Tuesday, 22 September 2020


Richard Brown took this picture of an osprey whilst he was on the Langenhoe ranges just to the north of the Island on Monday 21st. The bird was seen by Richard and John Fell flying in a clockwise direction from South Green then along the Fingringhoe channel, turning south down the Colne and then west along the Pyefleet, doing this several times during mid afternoon. It was last seen with a fish on its usual post in the Geedons at 15.30.

A male redstart was a nice discovery along the Strood seawall on Tuesday 22nd. The bird appeared at the side of the bush quivering its tail and on a couple of occasions flew down onto the seawall to pick up some food. The bird had to switch bushes because of walkers passing nearby and it was later seen along the central hedgeline on bushes. Half an hour later it returned to the original hawthorn bush where this "record-shot" was taken moments before a vehicle drove past it.
A stonechat was also on the same bush, also a new bird just passing through.

A kestrel was perched up near the Firs Caravan Park on Tuesday, surveying the scene. Later it had a tussle with a local crow, before hunting over the fields. Two common buzzards were circling high over the Strood fields.
Two swallows passed over and three chiffchaffs called from the trees.

A turnstone was turning over seaweed beside the Strood seawall on Tuesday. Other waders of interest seen along the channel were four greenshank, eight knot, 25 dunlin, 50 golden plover, one avocet and 200 black-tailed godwits by the Dabchicks sailing club.

Later on Tuesday Jonathan Bustard saw the stonechat and a wheatear along the Strood seawall.

A wheatear was feeding along the Strood seawall on Monday 21st. A Cetti's warbler was singing quietly from the reeds and a reed warbler was also seen feeding in the reeds. 
A peregrine made a couple of flights over the fields scattering the pigeons before it settled back down on the ploughed field, while two common buzzards were at the back of the fields.
Along the channel were 13 wigeon, three greenshank, ten knot, one bar-tailed godwit, twenty dunlin, five ringed plover and also 250+ black-tailed godwits on mud by the Dabchicks sailing club. Twelve little grebes were in the channel and another in the dyke - where a water vole was also seen splashing among the rushes.
Ten meadow pipits flew over and four swallows were flying over Strood Hill and three chiffchaffs feeding near the caravan site.

Martin Cock reported seeing on Monday six chiffchaffs, grey wagtail and red-legged partridge in Cross Lane, then between Cudmore Grove and the Oyster Fishery seven chiffchaffs, two Cetti's warblers, reed warbler, eider, two Sandwich terns, 40 teal, 25 wigeon, while in his West Mersea garden two chiffchaffs were present too.

On Sunday 20th birds noted along the north side of the Island during the monthly WeBs count by Andy Field and me, included a greenshank and wheatear at Maydays, 20 avocets in the Pyefleet, an eider on Langenhoe Point, snipe, thirty brent geese arriving in the Colne in three flocks - the first autumn arrivals, three buzzards, sparrowhawk, 15 swallows, wheatear on park fields, while at the park pond was a calling water rail and eight wigeon.
Four common seals and a grey seal were seen in the Pyefleet.
Charlie Williams reported 25+ Mediterranean gulls by the Strood.

Two hummingbird hawkmoths were seen visiting Andy Field's garden in High St North on Sunday morning.

A Sandwich tern was roosting during the high tide on Saturday 19th at the East Mersea Youth Camp along with fifty other gulls - black-headed and common gulls. A green woodpecker was feeding on the Youth Camp field while nine little egrets were on the flooded Rewsalls marshes.
A common blue, brown argus, small white and large white butterflies were seen by the Youth Camp.

Saturday, 19 September 2020


This black-tailed godwit with its colourful display of rings seen feeding on mud beside the Dabchicks sailing club on Friday 18th, was ringed in October 2015 in Suffolk on the river Alde at Iken. This is its fourth appearance on Mersea since it was ringed and has made five trips each year back to Iceland to breed.

A redshank seen feeding near the ringed black-tailed godwit on Friday. There was a big flock of 310 black-tailed godwits gathered on the mud beside the Dabchicks, some feeding as the tide came in while others rested.

An adult Sandwich tern and a chick flew up part of the Strood channel and landed on the mud near the Firs Caravan park. The adult went off for a few minutes and returned to feed the chick a small fish. Five common terns were seen flying along the channel too.

The first ducks of the autumn were noted along the Strood with five wigeon, a pair of shelduck and a teal, while a pair of mute swans was in the borrowdyke. Waders seen along the channel were five greenshank, four dunlin and two knot. A grey wagtail flew along the bottom of the seawall along the muddy edge, landing briefly to feed. Twelve skylarks and a swallow were over the fields while a covey of five red-legged partridge flew over the Strood Hill road above the lakes. A large hairy fox moth caterpillar was seen crossing the seawall path.

The first four wigeon of the autumn were seen resting on the saltmarsh near the East Mersea Point on Thursday 17th, as were 26 teal both here and on the park pond. Roosting on the pools here were 200+ redshank while on nearby mud were 93 ringed plover and five dunlin. The female eider was feeding in the river close to the Point.

A peregrine flew over the saltmarsh pools and then the Point before heading east across the Colne. A few minutes later a hobby was seen taking the same sort of route across the river and a sparrowhawk flew near the Golfhouse.
On the park pond 17 little egrets were roosting in the trees while two shoveler and the 14 teal were seen here. Andy Field watched two common buzzards fly low over the pond which made the roosting little egrets jump!
A flock of 500+ starlings was feeding near the Golfhouse on Thursday, some on the blackberry bushes and others on the fields.
Ashley Gooding reported seven Sandwich terns in the Colne on Thursday, also at the park 27 little egrets, 15 avocets, 388 redshank, 7 shelduck and a swallow.

On Wednesday 16th a red kite was watched from the Strood seawall flying north-east over the Peldon fields, then crossing the Strood road near Bonners Barn as it headed towards Langenhoehall. Other birds noted were a common tern, six meadow pipits and fifteen little egrets on the saltmarsh.

A kingfisher was the highlight of a walk along the Strood seawall on Tuesday 15th, the bird seen flying along the shoreline near the caravan site before heading up behind it. A yellow wagtail, swallow and sparrowhawk were noted from the seawall while a willow warbler was in Feldy View.

A young badger was recorded visiting Ian Black's Mersea Avenue garden by his trail camera during Monday night.

A stonechat was still by Coopers Beach on Monday 14th, feeding beside the children's play area, in the same area where the family bred earlier in the spring. On the Coopers marshes were 70 redshank, 27 little egrets, heron, 20 mallard, tufted duck, 11 linnets, 7 Mediterranean gulls and five golden plover flying over. Two common blue butterflies were on the wing at Coopers Beach.

Interested in seeing a shoal of 30+ fish swimming inside the seawall beside the new breach at Coopers Beach on Monday, possibly mullet or bass.

Four wheatears were feeding on the Maydays seawall on Sunday 13th. A kingfisher was perched on the seawall sluice while in the nearby creek was a greenshank. Along the Pyefleet were 18+ knot, 6 dunlin, 50 grey plover and a great crested grebe. A flock of 500+ wood pigeons was feeding at the back of the Reeveshall fields.

Three common seals were in the Pyefleet channel on Sunday 13th, one seemed to be eyeing up a place on top of the pontoon with the other two seals.

At Shop Lane on Sunday, Steve Entwistle reported 20 sand martins, two house martins, five chiffchaffs, two common darters, five small heaths, three red admirals, holly blue, large white and small white

On Saturday 12th birds noted along the Strood channel were 270+ black-tailed godwits, 70 golden plover, five knot, five ringed plover and four dunlin. Two chiffchaffs were calling from trees near Feldy View.

A red squirrel made an appearance in the Firs Chase garden on Sunday 13th.

The red squirrel seemed to realise that he had an audience watching from the nearby house and stopped to stare before it scampered into a neighbour's garden.
Shaun Bater reported seeing a red squirrel in his garden run along the back fence in Estuary Park Road the day before.

Sunday, 13 September 2020


One of two wheatears photographed by Andy Field near the Reeveshall seawall on Friday 11th.
Also seen near here were 32 avocets, three buzzards and three marsh harriers on Langenhoe- two being juveniles. No sign of the osprey anywhere. A red squirrel was seen at Fishponds Wood in Shop Lane.

Also on Friday an eider was seen feeding offshore beside the Cross Lane sewer outfall. A common buzzard flew over Cross Lane to land in a nearby tree late morning and a couple of chiffchaffs were calling.

On Thursday 10th a brown argus was enjoying the sunshine in Feldy View.

A small copper fluttered low along the ground in Feldy View on Thursday.
Along the Strood seawall were a whinchat, three kestrels over the fields, while a trickle of 20+ meadow pipits passed west in small groups. In the channel were three greenshank, 100+ black-tailed godwits and 100+ golden plover.

Andy Field reported that the last of his two swift chicks left his swift-nestbox on his High Street North house earlier on Thursday morning - a day later than the first chick which flew off the previous day.

Two willow warblers were in Michael Thorley's garden near Meeting Lane on Thursday.
A barn owl was seen by Steve Entwistle on Thursday early evening perched beside Dawes Lane at the northern end.
Glyn Evans watching from Alresford, reported seeing the distant osprey flying along the Pyefleet.

On Wednesday 9th, a scan with the telescope from the Shop Lane seawall revealed the distant osprey through the heat haze perched on the usual post on the Geedons saltmarsh. A whinchat was perched on a fence by the seawall while in the Pyefleet were 55 avocets, 50 black-tailed godwits and a small flock of 25 common terns sitting on a buoy in the Colne. A flock of 22 stock doves was feeding in the Reeveshall fields.

In Meeting Lane on Wednesday evening Martin Cock reported six chiffchaff, four lesser whitethroat and a blackcap.

At West Mersea an orange flash of a redstart tail was briefly glimpsed from the neighbours driveway in Firs Chase on Wednesday early afternoon. It did not show itself although it was heard calling a couple of times from the thick bushes beside the garden.
Ian Black reported two blackcaps, three "willow/chiffs" and a great spotted woodpecker in The Lane.

This willow warbler was photographed by Michael Thorley on Tuesday 8th as it perched in an elder bush near Meeting Lane along with three other willow warblers.

A tame guillemot was photographed by Rusty Marshall with his mobile from his boat close to Cobmarsh Island on Tuesday late afternoon.

Two spotted flycatchers were feeding beside the Firs Caravan park on Tuesday morning. A swift flew over the top of the Lane and fifteen meadow pipits flew west over the Firs Chase houses.
Along the Strood channel were two curlew sandpipers, four greenshank, three knot, 20+ ringed plovers while most of the 250 black-tailed godwits were near the Dabchicks.
A hobby flew over the Strood channel scattering all the waders, before continuing over the Strood fields, also common buzzard, marsh harrier and a sparrowhawk noted too. A Cetti's warbler sang briefly from the central ditch while 25 meadow pipits passed west.

The osprey on the Geedons post was seen on Tuesday from the East Mersea seawall by Martin Cock. Earlier near Meeting Lane a spotted flycatcher possibly two birds, two blackcaps, lesser whitethroat and chiffchaffs were noted by Martin.

An Arctic skua was reported by Liz Huxley on Tuesday while watching from Brightlingsea, watching the bird resting on the river Colne before flying off over East Mersea.

On Monday 7th five curlew sandpipers were seen feeding along the Strood Channel, this photograph by Andy Field of a couple of them was as close as they got. Other waders noted included three greenshank, five knot, 150+ golden plover, 50+ grey plover and 200+ black-tailed godwits.
Two sparrowhawks, marsh harrier and two common buzzards were noted from the seawall walk.

A spotted flycatcher was seen on Monday morning in the overgrown corner near the Firs Caravan park - these two photos taken by Andy Field.

This scrubby corner seems to be a regular stopping off point for spotted flycatchers.
Also in this area were four blackcaps and three chiffchaffs.

A wheatear was also photographed along the Strood seawall on Monday by Andy - a whinchat was also present along one of the hedgelines. Twenty meadow pipits were seen heading west.
Andy reported twenty Mediterranean gulls on one of the Strood fields, two birds being colour-ringed.

At Maydays on Monday, the distant osprey was seen by Steve Entwistle perched on the Geedons post.

A walk along the Maydays seawall on Sunday 6th proved a productive visit to the area.
Along the Pyefleet Channel were found five curlew sandpipers feeding on the north side of the channel along with 12 knot, 2 greenshank, 50 dunlin, 20 ringed plover, 20 black-tailed godwits, 70 grey plover and 10 bar-tailed godwits. A kingfisher and common sandpiper were by the seawall sluice.
Along the channel were eight great crested grebes and eight common tern passing by, also four common seals resting on saltmarsh.

Two pairs of hobbies were noted hawking high in the skies while a peregrine circled over the channel to Langenhoe, where a marsh harrier was noted hunting too. Two common buzzards were seen over Maydays and Reeveshall.
Five wheatears and seven whinchats were seen near the seawall, while 100 swallows drifted slowly low westwards over the fields and ten meadow pipits also flew west.

Later in the afternoon a spotted flycatcher was found by Steve Entwistle in bushes near the Maydays seawall. Two curlew sandpipers were still present Sunday evening after the high tide, five knot, 15 dunlin, 30 black-tailed godwits and bar-tailed godwit noted too, as were the six wheatears and four whinchats, all seen by Steve.

A little stint was reported on the Strood on Sunday by Simon Banks.

A hummingbird hawk-moth paid a visit to the Firs Chase garden on Sunday 6th to feed on some of the salvia flowers.

A hummingbird hawkmoth was also photographed by Jonathan Bustard in his Chatsworth garden on Friday 11th. Great that it actually rested for a photo to be taken, rather than the usual picture of blurred wings as it hovers!

Photographs taken from the back of Jonathan's camera of the hummingbird hawkmoth.

Saturday, 5 September 2020


A female kingfisher posed nicely in front of me by the dyke in front of the East Mersea boating lake on Saturday 5th. The bird sat for less than a minute before flying off. The first sighting of the autumn on the Island after an absence since late winter.

At the same time as the kingfisher was briefly present by the boating lake, this common sandpiper flew into view nearby landing on a clump of reeds in the dyke. It later flew to feed on the large marsh beside the boating lake where 55 redshank, 20 ringed plover, little egret and grey heron were seen.
Three wheatears were flitting along the old seawall, two of them later feeding on the beach. A meadow pipit and kestrel flew over and a Mediterranean gull was on the Youth Camp field.

Jonathan Norgate watched a wheatear mid morning Saturday first on the West Mersea beach before then perching on a TV aerial on flats near the beach huts. In the afternoon it was showing well on the lawn beside Shears Court where it was photographed - above.
Five meadow pipits flew west along the West Mersea beach.

This guillemot was photographed by Paul Harrison from his boat on Friday 4th in the Pyefleet channel. One had been seen the previous day in the Colne upstream from the Wivenhoe barrier, which is probably the same bird.

At Coopers Beach on Friday 4th, a female stonechat was near the kids playground, presumably the resident female from earlier in the spring and early summer. It hadn't been seen during two previous visits in the last month. Five wheatears were feeding on the flooded field, perching together on one bush at one point.
A common sandpiper was heard calling, 20+ redshank were along the dyke, also 8 little egrets, common tern over the lake while offshore were four great crested grebes and 20+ swallows flying west over the sea.

A pale leucistic starling stood out among a flock of 500+ starlings when in flight along the Strood seawall on Thursday 3rd. The bird seems to have cream coloured wings, back and a cream head.
Along the channel were two avocets, ringed plover and 70+ golden plover while most of the 250+ black-tailed godwits were on mud by the Dabchicks.
Over the fields were 50+ swallows with a dozen or so house martins heading west, a buzzard on a bush and 25 linnets feeding in a field.

At Reeveshall on Thursday four curlew sandpipers were seen feeding in the Pyefleet by Andy Field, before the incoming tide pushed them down the channel.
At Maydays on Thursday Martin Cock reported a red kite, marsh harrier, three green sandpipers and a common sandpiper.

A roost of 50 little egrets was counted at the Cudmore Grove pond on Wednesday 2nd. Later on the walk another flock of 55 little egrets was seen on the edge of the saltmarsh near Ivy Farm. Two shoveler and half a dozen mallard were seen on the pond, while a buzzard perched on a nearby tree.
Six lesser whitethroats, five whitethroats and three blackcaps were seen in various bushes. Fifty linnets were feeding near the Point and 20 yellow wagtails were feeding with horses and the cattle.
In the Colne 12 common terns were perched on buoys, two Mediterranean gulls flew past and 18 ringed plover were on the last bit of mud as the tide came in. A common seal was in the Colne.

A spotted flycatcher was watched feeding in the horse paddock near the top of the track going down to the Golfhouse on Wednesday.

Two little terns were seen by Martin Cock on mud at Langenhoe Point on Wednesday morning. Also noted along the seawall between the Golfhouse and the Oyster Fishery were lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, reed warbler, yellow wagtail and sand martin.

A spotted flycatcher was seen beside the path down the side of the Firs Chase caravan park on Tuesday 1st, along with a willow warbler. Two Cetti's warblers were heard singing from different locations in the Strood dyke, also three whitethroats, two whinchats and a yellow wagtail from the seawall. A buzzard was seen circling over one of the fields.
Twenty-five Mediterranean gulls, greenshank and 20+ black-tailed godwits were seen along the Strood channel as was a common seal - until the water-skiers arrived.

At Maydays on Tuesday early evening, Martin Cock reported a redstart flycatching beside the borrowdyke, a short-eared owl over Reeveshall, two greenshank, common sandpiper and green sandpiper, ten knot, marsh harrier and a common buzzard.

This wooden plaque in the Feldy View cemetery seems to provide the ideal basking spot on Tuesday morning for common lizards.

Ron Harvey photographed this hummingbird hawkmoth feeding in his garden in Whittaker Way on Tuesday.
One was also seen feeding along the footpath folly between The Lane and Firs Chase two days later on Thursday 3rd.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020


Some field voles or short-tailed voles, were having a field day with the maize in Michael Thorley's garden near Meeting Lane.

Looks like the field voles have a sweet tooth for the sweet corn! There's a whole field of maize at the back of Michael's garden.

Also photographed on Monday 31st by Michael Thorley in his garden was a juvenile / female yellow wagtail.

Yellow wagtails aren't usually associated with gardens. There are some small flocks at the moment feeding with the cattle and with some horses too.

This yellow wagtail will be getting ready to head south for the winter in the next fortnight or so.

A juvenile goldfinch was photographed by Michael in his garden near Meeting Lane on Monday.

The juvenile goldfinch showing off the yellow wing bar in flight.
Also seen in his garden by Michael were a great spotted woodpecker, green woodpecker and a sparrowhawk.

At Reeveshall on Monday 31st were five whinchats feeding along this fenceline - a regular stop-off point for whinchats in late summer. Along the Maydays dyke were a couple of calling reed warblers, two reed buntings, two willow warblers and a yellowhammer. Over the fields were two common buzzards and a passing flock of 25+ swallows. Along the Pyefleet were a common sandpiper, greenshank, four great crested grebes, ten little egrets as well as three common seals and a grey seal. Two marsh harriers were hunting over Langenhoe.

In the Firs Chase garden on Monday a willow warbler, song thrush and two great spotted woodpeckers were seen.

On Sunday 30th Jonathan Bustard reported good views of two whinchats and a wheatear on the Strood seawall. Also bar-tailed godwit and black-tailed godwits, golden plover flock, little egrets and little grebes in the river and dyke.

A hobby was seen near Strood Hill by Steve Entwistle on Sunday afternoon. A hobby was also reported earlier on Sunday morning flushed from grass on Ray Island by David Nicholl, with a common seal in Ray Channel too.

Two little egrets were feeding along the Strood channel on Saturday 29th. Also a ruff seen only in flight as it headed up-channel, 150 golden plover, eight dunlin, five ringed plover, two knot, ten Mediterranean gulls and two common terns. Two whinchats were along one of the ditches, 70+ linnets and a sparrowhawk were also noted.

Five red-legged partridge were seen beside Dawes Lane on Saturday by Steve Entwistle.

On Friday 28th along the Strood were two whinchats, wheatear, greenshank heard, two sand martins, three common terns, ten Mediterranean gulls, five ringed plovers, two common buzzards, marsh harrier and two kestrels. Two willow warblers were seen along the dyke and also in the Firs Chase garden two willow warblers were present.

At Maydays on Friday two whinchats, common sandpiper and a greenshank were seen by Martin Cock.
Andy Field reported a very quiet circuit around Cudmore Grove on Friday with ten yellow wagtails, 3 chiffchaffs and a couple of common terns being the highlights.

Along the Reeveshall and Shop Lane seawall on Thursday 27th, six whinchats and four wheatears were seen, also a marsh harrier, three buzzards, sparrowhawk and twenty stock doves. In the Pyefleet were 90 avocets, four little terns on Langenhoe Point mud, three common terns, single bar-tailed godwit, 50 grey plover, ten dunlin, 45 golden plover, while along the dyke near the Oyster Fishery were a couple of willow warblers and two lesser whitethroats. Ten yellow wagtails were by the Golfhouse and five were at Reeveshall.
A red squirrel scampered across the path at Fishponds Wood and 20+ small heaths were seen in the seawall field.
A Sandwich tern was seen flying out of the Colne estuary on Thursday by Chris Tyas.

A common blue was enjoying the sunshine in Feldy View field on Wednesday 26th, also a common lizard there too.

Along the Strood seawall on Wednesday were seen a whinchat, wheatear, common buzzard, yellow wagtail, ten house martins, twenty golden plover, 15 grey plover, ten Mediterranean gulls, three common tern.

Two sparrowhawks and a great spotted woodpecker and a very vocal Mediterranean gull were reported on Wednesday by Ian Black.

A wheatear was beside the Strood seawall on a wet and windy Tuesday 25th.
Three whinchats were also seen by the seawall while along the Strood channel were two avocets, four knot, 20+ Mediterranean gulls, common tern and two ringed plover. A willow warbler and blackcap were in Feldy View - as was the first wasp spider of the year there.

A spotted flycatcher was a surprise sighting in the Firs Chase garden on Tuesday, seen briefly in the morning drizzle feeding beside the garden driveway.