Thursday, 31 December 2020


 A pair of stock doves was perched in a tree beside the Firs Chase Caravan Park on Thursday.
Earlier in the morning a flock of about fifty white-fronted geese flew north west over Firs Chase and out over the Hard, having initially flown over Martin Cock's house in The Coverts.
Another smaller flock of fifteen white-fronted geese flew down the Strood Channel late morning, heading towards Salcott.

Along the Strood seawall were a pair of stonechat, eight reed bunting, buzzard, four red-legged partridge, redwing, 24 avocets and in the field 25 ringed plover were roosting with 100 golden plover. A snipe flew out of the dyke while another was seen in flight over Ray Island.

At Coopers Beach on Thursday, Michael Thorley reported a close red-throated diver and common buzzard, while off West Mersea Jonathan Bustard saw a red-throated diver from the Esplanade.

At least four snow buntings were at East Mersea Point on Thursday 31st and photographed by Bob Covey.

On Wednesday 30th at Coopers Beach four red-throated divers, two Slavonian grebes, 100+ great crested grebes were offshore while over the marshes were a kingfisher, ten snipe and a Mediterranean gull. Sixty fieldfares flew over the fields near the East Mersea church.

At Reeveshall on Wednesday morning a marsh harrier was sitting in a field, a fox ran across a grass field spooking 300 brent geese off in the process. In the distance three great white egrets and two little egrets were seen feeding on the Geedon saltmarsh, while two marsh harriers were over Langenhoe.

Offshore from the West Mersea Esplanade on Wednesday, Jonathan Bustard reported a great northern diver, seven red-breasted mergansers and two Slavonian grebes and also a Mediterranean gull over the Post Office. A great spotted woodpecker was heard drumming beside the Firs Caravan Park by Ian Black. 

A red-necked grebe was reasonably close to the West Mersea beach between Kingsland Road and the Monkey Beach on Tuesday 29th. The calm sea allowed good views of it as it fed, diving regularly and on one occasion coming back up to eat a crab. Also showing offshore very well that morning was a guillemot found by Steve Entwistle from the Esplanade as it was swam quickly west towards the Monkey Beach.

Offshore from East Mersea a black-throated diver and two Slavonian grebes were seen by Steve Entwistle from the country park. A pair of ravens was also seen by Steve landing on the conifers and being mobbed by carrion crows in the south-west corner of the park, before they headed off west to Coopers Beach. The black-throated diver was also seen by Martin Cock from Coopers Beach, who also noted a shag close-in and a grey wagtail flying towards the church. The black brant was seen in the field opposite Meeting Lane by Steve. At Maydays farm a barn owl made a rare appearance late afternoon for Martin Cock, who also saw a merlin, two buzzards and fifty fieldfares.

The black brant was seen in the Strood Channel on Tuesday 29th - pictured here facing left. Earlier it had been feeding in the wheat field with 1000 brent geese and a pale-bellied brent goose. Two marsh harriers, two buzzards, sparrowhawk and a kestrel carrying and plucking a turnstone by the seawall were all noted, also a stonechat, snipe, five Mediterranean gulls, 10 avocets while roosting in the fields were 88 ringed plover. Three red-breasted mergansers were in the Mersea Quarters.

A calm and sunny Monday 28th at the flooded marsh near the East Mersea boating lake, looking towards Coopers Beach. Seen in the area were the black brant, two pale-bellied brent geese, 400 brent geese, ten Mediterranean gulls, 110 curlew, 50 redshank, 18 snipe, five little egrets, 20 dunlin, kingfisher and 12 sanderling. In the hedges west of the church were 70 fieldfare, two redwings, 3 yellowhammers, five reed buntings and sparrowhawk. The male stonechat was still by Coopers beach play area.

The flat sea opposite the boating lake and Coopers Beach provided views of six red-throated divers, two Slavonian grebes, 310 great crested grebes and a distant red-necked grebe,

Offshore from West Mersea on Monday Steve Entwistle along with Martin Cock and Richard Brown reported red-necked grebe, two red-throated divers and three great northern divers.
A great white egret was seen by Martin on the Ray Island saltmarsh near the Strood.
Two pairs of stonechat were seen at either end of the Strood seawall on Sunday 27th, the male here perched up near the caravan park.

The sun was shining on the Strood on Sunday morning after a night of rain with the seawall path wet and muddy. The tide was coming in during the morning walk with 24 avocets and 20 knot of interest along the channel. In the wet fields were 500 golden plover, 100 ringed plovers, 150 dunlin, 10 grey plover and 20 redshank. A marsh harrier was also noted flying over Ray Island.

Ian Black reported two siskin heard calling in flight over The Lane on Sunday afternoon. A shag was watched from the Esplanade on Sunday by Martin Cock and Steve Entwistle.

On Saturday 26th a walk past the Rewsalls fields and to the East Mersea boating lake provided a nice variety of birds. The black brant and two pale-bellied brent geese were feeding with 700 brent geese in the fields where there was also 150 fieldfare, a redwing, leucistic starling, four yellowhammers, eight reed buntings with several house sparrows and 20+ chaffinch near a game crop.

On the flooded Coopers marsh at high tide on Saturday the kingfisher perched on fenceposts, 16 snipe flew about, among 50 curlew was one with a colour-flag H31 which appears to be from a Dutch breeding population, also 30 redshank, five Mediterranean gulls, 70 carrion crows, two buzzards, rock pipit while offshore were three Slavonian grebes.

At Gyants Marsh on Boxing Day a woodcock was seen flying away by Tom Fleetwood.

Two red squirrels were together at the feeder in the Firs Chase garden at lunchtime on Christmas Day.

Shaun Bater reported a badger feeding in his Estuary Park Road garden on the night of Boxing Day.

Friday, 25 December 2020


A Happy Christmas to everyone.

A song thrush which recently reappeared in our Firs Chase garden after its autumn break, has started singing outside our front of house.

A sunny but chilly walk along the Strood seawall on Christmas Day with the fields getting more waterlogged with each rainy day. A marsh harrier and a peregrine were seen flying together over the top end of the Strood channel for a few minutes before drifting away eastwards up towards Wellhouse farm. The peregrine was making a few stoops on waders on the channel while the female marsh harrier circled above and despite the peregrine seemingly flying faster, the marsh harrier seemed to follow and keep up with it. Over on Ray Island a merlin was seen disturbing a few birds off the saltmarsh, as it flew low and fast before alighting on a post.

The tide was still receding on Friday morning with the main bird flocks of interest being 150 wigeon, 100 teal, 300 golden plover and 25 avocets. The pair of stonechats was at the seawall end near the caravan site, two fieldfares flew off the Island, forty skylarks and four red-legged partridges were feeding in the fields.

A turnstone was feeding around the Strood seawall sluice on Thursday 24th. A bearded tit was heard calling from the main reedbed in the dyke, while feeding in the wet fields were 500 golden plover, 35 ringed plover and 20 dunlin. A marsh harrier flew up channel, where 27 avocets were the only waders of interest seen.
A large female peregrine was seen by Ian Black taking a redshank above the end of Ray Island on Thursday.

On a wet Wednesday 23rd along the Reeveshall seawall near Shop Lane, three marsh harriers, four yellowhammers, a singing corn bunting, 50 fieldfares and a stonechat were seen over the fields. In the Pyefleet nine red-breasted mergansers, 1000 golden plover, 1000 knot, 50 avocets and 200 lapwing were noted. A mistle thrush was seen by Fishponds Wood where two red squirrels were also seen.

On Tuesday 22nd this common buzzard was photographed by Andy Field perched in the alders near the country park pond. Also seen there were 101 greylag geese, 1000 wigeon, 212 black-tailed godwits, 100+ lapwing, 11 snipe feeding in the fields, also two Cetti's warblers heard, water rail called while offshore were two common scoters, 100 great crested grebes and two divers sps.

Offshore from the Esplanade on Tuesday morning Martin Cock reported three great northern divers, three eiders while two pale bellied brent geese were among the brent geese opposite Meeting Lane, also the leucistic starling there. Later at Maydays a pale-bellied brent goose was feeding in the brent flock there, also a kingfisher by the sluice and three common seals and a grey seal in the Pyefleet channel.

Steve Entwistle saw a great northern diver and 75 great crested grebes from the Esplanade on Tuesday afternoon while Michael Thorley reported a possible Slavonian grebe offshore from the Esplanade.
Ian Black watched four bats flying round his Mersea Avenue garden late on Tuesday afternoon.

The regular male stonechat was feeding amongst the reedmace in the dyke at the south-west end of the Strood seawall on Tuesday 22nd.

This pair of stonechat has been around for a couple of months although some days they're not always seen. Also since the autumn the other pair of stonechat has been frequenting the opposite end of the Strood seawall / dyke.

The bearded tit was heard calling from the reeds on Tuesday and also a Cetti's warbler called from a bush by the dyke near the caravan park. Two marsh harriers and a buzzard flew over the Ray, while along the channel were 200 redshank, 27 avocets and 300 golden plover.

The great spotted woodpecker is often seen in Firs Chase, this male seen from the garden on Thursday 24th.

Also seen from the Firs Chase garden was this kestrel perched in the neighbours on the 22nd. A male sparrowhawk swooped low past the bird feeders in the garden on Wednesday 23rd.

Highlights on Monday 21st during a walk along the Strood seawall were two female/ immature merlins having a brief tussle with each other on the Ray Island saltmarsh. One bird had been watched for a few minutes as it sat on a post before it quickly flew off to fly at this other merlin that was flying nearby. One dropped onto the saltmarsh while the other was watched as it flew the length of the Ray Saltings. A marsh harrier, buzzard and a kestrel were also seen during the walk.

The female kingfisher perched on a bush beside the dyke before flying away to perch on the seawall sluice. Three stonechats were seen along the dyke, while 24 skylarks and five red-legged partridges were in the fields. Also feeding in the waterlogged wheat fields were 70 ringed plovers and 40 grey plovers. In the Strood Channel were 1000 dunlin and 30 avocets.

Sunday, 20 December 2020


Three barnacle geese were seen by Andy Field on Sunday 20th flying into the country park's grazing fields at East Mersea. The geese were photographed by Andy, shown here.

The origin of these barnacle geese is unknown - this is the first sighting on the island this year.
The geese spent most of the morning feeding in the fields but not really keeping close company with either the wigeon or other brent geese.
All the birds in the fields including the barnacle geese took to the air when a peregrine appeared low over the seawall and flew fast over the fields scattering all the waders and wildfowl, before it continued over the fields and the houses north-westwards.
Earlier Andy had watched a sparrowhawk catch a starling in the fields until a carrion crow intervened, allowing the starling to fly away a bit scathed.

This black-tailed godwit was photographed by Andy in the grazing fields on Sunday, one of about sixty black-tailed godwits feeding.

The colour ring combination of Red Red - White//White revealed this black-tailed godwit to have been ringed in September 2019 at Snettisham in north-west Norfolk.
Andy also saw two marsh harriers, 45 avocets on the mud and two stonechats. The Cetti's warbler was also calling loudly and singing briefly from the reeds along the borrowdyke. In the grazing fields were 1000 wigeon, 100 lapwing and 200 brent geese, while 40 shoveler were on the Golfhouse pools.

In the Pyefleet channel on Sunday near the Oyster Fishery, 200 avocets were on the mud at the east end of the channel, while forty black-tailed godwits were feeding on mud near Reeveshall.

At Chapmans Lane the covey of seven red-legged partridge was seen on Sunday by Steve Entwistle.

Two black brants were seen in the flock of 800+ dark-bellied brent geese on Saturday 19th feeding in the winter wheat field near the East Mersea church. This picture was the only one managed of either brant, with its head up facing right showing the prominent white neck collar. Most of the time the birds were moving around within the flock and keeping their heads down or facing away, making it tricky to get a picture of one. The big flock of brent geese was spread across the field with the black brants at either end about 200m apart. Also seen were the two pale-bellied brent geese.

After a couple of loud shots were heard, the brent geese flew off the fields and landed at the nearby boating lake near the Youth Camp where they rested for half an hour before flying back to feed on more winter wheat.
A sparrowhawk was seen by Mersea Barns and later a common buzzard flew low over the fields to the flooded Rewsalls marshes. There were 75 curlew, 30+ redshank and four little egrets on the marshes.
Also noted were fifty fieldfares and a flock of 20 magpies near Coopers Beach.

Eight sanderling were feeding along the water's edge on the beach just west of the Youth Camp on Saturday, while five pied wagtails were on the beach at Waldegraves. Also at the Waldegraves pond were a little egret, two redshank, ten mallard and ten moorhens. A sparrowhawk was seen landing on top of a beach hut at Seaview holiday park.

Friday, 18 December 2020


There were 1000 wigeon feeding in the country park grazing fields on Friday 18th, many of them gathered around the increasingly waterlogged area. Also in this area were 60 black-tailed godwits while elsewhere were 100 brent geese, 50 teal, 50 lapwing and seven greylag geese. Twenty shoveler were on the Golfhouse saltmarsh pools, fifty avocets were on the mudflats while four redwing flew over the park pond.

Near the East Mersea church on Friday, the big flock of 800 brent geese was feeding in the wheat field to the west of Church Lane. Also with the brent were the black brant and two pale-bellied brent geese while also in the field were 50+ fieldfares and a leucistic starling with 200 starlings.

On Thursday 17th one of the male stonechats perched on a bush beside the Strood seawall while at the opposite end of the seawall the regular male and female were still present.
The bearded tit was heard calling from the middle reedbed and seen briefly at the top of the reeds.

Along the Strood channel on the sunny and still Thursday were 30 avocets, 1000 golden plover, fifty knot, five Mediterranean gulls and a bar-tailed godwit of interest. A merlin perched on a post on Ray Island and a marsh harrier flew across the Ray saltmarsh. A flock of 60 ringed plover was feeding in one of the wet fields.

On Wednesday 16th the flock of 800 brent geese was seen feeding in the winter wheat fields near the East Mersea church and Coopers Beach area.

A distant record shot of the black brant pictured centre at the back feeding with its head down and facing left. Two pale-bellied brent were also present with the main brent flock. 
The field beside Coopers Beach also saw 100 fieldfares feeding, the leucistic starling with 200 starlings, as well as a high tide roost of 15 ringed plovers. A sparrowhawk and kestrel were also in the area as were three yellowhammers by some game crops.

The high tide on Wednesday flooded the Rewsalls marshes by Coopers Beach with seawater easily flowing through the main breaches in the old seawall. Waders noted here were 130 curlew, 40 redshank, twenty turnstone, three lapwing and twenty snipe, with five little egrets also noted and 12 sanderling on the beach.

Ian Black had a rare sighting of a tree sparrow in a bush beside The Lane on Wednesday.

High tide on Tuesday 15th covered the saltmarshes and nearly covered the old wooden jetty beside the Firs caravan park. The kingfisher flew along the dyke by the Strood seawall, the bearded tit was heard calling, three stonechats were present as usual at either end. A sparrowhawk flew over the channel, a buzzard perched on Ray Island, 30 avocets, 70 knot, two Mediterranean gulls and 60 ringed plovers were also of interest.

At Coopers Beach on Tuesday sixty fieldfares, 800 brent geese and 12 turnstones were noted by Michael Thorley.
At Maydays on Tuesday a green sandpiper, fieldfare and four buzzards were seen by Martin Cock also a short-eared owl was flying over Langenhoe, 

The late morning high tide on Monday 14th didn't appear as high as predicted with the Maydays saltmarsh not getting covered. Birds of note whilst carrying out the monthly wildfowl count were 23 red-breasted mergansers, 1000 knot, 40 avocets, 100 black-tailed godwits and nine great crested grebes.
Also noted were seven marsh harriers in the air at the same time over Reeveshall while small birds noted were 100 linnets, 2 stonechats, a fieldfare and a yellowhammer.

Mammal highlights included a Chinese water deer that was on the saltmarsh near Bower Hall and got spooked when I stood up on the seawall quite close-by to it. It ran quickly away and was seen crossing back over the seawall and dyke before running up the side of the paramotor field by the Strood, whilst being mobbed by a carrion crow. Also seen was a common seal basking on saltmarsh only 400m from the Strood causeway- the furthest seal I've seen up at the top end of the Pyefleet, while later a grey seal was seen swimming in the Pyefleet below Bower Hall.

On Sunday 13th the black brant and a pale-bellied brent goose was seen with 500 dark-bellied brent geese feeding in the field to the west of the East Mersea church. Also seen were 70 fieldfares, a redwing, 30 chaffinch, 3 yellowhammers and a reed bunting.

At Reeveshall on Sunday there were 25 black-tailed godwits and 70 redshank feeding on the wet pastures with 100 lapwing, five fieldfares, corn bunting, yellowhammer and ten reed buntings also seen.
Feeding at high tide on the Reeveshall saltmarsh were 100 brent geese, 25 wigeon, 20 teal with 100 redshank and a red-breasted merganser noted too.

kingfisher was watched perched beside the Strood dyke on Saturday 12th. Also of note were the bearded tit, three stonechats, marsh harrier, buzzard, six red-legged partridges, 300 knot, 300 golden plover, 12 avocets and 10 little egrets. On the wet fields were about 100 waders of six species with 60 ringed plovers and 40 grey plover of interest along with a few curlew, redshank, dunlin and turnstone.

Beside the East Mersea road on Saturday the flock of 400+ brent geese was feeding in the wheat field to the south of Meeting Lane. Nearby Michael Thorley noted 250 corvids of jackdaws, carrion crows and some rooks feeding in the fields along with 1000+ wood pigeons and 70 black-headed gulls.

Friday, 11 December 2020


This sparrowhawk paid a visit recently to Martin Cock's garden in The Coverts, allowing him to take these two photographs of the bird.

The juvenile female sparrowhawk posed behind a yellow flower in Martin's garden.

On a dull Friday 11th, the purple sandpiper was feeding on the mud near the East Mersea Point just as the receding tide began uncovering the mud. Also nearby were 25+ sanderling, 25+ ringed plover and 30 turnstones while on the mud by the East Mersea Hard were 1000 knot and 40 avocets. A red-breasted merganser flew back up river past the Point and a great crested grebe was seen too. A pair of stonechat, two rock pipits and three reed buntings were seen at the Point too.

Grazing in the Golfhouse horse paddock were 100 wigeon and 120 teal while also feeding in the field were 5 lapwing, 10 chaffinch and ten meadow pipits.
In the nearby grazing fields were 200 lapwing, 900+ wigeon, two greylag geese, 60 black-tailed godwits and 16 stock doves. A mistle thrush was feeding in bushes with lots of mistletoe clumps near the Golfhouse.
Andy Field also noted four common scoter offshore from the park on Friday and a distant peregrine sitting on a post on the Geedon Saltings.
From the Monkey beach at St Peters on Friday, Jonathan Norgate reported a great northern diver close-in and four red-breasted mergansers

Along the Strood borrowdyke on Thursday 10th were two green sandpipers and two pairs of stonechats while fifteen avocets and 150 knot were in the channel. A marsh harrier was hunting the marshes on Feldy.
A kingfisher was seen at Maydays on Thursday by Martin Cock, also ten red-breasted mergansers and two marsh harriers.

The purple sandpiper was seen close into the shore at the East Mersea Point on Thursday by James Astley.

Recent rains have flooded the usual corner of the park's grazing fields as seen here on Wednesday 9th. Lots of ducks were enjoying the wet conditions with 100 wigeon, 50 teal, ten gadwall, 3 shoveler and 12 mallard all busy feeding. At least three snipe were spotted amongst the rushes while a buzzard perched in the nearby hedge. Fourteen black-tailed godwits were feeding in the other grazing field as were the rest of the 1000+ wigeon.

Offshore a black-throated diver was feeding in the river Colne along with 13 great crested grebes. A red- breasted merganser flew upriver and two common seals were also in the river.

A couple of lapwings were feeding in the Golfhouse horse paddock on Wednesday.  Two fieldfares and a redwing flew west over the bus turning circle.

A red-necked grebe was found by Andy Field on Wednesday feeding offshore from the Esplanade, also three eiders, great northern diver, eight red-breasted mergansers, 20 great crested grebes and a Mediterranean gull.

In East Mersea Michael Thorley saw two buzzards and a sparrowhawk in his garden near Meeting Lane on Wednesday.

On a foggy Tuesday 8th along the Strood seawall, a bearded tit was heard in the main reed bed, three stonechats, three rock pipits, two green sandpipers along the dyke also a marsh harrier perched on a bush beside the corner reedbed. 
Along the channel were 500 brent geese, 200 wigeon, 150 knot, 2 shoveler and 15 knot.

A peregrine was seen flying over the Hard by Ian Black on Tuesday afternoon, while Martin Cock saw 3 eider and 12 red-breasted mergansers offshore from Lower Kingsland Road.

A sharp frost coated lots of bushes and trees on a chilly and foggy start to Monday 7th along the Strood seawall. Birds noted through the gloom were two snipe, 12 avocets, sparrowhawk, 300 knot, 100 brent geese, 14 linnets, two rock pipits and six reed buntings.

The regular covey of seven red-legged partridge was seen in the Chapmans Lane field near Blue Row by Michael Thorley on Monday.

A kingfisher perched on the outside of the seawall sluice at Maydays farm on Sunday 6th - earlier it had been seen perched on the inside part beside the dyke. In some of the fields were 200 brent geese along with a pale-bellied brent, a pair of stonechat, 40 fieldfares, yellowhammer, singing corn bunting, 100+ linnets, nine reed buntings, three common buzzards and three marsh harriers.

In the Pyefleet Channel were 14 pintail, 4000+ knot, 50 avocets, 114 shelduck, 11 red-breasted mergansers, six great crested grebes, three common seals, while a flock of 48 greylag geese flew over.
Michael Thorley walked the Shop Lane section of seawall on Sunday afternoon and noted 3 common scoter, 150 avocets, 2000 knot and also seven marsh harrier on Langenhoe.

Offshore from West Mersea on Sunday were 3 eider, great northern diver and a red-breasted merganser seen by Martin Cock. Later four great northern divers were seen by Andy Field, a common scoter seen by Jonathan Bustard and 11 great crested grebes by Steve Entwistle

It was a nice sunny Saturday 5th for a walk along the Strood seawall with the tide coming in late morning. A female scaup was seen mid channel along with 150 wigeon, also 40 shelduck, 250 golden plover, 30 avocets and nine Mediterranean gulls. A marsh harrier, two buzzards, sparrowhawk were noted as was a pair of stonechat and 39 ringed plovers in one of the fields.

Two common buzzards were seen by Ian Black on Saturday as they flew south high over the High Street.

At East Mersea Point on Friday 4th, 52 sanderling and 23 turnstones were seen by Michael Thorley.

The first song thrush sighting in the Firs Chase garden for about three months was logged on Monday 7th. One also returned to Martin Cock's garden the day before too.

A hedgehog was seen late evening in the Firs Chase back garden on Monday 7th.

A red squirrel was feeding on nuts in the Firs Chase garden on Friday 11th - one of the regular visitors here.

The red squirrel was showing an impressive set of ear tufts when looked at from the front.
Sadly one of the regular red squirrel visitors to the garden was found dead in Firs Chase on Wednesday.

Friday, 4 December 2020


A kestrel was perched above the path beside the Firs Chase caravan park on a chilly Friday 4th.

Feldy View cemetery had a covering of snow on Friday morning. A green woodpecker was on a nearby telegraph pole.

Along the Strood seawall a green sandpiper called as it flew into one of the field ditches, a pair of stonechats was feeding among the reedmace in the dyke, the female tufted duck was present for third day in the dyke, a male marsh harrier hunted along the reedbed and a buzzard was hovering over the seawall. A pale-bellied brent goose was feeding with 400 brent geese on the Strood Hill wheat field and six red-legged partridges was seen too.

Along the Strood channel as the tide was coming back in, 30 avocets, 100+ knot, 500 dunlin and 400 golden plover were some of the waders noted.

At Cudmore Grove on Friday morning Andy Field saw the purple sandpiper and four sanderling at the East Mersea Point, also two greylag geese on the fields.
Martin Cock reported seeing at Maydays on Friday a green sandpiper, two marsh harriers and a buzzard.

The black brant was photographed by Michael Thorley on Thursday 3rd beside the West Mersea Hard.

The black brant was seen at mid-day by Michael in the company of a dozen dark-bellied brent geese.

Another of Michael's pictures of the black brant - presumed to be the same bird as in recent winters that has fed close to the Hard car park.

Also on Thursday along the Strood channel were 60 shelduck, 30 avocet, 150 knot and 600 brent geese. The bearded tit was heard calling from the reedbed along the Strood seawall, also a pair stonechats and a tufted duck along the dyke. A marsh harrier was flying over the Feldy seawall and the regular kestrel by the Firs caravan park.
On Wednesday 2nd this pale-bellied brent goose had been feeding in the Strood wheat field with 500 dark-bellied brent geese. Four marsh harriers were watched flying individually over the Ray Island saltmarsh heading south-west. A buzzard was perched by the Strood fields and another buzzard was perched on the Peldon seawall. Also in the Strood fields were 30 skylarks, three stonechats and a rock pipit noted nearby too. In the channel were 16 avocets, 300 golden plover, 70 knot, while a tufted duck was in the dyke.

At Maydays on Wednesday a scaup was seen by Martin Cock, flying down the Pyefleet Channel, also a male pintail swam across the channel into a group of wigeon. The kingfisher was seen by the Maydays sluice.
Michael Thorley reported seeing from the Esplanade on Wednesday- two great northern divers, four red-breasted mergansers and a great crested grebe.

Two snow buntings were feeding at East Mersea Point on Tuesday 1st - these two pictures taken by Andy Field. These are presumed to be the same birds that were found the previous afternoon, although the smart male didn't stay a second day.

The two snow buntings were quite flighty and would take to the air for a fly-around if the nearby group of turnstones and sanderling had a fly-around. Twelve sanderling, two stonechats, three reed buntings and a rock pipit were also seen at the Point. A male red-breasted merganser flew into the Colne.

Feeding in the park's grazing field on Tuesday were 1000+ wigeon along with some of the 600+ brent geese that were here and near Ivy Farm. A peregrine scattered all the birds on this grazing field and came out of the sun hurtling passed Andy and myself on the seawall, as it flew low and fast into the mass of waders roosting on the Golfhouse pools, where it snatched a dunlin. It then flew into the grazing field carrying its prey and landed for a few minutes but had to move on when the crows started hassling it.
Also in the area were a buzzard over the back of the fields, while at the park pond were six little egrets 70 teal, 24 shoveler and four gadwall. A snipe flew off the Golfhouse saltmarsh calling, 20+ knot and a bar-tailed godwit were noted among the wader roost of redshank, dunlin, grey plover and turnstones.

Earlier on Tuesday morning a merlin was seen chasing a skylark out over the river by Martin Cock and also two red-breasted mergansers were seen too.
A red squirrel was seen feeding in the roadside verge on the East Mersea road near Meeting Lane on Tuesday afternoon.

A kestrel has recently started perching above the garden in Firs Chase - this one pictured from my front door on Wednesday. The sparrowhawk made a fleeting appearance on Thursday in rapid pursuit of a squawking blackbird. A chiffchaff passed through with a tit flock on Wednesday 2nd.

A hedgehog curled up in the Firs Chase back garden after being discovered late Wednesday evening by the dog!

A large white caterpillars are still feeding into the start of December on the cabbage plants in the garden. At least 60 caterpillars were still feeding on the plant with another fifty tucked up on the nearby wall of the house.

The cabbage plants spent most of the summer and early autumn untouched by any sort of bug - up until November when the large white caterpillars started getting hungry and completely stripping some of the big leaves! A few large white butterflies were last seen flying around the garden in mid October.