Friday, 28 May 2021


A pair of wheatears was a surprise find on the beach at St Peters on Thursday 27th, as it's quite a late date for them to be still passing through.

The smart looking male wheatear was perching on some of the dinghies by the beach.

The pair of wheatears stayed close together, sometimes they were feeding along the beach but having to dodge the walkers which was made more often because of the very high tide reducing the area to feed on.

Feeding on the St Peters saltmarsh during the high tide on Thursday were two little egrets.
Also noted were six common terns flying about, 18 oystercatchers on Cobmarsh Island, a great crested grebe offshore, while at St Peters were a reed bunting, two linnets and two singing reed warblers.

Steve Entwistle watched a hobby at Maydays farm fly towards the Strood on Thursday morning, while at the end of the day a tawny owl was seen in Shop Lane at dusk.

Two spotted flycatchers were seen beside Firs Chase caravan site on Thursday evening by Matt Trevillion

The pair of avocets was getting very agitated on Wednesday 26th as the tide got higher and higher onto the island where they've been nesting for the last three weeks on the saltmarsh pools near the East Mersea Golfhouse. 
The water level got to such a height that it could've flooded any eggs but instead there was the pleasing sight of three tiny chicks that were able to hop about amongst the vegetation and had obviously hatched out just a couple of days before these high tides came. One tiny chick is just visible in the photo beside the sitting avocet

Six other avocets were also present on the pools as were three redshank and two pairs of oystercatchers.

A pair of oystercatchers was at the East Mersea Point feeding along the water's edge and a flock of twelve birds were seen flying past. A small flock of eight dunlin and a ringed plover flew around the beach and there was also the ringed plover still sitting on her four eggs but no sign of the other nesting bird. Offshore were two great crested grebes, and a common tern in the Colne.

Two Egyptian geese were still on the park's grazing fields along with a pair of Canada geese. On the park pond were two pochard and two tufted ducks, a buzzard flew over and a cuckoo was heard calling. Around the park and nearby hedges and copses were heard fourteen singing whitethroats and eleven blackcaps.

A small male adder was basking beside the central track across the country park on Wednesday.

A painted lady was well camouflaged after it closed its wings when it landed on the central track at the park.

At West Mersea on Wednesday, a hobby, spotted flycatcher and a cuckoo were seen by Jonathan Bustard in the Feldy View / Strood seawall area.

On Tuesday 25th a spotted flycatcher was found in the scrubby corner next to the Firs Chase caravan site and although it was actively feeding it disappeared for periods of time around the trees. Along the Strood seawall were noted three brent geese, sparrowhawk and two house martins. A steady passage of 25 swifts drifted west off the Island and later in the day another 30+ swifts were seen heading west over Firs Chase too.

Andy Field reported after his walk along the Reeveshall seawall on Tuesday, female marsh harrier at Broad Fleet with four others noted on the Ranges as was a buzzard. A singing corn bunting, a common tern in the Pyefleet, gadwall in the Maydays dyke and also very good views of a Chinese water deer showing its tusks and all!
A little owl was seen early evening at Maydays farm on Tuesday by Steve Entwistle, and later a mistle thrush in a horse paddock in Shop Lane.

Monday, 24 May 2021


A pair of common terns was resting on the side-lake to the East Mersea boating lake on Monday 24th. Every so often one of the common terns would have a fly around the flooded marshes during the high tide period. Also on the flooded marshes were six shelduck, 12 mallard, two little egrets, a lapwing and fifty herring gulls, while a reed warbler and reed bunting were heard singing. Five great crested grebes were on the sea offshore from Coopers Beach, and a pair of Mediterranean gulls flew over calling.

A little owl soon emerged after a downpour of rain at the Youth Camp to feed on the recently mown grass on Monday morning. Other birds noted during a walk from East Mersea church to the Youth Camp included 14 singing whitethroats, three blackcaps, a chiffchaff, 3 yellow wagtails, buzzard, 14 linnets and four house martins seen around the Old Rectory.

A green hairstreak fluttered around some bramble on Monday morning near the East Mersea church on Monday, also five painted ladies and an orange-tip along the path to the west of the church,

On Sunday 23rd at the country park, this sparrowhawk was photographed by Steve Entwistle at the back of the pond. Four little terns were seen flying past the park - the first sighting on the Island this year, also four common terns offshore and 20 sand martins over the grazing fields.
Later Steve reported a pair of red-legged partridge near Bower Hall farm.

Martin Cock noted during his walk at the park to the Oyster Fishery on Sunday - two Egyptian geese, four Canada geese, six sanderling, five avocet, six dunlin, whimbrel, Cetti's warbler, lesser whitethroat and many sand martins.

Birds noted during a walk along the north side of the Island on Sunday included at Reeveshall a pair of marsh harriers, two cuckoos, four lapwings, buzzard, singing reed bunting and corn bunting as well as two hybrid barnacle / greylag geese showing white faces. At Maydays five redshank, six shelduck, two lapwing, two reed warblers and two reed buntings were noted, while along the Bower Hall seawall were four whimbrel, five curlew, two male yellowhammers, 12 stock doves, kestrel and a red-legged partridge. Along the Strood seawall were a corn bunting, three brent geese, two yellow wagtails and two shelduck noted.
Mammals of note were a Chinese water deer hiding in a wheat field at Maydays, a grey seal in the Pyefleet, three brown hares at Bower Hall and two hares on the Strood fields.

On Saturday 22nd a hobby was watched flying across the Pyefleet at Maydays, the bird having spent several minutes sitting on the saltmarsh before heading south passing close by to me and then flying across Reeveshall. A sparrowhawk was also seen crossing the Pyefleet channel to Reeveshall and there was a pair of marsh harriers on Reeveshall and a third bird seen flying over the Maydays fields.

Along the Pyefleet were 17 grey plover, two whimbrel, five shelduck, two great crested grebes, also four lapwings, gadwall and three redshank in the area too.

Six yellow wagtails were noted at Maydays on Saturday, also two singing corn buntings, five reed buntings, four sedge warblers, five reed warblers, three whitethroats, Cetti's warbler, yellowhammer, as well as a male and female cuckoo, ten house martins and two swifts.

A brown hare rested beside a hedge at Maydays on Saturday. A Chinese water deer strolled along a field edge at Maydays before disappearing into the  reeds in a ditch.

A brown hare came close enough to Steve Entwistle on Saturday evening at Maydays for this picture to be taken. Birds seen by Steve late afternoon were a barn owl on Langenhoe, great white egret flying to Bower hall, five swifts, sedge warbler, reed warbler, kestrel, two yellow wagtails, yellowhammer, two lapwing, skylark, two lapwing, five marsh harriers and a cuckoo.

A sanderling in summer plumage was photographed near East Mersea Point by Andy Field on Saturday, among a small group of five of the birds. The nightingale was heard singing beside the park pond, three large and three small lapwing chicks were in the park fields, also there two Canada geese, while on the Golfhouse pools the avocet was still sitting and five other avocets were present and a ringed plover was still sitting on the beach.

In strong winds and a heavy rain shower on Friday 21st, the only birds noted during a quick walk along the Strood seawall were the wheatear still present after a week stop-off, two gadwall, pochard, four swifts, two brent geese, reed warbler and a reed bunting.

A male corn bunting was singing near the Strood seawall on Thursday 20th, as were two male reed buntings. A cuckoo and five yellow wagtails were seen from the seawall with a pair of gadwall and a pair of mute swans in the dyke. Along the Strood channel were a whimbrel, two dunlin and four common terns. A red-legged partridge was in the field near Feldy View and a brown hare was seen in one of the other Strood fields.

At the West Mersea Glebe fields on Thursday were 50 linnets, 100 starlings, two goldfinches, song thrush while in the air were two swifts and two house martins.

At Maydays farm on Thursday afternoon, Steve Entwistle reported seeing two gadwall, heron, six mallard, pair of marsh harriers, green sandpiper, two swifts and a cuckoo. Earlier in Shop Lane two red-legged partridges, a cuckoo flying over calling twice and a red squirrel were the highlights of Steve's visit there in the morning.

The first swift was seen inside Andy Field's swift box on his house in High Street North on Wednesday 19th with a second bird going inside the next morning.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021


Two ringed plovers were found sitting on nests on the beach at East Mersea Point on Wednesday 19th. This presumed female pictured above was accidentally flushed off its nest nearby when I stopped to look at another ringed plover sitting on a nest about twenty metres away. I noticed this near bird running away from me and assumed it was the partner of the sitting bird I was watching.

After I walked away the ringed plover was soon walking back to a nest close to where I had been standing. A closer look through binoculars revealed three well camouflaged eggs.

The other ringed plover stayed sitting on her nest about twenty metres further along the beach. It would seem both pairs have laid about the same time as each other as there was no sign of any nesting last week. Another ringed plover was seen feeding on nearby mud, a presumed partner of one of the sitting birds. Unfortunately both nests are located in very vulnerable places on the beach where lots of walkers and dogs pass.

At the nearby saltmarsh pools near the Golfhouse, one avocet is still sitting on her nest with three other avocets feeding in the water. Two redshank were also present and might nest nearby later. On the park's grazing fields four largish lapwing chicks from one brood were still present, another female seemed to be squatting low to shelter some young chicks from the cold and another lapwing was seen incubating amongst some daisies. A pair of Canada geese and five shelduck were also noted.

On the mudflats were forty oystercatchers and five little egrets while in the river were a pair of common terns and five great crested grebes.  

The sand martins were busy at their colony in the cliff at the country park with at least ninety holes seemingly freshly dug out and in use. Around fifty sand martins were flying about the beach and nearby park, while five swifts were seen over the park too.

The song of the nightingale was heard again coming from the copse at the back of the pond, the bird has now been present for a week now. Seven blackcaps were singing in the country park where the population has increased in recent years - twenty years ago there were only eight blackcaps counted in the whole of East Mersea. Other warblers noted at the park and nearby hedges were two sedge warblers, three reed warblers, two Cetti's warblers, 12 whitethroats, two lesser whitethroats and two reed buntings.
A flock of fifty linnets was feeding in a horse paddock to the north of the park. 

In West Mersea the first swift was seen inside the swift nestbox on Andy Field's house in High Street North on Wednesday. A red kite flew south over Ian Black's house in Mersea Avenue on Wednesday afternoon, while earlier a buzzard was mobbed by crows as it flew west along Firs Chase to the Hard.

A green hairstreak butterfly was enjoying the warmth in the Firs Chase garden on Tuesday 18th, occasionally flying off to chase a holly blue away. An orange tip and small white were also seen in the garden.

A slow-worm was spotted in the Firs Chase garden under the tree where the green hairstreak was basking. 

A painted lady was seen in Feldy View on Tuesday 18th and another one was seen the previous day beside the nearby seawall.

The wheatear was still on the washed up dinghy called "Get Wrecked" beside the Strood seawall on Tuesday 18th having been here for a few days. Other birds noted were three buzzards, cuckoo, 12 swifts, two common terns, two grey plover, whimbrel and six linnets.
Jonathan Bustard watched a spotted flycatcher near Feldy View and a marsh harrier over the Strood channel early Tuesday afternoon.

At Cudmore Grove on Tuesday morning, Andy Field reported the nightingale singing near the park pond, cuckoo, two largish lapwing chicks and two new small ones, 50 sand martins in and around the cliffs, two pairs of avocets on the Golfhouse pools, the female kestrel in the nestbox, a buzzard and a marsh harrier.

The sand martins were photographed by Andy Field at the park cliff.

The main sand martin colony is about halfway along the length of the park cliff.

Around fifty sand martins were seen at the park by Andy on the 18th.

On Monday 17th this male yellow wagtail was feeding beside the Strood seawall as were four others. The sunny weather saw several birds of prey take to the wing with eight buzzards and two marsh harriers seen, also two sparrowhawks and a hobby flashing low past the Dabchicks and another distant hobby circling and feeding over Old Hall marshes.

Also seen from the Strood seawall on Monday were two barnacle geese flying north-east over the fields, three brent geese, two gadwall on Ray Island, a pair of mute swans, two grey herons while along the channel were two whimbrel, curlew, three dunlin, and two common terns. Small birds noted were a singing corn bunting, four reed warblers, lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, cuckoo, 15 swifts and eight house martins
The rusty-breasted swallow was perched on wires next to the Dabchicks sailing club, close to where his mate is nesting in the old garage.

This colourful male linnet was photographed by Michael Thorley in the greenhouse in his East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane on Monday 17th. 

Sarah had found the linnet a bit stunned in the greenhouse. There was a female linnet also in the greenhouse which was sadly found dead.

The male linnet eventually recovered and flew away from Sarah's hands.

Monday, 17 May 2021


An ominous black cloud bore down on the Island on Sunday 16th bringing a deluge of rain and hail for twenty minutes or so. The morning walk along the Maydays seawall had been quite pleasant to start with but then the clouds gathered and the rain pelted down. After sheltering under a rather bare tree, the walk along the seawall later provided views of a cuckoo, pair of shoveler, three gadwall, pochard, four lapwing, pair of marsh harriers and eight greylag geese.
Along the Pyefleet channel were 160 dunlin, 24 grey plover, curlew, four redshank and six great crested grebes.

A male yellowhammer was by the Maydays seawall on Sunday morning, also counted were 11 singing reed warblers, nine whitethroats, four sedge warblers, three corn buntings, six reed buntings, Cetti's warbler and a pair of yellow wagtails. Four swifts were flying around over Reeveshall.

Martin Cock also got quite wet during his Sunday morning walk near the East Mersea Oyster Fishery area whilst noting three Cetti's warblers, two lesser whitethroats, a young tawny owl seen in flight, two common terns, two marsh harriers, blackcap, chiffchaff, whitethroats, two cuckoos, as well as a fox and a muntjac deer.

A whitethroat was photographed by Andy Field as it perched in a rosemary bush in Feldy View on Saturday 15th. 
Later on Saturday Jonathan Bustard noted along the Strood channel a wheatear, yellow wagtail, two swallows, a pair of kestrels, pair of swans, reed buntings, skylarks and a Cetti's warbler singing by the Strood reservoirs.

In the Coopers Beach and Rewsalls area on Saturday the cuckoo was calling, a little owl seen at the Youth Camp, mistle thrush at Rewsalls farm, three pairs of yellow wagtails while by the lake and marshes were a whimbrel, two pairs of shelduck, two pairs of oystercatchers, reed warbler, two little egrets, grey heron, 18 swallows and two whitethroats singing.
At Firs Chase a common buzzard and a sparrowhawk were seen over the garden on Saturday.

On Friday 14th a wheatear was seen along the Strood channel seawall, also a cuckoo calling, sedge warbler singing as were six reed warblers from the dyke. Three reed buntings and a yellow wagtail were also seen while a marsh harrier was seen passing over. Along the channel at low tide were three avocets, whimbrel, five dunlin, two grey plover and two pairs of common terns.

Martin Cock had a wet Friday morning walk near the East Mersea Oyster Fishery and Cudmore Grove area and reported five sedge warblers, six reed warblers, three Cetti's warblers, two cuckoos, two whimbrel, hobby, two greylag geese with four goslings, two Canada geese, three lapwing chicks at Cudmore Grove, the avocet still sitting near the Golfhouse and forty sand martins around the park.

A male yellowhammer perched on a tree between Shop Lane and Meeting Lane on Thursday 13th. Two common buzzards also perched together on one tree, while a marsh harrier, sparrowhawk and another buzzard were seen flying over the fields. Three pochard were seen at a pond east of Shop Lane and a cuckoo was heard in three different locations, maybe different birds involved.

Singing birds noted along the various hedgerows and copses were 21 whitethroats, nine blackcaps, seven chiffchaffs, four lesser whitethroats, two Cetti's warblers, three green woodpeckers and a reed warbler singing in Meeting Lane.

At West Mersea Steve Entwistle saw thirteen turnstones by the West Mersea Hard on Thursday morning.

Sunday, 16 May 2021


The red squirrels have been visiting the Firs Chase garden several times a day in recent weeks. Their daily visits to the feeder have depleted nut stocks, so a new 10kg bag of special red squirrel nut mix arrived the other day from Ark Wildlife. This male has a paler coat than the other red squirrels seen recently which include a regular female and the scruffy male pictured below.

One of the regular red visitors is a scruffy male which has been looking for walnuts buried in the lawn. This nut was carried off to a nearby garden.

Sometimes leaves were being nibbled on the lawn by the red squirrel.

This male must be moulting out of its winter coat, making it look a bit tatty.

After spending some time on the lawn, the red squirrel jumped onto some flower pots and checked for buried nuts.

It then dropped down for a drink in the water barrel before scampering away. The red squirrels have been checking the whole garden out at times, probably looking for birds nests as well as any nuts tucked away. It even had a quick check under the solar panels on the roof. 

One of the red squirrels was surprisingly confiding as I walked several times below the tree whilst it carried on feeding. It even allowed this picture to be taken with the phone whilst I was just a few metres below it - they are normally much more wary.

Friday, 14 May 2021


A whitethroat was photographed by Michael Thorley in his garden greenhouse near Meeting Lane in East Mersea on Tuesday 11th.

The whitethroat appeared to have a tick attached just above its right eye.

The whitethroat was first found in the greenhouse by Sarah and was later shown the way out. Nice to have a whitethroat visiting your garden.

Also photographed by Michael over his East Mersea garden recently was this herring gull carrying off an apple core.

The gulls are good opportunistic scavengers on the island. 

A black-headed gull was also looking out for scraps in Michael and Sarah's East Mersea garden.