Monday, 30 November 2009


Andy Field found these two Egyptian geese on the park grazing fields on Sunday 29th. As far as we can recollect, this is the first record for the Island, so there was no hesitation in responding to the call to go and look at them. Although Egyptian geese are regarded as an exotic species, there are small numbers breeding in the wild in Essex and this pair could be wanderers from the nearby Abberton reservoir.

Andy had earlier managed to see 3 snow buntings at the Point as well at least 2 possibly 3 immature little gulls feeding in the Colne. There was also the big flock of 1000 golden plover on the mud.

Andy, Martin Cock and I then spent the last hour of daylight at the north end of Shop Lane in East Mersea, watching the marsh harriers coming into roost on Langenhoe. In the dull and breezy conditions, only six birds were seen flying around. Not much to report from the adjacent Pyefleet Channel except a male pintail amongst a group of wigeon. Two yellowhammers flew over one of the fields at dusk.

As we walked past the conifer wood the tawny owl was heard calling nearby. Returning the call back to the bird, it moved further away before coming back and somehow doubling back over us to some neighbouring trees, still calling regularly. Although the light had virtually gone, we backed up to some bushes and waited to see if the owl would fly past us. Amazingly the dark silhouette of the tawny then shot past us just above head height between us, before disappearing into the trees.

Begrudging congratulations to Martin who added two new species today for his year list on the Island taking his tally to the set target of 150 species. The rest of us are following closely behind him in the Island race and in my case, just two species behind. However the year's not finished yet Martin!

Managed to walk along the Strood seawall late on the afternoon of Monday 30th, as dusk descended. Whilst counting the 16 dabchicks just up from the Dabchicks sailing club, a common seal swam slowly down channel. There have been lots of reports of a seal feeding around the area of the West Mersea Hard in recent weeks.

Amongst the various waders and wildfowl seen were 200 knot and 500 dunlin together, 200 wigeon and 90 shelduck feeding or roosting on the mud. The big noisy flock of 1000 brent geese flew off one of the fields next to the Ray Channel at dusk. At least 3 little egrets were ready for the night perched in the Ray Island trees. Two marsh harriers flew south-west over the Ray to their roost presumably on Old Hall marshes.

Two corn buntings, 2 reed buntings and a rock pipit were the only small birds of note seen along the seawall.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


Andy Field and I braved the chilly wind to visit Maydays Farm and walk along the seawall pictured above, on a sunny Saturday 28th. We had hoped to find the small flock of twite that had been seen twice over the last week here, but without any joy.

Although the tide was out and there was plenty of mud on show, the strong wind hindered the viewing through the telescope. Four marsh harriers were seen on Langenhoe along with two distant common buzzards. Along the Pyefleet 2 great crested grebes were seen and the only wader flock of note were 200 knot.

On Reeveshall, 1000 brent geese fed on a big grass field along with a big flock of 1000 golden plover and a few hundred lapwing too. A stonechat was seen by the seawall along with some greenfinches.

It was nice to see lots of small birds beside a young tree plantation and flying around the various hedgerows near to the seawall. A mix of 20 chaffinches, 20 greenfinches, 10 yellowhammers, reed bunting as well as 15 fieldfares and a redwing were all noted along with the commoner birds like robin, blackbird, song thrush and tits.
A little owl flew along a hedge perching up on one or two trees and a water rail squealed briefly from the nearby borrowdyke.

On the Maydays saltmarsh, the only small flock of finches were 30 linnets and 10 goldfinches along the seawall but no sign of the twite. At least ten little egrets were seen dotted around the huge expanse of saltmarsh, along with the usual curlew and redshank. A snipe flew over and dropped down onto the saltings.

Friday, 27 November 2009


Walked the length of the seawall beside the Strood Channel by West Mersea on Friday morning It stayed dry, the out-going tide had uncovered most of the mudflats but the chill in the wind meant you didn't want to hang around for too long.

Watching the 100 lapwing and 300 golden plover suddenly take to the air, two falcons appeared into view and spooked the roosting waders away. In the hurry to quickly identify the two falcons, the first bird may've have been a kestrel but I turned my attention to the second bird which luckily was seen to be a female merlin. I kept watching this bird as it dropped quickly down towards the field and then raced low across the ground where it then sat on a clod of earth for five minutes. The brown colouring of the bird blended in well with the colour of the field.

A couple of minutes later there was the nice view of a male marsh harrier flying east over the same fields. The merlin watched it pass by, with the harrier continuing on its way and passing high over the traffic at the bottom of Strood Hill. The merlin took off and raced fast and low over the grass fields but no small birds were flushed up in front of it as it went. It disappeared out of view as it passed over the seawall towards the Hard and the Mersea Quarters.
A kestrel was seen at the start of the walk near the caravan site and then later, a sparrowhawk glided over Firs Chase.

The brent geese were feeding in a wheat field and a brief count of the youngsters present revealed about 60 young birds from this summer, among a flock of about 400 birds. A slightly higher proportion of young than earlier in the autumn but not the signs of a good breeding season this year.

In the Channel small groups of wigeon, teal and shelduck were noted while amongst the various waders, a group of 100 knot seemed the most interesting for the area. In the actual channel 10 little grebes were bobbing up and down in the choppy waters and a handful of cormorants were feeding amongst the boats.

The only small birds noted were 10 linnets, and a couple of reed buntings that kept thinking about flying off the Island towards Ray Island

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Ian Black and I gave this brent goose standing up in this picture a good long look, as it fed in the wheat field next to the country park on Wednesday 25th. It was quite a clear view of this small group of geese seen through the hedge only about 50 metres away from the car park. It had the features of the black brant and certainly stood out from the other dark-bellied brent geese beside it. The white flank patch was brighter on the day than this picture shows and was the first feature that made you look at the bird.

The other striking feature was the big and bright white neck collar, which clearly shows up in this photo. Not only did the collar encircle the whole neck, there was some unusual white flecking down the back of the neck. This should make the bird easy to recognise during the rest of the winter. However the base of the chest didn't appear as dark black as the classic black-brant birds that have been seen here before, although its wings did seem to be slightly blacker than the wings of the other geese next to it.

Judgement might have to be reserved on this goose until a better view is obtained in some better light. The black brant is the vagrant race of the brent goose to our shores, that breeds in eastern Siberia and in North America. There have been a few other sightings in previous winters here on the Island of a black brant seen feeding amongst the dark-bellied brent geese.

The pools in the grazing fields continue to extend in size with all the recent rain. Wigeon and teal total about 500 birds with a few gadwall and shoveler. Also feeding in the pools were 10 black-tailed godwit and 4 snipe along with one or two curlew and redshank.

Three snow buntings were watched flying west along the seawall and beach, calling as they went.
On the mudflats at low tide a huge flock of golden plover were gathered in their usual spot with about 2000 birds clustered together.

Martin Cock saw the 10 snow buntings at the Point on Tuesday and 2 peregrines along the Pyefleet on Wednesday, while Richard Brown was lucky to see the 10 twite on the saltings near Maydays Farm on Wednesday.
Received an interesting report of a grey wagtail seen feeding around a garden water feature in a West Mersea garden. The yellow markings seen on this bird distinguished it from the more usual pied wagtail.

This herald moth unexpectedly dropped onto the floor in the house on Wednesday morning. No doubt it moved in recently to try and find somewhere sheltered where it could spend the winter before it gets back on the wing next spring.

Monday, 23 November 2009


Managed a walk along the beach at the country park on a sunny morning before more rain arrived on Sunday 22nd. The rain certainly arrived with a vengance around the middle of the day which even included a brief flurry of hail mixed in with the deluge.

Passing a pair of pied wagtails and a meadow pipit feeding on the beach in front of the cliff pictured above, I marched on towards the Point. One or two dog walkers and some fishermen were already on the beach there so it was a pleasant surprise to see 10 snow buntings fly overhead and land back down on the beach. The distinctive tinkling calls caught the attention as they passed by with their wing patterns flickering in flight. They were left to settle down to feed along the tideline. A couple of other birdwatchers were later rewarded with braving the rain, by seeing the snow buntings still present in the middle of the day.
Other birds noted along the seawall were the pair of stonechats still present and a couple of rock pipits by the saltmarsh and beach.

On the flooded section of the grazing fields there were still good numbers of wildfowl with 300 teal present along with 200 wigeon. Also seen were a few gadwall and shoveler, while 4 snipe were feeding in one of the pools.

In bushes near the pond 4 fieldfares flew off calling, otherwise there wasn't the same variety or number of small birds around the park as yesterday.

Saturday, 21 November 2009


There was a lot of bird activity around the hedgerows and bushes near the park pond for a change on Saturday 21st. Sitting in the bird hide provided an ideal place to watch several flocks of finches as they flew around the area and perching up in the trees.

There was a mixed greenfinch and chaffinch flock with about 25 birds of each species, flying back and forwards between hedgerows and copses near the pond. A similar sized flock of goldfinches were spending a bit of time in the alders as well flying around several times too. A flock of 21 fieldfares perched up on several bushes and trees too, calling out with their harsh scalding call-notes whenever they flew off. It was nice to get the first close views of them this autumn as they sat up on a near hawthorn bush.

Later in the day a sparrowhawk flew out of the copse at the back of the pond scattering all the birds. Towards the end of the afternoon as the wood pigeons gathered to roost, 20 stock doves were noticed arriving at the copse to roost too. A water rail called briefly from the pond in the morning.

Earlier by the car park a redwing, reed bunting were in my back garden briefly while 2 lesser redpolls and 8 siskins flew over calling.
Andy Field wasn't able to find any snow buntings at the Point although 4 rock pipits were noted.

Martin Cock was lucky enough to see 7 twite perch up on a small tree by the Maydays seawall on Saturday morning. The flock was seen to fly west and disappeared out of view on the large Maydays saltmarsh. Another single twite was seen in a flock of ten linnets - its purple rump easily discernible.
Four fieldfares flew west over Firs Chase in the morning calling as they passed.

On Wednesday 18th Martin saw a ringtail hen harrier and a peregrine on Langenhoe, while ten marsh harriers were seen coming into their roost.

Despite the relatively clear night sky and heavy overnight dew, there were a few more moths noted than was expected. This scarce umber pictured above was the first of this early winter period. It's been recorded here before in ones or twos in previous winters.

This worn and rather plain looking moth is the sprawler which hasn't been recorded here before. It was one of several moths that were found in the morning amongst the dew-laden grass and leaves a few feet from the trap rather than inside the trap. Also noted were mottled umbers, feathered thorns, silver-Y, large yellow-underwing, yellow-line quaker and December moth.

Friday, 20 November 2009


Walked to East Mersea Point, pictured above, on a blustery Friday 20th with a few spits of rain in the wind. It was worth the walk as the small group of 8 snow buntings were still on the beach, having been seen four days ago on theTuesday. On that occasion there was also a ninth bird that flew off separately from the flock of eight. The small flock scuttled over the shingle along the tideline, searching for seeds as they went. They blended in well with colours of the beach except when they took to the wing and then you noticed the white wings flickering in flight.

The incoming tide brought masses of waders onto the mud close to the shore with 1000 dunlin feeding along with 500 knot and 1000 roosting golden plover. All the waders took to the air in several large flocks and headed off in different directions into the river Colne. Other waders noted were 20 distant avocets and a single bar-tailed godwit. Also on the mud were 15 shelduck and 5 little egrets.
In the river Colne a common seal briefly stuck its head out of the water before submerging back under again.

The water levels in the grazing fields are still rising with recent rains and the pools are filled with lots of wigeon and teal totalling about 500 birds. Also present were a few gadwall and shoveler while some of the waders enjoyed it too with 20 redshank, 3 black-tailed godwits and a snipe.

There seemed to be a few more small birds in the park feeding in bushes still with some berries. The first flock of fieldfares to stop off at the park this autumn were seen near the pond with 16 birds landing at the top of a tree. A few chaffinches, greenfinches, blue and great tits, blackbirds and a great spotted woodpecker were all in bushes beside this path pictured above. A flock of 25 goldfinches were feeding in the alder trees in a hedge near the pond.

The brent geese have been enjoying the taste of winter wheat in fields near the park either side of Bromans Lane Having started to feed in the fields a week ago, the big flock which totalled 1000 birds on Tuesday, has already taken its toll on the crop. Today there were about 300 birds in one of the fields early in the day, while in the other one about 100 lapwings were present.

A weasel out on the hunt for food made a few of the small birds anxious with robin, wren and great tit all making lots of scolding noises. The moth trap put out over Tuesday night managed to attract only 3 moths on a windy but partially clear evening with 2 Decembers and yellow-line quaker moth.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


It was better weather on Sunday 15th than the wind and rain of the previous two days. Alongside the Strood Channel pictured above at dusk, all sorts of waders and wildfowl could be heard in the still conditions.

Amongst the flock of 400 brent geese feeding in a field by the Strood Hill, was a black brant. A slow scan through the flock with the binoculars revealed this race of brent goose with a very white flank patch, as opposed to the greyish flank patches of the other geese beside it. The rest of the body appeared blacker above and below than the other brent too. The bird stood out quite easily too, as it was easy to relocate in the flock again if you took your eyes off it. All the geese took off just after the sun set all of them calling loudly as they passed overhead, on their way to roost either in the Strood Channel or further over towards Salcott Channel.

Black brants are the North American race / Eastern Siberian race of the brent goose and are rare visitors to the Essex coast in winter. In recent years sightings have been almost annual here on the Island with the last one being seen earlier this year here by the Strood.

The low tide meant there was a good mix of the usual waders with 50 knot being the most interesting and dunlin and redshank being the most numerous and widespread. Other waders seen included curlew, black-tailed godwit, oystercatcher, lapwing, golden plover and grey plover. Small groups of wigeon and teal were gathered at various points along the Channel and there seemed to be more shelduck around too. A marsh harrier flew over the Ray Island saltings scattering other birds as it went.

As the light faded 4 corn buntings flew along the seawall calling and then headed west over to Copt Hall. Small flocks of pied wagtails totalling about 30 birds were noted as they headed off to their evening roost. Two water rails called from adjacent clumps of reeds in the borrowdyke with one bird glimpsed very briefly as it flew into the reedbed. The large dark profile of a grey heron in the fading light, slowly flapped its way over the seawall and into the Channel.

Saturday, 14 November 2009


This was the best place to be on Friday 13th, pictured above is the view from inside the hide at the park while sheltering from another torrential downpour. This was about the only place where some wildlife watching was possible while it rained cats and dogs outside.

Andy Field and I both had the day off so we sat in the hide and counted all the various wildfowl on the pond to pass the time. For the ducks, all this water seemed to be the ideal weather, although the really heavy bursts of rain brought most of the ducks out of the reeds and into the open water.

Only four species of duck were present initially with 50 mallard, 12 gadwall, 2 teal and 4 tufted ducks noted. Ten coots and a little grebe were the other birds present while a pair of wigeon dropped in briefly but no sign of any shoveler. Two snipe flew over and a few moorhens were seen in the field beside the pond.

A flock of a dozen long-tailed tits flew north from a hedge near the pond, ten stock doves flew around the back of the copse and 3 goldfinches flew away from some alder trees.

Two visits to the Reeveshall seawall were done dodging the rain on both Friday and again on Saturday. On Friday some of the 9 marsh harriers appeared to be waiting on Langenhoe Point for the late afternoon roost even although there was still about 3 hours to go. Two other marsh harriers were seen perched on a bush and a fencepost on Reeveshall.

The tide was out and plenty of the usual waders on show along the Pyefleet Channel but nothing of any note. In the Channel were a couple of great crested grebes while a flock of 12 cormorants flew past.

On the short walk along the seawall a flock of 25 linnets fed in the saltmarsh, 10 skylarks and 20 meadow pipits were also seen. The water level in the pool has risen a lot recently but only pied wagtail and 3 mallard were present.
It was a windy walk along the Reeveshall seawall on Saturday 14th early afternoon with one eye always on the clouds, trying to gauge if they'd rain on the "Pyefleet-parade". Except for one 5-minute stop while it rained, at least an hour's brisk walk was spent on the seawall being buffeted by the wind.

There seemed good numbers of waders with 1000 dunlin the most numerous while redshank and grey plovers were also scattered in good numbers and 100 knot were also present. One sanderling amongst the dunlin was unusual for the Pyefleet while a bar-tailed godwit flying past also noted. In the Channel 2 red-breasted mergansers were seen bobbing up and down in the choppy waters.

Striding back in the wind I noticed some crows mobbing a harrier and when I lifted the binoculars I noticed the white rump of a ringtail hen harrier. The bird flew swiftly along the Reeveshall reedbed and within a minute it had reached the neighbouring fields of Maydays farm, being harried by some other crows. Hen harrier sightings have become much scarcer in recent winters so seeing a bird like this on a wet and windy day, made the walk worthwhile.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


This distant group of avocets were waiting for the tide to recede from the East Mersea Point on a sunny Thursday 12th morning. When the flock of 106 birds took to the air, there was the eye-catching sight of lots of wings flickering black and white as the birds flew around. More kinds of wader arrived on the scene as the first mud became exposed such as dunlin, knot, black-tailed godwit, oystercatcher, turnstone, grey plover, redshank, lapwing, curlew and also 3 sanderling.

The usual small birds at the Point included reed bunting, meadow pipit, skylark, rock pipit, pair of stonechats, a handful of linnets and the resident dunnocks. A kestrel was seen flying east off the Island heading over to do a bit of hunting by Point Clear.

Two foxes were out enjoying the morning sunshine by the pond and in the fields. The latter crossing over the middle of the field, spooking all the hundreds of wigeon and teal on the pools. It headed towards a grey heron which stood by the edge of the field watching it get closer. The fox seemed to make a half-hearted sprint after the heron which had to fly off to avoid being caught for breakfast.

Another attempt at moth trapping on a blustery Wednesday night had to be abandoned at 1am when it started to rain. By that time only three moths had been noted, a red-green carpet, November moth and this December moth pictured above. As with last year, this December moth actually turned up during the month of November!


It was sunny enough on Monday 9th for this dark bush cricket pictured above, to be basking on a wooden post at the country park. Although it is a common bush cricket around the park in the summer, it would seem to be quite late in the year to still see bush crickets. This is the female with the long curved ovipositor protruding from its abdomen, which it uses to help it lay its eggs in rotten wood or bark crevices.

The central ditch in the grazing fields pictured above is slowly filling up with water following the recent autumnal rains. However the very dry summer saw water levels drop very low and there is still a lot more water needed to top this ditch back up to last winter's level.

The pools at the west end of the fields is where most of the ducks are gathered with 250 teal, 200 wigeon and a few shoveler enjoying the area. Also around this water have been a handful of black-tailed godwits, a few redshank and snipe too. Three little egrets roosted in an oak tree overlooking the pools during the high-tide.

Two siskins flew west without stopping over the park, calling as they went. The pair of stonechats were still present along the side of the seawall.

Martin Cock had an impressive count of 21 marsh harriers flying into the Langenhoe roost on Monday afternoon from the Shop Lane seawall. Sixteen birds were seen in the air together.

This yellow-line quaker moth was the only moth found in the trap on the Monday morning. This moth is a reglar visitor to the trap in the autumn in small numbers. However it's harder finding a suitable night for mothing at the moment when it isn't raining, windy or chilly.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


There were no blue skies on Sunday 8th and it stayed grey all day. The only bit of blue that Andy Field and I found on our walk around the park was the flash of blue of a kingfisher along the dyke near the Golfhouse. The bird was seen flying into a bush over the water where it perched in a spot that is a favourite location for the kingfisher in the winter-time.

A walk around the Point pictured above, was quiet with small numbers of the usual birds such as reed buntings, rock pipit, linnet, skylark, dunnock and meadow pipits. The Colne was quiet too with only one or two great crested grebes noted but no mergansers. One common seal in the middle of the Colne soon made itself scarce when a bright yellow hovercraft noisily drifted into the river to Brightlingsea from the offshore windfarm.

On the mudflats offshore distant wader flocks could be seen with 200 knot, 50 black-tailed godwits and 25 avocets the most recognisable.

The park pond has become very autumnal in the last 2 or 3 weeks as the reedmace loses its colour and the trees lose their leaves. Duck numbers vary throughout the day with the birds often swopping the pond for the nearby pools in the fields. A few gadwall and shoveler mingled on the pond with the mallard, wigeon and teal, as did a tufted duck.

On the fields 200 teal, 100 wigeon and a few brent geese were gathered by the pools with a couple of black-tailed godwits and a snipe. A fox made a brief appearance in the morning which spooked most of the birds away. There were 3 sightings of sparrowhawk during the morning, firstly at the Point, later by the pond and then over the car park.

Martin Cock was lucky enough to see and hear 2 Bewick swans fly over his garden in West Mersea as they headed west on Sunday morning.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


A day of blue skies and light wind for most of Saturday 7th, helped make the morning walk around the park more enjoyable. Recent days have been a bit unsettled, blustery and wet, so it made a change to have clear and calm conditions.

Martin Cock was also out making the most of the fine start to the day and we began by checking some alder trees near the park pond for finches. A handful of goldfinches were found but the only group of siskins noted was a small flock of 10 which flew past the pond.

There was a good selection of ducks on the park pond and on the nearby pools in the field. Unfortunately the noise of the guns from a local pheasant shoot about 1 km away, was loud enough to put all the wildfowl into the air. It provided a good idea of the large numbers of ducks on these two stretches of water with about 200 teal, 100 wigeon, 15 shoveler, 50 mallard, 2 tufted duck and 6 gadwall. Most of the wigeon and teal headed off to feed on the saltmarsh near the Point, or sought the peace out in the river Colne. A water rail squealed from the back of the pond in the afternoon. An unusually large group of stock doves appeared over the fields as about 30 birds flew around with one main group very wary about coming down to land.

On the way to the Point, 2 stonechat, rock pipit were noted along with a few skylarks, reed buntings, meadow pipits and a small flock of 10 linnets. The tide was well out during the morning and waders dotted about into the distance. The river Colne was quiet with only a handful of great crested grebes and one red-breasted merganser noted. A group of five mergansers were reported later in the day in the river. Two common seals were also noted in the river.

The clear sunny conditions provided clear views along the length of the Colne with several hundreds of both avocets and shelduck on both sides of the river standing out in the bright sunshine. On the nearer mud by the East Mersea Hard there were 106 avocets roosting in a long line. A handful of bar-tailed godwits were also noted flying into the Colne.

There were the usual flocks of brent geese feeding or flying around the entrance to the river on both sides. A small group fed on the saltmarsh by the Golfhouse along with 50 wigeon several teal and a snipe.

Earlier in the week a big flock of 500 golden plover flew high over the car park on Thursday 5th with another flock of about 400 birds resting on mud by the Strood on Friday. On Tuesday 3rd a green sandpiper flew low over the pond as it headed west, 6 siskins fed on alders nearby, while 200 wood pigeons headed south-west high over the park early on the same morning, presumably new arrivals from the continent. A late painted lady butterfly was also seen in the car park.

The moth trap put out at the park during a still but clear Tuesday night providing five species with feathered thorn, mallow, November, black rustic and a yellow-line quaker.

Monday, 2 November 2009


It was a sunny start to Monday 2nd and good conditions for a walk along the Strood seawall although unfortunately it coincided with the high tide, pictured above. A grey heron and a little egret were seen on these saltings in the picture along with a small group of brent geese. Groups of waders and wildfowl were roosting along the saltmarshes alongside the Strood.

The best views of the birds occurred when first a female marsh harrier flew low over the Ray saltings and then a sparrowhawk flew low across the channel scattering waders on both sides. The usual wildfowl on show were the brent geese, wigeon, teal and shelduck with a few mallard. Waders noted included redshank, curlew, dunlin, knot, grey plover, lapwing, golden plover and oystercatcher.

The breeze seemed to suppress the small bird activity in the fields with 10 skylarks, meadow pipit, rock pipit, 2 reed bunting and a kestrel the only other birds of note.

The second half of the walk was along the beach from below the "Monkey Steps"pictured above, back along Coast Road. It was still high tide and the sea offshore was quiet with only a few gulls on the water. On Cobmarsh Island groups of brent geese and oystercatchers were seen along with a few cormorants. A big flock of 400 golden plovers rose high into the air over the Mersea Quarters and a scan of the skies revealed a peregrine and marsh harrier were seen soaring high together.

On St Peters Marsh a rock pipit and a lesser redpoll were noted and 2 little egrets flew along the beach. A common darter dragonfly was seen on a bramble bush in the sunshine.

Later a red admiral was seen by Firs Chase and a goldcrest was heard calling.

Martin Cock saw 3 yellowhammers, 10 corn buntings, 50 skylarks and a marsh harrier on his visit to Maydays Farm on Monday.
Andy Field visited Reeveshall on Sunday afternoon and counted 9 marsh harriers coming into roost at Langenhoe. The tawny owl was heard calling from the north end of Shop Lane.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Several of these large parasol toadstools have sprouted up in various spots around the country park during the last week in October. This parasol picured above is nearly the same size as a dinner plate, as are most of the other parasols in the park. As there seemed to be a reasonable number of them at the park, one large parasol was taken home to make a tasty addition to a pasta sauce!

A morning walk along the West Mersea beach to St Peters Marsh pictured above on Saturday 31st, provided views of one or two things although the incoming tide had moved many birds on. Offshore 10 great crested grebes and a couple of cormorants were noted while around the nearby Cobmarsh Island and the Mersea Quarters were 100 brent geese, 50 oystercatchers with a few redshank and turnstones.

A flock of 25 redwings flew west over St Peters before having second thoughts about crossing the water to Old Hall. They came back to settle in some trees in a Coast Road garden. However two lesser redpolls flew west over the water calling as they went. A meadow pipit and a rock pipit were also seen but not much else here.

Bushes near the Firs Chase caravan site on the Saturday morning seemed to have more thrushes around them with 20 blackbirds noted. Another flock of about 12 redwings started to leave the Island westwards but turned back at the prospect of crossing the water. A lesser redpoll was noted again as it called on its westwards journey. Other finches in the area included small numbers of chaffinches, goldfinches and greenfinches.
A sparrowhawk was seen near Kingsland Road dashing between gardens and a second bird seen circling above Firs Road.

Also on Saturday Martin Cock saw 10 siskins and 15 fieldfares over his garden in Broomhills Road, while Martin Dence watched a peregrine fly west over Bromans Farm towards the East Mersea church.

Andy Field and Richard Hull visited Langenhoe Marshes on Saturday and saw peregrine, common buzzard, 6 marsh harriers, 4 green sandpipers, 8 stonechat, Cetti's warbler, 300 greenfinches and 6 red-breasted mergansers.

On Thursday 29th a male hen harrier and a pair of stonechats were seen through the fog at Maydays Farm by Martin Cock.
Heard a report that 2 woodcock were flsuhed during a recent pheasant shoot at East Mersea.

The moth trap was put out at the park on Wed 28th on a still but cool night. Amongst the 20 moths of six species were 4 feathered thorns, one pictured above. Other moths noted were streak, large yellow underwing, mallow, common marbled carpet and November sps.