Monday, 26 February 2018


A sunny but chilly walk along the north side of the Island on Sunday 25th, provided views of 500 brent geese feeding on Reeveshall. Also on the fields here were 48 greylag geese, 2 Canada geese, 90 golden plover and 200+ lapwing. Two female marsh harriers were quartering the length of Broad Fleet and two common buzzards were also noted here too. Three reed buntings, rock pipit, grey heron and 2 little egrets were also seen.
Over Langenhoe marsh were 3 more marsh harriers and another common buzzard.

Along the Pyefleet Channel on Sunday late morning were 16 red-breasted mergansers, one of the displaying males pictured above, also five great crested grebes in the channel. As well as the usual waders, the only wader of note was a flock of 200 knot near Pewit Island.

It was cold enough Monday 26th for a few snow flurries during the late morning walk along the Strood seawall. On the mud were small numbers of dunlin, three pictured above, also 250 knot were of interest, as were one bar-tailed godwit and 3 black-tailed godwit. In one of the fields were 22 golden plover, while 8 linnets and 2 meadow pipits were also seen.

The big highlight that made the trudge along the seawall in the freezing conditions worthwhile, was the sight of a male hen harrier flying low over the Ray saltings late morning. It dropped down onto the saltmarsh for a few minutes before crossing over the Strood Channel, then passing over the road at the bottom of the Strood Hill, then over the reservoirs and up over the fields towards to Dawes Lane. This individual is probably the same male reported from Old Hall Marshes a week previously.

The Firs Chase garden has been a real magnet for birds over this weekend with over 15 species coming to the old cherry plum tree with the feeders. This female great spotted woodpecker was watching garden proceedings from high above Firs Chase, this photograph taken from the front doorstep.

Eight greenfinches and 12 chaffinches have been tucking into the sunflower seeds while a couple of goldfinches sang from the nearby tree.

The resident song thrush enjoyed some of the afternoon sun in the tree with the feeders. As well as a few blackbirds, the distinctive pied blackbird with the white head was seen in a neighbouring garden on Monday morning. This bird is at least six years old.

As well as the usual blue tit, great tit and long-tailed tits at the feeders, there have been the robins, dunnocks, wrens, wood pigeons and collared doves as well as one or two jays taking peanuts. A goldcrest was seen amongst the ivy while in the back garden a male blackcap was feeding on the ivy berries on Friday. Even a moorhen perched briefly on the garden fence, the nearest pond being across the road. Late afternoons has seen 300 starlings gather for their night-time roost in nearby gardens.

The regular red squirrel was heard first thing on Monday morning scampering along our roof, as it made its way to the nut feeder on the tree.

Two fieldfares were seen in Adrian Amos's garden in East Road, West Mersea first thing on Monday 26th.

This red squirrel was photographed by Marion Potiphar through her lounge window of her house in Shop Lane, East Mersea on Sunday 18th.

Saturday, 24 February 2018


The black redstart was seen again at Coopers Beach caravan park on Friday 23rd by Steve Hunting. The bird was also seen on Wednesday by Andy Field who took these two photos of it.

This black redstart has now been present for over three weeks, the longest stayer there's been on the Island. It has been elusive and hard to find at times, slipping between the caravans and out of sight along the front.

A bracing walk along the Strood seawall on a chilly but sunny Saturday 24th produced views of 10 black-tailed godwits, some pictured above with some teal, also 20 golden plover, 100 knot, 2500 brent geese, two little egrets, grey heron and two Mediterranean gulls.

A spotted redshank was feeding along the bottom of the Strood channel at low tide on Friday, an unexpected sighting of an increasingly scarce bird around the Island in recent years. The distant photo above is the best record shot that was snapped.

Also seen in the Strood channel were 70 knot, 8 black-tailed godwits, 130 shelduck while 200 brent geese were feeding on the Peldon side and there were 10 red-breasted mergansers among the boats at the Hard.

A common buzzard flew low over the Strood fields on Friday being mobbed by crows as it passed by.  A peregrine flew over the Strood channel, then across the fields up towards the Glebe. Also seen along the dyke was a kingfisher, little egret and ten linnets.

On Thursday 22nd a barn owl was seen by Andy Field hunting the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall at dusk. Also at dusk the Cetti's warbler was heard near the country park entrance.

In trees by the park pond on Wednesday 21st were two green woodpeckers and two great spotted woodpeckers. A fieldfare was in the car park at the start of the day.

At Coopers Beach on Tuesday 19th a snipe and grey wagtail were seen by Martin Cock.

Birds seen around the flooded pools in the park's grazing fields on Monday 18th were 200 wigeon, 70 teal, 6 gadwall, 4 shoveler and 3 black-tailed godwits. At the park pond were 5 tufted ducks while overhead a flight of 19 cormorants passed over in a long line.
A hundred fieldfares were feeding in a garden up from the East Mersea turning from the Strood on Monday.

Sunday, 18 February 2018


A female pochard was in the park dyke on Sunday 18th, diving down to feed every so often. Several tufted ducks were also present, nine later gathered on the nearby park pond.

Eighteen redshank roosted on the main pool in the park's fields on Saturday and Sunday at high tide, as did 2 black-tailed godwits.

The sunshine on Sunday inspired several lapwings to display over the grazing fields - spring just round the corner. At the pools were 100 wigeon, 30 teal, 6 gadwall, 4 shoveler and 20 mallard, while in the rest of the fields were 300 brent geese, 600+ wigeon and 2 greylag geese. Thirty curlew roosted in the fields on Sunday but 70 the previous day.

From the Point on Sunday morning 14 red-breasted mergansers were in the river and a rock pipit on the saltmarsh.

Eight little egrets were on the trees by the park pond on Sunday, seven present on Saturday. The water rail showed again on both days feeding along the outer edge with the field.
The Cetti's warbler was singing by the pond on Sunday and there was also one singing in the hedge at the west end of Bromans Lane first thing on Sunday morning.

Elsewhere on the Island on Sunday 18th, the black redstart was seen at Coopers Beach by Steve Entwistle along with 130 great crested grebes and 4 Slavonian grebes. A merlin was seen on Langenhoe marsh by Andy Field and also two snipe on the Golfhouse saltmarsh, while from the Strood seawall the glossy ibis and a merlin were seen on Ray Island by Charlie Williams.

A surprise sight on Saturday 17th was a short-eared owl circling high over the grass field behind the park pond late afternoon. It landed briefly in a tall tree in one of the nearby gardens where the crows began to pester it. After a couple of minutes it took off east over the fields and appeared to land while dropping out of sight behind a hedge in the park's grazing fields.

Two great spotted woodpeckers and a pair of house sparrows were in the Cudmore Grove car park on Saturday.

The black redstart was seen at Coopers Beach by Glenn Moore lunchtime on Saturday but it couldn't be found later in the afternoon by Steve Grimwade, although barn owl, pair of stonechats and a Mediterranean gull did show.

The Swallow Birding boat trip from West Mersea into the Blackwater on Saturday 17th reported 5 common scoter, 35 goldeneye, 70 red- breasted mergansers, 6 great northern divers, shag, Slavonian grebe, 4 marsh harriers, 5 common buzzards, peregrine, 130 avocets and 2 Mediterranean gulls.

The wintering pair of stonechat was along the Strood seawall on Friday 16th. The black brant was in the Strood channel along with part of the 1500 brent geese flock that came of the Peldon fields. A common buzzard circled in the air near Bonners Barn and 50 fieldfares near the East Mersea road up the hill. Ten meadow pipits and 2 reed buntings were feeding beside the Strood seawall.

A few redshank were still feeding in the shallow waters along the Strood as the tide came in on Friday 16th. In the nearby field were 62 golden plover and ten black-tailed godwits flew up-channel.

At the country park the little owl and water rail were seen on Friday afternoon.

Friday, 16 February 2018


Water levels have crept up in the park's grazing pastures following recent rains providing more feeding opportunities for the waders such as this black-tailed godwit, photographed by Andy Field on Thursday 15th.

The black-tailed godwit has been feeding around the pools of water in the fields for a couple of days.
A redshank was also feeding in the pools on Wednesday, while other waders in the fields included 50+ roosting curlew and 100+ lapwing.

Wigeon are still grazing different parts of the two grazing fields, these ones above seen feeding close for Andy to picture them.
On the nearby park pond 15 gadwall and a pochard were of interest, while 9 tufted ducks were present on Wednesday.

The regular water rail was out in the open for several minutes by the pond for Andy to photograph on Thursday. It was also seen feeding on Tuesday 13th.
Andy's short video clip of the water rail is at -;

The little owl was partially hidden in its usual spot along the alder hedge during Thursday 15th.

This kestrel perched on a bush near the Rewsalls marshes for Andy to photograph on Thursday 15th.
Also seen here were a greenshank, pair of stonechat, common buzzard, 100 curlew, sparrowhawk, goldcrest and 30 fieldfares. The black redstart was found again by Michael Thorley at the eastern end of the Coopers Caravan site along the seafront on Thursday morning.

At West Mersea by St Peters, a water rail, 13 sanderling and a great northern diver were seen by Andy on Wednesday 14th.
A wintering chiffchaff was seen by the Youth Camp entrance on Monday 12th by Martin Cock.

A dotted border moth was resting on the park's toilet building door just after dusk on Thursday 15th. A typical early spring moth at the park.

Monday, 12 February 2018


A pair of yellowhammers brightened up a bush by the Maydays farmyard on a sunny Monday 12th. Half a dozen yellowhammers in total were feeding at the edge of bushes near the yard.

Other small birds seen around the Maydays farmland were 40 linnets, pair of stonechats, calling Cetti's warbler, 10 chaffinch, 15 goldfinch, 10 meadow pipit, 4 reed bunting and ten skylarks.

One fieldfare perched in a tree at Maydays calling out a few times before flying off.

The tide was going out during the late morning walk along the Maydays seawall. Of note were 2000 dunlin feeding on the mud, also 6 black-tailed godwits were seen. In the Pyefleet channel were 8 red-breasted mergansers, great crested grebe, 100 wigeon and 70 teal with a common seal resting on the saltmarsh

On Reeveshall a common buzzard flew over, 74 greylag geese, 150 lapwing, grey heron and 25 golden plover were noted. On Langenhoe a common buzzard and a marsh harrier were seen in flight.

At West Mersea on Monday afternoon a black-necked grebe was found of St Peters by Steve Hunting. Also here were great northern diver, shag, 2 common scoter, 9 red-breasted mergansers and a Mediterranean gull. Two rock pipits were seen by the houseboats.
Earlier on Monday Steve had seen 3 Slavonian grebes and red-throated diver off Coopers Beach but no sign of the black redstart on Monday.
Also reported from West Mersea on Monday by Martin Peers were 3 great northern divers, 23 sanderling and 5 Mediterranean gulls.

On Sunday 11th at East Mersea the black redstart and grey wagtail were seen at Coopers Beach by Steve Entwistle. The black redstart and grey wagtail were seen at Coopers beach on Saturday 10th by Andy Field.

The regular red squirrel was back on the feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday 11th late morning, spending a few minutes eating some of the peanuts on offer. This individual was also seen early morning on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th.

Sunday, 11 February 2018


A grey wagtail found feeding in a waterlogged corner of the Coopers Beach football pitch on Friday 9th was a nice surprise. After a few minutes walking about the big puddle, it flew off heading to a nearby ditch and pond.

It was also nice to see the black redstart is still between the caravans - ten days after first being found. The black redstart was relocated on Thursday by Martin Cock. A sparrowhawk flew over the caravans and dropped down to fly fast between them. 
Offshore a pair of pintail flew along the edge of the mudflats from the east but then returned back to the Colne. Along the Coopers borrowdyke 18 mallard, pair of shoveler and two little egrets were noted on Friday. The barn owl was seen hunting over the Rewsalls marshes again by Martin Cock on Thursday 8th.

Ice covered most of the park pond in the morning of Thursday 8th, with 90+ mallard resting along with 15 gadwall and three teal present. A sparrowhawk landed briefly in the grazing fields before heading into the copse by the pond. The little owl was in the usual alder hedge enjoying the morning sunshine.
A muntjac deer ran in front of the hide and two foxes were resting on each side of the pond on Thursday morning.

Five hundred wigeon were feeding on the frosty fields with some standing on the ice on the dyke. Also 100 lapwing and six skylarks in the fields.

A pair of mallard seen walking along the ice on the park dyke.

From the Point on Thursday a red-breasted merganser flew up the Colne, 500 knot feeding on the mud and 15 shoveler on the saltmarsh lagoons. Later in the day 11 red-breasted mergansers were offshore and a sparrowhawk flew low over the car park.

There was a light dusting of snow across the country park on Wednesday morning. It wasn't long before it all disappeared.
A common buzzard flew over the car park drifting west and four little egrets were at the park pond roost.

Offshore from West Mersea on Wednesday 4 great northern divers, 2 common scoter, 17 red-breasted mergansers and a Mediterranean gull were seen by Andy Field, while later 2 common buzzards were seen at Rewsalls.

On Tuesday 6th a female pochard was on the park pond, the little owl in the alder hedge, 600 wigeon and 150 lapwing in the grazing fields.
A barn owl showed well at the park in the late afternoon of Monday 5th, hunting over the long grass and catching a small mammal before flying off. Twelve stock doves gathered at the park pond copse at the end of the Monday.

At West Mersea during light snow flurries on Tuesday 6th David Allen recorded in the Blackwater 3 common scoter, 12 red-breasted mergansers, 8 great northern divers, 3 Slavonian grebes, black-necked grebe, shag, 16 sanderling and a Mediterranean gull.

Recent rains at the park have seen 3 song thrushes, 20+ blackbirds and several robins feeding on the grass after the worms.
A muntjac deer was seen trotting across the football pitch at Coopers Beach by Andy Field on Wednesday 31st Jan. A video taken of it  -;

Friday, 9 February 2018


A boat trip from West Mersea into the Blackwater and nearby creeks provided close views of a variety of birds, for a small group of birders including Andy Field who took several photos on Saturday 3rd. The conditions were prefect with very light winds and very good visibility. One of five great northern divers seen in the estuary allowed the close photo above, also two red-throated divers noted.

A glossy ibis was seen flying near Ray Island, peregrine over the river, guillemot, 38 pintail, 5 common scoter, 37 goldeneye in the inner Blackwater and 37 red-breasted mergansers

Two shags were seen, one in winter plumage and one still showing some juvenile feathering.

Three Slavonian grebes were in the river, also two black-necked grebes and 100 great crested grebes.
Smaller birds noted by Graham Ekins on Saturday included 5 corn buntings and 7 linnets near Ray Island and also a blackcap near St Peters marsh.

The flat sea on Saturday afternoon at the country park provided distant views of 9 Slavonian grebes, two pictured above, also 500+ great crested grebes and three great northern divers.

On Friday 2nd the water rail, 20 gadwall and a sparrowhawk were seen by the park pond. In the early evening a badger was seen in Bromans Lane. At West Mersea a blackcap was in the Firs Chase garden.

Two water rails were seen at the park on Sunday 4th with the regular one at the pond but with a second bird feeding amongst the reeds by the dyke. On the grazing fields 600 wigeon were grazing until a marsh harrier flew north in the morning. Later a common buzzard passed over the car park being mobbed by crows.

Near the Point 30 shoveler and one avocet were on the saltmarsh pools while 400 golden plover and 150 were on the mud and in the river were 16 red-breasted mergansers.

Sunday, 4 February 2018


A black redstart was found by Michael and Sarah Thorley at Coopers Beach caravan park in the afternoon of Tuesday 30th. The flashing of the orange tail first alerted them to this bird as it flitted between caravans. First three photos here taken by Michael.

The black redstart was found along the front, sometimes hopping in between the caravans, sometimes on top of the caravans, or feeding out in the open and then disappearing for a time.

The whitish feathers on the wings suggest this bird is a young male in its first winter bird.

The black redstart was still present in the same area of the caravan site on Wednesday morning and was seen by Martin Cock and Andy Field- who managed to take these two photos.

The bird seemed to disappear in the afternoon and hasn't been reported since then.
It may still be in the area as the last mid-winter sighting of a black redstart on Mersea spent two weeks at the Wellhouse Green building development during the end of January / first half of February in 2008 - ten years ago.

Also seen at Coopers Beach on Tuesday was a barn owl over the marshes by Martin Cock. On Wednesday 31st, 25 fieldfares, 600 brent geese pictured above, and a sparrowhawk were seen near the caravan park.

A common gull photographed by Michael at Coopers Beach on the 4th.

At the country park on Tuesday 9 tufted ducks were along the dyke, while in the fields were 400 wigeon, 70 curlew, 50 lapwing and 5 skylarks. On the saltmarsh by the Golfhouse was a high tide roost of 500 dunlin, 150 grey plover, 150 redshank, one avocet and two common snipe.

A fox trotted over the grass field by the pond, here stopping behind an old stump to glance back.
At the pond was the water rail, 50 teal, pochard, 10 gadwall and 30 mallard. Nearby the little owl was perched in the alder hedgeline.

Offshore 9 Slavonian grebes, 425 great crested grebes and a red-breasted merganser were seen from the park on Tuesday 30th.
Along the East Mersea road early on Tuesday, a common buzzard was at Bocking Hall, two red-legged partridge near Weir Farm and a muntjac deer by Manwood Grove at the top of Shop Lane. 

The super blue blood moon loomed large to the east of the park over the river Colne at dusk on Wednesday 31st.