Thursday, 31 January 2019


Fog descended mid morning on West Mersea, reducing visibility to about 40 metres in places such as this scene along from the Dabchicks sailing club.
Three fieldfares were calling from a tree top in the caravan site before flying off. A bar-tailed godwit was feeding in the fog near the Dabchicks along with a few dunlin, grey plover and redshank.

Much of the snow that fell overnight on Tuesday had already melted by Wednesday mid-morning such as this field in the Firs Road cemetery.

There was plenty of blue sky above the Strood channel during a walk along the seawall on Wednesday 30th. A redshank waded across the mudflats to feed during low tide. Among the usual waders on show, the ones of note were a couple of avocets, 20 knot and 20 black-tailed godwits.

Amongst the wildfowl along the Strood were 500 brent geese, some flying onto the nearby field to feed, also 50 wigeon and 100+ shelduck.
A marsh harrier flew over the saltmarsh near the Strood while a buzzard was high over Bonners Barn on the mainland side.

Amongst the small bird noted were pair of stonechat, 50 linnet in two flocks, 20 skylarks, 20 reed buntings, 10 goldfinch and 2 meadow pipit.

On Tuesday 29th a pair of red-breasted merganser were in Besom Channel near Cobmarsh Island, 2 rock pipits on St Peters saltmarsh, marsh harrier near Old Hall Point, 200 brent geese, 8 black-tailed godwits and a bar-tailed godwit feeding on the mud.

Several of the ten reed buntings seen along the Strood seawall on Monday 28th were feeding on the edge of the mud in the Strood channel, like this male.
The pair of stonechat was still by the corner of the dyke, as was a snipe, also 25 linnet, 15 goldfinch while 30 greenfinches were gathering to roost in Firs Chase late afternoon.

This common buzzard was flying over the Strood field on Monday, also a marsh harrier seen, grey heron, 200 golden plover, 5 avocet, 5 knot, 600+ brent geese and 500 dunlin seen from the Strood seawall.

Sunday, 27 January 2019


This brown hare was keeping its big eye on the passing traffic on the nearby Chapmans Lane on Sunday 27th. The hare was half-hidden in the short crop of winter wheat so it wouldn't get noticed.

A strong northerly wind blew across the Maydays seawall during a walk there on Sunday 27th.
Three marsh harriers and a sparrowhawk were seen hunting over the fields and saltmarsh while feeding in the fields were 1000 golden plover, 50 lapwing and 50 curlew.

A large flock of 100 chaffinches were feeding in some game cover strips along with 5 yellowhammers, 10 reed buntings, 40 linnets and 20 house sparrows. Five fieldfares, five redwing and a couple of song thrushes were feeding in one of the fields.
There was no sign of any corn buntings, one of which was noted here on Friday 25th by Martin Cock.

In the Pyefleet a pair of red-breasted mergansers, 100+ mixed wigeon and teal and ten avocets were of note.

Steve Entwistle saw a pale-bellied brent goose with 70 brent geese at the West Mersea Hard and also reported a great northern diver from the Esplanade on Sunday 27th.

A pair of stonechat was found along the Strood borrowdyke on Saturday 26th, the female pictured here on a bramble bush. Ten reed buntings were the only other small birds seen along seawall.
A common buzzard and Mediterranean gull flew over the Strood fields.

A flock of 500 brent geese was feeding in the increasingly bare and muddy fields inside the Strood seawall.

Amongst the 30 black tailed godwits along the Strood channel on Saturday was this coloured ringed bird. Also 200 golden plover, 20 avocets, 180 shelduck, 50 wigeon and 4 knot were of interest.

Along the Strood seawall on Friday 25th was a pale-bellied brent goose with 500 brent geese, sparrowhawk, 15 avocets and a flock of 15 goldfinch.
The pale-bellied brent goose was also seen on Friday at the Hard by Richard Allen who also reported seeing 22 red-breasted mergansers from the Esplanade.
At the end of Friday a barn owl was seen by Martin Cock hunting near the park pond, later a different barn owl near Church Lane.
A common buzzard was perched in a hedgeline near Bocking Hall on Thursday 24th.

A marsh harrier was hunting over the fields near the East Mersea road near Weir Farm on Wednesday 23rd, while 200 golden plover were in the Chapmans Lane field. Sixteen red-breasted mergansers were seen in the Colne by Andy Field.

On Tuesday 22nd three eider, nine Slavonian grebes, red-throated diver were seen offshore from Coopers Beach by Martin, also a stonechat near the caravan park.
Near the Dabchicks on Tuesday were 30 avocets, 25 black-tailed godwits and a passing sparrowhawk.

Offshore from the country park on Monday 21st were 3 Slavonian grebes and a pair of red-breasted mergansers. A little owl was being mobbed in the clifftop trees by several noisy blackbirds. Two Slavonian grebes were seen by Martin offshore from Coopers Beach on Tuesday.

Monday, 21 January 2019


A stoat put in another brief appearance at the park pond on Sunday 20th, hanging around long enough for Andy Field to take this photograph of it. One was seen here three weeks ago, so maybe the same individual out hunting.

A common buzzard was photographed by Andy perched in the trees above the park pond on Sunday.
By the Golfhouse a water rail was reported being seen beside the dyke.

Sixteen red-breasted mergansers were seen by Andy during a walk along the north side of the Island on Sunday, these two seen along with another pair at Maydays while 12 others were in the Colne.
A greenshank was seen along the Strood channel by Charlie Williams.

Offshore from Church Lane/ Coopers Beach one great northern diver, 5 red-throated divers and 3 Slavonian grebes were seen by Darren Underwood on Sunday 20th.

There was a colourful sunrise out to sea from the country park first thing on Saturday 19th.

Twenty teal were busy on the park pond on Saturday feeding and displaying noisily to each other. Also 14 gadwall and a Cetti's warbler was heard calling from the nearby hedgeline.

Out to sea from the small grass field to the west of the park was a nice mix of divers and grebes seen on a flat sea on the morning high tide on Friday 18th. A black-throated diver, four great northern divers, 12 Slavonian grebes, 250+ great crested grebes, 500+ cormorants and 224 shelduck.

Over the park at the end of the day a buzzard flew over some recently mown grassland. In the early Friday evening a barn owl perched by the East Mersea road near Church Lane.

On Thursday 17th a black-throated diver, 4 great northern divers, 20 great crested grebes, 4 red-breasted mergansers, 2000 black-headed gulls and 3 sanderling were seen by Steve Grimwade off Seaview Avenue.

Martin Cock reported seeing a pair of grey partridge at Maydays Farm on Wednesday 16th and a barn owl near Bromans Lane on Tuesday 15th.

Monday, 14 January 2019


A flock of 600+ brent geese were feeding in the park's grazing field near the Golfhouse, on Sunday 13th. There was no sign of the pale-bellied goose among these dark-bellied brent. Also in the field were 400 wigeon.

The brent geese are enjoying a much thicker growth of grass in the fields this winter. Hopefully they might stay around for longer during the latter part of the winter.

In the Colne a pair of red-breasted mergansers and a great crested grebe were noted on Sunday.

A water rail showed itself nicely to the small group from the Colchester RSPB who were having their annual walk round the park. The water rail fed out in the open for 20 minutes or so, on the marshy edge to the reeds at the park pond -  a record shot of it above.
Before the water rail showed itself, two red squirrels were watched scampering and chasing each other through the trees at the back of the pond. The first time I believe that red squirrels have been seen from the hide. Fifteen gadwall were of interest on the pond and nearby a small flock of 15+ goldfinches in the alders.

One of the mute swans swimming along the park dyke.
At West Mersea a great northern diver and a Mediterranean gull were seen offshore by Steve Entwistle.

On Saturday 12th a walk along the Strood Channel provided views of a marsh harrier, 15 avocet, common buzzard over the fields, 15 little grebes, 120 shelduck, 200 lapwing, 50 golden plover and 2 knot. There was no sign of the short-eared owl that had been hunting over Ray Island the day before on Friday.
Also seen along the Strood on Friday 11th were a marsh harrier, 25 avocets, bar-tailed godwit, 20 black-tailed godwits, 15 linnets, 5 reed buntings and a sparrowhawk near Feldy View.

The great northern diver, 3 Med gulls, 6 sanderling, 500 cormorants, 500 brent geese and ten great crested grebes were seen offshore from the Esplanade on Saturday by Liz Huxley while a little owl was seen at Bromans Farm by Steve Entwistle.
Three great northern divers were seen offshore on Thursday 10th by Martin Cock while on Wednesday 9th a black-throated diver was seen by Stuart Read.

A small flock of 15 redwing has been feeding at the park over several days up to Thursday 10th, proving very shy and difficult to photograph in gloomy light.

Three snipe were hiding in the saltmarsh near the Golfhouse pools on Tuesday 8th, also 2 red-breasted mergansers and a common buzzard noted too.
The water rail was glimpsed inside a ditch beneath the alders near the park pond on Monday 7th, also a weasel seen nearby. In the Colne a great northern diver and 18 red-breasted mergansers were seen by Andy Field. After dark a badger crossed the East Mersea road near Bocking Hall on Monday.

On Sunday 6th ten red-breasted mergansers and five great crested grebes were in the Colne while a common buzzard and ten greylag geese were in the grazing fields. Offshore from the park were five Slavonian grebes seen by Jon Norgate while at West Mersea a great northern diver was seen by Pete Loud. A barn owl was seen hunting fields by Coopers Beach on Sunday by Michael Thorley
A flock of 800 brent geese was feeding in the field by the East Mersea road opposite Meeting Lane on Saturday 5th.

Friday, 4 January 2019


Three white-fronted geese were found grazing with the other wildfowl in the park's grazing fields on Thursday 3rd. Andy Field took these first two pictures early in the afternoon.

The white-fronted geese appeared to be a small family group of two adults and a juvenile, pictured above on the left.

The white-fronted geese were in the middle of the field, this picture taken from the seawall as it was grazing with some wigeon. They later walked over the field to graze with the brent geese. They weren't present the following day.
A pale-bellied brent goose was also seen in the flock of 600 brent geese.

The shorelark was present on the East Mersea Point on Wednesday, Thursday and despite being flushed by a dog-walker and flying over to Brightlingsea, it was back on the beach on Friday.

A flock of brent geese was feeding along the shoreline beside the country park beach on Wednesday 2nd. Offshore two gannets in the distance were circling over the sea near Colne Point and diving into the water to fish, also 500+ gulls flying about this area too. Off Cosways were 5 Slavonian grebes, 80+ great crested grebes, 10 red-throated divers and a great northern diver, while in the Colne were 4 red-breasted mergansers.

A buzzard flew over the park field, 5 redwing and 2 goldcrest in the park trees, in the fields were 600 brent geese, 500 wigeon, 125 lapwing, 10 black-tailed godwits, with 100 teal on the saltmarsh, 200 knot and 10 sanderling seen from the Point.
Two red squirrels scrambled through the trees in the hedgeline by the car park at the park early on Wednesday morning.

On Thursday 3rd two Slavonian grebes and a red-throated diver and 2 gannets were seen offshore from the park with a great northern diver seen by Andy. A common buzzard was perched at the back of the fields. Two great northern divers and a Slavonian grebe were seen from the West Mersea Esplanade by Yvonne Watling Hu on Thursday.

Offshore from the park on Friday 4th were 9 Slavonian grebes, 2 gannets by Colne Point again, while at the Point a red-breasted merganser flew up river and a grey seal was close-in. Two snipe flew over the fields, 15 greylag geese grazing before flying off, rock pipit flew off the saltmarsh, 100+ avocets on the outer mud, buzzard flew over the pond, 9 tufted duck and 14 gadwall on the pond and a peregrine was seen scattering birds near the Point by Martin Cock. A great northern diver, 4 Mediterranean gulls and 20 sanderling were seen by Yvonne Watling Hu at East Mersea Point on Friday.

A barn owl flew near the East Mersea road at Weir Farm early morning on Friday 4th and one perched by the road near Church Lane early evening.

At West Mersea the black brant was seen feeding with brent in the field between the Seaview and Waldegraves caravan sites by Andrew Thompson on Friday.

The firecrest was seen over three days in West Mersea along the footpath at the top of the Firs Chase caravan site. First found on Monday 30th, it was photographed as shown here by Andy Field on Tuesday 1st and then seen again by Martin Cock on Wednesday after an hour of waiting but not seen on Friday.
Nearby a lesser whitethroat was photographed by Jonathan Bustard on Friday in the Firs Chase cemetery.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019


A Happy New Year to followers of Mersea Wildlife.
After a day away, the shorelark was back on the Point at East Mersea feeding in the usual top part of the beach late morning on Wednesday 2nd. The bird took to the air briefly and called a couple of times before settling back down to feed.The bird failed to show yesterday and maybe it knew how busy the beach was going to be with lots of visitors out enjoying the mild weather.

Waders were gathering on the mud to feed beside the Point, such as this group of dunlin, also noted were 10 sanderling, 100 golden plover and 200 knot. In the river were 4 red-breasted mergansers.

Grazing the park fields on the sunny Wednesday morning were these 600 brent geese, also 500 wigeon, 125 lapwing, ten black-tailed godwits 40+ curlew and 4 stock doves in the fields. A buzzard spooked the birds off when it passed over the fields being mobbed by crows.
Noted in the park were 5 redwing and 2 goldcrests.
A merlin, sparrowhawk and 11 redwings were also reported in the area of the park.

Offshore from the park two gannets were circling off Colne Point with 500 gulls on Wednesday morning, also great northern diver, ten red-throated divers, 5 Slavonian grebes and 80+ great crested grebes were seen.

Two red squirrels were seen passing along the hedgeline behind the park buildings first thing on both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. A stoat was seen near the park pond on Wednesday by Steve Hunting.

On New Year's Day a merlin was seen near East Mersea Point by Glyn Evans, six red-throated divers seen offshore by Andy Field and the water rail at the park pond by Steve Entwistle. At West Mersea red-throated diver, goldeneye, two great northern divers, pale-bellied brent goose 2 marsh harriers, and 7 Mediterranean gulls were seen by Andy and Matt Turner. The firecrest showed itself to Andy and Steve on Tuesday, present for the second day along the path at the top of the Firs Chase caravan site.