Tuesday 28 November 2023


After a week's absence, the razorbill reappeared at the West Mersea Hard on Monday 27th and again on  Tuesday 28th, when it was close enough for Andy Field to take this picture from about 15 feet away. The razorbill was diving repeatedly, spending more time underwater than above and being difficult to follow when it disappeared among the moored boats. Later on Tuesday morning it had drifted up channel and was opposite the Firs Caravan park.

Andy also saw the great northern diver and the black brant from the Hard on Tuesday. Later from the Esplanade, either a guillemot or razorbill was seen by Andy flying up the Blackwater river past Bradwell. A red-necked grebe was seen at the east end of Salcott Channel from Old Hall marshes by Colin Mackenzie-Grieve. A kingfisher was seen at the West Mersea Hard by Martin Cock.

There was another very high spring tide on the Tuesday, which covered all of the saltmarsh in front of the Firs Caravan park with 100 brent geese feeding on the flooded marsh.

A short-eared owl was being mobbed by a kestrel over the Strood fields on Tuesday morning and a great white egret stalked the weedy field. Lots of small birds were feeding in the weedy fields such as 150 linnets, 100 skylarks, 15 corn buntings and two stonechats.

Of note along the Strood channel on the Tuesday high tide were 94 shelduck, 200 wigeon, 100 teal, two great crested grebes and 30 avocets.
Later on Tuesday afternoon a short-eared owl was seen hunting the Strood fields by Steve Entwistle.

On Monday 27th a great northern diver was feeding close to the hammerhead causeway at the West Mersea Hard. The razorbill was also seen very close to the seawall path behind the Dabchicks sailing club during the high tide in the middle of the day. It quickly dived back under the water and disappeared for a long period, briefly resurfacing before diving again not to be seen again that day.

Birds of note along the Strood seawall included great white egret in the fields, two marsh harriers, three snipe, two pairs of stonechat, 25 corn buntings and a high tide wader roost in the ploughed field of 25 grey plover, 200 dunlin and 30 ringed plovers.
A red squirrel was seen beside the footpath along the top of the Firs Caravan park.

On Sunday 26th a short-eared owl was watched hunting over the fields by the Strood. In between being mobbed by a kestrel, it paused for a while in the grass field. A merlin flew low over the weedy field scattering all the small birds in its path, before it perched in a tree at the back of the field for several minutes. Two marsh harriers also passed over the field early in the afternoon and three kestrels were also over the fields. The great white egret was also walking about the fields looking for food.

Among the small birds in the fields were 50 linnets, 30 corn buntings, 15 reed buntings, ten meadow pipits and three stonechats. Along the channel at high tide were 60 shelduck, 300 wigeon, 100 teal, 2 great crested grebes, 30 avocets and a snipe flying off the fields.

A female pied wagtail was feeding along the edge of the Strood seawall, as were three rock pipits on Sunday.

Duncan Bulling visited the Island on Sunday and reported seeing the short-eared owl flying over the Strood fields in the afternoon. Earlier two red squirrels and a grey squirrel were seen by him in Fishponds Wood in East Mersea.

Michael Thorley visited Ivy Dock Sunday mid-day and noted a pair of red-breasted mergansers, 30 brent geese, a few wigeon and five little egrets.

On Saturday 25th along the Maydays and Reeveshall seawall, birds of note seen during the high tide period were five marsh harriers, 1000 golden plover and 200 lapwing in the air, five great crested grebes, 50 avocets, Cetti's warbler, a fieldfare as well as three common seals.
Later Martin Cock saw a fieldfare and redwing at Maydays on Saturday afternoon.
At the West Mersea Esplanade on Saturday afternoon, Andy Field saw a red-throated diver offshore.

A goldfinch was feeding in a birch tree in Feldy View on Friday 24th.

A grey plover was waiting near the Strood seawall as the tide came in, on Friday. Also seen from the seawall were a marsh harrier, three stonechats, 70 linnets, 8 corn buntings, 40 avocets and three great crested grebes.

A kingfisher was seen at the West Mersea Hard on Friday by Martin Cock. Later at East Mersea two grey squirrels were seen by Martin near the Oyster Fishery.

On Friday afternoon an escaped cockatiel landed on the house roof in Firs Chase, calling loudly when it arrived. It only stayed for a few minutes, pecking the rose leaves beside it, looking around and then flying off.

The regular and very hungry immature herring gull was pictured by Andy Field on a car roof at the Hard car park on Thursday 23rd. Maybe it knew that Andy often carries pasties around with him!
The black brant was seen by Andy opposite the Hard on Thursday but no sign of the razorbill. A great northern diver was seen flying into the estuary and then landing on the water just off Kingsland Road.

A visit later on Thursday to the East Mersea Golfhouse by Andy enabled him to photograph this male stonechat in the horse paddock, two pairs of stonechats here, also a grey wagtail and a rock pipit here.

A turnstone was feeding near the Strood seawall on Thursday. Other birds noted during the walk along the seawall were 700 golden plovers, marsh harrier, 30 avocets, two great crested grebes, three stonechats, 100 linnets and ten corn buntings.

A female great spotted woodpecker perched up a tree in Feldy View on Thursday.

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