Holland Haven Birding

Official Site Of The Holland Haven Birding Group ©

Holland Haven bird report for 2009

Welcome to the 2009 Holland Haven bird report.

A total of 184 species were recorded during the year (12 less than the 196 species recorded in 2008) of which two, Glossy Ibis and Bittern, represented new additions to the overall site list. This total does not include:

(i)   Species reported where reasonable doubt exists concerning the identification claimed. i.e. Common     Crane, Leach’s Petrel, Whooper Swan, Rough Legged Buzzard, Red Kite, Water Pipit and Twite. (Regrettably some of these reports made their way on to at least one of the national bird information services. Should any records for the afore mentioned and/or any other relevant records not included in the systematic list that follows be subsequently accepted at County level they will be re-assessed and potentially retrospectively included in this report.)

(ii)  Species where captive origin is known or strongly suspected, (i.e. 2 Red Breasted Geese reported on the other side of the B1032 on 31st May which are assumed to be the escaped pair doing the rounds in Essex, and a female Ringed Teal seen from the hide on the 15th February.)

(iii) Species only recorded from outside of the site boundaries that without doubt would have been viewable from within the site boundaries (i.e. multiple records of birds passing over/offshore seen from Frinton by Paul Brayshaw and a Quail flushed from pasture metres beyond the site boundary north west of the B1032 and/or another subsequently heard distantly, on the 30th June.)

(iv) Reports of Caspian Gull without supporting images.

(v)  Species seen freshly dead where reasonable doubt exists concerning provenance in terms of where died/killed (i.e. a Grey Partridge seen as part of a shooter’s bag.)

The addition of Glossy Ibis and Bittern brings the revised total number of species recognised by ‘hollandhavenbirding.com’ up until 1st January 2010, to 261.

Unsurprisingly, in a relatively poor year for scarce migrants (due in part at least to less than favourable weather conditions during peak migration periods), the highest year list of 175 recorded by Pete Davis (95% of the total species recorded) fell well short of the all time record of 185 set in 2008 by Gary Gardiner which in itself was one species more than the total 184 recorded during the entire year of 2009!

In addition to the Bittern and two Glossy Ibis other 2009 highlights included the 2nd record of Great White Egret, the 3rd Dartford Warbler, 4th Slavonian Grebe and Icterine Warbler the 5th record of Waxwing and 6th, possibly 7th, Wryneck. There was also a long awaited Wood Warbler, a long overdue Yellowhammer, an obliging Lapland Bunting, 3 Montague’s Harriers and much more! Also, 2009 may also require us to re-evaluate the status of Cetti’s Warbler which now shows clear signs of becoming a potential colonist. However, it wasn’t all good news. Grey Partridge may now be lost, Little Terns, Turtle Doves and Guillemots have becoming ridiculously scarce whilst a single, briefly seen Pied Flycatcher, whilst assumed to be an anomaly peculiar to 2009, could worryingly be representative of a decline noted over recent autumns. There was also the incredibly skulking Hippolais Warbler which spent much of the 13th May virtually totally out of view occasionally uttering the briefest of sub song from thick hawthorn bushes. Nonetheless 2009 proved to be an interesting year with all Haven regulars able to add new species to their Haven life lists.......including the compiler of this report......who notched up a most welcome 3 new site species during the year!

The summer of 2009 also saw the long awaited resumption of ringing at the site with the first session held on the 25th July. The water authority have kindly allowed access to the vacant plot between the sewage works and Sluice Cottages where a feeding station with 3 fixed mist nests has been established. In addition several rides have been created in the enclosed plantation which runs parallel to the southern perimeter of the sewage works. During the second half of the year a total of 337 birds of 25 species were trapped and rung. No controls were made and to date we are not aware of any birds rung on site controlled elsewhere, however it’s early days!  In terms of 2010 a potentially stretching objective has been set to ring a minimum of 500 birds of 30 species! (Full details of ringing activity, past and present, can be found elsewhere on the website).

Further unwelcome news on the bird front came with a (albeit relatively minor) case of potential suppression (reported Wryneck 17th September) and incredibly the suspected taking of Avocet clutches followed by a second instance where two eggers were seen to approach the scrape in broad daylight before, on being challenged, fleeing the scene. Regrettably they managed to make good their escape. During the year the site continued to attract an unwanted range of anti social behaviour. Littering and irresponsible dog walkers, (including fouling on an almost epidemic level) continue to irritate most locals, birders and non-birders alike. Rather more seriously repeated complaints were made to the police regarding the activities of a number of shady characters regularly frequenting the car park. As a result the council were finally forced to take action in making the area less attractive to such individuals by clearing areas around the bushes in the north east corner. Whilst the loss of habitat for such breeding summer migrants as Lesser Whitethroat is unfortunate, the removal of thick cover appears to have partly done the trick in reducing the level of inappropriate behaviour. Thanks are due to the local police (principally the PCSO’s) who by maintaining a regular high profile presence appear to be deterring the return of less welcome visitors to the site.

Looking forward to 2010 the hollandhavenbirding.com editorial team have been joined by a number of other ‘Haven Regulars’ in offering up predictions for new species to be added to the site list during the year. As none of the predictions made last year by the editorial team became reality they are naturally carried over to this year! For myself I shall again in autumn be concentrating on the feeders or looking for that ‘pale’ Redpoll passing over, whilst no doubt Gary Gardiner, Simon Cox, Pete Newton and Jim Kendall will be grilling the scrape, Clive Johnson monitoring the cafe golf course and Brendan Spooner will be searching the skies, whilst Kas Aldous, Terry Palmer and Mick Rodwell will be no doubt, searching the cover. Quite what Clive Atkins was thinking of with regard to his prediction remains somewhat of a mystery!

 

 

Pete D

Mealy Redpoll

Gary

Black Winged Stilt

Kas

Golden Oriole

Simon

Kentish Plover

Clive A

Caspian Tern

Clive J

Tawny Pipit*

Brendan

Black Kite

Mick

Greenish Warbler

Pete N

American Wigeon

Jim

Green Winged Teal

Tel

Sub Alpine Warbler

 

*Clive J has scored already, with his original prediction of Alpine Swift, which duly flew past two lucky observers  on the 7th April 2010!

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.

Pete Davis                                                                                           23rd April 2010

 

 

Species

Records/Reports

 

 

Red Throated Diver

None were reported until the 20th January when 4 flew north heralding a local movement involving 22 on the 21st and 19 reported offshore on the 22nd January. Thereafter 8 were noted on the 25th January, 3+ on the 26th and finally for that month, singles were seen on the 27th and 29th January. Odd birds were noted passing north offshore on the 3rd, 8th and 9th of February with 10+ seen on the 10th. Three north on the 13th February and 7 on the 19th concluded reports for February with the last record for the early part of the year being a single bird seen on the 6th March. The first for the second winter period involved a single bird north on the 8th November followed by a minimum of 6+ on the 30th which was the only other report for that month. Four were noted offshore on the 1st December, 3+ on the 3rd and singles on the 5th and 12th December. Following 2 north on the 17th the last report of the year involved 3 passing south on the 28th December. 

 

Black Throated Diver

In an excellent year for this (and the following species) a maximum of 7+ individuals were recorded on the following dates:

21st January (passing south with a Great Northern Diver)

25th January

10th February (2+ including 1 on the sea)

5th December (passing south close inshore)

13th December (2 passing north)

As with the following species it is suspected that odd Black Throats may be lingering amongst the Red Throats which congregate offshore to feed on sprats.

 

Great Northern Diver

In an excellent year for this (and the above species) a maximum of 8+ individuals were recorded on the following dates:

21st January (passing south with a Black Throated Diver)

10th February (1+ flying offshore)

13th February (passing south)

19th February (passing south)

19th March (partial summer plumage passing north)

29th September (passing north)

3rd October (passing north)

13th December (passing north)

It is of course possible that just a single individual loitering distantly offshore was responsible for the 5 reports during the period 21st January – 19th March. The September record is noteworthy as being an extremely early date for this species to be recorded in Essex.

 

Little Grebe

One or two birds seen regularly up until early May, plus another intermittently on Great Holland Hall farm pond between 24th March and 14th April. No evidence of breeding and in fact no further reports were received until the 29th October, after which singletons were reported until the year end.

 

Great Crested Grebe

One flying south on the 19th February was the first for the year. The only other reports in the first winter period involved one on the sea on the 15th March and a summer plumage bird, again on the sea, on the 31st March. Following an extraordinary mid-summer record of what was assumed to be a family party of 6 on the sea on the 4th July no further reports were received until one flew south on the 2nd November. Further reports during November included one passing south on the 18th, one on the sea just off the sluice on the 20th and 2 passing south on the 30th November. One was again seen on the sea on the 3rd December and individuals were noted passing offshore on the 5th and 12th with the last report of the year involving one on the sea off the sluice on the 20th December.

 

Slavonian Grebe

A single bird seen offshore briefly on the 12th December represents the fourth record for the Haven following individuals noted 21st to 23rd January 1985, 16th January 1996 and the bird from last year, seen on the 23rd November 2008.

 

Fulmar

One passing south close inshore on the 22nd January was a rather unseasonal record. Nearly 3 months passed before the next report, an individual passing north on the more traditional date of the 19th April. A further report of one on the 26th April was followed in May with birds noted close inshore on the 5th, south on the 21st and 24th with 2 on the 28th. Single birds were recorded in June, passing south on the 25th, July, on the 19th and in August, the last for the year, passing north on the 26th.  Assuming different birds were involved in all sightings, a total of 11 birds on 10 dates is a modest improvement on last year.

 

Manx Shearwater

Three records of individuals all passing north on:

21st July

14th September

14th October

An improvement on the single bird recorded during 2008 however (unlike 2008) 2009 failed to produce a single Sooty.

 

Gannet

A total of 298+ individuals (283+ individuals in 2008) were recorded over 23 dates (37 dates in 2008). There were no spring records.

The first record for the year involved an immature passing north on the 4th August. No further reports were received until the 6th September when a juvenile passed south. After further juveniles were noted on the 10th and 11th of September and 5 on the 13th September things really got going with 23 birds passing mainly north on the 14th, 20 on the 15th and an impressive 112 counted passing north between 0800-1030 on the following day, the 16th September. Only a single bird was seen on the 17th with 9 passing north noted on the 20th September. The month ended with a single juvenile seen on the 27th, 8 moving north on the 28th and 17 again north on the 29th September. October began with 2 passing north on the 1st, a juvenile south on the 3rd and 3 birds noted on the 4th before a significant movement was reported the following day the 5th October involving a total of 80+ birds of which around 40 moved south in the morning followed by around another 40 moving north in the afternoon suggesting birds re-orientating out of the outer Thames estuary. Only 2 passing north were reported the following day 6th October. The only other reports for October involved a single bird north on the 14th, 2 north on the 17th and a juvenile south on the 21st October. Following 3 adults and 2 juveniles passing on the 1st November the last report of the year involved a single bird north on the 8th November.

 

Cormorant

Recorded in every month with the maximum day count of 15 on the 14th September. Other than 14+ reported on the 17th November the only other double figure counts were 12+ on the 20th September and 11 on the 18th, 19th, 22nd and 25th November, 27th and 30th December and 10 on the 16th November. No reports were received from end April to middle of May indicating perhaps that most birds were away at breeding sites. Singles and parties up to 10 (14th September) noted arriving from out to sea during early autumn could suggest continental immigration or equally be local birds returning from sandbanks beyond the horizon. Birds resembling the continental form ‘sinensis’ were reported on the 2nd and 6th March.

 

Shag

After no records during 2008 this species made a welcome return during 2009 with 4 records involving 7 birds as follows:

5th December (juvenile lingering offshore until 1400 when flew south)

7th December (5 juveniles on rocks by sluice early am)

21st December (passing south)

In addition a ‘probable’ was also reported on the 14th December. If the sight of 5 juveniles at close quarters on the 7th December were not enough, one was seen to be sporting a blue colour ring having been rung as a chick earlier in the year on the Isle of May! Unfortunately the party did not linger and disappeared as the rising tide forced them from their resting place.

 

Bittern

The long awaited first authenticated record for the Haven was found by Gary Gardiner on the 28th August. When found it was in virtually full view from the hide, standing behind the scrape pointing its bill in the air! With a sense of panic initially gripping local listers desperate to add this species to their Haven list, the bird surprisingly (if somewhat erratically) performed over the coming days, weeks and months being finally last recorded on the 28th November! By no means was it seen daily, in fact it could remain elusive for periods up to 3 weeks. During it’s stay, it visited most of the marshy areas on site, even those across the B1032, without showing preference to any particular patch of reeds or ditch.

 

Little Egret

No records were received for January, September and November. Overall numbers appear to have reduced from last year with the vast majority of reports involving single birds only. In fact reports were received on only 8 dates in the 4 month period from the end of August to the end December. Two birds were reported on only 4 dates, all in different months with the highest day count being 3 which flew from Frinton-on-Sea towards the scrape on the 20th December.

 

Great White Egret

Whilst birding in the Great Holland Hall area on the morning of the 17th January, Gary Gardiner and Kas Aldous picked up a Great White Egret flying north towards them, which it is assumed, had come in off the sea. The bird continued over the golf course disappearing from view inland over Great Holland Hall farm pond. This represents the second record for the Haven following the 3 together on the 11th May 2002. 

 

Grey Heron

Recorded in every month in small numbers. Maximum day count of 7 noted on the 7th August. Visible migration was noted on the 12th September with 5 birds circling over the sluice before heading south.

 

Glossy Ibis

Two records involving 2 birds.

The first record for the Haven involved a single colour ringed bird seen from the ringing plantation by Terry Palmer, Gary Gardiner, Pete Newton and Pete Davis, dropping out of the sky towards the scrape just after midday on the 19th September. Several observers in the hide saw the bird drop on to the scrape frustratingly out of view behind a clump of reeds. After no more than a couple of minutes the bird was apparently spooked (possibly by a noisy dog walker) and disappeared out to sea in an easterly direction. What turned out to be the same bird was later seen in Suffolk and eventually joined up with another Glossy Ibis at Bawdsey.

The second record occurred less than 3 weeks after the first when at 1210 hours on the 7th October, Mick Rodwell and Brendan Spooner noted one passing south west just offshore. (As Brendan was one of the fortunate observers to be in the hide on the 19th September, he is the only person to have seen both records of what was without doubt one of the birding highlights of the year.)

2009 saw an unprecedented influx of Glossy Ibis’ into the UK with colour ringed birds having been traced to the Cota Donana region of Spain.

Spoonbill

Two records involving three birds, none of which lingered.

The 8th record for the Haven involved 2 birds seen flying north by Alf Mullins on the 2nd May.

The 9th record for the Haven followed nearly three months later, when Pete Davis and Gary Gardiner noted an adult passing low, heading south west over the ringing plantation on the early morning of the 1st August.

A total of 16 Spoonbills have now been recorded at the Haven since the first in May 1996.  In addition “4 Spoonbills’’ were reported via the RBA pager on the 21st May. Should further details be forthcoming, this record may be included retrospectively.

 

Mute Swan

Present throughout the year. Did not breed.

The resident adult on Great Holland Hall farm pond maintained its lonely vigil throughout the year. In addition, a pair was noted on many dates across the site between early February and the end of May, although no nest building activity was recorded. In addition to the above mentioned ‘resident’ a maximum of 3 other birds were noted on several dates during the first 5 months of the year although strangely, other than 2 seen flying low north west over the arable on the 29th October, no other reports were received whatsoever after the 2nd June.

 

Bewick Swan

The sole record for the year involved 4 birds which arrived “in off” the sea and disappeared low over the golf course on the 19th December.

In addition a very distant Swan sp seen on the sea in poor light on the 28th December may well have been this species.

 

Pink Footed Goose

Two records involving three birds on the following dates:

From 2008 intermittently to 20th February.

12th December (2)

All occurred on the scrape and/or surrounding grazing marsh generally in the company of the ‘local’ Grey Lags. The long staying bird disappeared for long periods i.e. 4th to 23rd January and 4th to 16th February. The 2 in December represent the 13th record for the Haven.

 

White Fronted Goose

Recorded in both winter periods.

The 27 birds from end December 2008 were still present on the 2nd January with 17 still present the following day 3rd January. Thereafter no further records were received until a single juvenile was noted on the 29th January in the company of Greylags and a single Pink Foot. The only other record for the first winter period involved 2 reported on the 19th February. In the second winter period an adult with the Grey Lags on the 10th November was subsequently reported on many dates up until 26th December when 2 birds were noted increasing to 5 on the 30th December.

 

Greylag Goose

Present throughout the year in variable numbers culminating in a maximum day count of 380 (by far a new site record) recorded on the 19th September. Following 150+ on the 3rd January numbers reduced to 80+ on the 5th February down to single figures (apart from 10 on 7th May) from 1st April to 21st May. None were recorded between 5 June and 10th July after which numbers increased steadily to the year max before dropping back to 100-150 by year end.  After an apparent stabilisation in numbers, notably in autumn, this species appear to once more be on the increase. As ever a small number of hybrid individuals are often present with the main flocks.

The table below highlights maximum monthly counts.

 

Day/Month

Number

3rd January

150

1st February

95

30th March

30

18th April

4

25th May

27

4th June*

20

23rd July

87

26th August

244

19th September

380

17th  October

310

10th + 12th November

280

4th December

220

*sole report during June.

 

Canada Goose

Recorded erratically in variable numbers between 1st January and 28th September. None were reported during the last three months of the year. Following 5 on New Year’s Day, 19 on the 17 January and 26 on the 1st February were the largest groups reported during the first winter period. During the same period small numbers were noted occasionally on the other side of the B1032. Small numbers were reported during 3 days in March with a presumed pair reported on the scrape on 13 dates during April and again on the 3rd and 14th May, although no nest building activity was noted. Singletons were noted on 1st and 2nd June and passing south, close inshore, on the 18th June with another on the scrape on the 22nd July, the only record for that month. Seven present on the 2nd August had increased to 27 the following day, reducing to 19 on the 4th and 5th August. An increase to 35 was noted on the 7th August with 36, the maximum recorded for the year, seen the following day the 8th August, reducing to 25 on the 10th and 22+ on the 11th August. Following 8 noted on the 7th September, 4 seen on the 28th September proved to be the last report of the year.   

 

Barnacle Goose

The sole record for the year involved a presumed party of 5 birds on the grazing marsh for 20 minutes on the early morning of the 15th March before disappearing north. This represents the ninth site record and bears a remarkable resemblance to the party of 3 recorded in April 2008 which likewise spent c20mins on site before disappearing north!

 

Brent Goose

Recorded in every month except June and August.

Surprisingly very few were noted during the first winter period. Other than 36 on the 1st February and 27 passing north on the 13th February, all other reports involved single figures including 6 north on the 22nd April and a single bird on the scrape on the 27th May which in turn were the only records for those two months respectively. The only ‘summer’ report involved 4 on the scrape on the unseasonal date of 11th July which was most likely to have been the 4 birds reported at Languard the day before. One passing north on the 16th September was the first report for the second winter period, following which 5 were noted moving south on 21st, 1 on the following day and 2 south on the 29th August before things really got going on the last day of the month, when c1000 were noted passing south between 1445-1715. Numbers were unremarkable during the first 8 days of October, however, over two protracted periods of sea watching on the 9th over a 1000 were again noted passing south with around 600 noted 5 days later on the 14th October. Numbers remained modest until around 300 took up residence, albeit erratically, on the arable from late November to the middle of December. Two seen on the 27th December were the last report of Brents for the year.

Pale Bellied Brent

One was noted passing south with 28 dark bellied on the 8th November. This represents the 6th record and the first since 31st December 2007.

 

Egyptian Goose

Two records involving 5 birds.

A single bird arrived on the scrape with 4 Canada Geese at around 0930 hours on the 28th March. Around thirty minutes later all five birds disappeared north east over Frinton.

A party of 4 juveniles frequented the scrape and nearby grazing marsh on the 4th July. What were almost certainly the same individuals reappeared three days later on the 7th July and remained until the 10th July.

The above represents only the 5th and 6th records and follows hard on the heels of the 3rd and 4th records occurring in 2008!

 

Shelduck

Recorded in varying numbers in all months. Two pairs bred, hatching 20 ducklings of which 17 had survived to 16th July after which numbers reduced steadily until the last juvenile left on the 14th August.

From a single bird present in early January, numbers fluctuated to the year maximum of 43+ recorded on the scrape and surrounding pasture on the 18th May. Around 27 adult type birds were still present when the first ducklings were noted on the 26th May with 33+ present two days later on the 28th May. Thereafter numbers steadily reduced until the 18th July by which time, only birds of the year were still present. Several records were received between end August and mid November of small numbers passing offshore and even occasionally on the scrape. Other than single figures intermittently on the scrape between 16th November and the year end (including party of 4 between the 4th and 15th December) the only other record of note, concerned an apparent cold weather movement of 81 south over a protracted period of sea watching on the 2nd December.

Wigeon

Up to around 700 frequented the grazing marsh/scrape and shallows offshore during the first part of the year with around 150 still present by the end of March. Around 80 were still around on the 3rd April, however these had pretty much gone by the 5th after which odd birds lingered until the last bird of the first winter period, a drake, was noted on the 8th April. The species was thereafter completely absent for over 3 months until 4 were noted on the scrape on the 15th July, 2 of which lingered until the 23rd July then a singleton until the 30th July. No further reports were received until the 17th August when a single bird appeared on the scrape remaining until the 26th by which time it was discernable as a drake. No further reports were received until 5 were seen on the 12th September after which reports were received virtually daily of birds both on the scrape and/or passing offshore. Numbers gradually increased throughout the remainder of the year to a second winter period maximum of 550+ on the 14th December.

 

Gadwall

Recorded in every month except October. Very few reports received during the second half of the year. Pair present intermittently from mid May to mid June but no breeding suspected.

Twelve noted on the 11th January were the first for the year. Single figure counts were made on most days from the 21st January to the 11th February on which 10 were reported. Thereafter, numbers increased to the year (and all time site) maximum of 41+ recorded on the 20th February. Numbers dropped back to 34 on the 25th February after which none were recorded until the 4th March when a single drake was present. The same or another drake was present on the 9th March with 2 seen on the 26th March. Other than 3 seen on the 10th April and 2 on both the 13th and 26th April, no further reports were received until a pair appeared on the 14th May with 4 seen the following day. Thereafter up to 2 birds were reported on 26 dates up until the 6th July including a single drake seen daily 26th May to 4th July. A single bird on the scrape on the 25th and 26th August and a pair on the 20th September proved to be the only records for those two months. A drake on the 19th and 6 flying north on the 30th were the only reports for November. The year finished with two birds on the sea on the 1st December and again on the 16th December.  

 

Teal

Recorded in every month. Around 500+ recorded on the 17th February was the maximum noted during the first winter period. From this high point, numbers steadily reduced to around 60 by the end of March and single figures by the third week of April. A single drake in retarded moult was the only individual noted between the 13th May and the 7th June on which date it was joined by a pair. Small numbers were reported thereafter until early August with a maximum of 13 on the 17th July. By mid August numbers were steadily increasing on the scrape as well as modest numbers noted passing south offshore. A total of 111 were counted on the scrape on the 1st September with 120 on the 15th September plus 50 passing south. Numbers remained stable during October increasing to around 200 on the scrape during the first few days of November. During December numbers increased significantly peaking on the 27th when the year maximum of 706 was counted.

 

Mallard

Present throughout the year. Small numbers bred on the scrape, the farm pond at Great Holland Hall and probably at the old folk’s home. The only significant report concerned a total of 150 on the 27th August, comprising 60+ at Great Holland Hall and 90+ on the scrape.

 

Pintail

Six records involving 14 birds as below:

Drake 12th-14th February (flooded grazing marsh and scrape)

Pair 24th February (scrape)

Two 6th September (passing south)

One 14th September (passing north)

Two 15th September (scrape)

Six 16th September (passing north)

In contrast to last year, as many records (and more birds) were recorded passing offshore as opposed to being seen on the scrape.

 

Garganey

Two records involving two juvenile/eclipse birds as follows:

30th July

14th September

Both were on the scrape. The July bird, feeding actively amongst a group of 12 Teal was photographed by Jim Kendall. A different bird was rumoured to have been seen later that day. With no spring records, 2009 was a poor year for this species, especially compared with the excellent series of reports during 2008.

 

Shoveler

Recorded in every month. No evidence of breeding although a single drake was seen on at least 18 dates between the 25th April and the 28th May. Good numbers were recorded from the end of January to the end of February with a maximum of 50+ on the scrape on the 18th February. A female on the 18th and 22nd June was the only records for that month. From 7 reported on the 8th July numbers during the second half of the year were unremarkable with only 6 days of double figure counts to year end with a maximum of 12 on the 6th December. Other than 2 present on the 11th and 12th October no reports whatsoever were received for the 8 week period 11th September to the 4th November. A flock of 7 seen passing south on the 30th November was the only report away from the scrape/grazing marsh other than a single female seen on several dates in both winter periods on the small farm pond at Great Holland Hall. The table below gives highest monthly day counts.

 

Day/Month

Number

26th January

30

18th February

50+

2nd March

15+

6th and 7th April

8

5th May

3+

18th and 22nd June

1

8th, 10th and 12th July

7

7th August

11

4th September

11

11th and 12th October

2

30th November

11+

6th December

12

 

Tufted Duck

Ten records involving 11 birds as follows:

Records of a drake on the 1st January (Great Holland Hall farm pond), 12th January (Holland Brook), 13th January and 4th February (Old folks home) are all considered to relate to the same bird.

16th April (drake on the scrape)

15th May (drake on the scrape)

24th May (drake on the scrape)

15th July (5 drakes south offshore)

5th November (immature drake on the sea)

12th December (one past offshore)

Initially viewed at some distance the individual on the 5th November was initially thought to be a Scaup. However on closer examination all hope was crushed as what was clearly a Tuftie was uncharacteristically bouncing around in the swell!  

 

Common Eider

Eight records involving 38 birds as follows:

26th January (4 drakes north)

1st February (drake and 2 female types north)

9th February (flock of 10, mixture of immature drakes and female types north)

14th September (pair south)

20th September (female type on the sea off the sluice)

3rd December (female/immature on the sea close inshore)

12th December (4 past)

13th December (flock of 13 north including 5 drakes)

The double digit flocks of 10 on the 9th February and 13 on the 13th December are the largest for 23 years when 30+ were recorded on the 20th March 1986.

 

Common Scoter

Five passing offshore on the 21st January was the first record of the year. Following 10 passing south on the 26th January, no further records were received for nearly 3 months, i.e. until the 21st April when 12 were seen passing south. After 15 seen moving north on the 19th May no further reports were received until 18 moved south on the 4th July. On the 15th July a flock of 20 were on the sea off the sluice with a further 2 drakes passing distantly south. In August, 3 north on the 11th, and 12 south on the 24th and 25th were the only records other than a single bird seen on the 26th August. A total of 58 were logged 12th – 16th September with 80+ passing south between 1445-1715 hours on the 30th September proving to be the highest day count of the year. Twelve passing south and 1 north on the 5th October proved to be the only reports for that month. None were recorded during November until 2 passing south on the 24th. The month ended with 7 on the 29th and 30+ passing, mostly south, on the 30th November. A modest passage was noted during the first few days of December with 20+ on the 1st, 56 passing south on the 2nd, 27 on the 3rd and 2 seen on the 5th. The last reports of a quieter year for this species compared with 2008, involved 12 past on both the 12th and 13th December. Assuming that all records refer to passage birds (as opposed to duplication through local movement) the individual monthly totals are represented by the table below.

 

Month  (number of days recorded)

Total

January (2)

15

February

0

March

0

April (1)

12

May (1)

15

June

0

July (2)

40

August (4)

28

September (6)

148

October (1)

13

November (3)

39

December (6)

129

Assuming zero duplication a total of 439 Common Scoter were recorded at the Haven during 2009 over 26 days. This compares with 921 over 34 days during 2008 (albeit over 50% of these occurring on a single day, 17th August 2008).

 

Velvet Scoter

Five records involving 15 birds as follows:

1st November (2 drakes and 2 female type passing offshore)

30th November (5 south)

1st December (female type passing south with 11 Brent Geese)

3rd December (pair south)

5th December (2 drakes and a female type passing offshore)

In another excellent year for this species the above represents the 7th to 11th records for the Haven following on from the 4th, 5th and 6th records during 2008. With only 3 records prior to 2008, is this species now passing offshore far more frequently than in earlier years or is the significant increase in sea watching from the site responsible for the recent surge of records?

 

Goldeneye

Six records involving 12 birds only as follows:

8th November (drake south)

2nd December (total of 9, i.e. 2+6+1 south)

3rd December (drake south close inshore)

5th December (female)

A relatively good year, however, yet again more Velvet Scoters were recorded during the year!

 

Red Breasted Merganser

Eight records involving total of 21 birds as follows:

27th January (drake and 2 females passing offshore)

1st February (drake north)

10th February (female south)

31st October (one on the sea)

27th November (one south)

1st December (3 south)

2nd December (8 south)

12th December (3 passing offshore)

A better than average showing, perhaps reflecting continued interest in sea watching. Mergansers at rest on the sea (31st October) are a real rarity at the Haven.

 

Goosander

Two records involving 5 birds as follows:

2nd July  (female north close inshore at 1030 hours)

2nd December (drake and 3 ducks south)

The above represents only the 6th and 7th site records following hard on the heels of the 4th and 5th records last year. The midsummer record is extraordinary and in Essex terms may be unprecedented, insofar as it is believed that all other previous reports for this time of year, involved presumed sick or injured birds summering at inland locations. A timely call to the ‘Frinton Bird Observatory’ enabled its occupant and single member to add this interesting observation to his daily sea watching log!

 

Marsh Harrier

Recorded in every month with majority of records mid April to mid October. The first for the year and sole record for that month involved an individual passing south down the coast on the 21st January. An immature type was noted on the 14th February. What was probably the same bird was seen on the 16th February. No further records were received for 6 weeks until one was reported on the 29th March with the same or another seen on the 31st March. During April, birds of each sex were reported on 7 dates widely spaced throughout the month with 2, the first multiple occurrence of the year, on the 26th April. Other than a female type on the 5th and 6th May no further reports were received until the 20th May when a pair was reported with what were possibly the same individuals displaying on the 23rd May and reported again on the 31st May. In a very confusing period from 1st June to the end August, birds were reported virtually daily with two’s and three’s seen regularly and the highest day totals of the year, four, noted on the 11th and 16th July. Reports reduced significantly during September with many sightings referring to a rather distinctively plumaged immature male, which having been first noted in mid August, was last reported on the 13th October. Two birds seen on the 13th September and 11th October were the only multiple sightings during this period. After mid October only 3 reports were received to the end of the year, a male on the 21st November and individuals on the 10th and the last for the year, 22nd December. On the 27th July one was seen to cruise low over the scrape and take a Moorhen chick which it carried off. Although suspected, breeding in the nearby arable cannot be confirmed. The complexity and volume of records make it impossible to even estimate how many individual Marsh Harriers were seen during the year. What can be stated, is that the frequency with which this species is being recorded continues to increase.

 

Hen Harrier

Four records as follows:

29th August (ringtail early morning over the sewage farm before flying out to sea).

3rd and presumed same 4th September (adult female)

10th October (ringtail early evening over north)

2nd November (ringtail early morning)

The September bird spent periods at rest on the ground on the 3rd where it could be viewed from the hide. What was almost certainly the same bird briefly passed close in front of the hide early the following day. These four records represent an above average showing.

 

Montague’s Harrier

Three records plus a ring tail ‘sp’ as follows:

On the morning of the 25th April, Gary Gardiner found a female quartering the arable. It continued to show intermittently throughout the afternoon, at times landing in the crop where it would remain for variable periods out of view before again taking flight. This represents the earliest site record by nearly a month, after a female seen on the 23rd May 1992.

Around mid morning on the 23rd August, Pete Loud found a splendid adult male quartering the scrape in front of a hide full of very appreciative birders! Although thought to have immediately moved off south, after an anxious 30 minute wait, it thankfully reappeared much to the relief of the ringing team, who on receiving the message from the far too cocky finder  ‘’you won’t see the Monty’s from here’’, had rushed round to the hide from their slumbers in the plantation! What was without doubt one of the star birds of the year then performed on and off to a growing number of admirers until early afternoon.

Around early evening on the 25th August, a presumed juvenile, was seen by Rowland Power passing south along the coast over the sluice.

In addition to the above, a ringtail Harrier sp seen briefly low over the arable on the 13th August was thought by the observer to most likely relate to this species.

With no records since the second year male seen on the 1st August 2006, a minimum of 3 in one year is not only a welcome return but unprecedented in terms of the only other year of multiple occurrence being the two seen in June 2002 (3rd and 6th). These 3 represent the 9th to 11th site record.

 

Sparrowhawk

Present throughout the year although no reports received for May. At least one resident pair with unknown breeding success augmented by passage birds with 4 seen over the car park together on the 29th March and 4+ across the site noted on the 26th April. On the 24th August one was seen distantly low over the sea, flying parallel to the coast. Amongst the more exotic (if not downright unfortunate) prey species, one individual was seen to take a Wheatear (20th September).

 

Common Buzzard

Seven records involving 11+ birds.

29th March (2 drifting inland other side of the B1032)

26th April (drifting north over Great Holland Hall pursued by Carrion Crows)

16th August

22nd September (soaring high to the west from the hide)

24th September (3 passing west over the scrape were thought to have come in off the sea)

8th, 10th and 13th October (reports of 2 birds on these three dates are assumed to refer to the same lingering individuals)

19th and 20th December (a rather distinctive pale bird also seen in to 2009 and at nearby Great Holland Pits)

In addition a distant Buzzard sp seen on the 18th September and thought by one observer to possibly be one of ‘’two Rough Legged Buzzards seen “in off” the sea earlier’’ is considered to most likely relate to this species. Records are increasing and it must surely only be a matter of time before this species is as firmly established in our corner of the county as it is elsewhere in Essex.

 

Kestrel

Present throughout the year with at least one pair breeding and fledging at least 2 young. In an unremarkable year for this species, passage noted particularly in autumn with 5+ noted on the 9th September. The chicks were viewable in their high rise nest box between the 12th and 16th of July, after which they fledged and were attended by an adult atop telephone line poles behind the car park.

 

Merlin

Three records involving 2+ birds as follows:

Records of a female seen around the grazing marsh area on both the 26th February and the 6th March are thought to relate to the same individual.

A female type was seen to fly “in off” the sea on the early morning of the 22nd September.

A relatively disappointing showing, despite suitable habitat and good coverage throughout the year.

 

Hobby

The first for the year was a bird seen to arrive “in off” the sea on the early date of the 19th April. One reported on the 25th and 26th April possibly refers to the same individual. Four records were received during May, including 2 on the 4th. One on the 5th June was the last of the 8 reports involving 9+ birds in the spring. A juvenile on the 10th July was the first noted for the second half of the year followed by reports on the 23rd and 24th July which probably relate to the same individual. Two seen on the 28th August was the only report for that month. In September, birds were reported on the 3rd, 11th, 13th, 20th and 21st, two on the 22nd (including one “in off” the sea) with the last report of the year being 2 on the last day of the month 30th September. Assuming a minimum of 11 birds over the autumn period, a reasonable estimate of 20 different birds throughout, is not unreasonable if we assume none breed locally and therefore duplication unlikely. This is not to dissimilar a pattern to 2008 and is thought if anything, to represent a decline in occurrences, compared to previous years. Intriguingly, a ‘dark’ falcon sp seen late in the day briefly on the very late date of the 9th November, was thought by the observer to most likely relate to this species.

 

Peregrine Falcon

Multiple records involving minimum of 6 birds as follows:

Records of a female seen on the hay bales on the 12th February and flying over the grazing marsh at the back of the car park on the 22nd February are thought to refer to the same individual.

A female was seen on the 11th and 12th July

A young female first seen on the 2nd August visited the scrape regularly over a 5 week period until the 8th September. On the 15th August an adult female was also reported.

Records of one apparently on a kill on the 11th October and on the ground in roughly the same patch of arable on the 17th October, are thought to refer to the same individual.

An immature female was seen over the scrape on the 17th November.

A largish falcon sp thought to be this species was also seen soaring distantly from the ringing compound on the 19th September.

The above includes the first ever long staying individual. This bird regularly entertained visitors by spending long periods perched on the scrape in full view, from where it was occasionally seen to investigate nearby Marsh Harriers and paddle between islands during periods of bathing! It’s attempts to catch Jackdaws during the early part of its stay, bordered on the comical, although it clearly learned quickly from the experience as shortly thereafter it was seen to catch a Red Legged Partridge!  A good number of records for the second year running, of this one time rarity, as we clearly begin to benefit from this species marked recovery in the south east.

 

Red Legged Partridge

Present throughout the year in variable numbers. Other than 20+ noted on the 3rd February and an unfortunate individual who fell foul of a hitherto incompetent juvenile Peregrine, no other reports of interest concerning this species were received.

 

Grey Partridge

The only report of the year involved a freshly dead bird, hanging from the belt of a shooter on the 10th October. On shoot days, hunters are thought to range widely, so whilst it was likely to have been taken within the site boundaries, this is in no way assured. Clearly, any optimism inferred in last year’s report concerning this species continued existence, was probably misplaced, although we do hear reports from land owners/managers, that one or two coveys may still persist in the never visited and (from a public right of way perspective) inaccessible  far north west corner of the arable.

Pheasant

Abundant throughout the year predominantly favouring the arable. Other than 30+ seen in the single small arable field next to the B1032 and a male trapped in a mist net in the feeding station on the 26th September, no reports of any interest were received.

 

Water Rail

Total of 6 records of which 2 involved birds that were heard only. Minimum of 3 birds involved as follows:

3rd January (2 performed at close range from the hide on the frozen feeder ditch)

29th and 30th January (in front of the hide, probably one and/or other of the birds seen 3rd January)

12th November (flushed from edge of reed bed near sea wall)

15th November (calling from in front of hide)

12th December (calling from reed bed near sea wall, probably same bird as 12th November)

In a poor year for this species, 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 around 20+ seen regularly on the scrape in July and August. Of 18+ reported on the 29th October 13+ were on or around Great Holland Hall farm pond. Several pairs again bred with young first noted on the scrape on the 2nd May. The only other report of interest concerning this generally “under recorded” species, concerned the taking of an unfortunate chick by the long staying immature Marsh Harrier on the 27th July.

 

Coot

Recorded in every month except September and October. Strangely very few reports from the scrape or Holland Brook were received during the year, with only odd birds noted on a handful of dates. A single bird on Great Holland Hall farm pond during the early part of the year was joined by a second bird on the 24th February. Breeding was again confirmed when 7 chicks were noted on the 25th April with 6 large, apparently independent young, still present on the 2nd July after which date only one of the adults was seen on the 6th August. No further reports were received across the site until the year end other than a single bird on Holland Brook on the 6th November and one back on the farm pond on the 17th December.

 

Oystercatcher

Reported in every month. One pair bred with two large young reported from the 7th July to 3rd August.

Four passing offshore on the 21st January was the first report of the year and the only record for that month. Reports of a single bird, (with 2 noted on the 16th), was received regularly from the 11th February to 7th March when 3 were seen. Other than 10+ seen on the 3rd April single figure counts were received almost daily, from the middle of March to the 12th July when in addition to 4 on the scrape, 13 passed south offshore. The maximum number reported for the year then followed on the 26th July when 37 were seen passing south offshore, after which the only other double figure count, concerned 20 seen passing south on the 4th August. Small parties passing south continued to be noted regularly throughout the rest of August and early September, complemented by odd birds seen periodically on the scrape and grazing marsh. A single bird passing north on the 5th October and 3 passing south on the 8th November was respectively the only reports for those months. Single birds reported passing south on the 20th and 27th December were the last records of the year.   

 

Avocet

Recorded between early February and mid August. Two pairs bred, although only one young was thought to have successfully fledged. Although unproven, it is strongly suspected that other pairs failed in May due to egg thieves. The same or other individuals were confronted a month later (as they approached the back of the scrape) but escaped before they could be apprehended.

First for the year was a pair on the scrape on the early date of the 28th February. No further reports were received until the 13th March when 4 were on the scrape. Although none were reported the following day, a pair was again present on the 15th March with 6 the following day the 16th, 8 on the 18th increasing to 12 on the 5th April. Following 18 on the 9th April and 24 on the 11th numbers peaked on the following day the 12th April, with the amazing sight of 30 Avocets, a new site record (after the maximum of 23 seen on the 26th June 2008), wandering around on the scrape! What was clearly an excellent passage of birds, had at this point peaked, although numbers only fell back marginally, as 20 were still present on the 25th April. However, by the end of the month only 7 were on site, as the remaining birds settled down to nest. The first bird was sitting by the 13th May with two or three other pairs also present throughout May until the 26th when with the addition of either late migrants or wanderers from nearby, 10 were seen, 12 on the 28th (by which time up to 4 birds were sitting) and 16 on the 30th May. The first young were noted on the 2nd June when 2 small chicks were seen with 3, possibly 4 young on the 4th June. Between 16 and 20 adults were recorded on various dates between the 1st and 22nd June, on which dates only 2 young could be seen and two or three other nests looked deserted. A total of 10 adults were seen on the 25th June, on which date another brood of two small young were seen, being much smaller than the now well grown chicks, which had hatched over 3 weeks earlier. After 14 adults seen on the 2nd July, birds moved off with just 7 seen from 3rd to 5th July, up to 5 until the 21st July, thereafter a single pair remained with one remaining large juvenile until the 2nd August. A single adult and the large, and only surviving juvenile, were last seen on the 9th August. The last record of the year involved a party of 6 on the scrape on the 13th August. 

 

Little Ringed Plover

The first for the year was a relatively early bird from the 26th March to the 31st March. This was followed by one reported intermittently between the 11th and 16th April and what is assumed to be a different bird on the 22nd April. The last for the spring was present on the 4th and 5th May. Four in spring represents a good showing. Autumn passage began relatively early in the form of a juvenile for one day only, on the 28th June. Three juveniles on the 10th July were not reported the following day. On the 13th July an adult was recorded, which stayed until the 17th July when it was joined by a second bird, neither of which were reported the following day. Following a juvenile on the 24th July, what was presumed to be a different bird, was logged on the 28th with 2 on the 29th and one again until the 3rd August when 3 juveniles were reported. These three were still present the following day the 4th with only 2 seen on the 5th and 6th August, after which no further reports were received until 2 juveniles were noted on the 16th August. There followed daily sightings of two or three juveniles until the 26th to 28th August when only one juvenile could be found. During September, a juvenile was recorded 4th to the 12th  being joined on the 12th by a second bird, with only one of these remaining the following day, the 13th September - this proving to be the last report of this species for the year. A minimum of 18 birds (of which 14 were in autumn) recorded over the year, is a conservative estimate and compares with approx 20+ reported during 2008. All records unsurprisingly came from the scrape.

 

Ringed Plover

After the first for the year on the 13th January and 2 seen between the 26th and 28th January, no further reports were received until the 2 on the 11th February, after which single figure counts (with the exception of 12 passing south on the 20th August) were recorded virtually daily until early September. Other than a single bird on the 15th September there were no further records for that month. One on the sluice on the 12th October was the only record for that month and there were no reports for November. The year ended with 2 on the scrape on both the 6th and 10th December and finally one on the beach on the 30th December. At least one pair attempted to breed below the seawall, although the 4 eggs seen in the nest scrape on the 2nd of June had gone the next day. By the 29th   June the female was on eggs again, however as no chicks were seen, it is thought that once again the pair failed.

 

Golden Plover

In January there were 18 reported on the 7th, 41 on the 11th rising to 250+ on the 13th before dropping back to 171 on the 25th. After a modest 20 to 25 were seen on the first 2 days of February, a large flock of approx 550 birds were present on the arable immediately south and east of Great Holland Hall, however they did not linger, with only 50+ noted on the 12th and odd birds seen at the month’s end. A count of 54 the other side of the B1032 on the 4th March was the only notable record of that month with no further records after 6 on the 16th March, until a single bird logged on the 2nd April being the last record for the first winter period. The first for the autumn, involved a single bird on the scrape briefly, before flying south on the 22nd July. Odd birds were noted at the end of July and early August, after which one on the 18th and 4 on the 23rd August were the last records until around 150+ were reported on the 19th October. Few reports were received through to the end of the year, however, by the 21st December around 250 were back on the arable.

 

Grey Plover

The sole records for the first half of the year involved one on the scrape on the early morning of the 25th April and one again on the scrape, in full summer plumage, on the 29th April. The first for the autumn was one on the scrape on the 26th July, followed by 4 passing south on the 29th July. All records in August, 3 on the 16th, 16 on the 20th, 1 on the 23rd, 13 on the 24th and the sole record for September, 1 on the 6th, all involved birds passing south offshore. The last record of the year, involved one on the beach on the 21st December. The early autumn southerly passage noted offshore from the 29th July to the 6th September, involved a minimum of 38 birds compared with last years’ bumper haul of around 160 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 2nd May (3rd May in 2008) and with new/second broods seen up until late June. In the first winter period a maximum of 200+ were seen on 22nd January. In autumn, post breeding flocks on the scrape increased from 30+ on 3rd August to 60+ by month end and to around 200 during the first week of October. On the 3rd December, a pronounced cold weather movement offshore, involved around 230 passing south between 0845 and 1245 hours. On the 21st December, a count across the arable and grazing marsh suggested that around 350 were present, the maximum count of the year.

 

Knot

The sole record during the first 6 months of the year, involved a single bird on the scrape mid morning on the 3rd April. No further records were received until a summer plumage adult was seen on the scrape on the 12th July. A juvenile, again on the scrape, was seen on the 15th and 16th of August and an adult in winter plumage was on the scrape on the 26th to 29th August when it was joined by a second bird. Following 2 reported on the 13th September, 3 were seen passing south offshore on the 22nd September. The final report of the year involved a total of 17 seen passing south, during a brief sea watch on the 24th October. A similar number of reports from the scrape as last year, however records of birds passing offshore, was well down on 2008.

 

Sanderling

Reported regularly during the first winter period up until one on the 10th March. Other than 10 on the 31st January and an extraordinary 46 that landed briefly on the sluice on the 21st January, all records referred to single figure counts. Three records for April involved 6 on the 14th, 3 on the 16th and 4 on the 24th April. On the 23rd 2 summer plumage birds were on the scrape, after which no further reports were received until 2 were seen on the sluice on the 3rd August. After single birds seen passing south on the 16th and 26th August, no further reports were received until the 8th November when 8 were seen passing south offshore. Five were back on the beach on the 5th December with single figure counts reported intermittently from the 13th to the 22nd December and one, the last of the year, on the 28th December.

 

Little Stint

Three records involving minimum of 5 birds as follows:

Adult on the 29th July

Two adults 26th to 28th August with one remaining until 31st August

Juvenile 16th and 17th September with 2, 18th to 23rd September

Unsurprisingly all records came from the scrape.

 

Curlew Sandpiper

Three records involving minimum10 birds, all in autumn, all on the scrape, as follows:

Adult and a juvenile on the 23rd August

Up to 6 juveniles 2nd to 9th September, 5 remaining 10th and 4 on the 11th September.

Two on the 19th September.

As only one or two birds were noted 3rd to 6th September, it is entirely possible that 6 seen again on the 8th and 9th involved some ‘new’ birds as opposed to members of the original flock, having ‘gone missing’ for 4 or 5 days.  

 

Purple Sandpiper

In the first half of the year, recorded intermittently either singly or in small numbers from 1st January to the 7th May with a maximum of 5 on the 21st March. No further reports were received until the autumn when 2 were back on the sea wall on the 8th November with 4 noted on the 20th November. Reports in December were restricted to single birds on the 12th and 15th with 3 on the 13th December.

 

Dunlin

Recorded in every month except November. One on the 1st and 27th to 28th January was the sole records for that month. After 11 on the 13th February, a single bird was noted intermittently from the 18th to the end of the month. Small numbers, never more than single figures, were reported frequently from 1st March to the 8th May when 19 were reported on the scrape, with 10 present the following day and again on the 23rd May. A few reports of 1-3 were received up until 7 on the 7th July, increasing to 16 on the 16th July. Thereafter, only regular single figure counts were made until early October with the exception of 13 on the 30th August. From a single bird seen on the 10th October, no further records were received until a cold weather movement of 50 passing south offshore, was noted on the 2nd December with 10 the following day. The last record for the year involved a single bird on the 15th December.

 

Ruff

Recorded in every month except May. Again no double figure numbers occurred throughout the year. Maximum day count of only 4 seen on the 14th and 15th February and 4 males on the 17th July. One on the 13th January was the only record for that month. In February birds were present intermittently from the 10th to the 21st and 27th to 28th with one still present 1st, 2nd March and again 6th, 9th and 20th March. A male on the 3rd April was the sole record for that month. No further records were received until 19th June when a male was present. Another summer plumaged male was present on the 28th June. Single birds (2, a male and a female on the 3rd) were reported most days during the first half of July, however no further reports were received until 3 were seen on the 4th September. A male appeared on the 16th September with 2 on the 18th however a single female was the only bird present on the scrape on the 22nd although another was seen flying south offshore that morning. This bird remained until the 1st October. Two seen on the 30th November was the only record for that month and the year ended with a single bird seen on the 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th December. There is no doubt that records/numbers of Ruff visiting the scrape and nearby grazing marsh, have declined over the last few years.

 

Jack Snipe

Two records involving three birds as follows:

7th January (2)

18th January

Both birds seen on the 7th January were flushed from the small pond by the car park entrance. Despite repeated visits they were not seen there again. The individual seen on the 18th January appeared to one lucky observer in the hide, as it momentarily crept between two tufts of grass. After the blank year in 2007 and just one last year, the above three birds represent a welcome increase in records. 

 

Common Snipe

Recorded in every month except May. Recorded intermittently in single figure numbers from 1st January to the 24th March with the exception of 10+ reported on the 20th February. Other than what was presumed to be one individual, that was reported on four dates between the 23rd and 29th April, no further records were received until a single bird appeared on the 9th June. What is assumed to have been the same individual was subsequently reported on and off until the 27th June. No further records were received until a single bird appeared from the 19th July, with 2 noted on the 30th July. Four were present on the 1st August, however, no more than 6+ were seen throughout the month. Odd birds were present during early September, increasing to 7+ on the 11th, 19 on both the 14th and 15th with the years maximum of 20+ reported on the 19th September. Numbers dropped back to around 10 by the months’ end with single figure counts reported virtually daily throughout first half of October, after which only odd one’s and two’s were seen until the 19th and 20th December when a cold weather movement involved 18 (including 16 in off of the sea) on the 19th and 12 (including 10 “in off” the sea) on the 20th. The last report of the year concerned a single bird seen on the 28th December.

 

Woodcock

Odd birds were about during the first winter period with a maximum of 4 seen on the 10th January. From the first report of the year on the 4th January, records were received on the 7th, 9th to 11th but thereafter no birds were seen until one on the 14th February and again on the 17th February. A single report for March on the 16th was followed by two records in April, one on the 1st and the last for the first winter period being one flushed from the wooded area along the access road, on the 5th April. The first for the second period of the year, involved an individual flushed at dawn from the ringing compound on the 12th September. Other than one flying over the golf course on the 27th October, the only other records and last for the year involved 2 or more “in off” the sea on the 18th December and one in flight near the memorials on the 21st December. One very fortunate individual dashed off seemingly “none the worse for wear” after the Sparrowhawk that had just seconds before pounced on it, was itself inadvertently flushed by the observer!  

 

Black Tailed Godwit

Recorded in every month throughout the year in variable numbers with peaks in both February and July. Other than a flock of 26* that circled the scrape on the 10th May before moving off east and 12 on the 29th May, only odd birds were seen during this month. No reports whatsoever were received between the 11th and 21st May and 30th May to the 7th June. In autumn, October only saw single figure counts. The highest day count for the year was 69 seen on the 25th July. (60 on the 1st July 2009). Monthly recorded maximums as per the table below.

 

Month/Day

Maximum Count

January 31st

49

February 3rd

60

March 8th

10+

April 11th

11

May 10th

26*

June 30th

16

July 25th

69

August 3rd

43

September 20th

17

October 4th

7

November 21st

19

December 7th,29th,30th

15

A single bird on the scrape on the 18th and 19th of June, was considered to be of the continental race limosa. All reports came from the scrape apart from a single bird that was seen passing offshore on the 19th July. A number of colour ringed individuals were noted during the year.

 

Bar Tailed Godwit

10 records involving 19+ birds as follows:

13th April (scrape)

21st to 24th April with 4 on the 25th and 26th April (scrape/grazing marsh)

1st May

14th May (with Whimbrel)

26th July (south offshore)

29th July (4 south offshore)

30th July (with Whimbrel on grazing marsh)

4th August (3 south offshore)

22nd September (2 south offshore)

2nd December (south offshore)

Other than the December winter record, all reports fit the occurrence pattern of passage migrants, including those assumed to be travelling with Whimbrel.

 

Whimbrel

Spring passage began with one heard but not seen on the 14th April after which the first sight records involved 2 on the 16th. After 7 on the 20th and 11 on the 22nd the maximum day count of the year was noted on the 23rd April, when 24 were present. Double figure counts of 16+ on the 25th April, 14+ on the 26th and 11+ on the 29th April were noteworthy, as were 15+ on the 7th May. All other reports involved single figure counts until the last for the spring, one present on the 21st and 22nd May. After one heard but not seen on the 2nd July, the first sight record of the autumn involved 4 singletons passing south offshore on the 6th July. From the 11th July through to mid August, reports were received on most days, of a mixture of small numbers both passing offshore or on the scrape and grazing marsh area. The maximum count during this period involved 14 seen on the 2nd August. After single birds seen on the 23rd, 28th and 31st August, 14 were reported on the 1st September, with the last record of the year involving a single bird, which landed briefly on the sea wall on the 6th September before continuing south.

 

Curlew

Recorded in every month except May. During the first part of the year, regularly recorded in double figures until late March, including a maximum day count of 85 on the 10th January. Single figure counts received thereafter until the 23rd April, with exception of 28 noted on the 20th April. No further reports were received until one on the 14th June, after which odd birds, to a maximum of three on the 26th, were seen until the months’ end. Double figure counts began again from early July and to a lesser extent, continued throughout August, involving a mixture of birds passing offshore and on or around the scrape and grazing marsh, including 40, the maximum count for this period, on the 26th July. The rest of the year proved unremarkable, insofar as, whilst birds were recorded regularly, the maximum day counts only involved 28+ on the 26th September, 50 on the 26th November and 26 on the 18th December.

 

Spotted Redshank

Just 5 records, all from the scrape, involving 7 birds as follows:

3 on the 17th to 19th April with one remaining 20th to 21st April

8th June

16th June

19th June

29th August

Half as many birds as last year, although the fine summer plumaged bird seen on the 8th June certainly brightened up the scrape.

 

Redshank

Other than 3 on the 2nd January and 2 reported on the 15th February, only single birds were noted on various dates until the 13th March when 17 were present. Numbers dropped down to around 10 until the second week of April when 25+, the highest day count of the year, were reported on the 7th April. After 20+ were recorded on the 23rd April around 5 or 6 pairs settled down to breed from early May, with the first chick seen on the 26th May. Elements of at least three broods were noted on the 2nd June with a total of 7+ chicks seen. After the first week of June numbers of adults began to drop as assumed failed breeders moved off. From mid June to mid August, small numbers of adults and surviving juveniles were around, however, after 3 on the 24th and 1 on the 28th August, no further reports were received until 2 were seen on the scrape on the 5th November. Following 1 on the 27th November and 2 flying north on the 4th December, the last report for the year involved one flying north on the 28th December.  

 

Greenshank

Ones and two’s recorded on the scrape intermittently between the 8th April and the 20th August. A single bird on the 8th April was followed by another on the 13th and 14th and another on the 24th and 25th April. The only other spring record involved 2 on the 11th May. No further records were received until one seen on the 23rd June with 2 on the 25th and one other on the 30th June. Two were present on the 3rd to 5th July with one again on the 12th, two briefly on the scrape on the 16th and another on the 21st July. After two on the 3rd August, with one remaining on the 5th, two were again present on the 8th and 9th with the last report of the year, a single bird on the 20th August. No more than 20 birds are thought to have been recorded in total during the year.   

 

Green Sandpiper

The only spring records concerned a single bird, seen in the newly dug drainage ditch opposite the hide on the 25th April and another reported on the 12th May. Return passage began on the 16th June with 2 birds noted. One was seen on the 23rd June with 2 on the 24th and 25th June. Following one on the 3rd July, birds were recorded virtually daily from the 11th July to the 11th September with a maximum day count of 6+ on the 7th August. After one flew south over the scrape on the 22nd September and another fly-over on the 27th September, one was reported on the 11th October, with the last for the year, an unseasonal early winter bird, being reported on the scrape on the 25th November.

 

Wood Sandpiper

Nine records involving a minimum of 13 birds, including 4 on the 2nd August, all seen on the scrape as follows:

2 on the 29th April

18th June

24th and 25th June and presumed same 27th to 30th June.

5th July

21st July

27th July to 1st August with 4 on the 2nd August

12th August

23rd August

11th to 20th September

Strangely no reports were received for May. Conversely June records are rather unusual. The 13 or so, seen this year, compares nicely with the 10-14 seen during 2008. Unfortunately the additional 3 seen on the 2nd August did not linger long, departing only minutes after first arriving on the scrape.

 

Common Sandpiper

The first for the spring involved a single bird, that after a brief stop on the shore, continued north on the 22nd April. All other spring records were during May with 1 present on the 3rd and 4th, 3+ on the 13th increasing to 7+ on the 14th and one remaining on the 16th May followed by 3+ on the 24th with one on the 25th and 26th May. None were seen during the month of June, with the first returning birds being 2 noted on the 8th July. Thereafter birds were reported almost daily from the 11th July to the 3rd September with a maximum of 11 seen on the 8th August. The last report of the year involved a single bird seen on the 9th September.

 

Turnstone

Recorded in variable numbers in every month except June and September. In the first half of the year recorded from 1st January to the 15th May with a maximum for the year of only 10, noted on the 15th February. In the second half of the year the first returning birds were 5 noted passing south offshore on the 12th July. After one on the 15th, 2 on the 20th and 1 passing offshore on both the 21st and 29th July and one record for August involving 3 south on the 20th there were no further reports received until 2 were seen on the 5th October. Small numbers were reported thereafter from mid October to the year-end, up to a maximum of 6, including from 22nd October in to 2010, an individual with a metal ring on the left leg.

 

Pomarine Skua

Three records involving 2 or 3 individuals as follows:

On the 5th October Pete Davis, Pete Bruce and Mick Rodwell witnessed an intermediate phase individual passing north offshore. Following a quick call, Paul Brayshaw was able to add this species to the ‘Frinton Bird Observatory’ day list!

On the 29th November a single bird was seen, passing north offshore, by Mick Rodwell.

On the 30th November Pete Davis picked up a dark immature type bird passing south.

As well as being the latest records by a week, the sightings on the 29th and 30th November could of course relate to the same individual. In addition to the above, a distant Skua sp seen on the 10th October, was thought possibly to be this species.    

 

Arctic Skua

In a poor year, there was only 5 records involving 8 individuals as follows:

13th September (4 past in 2 hours)

16th September ( south at 1630)

3rd October (north)

5th October (pale phase adult north)

1st November

Strangely none were reported in the historically peak period of late August. The 4 seen on the 13th September, equals the highest known day totals of 4 on the 31st August 1988 and again on the 30th August 1992. In addition to the above, a Skua ‘sp’ seen very distantly moving north at midday on the 28th December was thought to possibly refer to this species.

 

Great Skua

Seen on three dates as follows:

3rd October (north am and assumed same south pm)

5th October (north shadowing Gannets am and assumed same on sea pm, apparently harassing Razorbill before moving off north)

10th October (offshore early evening)

It is entirely possible that all the above sightings refer to a single lingering individual.

 

Mediterranean Gull

Recorded in every month of the year, although an adult seen on the 30th June was the sole record for that month. Individual birds of various ages visited the scrape regularly throughout the year, with 3 juveniles and an adult on the 24th August being the maximum day count for this area and 5 (3 x adults, 1 x 2nd winter and 1 x 1st winter) seen “across the site” on the 10th December. Reports of this species were received on 68 days (41 days in 2008) with the majority falling in March, April, July and August, suggesting perhaps local pre and post breeding movements.

 

Little Gull

Three records involving 7+ birds as follows:

6th April (3 adults on/over the scrape)

2nd December (3+ adults lingering offshore mid afternoon)

29th December (1st winter on the scrape)

Those appearing on/over the scrape did not linger.

 

Black Headed Gull

Present throughout the year. Highest day count 350+ on the 17th March.

 

Common Gull

Reported throughout the year in small numbers with the exception of June, for which there were no reports received for this month. In a relatively uneventful year for this species, the maximum count received, involved 60+ on and around the golf course on the 11th February (with 50+ on the 12th). 40+ passing south in one hour on the 15th November was also worthy of note. 

 

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Reported throughout the year in variable numbers with regular gatherings in excess of 20 loafing around on the scrape. Highest day count 50+ on the 23rd March.

 

Herring Gull

Present throughout the year. Under recorded in terms of sizeable gatherings with 100+ birds seen regularly.

 

Yellow Legged Gull

In a much improved showing from 2008, adults, or the same adult, were reported on 5 dates in January (including 11th, 12th and 13th), 4 dates in February, 2 in March and finally on the 20th April. A first winter was seen on the 16th March. No further reports were received until the 15th July when a second summer individual was present on the scrape. After an adult on the 27th July, the only other report of the year involved an adult on the 19th November. In the unlikely event that a single adult was responsible for all of the reports during the first winter period, it is possible that only 5 individuals were involved during the whole year. Echoing last years’ report, why are so few sub-adult birds being reported, especially in view of the intense scrutiny applied to loafing gulls in search of the species below?   

 

Caspian Gull

Two records involving 2 birds as follows:

16th March (1st winter)

2nd April (1st summer)

Both birds were found by Pete Davis on the scrape and were available for no more than a couple of hours before flying off. Despite this, both were seen by multiple observers and were photographed. After the first two records in 2007 and three records last year, the above represents the 6th and 7th Haven records. In addition to the above, a first winter type seen on the 12th February was considered by the observer to be this species, however, other than birds identifiable from either (i) photographs or (ii) ring details, records of Caspian Gull, will no longer be considered - in view of the wide variation of ‘white headed’ Herring Gulls regularly appearing on the scrape.

 

Great Black Backed Gull

Present in small numbers throughout the year. Again no significant counts of this species were received, suggesting that even double figure counts are these days unusual.

 

Kittiwake

For the second year running, very few reports were received, further confirming that this species has suffered a recent and rapid catastrophic decline. A total of only eight records involving only 10+ individuals as follows:

22nd January (adult lingering offshore)

25th January (2+)

2nd February (adult)

14th March (scrape)

1st August

16th September (1 plus north)

2nd December (juvenile south)

3rd December (2 adults south)

The bird seen on the 14th March is the first individual to have been seen on the scrape for over 2 years!

 

Sandwich Tern

The first for the year were 4 passing north offshore on the 19th April. In a very poor spring, of a very poor year, only 4 further reports were received, being 1 north on the 26th April, 2 on the 29th April, 2+ on the 26th May and 1 on the 28th May. There were no reports in the 4 week period from 30 April through to 25th May, suggesting that few venture far from the nearest breeding colonies? Of two seen on the 30th June, one was a juvenile. In July, a single bird was reported on the 11th thereafter records were received on most days until the 25th July with a maximum of 4+ on the 24th July. Another clutch of reports began with a single bird on the 30th July, 6 seen on the 4th August and 3 on the 8th. Following 2 passing north on the 23rd August, the years’ maximum of 8 north was reported the following day, the 24th August. With only 4 reports in September involving a total of 9 birds, the last being one north on the 20th.  No further records were received until the last for the year, an adult passing south on the 5th October. With no repeat of last years’ bumper numbers, far fewer birds were seen in the entire year than on a single day last year, i.e. 100+ on the 10th August 2008.  

 

Common Tern

The first for the year was a single bird seen on the relatively late date of the 10th May. Following three the following day the 11th, no further reports were received until 2 on the 25th and 2 on the 28th May, with the last report for the month of one passing north on the 31st May. No further records were received until 1 on the 28th June with 4 offshore the following day 29th June. During July, one’s and two’s were occasionally seen on the scrape and 5 were noted passing offshore on the 16th, 17th and 18th July. Between 1 and 4 were reported on 5 dates during August and 3 were around on the 3rd September with 3 south on the 6th. The main offshore passage of the autumn got underway on the 14th September with 10+  reported, 11 the following day and the year maximum of 35+ on the 16th September, which following another 10+ on the 20th, was equalled on the 22nd when 35+ were again reported passing south. The last record of the year involved a single bird passing south on the 28th September, although 5 “commic” terns, moving north while distantly offshore on the 15th October were possibly this species.

 

Arctic Tern

Seven records involving minimum of 21 individuals as follows:

14th July (adult)

14th September (10-20 adults)

16th September (3+)

20th September

22nd September (4 juveniles)

27th September (2)

All were passing offshore, except one of the two on the 27th September, which was seen on the sluice briefly. The birds reported on the 14th and 16th September were part of mixed flocks with 10-20 Arctic and around 20-30 Common Terns respectively.

 

Little Tern

In an inexplicably poor year for this species, there were only 6 records involving 5 to 9 individuals as follows:

24th April

14th May

23rd May (2)

24th May (2)

25th May (north)

26th May

It is likely that the 2 birds reported 23rd, 24th and 26th May refer to the same individuals.  Bearing in mind that breeding colonies exist either side of the Haven, at Walton on the Naze and Colne Point, quite why so far fewer Little Terns have been seen offshore during spring and summer is unclear.

 

Black Tern

The sole record of the year involved 3 together, passing south offshore at 1405 on the 23rd August.

 

Guillemot

In a very poor year for this species, there were only two confirmed records involving 2 birds as follows:

21st January (passing offshore)

21st September (drifting steadily south, close inshore)

In addition to the above “Guillebills” seen passing offshore distantly on the 19th July and 11th October, were thought to be either this or the following species. This year’s two confirmed records, represent a new all time low following the, in hindsight, glut of 5 records last year!

 

Razorbill

Two confirmed records involving 2 birds as follows:

14th September

5th October

Both flew north, the latter after being disturbed off the sea, possibly intentionally, by a Bonxie. After prompt phone calls both were also seen passing the ‘Frinton Bird Observatory’.

 

Stock Dove

Reported predominantly in single figure numbers throughout the year with 30+ the maximum recorded on the 25th November. Some immigration suspected in early spring, with individuals appearing to arrive “in off” the sea on the 22nd, with 2 on the 24th March. There was no repetition of any such autumn movement, as reported last year.

 

Wood Pigeon

Very few reports received, the year maximum being 1200+ on the 13th January. At times the sheer abundance of this species seems to counteract any conscious awareness of its presence. Two were trapped and rung.

 

Collared Dove

Present throughout the year in relatively small numbers. No significant reports were received regarding this species. 

 

Turtle Dove

Incredibly last years’ low point of four reports has been surpassed with just three records as follows;

5th May (pair)

10th May

21st July

The pair on the 5th May remained on the grazing marsh for a couple of minutes before disappearing and the July report concerned a ‘fly-over’ only.

Ring Necked Parakeet

Two records involving two individual birds as follows:

17th January

2nd May

The above represents the 5th and 6th site records. The January bird was heard calling and subsequently seen briefly near Great Holland Hall. The bird in May was seen to fly north east over the car park at 7am. Neither lingered to allow a number of keen site listers to add this species to their patch list! With the four previous records occurring in August, September and October the above represent the first known winter and spring records.

 

Cuckoo

The first for the year was one heard at Great Holland Hall on the relatively early date of the 8th April. No further reports were received until the 26th April when one was heard but not seen, behind the car park. Four birds, the maximum day count of the year, were present across the site on the 29th April, suggesting a small arrival. Birds were recorded regularly throughout May with three seen on both the 2nd and 28th May. Other than 2 seen on the 11th, single birds were reported on 10 dates during June, although only three of these records occurred after mid month. Following a single bird in July, seen flying over the ringing compound on the early morning of the 25th, the only other report and the last report of the year, involved a relatively late bird seen on the 9th August.

 

Barn Owl

With the exception of 2 birds seen on the 11th March, single birds were reported on many dates from 1st January to the 14th June with a ringed bird found dead the following day, the 15th June, at the side of the B1032. One was then seen on the 18th, 19th and 27th June after which no further reports were received for over three months until one was reported on the 23rd September and again on the 25th September. As no further reports were received for another month, i.e. until the 26th October, it is possible that the individual(s) seen in September were/was locally dispersing juvenile(s), especially as the recovery details of the bird found dead on the 15th June, showed that it had been rung as a pullus, at nearby Walton Marina on the 28th June 2008. Up to two birds, occasionally sitting together in one of the owl boxes, were seen intermittently between the 29th October and 17th November, after which single birds were recorded regularly up until the last report of the year on the 20th December.  

 

Little Owl

Present throughout the year, with pairs thought to be based around the car park/sluice cottages area with another pair along the hedge line below the nest boxes. No more than two birds were seen on a single day. Strangely, there were no reports during the 4 month period between 7th May and 16th September.

 

Short Eared Owl

Numerous records involving only two birds as follows;

Intermittently from 17th February to 16th March

14th October

What is presumed to have been the same long staying individual, could be often seen either quartering the grazing marsh or perched on a post. However, it did disappear for periods of around a week, i.e. no reports were received 18th to 23rd February or 28th February to 6th March, leading to some speculation, that perhaps more than one individual was responsible for the series of sightings over the 4 week period. The October bird arrived “in off” the sea during the evening and promptly disappeared over the greensward until lost to view. In addition, Owls thought to possibly be this species, were reported by non birders on the 12th January and 23rd September.

 

Swift

The first for the year was one seen on the 25th April. Thereafter, no further reports were received until another single on the 2nd May following which, birds were reported daily between the 4th and 8th May with 6+ on the 7th. From 25+ recorded on the 15th May, the rest of the month and early part of June were unremarkable with modest numbers reported on most days. 400+ reported on the 9th June, represented the peak count for the spring, followed by counts of 120+ on the 22nd down to around 25 by the end of the month, a level that, with the exception of 70 on the 2nd July, became remarkably consistent until around a 1000 were on the move south over 15 minutes between 0600-0615 on the 23rd July. Following 300+ south on the 29th July, 350 south on the 1st August and 80+ on the 4th August, further reports were few, with 12 on the 20th August the only other double figure count. Following odd birds at the end of August and 5 on the 1st September, three were seen on both the 3rd and 4th September, with 1 on the 5th and finally what turned out to be the last bird of the year, one on the 7th September. 

 

Kingfisher

10 records involving 5-8 birds as follows:

26th April

27th August

24th September and presumed same again 26th September

10th, 15th, 19th and 21st October

18th and 26th November

The majority of records, unsurprisingly, come from the hide where birds are seen darting up the feeder stream and associated ditch or occasionally over the scrape. The April individual was by the sluice.

 

Wryneck

One confirmed record.  A further sighting of another, is not at this time, verified for this report.

28th September

A just reward for the countless hours that Mick Rodwell put in over the autumn, as he constantly searched for migrants. Lurking in the bushes immediately adjacent to the Clacton Sailing Club boat compound, this individual was found a few yards from three of the previous records, however, unlike those previous records, this bird disappeared after only an hour and was only seen by a handful of handily placed locals. This is the 6th site record and the first for September.

In addition to the above, a report was received of an individual seen in the brambles, north east of the hide, during the afternoon of the 17th September. News only filtered out after dark and the said bird could not be relocated the following day. Without prejudging the appearance of any record in the 2009 EBR (if it does appear, it may be counted retrospectively as the 7th record). It is unbelievable that in the modern era of birding, where rare bird news can be broadcast instantaneously, that certain individuals still choose to considerably delay and others totally suppress, news of the finding of rare birds.

 

Green Woodpecker

Present throughout the year. One, probably two pairs ranging between the B1032 and the golf course, with a third and probably a fourth pair around the Church Lane/Great Holland Hall area. Two and occasionally 3 birds seen on various dates throughout the year, with 4 together on the short turf in front of the hide on the 27th November. Again juveniles in evidence from late spring/early summer, with one trapped and rung in the feeding station on the 26th September.

 

Great Spotted Woodpecker

At least two pairs thought to be resident in the Church Lane/Great Holland Hall area. Wandering or migrant birds were noted in September with one flying over the ringing compound on the 12th and another seen near the sewage farm on the 26th.

 

Skylark

Present throughout the year with small numbers breeding. Around 50+ reported on the arable below Great Holland Hall on the 14th February was the highest count made during the first half of the year. Migrants in autumn were first noted on the 26th September with 9 passing over south. October opened with 200+ reported passing overhead on the 1st.  Thereafter, smaller numbers were regularly reported with 10 moving south on the 26th and 20 passing south the following day the 27th.  Following 50+ on the 31st October, the only other report involving anything other than the relatively small wintering population, concerned 3 “in off” the sea on the 12th November, with 7+ “in off” the sea on the 18th December and 40+ arriving, again “in off”, during a cold snap on the 22nd December.

 

Sand Martin

The first for the year were 4+ present on the 13th April. Odd one’s and two’s were subsequently reported throughout the rest of April until the 30th when around 25 were about. Other than singletons seen on the 3rd and 7th May, no further reports were received until 4+ were present on the 18th June. Following a handful of reports during the rest of June, including 15+ on the 28th, birds were recorded virtually daily during July, with 200+ on both the 13th and 16th July, building towards the years’ maximum day count, of 220+ moving on the 24th July (also, a reported 2000 hirundines present on this same evening, of which ‘many’ were thought to be this species).  Numbers then dropped markedly, with between 1 and 30 noted throughout August.  Around 20 were present on the 1st September, with 50+ on the 8th, after which none were recorded until 2 on the 17th and the final bird of the year, a singleton on the 18th September.

 

Swallow

The first for the year was 1 passing low over the seawall near the sluice, on the 31st March. Following further singles seen on the 1st and 2nd April, no further reports were received until April 8th, after which the species was reported virtually daily, for the rest of the month with a maximum of 30+ on the 25th.  Around the same maximum was recorded in May, with 31 on the 7th and again in June with 30+ on the 23rd.  150 passing south on the 11th July was the maximum count reported for this month.  No three figure counts were received for August, however September opened with a report of “several thousand hirundines” at dusk on the 1st, of which many were Swallows and of these, many also descended into the reeds to roost.  Following “hundreds” moving south during the late afternoon and early evening of the 8th September, the rest of the month proved uneventful, perhaps with the exception of a count of 270 made on the 22nd.  Small numbers were reported on 8 dates during October, including the monthly maximum of 30+ on the 11th and then the last for the year being 8+ on the 25th October.  Evidence of successful local breeding, came in the form of 6 recently fledged juveniles, being fed by parents in front of the hide on the 15th June. 

 

House Martin

The first for the year were two seen on the 12th April. Small numbers were subsequently reported during the rest of the month with 30+ present on the 27th April. Thereafter, whilst single figure counts were commonplace, it was not until the third week of August that 10+ were noted on two dates. Around 30+ on the 7th September, was eclipsed on the 20th when “very high numbers” were reported heading north and two days later on the 22nd September, 360 were estimated to have passed south during the morning. No further reports were received until the 10th October when 2+ were reported, with 1 present the following day the 11th. The last for the year involved 2 seen on the 25th October.

 

Tree Pipit

The sole report of the year involved a silent individual, thought to be this species, seen well on the rough track between the sea wall and grazing marsh, in the company of several Meadow Pipits on the 4th August.

 

Meadow Pipit

Recorded throughout the year. Small numbers up to a maximum of 35+ were present during the first winter period. Single figure pairs probably again bred.  Autumn passage became evident on the 22nd September when around 350 were noted passing south overhead.  Passage continued, if somewhat erratically, through to the end of October with “good numbers” noted on the 14th and 140 reported moving on the 26th October.  

A cold snap towards the end of December, prompted another noticeable influx, with a maximum of 110 reported around the site on the 21st December.  At the years’ end, numbers fell back to around 20 wintering birds.

 

Rock Pipit

During the first winter period, records of single birds along the seawall, were received for the 6th and 7th March with 2 on the 13th March, where at least one of which, was reported to be approaching summer plumage and thereby causing some potential confusion with Water Pipit. The first notables for the second winter period, were 2 on the 18th and 19th September.  Following a single bird on the 5th October and 2 on the 11th, there were 4 seen together - on the rocks below the seawall - on the 24th, with one still present on the 25th October. With a single bird reported in November, on the 7th, the year then ended with again a single bird, seen on both the 12th and 16th December.

On the 2nd May, a report was received of a distant Water Pipit seen briefly on the scrape. However, from the details received, the views then obtained, cannot at this time be considered as conclusive.

Yellow Wagtail

The first for the year was an early bird on the golf course on the 30th March. No further reports were received until the 10th April when 3+ were present. In a poor spring for this species, reports were received virtually daily throughout the rest of April and intermittently during the first three weeks of May, however, 4+ was the maximum noted and this was on the 21st April.  During this period, ‘Channel’ type flavas were seen on six dates between the 12th April and 5th May.  Following the last spring record of a single bird below Great Holland Hall on the 21st May, no further reports were received until the 5th July, when a single juvenile was reported. Recorded virtually daily thereafter through to late August, with 10+ present on the 19th July and 1st August and the years’ maximum day count of 20+ on the 9th August.  Recorded on 11 dates during September with a total of 13+ passing south on the 5th and around 16 seen on the 19th September.  Following one on the 2nd October, 2 on the 3rd and one again on the 4th October, the last bird of the year, thought to be a ‘Blue Headed’ type, was reported on the 11th October.  

 

Grey Wagtail

Following a single bird that was around the sewage farm on the 30th January, no further records were received until one flew north, calling, over 7 months later on the 5th September!  Thereafter birds were reported regularly, mainly flying over calling, until the 12th November with a maximum of 6+ reported on the 19th September, 5+ on the 11th October and 3+ on both the 26th September and 4th October.  During the year and assuming there was no duplication, reports totalled 44 birds, compared with a minimum of 30+ seen during 2008.

 

Pied Wagtail

Present throughout the year in variable numbers, with highest day count in early autumn, when around 20+ were recorded on the grassy area between the two sailing clubs, on the 25th August, three dates in September and on the 5th October.  Again juveniles were about in mid June, suggestive of local breeding, although unlike previous years no confirmation received. Single ‘White’ Wagtails recorded between the 9th and 21st April in spring and on the 14th and 17th August. 

 

Waxwing

The sole record of the year, involved a party of 6 found by Gary Gardiner and Karen Aldous, perched atop one of the trees near the carpark ticket machine, on the early afternoon of the 13th January. Unfortunately after a brief sortie to the hawthorns bordering the Clacton Sailing Club boat park, the birds departed south west in the general direction of Holland-on-Sea.  This represents the fifth site record, the first for January and the second year in a row that this species, much sought after by patch listers, has been recorded.

 

Wren

Present throughout the year. Other than a total of 19 trapped and rung, no significant reports were received regarding this species.

 

Dunnock

Present throughout the year, with a total of 37 trapped and rung, perhaps suggesting this species is more abundant across the site than generally thought and/or significant immigration occurs during the autumn.

 

Robin

Present throughout the year with several breeding pairs scattered around the site. Around 10+ were noted on the 6th January, after which no significant reports were received until the autumn, when ‘good numbers’ were reported on the 8th, 10th , 17th and 24th October and a further report of the bushes being “full of Robins” on the 29th October.  A total of 20 were trapped and rung. 

 

Black Redstart

Three records involving 3 birds as follows;

26th April

13th October

7th November

The sole spring record, a 1st year male, spent the day on the wood chip mounds near the sluice. Both late autumn records involved birds along the sea wall that did not linger long. The October individual was a typical juvenile type, whilst the November bird was thought to be a male.

 

Redstart

There were no records in spring. The first for the autumn, involved a male that favoured the hawthorns between the carpark and the coastguard tower from the 19th August to the 21st.  A second bird was also present on the 21st, with both still in the general area on the 22nd August. There were no further reports until the 10th September when 3 were present across the site, none of which could be found the following day.  A further bird was found on the edge of the carpark hawthorns on the 16th September, with 2 present on the 20th, possibly since the 18th September.  The last for the year, was reported on the 25th September with what is assumed to have been the same bird still present the following day, the 26th September. A minimum of 8 individuals were thought to have occurred during the autumn period, almost half the circa 15 individuals thought to have occurred in autumn 2008.

 

Whinchat

There were two records involving 3 birds in spring. Two together, near the hide briefly on the morning of the 22nd April, did not linger.  Another spent much of the 8th May on the fence line in front of the hide. The first for the autumn concerned a single bird, seen on the 10th August, with 2 on the 12th and 5 the following day the 13th August. Thereafter, from 1-5 were reported almost daily up until the 29th August, when 9 were reported. Up to 7 were still around on the 30th and 3 on the 31st August, however no reports were received in September until the 7th when 4 were around and this number increased the following day, to the years’ maximum of 15 on the 8th September (a day which also saw an influx of Wheatears). However, these quickly moved on, as apart from a single bird reported on the 12th, no further records were received until another single on the 19th September, with 5+ on the 21st and 2, the last for the year, reported on the 22nd September.

 

Stonechat

In the first part of the year, up to two birds were present from early January through to the 13th March, with 4 reported on the 21st February. The first for the autumn involved 2 seen on the 21st September, with one on the 23rd and 27th September. One was present on the 4th October, increasing to 6 the following day the 5th and to a maximum of 10+ intermittently between the 8th and 17th October. Up to 6 were still around by the month end, with 5+ present during November to late December, with the last report of the year concerning 3 reported on the 28th December.

 

Wheatear

Spring passage was again light. Three males together, on the sea wall, on the 24th March were the first for the year. Following 4 on the 26th March, three were found the following day the 27th, with 2 on the 29th and 30th and a single male on the 31st March. Birds were reported on 16 days during April, with the 6 on the 6th and 8+ on the 22nd April being the maximum day counts for the spring. Birds were recorded on 8 days during May, with 4+ on the 7th, 5 on the 9th and 2+, the last for the spring, on the 24th May. The first for the autumn arrived on the 3rd August, after which records were received virtually daily until the end of September, including 9 on the 25th August, 10 on both the 8th and 24th September and the years maximum day count of 12+ on the 19th September. None were reported from the 30th September until the 4th October, when 8+ arrived, with 3 present the following day the 5th, 2 on the 8th and single birds on the 11th, 13th and 18th October.  The last report of the year being 2 on the wood chip mounds near the sluice on the 25th October. One unfortunate individual, on the arable below Great Holland Hall on the 20th September, was seen to fall foul of a marauding Sparrowhawk.

 

Blackbird

No significant reports were received until October, when around 45 were reported on the 27th, including around 35 together, in the dell immediately behind Clacton Sailing Club. In addition ‘good numbers’ were reported present on the 8th and 24th October, with the bushes ‘’full of Blackbirds’’ on the 29th October. A total of 14 Blackbirds were caught and rung.

 

Fieldfare

During the first winter period, small numbers were reported erratically across a wide range of locations, with the paddocks at Great Holland Hall being a favoured haunt and this area included the years’ sole double figure count of 10 to 15 on the 12th February. The last report of the early part of the year, involved one in the Church Lane paddock on the 16th April. During the second winter period only two records were received, 4 at Great Holland Hall on the 31st October and one reported on the 10th December.

 

Song Thrush

In a totally uneventful year for this species, no more than 6 birds were reported across the site on any given day throughout the year. 2 Song Thrushes were trapped and rung.

 

Redwing

During the first winter period, up to a maximum of 8 birds were around Great Holland Hall until early February, after which, odd birds were reported until the last on the 21st March. Ten on the 4th October were the first for the autumn, after which reports of up to 3 were received until the 27th, when 84 were reported passing over south west. Two seen on the 7th and 27th November were the last reports of the year.

 

Mistle Thrush

Several pairs reported on any given day, with favoured areas including the golf course and Great Holland Hall/Church Lane paddocks.  12+ on the 4th June may have included several juveniles. Four passing overhead calling on the 12th November were likely to be migrants.

 

Cetti’s Warbler

One heard singing near the sluice on the 21st March, represents the 7th site record. What was probably another individual, was singing 3 weeks later in the ditch behind the car park, on the 11th April. What was presumed to be this latter individual, was heard and occasionally seen along the stretch of Holland Brook between the sluice and the car park, on many dates until the 24th June.  A probable second bird was present in the ditch on the other side of The B1032 on the 26th and 28th June. No further reports were received until the 28th September, when one present in the thick cover in the dell behind Clacton Sailing Club, successfully evaded capture. This, or another was heard in the same place over 2 weeks later on the 14th October, whilst possibly yet a further of this species, was heard regularly between the 10th October and 15th November, this one along Holland Brook in the general area near the memorials. It is likely that from 2 to 5 birds in total, were responsible for all reports, however, the skulking nature of this species makes it virtually impossible to accurately assess the real status of this possible new colonist.

 

Sedge Warbler

The first for the year, involved one along Holland Brook adjacent to the sewage farm on the 11th April. Thereafter reported erratically throughout the spring and early summer with 5 on the 23rd April and the years’ maximum of 10, on the 29th April, with 7+ on the 2nd May. Odd birds, including juveniles, reported sparingly in June and July with 4 on the 14th and 27th July. The last of the year, was one reported on the relatively early date of the 12th August. Only one Sedge Warbler was trapped and rung.  

 

Reed Warbler

The first for the year was seen on the 12th April. By the 29th April, 15+ were reported and a month later, a partial census revealed 30+ singing birds across the site on the 28th May. No further census of breeding pairs was made and no more than 10 birds were reported on any given day throughout the rest of the summer, although clearly significantly higher numbers were actually present across the site. After 2 on the 19th September, no further reports were received until the last of the year, one seen on the 5th October. A total of 13 Reed Warblers were trapped and rung.

 

Icterine Warbler

Following the somewhat prophetic comments in the 2008 version of the ‘Birds of Holland Haven’ (see elsewhere within the website) it was indeed “our turn next” when at around 1600 hours on the 10th September, Pete Loud found the fourth ever site record, moving back and forth through the hawthorns along the edge of the car park. It showed very well for the next 60-90 minutes, allowing some local birders, including the author of this report (who was happily only c100 metres away!), to add this species to their county and patch lists respectively and for Rowland Porter to secure a record image (see Gallery). Although still present until around 1915hours, it had by this time, become quite elusive and was not seen thereafter. Despite extensive searching, it could neither be found the following day. This represents the fourth record and the first for over 20 years, since one on the 22nd September 1986. 

In addition to the above, an unidentified Hippolais Warbler (either this species or Melodious) was heard in apparent sub song and glimpsed briefly in thick cover between Clacton Sailing Club boat yard and the car park access road, on the morning of the 13th May. What is assumed to have been the same individual was relocated in the late afternoon, some 250 yards away, again in apparent sub song, deep in the north west facing edge of the car park hawthorns, during which time it was glimpsed twice but frustratingly insufficient details were obtained to ascribe to specific species. Despite extensive searching, the bird could not be found the following day.  

Dartford Warbler

The sole record of the year involved a 1st winter bird, found in the brambles adjacent to the rough track south of the golf course, on the 13th October. What is assumed to have been the same individual, remained undetected until the 10th November, when it was seen again in the same general area. Also seen on the 11th (on which date possibly a second bird was present) and 12th November, it then did another disappearing act, only to surface 75 yards further up the track towards the golf course dump, on the 1st December, after which it was seen again in the same area on the 5th, 8th and finally the 13th and 14th December. Assuming only one individual was involved, this represents the third site record, following singles from the 6th to 18th March 2005 and the 15th November 2007, the latter of which also frequented the brambles in the reeds near the golf course dump.

 

Lesser Whitethroat

The first for the year, involved one seen in the large isolated hawthorn between the golf course and sea wall on the 14th April. By the 22nd April, 8+ were present across the site, the highest day count for the spring. Several pairs bred and on the 22nd August, around 20 birds were estimated to be around, after which numbers dropped back to 5+ by the month’s end.  No more than 4 were located on any day during September and with the last for the year, a single bird present on the 2nd October. Somewhat surprisingly, only 4 Lesser Whitethroats were caught and rung.

 

Whitethroat

The first for the year was one found on the other side of the B1032 on the 13th April. No further records were received until one on the 20th April, after which a significant arrival took place on the 29th April, when 20, the highest day count of the year, were present across the site. During May and June, single figure counts were received for most days, other than 10+ noted for the 7th May and 12+ on the 21st May. No more than 10 were reported on any given day during July and August, with numbers down to around 4 or less being reported by the end of the first week of September. Very few were seen after mid September, with singles noted on the 17th, 21st and 24th after which only one, the last for the year, was reported on the 6th October. A total of 31 Whitethroats were caught and rung, 10 of which were caught on the 25th July and another 6 on the 1st August.

 

Garden Warbler

The first for the year, involved a significant influx of 4 birds on the 13th May, with a whopping 8+ around the site the following day the 9th and 2 still present on the 10th, after which no further records were received until 2 were reported along the car park approach road on the 7th June. What were assumed to be the same two, were still present on the 9th June. In complete contrast to spring, autumn passage would have been non-existent, had it not been for a single bird which took up residence in the bushes behind Sluice Cottages on the 4th and 5th of August. A minimum of 11 birds for the year compared with the 10 recorded in 2008.

 

Blackcap

The first for the year was a male in the sallows along the car park approach road on the 31st March. No further records were received until the 5th April when a female was seen in the same area. From 3 males seen on the 9th April, reports were received virtually daily until the end of the month, with a maximum of 6 reported on both the 15th and 29th April. Although reported regularly throughout May, no more than 4 were seen on any given day, a pattern that was generally reflected throughout the summer as the odd pair settled down to breed. Following hardly any reports between the end of July and the first few days of September, a total of 5 were caught and rung on the 5th, which proved to be the forerunner of a major influx the following day the 6th September, when around 50 Blackcaps were estimated to be scattered across the site. Over the next couple of days, only around 10 remained with fewer after that, until a smaller influx around third week, where again 10+ were reported on both the 20th and 24th September. Up to a maximum of 5 were reported regularly until the 12th October, after which one was seen on the 24th, with another, the last for the year, reported on the 28th October. A total of 14 Blackcaps were caught and rung during the late summer/autumn.

 

Wood Warbler

The sole record of the year and the first for 12 years to the day (last record 4th May 1997 in song along car park access road) was found singing in the car park bushes during mid afternoon on the 4th May. It proved less than obliging, allowing only one or two birders present, as well as the finders, the opportunity to enjoy the briefest of views as well as the sound of what, in terms of Holland Haven, is a very rarely heard song, before disappearing within 90 minutes of being discovered.

 

Chiffchaff

The first for the year involved one in the sewage farm hedge on the 12th March. Following one at Great Holland Hall on the 17th, a total of 5+ were reported being widely scattered across the site on the 31st March. This proved to be the high point of the spring, as although birds were recorded on most days from 1st April to mid May, the maximum day count during this period never exceeded 3 or 4 birds. Other than breeding birds, encountered regularly singing from the wood behind Great Holland Hall, few were about until a rather unseasonal influx of 12 was reported on the 5th July, after which, no further reports, other than one on the 7th July, were received for nearly 4 weeks when one was present on the 30th July! One or two birds were recorded most days during August with 3 on the 22nd. During September, between 2 and 6 were around most days, until the 24th when another significant influx occurred with around 20 birds present across the site. Virtually all had moved on by the following day, however, another burst of immigration occurred on the 30th September, when again, around 20 birds were about with the majority still present the following day the 1st October and around 10 on the 2nd. Other than 8+ on the 5th October, one’s and two’s were around until mid month, with one on the 18th and one, the last for the autumn, on the 24th October. No further reports were received until the 13th December, when 2 were in the sewage farm hedge for a short time in the early afternoon. A total of 23 Chiffchaff were caught and rung during the late summer/autumn.

 

Willow Warbler

The first for the year was one seen briefly along the car park entrance road on the 5th April. No further reports were received until the 13th April, when 4+ were around. Thereafter reported somewhat erratically, including 4 on both the 20th April and 7th May, until the last for the spring, 2 on the 9th May. The first for the autumn period was a single juvenile seen on the 16th July. Further single juveniles were seen on the 21st, 27th and 30th July, after which, reports were received virtually daily during August, including 8 on the 12th and the years’ maximum, 15 around on the 22nd August. The sole report for September, which was also the last report of the year, involved 3+ on the 5th. In parity with the above species, a total of 23 Willow Warblers were caught and rung, with 7 on the 29th and 6 on the 31st August, suggesting a modest influx around this time.  Overall numbers appeared to be well down on 2008.

 

Goldcrest

Following 5+ reported on the 7th January and “several” the following day, only single birds were seen on the 13th and 19th January respectively, until the third week of February, when 3 were reported on the 21st and 4+ on the 23rd, with one on the 28th February. A minor influx during early March saw 10+ around on the 7th, although few lingered, with just odd birds, occasionally two, reported on various dates thereafter, up until the last birds of the first winter period, two on the 20th April. With the exception of an adult with 1+ young, seen in the car park bushes on the 18th August, suggestive of local breeding, no further reports were received until one was seen on the 14th October with a roving tit flock. Exceptionally, there were no records whatsoever for September, with the rest of October faring little better with 2+ on the 17th, 3 along the car park access road on the 24th, with single birds also there 25th to 28th October. Following a blank November, the sole record for December and last record of the year, involved 4 in the car park area on the 1st. In the worst ever autumn showing for this, otherwise common migrant, only one Goldcrest was caught and rung. The bushes remained eerily quiet without the otherwise familiar ‘see see see’ calls normally associated with autumn at the Haven.

 

Firecrest

The 2 birds from New Years Eve 2008 were a welcome sight for New Year “patch year listers” as they continued to remain faithful to the two conifers behind the toilet block until the 2nd January, with one remaining until the 13th January. Despite regular searching of the area, 2 were back again on the 21st February, with one still present on the 24th February - apparently having remained either undetected or possibly having temporarily relocated, for five and half weeks! No further records were received until the 1st March, when two possibly “early migrants” were located in the hedge line near the sewage farm. During the rest of March, reports were received of singles on the more typical dates of 7th, 13th and 21st March, with two on the 25th March. In a relatively quiet spring for the Emblem of the Website, strangely there were no reports during April. Autumn passage was light in the extreme and compressed into a 4 day period, with up to two birds seen along the car park access road on the 24th and 25th October, one of which, the last report of the year, was still present on the 27th October. In a poor year compared with 2008, it is possible that less than 10 different birds accounted for all reports during the year.

 

Spotted Flycatcher

The first for the year was a single bird, in the broken cover opposite the entrance to the car park access road, on the 9th May. On the 13th May, one was found on the edge of the car park bushes near Tariq’s memorial, with what is assumed to be a different bird, in the same area on the 20th and 22nd May. The first for the autumn involved an early bird, seen briefly in the isolated clump of hawthorns between the sluice and the hide, on the early morning of the 2nd August. No further records were received until the 29th August when two were reported. Following one seen on the 30th, what are assumed to be the same two, were still present on the 31st August. In September, reports of two were received for the 5th, with one on the golf course on the 7th. Following one on the 16th September, the highest day total for the year, 3 number, were reported present on the 20th September. The last report of the year of 1+ was received for the 24th September. It is estimated that overall 13 or 14 different birds were reported, a total not too dissimilar to the 11 for 2008.

 

Pied Flycatcher

If we thought 2008 was a poor year with just 3+ birds seen, then little could prepare us for 2009 - when there was just one report of only one Pied Flycatcher! This was seen briefly by one observer, on the early morning of the 20th August. It spent less than 5 minutes sallying forth from the south facing hawthorns, immediately opposite the Gunfleet Boating club boat park, before disappearing. Despite much searching it could not be relocated. A marked decline in the numbers of this species has been noted over many years, however and bearing in mind, the “double figure” mid August day numbers of the mid 80’s, it is hoped that we have reached the low point and that 2010 will not as feared, be the first blank year for this species ever known. 

 

Bearded Tit

On the 13th October, a presumed pair, were found in the reeds between the golf course and the sea wall. Both were still present in the same area on the 16th, however, after evading observers for nearly a week, what are assumed to have been the same pair, were relocated, in the main stand of reeds near the site of the old hide, on the 22nd October. On the 25th October only the female type could be found. It subsequently remained until the 18th December, when, following a day of heavy snow fall, it could not be found. During this period it ranged between the main reed bed and the reedy ditch near the golf course dump. Assuming only the two original birds were involved throughout, this represents the 7th site record, following the 2 to 3 seen 21st and 22nd October last year.

 

Long Tailed Tit

Present throughout the year. Around 30+ were amongst the winter tit flocks roaming around the site during early January. Post breeding numbers may have been underestimated in the past, as on two net rounds (one on the 19th, another on the 26th September) one of the nets was literally full of Long Tailed Tits and totalled 41 birds! Unsurprisingly, virtually all of the Long Tailed Tits seen subsequently in the immediate area, including the car park access road, could be seen to be sporting a shiny new ring on the left leg! Clearly those “resident” along Church Lane and Great Holland Hall, represent a separate population, as no ringed individuals were noted amongst this community during the last quarter.

 

Coal Tit

Minimum of 3 records as follows;

22nd February

29th March

22nd April (2)

Both the February and March records involved individuals in the feeding station. The April birds were seen briefly in the nearby pines before flying off south. What could have been one of these individuals, was heard in the car park bushes on the 24th April.  Whilst the February bird was not ascribed to race, both the March and April individuals were considered to be examples of the continental race “ater”.

 

Blue Tit

Present throughout the year. No notable post breeding/winter flock numbers were reported, although a total of 50 were trapped and rung.

 

Great Tit

Present throughout the year. No notable post breeding/winter flock numbers were reported. A total of 17 were trapped and rung, suggesting the former species outnumbers, or out produces, Great Tit by three fold. Interestingly, whilst rung individuals of both species were subsequently seen regularly in the immediate area of the ringing compound, feeding station and car park, none of the Blue and Great Tits along the car park access road, just 200 yards away, were seen to be rung (unlike the Long Tailed Tits).  This suggesting that separate populations exist within very restricted areas of the overall site. 

 

Jay

Present throughout the year. In addition to a pair that lives along the car park access road and adjacent area, another 2 to 3 pairs are thought to thrive along Church Lane/Great Holland Hall area. Other than 5 seen on the 29th October and a total of 2 trapped and rung, no other reports of interest were received.

 

Magpie

Present throughout the year. No reports of any significant counts were received. Two were trapped and rung.

 

Jackdaw

Present throughout the year. Up to a 100 were noted occasionally during the year, with a post breeding gathering of 250+ present on the grazing marsh on the 24th July.

 

Rook

Present throughout the year. Up to 250+ recorded post breeding and 300+ noted around the grazing marsh on the 1st February. Birds were noted prospecting the semi dead trees near the car park ticket machine on the 3rd March, with 4 nests under construction by the 11th March, increasing to a maximum of 15 nests by the 8th April. Whilst no definitive fledging data is known, clearly many pairs successfully bred, as young were about from mid April onwards. Thanks are due to both local birders and residents, as between them, they managed to “persuade” the idiotic council contractor, to desist from removing these trees at a time when it was obvious that birds were sitting on eggs and/or tending to young.   

 

Carrion Crow

Present throughout the year. No other significant reports were received.

 

Starling

Other than around 800+ arriving “in off” the sea by 1000 hours on the 14th October, “large numbers” again “in off” on the 26th November and 150+ “in off” in two and half hours on the 30th November, no other significant reports were received. Although around throughout the entire year, it has been noted that curiously, very few if any, are seen to take advantage of the feeding station.  This resulted in not a single Starling being trapped during ringing activities regularly undertaken from July onwards.

 

House Sparrow

Single figure pairs persist at the Great Holland Hall ‘stronghold’ plus one or two pairs appear around access road, boat yard area and one pair may have nested in the car park bushes. It is perhaps fanciful that 2 seen at the sluice on the 26th October were migrants. Strangely House Sparrows are never seen in the feeding station. Consequently none were trapped.

 

Tree Sparrow

Two records involving three birds as follows:

One flew south low over the car park on the 25th October.

Two were seen briefly by the pay and display car park ticket machine, on the 7th November. Typical dates for typically uncooperative birds!

 

Chaffinch

With the exception of 10 on the 17th March, only single digit numbers were recorded until autumn passage got underway during mid September. Following ‘good numbers’ reported on the 18th September, 15+ were about the following day. ‘Many’ were noted on the 8th October and 28th October, however, the only definitive count during the month, involved 27 reported on the 27th October - most of which were passing overhead. Some continued passage was evident throughout November, with single figure numbers reported passing overhead on several days up until the 27th, after which no further significant records were received. A total of 14 Chaffinch were caught and rung. As usual, a number of pairs are thought to have bred across the site.

 

Brambling

In an unremarkable year for this species, only a total of 8 or 9 birds were reported, including a rare spring record, as follows:

7th April

10th, 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th October

27th and 28th October

24th November

The April individual, was seen briefly on the wires running across the back of the car park bushes. The series of reports between 10th to 15th October, involved birds heard but not seen on the 10th and 15th and single birds seen passing over on the 11th, 13th and 14th October. One “heard only” in the car park bushes on the 27th October, could well have been the same bird seen along the car park access road the following day. The late bird in November was seen and heard as it flew over south.

 

Greenfinch

As usual, small numbers, rarely exceeding double figures, were about during the course of the year, augmented by local post breeding juveniles and in autumn, passage migrants. Twenty plus noted on the 10th September was probably the first indication of autumn passage, which continued, albeit involving unremarkable numbers, through to the end of November. After “many” reported on the 8th October and “good numbers” seen on the 22nd October, a modest passage was noted between the 24th and 27th October, with 34+ counted, passing over, on the latter date. Far fewer were noted during November, a maximum of 11 passing over south on the 24th. Bearing in mind the frequency with which Greenfinch’ are seen in the feeding station, it is perhaps surprising that only 2 were trapped and rung.

 

Goldfinch

Other than the “resident” one or two pairs frequenting Church Lane, the first record for the Haven proper, were 6 that passed over the car park on the 24th January. What spring passage there was, began on the 16th March when one was heard flying over, however, no further reports were received until the 14th April when 2 were noted.  Odd birds were reported regularly to the end of the month but never more than two, with these being noted either passing through or lingering around the wood piles near the sluice. Six moved north on the 15th May, after which two reports of five passing through were received on the 30th June and 2nd July. Autumn passage and/or post breeding dispersal, began on the 20th August when 10+ were reported, however, no further significant reports were received until the end of September, when 20 moved south. The main passage month of October, saw 40 moving south on the 4th, around 200 on the 8th and 500+, the maximum day count recorded for the year, reported on both the 11th and 17th October (on which date all were noted moving north). The rest of October saw reports of birds around or moving on many dates, including 156+ on the 25th. Only single figure reports were received for the first half of November. Following 14 on the 17th, 24 moved south on the 21st and 46, again south on the 27th November. Two moving south on the 1st December and 4 south on the 5th December, were the last reports of the year.  Strangely, Goldfinch’ do not appear to be attracted to the feeding station.

 

Siskin

Following one briefly along the car park access road on the 2nd March and two along Church Lane on the 12th March, spring passage was restricted to one heard overhead on the 15th March, 5 north on the 19th March, one north and 7 north on the 1st and 2nd April respectively, with the last for the period being one heard passing over on the 22nd April. Four passing over south on the 28th September heralded the beginning of an extended, if albeit relatively light, autumn passage. Following 12 on the 1st October, 2 heard passing south on the 4th and 3 north on the 13th October, no further records were received until the last week of the month, when 27 were noted on the 26th October. Odd birds were reported on the next 3 days with 10 on the 30th and 34, the maximum day count of the year, on the 31st October. With only 1 on the 1st, followed by 3 on the 4th November, no further reports were received until the third week of November, when a small flurry of movement saw 11 on the 21st, 16 on the 24th and 11 again on the 27th, all passing over south. Following 3 passing south on the 5th December, one was seen on the 11th and 6 on the 12th, with the last report of the year being 1 flying over on the 13th December.

 

Linnet

Other than 12 below Great Holland Hall on the 13th January, no reports were received until the first spring migrants, mainly single birds, moved north on various days from the 8th March, with 5+ seen on the 31st March. Although reported virtually daily during April, the highest day count was just 25+ on the 6th, with 20 + on the 7th and 11th April. Present throughout May to late August, with a number of pairs breeding across the site as usual. Maximum of 25+ including many juveniles, recorded during this period. The reports received for September, were of around the same order, with passage not really noted until the 24th and 25th October - when around 35 were reported moving south on both dates. No further movement, of any real note, was reported until the third week in November, when 11 moved south on the 21st, with odd birds reported on a couple of dates thereafter. Late movement was reported during the first half of December, when 35 passed over south on the 5th, followed by 25+ on the 8th, with the last report of the year being 9 briefly on the sea wall on the 14th December.

 

Lesser Redpoll

No records were received until the late autumn, when 44+ passed over south during the 25th October, followed by 58 the following day, the 26th. In a generally poor autumn for finch passage, these two days proved to be the high point by some margin, as only 2 were reported on the 27th and one the following day, the 28th October. Following a total of 4 birds passing north on the 31st October, six moved south on the 2nd November, odd birds on the 5th and 6th, with 7 passing south on the 8th November. No further reports were received until the 24th November, when 4 passed over south, followed by 14 on the 27th November. The last report of the year, involved a single bird passing over south on the 5th December. Despite somewhat optimistic high hopes, all birds noted, were again “flyovers”, with the feeding station failing to attract a single individual, let alone the much anticipated and now desperately required, long overdue Common Redpoll!  In a poor year for this species, a minimum total of 145 birds were involved across all records, nearly 50 less than the 194 recorded in a single day last year, the 16th October 2008.

 

Bullfinch

In complete contrast to 2008 (where no records were received until the 26th April), this year no reports were received “after” the 6th April, of this, when it comes to Haven patch year lists, problematic species. The pair present from 2009, remained along the car park access road until last seen on the 16th January, during which time, one or both were seen and/or heard on multiple dates. Following a single bird reported in the car park on the 5th February, a pair were present on both the 17th and 19th February but did not linger. A male, near the sewage farm on the 14th March, proved to be the penultimate record of the year, followed by a male seen briefly in the Gunfleet Sailing Club boat compound on the 6th April. It is likely that a maximum of only 7 different birds were seen of this, a species that breeds a mile or so away as the Bullfinch flies, at Great Holland Pits.

 

Crossbill

After last years’ glut, it was an unwelcome return to the norm for this species in 2009, with just 2 records involving 4 individuals as follows:

4th August (male)

7th September (3)

The fine August male, spent a few minutes perched atop one of the trees in the middle of the golf course, before it’s discreet disappearance. The September trio were reported flying south, also over the golf course.

 

Lapland Bunting

The sole record of the year, involved a single immature/female type, found by Pete Davis, Gary Gardiner and Mick Rodwell.  The bird was in the company of Snow Buntings, on the southern end of the footpath towards the Frinton end of the golf course, on the 24th November. It was still present on the 26th November, allowing most local birders and some from further afield, to connect with this sought after patch and for some, county tick. Only the 7th record since November 1996 and the first to be seen on the deck for many a year.  This individual was brilliantly photographed by Mick Rodwell (see Gallery) and proved to be one of the most appreciated birds of the year. Despite searching, neither the Lap nor any Snow Buntings could be found on the 27th November.

 

Snow Bunting

There were no reports during the first winter period. The first for the year, involved an individual that arrived “in off” the sea around 1100 hours on the 17th October. It however did not linger, when, after being flushed by a dog walker, it disappeared into the distance. No further reports were received until the 10th November, when in addition to a single bird flying over south calling, another 2 were reported briefly in front of the hide. What were possibly the same 2, were on the path below the sea wall the following day the 11th. The same 2 were reported on several days to the 19th November, with an additional 3 passing over south on the 15th November. Following 3 that flew over on the 21st November and appeared to land (but could not be relocated), 5 were found in company of the Lapland detailed above. Although only 3 could be found the following day, there were a minimum of 6 in this same area on the 26th, suggesting perhaps birds leaving and others replacing them, possibly attracted by the remaining individuals? Following a single bird reported on the 12th December, two, the last for the year, were seen along the seawall on the 19th December. A minimum total of 19 birds are thought to have been involved across a rather confusing series of records, during the late autumn/early winter period.

 

Yellowhammer

The sole record of the year and the first since 26th March 2002, involved a single bird heard and seen flying over the golf course towards Great Holland Hall, on the 29th October.

 

Reed Bunting

Present in small numbers throughout the year, although few reports were received in the first winter period. Up to four pairs almost certainly bred. No significant passage numbers noted and the highest day count, just a modest 6 on the 9th December.

 

Corn Bunting

The first report of the year involved a single bird singing at the sluice bushes on the 16th March. After a report of a possible spring passage bird on the 2nd April, singing birds were back on the arable below Great Holland Hall from the 13th April, with a maximum of 4 or 5 pairs thought to be present through the summer months. In contrast to last year, birds were about the Haven proper, during the late summer and autumn, with 6 reported on the 24th August and three reports of 3 or 4 birds during September.  What were certainly migrants in October, included 14 near the reeds by the golf course on the 13th, a singleton on the 18th, 3 on the 21st and the last report of the year was of 7 present on the 27th October.