Monday, 8 February 2021


Almost five inches of snow had covered many places around West Mersea by the end of Monday 8th - the second day of snow falling. A flock of 20 fieldfares in Feldy View seemed a small amount compared to the big flocks of fieldfares being seen all over West Mersea on Monday. Reports came in from Church Road by Frances McKay of 300 stripping pyracantha berries, 200+ seen in Firs Road by Andy Radley, a fieldfares flock at East Road /Oakwood along with four redwings seen by Adrian Amos, 300 fieldfares and redwings noted generally around West Mersea by Martin Cock, as well as 30 fieldfares seen in Empress Drive by Kate Entwistle while five redwings were seen the previous day. 

Ian Black reported the pyracantha bush in his Mersea Avenue garden was covered with redwings and fieldfares with big flocks flying about most of Monday afternoon. Twenty fieldfares and three redwings were seen in Firs Chase in the middle of the day. Andy Field saw a few fieldfares along the East Mersea road and a fed up looking red-legged partridge in the cold of Chapmans Lane.

The fields beside the Strood channel looked more like the Siberian tundra with their covering of snow.
A marsh harrier was seen hunting over one field, a buzzard perched in a tree while small birds noted were 12 linnets, six reed buntings, four skylarks and three meadow pipits. A flock of 200 golden plover were huddled together on one of the snowy fields.

The Strood seawall covered in snow. As the tide receded along the Strood channel, a full summer plumaged bar-tailed godwit was feeding with five others in winter plumage, also nearby a single black-tailed godwit.

This regular male sparrowhawk was photographed by Michael Thorley in his East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane as the snow fell on Sunday 7th. Feeding in the nearby flooded wheat field were 20+ jackdaws, rooks and carrion crows.
At West Mersea three bar-tailed godwits were seen on the mud near the Monkey beach by Jonathan Bustard on Sunday.

In East Mersea, the Youth Camp little owl was playing hard to spot on Saturday 6th, as it perched close to the trunk of a poplar tree. A buzzard, Mediterranean gull and green woodpecker were in the area while in the field hedges behind the boating lake were six yellowhammers and five reed buntings

Near Meeting Lane Michael Thorley noted both great spotted woodpecker and green woodpecker in his garden with 15 fieldfares in a hedgerow.

Offshore from Cudmore Grove on Saturday, Steve Entwistle located the three velvet scoters in the outer Colne estuary and after a long wait they flapped their wings to show their diagnostic white wing-bar, A Slavonian grebe was also seen offshore while in the park were eight snipe in the field, three pochard on the pond, a green woodpecker and a goldcrest.

Thirty avocets were seen along the Strood Channel on Saturday afternoon by Jonathan Bustard.

A wood-mouse was found on the boardwalk near the St Peters well on Saturday, looking a bit poorly.

On Friday 5th a chiffchaff was in bushes at the bottom corner of the Firs Caravan park, thirty avocets feeding in the channel and a buzzard at the back of the fields.
Late on Friday afternoon a visit to the Reeveshall seawall proved productive with a male hen harrier seemingly going to roost in the Langenhoe Point reedbed. It was first seen flying north over the reedbed there before returning half an hour later, flying slowly low over the reeds. Also there were at least six marsh harriers also heading into the roost. 
At the same time a short-eared owl was hunting along the Reeveshall seawall, perching on the old traffic bollard again. Two buzzards and a sparrowhawk were also in the area while in the Pyefleet were fifty avocets and a red-breasted merganser. Four yellowhammers were roosting in a hedge for the night.

At Maydays farm on Friday Martin Cock reported seeing 12 pintail, two stonechats, buzzard, sparrowhawk and a distant great white egret on the Geedons. 

Four white-fronted geese, above photographed by Andy Field also seen at Cudmore Grove were 13 snipe and two pochard on Friday. At West Mersea two female eiders were seen off the Dabchicks sailing club by Ian Black.

On Thursday 4th along the Strood of note were three marsh harriers, a buzzard, four Mediterranean gulls, stonechat and 43 avocets.

A flock of 700 brent geese was feeding on the grazing fields at Cudmore Grove on Wednesday 3rd - until something spooked all the birds away. Also on the fields were 1000 wigeon, 100 lapwing, 30 greylag geese, six snipe while at the pond were two pochard, ten gadwall and eight tufted duck
A red squirrel was seen in a tree just inside the park entrance.

Offshore from the West Mersea beach on Wednesday were three great northern divers seen by Jonathan Bustard.

A male reed bunting was feeding close to the Strood seawall along with its partner on Tuesday 2nd.
The Cetti's warbler was heard calling from the bushes at the end of the central ditch, also three stonechats were seen, a sparrowhawk, two marsh harriers and a buzzard. Of interest along the Strood channel were 140 shelduck, 34 avocets, 150 redshank and 200 wigeon.

At Reeveshall on Tuesday afternoon, Andy Field reported a merlin, one possibly two barn owls, short-eared owl, 14 marsh harriers and nine red-breasted mergansers.

Three great northern divers and a red-throated diver were seen offshore from the West Mersea beach on Tuesday by Jonathan Bustard.

Michael Thorley took these three pictures of a sanderling at Coopers Beach on Tuesday afternoon.

Sanderling feeding along beside Coopers Beach.

Sanderling with its wings stretched getting ready to fly.

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