Fishery a male pochard was on the pond there, also two Cetti's warblers, marsh harrier, whimbrel, six bar-tailed godwits and a lesser whitethroat singing. A yellowhammer was singing by Fishponds wood.

Later on Friday Steve Entwistle reported from the Golfhouse and grazing fields area, lesser whitethroat, avocet pair, two whimbrel, two sedge and three reed warblers, whitethroat, four bar-tailed godwits, 30 swallows, lapwings with three chicks, 3 pairs of pochard and six pairs of tufted duck.

Steve also saw a red kite by the Strood channel on Friday afternoon and a cuckoo by the fishing lakes.
At Shop Lane chiffchaff, two swallows and a pair of red-legged partridge.

The first green hairstreak of the spring on the Island was photographed by Steve Entwistle at Feldy View on Friday morning.

A cuckoo was seen by Steve perched on wires below Feldy View and a little egret seen at the back of the fields. Andy Field watched three swifts and a house martin flying over Whittaker Way on Friday morning.

A buzzard and sparrowhawk were seen over Steve's house in Empress Drive and the first swift over his house on Friday afternoon.

Adrian Amos saw his first orange tip butterfly flying in his East Road garden near Oakwood Avenue.

Friday, 30 April 2021



A male corn bunting was photographed by Andy Field as it sang its jangling-keys song near the Reeveshall seawall on Thursday 29th. Also seen from there were three marsh harriers, buzzard, cuckoo heard calling, six swallows, house martin, sand martin and a couple of chiffchaff in Shop Lane.

One of three whimbrel photographed by Andy along the Pyefleet by Reeveshall on Thursday. Eleven bar-tailed godwits and a black-tailed godwit were also seen in the Pyefleet.

A red squirrel was seen crossing the road near Meeting Lane on Thursday by Andy.

At West Mersea five common terns, fifty brent geese, two shelduck, eight great crested grebes, bar-tailed godwit and a ringed plover were seen near Cobmarsh Island on Thursday morning.
A green woodpecker was seen in Beverley Avenue by Gabriel Holmes.

A song thrush has been seen a few times in recent days in the Firs Chase garden although it keeps getting chased off by the resident blackbirds. Other daily visitors have been the resident blackcaps, chiffchaffs, stock doves, goldfinches and greenfinches.

On Wednesday 28th along the Strood seawall, a common tern was along the channel, one knot, eight whimbrel, two ringed plover, three dunlin, two brent geese and a grey plover. A yellow wagtail, and two whitethroats were singing in bushes by the seawall. A pair of mute swans was in the dyke and a pair of Canada geese flew down channel. 
A later visit by Jonathan Bustard saw two pairs of oystercatchers on the middle Strood field.

A male yellow wagtail sat on wires over the field just east of Rewsalls farm on Tuesday 27th. 

The yellow wagtail was one of four seen in this field of oil-seed rape near Rewsalls farm on Tuesday. Three whitethroats and a lesser whitethroat were singing in nearby hedgerows.

At the East Mersea boating lake and adjoining marshes were two black-tailed godwits, three bar-tailed godwits, whimbrel, grey heron, little egret, house martin flying over, and two reed warblers singing. The little owl was perched on a tree by the Youth Camp.

Offshore from Waldegraves were two common terns and three whimbrel while three blackcaps and four whitethroats were heard singing. 

A male sparrowhawk had just caught a starling at the bottom of Cross Lane on Tuesday and was being mobbed by a couple of jays. The sparrowhawk flew off with its prey.
A yellowhammer was heard calling from Cross Lane as were two whitethroats and a lesser whitethroat. The cuckoo was also heard calling and seen perched on a tree between Cross Lane and Waldegraves. It was seen in the same area earlier in the day by Shaun Bater. Another cuckoo was seen perched on wires at the back of the Strood fields on Tuesday by Jonathan Bustard, also there a pair of blackcaps and a buzzard.

The first swift sighting on the Island this spring was by Andy Field on Tuesday morning with an individual seen flying over Feldy View.

Monday, 26 April 2021



Four sedge warblers were singing at Cudmore Grove Country Park on Monday 26th. Other warblers singing at the park were two reed warblers, two lesser whitethroats, five common whitethroats and a blackcap. Another whitethroat and lesser whitethroat were seen north of the park by Andy Field. At least five sand martins were flying about the beach and cliff area.

On the grazing fields two greenshank dropped down for a minute to feed beside one of the creeks before flying off. Amongst the eight lapwing in the fields was a brood of four week old chicks. Two snipe, whimbrel, two wigeon and 48 teal were of interest in the fields while a male marsh harrier was seen flying away from the pond carrying some prey which it then began eating in the grass field behind.

There was a nice display of summer plumaged bar-tailed godwits on the saltmarsh pool near the Golfhouse on Monday with only ten birds out of the 52 still in non-breeding plumage. A single black-tailed godwit was also roosting with them at high tide.

One of the bar-tailed godwits in breeding plumage photographed on Monday by Andy Field as it fed on the saltmarsh pool by the Golfhouse.

A wheatear was beside the Reeveshall seawall on Sunday 25th, a corn bunting was singing nearby and a marsh harrier flying over Broad Fleet. Along the Pyefleet were thirty whimbrel, 70 shelduck and three bar-tailed godwits.
Near the East Mersea Golfhouse were singing sedge warbler, reed warbler, lesser whitethroat and whitethroat with eight sand martins over the park grazing fields. Two Cetti's warblers were singing either side of the Oyster Fishery.
At the western end of the Pyefleet, a sedge warbler was singing in the Maydays dyke, three yellowhammers here too, while a cuckoo was calling late Sunday afternoon from Bower Hall farm. Five whimbrel, marsh harrier and a buzzard were also near Bower Hall.

Steve Entwistle walked the footpath on Sunday between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane and noted sparrowhawk and heard two whitethroats singing.

A red kite circled over Meeting Lane on Saturday early afternoon before it drifted east.
Other birds noted between Meeting Lane and Shop Lane were two singing Cetti's warblers, singing lesser whitethroat, eight singing whitethroats and a yellowhammer calling. A lesser redpoll flew east away from Fishponds Wood calling, a pair of mistle thrushes was seen nearby while a pair of pochard were in a field pond to the east.

Later on Saturday afternoon Steve Entwistle walked between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane and reported singing lesser whitethroat, yellowhammer, whitethroat, marsh harrier, great spotted woodpecker and a red-legged partridge pair.

A female adder was basking in the sun tucked into the hedge bottom beside the path west of Shop Lane on Saturday. Four hares were doing a bit of chasing around in a wheat field. 

Two speckled wood butterflies were seen on Saturday- one by Fishponds Wood and the other to the west, while four peacocks, comma and two small whites were also seen on the wing between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane.

This young robin was photographed by Jonathan Bustard in his West Mersea garden.

The sand martins were photographed at the Cudmore Grove cliff on Friday by Michael Thorley.