Tuesday, 30 January 2018


Three green woodpeckers and a fieldfare were feeding in a horse paddock near the east end of the East Mersea road on Monday 29th. A pair of mistle thrushes nearby were in trees with lots of clumps of mistletoe.

An avocet seemed to be practising early for the breeding season, sitting on one of the saltmarsh islands near the Golfhouse, where several pairs usually try and nest each late spring. Also on these pools on Monday were 25+ shoveler, with 1000 dunlin on the nearby mud. A stonechat was by the Golfhouse, a female kingfisher flew up and down the dyke by the Oyster Fishery and two rock pipits were on the saltmarsh. In the Colne 10 red-breasted mergansers were seen and a marsh harrier was on Langenhoe Point.

The song thrush in the Firs Chase garden has been in full song at dawn since the turn of the year. A female blackcap was an unexpected sight in the garden on Monday 29th, checking out the various ivy clumps. Also in the garden were 6 greenfinches and a goldcrest. A goldcrest made a rare appearance in Andy Field's garden in High St North on Sunday.

A red squirrel visited the garden feeder in Firs Chase in the morning of Monday 30th.

The red squirrel visits have not been every day through this winter period, maybe just two or three times a week.

A bit of early morning upside down stretching on the tree on Friday 26th needs a good grip on the tree with those back feet!

Visited the north-west corner of the Island for the change between the Strood and Maydays Farm on a sunny Sunday 28th. At the top of the Pyefleet channel were a scattering of redshank, shelduck and grey plover. Two common seals were resting on the saltmarsh. A common buzzard flew up channel and another one by Haycocks Lane. Two marsh harriers were hunting Reeveshall, one over Bower Hall and one on Langenhoe. Eighteen greylag geese were feeding on Reeveshall.

Two flock of fieldfares were seen -70 at Maydays and 150 near the Strood, while a redwing, 12 yellowhammers, 10 goldfinch, 20 chaffinch, 30 linnets, 2 grey partridge and a kingfisher were at Maydays Farm.

Two walks were taken along the Strood seawall over the weekend, a pair of stonechat was the highlight on Saturday 27th, also 15 little grebes, 2 red-breasted mergansers and four black-tailed godwits.

The glossy ibis on Ray Island was the highlight on Friday 26th. As it was feeding on the saltmarsh a fox walked past it, the ibis took to the air calling anxiously, it then circled above the fox a couple of times before settling back down again. Later the glossy ibis flew onto the mainland side and landed behind the seawall near the Feldy marsh.

Two female marsh harriers flew over the Ray saltmarsh, 3000 brent geese rose into the air on the Peldon side, 4 Canada geese flew past the Ray and a pair of pochard flew down channel. Along the Strood channel 200 wigeon, 100 teal, Mediterranean gull, 25 little grebes, and the only wader of interest were three black-tailed godwits. Two grey herons, 2 little egrets, rock pipit and four reed buntings were also noted while 6 red-breasted mergansers were seen from the Hard.

A distant common buzzard was photographed nearly 350 yards away by Michael Thorley from his garden near Meeting Lane on 12th January.

Friday, 26 January 2018


The brent geese have been feeding in recent days on the winter wheat field beside the country park with up to 700 birds seen.

Through the afternoon gloom on Saturday 20th, a black brant was spotted amongst the brent geese, although it proved tricky getting a photo of it without other geese in the way. The brant is partially hidden in the centre of this picture with the whiter flank.
Offshore ten great crested grebes were seen from the park while two Slavonian grebes were seen by Andy Field on Saturday afternoon. 

The water rail has been feeding out in the open most days over the last week. On Sunday 21st it walked up the grassy bank behind the pond and disappeared into the nearby ditch.
Beside the pond 8 wigeon were feeding on the grass, 16 gadwall and 9 little egrets were present in the afternoon while the little owl was sheltering from the rain in the nestbox at the end of the day.

In the Colne two great northern divers, 15 red-breasted mergansers, 4 great crested grebes and a common seal were present on Sunday morning. Some of the waders noted on the mud were 50 knot, 1000 dunlin, 50 golden plover and 100 avocets. On the grazing fields were 700 wigeon, 15 curlew, 30 lapwing and 30 rooks.
A common scoter and a pair of red-breasted mergansers were offshore from the park in the afternoon. In the car park area were 25 blackbirds and 3 song thrushes feeding in the drizzle with no people about.

A barn owl was hunting the grass field at the top of Shop lane by the East Mersea road as day broke on Sunday morning.

On a sunny Monday 22nd a peregrine flew along the far edge of the mudflats at low tide, two common buzzards circled in the sunshine near Ivy Farm, a sparrowhawk flew away from the pond copse and the little owl perched in the hedgerow. Twenty greylag geese landed in one of the grazing fields near the pools.
Eleven marsh harriers were seen roosting on Langenhoe by Andy Field on Monday late afternoon.

At the park pond on Tuesday 23rd the Cetti's warbler skulked in a bramble bush and calling a few times. Also 12 gadwall here, little owl perched in the hedge and a sparrowhawk flying past carrying some prey. Eight greylag geese flew on the park fields in the morning.
A muntjac deer ran across the main field of the park in the morning away from the clifftop trees and passing near the central pillbox.
In a field by Dawes Lane 200 fieldfares were reported by Martin Cock on Tuesday.

Three grey partridge were beside the East Mersea roadside near the pub on Thursday 25th and a common buzzard was seen near Bocking Hall.

A red squirrel was seen by Nolly Urquhart in a garden in the Lane for a few minutes before it crossed the road into another garden on Thursday 25th.

This carrion crow took advantage of the large puddles in the car park to have a bathe.

Several times the crow walked back to the puddle and in a flurry of feathers, had a right good splash about.

From the country park there was a pink glow to the mudflats and the skies above, at the start of Sunday 21st. The clouds soon thickened during the morning and the rain had started to set in by mid-day.

Friday, 19 January 2018


A fox enjoyed snoozing near the country park pond in the winter sunshine on Friday 19th. Nestled beside a hedgerow, it was sheltered from the chilly north-westerly breeze by the nearby trees. At times it seemed so tired it could hardly keep its eyes open for long.

The fox was also seen enjoying the sunshine a couple of days earlier in the same spot.

One of the moorhens feeding nearby in the field got a bit startled to see the fox and couldn't work out how safe it was to hang around!

A curlew dropped down onto the field near the pond to feed. In the nearby grazing field 84 curlews roosted during the early afternoon high tide on Friday.
At the pond 9 little egrets roosted in the trees and ten tufted ducks were on the water along with several mallard, gadwall and teal.
The regular group of twenty blackbirds and two song thrushes was feeding in the car park area.

The little owl was in the usual section of hedge along from the park pond on Friday. This picture of the same little owl was taken by Andy Field a week earlier on Friday 12th.

Also on Friday 19th fifty shoveler were on the saltmarsh by the Golfhouse, also 20 meadow pipits near here and 2 rock pipits by the Point.  On the mud were 100 avocets while in the Colne were 8 red-breasted mergansers, 8 great crested grebes and a common seal.
A common buzzard perched on a telegraph post near Bocking Hall as daybroke on Friday while at the end of the day a muntjac deer was seen in Bromans Lane just after dark.

The pair of stonechat was at the Point on Wednesday 17th with 800 wigeon feeding in the grazing fields. The previous day a common buzzard was mobbed by crows as it flew near the pond, also ten tufted ducks and two little egrets here on that Tuesday 16th. Fifty golden plover and 700 wigeon were in the park fields.

After lots of rain during the morning of Monday 15th, it brightened up enough to squelch along the muddy seawall path beside the Strood channel in the afternoon. A nearby passing shower was followed by a rainbow over Bonners Barn.

A kingfisher also added some brightness to the walk, flying from the reed-filled dyke over the seawall. Amongst the usual variety of waders on the mudflats were 25 knot and 3 bar-tailed godwits of note. The brent goose flock on the Peldon side seemed to have increased to 3000 birds. Amongst the moorings were 25 little grebes with four red-breasted mergansers seen from the West Mersea Hard.

On Sunday 14th four great northern divers and nine common scoter were seen offshore from West Mersea by Steve Entwistle.

Sunday, 14 January 2018


The sun broke through on Sunday 14th to make for a very pleasant day with no wind. I joined lots of people out enjoying the winter sunshine walking along Coast Road and on the beach at St Peters. The water was flat calm in the Mersea Quarters where a pair of red-breasted mergansers and ten little grebes were seen. Out in the Blackwater two great northern divers, 3 great crested grebes and a common seal were noted. Two bar-tailed godwits and 6 black-tailed godwits were seen along the edge of the mud while a marsh harrier flew over the Feldy marshes. At St Peters a rock pipit and 3 reed buntings were seen.
A goldcrest and 20 goldfinches were noted in trees at the Firs Chase garden on Sunday afternoon.

A great northern diver was a surprise bird in the Pyefleet Channel opposite Maydays farm on a dull Saturday 13th. I don't recall great northern diver ever being seen here previously.
Also along the channel were 6 red-breasted mergansers, great crested grebe and a little grebe.

As the tide was going out during the middle part of the day, 1000 dunlin, 70+ avocets were of note along with 300 wigeon and 200 teal
A peregrine stirred some of the waders beside Pewit Island before it perched on a fencepost on the Langenhoe marsh seawall. Three marsh harriers were flying around Langenhoe and one was also flying low over Reeveshall.

Three greylag geese were noted on Reeveshall, while 20 linnets, rock pipit and a fieldfare were at Maydays.

A woodcock was flushed and allowed to fly away during the pheasant shoot near Shop Lane on Saturday 13th.

On Friday 12th at Maydays a red kite was seen flying over Maydays by Martin Cock.
At the country park the water rail and little owl were seen near the park pond on Friday by Andy Field.

It was quite mild on Friday late morning along the Strood channel with the sun shining and little wind. Along the channel were 100 shelduck, 100 teal, 100 wigeon, 20 little grebes, 15 black-tailed godwits, one summer plumaged bar-tailed godwit and 2000 brent geese feeding on the Peldon side. A marsh harrier crossed from Ray Island and headed past the Strood reservoirs. A Mediterranean gull was seen near Strood Hill.

This male reed bunting was one of six seen along the dyke, with 10 skylarks and a rock pipit also seen. Two fieldfares and 20 blackbirds were feeding at an apple tree near the Firs Chase caravan site.

On Thursday 11th a common buzzard was in a field near Bocking Hall while at Bromans Lane 7 red-legged partridge were in a field.

There were 1000 wigeon feeding in the park's grazing fields on Wednesday 10th. Also 100 rooks were also pecking at the pasture in one of the fields. The water rail fed along the edge of the reeds at the park pond at the end of the day. On the mudflats beside the park 1000 golden plover roosted while 100+ avocets were feeding along the edge of both side of the Colne.

On Tuesday 9th a barn owl was hunting the side of the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall just after daybreak. Seven red-legged partridge were feeding in a field by Bromans Lane.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018


A cold north-easterly wind blew across the country park for the visit of members of the local Colchester RSPB group on Sunday 7th. It wasn't a day for standing around for too long.
Two pairs of red-breasted mergansers were seen flying past the Point as they headed back up river. A great crested grebe was the only other bird seen on the river while on the mud were 200 golden plover and 100+ avocets. A stonechat showed briefly amongst the saltmarsh at the Point.

On the grazing fields 700 wigeon, 100 brent geese and 100 lapwing were the main birds on Sunday morning. A water rail was seen flying across the park pond in the morning, and one also showed in the afternoon.
Two muntjac deer were seen at the start of the Sunday near the park entrance.

At West Mersea 7 common scoter, 16 red-breasted merganser, 2 great northern divers, 5 sanderling and 7 Mediterranean gulls were seen by Steve Grimwade on Sunday.

On Saturday 6th the water rail was feeding beside the park pond, also 7 little egrets roosted, 50 mallard, 10 gadwall and five tufted ducks present.
A muntjac was seen in Bromans Lane just after dark on Saturday.

Offshore from West Mersea on Saturday were 10 common scoter, 3 great northern divers, 100 great crested grebes, shag, peregrine and a Mediterranean gull seen by Graham Ekins.

 The high spring tide on Friday 5th covered most of the saltmarsh in front of the park seawall early in the afternoon. In the nearby grazing fields 800 wigeon, 15 redshank, 9 grey plover and 100 lapwing were noted while at the park pond were 7 tufted duck and 5 little egrets.

The beach at East Mersea Point was completely under water during the very high tide on Friday. The small bit of exposed beach at the very Point had a mixed flock of 500 waders waiting for the water to recede. A pair of stonechat was also seen on the bushes.

The glossy ibis was seen on Ray Island on Friday 5th by Andy Field, also noted were 2 marsh harriers and a kingfisher along the Strood Channel while 10 common scoter, 4 red-breasted mergansers and great northern diver were off the Esplanade.

On Tuesday 2nd the glossy ibis was seen roosting on Ray Island by Martin Cock while offshore from the Esplanade was a great northern diver seen by David Allen.

A male blackcap was found by Ian Black on Christmas Eve in his garden shed in Mersea Avenue, it was later released back into the garden.

Thursday, 4 January 2018


The New Year started dull and damp on Monday 1st with conditions not really brightening up during the day. The first walk of 2018 was along the Strood seawall where five ruff, one pictured above, were feeding on a flooded corner of an arable field.

A glossy ibis was seen on the Ray Island saltmarsh preening itself whilst it roosted during the late morning high tide. Mid afternoon it was seen by George Brown flying past the West Mersea Hard towards Old Hall.

The pair of stonechats was near the central ditch, 30 linnets and 15 skylarks were seen in the fields.
Feeding on the Peldon arable fields were 2000 brent geese.

Sixteen tufted ducks were on the Strood fishing lakes on New Years Day, also 2 great crested grebes, while a Mediterranean gull flew over and a common buzzard perched in a nearby hedgerow. Twenty fieldfares were in tree tops near the Mersea Barrow.

A shag and two red-breasted mergansers were seen from the Hard, feeding among the moorings.

Birds noted from the Esplanade by Graham Ekins and Steve Entwistle on New Years Day included 28 common scoter, 15 red-breasted mergansers, 4 red-throated divers, great northern diver, 100 great crested grebes, 2 Slavonian grebes, shag, guillemot, 2 Mediterranean gulls, also 2 peregrines on Bradwell while near the Dabchicks was a blackcap and five corn buntings flying over.