Thursday, 28 February 2019


The elusive water rail made an appearance at the country park pond on Thursday 28th. It spent several minutes feeding amongst the cut reeds on the edge of the pond.
Also on the pond were 3 female pochard, 3 tufted duck, 8 gadwall, 15 teal and 10 mallard.
A common buzzard flew over the fields on the north side of the park.

On the park's grazing fields 500 brent geese, 500 wigeon, 15 lapwing and 3 snipe were seen.

Along the park dyke were 10 tufted duck, pair of mute swans a pair of little grebes.
On the saltmarsh pools near the Point were 30+ shoveler, 100 teal and a black-tailed godwit, while a rock pipit flew over calling.

In the river Colne there were 12 great crested grebes.

Feeding in the horse paddock by the Golfhouse were 80+ wigeon.

Two green woodpeckers and a pair of mistle thrushes were feeding in horse paddocks north of the country park on Thursday.

A red squirrel scrambled along the hedgeline beside the country park car park on Thursday morning heading towards the clifftop trees.


Late winter sunshine on Wednesday 27th saw this red admiral butterfly basking in the sunshine at St Peters meadow, West Mersea.

Two small tortoiseshells were also seen resting on the grass at St Peters soaking up the warmth.

Five Mediterranean gulls, rock pipit and a reed bunting were noted during a walk over St Peters on Wednesday.
A kingfisher was seen along the Strood seawall on Wednesday 27th by Martin Cock.
Blackcaps were being reported in the gardens of Adrian Amos in East Road, Martin Cock's at Broomhills and mine at Firs Chase.

A walk along the footpath between Meeting Lane and Shop Lane on a sunny Tuesday 26th provided views of 3 common buzzards, 2 marsh harriers, kestrel, 2 yellowhammers, goldcrest, 2 great spotted woodpeckers, green woodpecker and a peacock butterfly.
At the East Mersea vineyard, there was a flock of 50 fieldfare and 20 redwing amongst the vine rows while a goldcrest was seen in the alders. There was no sign of the four siskins seen by the Vineyard tearoom alders the previous day by Martin Cock.

The red squirrel was seen back at the Firs Chase garden feeder on Monday and Tuesday after a seeming absence of a fortnight or so.
A red squirrel was also seen at East Mersea at the north end of Shop Lane scrambling through the trees by the side of the lane on Tuesday 26th.

The pair of grey partridge was a bit nearer to look at from the Strood seawall on Monday 25th, instead of being at the very back of the fields. They were only noticeable when they stuck their heads up, as in the photo above.

Feeding in the fields were 400 brent geese, 200 roosting golden plover while a green sandpiper flew out of the dyke.

Some of the waders seen along the Strood channel during low tide on Monday were 200+ redshank and 15 black-tailed godwits, also seen were 50+ teal and 20 wigeon.

Sunday, 24 February 2019


This stock dove was singing from the top of a neighbour's tree beside our Firs Chase garden in West  Mersea on a sunny Sunday 24th. It has been a few years since stock dove has been seen from the garden.

The sunny morning inspired some woodpeckers to proclaim their territories in Firs Chase. Whilst looking for a great spotted woodpecker that was drumming in a neighbouring garden, this green woodpecker appeared high in a nearby tree and yaffled a few times.
Also of interest in the garden the female blackcap was back at the feeders but more exciting was the rare sight here of a flock of four house sparrows!

At Reeveshall on Sunday late morning two pairs of common buzzard were soaring in the sunshine, 50 stock doves were feeding in one of the grass fields and a pair of yellowhammers flew east. Two marsh harriers circled over Langenhoe while in the Pyefleet were 200 brent geese, 50 teal and 25 wigeon and also a common seal.
Eight Slavonian grebes were seen offshore from Coopers Beach by Jonathan Bustard on Sunday.

On Saturday 23rd Andy Field saw at least 6 Slavonian grebes, great northern diver and 407 great crested grebes from Coopers Beach

Two fieldfares were next to the Firs Chase caravan site on Friday 22nd, dropping down from a tree to feed in the cultivated field. The pair of grey partridges was at the back of one of the fields, a common buzzard perched in a tree on Strood Hill, while a shoveler on the mud in the Strood Channel was an unusual record here.

On Thursday 21st a pair of pintail was seen near Feldy marsh, while from the Strood seawall were stonechat, singing corn bunting, 2 rock pipit, 600 brent geese, 100 golden plover in the field, 15 black-tailed godwits and a Mediterranean gull.
Offshore from the Esplanade on Thursday were two great northern divers, 25 great crested grebes, 75 oystercatchers, 8 sanderling and 2 Mediterranean gulls reported by Martin Peers.

Twenty pintail were seen feeding on Cobmarsh Island on Wednesday 20th, also a great northern diver nearby, pair of red-breasted mergansers in flight, five Mediterranean gulls on Cobmarsh as well as a common seal crawling onto the beach at high tide. The fine weather saw at least ten marsh harriers in the air at the same time over Old Hall Marshes.

Three great northern divers and at least one red-throated diver was seen from the Esplanade by Andy Field on Wednesday.

The very high tide saw the sea cover all the saltmarshes including this one in front of the Firs Chase caravan site on Tuesday 19th.

Some of the 500 brent geese along the Strood Channel were upending to feed on the saltmarsh beneath the water, as here in front of the caravan site.
Also noted were a marsh harrier, stonechat, yellowhammer, 6 meadow pipits, rock pipit. At the Strood reservoirs two female pochard, 8 coot and 4 mallard were seen, also nearby common buzzard, Mediterranean gull, and a red-legged partridge.

Off the Esplanade on Tuesday 19th two great northern divers, 2 red-throated divers and 3 common scoters were seen by Andy Field.
At Maydays farm a kingfisher was seen by Martin Cock on Tuesday.

A very shiny starling perched in the sun beside the Firs Chase caravan site on Monday 18th.

Also on Monday this large female peregrine was seen perched in the distance on Ray Island. After noticing it had flown off, the bird reappeared on the same post an hour later.
Also seen along the Strood channel were two marsh harriers, 12 Mediterranean gulls, 300 golden plover, stonechat and two rock pipits, also the black swan seen in the Ray Channel.

At the country park the Cetti's warbler was seen at the back of the pond and also two red squirrels seen by Martin Cock, one near the pond, the other near the park entrance.

Monday, 18 February 2019


This kestrel was perched in the sunshine on a telegraph pole in Haycocks Lane and was briefly snapped with the camera through the car windscreen before it flew off on Sunday 17th.
On the opposite side of the field a sparrowhawk was perched on a tree near Haycocks Lane, while a bit later a common buzzard was seen in a tree near Maydays Grove. A marsh harrier and 3 common buzzards were seen over Langenhoe.

Birds of prey seen by Andy Field from the north side of the Island on Sunday included a merlin at Reeveshall and then at the end of the afternoon 11 marsh harriers at the Langenhoe roost and a little owl seen on a top of a tree near Shop Lane.

A flock of 15 corn buntings perched in a bush near the Maydays seawall, some of them singing in the sun, as were some of the dozen yellowhammers in the same area of game crop. Also present here were 15 reed buntings, 25 chaffinch, 10 goldfinch and 40 linnets. At least 20 fieldfares perched in a hedgeline at Maydays and a green woodpecker was by the farm.
A pair of red-breasted mergansers and 20 knot were the only birds of note among the usual variety along the Pyefleet Channel. Five Canada geese flew along the Pyefleet Channel.

Four brown hares and 2 peacocks and a small tortoiseshell were seen at Maydays by Martin Cock on Sunday.
Three red-legged partridge were next to Chapmans Lane on Sunday while in Firs Chase the female blackcap was on the garden seed feeder again on Sunday.

Offshore from the Esplanade at West Mersea on Sunday, a great northern diver, red-throated diver, 3 Mediterranean gulls, 76 great crested grebes and a red-breasted merganser were seen by Steve Entwistle.

A flock of 400 brent geese were busy grazing one of the Rewsalls marshes on a dull Saturday 16th.
Also enjoying the wet pasture were 50 curlew at high tide, also 4 snipe flew off, redshank and a flock of 40 meadow pipits.
A male marsh harrier flew slowly over the marshes late morning and a short while later a female marsh harrier also quartered the fields. A common buzzard was mobbed by crows as it flew away.

Three little egrets were seen on the Rewsalls marshes, this one feeding in the dyke.

There's a bit more water around the marshes following some recent ditching work. At the Coopers Beach pond, there were 25 mallard, 10 teal and a redshank.

A mixed flock of 50 fieldfares and 50 redwing was feeding in a stubble field to the west of the East Mersea church, while 10 greenfinches and 5 stock doves were by the Youth Camp and 10 goldfinches by Coopers.

On a sunny Friday 15th, the waters were flat calm in the Mersea Quarters. A great northern diver was seen offshore from St Peters, also 5 rock pipits, 10 bar-tailed godwits, sparrowhawk and little egret were of note.

Thursday, 14 February 2019


Three stock doves were perched above the path along the top of the Firs Chase caravan site on Thursday 14th. One stock dove has been heard singing in recent mornings near the Lane.

A female marsh harrier flew low over the Strood fields on Thursday, hunting low along one of the ditches before heading south-west towards the Hard. The bird passed close to me but unfortunately looking straight into the sun, as picture shows.
The marsh harrier passed right over a section of ditch near where a pair of grey partridge had been feeding only a few minutes earlier. Luckily they managed to stay hidden while the harrier passed over.

The pair of stonechat was in the usual area near the borrowdyke on Thursday, also 10 reed buntings, 10 skylarks, 4 meadow pipits and 3 rock pipits noted.

Some of the 500 brent geese were gathered along the Strood channel having been flushed off the Strood fields. A Mediterranean gull was flying over fields by the Strood Hill.

Off West Mersea's Esplanade on Thursday 14th, a possible black-throated diver, great northern diver and red-throated diver were seen by Martin Cock. Two great northern divers and a black-necked grebe were seen offshore from the Esplanade on Wednesday 13th by Andy Field.

On Tuesday 12th a common buzzard, kestrel and a flock of 50 skylarks were seen near Cross Lane, while at the south end of Shop Lane a sparrowhawk flew over and 16 pied wagtails were feeding in a horse paddock.

Fifty wigeon were resting along the Strood Channel on Monday 11th, also 50 teal seen too, while eight avocets and 25 little grebes were also noted.
The pair of stonechats were by the seawall, a corn bunting was feeding near the seawall as were a dozen reed buntings.

The sunny weather saw common buzzards in the air with three together over Ray Island, another two high over the Strood fields while one flew west high over Firs Chase on Monday midday. A sparrowhawk hunted low over the saltings by Strood Hill and a Mediterranean gull flew over the fields.

At the end of Monday afternoon Andy Field and I watched the harriers going into the Langenhoe roost from the Shop Lane seawall. Twelve marsh harriers were seen but no sign of the ringtail hen harrier seen the previous two evenings by Darrell Stile from the Brightlingsea seawall. Also four common buzzards over Langenhoe, a barn owl hunting over Reeveshall and a little owl calling near Fishponds Wood. Six red-breasted mergansers were in the Pyefleet.

Two muntjac deer were grazing one of the Reeveshall pastures late Monday afternoon and a red squirrel scrambled away from the footpath up into the trees of Fishponds Wood by the old decoy-bunker.
On Friday 8th a dancing stoat and a muntjac deer were seen by the country park pond by Martin Cock.

On Sunday 10th three great northern divers, red-throated diver, Slavonian grebe and a common scoter were seen off the Esplanade by Graham Ekins.

The female blackcap has been a regular visitor to the bird feeders in the Firs Chase garden in recent days. A house sparrow made a rare brief visit to the feeders on Thursday 14th.

An early red admiral was out in the sunshine in Adrian Amos's West Mersea garden on Wednesday 13th.

Thursday, 7 February 2019


Sixteen avocets were feeding along the edge of the Strood channel during a windy morning of Thursday 7th. There has been a small flock of up to 25 avocets over the last fortnight feeding along this channel.

Nice and sunny but windy along the Strood seawall on Thursday. Not much different from recent walks with 200 golden plover, 200 lapwing, 100 shelduck, 400 brent geese, 50 wigeon, 10 black-tailed godwits being the main birds of interest.

A flat sea on Wednesday made it easy to see birds on the water such as these two distant great northern divers seen from the beach at St Peters. A black-necked grebe was located in the afternoon by Andy Field, first found by Brian Churches off Old Hall. Andy also noted offshore 5 great northern divers, 3 red-throated divers, guillemot and 27 red-breasted mergansers.

Also seen at St Peters were a little egret, rock pipit, reed bunting, sparrowhawk, while 20 sanderling, bar-tailed godwit and ten black-tailed godwits were on Cobmarsh Island. A male marsh harrier was displaying high over Old Hall Marshes and a black swan was seen flying with a mute swan up Ray Channel. A kingfisher was reported flying over St Peters Marsh in the afternoon.
There was no sign of the yellow-legged gull seen the previous day on Packing Shed island by Steve Hunting.

A flock of 700 brent geese was feeding in the increasingly muddy field by the Strood on Tuesday 5th. A flock of 50 ringed plovers was also feeding in this muddy field.
The pair of stonechat and a rock pipit were noted while 30 goldfinches were feeding on birches in Feldy View.

A red kite flew east over Martin Cock's West Mersea garden in the early afternoon of Tuesday.
A female goosander was seen by Martin in the Pyefleet channel at Maydays on Monday 4th.
David Allen reported seeing a great northern diver, 2 Mediterranean gulls, 16 sanderling, and a red-breasted merganser off West Mersea on a wet Monday.

Two common buzzards were perched together near the seawall below Bower Hall on Sunday 3rd.

A short while later one of the buzzards sat on a nest that looked like an old crows nest.
Also seen in the Bower Hall and Maydays area on Sunday were 3 marsh harriers, sparrowhawk and at least 2 peregrines, possibly three, high over Bocking Hall having scattered 1000 golden plover and 200 lapwing into the air.

Small birds at Maydays were 10 yellowhammers, 50 chaffinch, 50 linnet, 20 reed buntings, 50 skylarks, great spotted woodpecker and 10 fieldfares.

The tide was receding from the top end of the Pyefleet Channel with a small number of redshank, grey plover, grey plover, dunlin and shelduck on the mud. Three little egrets and 2 Mediterranean gulls and a grey heron noted, also two common seals basking on the saltmarsh.

Later on Sunday afternoon Steve Entwistle noted 11 yellowhammers, corn bunting, 50 linnet, marsh harrier while hunting over Langenhoe were seen short-eared owl, merlin and barn owl. Also a great northern diver seen off the Esplanade by Steve on Sunday.

A covey of 5 red-legged partridge were close to the roadside at Chapmans Lane on Sunday.

A female blackcap was an unexpected visitor to the bird feeder for a few minutes in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday 3rd.

A red squirrel made a rare visit onto the lawn of the Firs Chase garden, carrying a walnut which it then proceeded to bury on Monday 4th.

Saturday, 2 February 2019


The black brant was found feeding with 500 brent geese in a field beside Cross Lane on the east side of West Mersea on Saturday 2nd.

The brent flock looked like they were feeding on a field of winter wheat, two fields back in from the beach. A Mediterranean gull flew over one of the fields.

The brent geese flew off the field and rested on the nearby sea in front of Waldegraves caravan site for over half an hour. The black brant wasn't seen when the geese were on the sea.

Up to 100 sanderling fed along the beach near Waldegraves during the high tide period, frequently having to dodge the many dog walkers on the beach.

Offshore two great northern divers, Slavonian grebe, 4 red-breasted mergansers and ten great crested grebes were noted.

Four song thrushes and 12 blackbirds were feeding on the short grass next to the beach.

The song thrushes seemed quite confiding when they were out feeding but every so often all the birds would fly back into the nearby bushes for safety.

On Friday 1st along the Strood seawall two marsh harriers were noted at separate times over Ray Island, 45 ringed plovers were feeding in an increasingly muddy wheat field during high tide, also a rock pipit along the saltmarsh.

One of the regular red squirrels, the darker coated male, was seen on the feeder in the Firs Chase garden on Friday 1st.