Saturday, 28 August 2021


Five yellow wagtails were feeding in the horse paddock by the East Mersea Golfhouse on Friday 27th.
A spotted flycatcher was a surprise sight from the new bird hide overlooking the park pond. The bird was feeding in the lee of the hedgerow, swooping from tree to bush and back to tree again. Also in the hedge were four lesser whitethroats, five whitethroats, willow warbler and three blackcaps. A buzzard flew past the hedge and at the pond were a little egret and three teal.

A greenshank was heard calling as it flew off the mudflats, two snipe flew over the seawall calling while on the mud were 18 golden plover, three ringed plover, six dunlin and one black-tailed godwit. A pochard was seen in the dyke and a Cetti's warbler called briefly from a bush.

Half a dozen willow emeralds were seen at the corner of the park near the old pillbox surrounded by bushes. This willow emerald photographed by Andy Field was resting at the west end of the borrowdyke. Also a couple of small red-eyed damselflies seen by the bushes here. Two clouded yellows were flying together by the seawall sluice.

A brimstone butterfly visited the flowers of the everlasting peas in the Firs Chase garden for the second day running on Friday, also a nice showing of 20 red admirals on ivy and buddleia. A willow warbler was feeding in a birch tree in the garden.

On Thursday 26th there were 180 black-tailed godwits seen feeding along the Strood Channel with this juvenile bird the only youngster seen in a flock of 103 behind the Dabchicks. A hobby was watched circling above the godwits before it headed west off the Island. Also along the channel were 120 golden plover, 20 grey plover, 18 ringed plover and a greenshank. A buzzard perched on a straw bale and a sparrowhawk flew over the channel.

A swift was seen flying over Martin Cock's West Mersea garden on Thursday afternoon.

My wife Nolly had an unexpected wildlife encounter along the Strood seawall earlier on Thursday morning when this young fearless weasel came over to look at her brightly coloured trainers, at one point it appeared to have a nibble at the green laces. 

Later on Thursday morning the same young weasel was still on the seawall - curled up in a ball as it snoozed in the middle of the path, where it was lucky it hadn't been trodden on by a passing family a few moments earlier. The weasel soon woke up and jumped off scampering into the grass.

Having continued to the end of the path towards the Strood road end, I then turned back and the weasel was still running along the path ten minutes later. Hopefully it moved away from the seawall and away from people and dogs.

It was nice and sunny for a walk along the East Mersea seawall between Shop Lane and the Golfhouse on Wednesday 25th. On the mud were a bar-tailed godwit, 45 black-tailed godwits while on Langenhoe Point were six little terns, also 16 common terns in the Colne. A hobby was hunting after the 50+ swallows over the Fishponds Wood and two marsh harriers were flying over Reeveshall. Two green sandpipers were on the Reeveshall pool, a juvenile stonechat was by the Shop Lane dyke, a Cetti's warbler sang near the Oyster Fishery, a whinchat was in the park's grazing field and 16 yellow wagtails by the Golfhouse.

Martin Cock walked between the country park and the Oyster Fishery and noted two chiffchaff, two blackcaps, nine whitethroats, six lesser whitethroats, three Cetti's warblers, 12 yellow wagtails, a whinchat in the grazing fields, forty linnets, 25 common terns, as well as the same six little terns on Langenhoe Point.

Later on Wednesday Steve Entwistle also visited the Shop Lane seawall area and saw the hobby over the Oyster Foshery for ten minutes, three bar-tailed godwits, 20 black-tailed godwits, 15 grey plover, whimbrel, a little tern, grey heron and also at dusk a tawny owl in Shop Lane.

A small tortoiseshell landed on the seawall path by the Golfhouse on Wednesday.

At least six swifts flew over Andy Field's house in High Street North on Wednesday morning.

A blue-tailed damselfly was photographed by Andy Field on Tuesday 24th during his walk along the Strood seawall. Also noted by Andy were six common terns, 25 ringed plovers, a corn bunting, yellow wagtail and also 37 pintail that flew over towards the Dabchicks.

Other birds seen earlier along the Strood included a marsh harrier, 70 golden plover, 120 black-tailed godwits and a calling willow warbler in Feldy View.

At Maydays late Tuesday afternoon a kingfisher by the sluice and little owl by the yard pond were seen by Steve Entwistle.

On Monday 23rd Steve Entwistle reported from the Ivy Dock area of East Mersea seeing 2 or 3 Sandwich terns fishing with six common terns, 28 black-tailed godwits, five dunlin, two turnstones, an avocet, five golden plover, two grey plover, juvenile common gull with a yellow ring on its left leg and also four calling whimbrel.

At Reeveshall on Monday morning Martin Cock reported 245 grey plover, 95 golden plover, 12 dunlin, two greenshank, three green sandpipers, snipe, bar-tailed godwit, eight avocets, two teal, marsh harrier, six yellow wagtails, little tern and also a brown argus. A swift flew over his West Mersea house.

Martin visited Maydays on Monday early evening and reported three marsh harriers, two greenshank, two green sandpipers and three common seals.

On Monday morning along the Strood were a little grebe in the channel, 180 golden plover, 170 black-tailed godwits, five ringed plover, sparrowhawk, while in the fields were four linnets and three reed buntings.

Monday, 23 August 2021


A confiding wheatear was beside an old boat on the saltmarsh by the Firs Caravan park on Sunday 22nd. It was first reported by Ray Hempstead first thing the previous morning, so it has done well to stay in the are despite lots of people in the area over the weekend.

Other birds seen along the Strood seawall on Sunday afternoon included a hobby flying high over the Glebe, forty golden plover and 30 grey plover along the channel. Also a couple of southern migrant hawkers beside the dyke.

A whinchat beside the Shop Lane seawall was one of the highlights of a walk along the north side of the island on Sunday afternoon. Seven little terns were fishing around Langenhoe Point. On Reeveshall were three green sandpipers, two teal, three black-tailed godwits, seven snipe off the saltmarsh, 320 jackdaws, 400+ rooks, 45 stock doves, two golden plover, two marsh harriers and 100 swallows.
A buzzard, yellowhammer, 100 more swallows heading north-west and two common seals were at Maydays.

Steve Entwistle reported seeing a reed warbler, yellowhammer and a marsh harrier at Maydays on Sunday while Martin Cock noted 25 common terns on a raft in the Colne also a whimbrel.

A corn bunting perched on a bush beside the Bower Hall seawall calling anxiously as it waited with some food in its beak on Sunday afternoon. Eight snipe flew over the saltmarsh and a yellowhammer was heard while two swifts were high over the farm. Two male adders were lying on the seawall path ten metres apart and luckily both were spotted in time before being trodden on! Both slipped away into the long grass.

A juvenile little ringed plover was present for three days from Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st on the side lake beside the East Mersea boating lake. The bird was hard to spot as it fed in a distant corner of the lake.

Also present on Saturday on the muddy Rewsalls marshes during the high tide were 200 golden plover, 100 redshank, 30 turnstone, three common sandpipers, 25 dunlin, 100 ringed plover, common tern, 20 little egrets, 20 Mediterranean gulls, two grey herons, also two willow warblers and a swift passing through.

Two grey herons were seen beside the East Mersea boating lake, this one stalking the side lake. 
On Friday 20th during the high tide, the little ringed plover, 100 golden plover, 70 ringed plover, six common sandpipers, snipe, 28 little egrets, 20 Mediterranean gulls and a little grebe. A painted lady was also seen by the old seawall.

Beside Cross Lane on Friday were a buzzard, three chiffchaffs, 50 swallows and five house martins.
A willow warbler was feeding in the Firs Chase garden.
Michael Thorley reported a chiffchaff, willow warbler, whitethroat, garden warbler and a yellow wagtail at his East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane.

At the country park on Thursday two yellow wagtails, sand martins were seen by Steve Entwistle also noting 20 red admirals on a buddleia bush by the hide and three small tortoiseshells by the seawall.

On Thursday at the boating lake and muddy Rewsalls marshes were the little ringed plover, 150 ringed plover, 20 golden plover, two common sandpipers, 15 turnstones, 20 little egrets, four Sandwich terns, 32 common terns and a little tern fishing offshore. Also a buzzard and two yellow wagtails passed over.

At Firs Chase a willow warbler was heard calling and two swifts passed overhead.

Among the butterflies visiting the Firs Chase garden recently was this green-veined white, also small white, up to four red admirals, peacock, gatekeeper, comma, holly blue and small tortoiseshell.

Several toadflax brocade caterpillars have been feeding on the purple toadflax in the Firs Chase garden.

This speckled bush cricket minus a back leg, has taken up residence on a strawberry plant in the garden.

An elephant hawkmoth caterpillar was photographed by David Nicholls in his Queen Ann Road garden on 17th August. It was the second one seen in his garden last week.

The caterpillar had been munching its way through some bog-bean plants in the margins of David's garden pond.

The small colourful mint moths have been spotted recently in the gardens of Martin Cock and Steve Entwistle - who photographed this one.

A female migrant hawker was photographed by Chris Conway after it flew inside his house extension.

Thursday, 19 August 2021


There was still lots of sand martin activity around the colony in the cliff at the back of the country park beach on Wednesday 18th. A count of the nest-holes dug this summer showed about a hundred had been excavated in the cliff, which is about forty more than last year. Many chicks were still inside their holes being fed, such as these two waiting at their entrance. In total about 100 sand martins were flying about the cliff and across the park too.

A scruffy juvenile wheatear seemed very obliging, posing on the beach close to the ramp where lots of people were going past. The bird looks similar to a juvenile seen three weeks earlier on the park seawall but can't say for sure if the same bird still here.

By the park pond were 8 little egrets, with another seven on the saltmarsh, also lesser whitethroat and a Cetti's warbler. Two willow emerald damselflies were seen at the west end of the park dyke.

The family of ringed plover including the two juveniles, was on the mud just after high tide near the old fort along with forty other ringed plovers, 40 golden plovers and 12 dunlin. Five black-tailed godwits, 70 curlew, five common terns and four Mediterranean gulls were seen near the Point. 

At Maydays on Wednesday Martin Cock reported 66 curlew, green sandpiper, two buzzards, yellow wagtail, two common terns and also three common seals in the Pyefleet.
Michael Thorley visited Reeveshall on Wednesday morning and noted three greenshank, six dunlin, yellow wagtail, four common terns and two lesser black-backed gulls as well as two red squirrels in Shop Lane.

Five swifts were seen flying west over Firs Chase on Wednesday also a willow warbler there, while two local swifts were still above Queen Ann Road and a house martin was still visiting the nest opposite the West Mersea vets.

A juvenile yellow wagtail was looking anxiously up to the sky as it watched a sparrowhawk pass overhead on Tuesday 17th along the Strood seawall. Along the Strood channel were six golden plover, four grey plover, four ringed plover, 300 redshank, 50 black-tailed godwits, six dunlin and two teal with five mute swans seen in the Ray Channel. Fifteen swifts, two house martins and a willow warbler were seen at Feldy View, also five sand martins flew west over the fields.

Eight whimbrel were seen off the country park on Tuesday afternoon by Michael Thorley.

On Monday 16th along the Strood were a pochard, 35 black-tailed godwits, 15 grey plover, ten golden plover, four dunlin, three ringed plover and four common terns. A buzzard and sparrowhawk passed over, while six linnets and five goldfinches were noted too.

At East Mersea on the mud near Ivy Farm on Monday morning, Martin Cock reported a good selection of waders including six bar-tailed godwits, a knot, 25 dunlin, 25 grey plover, three golden plover, 100 black-tailed godwits and two little terns.

An unusual find was this seemingly freshly dead banded demoiselle damselfly, found beside a ditch by the Bower Hall seawall on Sunday 15th. This is not a resident damselfly on the Island and must have wandered from the mainland, maybe the Roman River valley. A southern migrant hawker was hawking up and down a nearby ditch.

Birds noted by the Bower Hall marsh on Sunday were eight greenshank in the creek, ten little egrets, buzzard, singing yellowhammer, five linnets, 25 swallows while three house martins were over Maydays farmyard.

Three brown argus were beside the Bower Hall seawall, also a painted lady seen too on Sunday. At least twenty wasp spiders at webs were in the grass beside the seawall.

In East Mersea at the Oyster Fishery and Ivy Dock area, Martin Cock noted on Sunday morning eight whitethroats, a lesser whitethroat, two willow warblers, Cetti's warbler, 100 black-tailed godwits, 12 common terns, also clouded yellow and a painted lady butterfly.

At Maydays farm on Sunday evening Steve Entwistle reported a greenshank flying over and another two heard, great crested grebe, two common sandpipers, sedge warbler, yellowhammer, two reed buntings, green woodpecker and a red-legged partridge on a workshop roof.

A ruddy darter was photographed on a "ruddy mouse" in Feldy View by Angela Buckley on Sunday.

Three speckled wood butterflies were fluttering under the trees by Fishponds Wood on Saturday 14th. Three willow warblers were calling in the trees, while by the path to the seawall were 12+ wasp spiders.

At Reeveshall fifty swallows were over the fields, four greenshank, knot, 18 grey plover, two shelduck families totalling 24 birds, 12 avocets, 20 black-tailed godwits, four common terns and two great crested grebes.

Andy Field reported on Saturday morning seeing along the Strood seawall common tern with a juvenile, eleven golden plover, five grey plover, five avocets, dunlin, yellow wagtail and peregrine while in Feldy View were a willow warbler and a blackcap.

A juvenile cuckoo was seen perched in a bush by the Strood seawall on Friday 13th.

The cuckoo dropped down amongst the grass for a couple of minutes probably looking for caterpillars. Feeding itself up ahead of its imminent long journey to Africa.

Along the Strood were 25 grey plover, 20 black-tailed godwits, eight avocets, two dunlin, four common terns, 200 redshank, while over the fields were 300 starlings on wires, buzzard, sand martin, house martin and four linnets.

Fifty swifts were counted passing west over Feldy View / Firs Road with one quick count producing ten birds passing in a minute. The swifts were trickling through all Friday morning at this sort of rate, the third day of a big westerly movement. On Thursday over Firs Chase 200 swifts passed westwards at a rate of 60 seen in one fifteen minute count in the morning and still fifty passing in fifteen minutes late afternoon.

A great spotted woodpecker and a sparrowhawk were seen by Steve Entwistle at Feldy View on Friday. A willow warbler was seen by Martin Cock in his garden in The Coverts on Friday morning.

A black-tailed godwit was feeding along the Strood Channel on Thursday with 17 other godwits. Also on the mud were 14 avocets, four golden plover, a knot, two dunlin, while a hobby, buzzard, sparrowhawk and three yellow wagtails were seen passing over.

A young common tern perched on a post in the Strood channel waiting to be fed, three others fishing nearby. 
A greenshank and a yellow wagtail flew over the Firs Chase garden on Thursday afternoon, while a willow emerald damselfly was a nice sighting for the garden.

Andy Field photographed this wasp spider near the Shop Lane seawall on Thursday 12th.

The wasp spider was seen with its prey entangled in its web - one of five wasp spiders seen.

Birds noted by Andy between Shop Lane and Maydays during Thursday's low tide in the morning were 35 black-tailed godwits, 120 curlew, two whimbrel, 75 grey plover, six ringed plover, 20 dunlin, five greenshank, common sandpiper, eight avocets, three little terns, two common terns and a buzzard.

Two clouded yellows, two painted ladies and two holly blues were noted and a red squirrel and chiffchaff by Fishponds Wood by Andy on Thursday.

Martin Cock reported six blackcaps and two whitethroats near Meeting Lane on Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday evening Steve Entwistle visited the Golfhouse and East Mersea Point area and noted three sanderling, five dunlin, teal, eight Mediterranean gulls, 20 turnstones, 30 curlew, 51 golden plover, 28 grey plover, 67 ringed plover, 100 redshank, 50 oystercatchers, eight common gulls, 58 black-tailed godwits including a ringed bird, also a lesser whitethroat by the Golfhouse.

Thursday, 12 August 2021


The new bird hide is now installed and open overlooking the pond on the north side of the country park. The hide replaces the old one which was closed down due to old age and being unsafe, having lasted for nearly 26 years. Hopefully the new one will last as long, or longer!

The new hide was constructed by local builder and birdwatcher Chris Conway. The new hide is the same size as the old one but will hopefully have a living green roof on top.

The view from the new hide is a bit lower than the old hide but there should be more views of the water in the winter when the reeds die down. On Wednesday 11th, there were 15 little egrets roosting in the trees over the pond, also a teal and a gadwall were seen, along with a few mallard, coots and little grebe.
Later on Wednesday Steve Entwistle counted 21 little egrets on the trees, eight mallard, whitethroat, little grebe and two greenfinch.

A fox was out for a walk in the small field beside the park pond.

A willow emerald was resting on a bush beside the pillbox along the horseride and two others were seen nearby low down. The first sighting in the park was in this area about four years ago.

A small red-eyed damselfly was resting in the sun beside the path at the park on Wednesday with at least 15 others seen on the nearby borrowdyke. As well as migrant hawkers, a black-tailed skimmer and emperor were also noted.

A couple of pochard were seen in the park dyke.

Five tufted ducks were also in the dyke, some of them recently fledged youngsters.
A sedge warbler and yellow wagtail were seen by the seawall. A little tern was fishing near the Point, 18 common terns were resting on one of the buoys in the Colne while at least 12 Mediterranean gulls roosted on the mud.

Two small ringed plover chicks were seen running back up the beach as the tide started covering the mud with the mum calling them to follow her off the mud. Also three golden plover, two grey plover, 15 black-tailed godwits and ten little egrets noted. A buzzard was seen flying high and westwards over the Golfhouse having just crossed the Colne.

The colony of bee-wolves at the Point were active in the sunshine on Wednesday with at least a dozen seen flying about, some carrying their bee-prey like this one.

There was a big movement of swifts westwards over the Island during Wednesday with one passage in the morning involving 300 in an hour over the Firs Chase / the Lane  / Victory Road areas. Later in the afternoon the swifts were still passing with 450+ counted in a ninety minute period, and still trickling west into the evening with a final day tally of about 800 birds.

Three painted ladies and three red admirals were feeding on buddleia in the Firs Chase garden.

A willow warbler was seen in Martin Cock's West Mersea garden on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021


There was the nice sight of five willow warblers feeding in the Firs Chase garden on Tuesday 10th. The birds were feeding alongside a mixed tit flock and also a couple of blackcaps too. A willow warbler was also heard calling in Feldy View.

A peregrine stirred up the birds on Tuesday in the Strood channel before it landed for a few minutes on the edge of the Ray saltmarsh. Along the channel were ten avocets, 18 grey plover, three dunlin, two Mediterranean gulls, eight black-tailed godwits, mute swan, while fifty turnstones roosted near the Hard. Two buzzards and a marsh harrier were noted as were two yellow wagtails, thirty swallows and a sand martin.

On Tuesday afternoon Steve Entwistle visited the Strood channel and noted ten whimbrel, whinchat, dunlin, two sedge warblers, two yellow wagtails, 13 linnets, four whitethroats, grey plover, black-tailed godwit, four long-tailed tits, as well as three painted ladies and there was a small copper in Feldy View.
Ian Black saw eight whimbrel flying over the Mersea harbour area late Tuesday afternoon and more heard later.

A small copper was feeding on ragwort flowers in Feldy View on Tuesday morning, while on the Strood seawall a clouded yellow and four painted ladies were seen. A painted lady was also seen in the Firs Chase garden.

A barn owl perched outside the owl box behind the country park pond on Tuesday morning and photographed here by Andy Field. The barn owl was also seen the day before sitting outside the box by Steve Entwistle.
Andy also noted at the park 193 black-tailed godwits, ten bar-tailed godwits, Cetti's warbler by the Golfhouse, reed and sedge warbler along the borrowdyke, 20+ sand martins, 20+ swallows, 8 whitethroats, two blackcaps, a possible garden warbler, 21 little egrets at the pond and a little owl calling from north of the park.

Two common sandpipers and seven common seals were seen at Maydays on Tuesday by Martin Cock.
Michael Thorley had a green woodpecker and great spotted woodpecker in his East Mersea garden.

A little egret was wading in the shallows of the Strood channel on Monday 9th.
Other birds noted from the seawall were a whinchat in the wheat field, marsh harrier, five Mediterranean gulls, five common terns, eight avocets, 20 golden plover, 30 grey plover, ringed plover, whimbrel, dunlin, 150 redshank and two greenshank
Two sedge warblers, four yellow wagtails, were seen too while by Feldy View two willow warblers, two lesser whitethroats were in the bushes, five gadwall, ten swifts and five house martins flew over.

Later on Monday afternoon a red kite, peregrine, hobby were seen by Martin Cock by the Strood also noting sedge warbler, reed warbler, whitethroat and six yellow wagtails. Thirty house sparrows were also seen there by Michael Thorley.

A garden warbler was feeding with a tit flock and willow warbler in the Firs Chase garden on Monday morning, also two swifts west.

At Cudmore Grove on Tuesday afternoon between the showers, Steve Entwistle reported the barn owl beside the owl box at the pond, two blackcaps, two song thrushes, four whitethroats and five sand martins. Also a brimstone and painted lady butterflies.

Martin Cock visited the park earlier on Tuesday morning and noted willow warbler, two blackcaps, six whitethroats, possible garden warbler and 14 little egrets.

A juvenile greenfinch took several minutes to recover after flying into a window at the Firs Chase house on Sunday. 

A visit to Maydays around midday on Sunday provided views of a hobby chasing hirundines, marsh harrier, four swifts, 70 stock doves, two common sandpipers, 15 grey plover, great crested grebe, five shelduck and eight young, knot, yellowhammer, three house martins, three whitethroats and a red-legged partridge- also four common seals in the Pyefleet.

A green sandpiper and a common sandpiper were seen on the Reeveshall pool on Sunday by Martin Cock.

At Cudmore Grove on Sunday evening, Steve Entwistle noted 60 black-tailed godwits, 15 ringed plovers, two whimbrel, 12 grey plover, golden plover, four gadwall, little tern and ten common gulls.

Two broods of mallard ducklings were in the dyke by the Strood seawall on a wet and overcast Saturday 7th. One brood with seven ducklings was in one section of dyke and the other brood of five was in a separate section. A little grebe was also present in the dyke and a pochard flew past.
A common sandpiper flew along the bottom of the seawall on the channel side, also noted were five avocets, two grey plover, whimbrel, three black-tailed godwits and five common terns

In the fields were 30 lapwing, 22 golden plover, 200 starlings, five yellow wagtails and a corn bunting. Thirty swifts were seen flying off the island as were five house martins. A willow warbler was calling by Feldy View.

A painted lady closed up its wings in the dull weather on Saturday in the Firs Chase garden.

A brown hare was a new visitor to Michael Thorley's East Mersea garden on Sunday, seen nibbling the thyme.

A hornet hoverfly photographed by Andy Field inside his conservatory in West Mersea on Sunday.

A male linnet seen at Cudmore Grove was photographed by Michael Thorley.

A couple of pictures by Michael of a pochard seen at Cudmore Grove in the borrowdyke.