Thursday, 29 October 2020


A purple sandpiper made a surprise appearance at the East Mersea Point on Wednesday 28th, spending half an hour on the beach before heading out onto the nearby mud as the tide receded. The bird was first seen as it flew along the beach and was also watched at the same time by Steve Grimwade and his Swallow Birding group.

The purple sandpiper spent a few minutes having a feed along the strandline by itself and was quite confiding. Last October a purple sandpiper was first seen on 13th feeding on the same mud with other waders as the tide receded and was seen on a few subsequent occasions later that autumn.

The purple sandpiper was found resting up against a bank of shells and seaweed at the Point.

Whilst enjoying the sight of the purple sandpiper, the snow bunting decided to vanish at the same time. It had been showing at the Point in its usual location and was seen by various people but there was no sign of it late morning.
Other birds of interest seen at the Point included 36 sanderling, rock pipit and a pair of stonechat.

At least 300 brent geese were feeding in the park's grazing fields on Wednesday, as were 200 wigeon and a few curlews, lapwings and two black-tailed godwits. Two swallows flew a few circuits over the fields before heading west.

The flock of 35 greylag geese was having a rest in the grazing fields on Wednesday.

By the park pond 16 lesser redpolls were feeding in nearby trees, both on the ground and in the tops of trees, flying around calling as they passed by. Five siskins were also noted, as were a female blackcap, chiffchaff and a singing Cetti's warbler.
Steve Grimwade also reported in addition a marsh harrier over the car park and another one during their seawall walk, common buzzard, sparrowhawk, a water rail calling from the pond, four swallows and a red squirrel in Shop Lane.

At West Mersea a wheatear was found by Martin Cock on Wednesday between the beach huts near Fairhaven Avenue. At Maydays two stonechats, corn bunting, five marsh harriers and a grey seal seen by Martin.
Nine red-legged partridge were in the field near Chapmans Lane and a buzzard flew over the East Mersea road near Weir Farm.

During a drizzly visit to Coopers Beach on Tuesday 27th, a siskin flew over, the pair of stonechats was still present, 38 little egrets, common buzzard and a little grebe were noted.
Two lesser redpolls flew over the Firs Chase garden, where a hummingbird hawkmoth was also seen as it visited salvia flowers.

The wheatear was still present on the Strood seawall on Monday 26th, having been first seen in the same area the day before by Martin Cock. Three corn buntings were feeding on the seawall, also pair of stonechats, fifty linnets and a late house martin flying south-west. In the channel were 100 black-tailed godwits, ten knot and seventy teal.
Earlier on Monday the bearded tit was seen in the reeds of the Strood dyke by both Martin Cock and Jonathan Bustard. A peregrine was also seen in the area by Martin. Ian Black reported a stonechat, Cetti's warbler and 45 golden plover along the Strood with a grey wagtail over the caravan park.

At East Mersea the snow bunting was still on the beach at Stone Point and watched by Ron Harvey.

On Sunday 25th the main highlight was a single bearded tit calling from the reedbed along the Strood borrowdyke. It called out loudly nearby as a I walked along the seawall with Andy Field. The bird eventually showed at the top of the reeds and appeared as a brownish juvenile bird. It stayed around for the rest of the day although sometimes elusive at times.

Along the Strood seawall were seen marsh harrier, two sparrowhawks, two greenshank, five Mediterranean gulls, ten knot, 300+ golden plover and 150 black-tailed godwits, also 70+ linnets, 2 corn buntings and pair of stonechats.

At Feldy View on Sunday, two lesser redpolls were feeding in the birch trees with fifty goldfinches, eight pintail flew over, a redwing and sparrowhawk were noted while five siskin flew over Firs Chase.
A swallow was seen flying over Feldy View by Jonathan Bustard.

There was a mix of wildfowl along the Strood channel on Saturday 24th with a mix of brent geese, shelduck and wigeon shown here. Also of interest were a marsh harrier, ten Mediterranean gulls on the mud, three greenshank, 3 knot, 130 lapwing, while in the fields were 50 skylarks and 60 linnets.
At East Mersea a grey wagtail flew over the car park at Mersea Barns on Saturday.

Ian Black reported a sparrowhawk taking another starling in his Mersea Avenue garden on Saturday, also five long-tailed tits and two "willow / chiffs" seen.

The snow bunting photographed by Michael Thorley at East Mersea Point on Thursday 22nd.

This mallow moth was discovered the following morning resting on the power cable for the moth trap. Nine moths of six species were recorded the previous evening on Friday 23rd, namely lesser yellow underwing, large yellow underwing, turnip, red-green carpet, large wainscot and Blair's shoulder knot.

Saturday, 24 October 2020


A distant great white egret spent an hour feeding on the saltmarsh on Ray Island on Friday 23rd. It was first seen gliding over the Strood fields and then landing in the Strood Channel, before moving over to the saltmarsh to feed. Even at a distance the big size, the longer neck and big yellow bill showed the bird was not the more usually seen little egret - of which eight were also in the area.

A buzzard flew west over the channel while a sparrowhawk flew low east over the seawall and across the Strood fields. A greenshank called from the channel, a Cetti's warbler sang briefly while another one called 200 metres along the dyke. Three lots of siskins were heard but not seen as they flew west over Firs Chase and Feldy View, one lesser redpoll was seen as it headed west.

At East Mersea a water rail was heard calling from the dyke near the Oyster Fishery by Martin Cock on Friday.

A flock of 15 goldfinches was feeding in the birch trees in Feldy View on Thursday 22nd as were at least a couple of lesser redpolls. A short while later a flock of fifteen lesser redpolls flew west along the Strood, as did a swallow - two more swallows being seen by Shaun Bater near Feldy View.

There's a nice display of autumnal colours in the Feldy View cemetery field at the moment. Many of the silver birch trees have had small flocks of finches feeding in them, while bushes with berries have been popular with the blackbirds.

Along the Strood channel on Thursday, a peregrine flew across to Ray Island, two marsh harriers headed low over Ray Island on their south-westward passage and a buzzard perched on a bush. Waders of interest included two greenshank, 85 knot, an avocet and six ringed plover, also 19 little grebes in the channel. A pair of stonechat was still present, a Cetti's warbler sang briefly and forty linnets were in the fields.

The snow bunting was still present at East Mersea Point and photographed on Thursday by Andy Field.

A colour-ringed black-tailed godwit was photographed by Andy on Thursday as it fed in the park's grazing fields. The bird was ringed as an adult in the Wash in 2006, so it is at least fourteen years old now.
Other birds seen at Cudmore Grove on Thursday by Andy included five swallows, house martin, sparrowhawk over the Point and a pair of stonechats and 20+ linnets.

On a rather wet Wednesday 21st a short-eared owl was seen flying over Langenhoe marsh by Martin Cock at Maydays, also three swallows seen. A swallow was also seen at Waldegraves heading out to sea by Shaun Bater, while a little egret was on the Waldegraves pond.

Feldy View seemed popular with the birds on the wet Wednesday morning with about 120 birds of 15 species a higher tally than normal for here. The main birds were 25 blackbirds, fifty goldfinches, ten chaffinches, two green woodpeckers, great spotted woodpecker and a kestrel while a stonechat was by the seawall and fifteen avocets in the Strood channel.
A goldcrest and chiffchaff were with a long-tailed tit flock in the Firs Chase garden.

On Tuesday 20th three house martins circled a few times over Cross Lane, three goldcrests, chiffchaff and a sparrowhawk were also noted along here. At Waldegraves holdiday park a kestrel, grey heron and eighty mallard were seen, also 200 cormorants standing on a shingle ridge offshore. In the sunshine a small white, red admiral and a speckled wood butterflies were seen.
A common buzzard was seen near Manwood Grove in Shop Lane on Tuesday while in West Mersea a chiffchaff was in the Firs Chase garden.
Angela Buckley took this photograph of the confiding snow bunting at East Mersea Point on Monday 19th.

Andy Field and I carried out the monthly wetland bird count along the north side of the Island on Monday - without finding any real surprises or much of note! Thirty fieldfare flew over Maydays as did a buzzard and two marsh harriers -one which was disturbed from its prey by the dyke. Three other marsh harriers were seen during the walk, as were a total of 7 stonechats and at least 8 rock pipits on the saltmarsh and a Cetti's warbler singing near the Oyster Fishery.
Most bird interest was at Cudmore Grove where nearly 400 brent geese and 250+ wigeon were feeding in the fields with 180 curlew roosting there too. Twenty eight sanderling were on the shoreline and 24 shoveler, 20+ knot and a bar-tailed godwit of interest on the Golfhouse pools. Four common seals were in the Pyefleet Channel. 

Earlier on Monday a walk around Feldy View produced three siskin, two redwing, three great spotted woodpeckers, goldcrest, chiffchaff, sparrowhawk, while by the seawall were a marsh harrier, common buzzard, five avocets and six ringed plover.

A walk along the Strood seawall on Sunday 18th coinciding with the high tide only provided views of three buzzards, 20+ Mediterranean gulls following a tractor in the fields, 200 brent geese, three rock pipits, three stonechats and sixteen lesser redpolls flying west. In Firs Chase 3 goldcrest and a chiffchaff were seen,

The snow bunting was seen again on Sunday at East Mersea Point by Steve Entwistle

The high tide at East Mersea on Saturday 17th was flooding through the seawall breach at Rewsalls and flooding the marsh inside. Birds seen here were 120 redshank, 40 curlew, 10 ringed plover, 6 snipe, 30 little egrets, three rock pipits grey heron, 12 Mediterranean gulls and three common buzzards over. Three other common buzzards were also seen over the fields to the north of Rewsalls farm. At the Youth Camp five goldcrest, two mistle thrushes and three chiffchaffs were seen, also a chiffchaff singing at East Mersea church.

Offshore from Waldegraves on Saturday a Slavonian grebe was with six great crested grebes, also ten sanderling on the shingle island. A common scoter, female eider and 100 brent geese were near Cobmarsh Island, a lesser redpoll and five swallows were west over Seaview and four chiffchaffs were at St Peters calling in the bushes.
A tree sparrow flew over the Firs Chase garden calling loudly as it flew north-west on Saturday morning.

Martin Cock noted on Saturday a fieldfare, two stonechat, kingfisher, goldcrest and a grey wagtail in the Feldy and Strood areas, while later at Maydays the kingfisher and stonechat also note there.
Angela Buckley reported four stonechats, marsh harrier, flock of linnets and four redwing along the Strood on Saturday.

After searching East Mersea Point for thirty minutes on Saturday morning, Jonathan Bustard finally located the obliging snow bunting and after spending another thirty minutes with it, took this great photo of it while sitting beside it!

Moth-trapping has continued on several October nights in the Firs Chase garden - weather permitting, with this attractive merveille du jour on the 17th, the autumn highlight.

The recently established Clancy's rustic has been regularly seen this autumn on five nights in September including three in 18th, while also five nights in October with three on the 20th.

Southerly winds on the 20th brought this presumed immigrant the dark sword-grass to the trap.

Also on the 20th this Silver Y also trapped, another presumed immigrant, as was a white-point that night.

Up the three red-green carpets have been trapped during mid October evenings.

The large wainscot has been seen on four nights in mid October.

Saturday, 17 October 2020


A snow bunting was playing hard to find in recent days on the beach at the East Mersea Point- here tracked down by Shaun Bater on Friday 16th,
Shaun Bater managed to track the snow bunting down after an hour walking around looking for it and took these four photographs of it on Friday. 

The snow bunting is very confiding and stays still and well camouflaged among the shells and shingle and is almost stood on while looking for it. Shaun got to within six to eight feet from the bird for these photos.

Another of Shaun's pictures of the snow bunting. The bird was first seen earlier on Friday morning by Andy Field.

Along the Strood seawall on Friday a male hen harrier was watched hunting over the grass field for about fifteen minutes. It was quartering the field, occasionally dropping down and then back flying again. After a while some carrion crows started mobbing it and it disappeared out of view near the seawall. The bird must have returned a couple of hours later as it was seen again by Ron Harvey.

Also seen along the Strood seawall was a kingfisher along the dyke, three stonechats, fieldfare, two rock pipit, leucistic starling with 1000 starlings in a field, buzzard, seven red-legged partridge, greenshank, 200 golden plover, eight lesser redpoll over as were two siskin and ten redwing near Feldy View,

Five lesser redpolls flew over the Firs Chase garden, also chiffchaff heard there and two visits during the day by a hummingbird hawkmoth.

Near Meeting Lane in East Mersea Michael Thorley reported a flock of forty chaffinch with eight goldfinch and a brambling feeding in a recently harvested maize field, also a goldcrest in a hedge.

A meadow pipit was calling from the side of the Strood seawall on Thursday 15th along with three others while three rock pipits were also noted during the walk. Four stonechats were seen, the leucistic starling with 1000 starlings, two common buzzards, marsh harrier, 150 brent geese and ten knot were also seen from the seawall. Near Feldy View two fieldfares, five redwing and one lesser redpoll were noted while a common buzzard flew low over Firs Chase gardens being mobbed by crows.
A common seal was watched swimming up the Strood Channel within 100m of the Strood causeway.
A small white, red admiral and common darter were seen in the Firs Chase garden.

Angela Buckley visited the Strood on Thursday and saw a pair of stonechats, marsh harrier and a buzzard during the afternoon.
Ian Black saw two sparrowhawks over Ray Island, a buzzard over the High Street and five redwing flying over on Thuraday.

On Wednesday 14th the tide began covering the mud along the Strood Channel late morning. Birds noted from the seawall included 25 brent geese, four Canada geese flying, 25 shelduck, 50 wigeon, greenshank, marsh harrier, fifty skylarks, two stonechats, three rock pipits and a Cetti's warbler. In the Feldy View area nine siskin, a lesser repoll, brambling were seen flying over while in bushes were five redwing, chiffchaff and ten blackbirds.

At Coopers Beach on Wednesday Martin Cock saw four gannets offshore and a merlin over the sea, while at Maydays there was a kingfisher, chiffchaff, 30 redwing and 60 linnet.
Ian Black reported a big movement of thrushes over Mersea Avenue on Wednesday evening.

Michael Dawson watched the osprey fly close-by on Wednesday as they were dredging for oysters in Salcott Creek, also a peregrine and marsh harrier seen from their boat in the Mersea Quarters

The snow bunting was found on Tuesday morning on East Mersea Point by Andy Field. I went in the rain during the afternoon and managed to take this photo of it just a few metres in front as it fed along the strandline at the eastern-most part of the Point.
Also noted in the area of the Point and park fields were two fieldfares, two stonechats, snipe, 75 brent geese, 120 wigeon, 50 teal, 20 shoveler, 15 meadow pipits and five rock pipits, blackcap and Cetti's warbler near the Golfhouse sluice.

 Tuesday mid-morning Andy Field watched from the park two gannets fly up the Blackwater and also three distant common scoters and a Sandwich tern in the Colne.
Martin Cock reported 30 meadow pipits, four rock pipits as well as the snow bunting in the rain on Tuesday at the Point. First thing on Tuesday morning a short-eared owl was seen hunting over the saltmarsh by the Golfhouse by Adrian Amos and Andrew Tillsley.

At Coopers Beach on Tuesday morning 35 little egrets were scattered across the flooded marshes - the area now getting regularly inundated by the high tides. Also a gannet seen offshore mid morning, four swallows flew west, stonechat, rock pipit, three common buzzards, 2 Mediterranean gulls, 25 linnets, fifty goldfinches, a leucistic starling and 19 pied wagtails as well as a chiffchaff by the East Mersea church.

Andy Field took this video clip of the snow bunting feeding on the East Mersea Point beach -;

The snow bunting refound and photographed by Andy Field on Tuesday - first found six days earlier by Steve Entwistle on the beach 400m to the west.

A skylark photographed by Andy on the beach at East Mersea Point on Tuesday.

On Monday 12th a merlin flew low along the Strood dyke before perching on the metal railings by the sluice. A short while later a kingfisher also flew along the dyke and perched at the same sluice. A green sandpiper flew over from Ray Island calling and then landed at a pond at the back of the fields, a greenshank, ten knot and 200 black-tailed godwits were also noted. A buzzard, marsh harrier and a sparrowhawk were seen, while in the fields were 100 skylark, 30 linnets and a rock pipit by the seawall.

A brambling flew past Feldy View calling on Monday, also two siskin and a swallow while three redwing, ten blackbirds and a chiffchaff were in the bushes.

A male red squirrel has been making daily visits recently to the feeder in the Firs Chase garden - seen here on Thursday 15th.

Monday, 12 October 2020


Two common redstarts were on show 400m apart from each other not far from the Firs Caravan site at West Mersea on Sunday 11th. This male was still showing on its third day by the Strood seawall. Andy Field took these first two photos.

The male redstart has been spending the last three days beside the Strood borrowdyke in the reedbed corner, perching in the bushes and large oak tree.

The moderate breeze on Sunday made the redstart drop down to feed out of the wind under an oak tree. At times the orange tail was seen quivering in typical redstart fashion. This photo taken by Jonathan Bustard.

Jonathan Bustard also took this of the male redstart. It's been rare to have a colourful male stay on Mersea for longer than a day in the autumn.

Earlier on Sunday morning a female common redstart was found in the Feldy View cemetery field by Steve Entwistle and myself. At first we thought we were hearing a chiffchaff calling before realising that the bird perched in the small birch tree was a female redstart. Andy Field soon arrived and took the photo above and the one below.

The redstart flitted along the hedge and disappeared for a few minutes before returning to the same spot where it was easily watched.

Jonathan Bustard took this photo of the female redstart, before heading down to the seawall to see the colourful male redstart.

Having just finished photographing the male redstart by the Strood seawall, this peregrine circled over the area providing a bonus photograph opportunity for Jonathan with these two snaps.

The peregrine scared some of the waders off the mud along the Strood Channel late on Sunday morning.
Other birds of prey noted were three sparrowhawks at various times over the Firs Chase and Feldy View areas, a buzzard flying west over the Yacht Club and another three circling over Firs Chase early afternoon. Ian Black also saw a buzzard over Victory Road a short while later.

A noticeable redwing passage was watched on Sunday morning with small flocks totalling 300 passing west over Firs Chase, also a siskin and goldcrest noted here. Also eight redwing passed later over Feldy View as were two siskins and a chiffchaff. A speckled wood butterfly was there and a migrant hawker nearby.

Along the Strood channel on Sunday were 100 black-tailed godwits, 20 shelduck and 15 little grebes.

At Cudmore Grove a Cetti's warbler was heard singing by Steve Entwistle at the east end of main park in the overgrown ditch on Sunday.

On Saturday 10th a peregrine flew fast and low over the Strood fields after some wood pigeons. Two pairs of stonechats were seen and also an unpaired male heard singing unusually here. There were flocks of 50+ skylarks and 70+linnets in the Strood fields, also rock pipit seen and two buzzards at the back. Along the channel were 3 greenshank, 300 golden plover, 120 wigeon, 3 knot and 50 dunlin.

A distant osprey was seen flying slowly west along Salcott Channel, circling round a few times before dropping down out of sight. Thanks to a heads-up text from Brian Churches who was also watching the osprey on Old Hall Marshes.

Saturday, 10 October 2020


There was a nice variety of birds seen on Friday 9th during a walk along the Strood seawall with the sun shining and plenty of mud along the Strood channel. Amongst the various waders were 100+ black-tailed godwits, this one feeding close to the seawall, also of interest were 500 golden plover, two greenshank, four knot and fifty dunlin. Also along the channel were 16 shelduck, 20 wigeon, 15 teal and a common tern.

A male redstart was found in bushes beside the borrowdyke, making the occasional flight showing off its orange-red tail. It was watched for several minutes but it never perched out in the open, staying hidden amongst the branches. Four stonechats, 70+ linnets and 70+ skylarks were flying about the fields, while ten lesser redpolls and ten swallows flew west. Two siskins fed with a few goldfinches in Feldy View where four chiffchaffs and two blackcaps were seen.

At Cudmore Grove on Friday, Andy Field reported seeing four stonechats - one photographed by Andy here, a wheatear, 20 house martins, 12 swallows, several passage meadow pipits, 50 golden plover, two chiffchaff and a goldcrest as well as two red squirrels at the park entrance.
Martin Cock saw a green sandpiper, buzzard and a blackcap during a brief visit to Maydays farm on Friday.

Ron and Jenny Harvey were pleased to see these two young hedgehogs in their Whittaker Way garden this week, feeding up for the winter. Ian Black also has been seeing a hedgehog in his Mersea Avenue garden.

On Wednesday 7th a snow bunting was watched by Steve Entwistle at Cudmore Grove as it fed with a few meadow pipits on the beach near the start of the seawall. Martin Cock reported a blackcap, chiffchaff and a flyover redpoll at East Mersea, while Ian Black saw five willow warbler / chiffchaffs in Feldy View and 15 black-tailed godwits in the Strood on Wednesday.

At Maydays on Tuesday 6th a stonechat, Mediterranean gull, two chiffchaffs and two swallows were seen by Martin Cock. 

At Cudmore Grove on the 6th, Andy Field saw 2 wheatears, one photographed by him above, 5 chiffchaffs, 2 goldcrest, 2 Cetti's warblers and a common tern.

Martin Cock reported at East Mersea on Monday 5th, two wheatears, 2 goldcrest, lesser whitethroat, bar-tailed godwit, 12 swallows, an obliging Cetti's warbler and lots of meadow pipits. At Coopers Beach Michael Thorley saw 26 little egrets, 7 mallard and a curlew.

Four gannets were seen offshore by Martin Cock from Coopers Beach on Sunday 4th and another one seen by Steve Entwistle heading westwards from Coopers Beach.
At West Mersea two wheatears were seen by Jonathan Bustard on the Strood seawall, also 30+ pied wagtails at the Glebe. Ian Black saw two sparrowhawks over Mersea Avenue, a buzzard over the High Street and a green woodpecker in the Lane.

A large female peregrine was seen over Cobmarsh on Saturday 3rd by Ian Black, also three Mediterranean gulls seen and a sparrowhawk in St Peters Road. 
Ten common scoters were seen by Steve Entwistle as they landed on the sea off Coopers Beach. At the country park, Andy Field noted a wheatear, couple of goldcrests, a few robins and also hundreds of cormorants out at sea and in flight.
Two immature gannets were seen on Friday 2nd from Coopers Beach by Martin Cock.

On Thursday 1st at the country park, this wheatear was photographed by Andy Field, also noted there was a pair of stonechat and a siskin passing overhead. Martin Cock also at East Mersea reported a hobby, peregrine, lesser whitethroat and a few swallows.

In Cross Lane on Wednesday 30th, Martin Cock saw 3 chiffchaffs, blackcap, a few swallows and sanderling on the shingle ridge opposite Waldegraves.

A great white egret was seen by Steve Entwistle flying over the Strood causeway east to west late afternoon on Tuesday 29th. At East Mersea a chiffchaff, six blackcap, two lesser whitethroat, nine brent geese and a clouded yellow were seen by Martin Cock on Tuesday.

Two common cranes were seen by Andy Field and Martin Cock on Monday 28th as they flew north-east over East Mersea. Also 12 gannets, common scoter, a diver sp, six Sandwich terns and two wheatears
At West Mersea three stonechats were seen on the Strood seawall by Jonathan Bustard, while Ian Black saw three buzzards heading south over the High Street on Monday.

On the West Mersea beach on Sunday 27th, Martin Cock reported a grey wagtail, Sandwich tern, Mediterranean gull, also some pied wagtails and meadow pipits flying over, while Steve Entwistle noted common gulls back on the sea-front.
Jonathan Norgate saw six common terns by the beach huts on Saturday 26th.

On Thursday 24th twelve brent geese were seen at St Peters Beach by Ian Black. In Shop Lane Martin Cock saw a stonechat, chiffchaff, forty swallows, a tawny owl heard calling and a red squirrel.

The osprey was seen by Andy Field on Wednesday 23rd perched on a post on the Geedons to the north of the Island. At Cudmore Grove three Sandwich terns, four chiffchaffs, three siskins over, Cetti's warbler, two knot, 230 oystercatchers were noted by Andy.
At Maydays Martin Cock reported on Wednesday the same osprey perched on the Geedons post, greenshank, 30 knot, 50 swallows, sand martin and a few house martins