Friday, 30 April 2021



A male corn bunting was photographed by Andy Field as it sang its jangling-keys song near the Reeveshall seawall on Thursday 29th. Also seen from there were three marsh harriers, buzzard, cuckoo heard calling, six swallows, house martin, sand martin and a couple of chiffchaff in Shop Lane.

One of three whimbrel photographed by Andy along the Pyefleet by Reeveshall on Thursday. Eleven bar-tailed godwits and a black-tailed godwit were also seen in the Pyefleet.

A red squirrel was seen crossing the road near Meeting Lane on Thursday by Andy.

At West Mersea five common terns, fifty brent geese, two shelduck, eight great crested grebes, bar-tailed godwit and a ringed plover were seen near Cobmarsh Island on Thursday morning.
A green woodpecker was seen in Beverley Avenue by Gabriel Holmes.

A song thrush has been seen a few times in recent days in the Firs Chase garden although it keeps getting chased off by the resident blackbirds. Other daily visitors have been the resident blackcaps, chiffchaffs, stock doves, goldfinches and greenfinches.

On Wednesday 28th along the Strood seawall, a common tern was along the channel, one knot, eight whimbrel, two ringed plover, three dunlin, two brent geese and a grey plover. A yellow wagtail, and two whitethroats were singing in bushes by the seawall. A pair of mute swans was in the dyke and a pair of Canada geese flew down channel. 
A later visit by Jonathan Bustard saw two pairs of oystercatchers on the middle Strood field.

A male yellow wagtail sat on wires over the field just east of Rewsalls farm on Tuesday 27th. 

The yellow wagtail was one of four seen in this field of oil-seed rape near Rewsalls farm on Tuesday. Three whitethroats and a lesser whitethroat were singing in nearby hedgerows.

At the East Mersea boating lake and adjoining marshes were two black-tailed godwits, three bar-tailed godwits, whimbrel, grey heron, little egret, house martin flying over, and two reed warblers singing. The little owl was perched on a tree by the Youth Camp.

Offshore from Waldegraves were two common terns and three whimbrel while three blackcaps and four whitethroats were heard singing. 

A male sparrowhawk had just caught a starling at the bottom of Cross Lane on Tuesday and was being mobbed by a couple of jays. The sparrowhawk flew off with its prey.
A yellowhammer was heard calling from Cross Lane as were two whitethroats and a lesser whitethroat. The cuckoo was also heard calling and seen perched on a tree between Cross Lane and Waldegraves. It was seen in the same area earlier in the day by Shaun Bater. Another cuckoo was seen perched on wires at the back of the Strood fields on Tuesday by Jonathan Bustard, also there a pair of blackcaps and a buzzard.

The first swift sighting on the Island this spring was by Andy Field on Tuesday morning with an individual seen flying over Feldy View.

Monday, 26 April 2021



Four sedge warblers were singing at Cudmore Grove Country Park on Monday 26th. Other warblers singing at the park were two reed warblers, two lesser whitethroats, five common whitethroats and a blackcap. Another whitethroat and lesser whitethroat were seen north of the park by Andy Field. At least five sand martins were flying about the beach and cliff area.

On the grazing fields two greenshank dropped down for a minute to feed beside one of the creeks before flying off. Amongst the eight lapwing in the fields was a brood of four week old chicks. Two snipe, whimbrel, two wigeon and 48 teal were of interest in the fields while a male marsh harrier was seen flying away from the pond carrying some prey which it then began eating in the grass field behind.

There was a nice display of summer plumaged bar-tailed godwits on the saltmarsh pool near the Golfhouse on Monday with only ten birds out of the 52 still in non-breeding plumage. A single black-tailed godwit was also roosting with them at high tide.

One of the bar-tailed godwits in breeding plumage photographed on Monday by Andy Field as it fed on the saltmarsh pool by the Golfhouse.

A wheatear was beside the Reeveshall seawall on Sunday 25th, a corn bunting was singing nearby and a marsh harrier flying over Broad Fleet. Along the Pyefleet were thirty whimbrel, 70 shelduck and three bar-tailed godwits.
Near the East Mersea Golfhouse were singing sedge warbler, reed warbler, lesser whitethroat and whitethroat with eight sand martins over the park grazing fields. Two Cetti's warblers were singing either side of the Oyster Fishery.
At the western end of the Pyefleet, a sedge warbler was singing in the Maydays dyke, three yellowhammers here too, while a cuckoo was calling late Sunday afternoon from Bower Hall farm. Five whimbrel, marsh harrier and a buzzard were also near Bower Hall.

Steve Entwistle walked the footpath on Sunday between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane and noted sparrowhawk and heard two whitethroats singing.

A red kite circled over Meeting Lane on Saturday early afternoon before it drifted east.
Other birds noted between Meeting Lane and Shop Lane were two singing Cetti's warblers, singing lesser whitethroat, eight singing whitethroats and a yellowhammer calling. A lesser redpoll flew east away from Fishponds Wood calling, a pair of mistle thrushes was seen nearby while a pair of pochard were in a field pond to the east.

Later on Saturday afternoon Steve Entwistle walked between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane and reported singing lesser whitethroat, yellowhammer, whitethroat, marsh harrier, great spotted woodpecker and a red-legged partridge pair.

A female adder was basking in the sun tucked into the hedge bottom beside the path west of Shop Lane on Saturday. Four hares were doing a bit of chasing around in a wheat field. 

Two speckled wood butterflies were seen on Saturday- one by Fishponds Wood and the other to the west, while four peacocks, comma and two small whites were also seen on the wing between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane.

This young robin was photographed by Jonathan Bustard in his West Mersea garden.

The sand martins were photographed at the Cudmore Grove cliff on Friday by Michael Thorley.


Friday, 23 April 2021


A wheatear was feeding in one of the fields by the Strood seawall on Wednesday 23rd. They've been a bit thin on the ground this spring, this is the first one I've seen on the Island this year, although there have been a handful of sightings by others.
The Cetti's warbler was singing by the Strood reservoirs, the reed warbler by the central ditch in the fields, two singing whitethroats, two yellow wagtails, three reed buntings and five swallows - two of them by the Dabchicks.

Six whimbrel were along the Strood channel, two pairs of Mediterranean gulls passed high up-channel, two greylag geese, two brent geese and three buzzards were also noted.
A buzzard flew over the Firs Chase garden in the afternoon being chased off by the local carrion crow.
The first report of a cuckoo being heard on the Island this spring was by Jonathan Bustard on Thursday lunchtime calling over the Firs Caravan park, later by Ian Black over the Strood fields.

At Cudmore Grove on Thursday, Steve Entwistle enjoyed seeing 26 bar-tailed godwits in mixed plumages with some in bright breeding plumage. 

The bar-tailed godwits were in both non-breeding plumage and breeding plumage - phone-scoped photos by Steve.
A white wagtail was in the grazing fields and a pair of greylag geese, four sand martins and four swallows. Earlier on Thursday four sedge warblers, reed warbler, two Cetti's warblers, twenty sand martins and two yellow wagtails, as well as 16 bar-tailed godwits were reported by Martin Cock.

On Thursday 22nd by the Strood, after waiting for ten minutes whilst watching a distant bird of prey over by Peldon, I was rewarded with a fine view of a red kite which eventually drifted towards me on the Strood seawall and circled right above my head. It didn't really venture over the Strood fields but turned back towards the mainland. Four buzzards were also seen in the air enjoying the sunshine.

Along the channel were thirty whimbrel, two Canada geese flew down channel, while by the dyke were two whitethroats, reed warbler, three yellow wagtails and a reed bunting

Andy Field photographed the sand martins at the Cudmore Grove cliff on Thursday morning.

Twenty sand martins were prospecting the cliff by the country park beach for suitable nest-holes.
Also at the park Andy heard the brief song of a nightingale behind the pond, three whitethroats, willow warbler, three sedge warblers, reed warbler, ten lapwing - three young chicks seen, four swallows, whimbrel, two Mediterranean gulls, while a male marsh harrier nearly gave a coot a heart attack on the pond when it flew over.

A song thrush was photographed singing in full flow by Andy Field at the park on Thursday.

A pair of grey partridge was seen by Anne Cock and Nicola near Meeting Lane on Thursday.

At the country park on Wednesday 21st a buzzard perched on a branch over the park pond and was photographed by Charlie Coltman. Shortly after a male marsh harrier flew over the pond, later on a female marsh harrier flew over the fields, a sparrowhawk was seen too and the pair of kestrels were at their tree. A willow warbler and whitethroat were singing in the park as were three blackcaps and three chiffchaffs, while at the pond were two sedge warblers, Cettis warbler with a second bird near the west end of the dyke.

On the grazing fields eight lapwings were seen as well as three tiny chicks, also a snipe, thirty teal, two wigeon, a shoveler, while five sand martins and two swallows flew over. On the mud were 15 bar-tailed godwits, four whimbrel with three ringed plovers by the Point.

A whitethroat was singing by the Golfhouse dyke, a willow warbler was singing by horse paddocks north of the park and fifty linnets in the fields here.

Martin Cock on his walk from the Golfhouse to the Oyster Fishery on Wednesday reported a willow warbler and whitethroat singing by the Golfhouse, four whitethroats singing between Ivy Dock and the Oyster Fishery, two Cetti's warblers near the Oyster Fishery and two Egyptian Geese flew from Langenhoe to Brightlingsea.

In West Mersea willow warblers were heard singing on Wednesday in Jonathan Bustard's garden and another in Ian Black's garden.
In the Firs Chase garden the first orange-tip butterfly of the spring was seen on Wednesday, also peacock and small white.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021


There seemed to be a small influx of blackcaps to the edge of West Mersea on Tuesday 20th with eight birds being seen during towards the Strood seawall. Five males were heard singing with two in bushes by the seawall, two near Feldy View, also one singing near the Yacht Club. A couple of females were seen too, one pictured above.

Along the Strood were a common tern, whimbrel, two common buzzards in the air together, also three whitethroats, reed warbler, yellow wagtail and a willow warbler in Feldy View.

At Maydays on Tuesday two sedge warblers, two whitethroats, two Mediterranean gulls, three brown hares and a common seal were seen by Martin Cock. Steve Entwistle at Reeveshall reported a pair of avocets, pair of redshank, pair of oystercatchers, three swallows and six teal, while at Meeting Lane a blackcap and chiffchaff were seen.

On Monday 19th Martin Cock visited Maydays farm and reported seeing two yellow wagtails, sedge warbler, Cetti's warbler, whitethroat, chiffchaff, three whimbrel, common tern, corn bunting, yellowhammer, marsh harrier and a buzzard.

A red kite was seen by the Strood on Monday afternoon by Steve Entwistle as it drifted eastwards but not seen again.
Earlier on Monday along the Strood seawall the reed warbler and whitethroat were singing, also two yellow wagtails seen, two whimbrels, two buzzards, two marsh harriers, four teal and an avocet were the main birds of interest. The Cetti's warbler was singing by the Strood reservoirs.

On Sunday 18th at Cudmore Grove, Steve Entwistle reported sedge warbler, eight pochard, pair of little grebe and tufted duck, two pairs of blackcap and four pairs of chiffchaff with a swallow seen perched on wires beside East Mersea road. Later near the Oyster Fishery a common tern, 38 black-tailed godwits, two avocets, 150 redshank, buzzard and a marsh harrier with two pairs seen on Langenhoe, whimbrel on Reeveshall. A red squirrel was seen in Fishponds Wood and a brimstone butterfly by the Shop Lane seawall. Martin Cock saw a whimbrel and green sandpiper at Reeveshall, a fieldfare in Shop Lane and a Cetti's warbler by the Oyster Fishery.

Along the Strood seawall on Sunday were a singing reed warbler, three swallows, yellow wagtail, two sparrowhawks over Ray Island and two corn buntings flew over Feldy View. Jonathan Bustard saw the first whitethroat by the Strood seawall on Sunday afternoon, later the Cetti's warbler was heard by the Strood reservoirs by Steve Entwistle also two swallows there too. 

The blackthorn bushes between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane were covered in blossom on Saturday 17th. Four peacock butterflies were on the wing in the sunshine but keeping out of the chilly easterly wind. Birds noted were two buzzards, sparrowhawk, great spotted woodpecker, three green woodpeckers heard, pair of yellowhammers, mistle thrush, two swallows, six chiffchaff and five blackcaps.

At Maydays on Saturday, Steve Entwistle saw a marsh harrier there and another three on Langenhoe, corn bunting, yellowhammer, green woodpecker and three male reed buntings.
Michael and Sarah Thorley reported two sedge warblers singing at the country park pond on Saturday.

A brood of eight mallard ducklings were swimming with their mother at Waldegraves caravan park on Friday 16th. Offshore two great northern divers and three eider were seen near the Cross Lane outflow. A buzzard was circling above, a pair of yellowhammers, yellow wagtail, two swallows and five blackcaps were noted between Cross Lane and the caravan park.
The little owl was perched near the front of the Youth Camp on Friday, while a mistle thrush seen there too, while at the boating lake five buzzards were in the air, a pair of greylag geese, two swallows and a pair of Mediterranean gulls were seen.

Also on Friday Martin Cock saw a whitethroat and Cetti's warbler between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane, while Steve Entwistle reported at West Mersea four singing blackcaps, one singing chiffchaff and a sparrowhawk in Reymead Wood area with later on two swallows by the Dabchicks.

A male blackcap was singing in the East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane of Michael Thorley on Thursday afternoon, seen with a female blackcap too.

At Cudmore Grove on Thursday, Andy Field reported the sedge warbler singing at the park pond as well as a blackcap mimicking a sedge warbler singing there too. Twenty Mediterranean gulls were feeding in a field near Bromans Lane.

Under grey skies along the Strood seawall on Thursday were a pair of common terns seen from the Hard, while along the channel were a bar-tailed godwit, two black-tailed godwits, two avocets, ringed plover, eight teal, two swallows, buzzard and sparrowhawk seen.
Shaun Bater earlier reported six avocets, swallow and a male marsh harrier along the Strood on Thursday.

A back of the camera picture from Steve Entwistle of two of the four brightly coloured yellow wagtails seen at the East Mersea boating lake on Thursday.

The regular female red squirrel visiting the Firs Chase garden feeder on Saturday 17th, has very noticeable teats which should hopefully mean there are some youngsters being fed somewhere nearby.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021


The black brant was seen again by the old jetty in front of the Firs Caravan park on Wednesday 14th. Most of the brent geese have already left with only about fifty being seen along the Strood channel

It was interesting comparing the blacker markings of the black brant alongside the lighter feathers of the pale-bellied brent goose and in turn both seen next to a dark-bellied brent goose.
At the back of the Strood fields on Wednesday were a yellow wagtail on the wires, five corn buntings on a bush and a buzzard perched nearby. A swallow was flying about near the Dabchicks sailing club.

Earlier on Wednesday two willow warblers were seen in Feldy View by Steve Entwistle who also saw a great northern diver on the sea from the Esplanade.
In the early evening at Maydays farm Steve reported a great white egret flying from the Strood direction towards Fingringhoe, a male marsh harrier putting up a short-eared owl and they had a go at each other before the owl dropped back into the ditch. A female marsh harrier was also seen, while a Chinese water deer was watched feeding out in the open showing well. 

Martin Cock walked between the Golfhouse and Reeveshall and reported the short-eared owl on Reeveshall, also two Canada geese and marsh harrier while a firecrest was in Fishponds Wood in Shop Lane. Also along the seawall were yellow wagtail, two Cetti's warblers, several blackcap and chiffchaff, a few swallows and the golden plover in the park's grazing fields.
Michael Thorley watched a buzzard over his house near Meeting Lane on Wednesday. 

A pair of shelduck was by the pond at the country park on Tuesday 13th with another thirteen on the grazing fields. Also at the pond were two singing sedge warblers, one of two Cetti's warblers singing, two pochard and three blackcaps singing along the horseride path.

Six buzzards were circling in the sky enjoying the sunny conditions, a sparrowhawk flew along the back of the fields, while the resident female kestrel sat in a tree keeping an eye on the nearby nestbox.
On the fields were 3 snipe, 12 lapwing, 70 teal, yellow wagtail and ten wigeon. Eight sand martins were flying over the cliff, while on the mud near the Point were 42 brent geese, four dunlin and a ringed plover. A pair of mistle thrushes and two swallows were near horse paddocks north of the park.

Later on Tuesday at the country park Steve Entwistle saw the golden plover, pair of Mediterranean gulls, a pair of chiffchaffs and a muntjac deer.
Two willow warblers were seen in Feldy View by Steve on Tuesday morning but there was no sign of the redstart seen the previous day.

A smart male common redstart was found in Feldy View in Monday 12th by Jonathan Bustard. It spent time feeding around the wooded area of the cemetery although flying to a different spot if someone walked nearby. It appeared to stay in view for a couple of hours before disappearing by mid afternoon and not seen again. It's not often a smart plumaged male redstart stop off on the Island in the spring.

Also by Feldy on Monday were a singing willow warbler, also a sparrowhawk and marsh harrier seen from here and a small tortoiseshell butterfly. Along the Strood seawall were two whimbrel, six common buzzards including one heading west over the West Mersea Hard, a marsh harrier over Ray Island, knot, ringed plover, 12 teal and six Mediterranean gulls. A marsh harrier was also seen flying north-east over Firs Chase being mobbed by local crows early evening.

At East Mersea on Monday morning Martin Cock reported eight chiffchaffs, six blackcaps, two Cetti's warblers, two golden plover and three swallows during a walk between Cudmore Grove and the Oyster Fishery, also two sedge warblers by the park pond.
A firecrest was reported in the East Mersea garden opposite the top of the Oyster Fishery track by David Bullock, who also reported seeing the barn owl nearby recently.

In Cross Lane on Monday morning a little owl was seen by Steve Entwistle, also pair of blackcaps, two chiffchaff singing, three singing song thrushes, goldfinch and three corn buntings along there.

There was a colourful copse at Waldegraves on Sunday 11th with the daffodils in flower.
Offshore were a great northern diver and 15 great crested grebes while a swallow flew past.

The sea was pouring in through the seawall breach during the high tide at Coopers Beach on Sunday 11th. Birds on the marshes were 100 redshank, 30 curlew, five little egrets, snipe with ten great crested grebes offshore. The little owl was at the Youth Camp, and a swallow, kestrel and buzzard were also seen.
A greenshank was seen by the Strood causeway on Sunday by Steve Entwistle.

Highlight of a walk along the Maydays seawall on Saturday 10th was watching a Chinese water deer walking slowly across the field. The Chinese water deer have only been on the Island for a year and half, with all sightings on the quieter north side of the Island.

Birds noted at Maydays on Saturday morning were two marsh harriers, buzzard, 20 shelduck, 70 redshank, three great crested grebes, three little egrets, three yellowhammers and four greylag geese.

A great white egret was seen by Steve Entwistle dropping into the saltmarsh at the bottom of the Strood Hill on Saturday afternoon. 
The black brant and pale-bellied brent goose along with nine dark-bellied brent geese were seen near the Dabchicks sailing club on Saturday morning by Andew Allen.

Friday, 9 April 2021


The rusty-coloured male swallow was back again on Friday 9th near the Dabchicks sailing club where it nested last summer. It perched on wires above the nearby Company Shed as traffic and people passed beneath it. It was seen with another swallow on top of a yacht mast, also three other swallows seen by the Firs caravan park.

The black brant was feeding near the Firs Caravan park in the water over the saltmarsh during the high tide. Nearby were the pale-bellied brent and a dark-bellied brent goose all for close comparison.
Fifty dark-bellied brent were along the Strood channel and six Canada geese flew down channel during the morning.

High tide began covering the saltmarsh in front of the Firs caravan park. A fishing boat near the Dabchicks attracted the attention of 100 herring gulls. earlier at least three pairs of Mediterranean gulls were calling as they passed along the Strood. Two buzzards were seen over the caravan park, one drifting north-west off the island and the other heading north-east over the fields.
Also noted were a whimbrel calling as it flew off Ray Island, eight teal, great crested grebe, while on the fields were a ringed plover and four shelduck
A blackcap was singing in the Firs Chase garden on Friday, newly returned from Africa.

Later on Friday afternoon along the Strood Ian Black watched a male hen harrier flying west, also a male wheatear and a whimbrel.

On Friday at St Peters, Steve Entwistle watched a male wheatear perch on this dinghy on the beach before it flew over the water to Cobmarsh Island. A blackcap was singing in the bushes at St Peters.
Steve also saw the little owl at the Youth Camp, a whimbrel at Waldegraves and two flocks of 25 linnets, three corn buntings and two green woodpeckers between Cross Lane and the Youth Camp.

At Cudmore Grove on Friday two sedge warblers, five sand martins, several blackcaps, chiffchaff, three buzzards and four snipe were seen by Martin Cock.

At least one sedge warbler was seen singing at the park pond by Steve Entwistle on Thursday, also a pair of long-tailed tits nesting by the pond, a Cetti's warbler singing at the pond and another by the dyke, five snipe in the fields and two chiffchaffs in the park.

At Maydays on Thursday eight marsh harriers, four buzzards and two red-breasted mergansers were seen by Martin Cock.
Along the Strood seawall on Thursday were the great white egret again at the back pond, grey heron, three little egrets, great crested grebe, two ringed plovers in the field, two singing chiffchaffs and a pair of great spotted woodpeckers mating high up a tree by the caravan site.

On Wednesday 7th a redshank on the edge of the saltmarsh near the East Mersea Point was just starting to show the spotted underparts. Also near the Point were 105 brent geese, black-tailed godwit, four ringed plover, male reed bunting and in the river five great crested grebes.
In the grazing fields were 25 wigeon, 20 teal, four greylag geese, a gadwall and a snipe with the Cetti's warbler singing by the dyke.

Surprised to see two barn owls perched on the alder trees behind the park pond on Wednesday at ten o'clock in the morning. The owls were looking at the nearby barn owl box and after a couple of minutes the presumed female flew into it followed a couple of minutes later by the presumed male. They were not seen emerging over the next ten minutes at least, so hopefully they will settle down to nest in the box that was put up five years ago for them. This is the first time a barn owl has been seen going inside, although the pair of resident stock doves didn't look very happy at being evicted!

On the park pond were nine pochard, the kestrel was perched in a tree while two common buzzards were circling over Ivy Farm. Two chiffchaffs were singing in the park and an adder was basking in the morning sun near the car park.

At Maydays on Wednesday Steve Entwistle saw a short-eared owl hunting over Reeveshall, also male and female marsh harriers, buzzard, five linnets and a pair of yellowhammers.

siskin visited the feeders in the Firs Chase garden three times during Wednesday.

I helped to install some No Landing signs on Cobmarsh Island on Tuesday 6th to protect the beach nesting birds from public disturbance this coming season. Ringed plovers will hopefully nest safely and it would be nice if little terns chose the beach too.
Birds noted on Tuesday at high tide were 20 sanderling, bar-tailed godwit, two ringed plovers and fifty oystercatchers.

Later on Tuesday morning the great white egret was seen at the back of the Strood fields, also a marsh harrier flew up channel, three little egrets, grey heron, 170 redshank, three grey plover, twenty shelduck and 16 oystercatchers.

A pair of red squirrels has been very busy at the Firs Chase garden feeder, visiting several times a day recently. This regular female was heard running along the roof of the house, then coming down onto the back-lawn before scampering along the back fence early afternoon on Thursday 9th.

Recent nights have been a bit too cold for moth-trapping in the Firs Chase garden, although this twin-spotted quaker was the first of the year on Saturday 3rd.