Holland Haven Birding

Official Site Of The Holland Haven Birding Group ©

Holland Haven bird report for 2008

 

Welcome to the 2008 Holland Haven bird report

A total of 194 species were recorded during 2008 of which just one, Storm Petrel, represented a new addition to the overall site list. This sole addition increases the total number of species recognised by ‘hollandhavenbirding.com’ as having been recorded from within the site boundary to 259.

In addition to smashing the Essex year list record (by amassing an impressive 238 species) Gary Gardiner also found time during 2008 to establish a new Haven year list record of 185 (95% of the total species recorded) beating his own record of 175 set in the previous year. Shadowing Gary all the way, Karen Aldous scored 179 (92% of the total species recorded) as well as achieving the second ever highest county year list of 237, just one short of Gary’s record total.

In addition to Storm Petrel other 2008 highlights included the 2nd record of Rosefinch, the 3rd record of Slavonian Grebe and Woodlark, the 3rd and 4th records of Egyptian Goose, the 3rd, 4th and 5th record of Caspian Gull, the 4th records of both Richards Pipit and Waxwing and the 4th and 5th Wryneck, Iceland Gull and Goosander. Also of note were Spoonbills (6th and 7th record), three records of Velvet Scoter (4th, 5th and 6th records), the 5th Osprey, the 6th Pectoral Sandpiper, the 1st record of Glaucous Gull for 10 years, further records of Cettis Warblers, Bearded Tit’s, Water Pipits, Long Tailed Skuas, Pink Footed, Bean and Barnacle Geese, Lapland Buntings and Honey Buzzards plus our 11th Temminck’s Stint as well as the 3rd Grey Headed and 2nd Ashy Headed Wagtail, record counts of Redstart, our earliest Ring Ouzel, an extraordinary passage of Stock Doves, Crossbills and lots more! Lowlights included the continued decline of Corn Bunting and House Sparrow, paucity of Turtle Doves and yet again no records of Yellowhammer. Most surprising of all not a single Shag was reported. However a single record of Grey Partridge offers some hope that this once common resident may after all just about be hanging on.

2008 proved to be an excellent year and with the exception of the compiler of this report, all other Haven regulars were able to add several new species to their Haven life lists during the year!

Predictions for new additions to the list in 2009.

Looking forward to 2009 the hollandhavenbirding.com editorial team offer the following three species as predictions of new additions to the site list;

Mealy Redpoll has almost certainly already occurred, however as virtually all Redpolls are calling ‘fly-overs’ a definite Mealy has yet to been proven. The establishment of the new feeding station may finally give us Redpolls (including a Mealy) that offers something more than just the briefest of views.

Black Winged Stilt is certainly a bird that would not look out of place on our scrape. With a pair as close as Abberton Reservoir last year and the virtual daily coverage in spring (ensuring that such an obvious visitor would not be overlooked!), this species is the hot tip in terms of a new wader for the site.

Golden Oriole has been heard calling on one day only, in one spring years ago, from deep within the wood immediately north of Great Holland Hall. However as most of the details, including the date, have been lost, and that no actual sighting was made from within the site boundary, this species remains a ‘near miss’ which at least one of the editorial team believe will be rectified during 2009!

Regardless of whether any of the above predictions materialise it would nonetheless be a major achievement if 2009 can be the year that the 200 total can be reached. The omens are good insofar as observer coverage appears to be increasing through a combination of committed locals and regular visitors from further afield, some of who may be opting for the Haven as an alternative to the gruelling experience of flogging round the Naze! (We have a cafe as well...it’s just below Clacton Sailing Club on the prom and is open from Easter through to October!) However, as detailed in the pages below, 2008 will be a hard year to beat.

 

Finally a massive vote of thanks is due to everyone who contributed to the ‘Latest News’ section of the website from which much of the detailed report below is based. Without this wealth of data it would be impossible to construct anything other than a few lines on a handful of the rarer species. Therefore whilst this ‘first attempt’ at a comprehensive annual report clearly leaves room for improvement, it would most likely also be the last such detailed report should the quantity and quality of data received from all those that visit the Haven significantly reduce. 

Pete Davis                                                                                                       22nd February 2009


 

 

 

 

Species

Records/Reports

 

 

Red Throated Diver

Recorded intermittently offshore from 6th January (15) up until 17th March (4) and in the autumn from 30th October (7) until year end. The highest day count recorded was 40+ on the 12th January which included a combination of birds feeding offshore as well as others passing by. Other than this count, the 15 noted on 6th January and 10+ on the 24th January all other records, including all those in the second half of the year, refer to single figure counts only.

Black Throated Diver

The sole record of the year refers to 2 individuals passing north offshore on the 1st December. (A diver ‘sp’ passing north distantly on the 26th April was possibly this species as opposed to Red Throated).

Great Northern Diver

Three records all involving single birds passing offshore on the following dates

20th March

29th October

10th December

Little Grebe

Recorded throughout the year although never more than two adult type birds seen on any given day. Confirmed breeding noted with an adult with 4 young on the 23rd and 25th July. In addition to the usual haunts an individual was noted on the small farm pond at Great Holland Hall on the 19th April.

Great Crested Grebe

The only records in the first half of the year were of single birds seen offshore on the 10th and 19th March. The first for the second half of the year involved a single bird offshore on the 14th September. Thereafter a single record on the 29th October was followed by four records in November including the only multiple sighting of the year involving two offshore on the 17th. There were no records in December.

Slavonian Grebe

A single bird offshore on the 23rd November represents the third record for the Haven following individuals noted 21st to 23rd January 1985 and 16th January 1996.

Fulmar

Recorded on a total of eight days between 18th May and 4th September. Other than 2 on the 28th May all records refer to single birds. All records refer to birds passing offshore.

Sooty Shearwater

Total of three birds all passing south on two dates in August.

24th August (2)

29th August

The individual seen on the 29th August was also noted passing Frinton-on-Sea. (In addition to the above a distant Shearwater ‘sp’ passing south on the 6th September was almost certainly a Sooty).

Manx Shearwater

One passing south offshore on the 17th August represents the sole record for the year. Had it not been for a timely call from Paul Brayshaw alerting Haven birders to this individual passing the Frinton ‘observatory’, 2008 would have been a blank year for this species.(In addition a small Shearwater passing distantly south on the 25th August was almost certainly a Manx).

(Large Shearwater ‘sp’)

Unidentified ‘large’ shearwaters ‘sp’ were noted passing offshore on the following dates;

0635 10th May (Pete Loud)

1500 19th July (Pete Davis)

6th September (Pete Davis)

All were very distant and thought most likely to refer to Cory’s Shearwaters by the observers. To date neither Cory’s nor Great Shearwater have been identified at the Haven beyond reasonable doubt. Although not predicted by Hollandhavenbirding.com as one of three new species predicted for the site in 2009, it must surely only be a matter of time before one of these large shears approaches close enough to be critically identified. (The individual on the 19th July was seen to momentarily approach from out to sea before promptly banking away and disappearing over the horizon.)

Storm Petrel

Karen Aldous found and Gary Gardiner confirmed the identification of this first record for Holland Haven, on the evening of 17th August. Passing relatively close inshore and moving steadily south, only the lucky finders were able to add this species to their patch list.

Gannet

A total of 283+ individuals were recorded over 37 dates. No records were received until a single adult passing offshore on the 21st May. Thereafter recorded on three further dates during May including 9 passing offshore on the early morning of the 28th. One to two birds were recorded on four dates during June before the main period of passage got underway in mid July with 40+ passing offshore on the 14th, 50+ on the 19th, 38+ on the 20th and towards the end of the month 26 south on the 28th July. Thereafter only single figure counts noted on 7 dates in both August and September with exception of 20 recorded on the 23rd September. Other than 7 noted on the 3rd October the only other records for that month involved a singleton south on the 15th and 2 juveniles on the 30th. In November, juveniles were noted on the 1st and 8th with the last record of the year involving an adult passing north on the 30th November.

Cormorant

Present in small numbers throughout the year with the maximum day count of 13 on the scrape 8th November. The only other double figure counts recorded were 11 moving south on the 3rd September and 10 south on the 10th November. An adult of the continental race ‘sinensis’ was present on the scrape on the 2nd March.

Little Egret

Recorded in every month with majority of records occurring from April to July. Maximum of 5 together on the scrape on the evening of 6th June with 3 present on the 8th April, 13th June and 10th July. Other than two seen on a total of eight dates, all other records refer to single birds. Very scarce in the winter months with single records for January (2nd), February (29th), November (26th) and two for December (7th and 22nd).

(An Egret ‘sp’ seen distantly flying south east on the 22nd November was thought by the observer to probably be a Great White Egret).

Grey Heron

Recorded in every month in small numbers. Maximum day count of 4 noted on 27th January.

Spoonbill

Two records involving three birds.

The 6th record for the Haven involved a sub adult found by Gary Gardiner on the scrape on the 27th June. It departed high to the west at 1030.

The 7th record for the Haven followed three months later when Gary Gardiner noted two passing offshore towards Frinton during a sea watch on the 23rd September!

A total of 13 Spoonbills have now been recorded at the Haven since the first in May 1996. The above records represent the first to fall outside of May and the first to occur in autumn.

Mute Swan

An adult remained unpaired throughout the year at the small farm pond at Great Holland Hall. The ‘resident’ pair nested on the scrape island and were seen to have 7 cygnets on the 25th May with 5 on the 15th June and 2 on the 9th August after which the remaining family party disappeared until what were presumably the same adults returned in December. Other wanderers were noted regularly throughout the year, however no more than a total of 4 birds recorded on a single day.

Bewick Swan

Two records involving 9 birds

2 adults flew in off the sea and disappeared inland on the 27th November.

4 adults and 3 juveniles flew in off the sea and headed south west on the 30th November.

Bean Goose

The sole record of the year involved a party of 3 of the Tundra form ‘rossicus’ which dropped onto the scrape in front of Gary Gardiner on the morning of the 4th November. They remained for an hour and a half before disappearing north east. This represents the 13th occurrence of Bean Goose at Holland Haven and the first since the winter of 2004/5 when 2 of the Tundra form ‘rossicus’ overwintered.

Pink Footed Goose

Three records involving three ‘single bird’ sightings on the following dates:

11th April

9th October

15th November in to 2009

All occurred on the scrape and/or surrounding grazing marsh generally in the company of the ‘local’ Grey Lags. The above represents the 10th, 11th and 12th records for the Haven. However, despite occurring during likely migration periods it is possible that only one bird is in involved and that its provenance is questionable.

White Fronted Goose

Recorded in both winter periods.

A party of 6 were recorded between 21st February and 6th March with 2 remaining until 10th March.

A flock of 18 arrived on the 4th November dwindling down to 6 on 11th November, thereafter increasing to between 10 and 13 on various dates until 27th and 29th December when 27 were present. At the year end only 7 were found on the 31st December. Whilst clearly a minimum of 27 birds were recorded over this extended period, the true number of individual White Fronts that occurred over the 9 weeks from 4th November is surely much higher.

Greylag Goose

Present throughout the year in variable numbers culminating in a maximum day count of 295 recorded on the 9th September. Numbers greatly reduce from mid March through the early summer until significant increases occur from the last two weeks of July. A small number of hybrid individuals are as usual ever present with the main flocks.

The table below highlights maximum monthly counts.

 

Month/day

Number

10th January

125

16th February

194

8th March

140

11th April

4

25th May

20

15th June

4

31st July

200

31st August

210

9th September

295

2nd October

165

29th November

90

26th December

220

 

 

Canada Goose

Recorded erratically in variable numbers throughout the year although none were noted during March, April, June and September. Typically single figures or small groups up to 14 (29th December) which in itself would have been a new all time recorded maximum were it not for 36 seen together on the 15th November followed 2 days later by an unprecedented count of 51 on the scrape on the early morning of the 17th November! The only protracted stay involved a presumed pair on the scrape from the 4th to 16th May.

Barnacle Goose

The sole record for the year involved 3 birds on the grazing marsh for 20 minutes on the 26th April before disappearing north. This represents the eighth site record and the first since 5th March 2005 when a flock of 10 were recorded.

Brent Goose

Recorded in every month except June. In the first part of the year recorded in variable numbers up until 28 May where 100+ were noted moving north. 1200+ were noted grazing on the arable below Great Holland Hall on the 4th January with 500+ remaining until the 19th January after which only relatively small numbers noted. The first for the autumn involved 5 passing south offshore on the early date of the 16th July. Following another 7 south on the 20th July and a juvenile on the scrape on the 23rd July, virtually no reports were received until passage really got under way from mid September, culminating in a strong movement noted on the 30th October where c6000 were recorded passing south over two prolonged periods of sea watching. Thereafter relatively modest numbers noted with 134 on the 2nd November and 125+ present on the 15th December being notable. The ‘Black Brant’ present at the end of 2007 remained with the above referred Brent flock until the 16th January.

Egyptian Goose

Two records involving 7 to 12 birds

A party of 7 were on the scrape on the 16th November

A party of 5 were on the grazing marsh between the scrape and the golf course on the 29th November

The above represents only the 3rd and 4th records and the first since the party of 8 seen flying north east on the 10th August 1991. As such these two occurrences were greatly appreciated by many Haven site listers!  Clearly the 5 recorded on the 29th November could well have been 5 of the party seen on the 16th, however the complete absence of reports in the 13 days between the two sightings equally suggests that different birds may be involved.

Shelduck

Recorded in varying numbers in all months except August. From a single bird present on the 1st January numbers rose to a maximum of 31 on the scrape on the 9th March thereafter fluctuating before rising to the year’s peak of 34 on the 11th May. Around 6 pairs remained from the middle to late May of which at least two pairs bred producing a total of 20 ducklings. (8 from 18th May and a further 12 from 25th May.) All 20 were still present until the 29th June thereafter 12 until 6th July with 6 on the 10th and 11th July after which no further reports of locally raised juveniles was received. Other than a single moulting adult on the scrape on the 24th July no further records were received until the first for the autumn noted passing south offshore on the 9th September. No further autumn reports were received until the 30th October when 20 were seen moving south. A single bird was back on the scrape from the 7th November increasing to 22 on both the 17th and 18th November before dropping back to 5 or 6 by the end of the year.

Wigeon

Up to c800 frequented the grazing marsh and scrape during the first part of the year with c300 still present on the 24th March reducing to c150 six days later on the 30th March, after which only 2-4 stragglers were reported in April until the last, a male, was seen on the 27th  April. Other than a single midsummer record of a drake on the 7th June and an early returning female/eclipse on the 10th August the first autumn record proper, involved a single bird from the 22nd August with 3 present on the 31st August. Thereafter numbers built up slowly through the early part of September where the first passage birds noted were 12 moving south on the 7th September.  Numbers fluctuated from 20 to 50 from late September through to the end of October when the main body of wintering birds returned. 150 present on the 1st November, rose to c420 on the 29th November thereafter increasing to 550+ on the 7th December and c700+ on the 28th December.

Gadwall

Present in variable numbers from mid January to the end of June and from early November to year end. The first for the year involved a pair on the 12th January increasing to 8 the following day the 13th January, 17 on the 27th January and the year maximum day count of 24 on the 29th January, one short of the all time site record of 25+ set on the 11th February 1995. After 19 on the 3rd February numbers thereafter declined, fluctuating between 2 to 13 on 33 dates until the last for the spring, a single bird, was seen on the 28th June. No further records were received until 4 were seen on the scrape on the 7th November after which between 2 to 5 were reported on 8 dates to the year end.

Teal

Recorded in every month. During January numbers rose rapidly to c550 on the 19th with c400 present on the 27th after which numbers dropped significantly to 180+ on the 3rd February , 80+ on the 16th February with only around 20 present during the first three weeks of March. No doubt reflecting an element of spring passage, numbers thereafter rose to 65 on the 30th March, 80 on the 14th April declining rapidly through end April and early May. Thereafter, with the exception of 12 on the 10th June and 16+ on the 15th June only single figures reported on 28 dates between first week of May and 9th August when a count of 23 represented the first real signs of autumn passage. Numbers then increased on average very slowly until 75+ seen on 28th October , 120 four days later on 1st November thereafter more than doubling by month end with 270+ on 29th November. If anything, numbers then reduced in December with 50+ estimated on 6th December and 35+ only on 28th December.

Mallard

Present throughout the year. Bred on the scrape and the farm pond at Great Holland Hall. Numbers fluctuate wildly with the highest day count being 200+ on the 5th August. Other than the usual autumn gathering of moulting adults combined with the year’s offspring anything from 15 to 55 birds can be recorded on any given day.

Pintail

A minimum of 14 birds recorded. The first for the year involved a pair on the scrape on the 15th and 16th of January. A female on the 29th January was followed by a drake on the 9th March. A pair was seen on four dates between the 15th March and the 1st April. These were followed by a drake on the 21st April and a female on the 4th May which was subsequently seen on 13 dates until last noted on the 18th June. This, an unusually long stay for the time of year, for a bird that neither appeared injured nor, as no drake was seen throughout this time, is there any suggestion of attempted breeding. Other than a singleton on the scrape between the 3rd and 6th of September the only other records for the second half of the year involved 2 females passing north on the 1st November, a female on the scrape on the 22nd November and the last for the year, 3 south offshore on the 23rd November.

Garganey

Minimum of 9 birds recorded as follows;

20th April (pair)

30th April/1st May (pair)

23rd/24thMay (pair)

2nd, 9th, 11th and 15th June (drake) with a pair on the 16th June.

3rd/4th October (eclipse/immature)

All were on the scrape or nearby flooded grazing marsh. It is possible that more than two birds were involved in the series of sightings in June. It is also possible that breeding was attempted. The above represents the best ever showing for this species in any given year. The June 16th date falls a day short of the latest ever spring record, a drake on the 17th June 1995. The October record above beats the previous latest date of the long staying eclipse drake last seen on 1st October 2000.

Shoveler

Recorded in every month except July. No evidence of breeding. Highest numbers recorded January to end March and from mid November to year end. Maximum day counts 47 on the 29th January and 46 on the 25th December. Other than 10+ on the 10th June only single figure counts on 37 dates were recorded between 27th April and 3rd November. A group of 7 passing north on the 3rd November is a relatively unusual record of a species not normally associated with passage offshore. The table below gives highest monthly day counts.

 

Month/day

Number

29th January

47

16th February

10

9th March

37

20th April

10+

2nd May

8

10th June

10+

July

0

30th August

9+

20th September

9

19th October

9

8th & 20th November

18

25th December

46

 

Pochard

In complete contrast to most previous records, the sole occurrence of the year did not come from the scrape but involved a party of 3 passing south offshore on the afternoon of the 30th October!

Tufted Duck

Eight records involving 10-13 birds as follows;

9th June (2 drakes on the scrape)

13th and 15th June (drake on the scrape)

5th July (2 drakes on the scrape)

15th July (drake south offshore)

25th August (south offshore)

9th November (3 drakes and 1 female south offshore)

31st December (pair on the scrape)

It is possible that the reports for 9th, 13th, 15th June and 3rd July all refer to just two drakes in total.

Common Eider

Nine records involving 24 birds as follows;

17th March (drake north)

3rd May (pair on the sea)

7th September (2 south)

23rd September (drake offshore)

1st November (3 north)

4th November (3 north)

27th November (2 south)

30th November (4 and 3 south)

1st December (3 north)

As suggested by the above often distant fly by’s, as opposed to birds at rest on the sea, are sadly the norm these days.

Long Tailed Duck

A distant female/immature passing south offshore at 1215 on the 30th November represents the fourth site record for this species and the first since 28th December 1995 when a single drake was noted passing offshore.

Common Scoter

Strangely not recorded until the 19th May when two were seen passing south offshore. Thereafter seen regularly passing offshore until the last of the year, a party of 4 moving south on the 13th December. A new day record was set on the 17th August when 520 passed south in the three hours 0735-1025. Assuming that all records refer to passage birds (as opposed to duplication through local movement) individual monthly totals are represented by the table below.

 

Month  (number of days recorded)

Total

January

0

February

0

March

0

April

0

May (one day)

2

June (two days)

9

July (six days)

87

August (eight days)

567

September (eight days)

44

October (one day)

23

November (six days)

172

December (two days)

17

Assuming zero duplication a total of 921 Common Scoter passed the Haven during 2008 of which over 50% occurred on a single day!

Velvet Scoter

Three records involving 14 birds as follows;

2nd September (4 south)

17th November (4 and 3, both groups with Common Scoter)

30th November (2 drakes and a female south at 0953)

In an excellent year for this species the above represents the 4th, 5th and 6th records for the Haven with all the previous three records referring to single drakes passing offshore the last of which occurred on the 10th December 2006. It is also the first year that multiple records have occurred.

Goldeneye

Two records involving two birds only as follows;

9th November (female south)

23rd November (drake south)

For those who are unfamiliar with the birding contradictions that the Haven can throw up it may be surprising that over a twelve month period this species appears to be a greater rarity than Velvet Scoter!

Red Breasted Merganser

Five records involving a total of 15 birds as follows:

21st February (drake passing offshore)

22nd October (pair flying over the car park!)

30th October (total of 5 passing offshore during extended period of sea watching)

3rd November (pair north)

9th November (5 south)

A good showing probably attributable to the marked increase in autumn sea watching undertaken during 2008.

Goosander

Two records involving 3 birds as follows;

7th October (pair south early evening)

17th November (one south)

The above represents the 4th and 5th  site records and the first multiple records in any given year.

Honey Buzzard                     

Recorded on four dates involving 8+ birds as follows;

 

13th September (total of 5+)

14th September (low south out to sea towards Kent.)

17th September (low in off the sea and pursued across the Haven by Carrion Crows!)

21st September

 

The Haven certainly grabbed its fair share of the Honey Buzzard invasion in East Anglia that occurred in autumn of 2008. Alerted by a ‘phone call from Adrian Kettle at Languard, Gary Gardiner and Karen Aldous picked up the first three individuals passing over at intervals on the 13th September. Then all hell let loose mid afternoon as Pete Davis picked up a group of 5 Buzzard ‘sp’ passing slowly over the grazing marsh immediately north west of the access road, at least two of which were Honeys and two Common Buzzards. Despite a frantic ‘phone call to Gary Gardiner to ‘scope the flock from the pill box south of the hide, the other Buzzard ‘sp’ could not be confirmed as a Honey due to the distance involved. Over the following days Gary Gardiner picked up low flying individuals on the 14th and 17th September whilst John Sawyer weighed in with the last individual seen on the 21st September. The above represents the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th day records for the Haven and the first multiple occurrence.

Marsh Harrier

Recorded throughout the year with the vast majority from mid April through to mid September. The first for the year was noted on 13th January after which no further records were received until three passed through on the 18th April with same/further singles on the 19th and 20th April. During May 2 females were noted on the 5th May followed by a male on the 14th May. After two records in June (14th and 17th) the first potential autumn passage bird was a male on the 18th July after which individuals were regularly recorded through to end of August including 2 juveniles on the 23rd July and three juveniles together over the scrape and nearby arable on the 8th August. During the rest of August it is likely that single juveniles recorded on 10 dates between the 9th and 31st do not necessarily refer to separate individuals and are more likely to relate to one or two lingering birds. After 2 together on the 7th September and singles noted on the 13th, 16th and 30th September the only other records until year end concerned a juvenile on the 9th November and a male on the 7th December. It is likely that during the year a minimum of c20 to a maximum of 38 different birds passed through the Haven. Diurnal immigration noted in the form of juveniles arriving from out to sea on both the 20th July and the 7th September. There were no reports this year of any behaviour indicative of potential breeding.    

Hen Harrier

Two records

 

30th August to 8th September. (Juvenile).

 

26th to 27th October. (Ringtail in off of the sea and still present over the scrape the following day).

 

The August record represents the earliest seen in autumn and was a particularly ‘orange’ bird in terms of plumage.

Sparrowhawk

Present throughout the year. At least one resident pair with unknown breeding success augmented by passage birds predominantly in autumn with 4 seen on the 13th September and 3 on the 9th November being the maximum day counts.

Common Buzzard

Four records involving 5+ birds all during autumn passage.

 

31st August (over the scrape before drifting off south east)

13th September (2+ passing south west with 2+ Honey Buzzards)

21st September

11th October

 

In addition to the above a Buzzard ‘sp’ seen on the 27th August was thought by the observer to be most likely this species.

Osprey

The sole record for the year involved one passing south west low over the scrape on the relatively late date of the 2nd November. This sighting represents the 5th known record for the Haven, the first since the 25th September 1993 and automatically becomes a ‘’blocker’’ for the one lucky observer in the hide at the exact moment this bird happened to pass through.

Kestrel

Present throughout the year with at least one pair breeding and fledging 3 young. Some passage noted particularly in autumn with 5+ noted on the 7th September and 4 on the 13th September. The three chicks were viewable in their high rise nest box between the 5th and 10th of July. By the 13th July all three had fledged and were sitting on the roofs of sluice cottages attended by an adult with two juveniles still around this general area towards the end of the month.

Merlin

Four records of single birds as follows;

 

2nd March (male)

8th September (female/immature in off the sea)

18th September (in off the sea)

8th November (female, on fencepost from hide)

 

The male on the 2nd March was seen briefly on the small area of kerbside grass at the junction of the car park entrance road with the B1032! It can only be assumed that it was attempting to secure an opportunistic prey item or was a victim of vehicle down draft. Regardless of why it was in such an unusual place it appeared no worse for the experience and was seen to fly off strongly, apparently uninjured.

Hobby

The first for the year was a single bird seen on the 5th May with the last bird of the autumn noted on the 28th September. In contrast to recent years, sightings during the spring and summer were relatively few with the only other May record being one on the 20th, just 3 sightings in June, 2 in July and none the following month until 3 together calling and passing over north west on the 29th August. Following a single bird on the 31st August no further records were received until the 7th September when a total of 6 were noted (a twosome and then three together) arriving from out to sea were in addition to good numbers of Sparrowhawks and Kestrels also noted on this date. Thereafter 2 were noted on the 12th September with three the following day, 2 juveniles on the 20th with what are assumed to be the same birds the following day and finally the last report of the year, a singleton on the 26th until the 28th September.

Peregrine Falcon

Six records involving three to six birds. All as follows:

 

5th January (immature male)

27th January

9th March (probable male)

20th to 22nd September

28th September

21st October

 

The bird seen on the 5th January attempted to take a Wigeon from over the scrape before promptly sitting in a nearby field all of which was witnessed from the hide! It is possible that this individual, that seen on the 27th January and the male reported on the 9th March all refer to the same male perhaps wandering from nearby wintering sites at Colne Point or Hamford Water. Likewise the September records could also refer to a single lingering passage bird.

Red Legged Partridge

Present throughout the year in variable numbers. No doubt several pairs survived the regular slaughter on the arable and bred. Highest day count 25 on the 30th October.

Grey Partridge

One record. After no records in 2007 it was feared that this species was now extinct within the recording area, however, on April 25th a pair was seen to fly from the arable across the B1032 in to the far north west corner of the site. It may be that at least a single pair exists just beyond the Haven border and in addition to infrequent sorties within the site boundary may in the short to medium term facilitate re-colonisation, assuming they can avoid the rain of lead from the massed guns in the meantime.

Pheasant

Abundant throughout the year predominantly favouring the arable. A female perched at the top of the highest conifer within the sewage farm area on the 8th November was unusual.

Water Rail

Total of 7 records of which only three dates involved sightings of live birds. Minimum of 5 birds involved as follows;

 

24th March (heard calling from the ditch behind car park bushes)

27th March (in front of hide)

28th March (freshly dead, approach road)

4th April (heard only)

27th October (heard at the back of the golf course)

30th November (in front of hide)

10th December (2, in front of hide)

 

It is conceivable that only two birds were involved during March and April with the 30th November individual being one of the duo seen on 10th December. The

T junction of the ditches immediately in front of the hide remains the most likely spot to view this species at the Haven.

Moorhen

Present throughout the year with highest day count of 27+ on the scrape on the 15th August where one/several pairs bred. 15-20 regularly seen through winter months with smaller numbers remaining throughout the summer, suggesting pre breeding dispersal/post breeding arrivals from further afield.

Coot

Present throughout the year in small numbers except for mid winter when generally absent. The first for the year was a pair on the Great Holland Hall farm pond on the 3rd February which successfully hatched 7 chicks on or before the 3rd May with 4 still around on the 18th May and at least one well grown chick still present on the 28th June. The first Coot arrived back on the scrape on the 21st March with a maximum of 8 there on the 13th April. No breeding on the scrape was confirmed. No further records were received after a single bird noted on Holland Brook on the 26th October.

Oystercatcher

Seen in every month except January. One pair bred. An adult was first seen ‘sitting’ on the 9th May and two small young were seen on the 15th June through to 17th July when virtually fully grown. First for the year were 11 singletons passing offshore south intermittently on the 29th February. Other than a maximum of 8 on the scrape on the 21st May the only notable number in spring involved 14 north offshore on the 21st May. Autumn passage noted from end June with the highest day count of 50+ seen passing offshore on the 8th August. 41 south offshore over three sessions of sea watching on the 20th July and 23 south on the 17th August also noteworthy. Other than 10 passing south on the 10th September only single figure movements were noted after the 24th August with the last of the year being 2 on the 10th and 3 on the 11th December. 

Avocet

Recorded between early April and first week of August. 1 or 2 pairs nested with 2 young assumed to have successfully fledged. First for the year was a pair on the scrape on the 4th April.  No further reports were received until the 25th April when 4 were on the scrape with what were presumed to be the same 4 on April 27th and 2 remaining/different birds at the month end 30th April. With the exception of 15 on the 14th May and 6 on the 25th May between 2 to 4 birds were present throughout May with a sitting bird noted from 9th May to 24th May on or shortly after which the eggs or young were assumed to have been predated. During June up to 6 birds were present on any day up until mid month, thereafter 9+ were seen on the 16th June increasing to 13 on the 23rd June, 17 on the 25th June peaking at a record total of 23 on the 26th June smashing the previous day record of 14 seen on the 1st June 2005. Numbers then fell back to 10 on the 30th June all of which were still present the following day the 1st July when in addition 3 small young were noted in the company of an adult on the island. It is unclear if the original failed pair had learnt from their earlier experience and second time round chosen a more secure nest site or if a different pair had nested. In addition to this pair and their offspring only 1 to 4 other birds were noted until mid July after which just the two parents and two remaining young were noted until 4th August with only one adult and two fully grown young remaining on the 5th and 6th August after which no further reports were received. 

Little Ringed Plover

The first for year was a single bird seen on the 11th April after which the only spring report was one noted from 28th April to 1st May. The first for the autumn was a juvenile noted from the 30th June to the 2nd July after which no further reports were received for a week when a juvenile was again noted on the 9th July with 4 present the following day 10th July increasing to the maximum recorded for the year, 5 on the 14th July, from which date to 1st August between 1-3 birds recorded most days. During the rest of August recorded intermittently to a maximum of 4 on the 16th August with 3 remaining on the 19th August after which no further records were received until one noted on the 28th August, 2 the following day 29th August present until 2nd September after which one juvenile remained until the 7th September after which no further reports were received. A minimum of 20+ were thought to be involved in the autumn passage period.

Ringed Plover

Recorded from early January until 7th September after which no further records were received through to year end. Between 1 to 5 birds recorded intermittently up until end July with maximum of 8 seen on the 27th April, perhaps representative of a light spring passage. At least one pair bred with 3 small young noted on the beach on the 23rd April with 2 remaining on the 25th April after which no further reports were received until a presumed second brood involving 2 small young seen on the beach on the 13th July with one still present on the 9th August. In autumn 5 noted on the 26th and 29th July was the maximum recorded for that period with 3 seen on the 15th and 18th August being the maximum for that month after which a single bird, the last for the year, was present between the 5th and 7th September.

Golden Plover

With the exception of a single bird noted on the 8th June all records fell within the periods of early January to late March and from early July through to December. Recorded intermittently during first part of the year with a maximum of 46 on the 3rd February with 2 seen on the 24th March being the last noted in the period. In autumn the first for the year were 2 flying over on the 5th July with the only other report in July concerning a single bird seen on the 20th July. Thereafter odd birds were seen on the 9th, 10th, 17th and 22nd August with 2 passing south offshore on the 12th August. Other than 21 on the 2nd September only single birds were noted during that month on the 7th, 13th, 17th and 18th September. Following 4 on the 11th October, 40+ were back on the arable below Great Holland Hall on the 15th October with variable numbers recorded through the remainder of the year until the 7th December when 40 were again noted.

Grey Plover

The sole record in the first half of the year concerned a single winter plumage bird on the grazing marsh on the 19th April. Autumn passage got underway on the 29th July when 6 adults were noted passing south offshore during an extended period of sea watching. After an adult passing offshore on the 2nd August no further records were received until a total of 30 were noted passing south on the 12th August. Singles then followed on the 15th and 16th August respectively with an impressive 75 logged passing south in dribs and drabs the following day 17th August. Small numbers were thereafter noted passing offshore on six dates between the 18th and 26th August including double figure counts of 15 passing south on the 18th August and 11 heading the same way on the 24th August. During early September a single individual passed south on the 2nd September, 3 on the 6th September and 10 south on the 10th September after which no other records were received other than a single winter plumage individual noted on the shoreline on the 1st December. The southerly passage noted offshore from 2nd August until 10th September involved a minimum of c160 birds.   

Lapwing

Recorded in variable numbers throughout the year. Around 30 pairs may have bred/attempted to breed with the first chicks noted on the 3rd May and with new/second broods seen up until early July. In the first winter period a maximum of c200 were seen on 3rd February. In autumn post breeding flocks on the scrape increased from 40+ on 10th August to 60+ by month end, around 200 on 20th September peaking at 261 on 28th September after which numbers stabilised at around 250 until year end.

Knot

The first for the year involved a singleton seen briefly on the scrape on the 26th April before flying out to sea. The only other spring record involved a summer plumage adult on the scrape on the 4th May. Autumn passage began with 3 passing south offshore on the 20th July followed by 5 juveniles passing close inshore on the 15th August. The following day, 16th August produced a single juvenile on the scrape which lingered until the 20th when it was joined by a second juvenile. Thereafter 2 noted on the 22nd September was the only record for that month and a total of 47 passing south between 0645-1000 on the 30th October was likewise the only day record for that month. Southerly passage continuing into November where 17 passed offshore on the 8th November, 38 on the 9th November, 2 the13th November and a single bird on the 23rd November. The last record of the year involved 3 together on the shoreline on the 16th December. In the two week period 30th October – 9th November a minimum of a 102 birds passed south offshore.

Sanderling

Recorded in variable numbers in every month except June. In the first half of the year recorded from early January through to the 15th May with a maximum of 18 on the 5th January. The first passage birds of the autumn involved 6 passing south offshore on the 20th July. Other than 2 birds seen on the scrape on the 30th August all other reports in that month and through to 30th October involved birds passing offshore with reports on 9 dates including a maximum of 16 on the 15th October.  With the exception of 16 passing south offshore on the 2nd November all other reports through to the end of the year involved between 1-4 birds noted wintering on the shoreline.

Little Stint

Six records involving minimum of 8 birds as follows

 

13th to 20th January

13th to 15th May

29th July (adult)

9th to 11th August (2)

20th to 23rd September (2 juveniles with 3 on the 21st and 23rd)

27th September (juvenile)

 

The individual in January is the first mid winter site record. It is conceivable that the juvenile seen on 27th September had remained undetected from the 23rd September. An excellent year for this species. Unsurprisingly all records came from the scrape.

Temminck’s Stint

The sole record of the year involved a juvenile found on the scrape by Peter Newson on the 17th August. It remained for 6 days until last seen on the 22nd August. This represents the eighth site record totalling 11 birds. This is the first individual to be recorded in August. A particularly skulking individual that required a high level of patience by many visitors looking to add this species to their year lists!

Pectoral Sandpiper

The sole record of the year involved an adult found by Karen Aldous on the scrape on the early morning of the 18th July. It remained for 15 days until last seen on the 1st August.  Although never seen together it was thought that the sighting on the 31st July, due to perceived plumage differences, could well have referred to a second bird. This represents the 6th site record of this species which has now been recorded annually since the first found in May 2005.

Curlew Sandpiper

Four records involving minimum 8 birds as follows;

 

9th May (summer plumage adult)

13th May (summer plumage adult)

28th to 29th July (adult)

17th to 23rd September (4 juveniles  17th, 5 juveniles 20th to 22nd and 3 juveniles 23rd September)

 

All on the scrape. All on typical dates

Purple Sandpiper

In the first half of the year recorded intermittently either singly or in small numbers from early January to the 22nd March with a maximum of 8 which landed briefly on the seawall on the 9th March before disappearing north. What could have been the same 8 were again on the same stretch of seawall on the 20th March. Other than singles seen on the 4th April and 16th May no further reports were received until the autumn when a single bird was seen on the sluice on the early date of the 24th August. With the exception of one passing offshore on the 22nd September no further reports were received until 8 were seen passing north offshore on the 1st November. Thereafter between 1 and 5 were seen along the seawalls and sluice on 18 dates up until the year end.  

Dunlin

Recorded in every month in variable numbers. Absent between late May and late June and relatively few seen in mid winter. Following 2 noted on the 15th January no further records were received until 2 seen on both the 24th and 26th February. Recorded in most days during March with a maximum of 16 on the scrape on the 11th March, intermittently during April with again maximum of 16 on the 25th April and during first two weeks of May with a maximum of 19 on the 2nd May. From one on the 11th May no other records were received until the last 9 days of June with exception of 2 on the 23rd May and 3 the following day 24th May. Small numbers recorded most days thereafter on the scrape until mid September with maximum of 12 of the 17th July and 16 on the 21st August. After singles on the 10th and 13th October, 1 on the 1st November and 3 on the 14th December the only other records to year end, concerned passage offshore with 14 south on the 30th October,  25 south on the 23rd November and 1 on the following day 24th November.

Ruff

Recorded in every month except June. No double figure numbers occurred throughout the year. Maximum of 8 seen on the 10th and 26th February and 10th March. From a single bird noted on the 5th January small numbers were recorded intermittently until the 28th May. With the exception of 2 seen on the 2nd July no further reports were received until the first of the autumn, an adult male on the 19th July. This and/or another bird was present until the 29th July. Thereafter no reports were received until a single juvenile arrived on the 15th August from which date recorded virtually daily to a maximum of 5 (20th August) then 3 on the 20th September. Only one record received in October of a single bird on the 8th October. In November a single bird appeared on the 8th with it or another remaining until the 14th November with 3 present on the 11th November. The last record of the year involved 3 that appeared on the 16th December with 2 remaining the following day 17th December.

Jack Snipe

The sole record of the year involved a single bird viewed from the hide on the 11th March as it briefly emerged from a grass clump before promptly disappearing back in to cover.

Common Snipe

Recorded in every month except June. Recorded intermittently in variable numbers throughout first half of the year until the 3rd May. Maximum of 17 seen on 19th March indicative of limited spring passage. The first of these for the second half of the year, involved a single bird seen on the 2nd July and then a singleton on the 13th July. Thereafter 2 on the 18th, 4 on the 26th and 5+ on the 29th July suggested the beginnings of autumn arrivals although numbers stayed at about this level until early September when double figure count of 10+ occurred on the 2nd and 3rd September increasing further to the autumn maximum of 14+ on the 12th September. With the exception of 13+ on the 21st September and 10+ on the 18th October numbers remained low right through the latter half of December where between 1 and 4 noted. 

Woodcock

With the exception of one undated report in the autumn of a bird in off the sea near the beach huts at the Frinton end of the seawall, the only confirmed record of the year involved a single bird flushed from the approach road thickets on the 28th December.

Black Tailed Godwit

Recorded in every month throughout the year in variable numbers. With the exception of 20 on the 16th May and 3 on the 8th June no reports were received for the 40 day period between 8th May and 16th June. From 17th June a single bird present had increased to 10 a week later on the 24th June, to 40 three days later the 27th June to a maximum of 60 four days later on the 1st July. Thereafter numbers dropped back significantly suggesting an abrupt dispersal. Monthly recorded maximums as per the table below.

 

Month/Day

Maximum Count (scrape)

January 15th

20+

February 1st

26

March 11th

14

April 25th

24

May 3rd

27

June 30th

52

July 1st

60

August 17th

15+

September 14th

10

October 13th

12

November 30th

16

December 28th

33+

 

In addition to those recorded on and around the scrape 9 were noted passing offshore on the 20th July. A number of colour ringed individuals were noted during the year.

Bar Tailed Godwit

8 records involving 47 birds as follows;

 

6th January (2 landed on the scrape)

4th May (on the grazing marsh in non breeding plumage)

21st to 26th May (non breeding, 2 on the 25th May)

6th July (total of 4 birds passing offshore during the day)

20th July (passing south offshore)

7th August (passing south offshore)

17th August (total of 14 south passing offshore)

30th October (total of 22 south passing offshore)

 

Despite significant numbers wintering either side of us at The Naze and Colne Point, mid winter records are particularly unusual for the Haven.

Whimbrel

Spring passage began on the 13th April with a single bird reported and continued intermittently until the 15th May. Maximum spring/year count was 31 on the 25th April with between 26-32 present the following day the 26th April and 10 the day after on the 27th April. The only other double figure day counts in spring involved 12 on the 22nd April and 16 on the 3rd May. The first returning bird of the autumn was a single bird passing south on the 1st July with the last of the year concerning a singleton on the 12th September. Highest day count in the autumn involved 13 passing south during a 90 minute sea watch on the 5th July.

Curlew

Recorded in every month except May. In the first part of the year few were recorded after mid March with a maximum day count of 102 on the 2nd February. The only other significant count in this period involved c100 on the 27th January. Small numbers were recorded on the move from the 18th June when 6 were noted passing south offshore. 30+ moving south on the 19th July was the highest day count in that month. Thereafter small numbers were seen until returning wintering birds noted from the second week of October with a maximum of 58 on the 30th October. Similar maximum numbers reported in November with 54 on the 13th November falling back around 20-40 reported on several dates during December. 

Spotted Redshank

The first for the year involved 2 seen briefly on the scrape on the 3rd May. Following a single bird seen on the 8th June a further singleton was seen on the 24th June with 2 present the following day. No reports were received for the 26th and 27th June however a summer plumaged adult appeared/reappeared on the 28th June and remained for over a month when last seen on the 31st July during which time it was joined by two other birds on the 1st July, one of which remained the following day. The following month a single bird was noted on the scrape on the 9th August followed by a juvenile on the 19th August with 2 together on the 24th August and last for the month another juvenile on the 31st August. The 11th September saw 2 together on the scrape for 10 minutes before departing south with the last record of the year involving a single bird on the 20th September. An excellent series of records for this species with at least 15 different birds involved including the unusual long staying individual referred to above.

Common Redshank

No reports were received until a single bird reported on the 26th February. Thereafter numbers increased from 5 present on the 15th March reaching a maximum of 16+ on the 15th April. Six pairs were present during the first half of May with chicks still being noted through to mid/end July. After a double figure count involved 14 seen on the 27th August only odd birds noted thereafter until year end when 5 were on the scrape on the 1st December and 4 remaining on the 29th December.

Common Greenshank

Recorded in small numbers intermittently between the 21st April (2 on the scrape) until the last for the year a singleton reported on the 18th September. Maximum of 5 together on the 10th and 11th July with 4 reported on 27th April, 3rd July and 17th August. With the exception of a mid-year record of 3 on the 8th June, the last for spring was a single noted on the 24th May with the first for the autumn proper being one on the 2nd July.

Green Sandpiper

The sole spring record concerned a single bird seen on the scrape on the 9th May. Autumn passage began on the 22nd June with 2 birds noted. The same or a different 2 were also reported on the 25th June after which no further reports were received until the 2nd July with 2 present intermittently until the 11th July. Other than one on the 15th July none were reported until one on the 23rd July, increasing to 2 on the 25th July, 3 on the 28th July to the year’s maximum of 5 on the 7th August. Thereafter numbers reduced until 4 were seen on the 24th August then 5 on the 29th August with 4 again noted on the 12th September. The last for the year was a single bird reported on the 17th and 18th September.  

Wood Sandpiper

2 to 5 birds recorded in spring with the first being 2 together on the 6th May with one remaining until the 9th May. One on the 11th May could have remained undetected on the 10th or could just have easily been a new bird. 2 were again present on the 14th May which conceivably could have been the original two from the 6th May! The first for the autumn involved a single bird seen on the 6th July which was still present the following day 7th July. No further reports were received until the 27th July when a single bird was found and subsequently remained until at least the 9th August.  A single bird found 6 days later on the 15th August was almost certainly a different bird which during its stay until the 3rd September was joined by a second bird between the 21st and 24th September and again on the 30th August. With no reports for the 4th and 5th September the 3 then found on the 6th September were clearly new arrivals although only one remained until the 8th September. After no reports on the 9th and 10th September the last for the year involved a single bird noted between the 11th and 13th September. Analysis of a rather complex series of records suggests that anywhere between 10 and 14 individual birds were involved in total.  

Common Sandpiper

The first for the spring involved a single bird noted on the 4th May. 2 were present the following day the 5th May with 3 noted on the 6th, 7th and 9th May. Further records were received on odd days throughout May including 3 again on the 24th and 25th May until the last of the month, 2 on the 28th May. The first returning bird involved one seen on the 27th June after which no further records were received until another singleton on the 5th July. Thereafter reports were received virtually daily until the last individual of the year seen on the 18th September. Maximum day counts of 7 were recorded on the 2nd August and the 29th August with 6 seen on six dates between 30th July and 2nd September.

Turnstone

Recorded in variable numbers in every month except June. In the first half of the year recorded from 1st January to the 24th May with maximum for the year of 17 noted on the 6th February. In the second half of the year first returning birds were 2 noted passing south offshore on the 15th July with 8 on the 20th July and 9 on the 29th July surprisingly being the highest day counts recorded to the year end, although groups of 7 on six widely separated dates were noted during the last quarter of the year.

Pomarine Skua

The sole record of the year involved an adult seen by Gary Gardiner passing north offshore on the 25th August.

Arctic Skua

A total of 34 individuals were recorded offshore on a total of 13 bird days. The first for the year involved 3 on the 16th July with the last record being 2 on the 23rd September. 12 were seen in the 10 days between 16th and 26th July. A further 12 were seen in the 23 day period between the 2nd and 25th August with the remaining 10 seen in the 23 day period 1st to 23rd September. The highest day count was 5 passing south offshore on the 9th September. (In addition Skua’s ‘sp’ seen very distantly on the 22nd September (2) and 1st October were thought to refer to this species).

Long Tailed Skua

Two records involving two individuals as follows;

 

24th August (juvenile)

14th September (adult south)

 

The early juvenile was found by John Sawyer chasing terns offshore and at one point was seen to land on the sea. The September adult was found by Pete Davis during a short sea watch and despite frantic mobile phone calls other nearby birders reached the seafront shortly after the bird disappeared from view. The above represents the 7th and 8th record for the Haven, the first since one seen on the 29th September 2007 and the first multiple occurrence in any given year.  

Great Skua

Two records involving two individuals as follows;

 

30th November (north)

10th December (south)

 

The first was seen to attack a flock of 22 Kittiwakes before moving off north. The second was seen to harass nearby Herring Gulls before moving off south. It is possible that just a single bird lingering off of our coastline is involved in both sightings.

Mediterranean Gull

Individual birds of various ages visited the scrape regularly throughout the year with 3 adults noted on the 4th April and 2 x 2nd summer and a single 1st summer together on the 29th June being the maximum day counts other than 5, (4 adults and a single second winter) passing offshore on the 30th November as part of a massive movement of Common Gulls. Reports of this species were received on 41 days with the majority falling between July and November. There were no reports received during February and just a single report the following month, an adult seen on the 9th March.

Little Gull

Eight records involving 10 birds as follows;

 

15th January (2 adults passing offshore)

10th March (1st winter passing offshore)

4th intermittently to 13th May (1st summer on the scrape)

10th July (2 adults with one remaining on the 11th July)

26th July (2 passing offshore)

29th July (adult on the scrape)

16th August (juvenile on the scrape)

 

An above average showing including the relatively long staying individual in early May although there were no records in the main autumn period other than the August juvenile.

Black Headed Gull

Present throughout the year with numbers much reduced in May and June with around only 20-40 recorded on average. Highest day count 450+ on the 14th August with 200-400 present regularly at other times during the year.

Common Gull

Reported throughout the year in single figure numbers with the exception of around 1000 passing north east offshore over 3.5 hours on the 30th November. Otherwise 75 north noted on the 13th December the only other reported movement.

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Reported throughout the year in variable numbers with regular gatherings in excess of 25 loafing around on the scrape. Highest day count 47+ on the 6th September.

Herring Gull

Present throughout the year. Only significant count received involved 130+ on the 19th October.

Yellow Legged Gull

Five records involving 5 birds as follows;

 

5th January (adult)

15th February (adult)

4th August (adult)

7th September (adult)

27th December (adult)

 

With the relative ease with which adults can be identified at rest on the scrape are we to assume that sub adults are being overlooked?

Caspian Gull

Three records involving 3 birds as follows;

 

1st February (1st winter)

8th November (1st winter)

6th December (adult)

 

The February bird was found by Gary Gardiner on the scrape and was only present for a short time early morning. The other two were found by Pete Davis with the November 1st winter individual photographed by Adrian Doling who in addition to Pete Newton, was able to add this species to his Haven list before it flew off high inland. The December adult remained on the scrape for 25 minutes before disappearing high in the direction of Frinton. The above represent the third, fourth and fifth Haven records.

Iceland Gull

Two records

 

22nd November (sub adult)

23rd November (1st winter)

 

Pete Newton found the first flying over the sluice towards the scrape at around 1330. The bird settled on the scrape until around 1400 thereafter moving to the arable where it remained in the lose company of other Gulls until flying off strongly to the west at 1430. Incredibly the following day Gary Gardiner found a different bird loafing on the grazing marsh adjacent to the scrape! This bird also declined to have an extended stay and later that morning flew off strongly with other Gulls. The above represents the 4th and 5th records for the Haven and the first since an adult found on the 22nd March 1997.

Glaucous Gull

The sole record of the year involved a 1st winter found by Gary Gardiner on the 15th January flying in off the sea towards the sewage farm where it was lost to view. Despite searching the immediate area and the fresh marsh immediately west of the B1032 it could not be relocated. This occurrence represents the 10th record for the Haven and the first since a sub adult seen on the 22nd March 1997.

Great Black Backed Gull

Present in small numbers throughout the year. No significant counts of this species were received.

Kittiwake

Very few reports were received of this species which appears to have suffered a recent and rapid catastrophic decline. A total of only nine records all involving single birds other than a movement of 56 offshore on the 30th November.

 

19th January

24th May (adult)

7th June (adult)

19th July (adult)

20th July (adult)

17th August (adult)

30th November (56)

27th December (adult)

 

The 56 seen on the 30th November included a group of 22 which were subjected to an attack by a marauding Bonxie. All records involve birds passing offshore.

Sandwich Tern

The first for the year was a single bird seen on the 15th April. Thereafter reported intermittently through the spring with a maximum of 5 on the 24th May. No higher counts were received until the 20th July when 13 were seen with 14 on the 24th July. Larger numbers noted during August with 100+ noted on the 10th August of which 70 were at one point at rest together on the scrape, a third of which appeared to be juveniles. From 82+ on the 12th August and 50+ on the 14th August daily counts involving mainly birds passing/lingering offshore settled back to single figures by month end. After 16+ on the 6th September reports for the rest of September became infrequent after mid month with the last report of the year being a single bird seen on the 4th October.

Common Tern

The first for the year was a single bird seen on the 30th April. Thereafter reported throughout May in single figure numbers up until the 16th May when a total of 152 were noted passing north offshore 0705 – 0720. After 19 reported moving north on the 28th May no further reports were received until early July with odd birds seen until the 26th July when c120 were noted moving south. Passage noted throughout August with up to 40+ reported on any given day moving south with odd birds visiting the scrape from time to time. From 2 to 25 individuals continued to pass offshore during early to mid September with the last record of the year involving a single bird seen on the 15th September. 

Arctic Tern

There were no spring records. The first for the year involved 2 adults passing south on the 16th July followed by 7 adults on the 23rd July and a single bird passing offshore on the 29th July. After a single bird on the scrape on the 1st August and 3 passing south on the 2nd August two small flocks totalling 15 birds, including some juveniles, passed south close inshore on the 7th August. At the end of the month a group of 4 close inshore were promptly followed by a further 6 passing south during a period of sea watching on the 25th August. The last for the year involved 3 passing south on the 7th September.

Little Tern

The first for the year was a single bird passing offshore on the 30th April. On the 6th May 3 birds were feeding off the sluice. Further spring records came in the form of single birds seen passing offshore on the 16th and 23rd May. After a midsummer record of 2 together offshore on the 9th June the first for the autumn proper involved 2 on the 5th July with 5+ passing offshore the following day 6th July. The highest day count of the year occurred on the 28th July when 9 moved south with a single bird reported the following day the 29th July. In September single birds passed south on the 7th and 10th September with the last record of the year involving 2 seen on the 13th September. The apparent relative infrequency with which this species is being reported may suggest fewer numbers summering/breeding locally as opposed to under recording.

Black Tern

The sole record of the year involved a flock of 11+ birds feeding offshore during the late afternoon of the 13th September.

Guillemot

In a very poor year for this species there was a total of only 5 records involving 5 birds as follows;

 

15th July (offshore north)

19th July (offshore south)

20th July (offshore north)

17th August (offshore south)

2nd December (on sea near the sluice)

 

Those with a pessimistic disposition could even argue that the series of July records relates to a single individual. Auk ‘sp’ seen on the 16th July and 23rd November probably relate to this species.

Razorbill

The sole record of the year involved an obliging juvenile that spent the three days 7th to 9th of August swimming back and forth close inshore between the Gunfleet Sailing Club and the Golf Course. A tricky species to see well at the Haven this individual was appreciated by several patch listers! In addition two Auk ‘sp’ seen distantly passing north at 0947 on the 30th November were considered by the observer to most likely be this species.

Little Auk

The sole record of the year involved a single bird found by Gary Gardiner passing south offshore on the 30th October.

Stock Dove

Present in relatively modest numbers throughout the year to a maximum ‘local’ flock of 16 on the 19th July. A huge passage of c324 birds passing overhead south during the 12th November is unprecedented.

Wood Pigeon

During the winter months up to 350 present throughout on the arable. During the autumn a passage of c500 south in 90 minutes was noted on the 13th November. Previously 300+ had passed overhead on the 17th October with 350+ similarly passing through on the 25th October.

Collared Dove

Present throughout the year with day counts in winter up to 15. 

Turtle Dove

Incredibly only four reports were received during the spring/summer as follows;

 

20th May (2)

28th May

1st June

19th July (2 juveniles)

 

Having potentially gone the same way as Yellowhammer and (probably) Grey Partridge as far as a breeding is concerned it is assumed that a handful of predominantly passage records each year will become the norm.

Cuckoo

The first for the year was reported on the 26th April. What was probably the same bird was still present the following day 27th April. Thereafter only a handful of reports were received all of which were in the first half of May with the exception of a single record on the 14th June which amazingly constituted the last record of the year.

Barn Owl

The first report of the year concerned a single bird seen on the 12th January. Thereafter no further reports were received until the 23rd April. No reports were received in May with the only summer record being a single bird seen on the 5th June. Single birds or a single bird were seen on the 23rd and 31st August however it was not until the end of September that regular reports began to be received with birds seen on 19 days between the 23rd September and 29th November with 2 birds seen on the 30th September and on 6 days during October. At this time one of the nest boxes was clearly in use and successful breeding was reported. No reports were received for December.

Little Owl

Present throughout the year with one pair based around the car park/sluice cottages area with another (or at least a single bird) along the hedge line below the nest boxes. Three together, seen in the willows bordering the car park on the 10th July is assumed to be indicative of successful breeding.

Short Eared Owl

Three records, all autumn passage birds none of which chose to linger;

 

28th September

5th November

29th November

 

The September bird was promptly escorted from the site by the Haven’s entire population of Carrion Crows. Both November birds were seen over the grazing marsh with the latter having been seen earlier, flying over Clacton seafront rooftops heading in the general direction of the Haven.

Swift

The first for the year were 2 seen on the 27th April. After another reported on the 5th May things really got going from the 18th May when 100+ were noted. In June around 300+ were reported on both the 14th and 15th June however the largest movement of the year was noted on the 12th July when ‘000’s were reported passing south. Relatively modest numbers were recorded up until the last week of August to a maximum of 80+ on the 18th August. Thereafter very few were reported through to mid September when 2 were reported on the 11th with the last for the year a single bird seen on the 21st September.

Kingfisher

Five records involving 5 single bird sightings as follows;

 

15th July

9th August

21st September

2nd November

16th November

 

Most were seen from the hide or the stretch of Holland Brook between the sluice and B1032 road bridge. The two November records may refer to a single bird.

Wryneck

Two records involving 2 birds as follows;

 

30th August to 4th September

30th August

 

Incredibly both birds, half a mile apart, were found on the same day!  The first was found in the morning near a small cleared area adjacent to the Clacton sailing club boat compound and could be viewed feeding on a sandy area at relatively close quarters over the following 5 days, although it became increasingly elusive during its stay. Having ticked off this new bird for his Haven list Adrian Doling in company of Karen Aldous and Gary Gardiner then promptly found a second bird feeding in the open on the bridle path that runs parallel between the seawall and golf course. These represent the 4th and 5th records for the Haven, the first since the 30th August 1997 (this is clearly a good date to look for this species!) and the first multiple occurrence.

Green Woodpecker

Present throughout the year. At least two pairs range between the B1032 and the golf course with possible a third pair or additional individual around Great Holland Hall. 3 or more birds seen on occasional dates throughout the year with juveniles in evidence from late spring/early summer.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

One, probably two pairs are resident in the Church Lane/Great Holland Hall area. Wandering or migrant birds noted flying over the sluice on the 9th August and along the car park access road on the 14th November

Woodlark

The sole record of the year involved a single bird seen flying north over the sluice calling, on the morning of the 26th October. This represents the 3rd record for the Haven following individuals seen on the 29th October 1996 and 4th November 2006.

Skylark

Present throughout the year with small numbers breeding. During spring and autumn, small numbers noted passing overhead on multiple dates. 18 seen on the 9th February and 20+ seen on the 28th December were the only notable counts for either end of the winter period.

Sand Martin

The first for the year was a single bird passing over the scrape on the 2nd April. No further reports were received until another singleton seen on the 14th April with the only other records received for this month being 2 on the 21st-23rd April and 27th April. Other than singles seen on the 3rd, 16th and 25th May no other reports were received for that month completing an abysmal spring for records of this species. Other than a single bird on the 21st June no records were received for that month until 100+ were seen on the 28th June with 20+ present the following day 29th June. 20-30 were seen through 9th-11th July and again 17th/18th July with 200+ the day total for the 19th July where small groups passed through south throughout the day.  Variable numbers recorded on 9 dates during August with a maximum of 80+ on the 21st August. Other than 40+ on the 7th September the only other report for that month and for the year involved 100+ moving south in small groups on the 8th September.

Swallow

The first for the year were 2 flying north on the 3rd April. Small numbers were recorded thereafter during that month with 14+ on the 21st April and 33 noted 27th April. Although recorded throughout the remaining spring and summer period no significant counts/movement were reported until 40+ on the 21st July. After 40+ noted on the 5th August no further significant reports were received until the 29th August when 85+ were on wires adjacent to the Clacton Sailing Club and a total of 150+ moving through on the 7th September. Double figure counts were thereafter regularly noted through to 30+ on the 13th October with only small numbers noted during the rest of that month. Following 3 seen on the 4th November, 2 on the 7th November the last for the year involved a single bird moving south on the 8th November.

House Martin

The first for the year was a single bird seen flying over Church Lane on the early date of the 30th March. No further records were received until the 1st May when 2 were noted over the scrape. Thereafter single figure counts were received on a few dates until 20+ were recorded on the 21st July. After a complete absence of reports for August the only notable counts received for the autumn involved 20+ on the 7th September, 40+ moving south on the 19th September and the highest day count of the year 50 moving south on the 29th September. Following 2 noted on the 3rd October and 5 on the 8th October the last for year involved a singleton seen on the 21st October. 

Richards Pipit

The sole record of the year involved an individual of indeterminate age found by Paul Brayshaw on rough ground between the seawall and the golf course on the 17th September. After a few minutes it flew off across the golf course calling and could not be relocated. This represents the fourth record for the Haven, the third for autumn and the first since the 15th April 2001.

Tree Pipit

Three records involving 2 to 3 birds

 

25th April

20th September

21st September

 

The April individual was seen perched on a fence briefly from the hide before flying off calling. Both records in September involved birds passing low overhead calling and could conceivably involve a single lingering individual.

Meadow Pipit

Recorded throughout the year. Small numbers up to a maximum of 20 were present during the first winter period. Single figure pairs probably bred with 15 birds noted on the 13th July. Autumn passage became evident on the 17th September when 85+ were noted passing overhead increasing to 220+ on the 26th September. Numbers then fell back with the only other notable count of the autumn involving 85 passing overhead in an hour and a half on the 13th November. By the year end less than 20 were thought to be wintering.

Rock Pipit

During the first winter period, records of single birds along the seawall were received for the 24th January, the 20th and 23rd February and the 9th March. Typical of the littotralis form wintering in our area the individual on the last date showed some plumage characteristics associated with the following species. In the last quarter records were only received for the 26th, 28th and 30th October all of which are likely to refer to a single bird although a second bird was possibly present on the first date.

Water Pipit

Three records involving 4 birds

 

17th April (2)

19th-20th April

14th May

 

The above represents the 8th, 9th and 10th record, the first since the 17th April 2006 and the 13th to 16th individual recorded at the site. The May record is also the first for that month.  As usual all were on the scrape viewable from the hide.

Yellow Wagtail

The first for the year was seen on the scrape on the 8th April after which no further records were received until the 13th April when another singleton was seen. Thereafter only single figure counts were reported throughout the remainder of the spring with a maximum of 7 seen on the 22nd April including an example of a Blue Headed/’Channel’ Wagtail type variant. With the exception of a juvenile seen on the 28th June and 3 passing overhead on the 14th July no further records were received until a passage of 14 passing overhead was noted on the 20th August. Continuing autumn passage was relatively light with 26+ on the 29th August and 17 on the 13th September being the only other double figure counts, and eventually petered out on the 4th October when the last report of the year, a single bird, was received.

 

Grey Headed Wagtail – On the 10th May Gary Gardiner found a male on the scrape. It was rumoured to have been present the day before and was still on the scrape the following day, 11th May. This represents the 3rd record of this sub species with the other records being on the 22nd September 1988 and the 27th April 2001.

 

Ashy Headed Wagtail – On the 26th April Gary Gardiner found a male on the scrape. It could not be found the following day and represents the second record of this sub species following a male present from 28th to 30th April 2001.

 

Curiously, there were no other  flava wagtails seen on the dates that either of these sub species were present.  

Grey Wagtail

The first for the year involved a singleton at the sewage farm on the 11th March. Later that month one was noted flying in off the sea on the 24th March. No further reports were received until autumn passage got underway with a typical calling individual passing overhead on the 15th September. Following another ‘fly over’ on the 18th September a total of 4 were seen around the sewage farm the following day, 19th September. Thereafter a further 18 individuals were recorded on 14 dates until the end of October with no more than 2 seen on any one day. After singles seen on the 2nd and 16th November and 2 on the 13th November, the last for the year, and the sole December record, involved a single bird seen on the 10th December. A minimum of 30+ were recorded in total during the year.

Pied Wagtail

Present throughout the year in variable numbers with highest day count in early autumn when 15+ recorded on the grassy area between the two sailing clubs. 2 juveniles seen on the 28th June is suggestive of local breeding although unlike previous years no confirmation received. ‘White’ Wagtails were recorded between the 2nd and 27th April in spring and irregularly from 9th August to 2nd November in autumn with no more than 2 seen on any given date. 

Waxwing

The sole record of the year involved a single bird found by Gary Gardiner on the 4th November. Typically unco-operative it showed briefly twice in the sewage farm/car park area before disappearing. This represents the fourth site record, the 18th bird seen and the first since an equally elusive bird that spent a few minutes in the car park hawthorns on the 20th November 2005.

Wren

Present throughout the year. No significant reports were received regarding this species

Dunnock

Present throughout the year with a handful of resident pairs scattered across the site. No discernable increase in numbers during autumn/winter.

Robin

Present throughout the year with several breeding pairs scattered around the site. Numbers significantly swollen through autumn immigration when 30+ reported on the 25th September. The only other significant count of the year involved 20+ reported on the 2nd November. 

Black Redstart

Four records involving 4/5 birds as follows;

 

16th March

8th April (2)

2nd November

4th November

 

The March 16th individual on the seawall and the 2 together around the base of the wind pump on the 8th April disappeared within minutes of being found. The two November records were in the same general area (compost mounds immediately behind the sluice and the pill box above the hide) suggesting that only one bird may have been involved even though despite searching it was not be found on the 3rd November.

Redstart

There were no records in spring. The first for the autumn involved at least 2 seen on the 29th August, one off which was present until 31st August. 2 or 3 were again seen on the 3rd and 4th September thereafter apart from a single bird reported on the 8th September no further reports were received until a male was found on the 12th September, from when reported daily until the 20th with a maximum of 7 recorded on the 15th September a new all time day record for the site. 5+ were still present on the 17th September with 4 reported on the 18th September, 2 on both the 19th and 20th September after which no records were received until 24th September when a single bird was located increasing to 3 the following day and again on the 28th September, the last day that reports of this species were received. In an excellent autumn for this species it is believed that a minimum of 15 individuals were involved, the majority of which favoured the car park bushes, including a fine male on the 14th and 15th September that (when trapped) despite showing some characteristics associated with Ehrenbergs’ Redstart, was found to probably be an intergrade between this eastern sub species and the nominate form. A similar individual reported on the 13th October 2001 and although not trapped, is also likely to have referred to such an intergrade.    

Whinchat

There were no records in spring. The first for the autumn concerned 3 together on the thistles near the hide on the 16th August. Numbers quickly rose to 9 by the 20th August a day total also recorded on the 28th and 29th August. None could be found on the 31st August and the next reports were not received until a notable influx on the 7th September when between 6 to 12 were sallying from the various fences across site. 9 were reported the following day 8th September with birds present on at least 11 days through to the 28th September with a maximum of 12+ on the 24th September. Following 4 on the 28th September, the last record of the year and the only report for October, involved a single bird reported on the 13th October.

Stonechat

In the first part of the year a total of 6 were present on the 1st January after which reports of up to 5 were regularly received (maximum of 7 reported on the 27th January) until the 30th March when a single male was seen. The first for the autumn involved 2 seen on the 17th September after which numbers rose during the month with 14 reported on the 27th September. Birds were thereafter recorded virtually daily until the year end with monthly maxima of 14 (equalling the highest day total set on 27th September) on the 8th October, 10 on the 15th November and 7 on the 6th, 7th, 10th and 27th December.

Wheatear

Spring passage was very light. Following the first on the 22nd March, a single male on the 24th March and 3 males on the 30th March were the only other records for that month. Other than a single male seen on the 4th April no further records were received until a singleton on the 20th April, 3 the following day the 21st April increasing to the season maximum of 7 on the 22nd April. Odd birds were recorded on 6 scattered dates in May up to the 18th when 2 females were seen. After 3 on the 20th May singletons were seen on the 24th and what proved to be the last for the spring, the 28th May. Autumn passage got underway with a single bird seen on the 5th August. Up to 3 were recorded over the next 12 days until 14+ arrived on the 17th August increasing to 20+ on the 20th August. Numbers thereafter reduced until the next influx on the 28th August where 20+ were reported, increasing the following day to the year day maximum of 40+ all of which had gone two days later when none could be found. Counts were received for most days during September with numbers fluctuating, creating clear peaks on the 7th September (15+), 12th September (13), 17th September (30+) and 26th to 28th September (20+). Following single birds seen on the 1st, 8th and 10th October the last record of the year involved 2 seen on the 19th October.

Ring Ouzel

Two records involving 3 birds as follows;

 

30th March (female)

20th April (2 males)

 

All were found in the horse paddocks along Church Lane. The first represents the earliest site record.

Blackbird

Around 45 were in and around the car park (a favoured feeding area) on the 4th January after which numbers dropped back during the earlier part of the year with around 10 noted on the 30th March. With a maximum of 35+ reported during early November, the January 4th midwinter count surprisingly represented the highest day count in what has proved to be an uneventful year for this species.

Fieldfare

Following a single bird seen on the 4th January and 2 on the 2nd February a total of 21 were seen in the area of Great Holland Hall on the 15th February. The majority did not linger as only 3 were reported 5 days later on the 20th February with the last for the first winter period being a single bird seen on the 5th March. In a wretched autumn/second winter period for this species, the only records following one on the 29th October involved 2 seen on the 1st November and one, the last for the year, on the 7th December.

Song Thrush

5 to 8 birds were seen on regularly on various days throughout the year across the site, with the car park and horse paddocks along Great Holland Hall, the favoured feeding areas. 10+ in and around the car park on the 1st November suggests a limited influx.

Redwing

Following 2 in the car park on the 1st January no further reports were received until February when around 40 were up at Great Holland Hall, increasing to 112 on the 20th February dropping down to 40+ on the 31st March, with the last for the winter being 2 on both the 19th and 20th April in the horse paddocks along Church Lane. The first for the autumn involved 2 on the 13th October along the access road/car park area with reported numbers increasing to 10+ on the 18th October increasing to 20+ on the 29th October. On the 2nd November 30+ were present increasing to the highest autumn day count of 40+ on the 7th November. Following ‘’several’’ reported on the 14th November and 2 on the 19th November the last record of the year involved a single bird seen on the last day of the year.

Mistle Thrush

Up to 5 pairs reported on any given day throughout the year split between favoured areas of the golf course and Great Holland Hall/Church Lane paddocks. 

Cettis Warbler

Four records involving 2 to 4 birds as follows;

27th September

29th October (heard only)

2nd November (heard only)

4th November

The 27th September individual showed briefly by the sluice. The Oct/Nov records involve reports from along the access road and immediately opposite on the other side of the B1032, all of which almost certainly involve a single bird. The above represents the 3rd to 6th records involving a total of 4+ birds and the first since one seen and heard on the 4th November 2006.

Sedge Warbler

The first for the year involved 2 seen from the hide on the 14th April. Thereafter reported erratically throughout the spring and summer with a maximum of 6 singing birds on any single day. Very few were seen in autumn with a report of 2 on the 12th September the only multiple sighting. The last for the year involved one seen briefly but well in the reeds between the golf course and sea wall on the relatively late date of the 22nd October.

Reed Warbler

The first for the year was seen on the 21st April. 6 days later at least 5 were around increasing to 8 on the 1st May. Thereafter single figure reports were received throughout the spring and summer. No estimate of breeding numbers was made although as usual, most stretches of suitable reed bed and fringes held singing birds suggesting a clear underestimation of numbers present. Autumn passage was light with 2 to 3 birds seen on various dates through to the last report of the year, 2 on the relatively early date of 13th September.

Lesser Whitethroat

The first for the year involved 2 seen on the 21st April with 5 the following day the 22nd April increasing to 7 on the 23rd April. Reported numbers thereafter fluctuated throughout the spring and early summer until the 14th June when newly fledged young were noted in the car park bushes and sewage farm area respectively. Through a presumed combination of locally fledged young and passage migrants, numbers increased through the autumn period with a maximum of 15+ reported on both the 29th August and 12th September. Numbers gradually dropped off towards the end of September with 6+ still present on the 28th September and only a single bird the following day the 29th September. The only report in October and also the last of the year, was a single bird seen on the 8th October.  

Whitethroat

The first for the year was a single singing bird seen near the sluice on the 20th April. Numbers quickly increased with 10 present three days later on the 23rd April with 9 reported on the 1st May. Thereafter reported in single figure numbers with the first locally fledged juveniles noted from the 25th July. Autumn records relatively light with only single figure counts received other than 10+ reported on the 15th August. Reported regularly throughout September with a cluster of records between the 8th and 14th September (max of 5 on the 12th September) suggesting a modest influx of migrants. The last for the year involved 2 reported on the 25th September.

Garden Warbler

The first for the year, a single bird in the sewage farm area on the 9th June may just about qualify as a spring record. Following another single bird seen along the car park approach road on the 10th July, autumn passage began on the 4th August with another singleton reported. Thereafter 8 birds were reported on 6 days during August with 2 seen on both the 6th and 31st August, one of which was still present the following day the 1st September. The last for the year was a single bird seen on the 13th September. An estimated minimum of 10 birds in a year is a good showing for this, on occasion, awkward species to get on the site year list.

Blackcap

The first for the year was a male on the 8th April. 5 present on the 16th and 27th April proved to be the maximum number recorded for the spring. Little evidence of breeding this year with no reports received after a singleton on the 4th May until 2 males were seen on the 13th July. In autumn birds were noted erratically from the 6th August. 7 were reported on the 29th August however none were recorded during the first week of September with 6 then seen on the 8th September and 22+ on the 12th September representing the biggest influx of the year. Thereafter numbers dropped significantly throughout the rest of the month with a high of 7 noted on the 28th September. After no reports during the first few days of October, 3 were seen on the 6th October and 8 on the 8th October indicating another modest influx. After a singleton on the 17th/18th October no further records were received until a late bird, the last for the year, a male seen in the back garden of the sluice cottages.

Chiffchaff

The first for the year involved two seen on the 16th March along the car park access road. No further reports were received until the 24th March when three birds were present. Thereafter recorded on most days throughout spring with a maximum of 5 on the 4th, 14th and 19th of April. Reports of odd birds were received through the summer with 4 birds heard singing on the 21st July. Reports became more frequent in August with a maximum of 10+ recorded on the 15th August. Thereafter up to 6 were recorded infrequently until the 13th September when a major influx occurred with an estimated 80+ moving through early morning. Only 12 could be found the following day with 10+ on the 20th September being the only other double figure count for that month. Records continued into October including 3 to 4 present between the 8th and 11th October and 2 on the 17th October after which no further records were received other than the last for the year a late bird near Clacton Sailing Club on the 17th November. 

Willow Warbler

The first for the year was singing briefly in the car park bushes on the early date of the 30th March. No further records were received until a clear influx occurred on the 16th April when 8+ were recorded. The only other spring record involved a single bird seen on the 20th April. No reports were received for the summer period with the first for the autumn coming again in the form of a minor influx on the 6th August when 6 were found. With no further reports received until 4 on the 15th August and none again until the 21st August it was somewhat of a surprise to record 23+ on that date obviously the result of a major overnight influx. Around 4 or 5 were present over the next few days until the 29th August when the second ‘wave’ of the month brought 30+ to the site. September by contrast was uneventful with 2 to 4 present between the 7th and 16th September and then no reports until the last of the year, a singleton on the 28th September.

Goldcrest

Reports on the 4th, 10th and 19th January may refer to a single wintering bird. After no reports in February spring passage began on the 15th March when 2 birds were located increasing to 6 the following day 16th March. 3 birds were present on the 26th March with 1 on the 30th March. After 2 on the 3rd of March increasing to 5 on the 5th March no further reports were received until the autumn when 2 were seen on the 12th September. Thereafter reported virtually daily until the end of October with maximums of 25+ on the 26th September and the highest count of the year 30+ on the 9th October. A total of 20+ were reported on the 17th and 25th of October after which numbers dropped right back until mid November when 10+ were reported on both the 14th and 17th November. Birds were still around in December, recorded on 4 dates with a maximum for that month of 4 on the 24th December.   

Firecrest

The first for the year involved 2 birds along the car park access road on the typical date of 15th March. A portent of what was to become an excellent spring for this species came in the form of 4+ present the following day 16th March. Single birds were seen on the 19th and 20th March with 2 on the 24th March, 3 on the 28th March and 5+ on the 30th March! The month ended with a single bird reported on the 31st March. Single birds were subsequently seen on the 2nd to 4th April with 2 present on both the 6th and 7th April with the last for the spring, a singleton, the following day 8th April. The first for the autumn involved a single bird on the 3rd September. No further reports were received until another single bird reported on the 18th September, thereafter another single bird was seen on the 28th and 29th September. This prolonged erratic passage involving a few birds in September continued in to the following month with the only records involving singles seen on the 12th and 30th October. A report of 3+ on the 2nd November suggested a minor late autumn influx and with no further records received by mid month it was assumed that was it for the year. However a very late bird was found on the 26th November and even more surprising 2 appeared out of the blue the following month on the last day of the year 31st December, favouring the conifer beside the toilet block. It is likely that around 25 different birds were recorded in total.

Spotted Flycatcher

After the first for the year, a single bird at Great Holland Hall farm pond on the 19th May, the only other spring record involved 2 together at Sluice Cottages on the 3rd June. The first for the autumn involved a single bird in the sallow by the toilet block on the 23rd August. The same or another was around on the 27th August with three present across the site the following day 28th August. No further records were received until the 12th September when at least 4 were recorded all of which were present the following day 13th September increasing to 5 the next day, the 14th September. Only 2 could be located on the 15th September with the last record of the year involving a remaining bird present on the 17th and 18th September. It is estimated that at least 11 different birds were recorded in total.  

Pied Flycatcher

There were no spring records. The first for the autumn involved a single bird found on the 21st August. This or another was also present on the 25th and 26th August. No further records were received until the 12th September when a further singleton was recorded. Other than 2+ noted on the 17th September, single birds were recorded virtually daily until the last record of the year on the 28th September. It is possible that no more than 3 different individuals were involved across all dates. A relatively poor autumn for this species.

Bearded Tit

The sole record of the year involved 3 together in the reeds between the golf course and the sea wall on the 21st October with 2 still present the following day the 22nd October. This represents the 6th record for the Haven which rather spookily mirrors the 5th record, i.e. 3 together on the same date and in the same place in 2007! Could this be the same pair with their surviving offspring returning on passage?

Long Tailed Tit

Present throughout the year. The only report of a sizeable autumn flock involved 25+ moving along the hedgerow bordering the car park on the 2nd November.

Coal Tit

The sole record of the year concerned 2 together briefly in the large conifer by the horse paddocks along Church Lane on the 3rd April. As both appeared to lack the blue grey tinge to the mantle associated with the continental race ‘’ater’’ it is assumed that wandering individuals of the race ‘’britannicus’’ were involved.

Blue Tit

Present throughout the year. No notable post breeding/winter flock numbers were reported.

Great Tit

Present throughout the year. No notable post breeding/winter flock numbers were reported.

Jay

Other than being the first species recorded at the new feeding station situated between the sewage farm and Sluice Cottages, a wholly unremarkable year for this species with single pairs recorded from the access road/car park area and Church Lane/Great Holland Hall, both of which are thought to have successfully bred.

Magpie

Present throughout the year. Highest day count of 19 together on the grazing marsh beside the B1032 on the 2nd March.

Jackdaw

Present throughout the year. Highest concentrations of 30+ recorded regularly outside of breeding season.

Rook

Present throughout the year. Up to a 100+ recorded post breeding and throughout the winter months. Did not breed on site although again some interest was shown in the dead and dying elms near the car park ticket machine.

Carrion Crow

A report of 30+ on the 19th January was by some way the highest count received throughout the year.

Starling

Other than a report of 250+ on the 21st June no other records of sizeable post breeding/passage gatherings was recorded.

House Sparrow

The decline continues with the Great Holland Hall ‘stronghold’ now thought to be down to single figure pairs. The species still appears elsewhere on the site regularly especially towards the south west where populations exist within the built up area. A male on the seawall near the beach huts at the Frinton end of the golf course on the 28th June was perhaps a little out of place.

Tree Sparrow

The sole record of the year involves a flock of 12 found near the toilet block on the 23rd August. Although none were reported on the subsequent 2 days it is assumed 5 seen in the same general area on the 26th August relate to part of the original flock.

Chaffinch

With the exception of 10 on the 4th January only single digit numbers were recorded until autumn passage got underway during October. The 27th October saw the highest day count of 48 passing through. 40+ on the 8th and 34 on the 16th October were the only other similar movements noted with around 10 to 20 being the norm for most other days of that month. 20+ on the 1st and 10+ passing over on the 2nd November pretty much brought autumn passage to a close. A count of 16 on the 13th November probably refers to local residents/wintering birds a total which was not exceeded through to year end when numbers settled back to single figures. 

Brambling

In a poor year for this species only a total of 7 birds were seen on 5 dates in autumn as follows;

 

9th October (3 flying north)

27th October (‘’female’’)

12th November

13th November

17th November

 

All 3 in November were flying over calling....the normal circumstances by which this species is recorded at the Haven. Accordingly the report on the board in the hide of a female on the 27th October perched or on the ground, is in itself, something of a rarity!

Greenfinch

Small numbers never exceeding single digit counts recorded up until the 31st August where a particularly early autumn gathering of 50+ were noted in and around the car park bushes. Thereafter September was somewhat of a non event for this species and numbers did not really start coming through until 60+ noted moving south on the 8th October with 73 south two days later on the 10th October. This later date represented the high water mark as far as autumn passage was concerned with more modest numbers recorded throughout the rest of the month with the exception of 65 on the 16th October. After 30+ flying in off the sea on the 2nd November, numbers dropped right back to no more than a dozen birds reflecting the local resident population, possibly augmented by a handful of wintering birds evidenced via a report of a singleton in off the sea on the 1st December.

Goldfinch

After one heard passing over on the 27th January, no further records were received until one passing over south on the 30th March. Very few reports were received thereafter until autumn passage got underway with 20+ in off the sea on the 24th September. Good numbers continued to be recorded into and throughout October with 240 passing south on the 8th October and the highest count of the year 398 passing south between 0730-0940 on the 16th October. Counts in the following month included 30+ north on the 5th, 25 on the 12th, 35 on the 13th and finally 81 on the 15th November. The last record of the year involved 6 flying in off the sea on the 1st December.

Siskin

None were reported until 2 passing overhead on the 30th March. In a typically uneventful spring for this species ‘several’ were noted passing over north on the 4th April with a further 8 heading the same way on the 7th April. Following a single male north over the car park on the 9th May, no further reports were received until the autumn with the exception of an unseasonal midsummer record of a single bird heading south on the 26th June. Autumn passage began on the 7th September with a total of 15 heading south. A total of 36 went south the following day the 8th September after which variable numbers were noted on 9 dates during the rest of September including 84 on the 14th, 92 on the 19th and the maximum total recorded on any day for the year, 97 all heading north on the 22nd September. Passage continued throughout October with variable numbers, on average slightly lower than the previous month, on 12 dates. The 16th October saw the peak for that month with a total 67 noted passing overhead. Totals of 55 on the 8th October and 53 on the 25th October were also noteworthy as was a report of 30 feeding on the rough ground between the seawall and the golf course on the 14th October. Small numbers continued to be reported until mid November with a single bird on the 26th November followed over a month later, by the final report of the year, 3 passing overhead north on the 31st December.    

Linnet

Good numbers were present in the first winter period at Great Holland Hall with a maximum of 77 counted on the 20th February and 25 still present on the 1st March. Spring passage was desperately light with a maximum of 15+ noted on the 20th April. Small numbers were reported regularly throughout the remainder of the spring and summer, no doubt reflecting the much reduced breeding population. Autumn passage began on the 3rd August with 20+ reported and continued through to mid November when 4 on the 13th November proved to be the last of the year. At no time during this period were significant numbers reported with a seasonal high of 40+ on the 8th October. In the second winter period no reports were received from Great Holland Hall.

Twite

The sole record of the year involved a flock of 12 seen briefly feeding on rough ground below the seawall on the 21st October. This constitutes the first record of this species for nearly 12 years, when 30+ were present on the 1st December 1996. Unfortunately shortly after their discovery the small flock was disturbed by a jogger and all 12 flew off strongly to the south until lost to view.

Lesser Redpoll

No records were received until the autumn when a single bird passed south overhead calling on the 20th September. No further records were received until the 8th October when a total of 22 passed overhead south. Following small numbers passing south over the next three days the next report involved a record breaking total of 194 passing overhead south during the 16th October. In what was becoming an excellent autumn for this species, records were received on 6 further dates in the second half of the month with 23 moving south on the 21st and 67 moving south on the 27th October being particularly notable. After 8 reported on the 4th November no further records were received until the 12th November when 13 were noted passing south. With 5 reported the following day the 13th and 3 on the 14th November, passage fizzled out with one on the 17th November, 2 on the 22nd November and the last for the year a singleton on the 26th November.

Rosefinch

Pete Davis and Adrian Doling found a single female/immature perched briefly at the very top of the single tree immediately east of the toilet block on the 2nd November. This represents the second record for the Haven following a similar plumaged bird found on the 26th May 1996. Located initially by its distinctive call, the bird denied the finders nothing more than a two minute period of observation before flying off strongly north west until lost to view.

Bullfinch

No records were received until the 26th April when a male was seen along the car park approach road. There were no further reports until the 26th July when a pair was seen, also along the car park approach road. What were almost certainly the same individuals were seen thereafter in the same area on 5 dates over the mid-summer period until last reported on the 24th July. Over 3 months elapsed before the next report, a female near Sluice Cottages on the 2nd November. Reports in December of a single bird on the 10th and a pair on the 19th and 31st December along the car park access road are thought to refer to just the one pair which remained faithful to this particular area into 2009.  

Crossbill

The eruption of this species into eastern England from middle/end of June was witnessed at Holland Haven with what was arguably the best year ever for records. The sight of 14 Crossbills perched atop trees by the pay and display ticket machine on the 25th June, could not be enjoyed by anyone else other than the lucky finder, as within minutes they all noisily departed south. With no further records over the coming weeks, Haven regulars could have been forgiven for thinking that was that. However, on the 15th August 3 were seen flying south over the car park followed on the 20th August by a further 3 and 14 south the following day the 21st August! On the 26th August one or more were heard passing overhead but frustratingly could not be seen and the last for the year involved two seen and heard moving south on the 31st August. In total a minimum of 37 Crossbills were recorded. 

Lapland Bunting

The sole records of the year involved two individual birds passing overhead south calling on the 17th November. As only the 6th record in the 12 years since November 1996, this species has become highly sought after by latter day patch listers. 

Snow Bunting

A single bird found on the 26th January took up residence on the rough track between the seawall and the golf course where it could be seen daily until last reported over 6 weeks later on the 9th March. The only other record in the first winter period involved a flock of 9 in off the sea on the 15th March. In the second winter period a single bird flew north west on the 7th November and in complete contrast to the long staying individual earlier in the year, another single bird was present on one day only, the 13th November, feeding on rough ground just inside the sea wall. A flock of 7 flew in off the sea on the 17th November and the final report of the year involved 2 seen on the afternoon of Christmas Day, 25th December. A total of 21 birds were reported during the year.

Reed Bunting

Present in small numbers throughout the year. One or two pairs almost certainly bred. No significant passage numbers noted with the highest day count a modest 6 on the 26th September.

Corn Bunting

It appears that the decline in breeding numbers continues with only a maximum of 4 birds reported from the arable below Great Holland Hall and with no reports whatsoever received after 28th June.