Holland Haven Birding

Official Site Of The Holland Haven Birding Group ©

Recent Sightings

Key:Plain Text- Resident/Regular Visitor.Green -Likely to be Annual. Amber -Less than Annual. Red -Rarity. CAPITALS -New bird for site.

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Site Year Tick: *

March 2012  

1st - A pleasant and fairly bright day to start the new month with very light WSW winds, a sometimes intermittent sun and temperatures in excess of +11 degrees.  Not bad at all and the total opposite of this time last year!  Observation highlights from this afternoon gave the addition of a S E Owl* to the Haven Year List and this S E O was viewed as it quartered the grazing marsh towards the Golf Course.  3 Purple Sandpipers - always good to see on the site - were on the sluice during this visit, whilst over on the scrape, the sleek and smartly detailed Avocets had increased to 28. PRD.

2nd - A change of conditions this morning, including a turn-about of wind direction to ENE which although these winds remained fairly light (between 3mph and 10mph max. for most of the morning), the occasional gusting reached c14mph. With fog still in place from yesterday evening, any morning off-shore movement would most likely have been missed and whilst the afternoon saw some improvement in the visibility, the fog hung around in patches throughout the area for the duration.  No reports returned.

3rd - Neither one thing nor another was constant with the weather today - a mix of grey and white clouds, on/off sun, a little bit of rain, Southerly winds that varied 9mph through 19mph and gusting of up to 23mph.  The temperature sat around the +8 degree mark.......... but even when the sun was out, in the stronger winds it definitely felt alot colder.  No reports returned. 

4th - A hazy, grey morning at 07.00hrs with S winds of moderate strength c11 to 12mph and gusting of 14mph, turned fairly quickly to a wet and very dismal one with SSE winds in excess of 18mph and gusting of 21+mph.  By 09.45hrs the rain was proving to be on/off but more on than off!  .............and on into the afternoon and dusk, the rain for both being pretty much constant and another change of wind direction to strong NW at 22+mph and the gusting at c28mph.  At least two observers braved the elements today.......... just helping to prove that to be a birder, one has to be somewhat mad.  Viewing from the protection of the hide, the wader count was of 1 Turnstone, 2 Oystercatchers, 7 Blk T Godwits, 13 Curlews, 36 Avocets and many displaying Lapwings.  Ducks of note were a drake Gadwall and 30 Shelduck, whilst on and around the "very wet marsh" were good numbers of both Wigeon and Teal.  2 Sparrowhawks were also in the vicinity of the scrape.  Located on the sluice were singles of Sanderling and Ringed Plover. MR/IM.    

5th - After a night of extremely high winds and rain, this morning showed no change.  NW winds prevailed for most of the day (occasionally turning to N) with strengths of up to and occasionally in excess of 34mph, alongside gusting of up to 46mph.  The promised lower temperatures sat at approx +4 degrees but the biting winds gave a wind-chill factor of minus 4 degrees!  On/off rain but again this was more rain than not.  Fairly short visits by two observers today - the weather, not surprisingly, definitely getting the better of both.  Surveying from the hide, supplied 6 of each Blk T Godwits and Curlews and also 7 Dunlin (the latter only viewed for a few minutes).  22 Shelduck were counted, while the report notes gave that Teal and Wigeon were much as per normal and "lots of Gulls were facing into the wind".  Noticeable by their absence from the scrape today, not a single Avocet!  Completing today's round-up were 1 Kestrel and seen as it sat on a post along the back hedgerows was a Peregrine. MR/PRD.

6th - A mixed start to the day that included bright sun, blue skies and light winds, followed by mottled cloud-cover and a variation of N through NNE winds with speeds of between 10mph and c18mph, complete with occasional gusting of up to 23mph and all before 09.30hrs.  The sun did succeed in breaking through again and the day was overall, not too bad.  Wind direction turned to S which is where it finished the day.  Three observers made visits at various times, covering the site morning through c16.30hrs.  At 10.45hrs the initial report gave that 2 pairs of Pintails* were on the scrape (these were still viewable as at 13.30hrs).  Not a rarity but certainly these are not as common as some visiting ducks at the Haven. IM.  Including the Pintails, six duck species were noted today, giving counts of a drake Shoveler, 3 Gadwall (2 drakes), 28 Shelduck, 50+ Teal and 220+ Wigeon.  Waders in the reports were 2 Dunlin, 8 Blk T Godwits, 9 Avocets, 22+ Golden Plovers, 140 Lapwings and viewed as they flew over together in a NE direction, were 6 Snipe.  Quartering the grazing marsh beyond the Golf Course, was once again a S E Owl. PRD/MR/IM.

7th - Some strong SSW winds starting the day today, reaching speeds of 25mph through 30+mph alongside gusting of up to 36mph (06.45hrs).  And soon after came the rain, right through the rest of the morning!  There were barely two hours of slightly brighter weather before a full throttle cloud-burst c14.10hrs which was followed by more on/off afternoon rain.  Wind speeds and gusting both increased to 32+mph and 39mph respectively and the evening saw a change of it's direction to WNW through NW.  1 pair of the Pintails were still on the scrape during a pre-noon survey and these were amongst counts of 30 Shelduck, 120 Teal, 300+ Wigeon and as per yesterday, 3 Gadwall and a single drake Shoveler.  8 Blk T Godwits (also as yesterday) were alongside 5 Turnstones, 92 Lapwings and 1 Dunlin.  Stopping briefly by the sluice at 11.15hrs, viewing gave 2 further Turnstones along the beach and 1 Sanderling, while off-shore, an adult Gannet* flew SW. MR.

8th - A colder morning with ice on vehicle screens but some early sun.  Wind direction and speeds early this morning were at WNW and varied from light to the higher end of moderate (up to c16mph) along with occasional gusting of c21mph.  By 06.45hrs the temperature gauge was giving readings of +3 degrees and later in the day, reached +10.  Wind strength continued to vary, increasing at times to 20mph with maximum gusts of 26mph.  Direction also varied through to N and then back to NW.  A cycle ride (08.45-09.30hrs) from the Frinton end of site, up to and returning from the gate that overlooks the hide, supplied views of 2 Reed Buntings, 2 Meadow Pipits and 6 Linnets along the seawall, whilst off the coast, a single Brent Goose flew N.  During this visit, the scrape and immediate vicinity held at least 45 Common and 350 Blk Headed Gulls, 17 Avocets, 14 Curlews and 28 Shelduck and a female Sparrowhawk flew over.  Of note, there were c550 Starlings on the surrounding grazing marsh. PBr.  Surveying the area opposite the Approach Road, a Cetti's Warbler* was vocal but failed to allow any viewing by staying hidden, as they so easily do, in the bushes.  Later views of the scrape (from the hide), gave Wader additions of 2 Snipe, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Turnstones, 6 Blk T Godwits and 70+ Lapwings.  2 pairs of Pintails were again seen (only 1pr viewable yesterday), 3 Gadwall and now 2 Shoveler were located, Teal and Wigeon were at 150+ and 300+ respectively and at this visit, there were 2 Sparrowhawks.  10+ Skylarks were singing around the hide area and 4 Reed Buntings also there, would most likely, be further to those reported earlier. MR

9th - A pleasant morning, although the winds have been gaining in strength throughout and by c11.30hrs, had shown speeds of up to 18mph and the extra blasts coming through at c21mph.  Wind direction very variable from SSW, through W and back.  Not overly warm but it is still early March!  Further to a site visit and subsequent survey this morning, a report in at 10.58hrs, gave that 2 Canada Geese* were on the scrape but looking wary and that of note, there were also 12 Avocets and the 2 pairs of Pintails (Gallery). PRD.  A brief observation (20mins) from next to the Sailing Club prior to 17.00hrs, only supplied a single Cormorant heading strongly S off-shore. KA.

10th - Mostly bright and sunny conditions today, although some very grey clouds had a tendency to creep in at times!  NW winds were recorded for the duration - these fluctuated to the higher end of moderate/erring to strong, while gusting reached up to c25mph.  Pleasant temperatures today were of around +13 degrees.  Prior to 12.30hrs, a walk from the Farm down to the Golf Course observed of note, some 20+ Curlews and a Common Buzzard, whilst a S E Owl was viewed as it flew over the Golf Course and the adjacent field. IM.    

11th - A glorious morning with bright sun (from early a.m.), mostly blue skies and light NW winds – even the extra blasts only reached a maximum of 12mph.  During the day the winds turned to SW before ending the day back at NW, whilst speeds remained fairly light with a slight increase in the occasional gusting of up to c15mph.  The temperature prior to 10.00hrs had already reached +10 degrees, this overall reached +11.  An early visit to site, checking the area over the road, located the Kingfisher once again and also 2 Reed Buntings.  Back on the main site, singing and showing very well, was a Cetti's Warbler near to Tariq. MR.  Two observers carried out a survey from the hide and their report included that although distant, the S E Owl was viewable beyond the Golf Course on a rear post.  On and around the scrape and the immediate grazing marsh, the Wader counts were of 4+ Redshank, 6 Dunlin, 8 Blk T Godwits, 24 Avocets and 60+ Lapwings, while the Ducks were 2 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall and 28 ShelduckTeal and Wigeon were not specifically counted but were noted as being "as of late".  Amongst the Gulls on this area, were two "Colour-ringed" birds.  Off-shore - just about - was a Gt. C. Grebe sitting on the water off the sluice area. MR/IM.  

12th - It was a little bit on the foggy side this morning and unfortunately this was none to eager to lift ..........but it did eventually!  Throughout the morning the winds were mostly light (c7mph) and varied NNW through N.  Wind speed for the duration remained light, occasionally reaching 13mph and even gusting today "maxed out" at 16mph.  By nightfall, the wind direction had turned to SW.  Covering the site - morning to early afternoon - from the other side of the main road, through the carpark areas, heading down to and viewing from the hide, gave a few different species and numbers for the trees, bushes and hedgerows but similar species as per yesterday for on the scrape.  4 Goldcrests, 2 Little Owls, a single Chiffchaff and 20+ Greenfinches were located generally around the aforementioned areas, whilst 2 Cetti's Warblers were both singing - one being over the road, the other again near to Tariq.  The scrape areas held a single Snipe, 3 Dunlin, 17 Avocets, 4+ Redshank and 8 Blk T Godwits, all alongside 16 Shelduck, c150 Teal and c250 Wigeon.  Walking along to the Frinton end of site and the return journey, failed to provide any extras for the observer or for the report............. fresh air and exercise is good for the body, so we are told!!  MR.

13th - A grey, cloud-covered start to the day along with some very light (barely a breeze) Easterly winds of c2 to 4mph.  Very occasional gusting of up to 11mph and by 07.30hrs the temperature had reached +7 degrees - there was little improvement on the temperature for the duration!  The winds also remained much the same through the day, apart from a slight variation in direction to ESE.  The first of today's reports was further to an early morning cycle ride "from and returning to" the Frinton end of site.  6 Meadow Pipits (1's/2's) flew S along the seawall, an Oystercatcher was seen feeding on the Golf Course, a single Red-T Diver was off-shore and along the beach were some 45 Wigeon and 80 Teal.  Viewing across the scrape gave a further c150 Wigeon and c70 Teal, alongside 2 Gadwall, 3 Canada and 7 Greylag Geese, 2 of each Ringed Plovers and Curlews, 3 of each Turnstones and Blk T Godwits and 22 Avocets. PBR.  From observations starting at the other end of the site, both of the Cetti's Warblers were singing from the same locations as yesterday and singles of Little Owl and Sparrowhawk were noted.  There were a few changes on the scrape since the earlier report, with an increase of Blk T Godwits to 8, Avocets to 24, Greylag Geese to 34, while "species" additions were those of 2 Snipe and a single Ruff.  The Lapwing count was of 40+ and Shelducks were noted at 32.  At this time, the viewable Wigeon on/around the scrape totalled 250, whilst Teal were back down to just a count of 40. MR/PRD.  Further surveying from late morning and into the early afternoon, provided brief views of a female Stonechat before she upped and flew from the Golf Course "dump area".  The S E Owl was again located, as was a Chiffchaff - the latter bird still being near to the feeding/ringing compounds. PRD.  A mid-afternoon return visit added a single Dunlin to the overall day's species and also noted that Curlew numbers had increased to 21. MR.  An additional report gave that 2 Cetti's Warblers were in the vicinity of the memorials this morning while the Little Owl was also calling (c09.30hrs).  Of other wildlife interest, 2 Brown Hares were noted slightly later - these being near to the scrape. LJ.    

14th - Another grey start this morning and some cool temperatures of just +6 degrees.  Thankfully the SE winds were light in strength - of c5 to c9mph - remaining as such for most of the day but the extra blasts of c12mph made it feel much, much colder!  At c09.35, the first report in for the day was of a "cracking" male Black Redstart* which was located on the mounds just up from the sluice.  This bird was still showing very well on the mounds at 12.40hrs. PRD.  A second report confirmed views again of a Kingfisher across the road and also 3 Reed Buntings in this same vicinity.  The only Cetti's Warbler noted for today, was a single bird heard near to Tariq.  The sluice itself held 3 Turnstones, whilst the scrape (during this morning visit) held 8 Blk T Godwits, 17 Avocets, 50+ Lapwings, 28 Shelduck, 40+ Teal and 250+ Wigeon. MR.  Today's surveys were rounded up with the additions from a third observer, who gained some good views - from a walk to the second turret, of the S E Owl which was once more quartering the fields adjacent to the Golf Course.  20+ Curlew were seen as they flew and subsequently dropped into the rear of the scrape, while the update on the Black Redstart, was that it favoured the iron railings behind the sluice for a while, before returning back to the mounds at c14.30hrs. IM.         

15th - It may well have been and was an extremely bright sun in the sky this morning but there was also a heavy frost and alot of "white windscreens", as well as an off-shore mist!  So, a chilly start along with SSE light winds of up to 9mph, by 11.25hrs the wind direction was at S and the temperature was a cool and barely +7 degrees.  Virtually no change in speed or direction for the rest of the day, although the occasional gusting was of c11mph - generally, in the sun, it was a pleasant but cool day.  Several observers headed to the site today and covered from both the Holland and Frinton ends.  Reported in at c08.15hrs, a Firecrest had been seen in the area over the road (opp. Approach Road) and a Black Redstart (fem/1st.S male) had been located in the Dell (area that includes the Toilet block).  2 Song Thrushes were also in the Dell. MR.  A cycle ride in from Frinton noted 2 of each Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers on the beach and a third Oystercatcher on the Golf Course, while a total of 4 Linnets and 8 Meadow Pipits were seen as they flew N.  Surveying the scrape area at this time, provided 2 Blk T Godwits, 6 Avocets, a single Redshank and 2 adult Med Gulls (both in summer plumage).  A Goldcrest was also located near to the Cottages. PBr.  Around the memorials, singles of Goldcrest, Little Owl and Sparrowhawk made the notebooks, as did a Cetti's Warbler which was calling further up the trail past the cottages, near to the mounds. MR.  Observations from the hide gave additions to the earlier viewing, including 1 Snipe, 1 Dunlin, 28 Shelduck, 2 Canada and 24 Greylag Geese.  Increased totals were of Blk T Godwits and Redshanks, these were up at 9 and 10+ respectively.  3 Mistle Thrushes, 8 Reed Buntings, 12+ Skylarks, a further 10+ Meadow Pipits and 4 Linnets were recorded during a walk to the Frinton end. IM/MR.  As at 12.20hrs, the male Black Redstart (from yesterday) was again located near to and around the mounds, just up from the sluice - so two Black Reds' recorded on site today.  A Chiffchaff was also located over the road. PRD.  

16th - Westerly winds started the day today, varying c10 to 12mph, with some gusting of up to 15mph.  The temperature by 05.45hrs was reading +7 degrees, as it was at 11.00hrs but with higher wind speeds of c16mph and gusting increasing to +19mph, it felt cooler again!  Early afternoon did become warmer at +11 degrees.  There was no sun, just total cloud-cover.  At c10.10hrs, the Haven's first Wheatear* of 2012 was located, being a male of this species that was viewable along the seawall, by the second turret. LJ/PRD.  The Wheatears proved that they were definitely now in....... by 11.40hrs, 4 male Wheatears were all visible on the Golf Course. IM.  Also in this morning's report, a Redwing was in the area above the memorials, whilst viewing off-shore saw a Red-T Diver as it took flight from the sea and there were 2 Mute Swans feeding from the seaweed on the rocks by the end of the sluice. LJ.  The site Year List now stands at 110.

17th - A dull, overcast day with moderate to strong SSE winds and gusting of up to and in excess of 24mph.  Rain came into play and this then remained fairly constant for the morning.  Another Year Tick in the form of a male Blackcap* was viewed at 09.20hrs, followed within the hour by a female Blackcap.  Not too much else had been seen of note at this time. PRD/SC/GG.   

18th - A very bright start to the day and not too bad a morning.  The afternoon strong winds were of a NNE direction and gusting was up to 23mph (recorded locally).  Rain was predicted for the afternoon and it did rain for a while, turning brighter again going into the early evening.  Several observers were on and around the site today from morning through afternoon.  A summer plumaged Great N. Diver flew S off-shore at 07.50hrs, whilst 2 Cetti's Warblers were both seen, 2 Chiffchaffs were also located and totals of 37 Fieldfares and 52 Redwings were noted during this particular survey. GG.  The Cetti's over the road was singing during other observations and the same or additional Chiffs were also noted. IM/MJ.  Viewing the area of the scrape - from the walk down to and from the hide itself, gave 6 Blk T Godwits, 14 Avocets, 2 Oystercatchers, 4+ Redshanks (the latter constantly re-locating), 30 Greylag Geese, 16 Shelducks and re-appearing, were a pair of Shovelers. IM.  From the hide, via the sluice to the mounds, a Firecrest (and a Chiffchaff +/- earlier birds) had been located on the edge of the ringing compound (see Gallery).  A Little Owl was in the carpark area and in the field beyond were 2 Red-Legged Partridges. IM/PRw.  A later visit to the farm saw a mixed flock** of Redwings and Fieldfares totalling 60+, moving from the paddocks, to fields, to trees - they were showing brilliant colours within their plumage. (**poss different to the earlier noted birds).  30 Goldfinches were also noted for this area. IM.  Rounding up today's species, a S E Owl was again on the site, down from the farm towards the rear hedges of the Haven itself. IM/HE.   

19th - After the plummet in temperatures last night, a very heavy frost was out there this morning and the temperature by 07.30hrs was at just +3 degrees, although this increased to approx. +9 later on.  An early and extremely bright sun, continued to shine for the duration and NW through NNW winds were of variable “light to moderate” strength for the morning, along with gusting of up to 19mph (21+mph afternoon).  By late afternoon, wind direction was sitting at SSW.  At least three observers were covering the site today and a combined report gave the following details.  Across the scrape and surrounding area - viewed from the hide - there were 6 Blk T Godwits, 10+ Redshanks and 25 Avocets for the Wader counts, whilst Ducks totalled 28 Shelduck, c40 Teal and c150 Wigeon with Greylag Geese numbering 30+.  2 Mute Swans were also noted, along with more "Colour-ringed" Gulls.  Looking beyond the Golf Course, during the walk to the Frinton end of site, there were 2 S E Owls to be seen today.  8 of both Linnets and Meadow Pipits, 2 Wheatears and 7 Turnstones were also located/viewed during this wander, with the final species on this report, being back up at the mounds and was that of a singing Chiffchaff. IM/MR/PRD.  An afternoon visit to the Farm and continuing on down the pathways to the seawall, provided 2 Little Grebes on the Farm Pond, whilst the trees around the pond gave 2 Chiffchaffs and in total contrast to yesterday's viewing, there was just a single lonesome Redwing in the paddocks.  Flying South were 3 Oystercatchers but happy to fly around the site, were the earlier 2 S E Owls.IM.

20th - And another morning with a very bright sun up in the sky (not that it should be anywhere else of course!).  Some WSW moderate and occasionally, erring to strong winds and by 07.15hrs, temperatures of +7 degrees.  A slight change in wind direction to SSW by late afternoon and temperatures reached +11+ degrees.  The first report in for today, c10.00hrs a male Black Redstart was located near to the mounds - a different bird to that of last week. Around the rest of the site today, 2 Cetti's Warblers were heard - one being over the road, the other near to the sewage works, while singles of Little Owl and Sparrowhawk were also noted.  2 Oystercatchers and a single Turnstone were situated on the sluice and out on the open waters, were some 250+ Wigeon.  Another 50 Wigeon along with 30 Teal and 11 Shelducks were on and around the scrape, as were 40 Greylag Geese.  Waders in this vicinity during this survey were 4 Dunlin, 6+ Redshanks, 7 Blk T Godwits, 14 Curlew, 30 Avocets and 60+ Lapwings. PRD/MR.  An additional sighting was that of a Woodcock - the bird flew over the Golf Course to then land in the adjacent field. IM.

21st - There was plenty of cloud-cover for first thing this morning but the sun broke through and blue skies later emerged.  Initial winds were mostly light NNW - these had changed by the early afternoon to ESE.  Generally a pleasant day so far, not overly warm but not too cold either.  Nightfall saw a heavy fog over the entire local area.  A morning survey included a check of the area over the road and this provided views of both a Kingfisher and a Chiffchaff, while a Cetti's Warbler was vocal but eluded the observer's sight.  Of note around the rest of the site were singles of a male Blackcap, Little Owl and Kestrel.  From the hide, the scrape and it's surrounding areas supplied 2 Oystercatchers, 6 Blk T Godwits, 10+ Redshanks, now 40 Avocets and also a Water Rail (see Gallery).  26 Shelducks, c30 Teal and c200 Wigeon were the noted Ducks for this survey and the Geese were some 44 Greylags.  A Sparrowhawk was also visible. MR.  A visit to the site area of the recent SEO reports (rear of Golf Course & fields adjacent) - for viewing and photography - gave four species of Birds of Prey.  These were Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 1 S E Owl and also a Marsh Harrier with it's prey.  The latter bird gave some superb viewing. RWf.


22nd - Further to the very sad news of the sudden passing of one of our most loveable characters and member of our Haven team, "Jim", there are no reports being entered today.  


23rd - After yesterday's misty start, today's was a sunny but slightly chilly morning, however it did warm up for later in the day, reaching at least +13 degrees.  Winds were of an ENE direction (as per yesterday) and were of moderate strength.  A cycle ride in from the Frinton end of site (08.45-09.30hrs), gave little of note generally, although a young Peregrine "appeared out of nowhere and took out a Woodpigeon over the grazing marsh".  6 Blk T Godwits, c10 Redshanks and 44 Avocets were on and around the scrape area - the Avo's were seen to be hounding the Redshanks!  5 Meadow Pipits flew N, these were all single birds. PBr.  A male Hen Harrier came in-off and showed for a short period before going to ground beind the far hedgerow. GG

24th - Another very bright morning with light NNE winds initially, these had increased slightly by a few "mph" as at 09.30hrs and had turned to NE.  The day warmed up nicely but did not hit the high predictions of +21 degrees, not in the coastal area here anyway.  Evening time saw a sharp drop in temperature.  A Cetti's Warbler was again located on the site. HOw.  (CLOCKS FORWARD By 1Hr Tonight). 

25th - A little bit on the foggy side out there this morning and subsequently also on the chilly side.  Moderate winds as at 08.00hrs were varying NE through ENE alongside some occasional gusting of up to 20mph.  What happened after 08.00hrs, yes the sun was up there, the winds increased but the temperature didn't!!  It was very cold out there in an, at times, biting wind.  Several observers made visits to the site today.  Around the trees and bushes from the area opposite the Approach Road, through the Dell, through the carpark to the hide and also across the field just beyond, there were singles of Little Owl (in it's tree), a juvenile Kestrel, 5 Reed Buntings, 4+ Meadow Pipits, 2 Skylarks, 2 Song Thrushes and a Cetti's Warbler (the latter only heard).  2 Snipe were also noted. PRw.  From the Frinton end to the hide and back (09.15-10.45hrs), 8 Linnets (presumed migrants) were along the seawall, a single Shelduck was wandering around the Golf Course, 2 Oystercatchers were individuals along the beach, whilst a flock of 6 Oystercatchers were seen to fly N.  Coming in-off the sea at c09.45hrs, 6 Canada Geese circled the scrape, had second thoughts, flew N over the Golf Course and then back out to sea! PBr.  Later in the afternoon, located on the Sewage Farm was an adult Yellow-Legged Gull, while flitting back and forth across the mounds were 4 Linnets. AD.  Numbers for the scrape today are the higher counts taken from both morning and late afternoon reports.  Waders were 22 Avocets, 11 Blk T Godwits and 21 Redshanks, Geese were 1 Brent and 20+ Greylags, the Duck counts were  14 Teal, 30+ Shelduck and 245 Wigeon.  32 L B B and 200+ Black Headed Gulls were noted in this vicinity. PBr/KA.  Further to a slightly belated report picked up from the RBA pager, was the news of a single Twite* on and around the mounds.  These days, sightings of this species are a very unusual occurrence in any season at the Haven and subsequently a good bird to view there.  An afternoon search of the area failed to re-locate the bird.    

26th - A bright sunny morning, a little bit hazy but some blue skies, moderate NE winds and occasional gusting of up to 17mph.  The afternoon brought similar winds (the gusting was a bit more than occasional) and although it was a very pleasant day to be outside, it was cool in both the shade and in the stronger winds.  Just a few miles inland - the temperature reached +15 degrees.  Surveying this afternoon proved fruitful when a Slavonian Grebe* (in summer plumage) drifted NE on the sea at approx 16.00hrs.  The bird was approximately two thirds out from the coastline and this one represents the fifth record at the Haven.  The hedgerows produced a male Blackcap near the Sewage Farm, while seen as they moved through, were c25 Linnets.  The scrape held of particular note, a total of 53 Avocets!  This Avo count looks to be good for a new Spring record of adults on the Haven scrape. PRD.

(NB: A belated report of a female Goosander (see Gallery) flying S in January, has been retrospectively added to the Haven Year List 2012 for those of you whom follow the Haven activities, listings & totals)

27th - A very pleasant and sunny day throughout, along with some moderate NE winds (at times it was a bit chilly in the breeze), temperatures reached a maximum on the coast of +12 degrees - hotter inland.  By late evening the winds were Easterlies.  The highlight of the morning was the report of a drake Garganey* seen briefly at 11.45hrs, then the duck then flew inland at 11.55hrs and was subsequently lost to view. PRD/IM.

28th - A glorious day with bright sun from quite early on, temperatures along the coast reaching +11 degrees before 09.30hrs and the winds being of light NNE.  Mid-day saw the temperatures in excess of +12, while the afternoon saw a change in wind direction to SW.  Trees and bushes in the area opposite the Approach Road, today provided a singing Chiffchaff, whilst on the main site - near to the Sewage works - a Cetti's Warbler was calling.  The scrape and it's surrounding area held some 53 Avocets, 10+ Redshanks, 4 Blk T Godwits and 2 Oystercatchers. IM.  A site visit during the afternoon located 2 S E Owls of note. JBS.  

29th - A bright and sunny morning again - with blue skies above the light cloud-cover.  Temperatures had reached +9 degrees by 08.00hrs, while wind direction and strength being initially NW and moderate, along with some occasional gusting of up to c18mph.  An interesting visit this glorious morning that provided views of a L R P* (PRD) on the scrape which was followed by a call from the Frinton Obs. regarding a raptor just prior to 11.00hrs.  The raptor had been picked up initially heading inland but views were not great.  Viewing from the hide gave better but the raptor, most definitely a Kite sp, was very distant (lost from view as it headed NW over Gt. Holland Hall Farm/Gt. Holland) and while deemed by one observer to be most probably a Black Kite, it is agreed that views were inconclusive.  What a bird to go down as a near miss for the site! PRD/PBr.  As well as the LRP, on and around the scrape were 19 Shelduck, 5 Blk T Godwits, 20 Redshanks and a new record number of Spring adult Avocets with a total of 58 of these birds present during the count. IM/PRD.  Mid-afternoon and a wander into the site from the Frinton end.  Walking along the seawall gave views of 2 S E Owls again quartering the fields adjacent to the Golf Course, while seen as they flew over the Course towards Frinton were 21 Curlews.  Feeding on the rocks were a total of 7 Turnstones. IM

30th - And another glorious morning for us.  Sunny, blue skies and some fluffy white clouds, alongside NNW light to moderate winds (4mph - 14mph) with occasional gusting of up to 17mph.  Temperatures were of +10 degrees before 09.30hrs.  Grey clouds had moved across by 11.30hrs and unfortunately, from then on for the rest of the day, the sun tended to be a bit "hit and miss" and also a bit cooler.  The first report in from morning observations, gave that a Chiffchaff was singing along the Approach Road, whilst at 09.35hrs, 2 Swallows* came flying in/off over the site. LJ. In the Dell, behind Clacton Sailing Club, a fem/imm Black Redstart was located at 10.25hrs and in the same vicinity were a single Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrests, while a third Goldcrest was near to the road bridge and a further 3 Chiffchaffs were around the site.  A Firecrest is always a brilliant bird to see at the Haven (or anywhere else of course but this species is our chosen emblem), today's was found in/around the bushes by the five-bar gate that is just down from the Sluice Cottages.  The 2 Cetti's Warblers were again noted - still one over the road and the other at the Sewage Works.  From the hide, the scrape, surrounding grazing marsh and viewable air-space supplied counts of 3 Blk T Godwits, c20 Redshanks, 51 Avocets, also an adult Yellow-Legged Gull, while Ducks were a female Shoveler, 16 Shelduck, 24 Teal and 78 Wigeon.  16 Greylag Geese were reported, as were singles of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk.  The final bird from this survey was of 1 Swallow flying inland over the carpark, the third one of the day and Haven Year. PRD/IM.  An evening walk (18.00-19.00hrs) from the Farm down to the Golf Course, complete with toddler in tow, confirmed a S E Owl still present and also 1 Little Owl.  Views were had of some 95 Greenfinches in a pre-roost gathering, while heading for the Hamford Water area were 38 Curlews.  On the wildlife front - there were notes of at least 5 Hares in the area.  A Peacock on the Church lane proved a fascination for said toddler and toddle after it she did! PBr/KBr

31st - Grey and overcast for the majority of the day, however the sun decided to make a few appearances late on in the afternoon.  Moderate to strong NNE winds kept the temperatures cool.  Gusting was up to 25mph.  Observations from a morning through to lunchtime visit on the main site, gave that the Cetti's Warbler was still by the Sewage Works and was again singing, as was a Chiffchaff that was near the Sluice Cottages.  Out on the open water, 4 Brent Geese were viewed as they just sat there.  Surveying the scrape from the hide, the Wader counts were 2 Blk T Godwits, 10+ Redshanks and 48 Avocets, while the Ducks numbered a single drake Gadwall, 20 Shelduck, c20 Teal and c50 Wigeon, with 22 Greylag Geese completing the totals for this area.  A survey that began c14.30hrs at the Farm, found that the trees near to the pond were very much alive with birds.  The walk from this area down towards the Haven, gave counts of c100 Linnets in a main flock that was moving between the trees and the freshly ploughed field.  Approximately 30 Goldfinches were also in this vicinity. IM.  A late afternoon viewing of the scrape gave the additions of 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Common Gulls, 2 Canada Geese and a Sparrowhawk, while the drake Gadwall had by this time, been joined by his female partner.  An adult Herring Gull posed a question or two after appearing "subtly different".  Fone-scoped record pics were taken and should the bird prove to be anything other than just an abnormal Herring Gull, this news will be added retrospectively. PBr.

As at 31st March, the Haven 2012 Year List stands at 116