Tuesday, 31 October 2017


Up to 100 wigeon have settled into the country park in recent weeks, present either on the saltmarsh, the grazing fields, the nearby dyke or the park pond where they can have a bathe and drink. Also in the area are 100+ brent geese mainly feeding on the saltmarsh at the Point or on the algae on the mudflats.

On Sunday 29th a siskin and a lesser redpoll flew over the park, while the day before 2 redwing, 4 goldcrest, 4 lesser repolls were noted on Saturday 28th.
A rock pipit was seen at the Point on Friday 27th and 3 gadwall were on the park pond.
Flying high over the park early on Wednesday 25th were 1000+ wood pigeons, also noted were a brambling and six siskins. Four late swallows flew over the park on Tuesday 24th.

Martin Cock reported a guillemot, Mediterranean gull and a stonechat at Rewsalls on Thursday 26th, a peregrine and common buzzard were seen near Shop Lane on Wednesday 25th while at Maydays two rock pipits and a pair of stonechats were seen on Tuesday 24th.
A pair of stonechats was seen at the park on Monday 23rd and again on Tuesday 24th when they perched by the clifftop and then seen later that morning close to the car park.

A muntjac deer was seen in the park grazing fields mid morning on Sunday 29th and also a muntjac beside Manwood Grove by Shop Lane on Friday 27th.
A small white and red admiral were on the wing at the park on Friday 27th, while a clouded yellow and 15+ red admirals on the move at the park on Wednesday 25th.

Numbers of moths in the trap at the park have been dropping off through October, however this streak was of interest on the 25th - the first for a couple of years.

A freshly marked satellite showing the tiny satellite dots beside each main white spot was in the trap on the night of the 25th. Also twenty other moths such as green brindled crescent, November, feathered thorn and red-green carpet.

Thursday, 26 October 2017


The regular female red squirrel spent half an hour at the Firs Chase garden feeder on Sunday 22nd. It spent five minutes staring into the garden with its tail flat over its back, probably waiting for me to finish watching it!

Having spent most of the summer months ignoring the nut feeder and just gnawing at the antler horn most days, she seems to have remembered how tasty the nut mix is.

This female red squirrel has dark tuftless ears and a dark brown back. She is a regular drinker at the cup which had to be topped up again on Sunday.
A male is also visiting most days too although staying only briefly each time to feed or drink. A third red squirrel has recently been making appearances too with slight ear tufts and a typically orange-red  coat.
On Tuesday 17th, the feeder-cam picked up seven different visits during the day to the feeders by the three different red squirrels between 7.10am and 4.50pm.

Once the dark female had finished at the nut feeder it scampered along the garden fence, stopping off to eat some Russian vine leaves, pictured above, before crossing into a neighbour's garden.

Sheila Rayner saw two red squirrels, one on either side of the East Mersea road near Shop Lane early on Monday 23rd.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


The park was reasonably sunny on Saturday 21st although a passing shower in the afternoon resulted in a brief rainbow over Brightlingsea. The wind strength picked up during the afternoon as Storm Brian blew through.
On the saltmarsh lagoons near the Point 500+ waders including dunlin, redshank and grey plover were roosting, 5 greylag geese, 100 wigeon were noted.

It was certainly rough offshore and spray was being whipped over the top of the seawall during the early afternoon high tide. One sanderling was feeding along the tideline.
Forty-five curlew roosted in the grazing field while 74 little egrets had been reported roosting near the pond.

Ten pied wagtails were feeding in horse paddocks to the north of the park as were a handful of meadow pipits and a green woodpecker. By the Golfhouse 27 moorhens and 80 linnets were seen.

It was still quite windy on Sunday 22nd during a walk along the Maydays seawall on the north side of the Island. The tide was coming back up the Pyefleet during the late morning walk, which helped bring some of the waders a bit closer. The main waders noted were 200 golden plover, 2000+ dunlin, 100 grey plover, 300 redshank, 200 curlew and 4 knot.

A kingfisher was seen by Maydays farm, a covey of 12 grey partridge emerged from a bushy section of borrowdyke, pair of stonechat, rock pipit, four common buzzards over Reeveshall, 2 kestrels over Maydays, peregrine over the Geedons and a marsh harrier quartering Pyefleet saltings where 2 common seals were loafing.

A Mediterranean gull was with other gulls over fields at Chapmans Lane on Sunday, while in the Firs Chase garden a swallow passed overhead and 2 goldcrests and 12 greenfinches were present.

Three greenshank were of note along the Strood channel during a walk along the seawall on Monday 23rd. Also noted in the Strood channel were 100 wigeon, 20 shelduck, 400 golden plover, 25 black-tailed godwits, 100 brent geese and 20 little grebes.

Also seen was a kingfisher along the dyke, stonechat, rock pipit by the seawall, green sandpiper along a ditch, 100 linnets, 20 skylarks and 50 lapwing in a field. One buzzard left the Island while a sparrowhawk crossed over the channel onto the Island, two kestrels also seen over the fields.
Late morning a flock of 300+ wood pigeons passed high over West Mersea as they headed west.

Saturday, 21 October 2017


It was a bit blowy along the Strood seawall during the walk along there on Friday 20th. The rain managed to hold off for most of the latter part of the morning, although the sun struggled to break through. 
A flock of 20 redwings flew out of the hedge beside the caravan site and circled high up a couple of times undecided where to fly off to next. Five song thrushes seen flying over the Firs Chase gardens.

A flock of 2000 golden plover gathered on the opposite side of the Strood channel mud ahead of the incoming tide. Other waders of interest were 4 knot, 2 bar-tailed godwit, 2 greenshank, 4 snipe, 100+ dunlin. Fifty lapwing were feeding in the weedy field.

About 100 black-tailed godwits were feeding along the channel at various points.
Two pintail flew down channel, 100 brent geese, 100 wigeon and 10 shelduck were noted.

This stonechat was keeping low out of the wind, sheltering behind a bramble bush by the dyke. Two stonechats were seen here last Sunday 15th by Andy Field.

In the fields was a flock of 100 linnets, also noted were 10 meadow pipits, rock pipit on the saltings, 2 reed buntings and 10 skylarks. Two swallows flew over the West Mersea hard during the middle of Friday. A marsh harrier flew over the Feldy marshes on the Peldon side.

On Thursday 19th three stonechats were seen at the park by Andy Field, two near the fields and one at the Point. Two redwings also noted at the park, while at West Mersea also two redwings were heard near Upland Road on Thursday morning.

At the park on Wednesday 18th, two goldcrests, 25 goldfinch and two mistle thrushes were in the car park with 12 grey partridge in the arable field next to the car park early in the morning. At the pond 50 mallard and 3 calling little owls were noted in the afternoon. Two stonechats were in the grazing fields and 6 shoveler in the dyke and a redpoll flew over the Point, where rock pipit, 100 brent geese and 200 golden plover were noted.
A common buzzard and 100 linnets were seen in fields at Bocking Hall on Wednesday.

Birds noted on Tuesday at the park included a swallow and sparrowhawk, 45 mallard and 15 wigeon on the pond, while on the mud were 200 golden plover and on the outer mud edge were 100 avocets.

On Sunday 15th a swallow flew over Bromans Lane also 3 sparrowhawks flying over the fields here during the day. A house sparrow in the car park was a notable sighting.
A small copper was seen at the park on the sunny Sunday morning and later six clouded yellows were reported by Angela Buckley along the park seawall.
A lesser redpoll flew over the park calling in the morning of Saturday 14th as it flew west.

A muntjac deer was seen crossing East Road into the verge near the allotments early on Thursday 19th, while another muntjac was seen just after dark drinking at a puddle near the East Mersea pub on Monday 16th. A red squirrel was seen on a garden fence by the Smith family in Woodfield Drive on Friday 20th and two red squirrels were seen in Shop Lane by Angela Buckley on Sunday 15th. A red squirrel has also been reported recently in the garden of the nursery school in Melrose Road. Red squirrels made eight appearances at the feeder in the Firs Chase garden during Tuesday 17th, involving at least one male and a female.

One of the prettiest of autumn moths the merveille du jour was trapped at the park on Sunday 15th. At least one of these attractive individuals turns up each year, usually in the first half of October.

A couple of feathered thorns were also noted on the same night, a regular autumn moth in small numbers here.

The increasingly scarce dusky-lemon sallow still manages to make at least one appearance in the year.

There have been up to ten green-brindled crescents on some recent nights as they reach their autumn peak.

A couple of large wainscots were noted on 18th, the first of the year.

Fifteen November moths were noted on Tuesday 17th October. Despite their name their peak numbers are always two or three weeks before the actual November. 

Other moths noted over the last week have included mallow, garden carpet, red-green carpet, large yellow underwing, setaceous Hebrew character, lunar underwing, feathered ranunculus, red-line quaker, yellow-line quaker, dark chestnut and barred sallow

Friday, 13 October 2017


There's been a small flock of goldfinches around the country park recently, and a handful of birds dropped into the gutter of the cafĂ© to have a drink. This goldfinch pictured above was snapped through the nearby office window. A flock of 20 goldfinches circled round the bushes near the car park late afternoon before they roosted.

Also noted at the park on Friday 13th were ten swallows and 5 lesser redpolls flying west.

On Thursday five swallows and a total of 18 lesser redpolls flew over the park during the day, three of the latter seemingly looking to roost in bushes in the car park. Four goldcrests in the park too
In the grazing fields, 30 goldfinches, 12 skylarks and 10 meadow pipits were noted, tufted duck in the dyke, while 100 linnets were feeding near the Golfhouse.

From the Point 200 golden plover, 100 brent geese, 50 wigeon, 30 avocet and a common seal in the Colne were all noted on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday 11th there were 44 little egrets roosting at the park pond, two lesser redpolls flew over. A wheatear and 220 golden plover were seen by Andy Field at the Point and a little owl near the pond.

A peregrine flew from the beach and over the pond on Tuesday 10th, also blackcap, 3 lesser redpolls and four swallows noted. Seven red-legged partridge were in a field at Bromans Lane while at dusk a grey partridge called from Bromans Lane and a tawny owl called from Shop Lane.

A peregrine has been reported a couple of times recently over West Mersea by Ian Black.

A group of volunteers from Colchester Borough Housing Dept, helped on Wednesday with some wild flower meadow management by raking up the cut grass and barrowing it off to the side. This will hopefully encourage more of the knapweeds, scabious, bird's-foot trefoils, tufted vetches and ox-eye daisies to grow.

A walk around the fields by Rewsalls and Coopers Beach on Monday 9th produced a nice variety of sightings such as a peregrine, 3 sparrowhawks, common buzzard, 2 kestrels, Cetti's warbler by the Youth Camp, also little owl and water rail calling near the Youth Camp, kingfisher, little grebe, pair of stonechat, 20 swallows, 10 skylarks, 30 goldfinches, 20 linnets, 500 starlings, 2 goldcrests, 4 chiffchaffs. Offshore ten great crested grebes were on the sea and 200 golden plover on the mudflats.

A flock of 21 redwings was seen by Neil Mortimer flying west over West Mersea on Sunday 8th.

Two clouded yellow butterflies were seen along the park seawall on Thursday 12th by David Wallace.

My ninety-four year old mother in law Joice Bacon had a red squirrel make her day on Monday 9th when it scampered over her back doorstep at Hall Barn in West Mersea. Sadly another roadkill red squirrel was reported in Seaview Avenue by Christine Cobb on Thursday 12th.
David Bullock has reported several red squirrels sightings in his East Mersea garden recently.

This faded flounced chestnut was one of the moths in the trap at the park on the night of Tuesday 10th. Twenty-eight moths of 11 species of macro moth was the tally for the night. Other moths recorded were barred sallow, lunar underwing, large yellow underwing, lesser underwing, L-album wainscot, setaceous Hebrew character, square spot rustic, deep-brown dart and brindled green.

This beaded chestnut moth is the first one this autumn at the park.

Monday, 9 October 2017


Numbers of brent geese are gradually building up each day around the East Mersea Point, as birds continue to come back from Siberia. A group of 90 brent geese was feeding on the saltmarsh near the Point on Saturday 7th.

Also by the Point on Saturday were 100 wigeon, 16 little egrets on the saltings, wheatear and 25 linnets nearby by the Golfhouse. Two chiffchaffs were present in the park.

There seemed more brent geese in the Colne estuary on Sunday 8th with up to 200 seen. Although these first birds have only just arrived, no youngsters have been spotted yet, they should hopefully be arriving shortly.
Eight shelduck were the first ones of the autumn noted here, a snipe flew over the Point calling, 50 avocets were on the mud. A mixed finch flock was feeding in the Golfhouse paddock with 15 goldfinches, 25 chaffinches and 60+ linnets.

A call from Glyn Evans on Sunday afternoon on board the Thames Barge the Thistle, to say an Iceland Gull had flown from the Colne into the Pyefleet Channel, also two common scoter in the Colne.

A pair of greylag geese was feeding on the dried out grazing field where in past wet autumns there has been water here. There was a report of 40+ greylags in the field the previous day. Flying noisily down the Colne and into Brightlingsea creek on Sunday were 50 Canada geese with a couple of greylags.

At the park pond on Sunday was a kingfisher, Cetti's warbler showing whilst singing with a second bird returning a song from the grazing field hedges, also 8 shoveler, 45 mallard and a squealing water rail.
A little owl called from the hedge near the pond during the day, 3 chiffchaffs, blackcap and a flyover redpoll were also noted on Sunday.

A grainy shot taken through a dirty car windscreen of a covey of 6+ grey partridge at the side of the East Mersea road near the pub first thing on Saturday 7th.

A red admiral was enjoying the sun on Friday 6th near Feldy View at West Mersea.

A grey wagtail flew along the Strood borrowdyke, briefly landing at a couple of spots to feed on Friday 6th. A stonechat perched up on bushes also near the dyke, while 2 reed buntings and 8 skylarks were noted in the fields nearby. A big flock of 700+ linnets feeding in the fields is the biggest seen here for several years. A sparrowhawk passed over the fields which alarmed the finches for a short while, then followed by a second sparrowhawk.- a third bird was hunting Ray Island. A kestrel and four common buzzards were also noted in the skies.

A female yellowhammer flew along the Strood seawall, landing briefly on a bush to call before flying onto another hedgerow. A rock pipit was seen flying over the saltmarsh and heard to call.
Twelve Mediterranean gulls were feeding in the arable field on Strood Hill late on Friday afternoon.

As the tide rose on Friday morning 300 black-tailed godwits were noted, some pictured here, also 1000 golden plover in the fields and a greenshank in the Channel were noted too. Ten brent geese and 30 wigeon were also noted.

A herring gull picked up a crab in the Strood Channel.
Sixteen little grebes were counted amongst the moorings while one common tern was among the mooring near Packing Shed.

Also on Friday 6th Andy Field reported seeing offshore from Waldegraves 2 sandwich terns, 10 Mediterranean gulls, 163 ringed plovers and a feeding flock of 200-300 gulls.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017


A little stint was found roosting on the saltmarsh lagoon near the East Mersea Golfhouse by Martin Cock on Tuesday 3rd. After Andy Field took this photograph of the bird, it soon took off and was joined in the air by a second little stint that had been resting nearby.

A Sandwich tern was seen flying in the Colne and a pair of stonechats seen near Ivy Dock by Martin on Tuesday morning.

 Three wheatears were seen along the park beach and seawall on Tuesday by Andy who took these two photos of the birds. A stonechat was also seen at the start of the park seawall walk.

Charlie Coltman visiting the park reported seeing one of the wheatears at the Point earlier on Tuesday morning, also reporting seeing a kingfisher at the park pond and ten brent geese at the Point.

A small flock of six lesser redpolls landed briefly in trees near the bird hide at the park on Tuesday morning, flying off briefly before settling back down on some other trees. A pair of redpolls had also flown north-west over the park entrance a short while earlier and five redpoll sps were also seen flying over Kingsland Road in West Mersea, calling first thing on Tuesday morning.

Also noted at the park on Tuesday morning were 25+ swallows, 6 house martins and a sand martin while a flock of 20 goldfinches were seen by alders by the pond and 25+ meadow pipits flying west. On the pond were 36 wigeon with 22 little egrets roosting in the trees, while 6 chiffchaffs, 2 goldcrests and two blackcaps were in nearby bushes. Roosting in the park's grazing fields on Tuesday were 70+ curlews at high tide. A marsh harrier flew west over the car park on Tuesday afternoon.
On Tuesday evening after dark, a muntjac deer was seen in Bromans Lane and nearby another muntjac with a young one at the top of Bromans Lane. A muntjac deer with a youngster has also been reported recently in gardens near Meeting Lane.

Six swallows and two house martins flew over the park on Monday 2nd and two goldcrests in the bushes. Two sparrowhawks were together over Oakwood Avenue on Monday morning.

Recent birds seen around the Island in the last three weeks by Martin included 80 wigeon, curlew sandpiper, hobby and 2 blackcaps near the Golfhouse and Ivy Dock area on 27th September. Six brent geese flew past the Esplanade on 23rd while a grey wagtail and greenshank were at Maydays on 22nd. A curlew sandpiper and 6 Sandwich terns were seen from Ivy Dock as was a clouded yellow, while 12 Sandwich terns seen in the Colne on the 17th is probably the biggest flock seen from the Island. Six Sandwich terns were also seen by Martin in the Colne on 16th and a whinchat was at the park.
Andy Field reported two gannets off Cross Lane on 16th while at Rewsalls there were 4 willow warblers, 20 meadow pipits, 50 house martins, 16 little egrets and a harbour porpoise offshore.

Helen Shore reported a red squirrel in Beach Road in West Mersea on Frday 15th.

Two small coppers kept low out of the breeze on a sunny Tuesday 3rd at the park, also ten small whites, large white and a couple of red admirals too.

Cold and breezy nights at the start of October have kept moth numbers low at the park with 35 individuals on Monday night and 55 individuals on Tuesday night, together about 12 species noted.
This widespread barred sallow pictured above was the most brightly marked.

This herald moth was discovered resting inside the park toilets, a place where the occasional herald has been seen resting before in late autumn.

Lots of lunar underwings outnumbering the other moths in the trap at the moment, most of them a darker olive colouration than this brown one.

Three feathered ranunculus were in the trap on Tuesday night, a typical autumn moth here.

Three very plain looking dark-brown darts were noted on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Also noted were setaceous Hebrew character, large yellow underwing, lesser yellow underwing, black rustic, square spot rustic, flounced rustic, mallow and brindled green.