Sunday, 31 December 2017


It's been a blustery end to the year with grey skies, breezy and wet at times. Walked the Strood seawall a couple of times over the weekend with high tides receding late mornings allowing a good variety of waders onto the channel.
This redshank was feeding close to the seawall, one of about 300 redshank in the channel on Sunday 31st
Three ruff were feeding with 14 grey plover in a flooded field, later two of them were back on the mudflats on Sunday. One ruff flew onto the flooded corner of the field from the Strood on Saturday.

Ten black-tailed godwits were seen on both Saturday and Sunday along the Strood. The most numerous waders were the 1000 dunlin, 300 golden plover in a ploughed field and 20 ringed plovers feeding in one of the fields on Saturday.

The main brent goose flock of 2000 birds were feeding in a wheat field on the Peldon side, every so often the flock taking to the air and landing in the Ray Channel. Other wildfowl along the Strood were 50 shelduck, 70 wigeon and 50 teal, also 15 little grebes while a red-breasted merganser was seen from the Hard.
A marsh harrier and sparrowhawk were seen over the Ray Island on Sunday morning. The previous day a peregrine flew down channel scattering all the birds before it headed over to the Feldy marsh. Also a marsh harrier on Saturday flying over Feldy.

On the Strood fishing lakes on Sunday were 14 tufted duck, 36 mallard, 2 little egrets, 2 great crested grebes, grey heron and a Mediterranean gull.
Three stonechats were seen near the Strood dyke and central ditch on Sunday, just one bird seen on Saturday.

A brief visit to the Strood on Friday 29th revealed a red-breasted merganser in the channel while in the stubble field up by the houses were 50 carrion crows, 10 jackdaws and 50 skylarks.

A first winter glaucous gull was seen by Simon Wood flying past Coopers Beach heading into the Blackwater on Sunday 31st.
On Thursday 28th December 17 marsh harriers, merlin, peregrine, barn owl and 8 red-breasted mergansers were seen by Darrell Stile from East Mersea viewing the Langenhoe harrier roost.

One of the regular male red squirrels was back at the feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday morning. There hasn't been much activity at the feeder during December, possibly due to the colder weather.
A red squirrel was also seen on Xmas Eve by Martin Cock as it scampered across his garden in the Coverts for the first time. A visitation from someone wearing a red outfit on Xmas Eve! A nice present for the whole family!

Thursday, 28 December 2017


Amongst the wildfowl at the country park are lots of teal, some giving close views like this nicely patterned male seen swimming nearby in the dyke. Twenty shoveler were also seen on the dyke.

At least 1000 wigeon were feeding in the park fields on a sunny but chilly Thursday 28th. Also in the fields were four fieldfares, stonechat, pair of kestrels, 90 rooks and ten jackdaws.
A peregrine flew over the fields in the afternoon sending the wigeon to seek refuge on the dyke, before it headed north. Possibly the same peregrine flew over the mudflats in the morning as flocks of waders were gathering along the freshly exposed mudflats.

By the pond the little owl was enjoying the morning sun perched in the hedgerow, while 12 goldfinches fed in the alders above. A redwing called from a tall tree.

There wasn't much to see at the park in the pouring rain, sleet and snow during Wednesday 27th. The little owl had the sense to shelter from the cold weather in the little owl nestbox, peering out late afternoon.
Five sanderling and 77 shelduck were of note from the park.

Five greylag geese were in the park's fields on a sunny Boxing Day along with 500 wigeon, 300 brent geese and 150 lapwing. A common buzzard perched on the kestrel tree at the back of the fields late afternoon. At the pond the little egret 10 gadwall and 5 tufted duck were of interest and the little owl was seen by David Wallace.
In the Colne a male red-breasted merganser and five great crested grebes were seen from the Point.

Monday, 25 December 2017


Xmas greetings to everyone.
The wigeon were grazing the path inside the park seawall on Monday 25th. In total around 500 birds were feeding in the fields.
A peregrine flew downriver passing the Point and then heading low and fast around the far edge of the mudflats on Monday morning. A flock of 50 avocets took evasive action as they headed back up river, while lots of wader flocks flew out of the way of the passing peregrine.
Two great crested grebes and a common seal were the only other things of note in the river.

Ten gadwall and thirty mallard were the main ducks on the park pond on Monday morning.

On Sunday 24th six red-breasted mergansers were in the Colne, 800 golden plover on the mud, while in the park fields were 120 lapwing, common snipe, 15 goldfinch, 8 linnet, 10 meadow pipit and 10 skylarks. The pair of stonechat was in the field by Ivy Farm and 30 shoveler were on the saltmarsh lagoons. The Cetti's warbler sang briefly from bushes in the car park.

The water rail showed well for ten minutes at the park pond on Saturday 23rd as it fed along the marshy margin. Also in the area of the pond were little egret, ten gadwall, fieldfare and 8 stock dove.

From the park on Friday 22 Andy Field reported a great northern diver on the sea and 500 golden plover on the mud. There was a common seal swimming down the river. Two sparrowhawks flew over the back of the park fields where 660 wigeon were grazing. Four tufted ducks were on the pond and a Cetti's warbler in the car park.

Two male goldeneye were seen in the Pyefleet near Maydays on Friday 22nd by Martin Cock. 

Friday, 22 December 2017


Recent dull and gloomy weather at the park and the fewer people visiting has allowed the wigeon to graze the grass on the side of the seawall. This small group on one section were part of 400 seen near and on the grazing fields on Thursday 21st.
At the park pond two water rails scuttled around the edge with one chasing the other, also 4 tufted ducks, ten gadwall and 70 mallard were on the water.

A winter male reed bunting perched on the seablite bushes at the East Mersea Point on Thursday.

The male stonechat was also perching on the bushes beside the saltmarsh at the Point, a robin at times chasing it about. A rock pipit was flying about the saltmarsh too.

A common seal peered through the mist over the Colne as it swam up-river at the Point on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday 20th at the park a sparrowhawk perched in a tree to the north, ten chaffinches, ten blackbirds in the car park and 50 shelduck offshore at high tide.

At Maydays on Tuesday 19th a ringtail hen harrier flying over the saltmarsh towards the Strood was seen by Martin Cock, also a Cetti's warbler at Maydays.
The Langenhoe harrier roost count on Monday 18th by Andy Field and Darrell Stile produced views of 17 marsh harriers and a merlin. The previous day 5 red-breasted mergansers were in the Pyefleet.

The Swallow Birding boat trip from West Mersea into the nearby creeks and Blackwater produced a scaup, 16 common scoter, 30 goldeneye, 35 red-breasted mergansers, 5 great northern divers, 2 black-necked grebe, 2 shag, glossy ibis, red kite, common buzzard, 9 marsh harriers, 170 avocet and a guillemot.

A great northern diver was close into the Hard at West Mersea on Friday 15th, also a great crested grebe, little grebe were amongst the boats while a marsh harrier flew over the mouth of Salcott Channel.

Lots of winter moths have been gathering shortly after dark on the office windows and nearby toilet building at the park with 78 counted on Wednesday 20th.

A mottled umber was found resting amongst a pile of wood at the park the pervious week.

Thursday, 14 December 2017


After the recent snow and rain, it was nice to see lots of sunshine at the country park on Tuesday 12th. This male stonechat showed well for Andy Field on the beach by the seawall.

The male and female stonechat were both feeding along the side of the seawall on Tuesday.

This fox paused to glance back over the park's grazing fields as it crossed over late morning on Tuesday, as photographed by Andy.

A ringed plover was one of the waders on the beach at the Point on Tuesday.
One marsh harrier flew over the saltmarsh in the morning flushing all the birds as it headed west. A second marsh harrier flew west over the park early afternoon.

A female / immature common scoter was in the Colne close to the Point before flying up-river. Ten great crested grebes were also in the river.

As the tide receded big numbers of knot gathered on the mud with this group resting before their feed.
Up to 2000 knot were spread over the mud in front of the park, one of the largest flocks ever seen here. The previous day around 1500 knot were noted late afternoon.

Part of the park pond was frozen with ducks gathered round one section with 100 mallard, 10 gadwall, 5 shoveler and also 3 little egrets in the trees.
The Cetti's warbler sang from the bramble bush beside the hide before flying back to the pond. One snipe was feeding in the field beside the pond and another one was in the main grazing field.
Two redwing were in trees near the hide on Tuesday.

In the dull late afternoon conditions on Monday, the little owl was seen sheltering from the cold inside the little owl nestbox near the pond. This is the first time the little owl has been seen using the box in the two years since its installation.

The following morning on the sunny Tuesday the little owl was back in its usual bush enjoying some of the sunshine.

On Wednesday 13th the sparrowhawk was seen three times during the day, one of the occasions one sparrowhawk was disturbed in the car park with its recently caught blackbird. The Cetti's warbler was feeding in bushes along the middle track in the park. In Bromans Lane 500 brent geese were feeding in the winter wheat field.

At West Mersea on Tuesday a Sandwich tern was seen by Andy Field and Martin Cock at the Hard, while 30 common scoter were offshore by the Nass beacon. Two male goldeneye were seen in the Pyefleet at Maydays on Tuesday by Martin

A red squirrel has recently become a daily visitor to the garden of Roy Vaughan in East Mersea, along from the Dormy houses.

Sunday, 10 December 2017


 It was a very dark and wet start to Sunday 10th with rain soon turning to snow through the morning. Not many visitors ventured out to the country park during the day except for a few determined and hardy folk.

 The snow covered all the park including the beach at Cudmore Grove, here mid afternoon at high-tide.
Offshore five great crested grebes, 50 wigeon and a common seal were noted.

 It seemed in some places just under an inch of snow lay about the park, although a slight thaw took place in the afternoon.
A sparrowhawk flew out of the cliff-top trees heading low towards the pond.

The view from the park hide was equally white, especially in the morning whilst it snowed.
Most of the pond stayed ice free where 40 mallard, 8 gadwall and a little grebe were of note as well as ten little egrets in the trees.
Twenty greylag geese were feeding in the nearby grazing field and a kestrel hovered over the saltmarsh at the Point.

In the nearby Bromans Lane wheat field 200 brent geese were feeding on the snowy field. A muntjac deer crossed the lane early in the morning as day broke.

Saturday, 9 December 2017


This kestrel visited the Thorley's garden along the East Mersea road near Meeting Lane, seen here plucking its prey. 
At least three kestrels have been seen during the last fortnight perched at various intervals beside the East Mersea road.

There were more wigeon in the park's grazing fields on Saturday 9th with 1000 seen feeding with 600 brent geese. Most of the brent geese flew off late morning to feed in some nearby wheat fields.
Two ruff were feeding in the grazing field as were 2 black-tailed godwits and ten curlew. Forty linnets fed in the fields as did a few goldfinches.
On the beach the male stonechat was still present, also two rock pipits and 12 skylarks. From the Point 50 avocets on the mud, 5 great crested grebes, a common seal in the river Colne while later in the afternoon a marsh harrier flew over the Point heading back to the Langenhoe roost.

At the park pond 75 mallard, 8 gadwall, 18 little egrets were noted, the Cetti's warbler fed in bushes beside the hide and the little owl perched near the alders late morning.

The water rail was seen scuttling through the grass around the edge of the pond on Friday 8th. In the grazing fields 115 lapwing were seen along with 20 greylag geese.

At West Mersea on Friday, an unidentified tern was seen distantly by Richard Allen fishing creeks towards Tollesbury and then a flypast Packing Shed. Also seen were 3 great northern divers, black-necked grebe, black brant, 3 common scoter and two Mediterranean gulls.

Offshore from the park on Tuesday 5th was a great northern diver in the outer Colne, red throated diver and five Slavonian grebes. The stonechat was along the seawall, two sparrowhawks seen during the day, 10 little egrets and 8 gadwall on the pond.
A kingfisher was seen at Ivy Dock on Monday 4th by Michael Thorley.

Monday, 4 December 2017


The red-breasted mergansers were performing well in the Pyefleet Channel on a sunny Monday 4th. This male and female were some of the 16 birds seen late morning in the channel just ahead of the high tide.

One group of six red-breasted mergansers was busy with the males displaying to each other in front of the females. The males stick their heads up in the air showing off their colourful long necks.

After sticking their necks upwards, the males then bow down onto the water, calling at the same time.

It seems one of the females wasn't too impressed with all the male bravado goings-on, lunging at one of the males with its beak open.

Another group of red-breasted mergansers were more interested in feeding, diving under for some fishing near the entrance to Maydays creek. In the background one of the two male goldeneyes also doing a bit of diving for food.
Six great crested grebes were seen mid channel while along the north side of the Pyefleet was a mix of 100+ wigeon and teal as well as 80+ shelduck.

On the last part of mud to be covered by the incoming tide, 1000 dunlin were busy feeding as were 60 avocets. Further up-channel 2000+ waders of various species were disturbed at their roost on the saltmarsh by a passing marsh harrier. Two common seals basking at this secluded spot too.

A peregrine gave up chasing a wader along the Pyefleet and it continued on its way over the Langenhoe marsh. Several marsh harriers were hunting both the north side of the Island and also Langenhoe with at least six birds noted.A sparrowhawk crossed low over Maydays saltmarsh while a common buzzard perched on a tree on Maydays farmland.

Amongst the smaller birds were 250+ linnets feeding on the saltmarsh and also in a game crop. A stonechat, 2 yellowhammers, 4 fieldfares, 2 redwings, 10 reed buntings, 10 meadow pipits, 2 rock pipits and 20 skylarks were seen at Maydays. A kingfisher flew from a pond by the farm to the seawall.

Amongst the bird activity around the bird feeders in the Firs Chase garden on Monday was this unexpected brambling. It made brief appearances in the morning and again mid afternoon along with several chaffinches and greenfinches.

A female common scoter was an unusual visitor to the Strood Channel on Sunday 3rd. Two kingfishers flew briefly together along the channel before parting with one crossing over to Ray Island and the other heading towards the Strood Hill marsh. A sparrowhawk flew over the caravan site while rock pipit was of note over the nearby saltmarsh.

A black-necked grebe and great northern diver were found by Daryl Rhymes from the West Mersea Esplanade on Sunday 3rd. The pale-bellied brent goose and the black brant were seen in the Mersea Quarters on Sunday by the Swallow Birding boat trip.

Friday, 1 December 2017


The little owl was making the most of the morning sunshine at the park as it basked in a hedgerow tree along from the park pond. It has been seen in the same section of hedge - on Friday 1st, Monday 27th and Sunday 26th.

There wasn't quite the wind-chill blowing over the park on Friday, compared with the previous couple of days. Amongst the waders roosting at high tide on the saltmarsh lagoons near the Point were these dunlin and grey plover. A dense flock of 100 knot was squeezed onto one of the other islands.
Two sanderling were on the beach while a male red-breasted merganser flew up river and 7 great crested grebes were on the water.

Also on Friday a pair of stonechat, rock pipit, reed bunting and 6 linnets were seen along the seawall to the Point.
A common buzzard was mobbed by crows as it flew into the trees by the pond on Friday morning.

A pair of stock doves was enjoying the winter sunshine on the nextbox by the park pond.

This green woodpecker clung to the tree at the back of the park pond as it watched another green woodpecker fly past it on Wednesday 29th.
A sparrowhawk flew low past the pond on Tuesday 28th, 6 gadwall and 80 teal were also present here. A Cetti's warbler was heard singing from a thick bramble bush in the main car park.

Six little egrets were at the pond at high tide on Monday 27th and 50 goldfinches were feeding in the alders nearby.

Up to 500 wigeon have been feeding in the park's fields, at times flying onto the nearby borrowdyke, also eight shoveler too. Eight greylag geese were feeding in the fields on Thursday 30th and Friday 1st.
A peregrine flew over the Point and crossed the river towards Point Clear and a flock of 100 knot flew onto the mudflats to feed on Sunday 26th.

The thick stand of reedmace was cut back along one edge of the park pond on Monday 27th to provide shallow marshy conditions for waders and wildfowl and especially water rails. The cut reeds were raked up by David Wallace, sparing some time to help from his BeachCare project.

At West Mersea two great northern divers and three common scoters were seen from the Esplanade by Martin Cock on Monday 27th.

On Wednesday 29th a flock of 400 brent geese was feeding in a wheat field behind Rewsalls Marsh.
A red squirrel was feeding beside the East Mersea road near Manwood Grove by Shop Lane, first thing on Thursday 30th. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017


Up to 500 brent geese have been tucking into the winter wheat crop next to Bromans Lane these last few days. At least three young are at the front of this flock seen on Friday 24th close to the park entrance. Later in the morning a marsh harrier flew west over the park and spooked the geese when it passed over the wheat field.

Four hundred wigeon have been feeding in the park's grazing fields, this drake seen in the adjacent borrowdyke.

Two drake shovelers were photobombed by a wigeon flying along the borrowdyke as the picture was being taken.

little grebe was tucked up against the reeds in the borrowdyke, but soon dived under the water and swam away.
A water rail was seen anxiously walking along the path below the park seawall on Friday morning, looking as if it wanted to scramble up and over the seawall.
At the Point a rock pipit, 90 shelduck, 12 great crested grebes and common seal were noted.

The little owl was in the alder hedge near the park pond on Friday morning, enjoying some winter sunshine. Six gadwall were on the park pond. A lesser redpoll flew west over the car park in the morning.

On Langenhoe Marsh, two snow buntings and 14 stonechats were seen by Richard Hull on Friday 24th while late in the afternoon 13 marsh harriers, peregrine and 2 greenshank were seen over Langenhoe from East Mersea by Andy Field.

At the park on Tuesday 21st a water rail flew across the park pond and fifty goldfinches were feeding in the alders. In Bromans Lane there were 500 brent geese feeding in the wheat field.
Feeding in the field at Bocking Hall on Tuesday morning were 2000 starlings.
Offshore from the Esplanade on Tuesday, a shag, two eider and two red-breasted mergansers were seen by Martin Cock.

Thirteen ruff were seen feeding in the fields by Strood Hill on Monday 20th by Martin, who also saw the black brant at the West Mersea Hard and a chiffchaff in his West Mersea garden.