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.

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