Wednesday, 29 April 2020


The colourful male yellow wagtail was singing from the edge of the Feldy View cemetery field, with the female yellow wagtail nearby, on a sunny Monday 27th. Six other yellow wagtails were seen later on the nearby Strood seawall.

Two swifts were flying over the houses near the Glebe on Monday morning, while the cuckoo provided a nice close view as it flew overhead near the caravan site. Two sedge warblers, five reed warblers and a corn bunting were heard singing along the Strood seawall. A male marsh harrier hunted along the dyke, another one soared with a buzzard high over Ray Island and a third marsh harrier was hunting low over Feldy Marshes. Two other common buzzards were seen in the area.
Along the Strood channel were six whimbrel, 3 avocets and two black-tailed godwits.

Late afternoon a peregrine and a common buzzard flew west together over the Firs Chase garden, the buzzard drifting quickly over to Old Hall, while the peregrine circled a few times above the Hard.

From the Esplanade a great northern diver and 3 common terns were seen offshore on Monday by Steve Entwistle, who later saw a swift and sparrowhawk in Alexandra Drive.

At East Mersea near the Oyster Fishery, ten common terns, Cetti's warbler, lesser whitethroat and common whitethroat and blackcap were seen by Martin Cock, who also reported a pair of avocets, nine brent geese, cuckoo and a calling tawny owl near Reeveshall on Monday.
Near Meeting Lane Michael Thorley reported a yellow wagtail and two blackcaps on Monday.

A smart green hairstreak made its first appearance of the spring on Monday 27th in the Feldy View field. Also on the wing there were orange-tip, small white, holly blue and peacock butterflies.

A little egret photographed by Jonathan Bustard by the boardwalk at St Peters on Monday.

On Sunday 26th four swifts were flying over the Strood seawall during the morning walk. Two sedge warblers and seven reed warblers were singing from the dyke, four yellow wagtails were seen and a cuckoo was heard calling. The rusty coloured swallow was by the Dabchicks again.

Along the channel were 45+ whimbrel gathering as the tide covered the mud, also 3 avocets, 2 grey plover, 5 black-tailed godwits, two common terns and 3 calling pairs of Mediterranean gulls. In the skies above ten common buzzards were noted and a male marsh harrier displaying to a female high over Bonners Barn.

A common buzzard and common tern flew over the Firs Chase garden on Sunday, also a goldcrest singing here. Three swifts and two house martins were seen on Sunday flying over Ian Black's Mersea Avenue garden.

Ten whimbrel were seen along the Strood Channel on Tuesday 28th, also five avocets, common tern and four shelduck. A male marsh harrier crossed over from the Ray to hunt over the Strood fields, two pairs of pochard flew from the reservoirs to the pond at the back of the fields, pair of greylag and a cuckoo were seen in flight.

Eight yellow wagtails were seen near the seawall and Feldy View, while one sedge warbler and two reed warblers were singing while a corn bunting flew off the saltmarsh and onto the fields. A muntjac deer was seen strolling mid morning amongst the caravans at the Firs Chase site.

A red kite was seen flying west over Martin Cocks house in The Coverts on Tuesday afternoon.

This male wheatear was photographed by Andy Field on the seawall near the Strood Hill end, on Wednesday 29th, a female wheatear was seen earlier at the other end of the seawall.

The male yellow wagtail was photographed on the small tree in Feldy View by Andy Field on Wednesday - most of the eight yellow wagtails seen were feeding in the nearby field.
Along the seawall were two sedge warblers, six reed warblers, cuckoo, two common terns, avocet, whimbrel and four common buzzards.

A walk around St Peters on Wednesday produced 3 whimbrel, 10 common terns, four Mediterranean gulls, 60 brent geese on Cobmarsh and a pair of shelduck there too.
Two Mediterranean gulls were also seen by Ian Black at the Dabchicks on Wednesday.

A great northern diver, lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, blackcap, chiffchaff and a pair of shelduck were seen by Shaun Bater on a walk on Wednesday between Seaview and Waldegraves.
A whimbrel flew over Martin Cocks West Mersea house in the Coverts on Wednesday.

Recent woodpecker reports have come recently from Adrian Amos near the top of Oakwood Avenue with a green woodpecker seen and a great spotted woodpecker heard drumming. Also in Yorick Avenue a great spotted woodpecker might be nesting in the Passfield's garden.

Orange-tip and holly blue butterflies have been reported in Adrian Amos' garden as were bee flies.

Monday, 27 April 2020


This great northern diver is almost in its summer plumage, showing the white spots on the back and a hint of a striped band on the neck, seen about fifty metres off the Monkey Beach on Saturday 25th.

The great northern diver was diving repeatedly and coming back up with a crab to eat.
A second great northern diver was seen off the Esplanade on Saturday, as was a common tern, two great crested grebes and a common seal. Earlier on Saturday 38 brent geese and a pair of common tern were seen at St Peters by Steve Entwistle.
A brood of at least five mallard ducklings were on a pond at Waldegraves caravan park. Two great northern divers were seen offshore from Waldegraves by Jonathan Bustard, also a lesser whitethroat and blackcap near here.

The little owl, a pair of mistle thrushes, 13 linnets and a pair of Mediterranean gulls were at the Youth Camp on Saturday. At the nearby boating lake there were ten redshank, ten turnstones, dunlin, two little egrets, six shelduck, two meadow pipits, reed warbler and two yellow wagtails. In fields to the west of the East Mersea church were two yellow wagtails, pair of reed buntings, yellowhammer, 3 singing whitethroats and a lesser whitethroat.

This rusty looking swallow was photographed by Jonathan Bustard along the dyke behind the Dabchicks sailing club on Saturday.

The underparts have a rusty/ orange tint to it, the male swallow perching nicely for Jonathan to photograph on wires near the Dabchicks. This orangey swallow also caught my eye at the far end of the Strood seawall about three days earlier.

Andy Field noted along the Strood seawall on Saturday lesser whitethroat, 5 reed warblers, sedge warbler, cuckoo, five yellow wagtails, male marsh harrier over the fields, 8 Mediterranean gulls, 6 whimbrel, 4 swallows and a greenshank heard calling. Four house martins were seen over the High St North garden that day.

Eight black-tailed godwits were feeding along the Strood Channel on Friday 24th, as were a bar-tailed godwit, grey plover, 12 whimbrel and two common terns. Alongside the seawall were a singing sedge warbler, four reed warblers, 8 yellow wagtails, calling cuckoo, 3 lesser whitethroats, two swallows while flying over were a marsh harrier, two common buzzards, kestrel and two Mediterranean gulls.

Two swifts seen to the north of Andy Field's High St North garden on Friday is the first swift sighting for the Island this spring. Three whimbrel were heard calling over Ian Black's Mersea Avenue garden in the evening.

A singing garden warbler was a nice discovery beside Feldy View on Thursday 23rd - the first garden warbler sighting at the west end of the Island for thirty years at least! It was quite showy whilst singing at the top of bushes during the morning but wasn't seen in the afternoon.

Along the Strood seawall on Thursday were sedge warbler, two reed warblers, two yellow wagtails, 2 calling cuckoos, four pochard flying down channel, four Mediterranean gulls, 3 common terns and 20 whimbrel. In the afternoon four yellow wagtails, lesser whitethroat and a swallow were noted along the Strood by Andy Field who later saw two Mediterranean gulls fly over his garden.
A buzzard and a pair of Mediterranean gulls flew over the Firs Chase garden on Thursday afternoon.

The male stock dove peers down from the squirrel nestbox where it's mate is nesting, high up in the cedar tree in the Firs Chase garden. Occasionally the stock dove comes down to the ground to feed under the bird feeders or to have a quick drink.

A brimstone butterfly flew quickly across the Firs Chase garden on Friday 24th, the second visit within the last three days. Other butterflies in recent days in the garden have been holly blue, small white, large white, orange-tip, peacock and comma.

David Bullock in East Mersea sent me this photograph of a pair of wren clutches six inches apart, nestled on a bed of moss under an upturned flower pot in his garden. Not sure what's going on here, whether it is two females with eggs or one female with two clutches!

Wednesday, 22 April 2020


The pair of reed buntings was still present in the sea-blite bushes near the beach at St Peters, West Mersea on Wednesday 22nd. A reed warbler singing from the scrub beside the reedbed was a new arrival and a whitethroat and two blackcaps were also singing from the bushes along the meadow and a brimstone butterfly flew past too.

A great northern diver and two great crested grebes were just offshore from Cobmarsh Island, at least 25 sanderling roosted on the Island and fifty brent geese were in the area too. In the Mersea Quarters eight common terns were hunting among the boats, 2 whimbrel, 10 turnstone and 2 black-tailed godwits were seen. Three marsh harriers were hunting low over the Feldy seawall and a buzzard soared in the sky over the Hard.

From the Esplanade three great northern divers were seen on Wednesday by Steve Entwistle, also lesser whitethroat, two blackcaps and two chiffchaffs in Cross Lane. Orange-tip, peacock and speckled wood butterflies were seen in Cross Lane.
Ian Black reported a sparrowhawk eating a starling in his Mersea Avenue garden.

Three Arctic terns were seen flying up the Pyefleet at Maydays on Wednesday by Martin Cock, also two common terns, whimbrel and bar-tailed godwit. Inside the seawall there were three singing sedge warblers, two reed warblers, lesser whitethroat and whitethroat.

It was a cool north-easterly wind blowing along the Strood on Tuesday 21st, although plenty of sunshine again. A lesser whitethroat singing by the Firs Chase caravan site was the newest migrant back to this area, also heard were two whitethroats, reed warbler and three reed buntings, while a yellow wagtail was seen on the wires.
In the channel three whimbrel, six black-tailed godwits, common tern and 25 brent geese were the only birds of note just before the tide covered the mud. A house martin and swallow were seen earlier here by Andy Field.

At Cross Lane on Tuesday two lesser whitethroats, two chiffchaffs and two blackcaps were heard singing by Steve Entwistle. Shaun Bater reported a swallow near the Two Sugars, while at the boating lake were  two shelduck, 21 redshank, grey heron and ten linnets, also orange-tip butterflies in Estuary Park Road

Sunny along the Strood seawall on Monday 20th but with the strong wind reduced bird sightings to four whimbrel, ten swallows and a yellow wagtail.
A hobby was seen flying over Firs Chase on Monday afternoon by Ian Black - the first report of one on the Island this spring. Two red kites were seen near the Strood causeway on Monday by William Baker. Two house martins were seen near Haycocks Lane by Steve Entwistle.

A peregrine flew over the Strood field on Sunday 19th and then passed directly overhead next to the caravan site as it headed on towards the Hard. Two common buzzards were also seen from the seawall, as were a pair of common terns, six whimbrel and 23 brent geese. A willow warbler was singing beside the caravan site, two yellow wagtails were in the nearby field, a house martin circled over Strood Hill and ten swallows were noted during the walk.

Steve Entwistle reported three great northern divers off the Esplanade on Sunday, white wagtail at Seaview caravan park, also the little owl in front of the Youth Camp, while cuckoo, reed warbler, buzzard, 25 redshank, 7 shelduck, 6 oystercatchers, heron and ten linnets were by the lake.
A cuckoo was seen by Michael Thorley trying to balance on power lines beside the East Mersea road to the west of Meeting Lane on Sunday.

Also on Sunday Jonathan Bustard reported sparrowhawk, four whimbrel, pair of reed buntings, 90 brent geese, 20 turnstone and few sanderling were at St Peters.

The female brambling was seen in the Firs Chase garden over five days from Wednesday 15th till Sunday 19th, usually feeding underneath the bird feeders.

A beachwalk on Saturday 18th produced a close view of a nice male wheatear in front of the Waldegraves Holiday park. A little owl was being mobbed by blackbirds in front of Mersea Outdoors and by the nearby beach were seven whimbrel. On the boating lake were a pair of pochard, 5 shelduck, 6 curlew, 30 turnstone, 10 redshank, little egret, 16 mallard, along with two meadow pipits and two yellow wagtails, while a buzzard soared overhead.

From the Esplanade were three great northern divers, pair of common tern, 2 whimbrel and by St Peters were fifty brent geese.

Seven yellow wagtails were beside the rape fields to the west of the East Mersea church on Saturday, also here were three yellowhammers, two whitethroats and 3 swallows.

Offshore from West Mersea three great northern divers, two great crested grebes and 20 sanderling were seen on Saturday by Martin Cock.
Along the Strood channel late Saturday morning Andy Field reported two reed warblers, three common terns, a cuckoo on Ray Island, swallow, corn bunting, whimbrel while a marsh harrier hunted along the borrowdyke.
A swallow and a Mediterranean gull were seen by the Hard by Jonathan Bustard on Saturday.

Birds noted along the Strood seawall on Friday 17th included two swallows, singing whitethroat, kestrel and common buzzard. Along the channel were a black-tailed godwit, three dunlin, three grey plover and a pair of shelduck.

The red squirrels have been visiting the Firs Chase garden several times a day, mostly at the feeders but occasionally down on the ground looking for buried nuts.

Butterflies in the garden have included brimstone, holly blue, peacock, comma, large white, small white and orange-tip.

There haven't been many moths at night in the Firs Chase garden this month because of the clear and chilly nights. However this national priority species the sloe carpet was an unexpected surprise for the garden, although it has been found at three other locations in East Mersea in recent years.

Thursday, 16 April 2020


One of the highlights of spring is seeing a smart male wheatear, such as this one on the beach at the far end of St Peters on Thursday 16th.

Despite the steady flow of folk along the beach, this wheatear stayed around to feed amongst the dinghies on the beach.
Nearby a great northern diver and a great crested grebe were feeding in Besom Fleet while 50+ brent geese were seen near Packing Shed and Cobmarsh Islands.

Three male blackcaps were singing from the bushes along the St Peters Meadow, while a pair of reed buntings was on the saltmarsh bushes. Two swallows flew over and a third bird earlier flew past the Dabchicks. A male marsh harrier was calling and displaying high above the Company Shed mid morning, a yellow wagtail flew over while a common tern and five black-tailed godwits were seen behind the Dabchicks.
A brimstone, peacock and two small tortoiseshells were seen at St Peters on Thursday.

Five great northern divers were seen offshore from the Esplanade on Thursday by Steve Entwistle. One great northern diver, eider and a whimbrel were seen from the West Mersea beach by Martin Cock on Thursday morning.

Jonathan Bustard reported on Thursday a green woodpecker and blackcap along East Road, while along the beach to Waldegraves were a sparrowhawk, swallow, little egret and on the sandbar 15 sanderling.

Along the Strood on Wednesday 15th a peregrine was watched making several low swoops over the water in the channel as if it was trying to flush a bird. The peregrine then swooped again down to the water and came back up with a silvery fish which it then flew away with to the Peldon side. Andy Field also watched events unfold from 150m socially distant along the seawall and we both agreed we'd never seen a peregrine catch fish from water before!

At least six buzzards were seen in the air, while a sedge warbler was singing from the reedbed, two swallows over the Strood fishing lakes and another over the fields and three whimbrel calling from the channel.
In the recently sown fields, a flock of 500+ wood pigeons were feeding and also 36 carrion crows.
Earlier Andy had seen the yellow wagtail on wires by Feldy View and a reed warbler in the dyke.

A female brambling announced its arrival in the Firs Chase back garden on Wednesday 15th by smacking into the window and needing several minutes to recover.

The brambling also made an appearance in the back garden on Thursday, flying into a window again, this time flying up to a tree to recover.
A goldcrest, blackcap and chiffchaff were singing in the garden on Thursday, as was the breeding pair of stock doves. A sparrowhawk glided over while 36 curlew in two flocks, whistled loudly to each other as they headed away on their migration north to their breeding grounds.

A pair of goldfinches has recently discovered the nyger seeds in the garden feeder.
Garden butterflies on Thursday included holly blue, orange-tip, small white, large white, peacock and comma.

A male corn bunting was singing from a bush along the Strood seawall on Wednesday 15th.

Three great northern divers were seen off the Esplanade by Steve Entwistle on Wednesday morning. A yellow wagtail was seen at the Youth Camp boating lake, also along the beach 15 turnstones, 20 oystercatchers, 18 redshank, whimbrel, two swallows, 4 blackcaps, sparrowhawk and a lesser whitethroat that called briefly from Cross Lane.
At Maydays a pair of sedge warbler, yellow wagtail, greenshank and a well marked adder on the seawall were seen on Wednesday by Martin Cock.
David Allen also reported seeing three great northern divers from the Esplanade on Wednesday afternoon, also whimbrel and ten sanderling.

A common whitethroat was singing from the ditch by the seawall on Tuesday 14th.
A peregrine was mobbing a buzzard that was with some prey in a field. Seven other buzzards were seen during the walk and two sparrowhawks too. At least 18 Mediterranean gulls flew over calling with one flock of ten birds seen flying up Strood channel. A pair of common terns were flying amongst the boat moorings.

Two sedge warblers, reed warbler and whitethroat were singing beside the seawall as was a corn bunting. Three yellow wagtails were watched while a cuckoo was heard calling from Ray Island.
Along the channel an avocet, twelve black-tailed godwits, whimbrel and twelve brent geese were seen. Fifty carrion crows were feeding on the recently sown fields.

Also on Tuesday two ravens were seen by Martin Cock at Maydays as they called and flew about on Langenhoe. No doubt there will be more sightings of ravens as they become more established across Essex.  Also at Maydays was a cuckoo, wheatear, yellow wagtail, sedge warbler, red-breasted merganser and two marsh harriers.
From the Esplanade on Tuesday three great northern divers and an eider were seen opposite Seaview Avenue by Steve Entwistle, later reporting 3 blackcaps and two chiffchaffs in Cross Lane. A kestrel was seen in Dawes Lane by Shaun Bater.

Two greenshanks were the highlights of a walk along the Strood seawall on Monday 13th, seen feeding along the water's edge. Other waders noted were 24 black-tailed godwits, eight grey plover, two dunlin, two avocet and a golden plover.
Three swallows flew over, whitethroat and reed warbler were heard singing while a pochard was diving in a pond, a buzzard flying over and 35 carrion crows in the fields.

Off West Mersea three great northern divers and two eider were seen by Steve Entwistle on Monday, also noting cuckoo calling at Waldegraves and 2 chiffchaffs at Cross Lane.

A speckled wood was seen beside the Feldy View field on Wednesday 15th.

Monday, 13 April 2020


Several swallows have now returned to the Island over the last week with this male seen on wires near Mersea Barns in East Mersea on Saturday 11th. Two other swallows were also at Rewsalls and Waldegraves on Saturday.

A male sedge warbler was singing on a bramble bush beside the dyke by the Strood seawall on Sunday 12th, while further along the first reed warbler was also back singing from the reed-filled dyke. A common whitethroat was singing from bushes along the seawall, a male corn bunting sang from the central hedge, while a male yellow wagtail was on wires over the fields and a willow warbler was singing from Feldy View.
A cuckoo was seen flying over the Strood fields earlier on Sunday by Andy Field. Later it, or a different bird was heard calling from the mainland on Feldy.

Two red kites were seen on Sunday from the Strood seawall, the first bird in the distance flying north-east from Wigborough to Peldon then thirty minutes later presumably the same red kite glided high overhead from the Peldon direction and headed south towards the caravan site. In between these two sightings a second red kite flew south-west over Ray Island spooking the waders, before drifting over to Copt Hall.
A male marsh harrier was hunting low over the fields, as was the regular male kestrel, while at least three common buzzards were over the Strood fields and channel.

A pair of common terns was calling to each other amongst the boat moorings in the Strood channel, both birds later resting on buoys.
A pair of Mediterranean gulls was circling high up and calling while along the channel were two avocets, 20+ black-tailed godwits and two whimbrels heard calling.

Later on Sunday Jonathan Bustard reported two Mediterranean gulls by the Hard, two swallows and a kestrel on the Strood seawall and a whitethroat singing near the Firs Caravan site.
At St Peters, three blackcaps were reported by Steve Entwistle on Sunday, also nearby 70 brent geese, 100+ herring gulls, 10+ lesser black-backed gulls and five greater black-backed gulls on and around  Cobmarsh.
At least two swallows were reported in Dawes Lane on Sunday by Shaun Bater.

A hummingbird hawkmoth was flying down the side of the Firs Chase caravan site and landed briefly in the field where it blended into the background. Butterflies seen along from Feldy View and along the seawall included speckled wood, holly blue, orange-tip, small white, large white and 10 peacocks.
A young grass-snake from last summer was lying in the sun beside the footpath down the side of the caravan site.

After a two year absence, a pair of house sparrows has taken up residence in the Thorley's East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane - a new nestbox tick for them!

On Saturday 11th at the Youth Camp two sparrowhawks were seen hunting separately over the camp, also a mistle thrush by the entrance. At the boating lake three yellow wagtails flew around calling, also present were a pair of Mediterranean gulls, 24 mallard and four shelduck, while high tide roosting were 15 redshank, 40 turnstone and 10 curlew. Offshore was a great northern diver.
Two great northern divers were also offshore from West Mersea opposite Kingsland Road and six great crested grebes.
Also on Saturday at St Peters, 45 brent geese and a little egret were seen by Cobmarsh Island by Steve Entwistle.

Twelve house martins, cuckoo, sedge warbler, whitethroat, common tern, swallow, six buzzards, peregrine and three marsh harriers were reported at Maydays farm on Saturday by Martin Cock.

Nine common buzzards were circling in the air together high over the Strood causeway on a hot Friday 10th. Three sparrowhawks were also seen on the walk from Feldy View out onto the Strood seawall. A single swallow was flying over the fields, four yellow wagtails flew around near Feldy View, while in the fields were 45 carrion crows and 20 linnets.
Along the channel were six avocets, 12 black-tailed godwits, 25 knot and a flyover lapwing and four pairs of Mediterranean gulls.

Between Meeting Lane and Shop Lane on Friday, a whitethroat, two Cetti's warblers, swallow, four blackcaps and four chiffchaffs were reported on Friday by Martin Cock.
A swallow was seen in Haycocks Lane on Friday by Shaun Bater who also reported a blackcap in Cross Lane. Along Coast Road Jonathan Bustard reported a pair of reed buntings by the houseboats and a pair of Mediterranean gulls by the causeway.
Also on Saturday a pair of greylag geese was seen on the boating lake and a pair of Canada geese seen flying past by Steve Entwistle

A little egret perched on the wooden breakwater along the Strood Channel on Thursday 9th.
Five common buzzards, yellow wagtail, pair of Mediterranean gulls, pair of greylag geese flying past, 12 black-tailed godwits, single knot, while in the fields was a feeding flock of 46 carrion crows.
A whitethroat was seen beside the Strood seawall on Thursday by Andy Field.

At East Mersea on Thursday the first calling cuckoo on the Island his spring was reported by Michael Thorley along the footpath between Meeting Lane and Shop Lane. It had been heard calling "loudly and persistently" for several minutes mid morning.
By the Oyster Fishery a whitethroat, Cetti's warbler, 40 black-tailed godwits and four pochard were noted by Martin Cock.

Saturday, 11 April 2020


The recent warm spell has seen a variety of wildlife using the Firs Chase garden in recent days. Two male blackcaps took it in turns to have a bath in the half-barrel water feature in the back garden on Wednesday 8th. Bird baths and drinking bowls have been getting regularly topped off for the birds to use.

The resident garden song thrush was having some time-out for a sunbathe. It seems to spend a lot of time in the garden being chased by the male blackbirds.

At least three male blackbirds are trying to get along together in the garden with occasional squabbles breaking out.
Other visitors to the garden feeders have included a regular pair of greenfinches, a brief visit by a pair of goldfinches, chaffinch pair, a couple of pairs of house sparrows, as well as blue tits, great tits, robins and dunnocks.
Several common buzzards have flown over the garden with one on 2nd,the 5th, two on the 6th, one on the 9th and two on the 10th. A goldcrest was singing in the garden on 7th, six mute swans flew over on 8th and a little egret flew over the garden on 10th. Mediterranean gulls can be heard calling most days towards the Hard, as can small flocks of migrating curlews heading north.

Amongst the regular red squirrel sightings in the Firs Chase garden was this one of the female snoozing in the middle of the day as it rested along a bough of the cedar tree on a hot Wednesday 8th. It had earlier been seen lying flat along the bough with its eyes half-closed.

The red squirrel scampering back up the tree after having a drink and a feed.

Four slow-worms had to be carefully moved from the garden compost pile before the pile got its annual turn. One of the slow-worms was seen back on top of the new pile within a couple of days.

The first orange-tip butterfly was seen in the garden on Tuesday 7th, here it blends in well with the daisies. The first speckled wood was also seen on Tuesday as were comma, small white and 3 peacocks. Two holly blues were seen in the garden on the Wednesday.

The recent clear night skies have not been very productive for moths in the Firs Chase garden with barely double figure counts on some nights. The most notable moth so far this spring was this dotted chestnut, the first garden record but not unexpected since its quick spread across Essex in recent years. The first Island record was in 2011 at Cudmore Grove.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020


Numbers of brent geese continue to dwindle as spring gathers pace. This group was feeding on the saltmarsh beside the Firs Chase caravan site on Wednesday 8th, as were another forty brent geese along the Strood channel. A great crested grebe was in the Ray channel.

The highlight of the walk along the Strood seawall on Wednesday was hearing the happy twittering song of a male swallow as it flew along the dyke, the first one I've seen this spring. There have been three earlier sightings in the last few days, the first one over Andy Field's garden on Sunday 5th and also that day one seen by the Monkey Steps by Jonathan Bustard, followed by a second one over Andy's garden on Tuesday 7th.

Also along the Strood on Wednesday was a singing willow warbler down the side of the Firs Chase caravan site for the third day, also three blackcaps there too. A bright male yellow wagtail was seen again for the second day running along the seawall, hopefully the breeding bird from here last year.
A whimbrel called from the Strood channel, the first one of the spring noted passing through here.

A colourful group of 26 black-tailed godwits was feeding along the Strood channel on Wednesday. A flock of 200 knot was also feeding on the last bit of mud showing before the high tide. Two pairs of Mediterranean gulls were calling as they passed over.

In the fields was a big flock of at least 70 carrion crows feeding on the recently sown field by Strood Hill, also 100 linnets and two common buzzards. Two other pairs of buzzards were soaring over woods on the Peldon and Feldy side of the mainland. Eight peacock butterflies and a small white were seen along the seawall.

An osprey was reported on Wednesday afternoon by Jonathan Norgate, flying high towards Mersea from Fingringhoe. A male marsh harrier was seen opposite the West Mersea yacht club by Jonathan Bustard, while three buzzards were seen north of Andy Field's garden, flying near the Strood.

At Maydays a kingfisher, 3 whimbrel and a red-breasted merganser were reported on Wednesday.
Along the Esplanade Steve Entwistle saw a great northern diver, 8 oystercatchers, 10 curlews and 8 great crested grebes on Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday 7th several pairs of eyes were scanning the skies from their gardens for the white-tailed eagle that had been reported flying south from Ipswich and through north Essex but sadly turned west when it reached Fingringhoe. The only birds of prey noted during the afternoon from gardens were sparrowhawks over the gardens of Andy Field, Steve Entwistle and Martin Cock.

Earlier on Tuesday five common buzzards were seen during the walk along the Strood seawall and also the unusual sound of a displaying male marsh harrier, calling as it flew down channel. Two sparrowhawks were noted too, one as it snatched a blackbird near Feldy View, also kestrel over the fields.
Three blackcaps and three willow-chiffs were in the hedge by the Firs Chase caravan site on Tuesday, while in the Strood Hill field was a big flock of 200 linnets and also three golden plover. Along the Strood channel were a dozen black-tailed godwits, fifty brent geese, Mediterranean gull and a pair of teal.

In Cross Lane four blackcaps and two chiffchaffs and three pairs of long-tailed tits were seen on Tuesday by Steve Entwistle. In his garden were a brimstone, orange-tip and peacock butterflies. Jonathan Bustard reported a great spotted woodpecker, chiffchaff and song thrush at the Legion Fields on Tuesday.

On Monday 6th the great northern diver, ten great crested grebes were seen offshore from the Esplanade by Steve Entwistle who later had two grey herons over his West Mersea garden.
Andy Field reported along the Strood, singing willow warbler, two chiffchaffs, blackcap, buzzard and two Mediterranean gulls on Monday. Two buzzards were seen over Waldegraves caravan site by Jonathan Bustard on Monday, while at Maydays two red-breasted mergansers and 70 golden plover were reported at Maydays.
Near Meeting Lane in East Mersea, the little owl has been heard calling loud and clear most late afternoons in the Thorleys' garden recently.

Along the Strood on Sunday 5th were a marsh harrier, common buzzard, ten black-tailed godwits, 40 brent geese, pair of Mediterranean gulls, chiffchaff, corn bunting and 70 linnets. A buzzard was also seen over the Firs Chase garden.
Near Meeting Lane on Sunday a different Cetti's warbler heard singing, also four chiffchaffs, three buzzards and two brimstone butterflies were reported.
Steve Entwistle saw two great northern divers offshore on Sunday, one of the birds halfway into summer plumage from the Esplanade, the other winter bird off Kingsland Beach.

On a sunny Saturday 4th the oil-seed rape field was looking very yellow behind the boating lake near the Youth Camp.

On the boating lake were a pair of Canada geese, 25 mallard, tufted duck pair, 15 shelduck, two little egrets, pair of Mediterranean gulls and nearby a pair of red-legged partridge. A marsh harrier appeared to fly in off the sea heading north over the lake.
A common buzzard, kestrel and a brimstone butterfly were by Mersea Barns on Saturday, also a meadow pipit west of the East Mersea church.
Eighty brent geese were feeding on the edge of the mud by St Peters on Saturday afternoon, while three small tortoiseshells and a peacock were on the nearby meadow

At Maydays three marsh harriers, four buzzards and 100 golden plover were seen on Saturday.

Offshore from the West Mersea Esplanade on Saturday were a red-necked grebe, two great northern divers, shag and two female eiders seen by Steve Entwistle. A sand martin was also seen later by Jonathan Bustard who also saw the shag and red-necked grebe still there. A marsh harrier passed over Andy Field's High Street North garden.

A young female sparrowhawk was photographed by Michael Thorley in his East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane on Friday afternoon.

Some of the features indicating this is a young female sparrowhawk include the orangey-yellow eyes, pale eye-stripe, rufous patch on hindneck as well as some rusty edges on the wing covert feathers.

A male corn bunting was singing along the Strood seawall on Friday 3rd, also 50 linnets in the field near Strood hill. A marsh harrier flew past, while along the channel were ten black-tailed godwits, four wigeon and four teal. Four jackdaws were watched carrying chunks of hard mud off the seawall path.

An osprey was seen on Friday afternoon by William Baker as it flew north-west over the Mersea Quarters towards Feldy Marsh.
A great northern diver was seen offshore from Seaview Avenue by Steve Entwistle. The Cetti's warbler, blackcap, four chiffchaffs and a buzzard were seen near Meeting Lane on Friday.

Four buzzards, three marsh harriers and a sparrowhawk were the highlights along the Strood seawall on Thursday 2nd. Also two avocets, 20 knot and 36 black-tailed godwits along the channel and fifty linnets were feeding near Strood Hill.
Three eider were seen offshore from the Esplanade on Thursday by Steve Entwistle.

A red kite made a surprise appearance near Feldy View on Wednesday 1st, flying low over the field before picking up height and drifting south-east over the High St North. A chiffchaff was singing near Feldy View and a blackcap seen nearby. Along the Strood seawall were 3 avocets, 31 black-tailed godwits and two buzzards.