Friday, 30 July 2021


A wheatear was photographed by Andy Field on the Reeveshall seawall on Thursday 29th. This is the first returning wheatear of the autumn seen on the Island. Andy also saw along the Pyefleet channel three greenshank, four dunlin, 50 grey plover, two knot, black-tailed godwit, 20 lapwing, 30 curlew and four avocets while a male marsh harrier was over Reeveshall.

A green sandpiper was found by Andy on the Reeveshall pool but flew off. Later on Thursday morning three noisy green sandpipers were flying about, chasing each other before heading over to the nearby Broad Fleet. A little egret was seen briefly feeding on the pool.

Also later on Thursday morning a corn bunting was singing by the Reeveshall seawall, five stock doves were in the field, five sand martins, ten swallows and a kestrel was flying over the fields, while in the Pyefleet a mute swan landed briefly in the channel. At least two recently fledged sparrowhawk juveniles were calling loudly in Fishponds Wood in Shop Lane with an adult seen too.

A southern migrant hawker was photographed by Andy as it rested by the field near Fishponds Wood, at least four males and two female types were seen.

Two southern migrant hawkers were resting out of the wind behind a sallow bush in the hedge near Fishponds Wood. Also some ruddy darters were on the wing.

A surprise white-letter hairstreak was seen alongside Fishponds Wood near the old decoy bunker on Thursday. Without my glasses I couldn't identify which hairstreak I was watching until I got back home! I was expecting the more widespread purple hairstreak so very pleased to see my first white-letter hairstreak on the Island. One was also seen half a mile to the west at Gyants Marsh earlier in the month by Martin Cock.

A painted lady was sheltering out of the wind below the Reeveshall seawall on Thursday. Other butterflies seen included meadow brown, gatekeeper, Essex / small skipper, speckled wood, small heath and small copper.

This female ruddy darter was photographed by Angela Buckley on Feldy View on Thursday.

A colourful rose chafer was photographed by Andy Field in his West Mersea garden.

A red squirrel was managing to eat the peanuts from this bird feeder in the Firs Chase garden, the picture taken through the kitchen window. In East Mersea there was the sad sight of a red squirrel dead in the road near Mersea Barns.

On Wednesday 28th along the Strood channel were seen two great crested grebes, common tern, eleven avocets, greenshank, whimbrel, while inside the seawall were a corn bunting and yellow wagtail.

A walk along the Strood seawall on Tuesday 27th produced three greenshank, golden plover, 140 redshank, ten avocets, four common terns, ten little egrets, corn bunting and two kestrels. A family of three great spotted woodpeckers were at Feldy View and there were twenty swifts over the houses.

Andy Field on Monday 26th walked the the Pyefleet seawall from Shop Lane to Maydays and noted four green sandpipers, five whimbrel, forty curlew, thirty grey plover, twenty lapwing, fifty redshank, five dunlin, two greenshank, five turnstone, marsh harrier, corn bunting and a yellowhammer.

Steve Entwistle photographed this migrant hawker in Cross Lane on Monday, also seeing buzzard, sparrowhawk and great spotted woodpecker. In Firs Chase there was the rare sight of a rabbit hopping down the road and then seen in the front garden on Monday.

In the evening at Cudmore Grove Steve reported six turnstones, grey plover, two whimbrel, eleven black-tailed godwits, two bar-tailed godwits, 38 dunlin, twelve Mediterranean gulls, two common terns, four little terns. Butterflies noted were common blue, five small skippers, and ten gatekeepers.

Birds seen from the Maydays in the Pyefleet channel included six greenshank, three common sandpipers, two whimbrel, two knot, 12 dunlin, 12 black-tailed godwits, 65 grey plover, 90 redshank, 30 curlew, tufted duck in flight and two great crested grebes
A juvenile stonechat was along a ditch, a mixed flock of 500 jackdaws and rooks were on Reeveshall, two buzzards, two sparrowhawks, two singing corn buntings, yellowhammer and a singing meadow pipit over the saltmarsh.
Glyn Evans watched from Alresford a spoonbill flying over the Langenhoe ranges towards Maydays.

Two gatekeepers were paired up on a flower head on the Maydays seawall on Sunday.

A common seal rested on the pontoon in the Pyefleet channel on Sunday.

Later on Sunday at Maydays Steve Entwistle saw four common sandpipers, yellowhammer, 12 lesser black-backed gulls, two black-tailed godwits, bar-tailed godwit, five greenshank, 25 curlew, four whimbrel, ten dunlin, great crested grebe, fifty redshank.

Martin Cock reported on Sunday he'd seen along the Strood three yellow wagtails, sedge warbler, whitethroat, corn bunting, plenty of linnets, two grey herons, three turnstone, three whimbrel, greenshank, 100 redshank and a great crested grebe.

Over West Mersea on Sunday a hobby flew over Steve's Empress Drive garden, a buzzard flew over the Firs Chase garden while Ian Black had two green sandpipers flying over the High Street calling.

A walk along the East Mersea seawall between the Reeveshall pool and the Golfhouse saltmarsh pools on Saturday 24th produced a peregrine, little tern, five common terns, 8 Mediterranean gulls, common gull, five shelduck-lings, fifty sand martins, 60 black-tailed godwits, two bar-tailed godwits, 40 dunlin, 35 turnstone, 13 avocets, five lapwing, 50 curlew and 80 redshank.

Steve Entwistle on Saturday evening at Maydays saw seven common sandpipers, green sandpiper, red knot, bar-tailed godwit, 19 dunlin, 9 grey plover, 3 Mediterranean gulls, 25 curlew, 3 whimbrel, 10 lesser black-backed gulls and 30 redshank. The highlight was a short-eared owl flushed off the seawall.

Along the Strood seawall on Saturday. Jonathan Bustard saw a common sandpiper flying over to Ray Island, hobby, yellow wagtails, corn bunting, whitethroat, linnet, stock dove and a kestrel.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021


Moth trapping took place in the Firs Chase garden eight times during July with a nice selection of species recorded. This colourful Orange moth was seen on the 26th- none seen in the garden last year.

A large female oak eggar was noted on the 26th, laying some eggs in its container.

The first two tree-lichen beauty moths of the season were noted on the 26th.

The distinctive micro Dasycera oliviella has been slowly spreading in recent years.

The first rosy footman for the garden was seen on the 22nd, a pretty salmon pink colour.

A plumed fan-foot was noted on the 22nd - first garden record last year.

Box moths continue to appear in increasing numbers with sixteen counted on the 26th July.

A magpie moth was recorded on the 7th July - becoming fewer each year.

A scarce silver lines made an appearance on the 2nd.

A beautiful hook-tip was noted on the 2nd, has become more widespread recently.

Two Clancy's rustics showed on the 18th and a single earlier on the 28th June. First garden records last year.

The only blotched emerald seen was on the 28th June.

A small elephant hawkmoth was noted on the 28th June, slight upturn in fortunes recently.

Pine hawkmoth was seen on four nights in July.

A single maple prominent was noted on the 28th June.

The only bordered white appeared on the 28th June.

Friday, 23 July 2021


A corn bunting was singing along the Strood seawall on Friday 23rd with a second bird seen in the nearby corn-field. The neatly marked male whinchat was seen again in the field, present for its fourth day, perching on the tops of wheat and other tall plants in the field. Also in this bottom part of the field were 6 linnets, two reed buntings and a couple of yellow wagtails. In the nearby fields a common buzzard, two kestrels and three brown hares were seen.

Birds seen along the Strood channel late morning during the high tide included six Mediterranean gulls, two common terns, marsh harrier, two lapwing and three turnstones.

A fresh looking painted lady was feeding in the Feldy View on Friday, also seen were meadow brown, gatekeeper, small white and small / Essex skipper.

At East Mersea at Reeveshall  / Shop Lane area on Friday, Martin Cock reported a marsh harrier, buzzard, 25 avocets, yellowhammer, whitethroat and a willow warbler.

On Thursday 22nd a newly fledged juvenile sparrowhawk was heard calling loudly in The Lane, West Mersea.
At Feldy View on Thursday Steve Entwistle saw a peregrine fly-over, kestrel, grey heron, also possible southern hawker and southern migrant / migrant hawker, 7 ruddy darters, small skipper and two gatekeepers.

Lots of sand martins were flying around the country park on Wednesday with up to 300 seen either in the air, near the cliff, or sitting on the beach at the Point.

Four little terns flew up the Colne past the Point and then headed into the Pyefleet. One common tern flew over, twelve Mediterranean gulls roosted on the saltmarsh, also an avocet, black-tailed godwit and a turnstone noted. A marsh harrier was seen over Ivy Farm and ten little egrets seen with most roosting at the park pond. 

A sedge warbler perched in view near the park seawall on Wednesday and another one was heard singing by the pond. A Cetti's warbler sang by the dyke and a tufted duck and pochard both with ducklings were present, along with 20+ small-eyed damselflies on the dyke.

Several predatory bee-wolves were watched at the East Mersea Point, some carrying their prey of solitary bees which they carried into their holes in the sandy soil.

A worn red admiral was seen in the Firs Chase garden, sometimes sparring with a second one.

A well marked male whinchat was a nice find by the Strood seawall on Tuesday 20th. The bird showed a pale orange upper chest, as well as the dark face, white stripe above the eye and a large white patch on each wing. The bird was seen in the evening by Steve Entwistle who watched it in the wheat field. This individual is one of the earliest returning whinchats for the Island.
Another early returning autumn migrant was a willow warbler by the flycatcher corner at Feldy View.

Two corn buntings were singing by the Strood seawall on Tuesday, reed warbler, yellow wagtail and four whitethroats were also seen. Along the channel were a marsh harrier, 70 redshank, whimbrel and forty curlew.
Steve also saw in the evening a meadow pipit, six linnets, sedge warbler with grown young, whitethroat, three corn buntings and a yellow wagtail with two young.

An obliging clouded yellow was spending time feeding on a clump of lesser knapweed in Feldy View on Tuesday. Also a fresh painted lady seen, meadow brown, gatekeeper, small heath, ringlet, small white, small /Essex skipper, red admiral and peacock.

The common mallow is adding some colour to the Strood seawall at the moment.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021


What appeared to be a young pipistrelle bat was found by Rusty Marshall on his conservatory in Firs Chase on Saturday 17th. It then climbed the wall up to the soffit where it disappeared inside a crack by the gutter and back inside the roof.

A Roesells bush cricket also photographed in the garden was an interesting garden sighting here.

A comma butterfly seen feeding on some verbena.

An ichneumon wasp showing its long thin ovipositor with something attached near the tip.

A female ruddy darter seen in Rusty's garden.

A small spider perched delicately on top of a spiky echinops flower-head, photographed by Rusty.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021


A garden tiger moth was an unexpected find in the moth trap in the Firs Chase garden at dawn on Monday 19th. Its a species which is no longer common in Essex gardens, so it was a nice surprise to see it in the back garden. Other moths of interest in the trap were two privet hawkmoths, two pine hawkmoths and five elephant hawkmoths, as well as two Clancy's rustics and two plumed fan-foots.

A juvenile swallow perched on wires beside Feldy View on a hot Monday morning. 
Along the Strood seawall were noted three greenshank, 130 redshank, marsh harrier, two yellow wagtails and three singing reed warblers. Later in the afternoon a buzzard and sparrowhawk were circling together over the Firs Caravan park.

Half a dozen male ruddy darters were seen on the Strood seawall path on Monday.

This black-tailed skimmer was photographed at the country park by Chris Conway on Monday.
Steve Entwistle saw also saw a black-tailed skimmer at the park and a clouded yellow butterfly.

A pair of privet hawkmoths was seen mating on the lawn of Steve Entwistle's neighbour in Empress Drive on Monday. A southern migrant hawker was seen in Steve's garden.

A walk along the Maydays seawall on a hot Sunday produced a Sandwich tern fishing in the Pyefleet, two adult shelduck with nine ducklings, greenshank, 40 curlew, 90 redshank, whimbrel, marsh harrier, two buzzards, two singing sedge warblers, two singing corn buntings and a displaying meadow pipit.

On Saturday 17th between Shop Lane and Gyants Marsh there were three buzzards, Cetti's warbler, yellowhammer, green woodpecker, two linnets and two swifts overhead. No sign of any hairstreak butterflies but others seen were comma, peacock, red admiral, small white, small / Essex skipper, small heath, meadow brown, gatekeeper and ringlet.

A probable hobby was seen perched on Ray Island by Jonathan Bustard on Saturday.

A quick visit to the Strood channel on Friday 16th revealed three buzzards, 20 redshank, black-tailed godwit, kestrel, the oystercatcher chick near the old jetty and two singing reed warblers.

Waders noted in the Strood channel on Thursday 15th included a greenshank, three black-tailed godwits, three whimbrel, two avocets, 90 redshank and 70 curlew. Also seen were two sparrowhawks, buzzard, corn bunting, 15 linnets, a little grebe in the dyke and a meadow pipit calling from the saltmarsh.

The two swifts are growing up fast inside the nestbox on Andy Field's house in High St North, pictured on Wednesday 14th.

Andy photographed this teneral male southern migrant hawker dragonfly at the country park on Wednesday.
Birds noted by Andy included a hobby over the horse paddock north of the park, cuckoo in off the sea then over the fields to the Golfhouse, 100's sand martins, number of juvenile swallows, 80 black-tailed godwits, sedge warbler still singing by the park pond and also a very poorly common seal pup on the beach at the Point.

Martin Cock noted on Wednesday 32 avocets and three common terns near the Golfhouse, also a painted lady and a gatekeeper.

At Coopers Beach on Wednesday were ten Mediterranean gulls, common gull and 130 sub-adult herring gulls on the Rewsalls marshes. Also a juvenile common tern fishing, grey heron, ten little egrets, six curlew and a singing reed warbler.

Two Sandwich terns were seen flying over the West Mersea High Street on Wednesday by Ian Black.