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: *

May 2011   

1st - Bright and dry to start the new month - however, continuing from yesterday, the winds were still very strong for the duration, turning E through ENE and back again, constantly!  Gusts were this morning, c31mph locally and later were up to 35mph, making visits very cold.  Although they remained well hidden within the hedgerows, a good number of migrants were in song.  The first report of the day, detailed 4 Bar T Godwits and a single Blk T Godwit on the scrape of any note, also a single Mallard complete with a brood of 9 ducklings. JK.  Surveying from 10.48hrs to 12.36hrs, produced "lots of song" but unfortunately these birds were not viewable.  On the scrape and surrounding grazing area at this time, were singles of Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover and Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, Bar T Godwits were up to 5 number and Blk T Godwits had increased to 2.  A drake Gadwall, 1 Canada and 2 Greylag Geese were also seen. AEC.   Singles of Green and Wood Sandpipers were reported on the scrape for early morning (JBS) and notes were seen on the board for 2+6 Greenshanks.

2nd - Strong winds prevailed once more with wind speeds reaching c34mph, while "wind gusts" recorded locally, prior to 09.30hrs, had already been clocked at 34.1mph and during the rest of the day (prior to 19.00hrs), these had increased to a maximum of 38mph.  Wind direction was mainly ENE, varying at times to NE.  Otherwise, it remained dry with blue skies and bright sun.  Several "Haven Patch" observers were out and about on the site today and they culminated with a Team Seawatch from 15.00hrs through to 17.15hrs, over a dropping tide.  A good mix of feathered friends included 1 Bonxie* that briefly chased a Herring Gull, 1 Common Tern*, c22 Arctic Terns - of which c20 were in just one flock, 1 Gt.C. Grebe, 14 Whimbrel, 1 Cormorant and 7 Bar T Godwits (nice to see the Haven is getting a fair share of these Barwits, considering the large numbers of these being reported everywhere else).  All the previous species were heading NE, into the wind.  A male Peregrine was also viewed as it flew in-off.  During the morning, a single Swift* flew through, this was the first this Haven Year.  On the scrape this morning were singles of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Snipe, 2 of each Common Sandpiper, Blk T GodwitGreenshank and Oystercatcher, 4 Bar T Godwits, 5 Turnstones, 10+ Redshank and 34 Avocets.  Also 1 Yellow Legged Gull, 3 Gadwall (2 drakes), 8 Teal, 23 Shelduck and 4 Canada Geese.  1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Sand Martin and 2 House Martins were also viewed across this area.  By this afternoon, Greenshank numbers had increased to 4 and Dunlin were up to 3, while 2 Common Terns took an inland flight.  Due to the high winds, it was difficult to put any specific numbers against the migrants but reports stated "plenty of Blackcap, Whitethroat, Reed Warblers about and 2+ Lesser Whitethroat". PRD/MR/IM/JBS

3rd - Blue sky was behind the fluffy white clouds (also a few tinged a bit grey!!), bright sun and yet again, those very high winds.  Again the winds were predominantly Easterlies and gusts recorded locally this morning, prior to 09.30hrs, had already reached speeds of c34mph.  Basically the whole day saw the general wind speed reaching up to c29mph, there were some occasional drops in the wind strength but not too many at all.  The temperature (cold with the wind chill) dropped very severely at dusk, threatening an upcoming overnight frost.  The highlight of observations on and from the site today, was that of a Pomarine Skua* heading NE past the Haven at 13.20hrs (this was also viewed distantly as it flew past Frinton). PRD.  On and around the scrape and grazing marsh were totals of 4 Bar T Godwits, 2 Greenshanks, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin and 5 Turnstones, 2 Ringed Plovers, singles of Whimbrel, Curlew and Snipe, 2 Oystercatchers and a Cormorant.  Also 4 Gadwall (2 drakes) and a drake Shoveler.  A Common Buzzard was viewable in the vicinity. JK/PRD

4th - Very bright and sunny all day today, along with blue skies and a few clouds.  The wind strength was this morning and remained throughout the day, considerably less than over the last few days.  Moderate Easterlies were the order of the morning, turning slightly towards ESE by mid-day and very little change from this by dusk.  An early visit onto the site provided views of a Fulmar just off-shore, 2 Barn Owls across the marsh, a juv Marsh Harrier and a single Wheatear, while the scrape at this time, held 4 Bar T Godwits, 2 Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin of note. JBS.  Only slightly later, a further report added another 5 Wheatears along the seawall areas and also noted that the Fulmar was still close inshore, flying between the Clacton Sailing and Gunfleet Boating Clubs. MR.  A return visit this evening, gave that the Bar T Godwits were down to just 2 on the scrape, while cracking views were had of a Barn Owl as it sat just a couple of posts up from the hide.  2 Common Buzzards were seen, as were 2 Marsh Harriers - being 1 male and a female, so three different Marsh Harriers on/over the site today.  At 18.35hrs, a Hobby flew into the grazing marsh and scrape vicinity. JBS.  

5th - Overcast and cool to start with, it brightened up as the day went on and although it remained cool, the evening was quite pleasant.  Wind direction was predominantly SE throughout and mainly of moderate strength.  Reported in at 11.07hrs, was that of a Ring Ouzel* on the field (with cows) behind the Golf Course. PRD.  Viewing from the hide prior to 09.00hrs, provided counts of 4 Bar T Godwits, singles of Snipe, Dunlin and Turnstone, 2 Oystercatchers and 26 Avocets on the wader front, while the ducks were a drake Shoveler, 4 Teal and 14 Shelduck.  15 Greylag and 2 Canada Geese were in this area until 09.00hrs.  A visit to the farm followed, where the walk along the track/path down to the cow field, added just 2 Mistle Thrush of note. MR.  Additional species across the site, were those of a Peregrine, 2 Cuckoo, 3 Whimbrel and seen in the area of the farm, a single Fieldfare.  Slightly later, a Fieldfare was on the other side of the B1032 - possibly the earlier farm bird?   Bar T Godwits had increased to a total of 5. PRD.   

6th - A glorious day with a breeze/light winds initially and late afternoon these were of moderate strength.  The sun shone throughout and temperatures were pleasantly warm.  A "cracking" Whinchat* was seen this morning, on the fence to the right of the hide (PRD), a Cuckoo was again noted on site (JBS) and this afternoon, a Little Tern* (IM) was viewed as it flew through in a Northerly direction.  Additional reporting for today included that of 2 Avocets that headed N while 3 others headed S and also 4 Sanderling that also flew S. PBr.  

7th - Quite alot of cloud cover today but there were patches of blue sky and it was very bright when the sun did break through.  Winds were Easterlies this morning, at a strength of moderate to strong, turning to SE for the evening. Viewing across the scrape at 10.50hrs this morning, gave the highlight of a Red Kite* as it flew over, heading WSW towards Gt. Clacton.  2 Common Terns were on the scrape, as were singles of Common Sandpiper, Bar T Godwit and Turnstone, 2 of each Whimbrel and Oystercatcher, 8 Redshanks and 17 Shelduck. JK/IM.   

8th - A bright sunny day, hot at times with initial SSE moderate to strong winds that had turned by evening to SSW.  Definitely a day for raptor movement with some six different "bird of prey" species and some excellent numbers recorded there-of.  Red Kites - four sightings of at least 2 (possibly 4 different birds), being at 10.40hrs over the fields towards the B1032, at 11.06hrs drifting high South, 11.10hrs (2 no.) heading as per the previous and then 11.45-11.50hrs a single heading back over the fields.  Common Buzzards - at least 14 birds went past the Haven today.  These were all moving South at a distance and included 8 at 10.20-10.30hrs, 2 at 11.20hrs, 2 at 11.45hrs and 2 at 12.20hrs.  Marsh Harriers - 2+ birds, being a single with the 8 Buzzards, a single with the 2 Red Kites and still quartering the grazing marsh as at 12.25hrs was a single female.  Hobby - 4 birds, of which one flew S over the sea at 10.15hrs, a single flew S over the seawall at 10.28hrs, c11.40hrs another single headed over the fields towards the farm, then across the grazing marsh and further headed out to sea, while number 4 was viewed over the arable at 11.48hrs.  Kestrel and 2+ Sparrowhawk (possible 4 birds) proved to all observers that they were on site too!   Other off-shore sightings included a Fulmar S, 6 Sanderling N and 2 Swifts that flew S past the sluice.  On the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh, besides the Avocets, were singles of Bar T Godwit, Common Sandpiper and Turnstone, 2 individual Ruff dropped in, a drake Shoveler was visible as were 2 Gadwall and a Cormorant.  2 Common Terns, 1 House Martin and a Cuckoo were viewed and also seen as they flew N over the scrape at 12.30hrs were 2ad Med Gulls.  The first noted Avocet chick of this year was on show during the morning and during a return visit, there were 2.  A very good round-up today by all those on site. PBr/IM/GG/JK.

9th - A superb morning that was very warm and extremely bright from before 06.00hrs.  The afternoon continued in basically the same format, just a slight variation in wind direction, being that the early Southerlies became SSE but remained as light to moderate strength.  Surveying the site this afternoon, included the sightings of a single Bar T Godwit, 1 Ruff, 3 Common Sandpipers and 2 Common Terns alongside the resident Avocets (+3). PRD

10th - Another very bright and increasingly warm morning that was complete with some light SW winds.  The afternoon and subsequently into the evening, saw a change of wind direction through S to SE and wind strength became more moderate at times.  Bird number 150 for the "Haven 2011 Year List" was a Pink Footed Goose* that was located on the scrape at 10.22hrs.  The scrape also held a single Bar T Godwit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1pr Oystercatchers, 29 Avocet (+2), 29 Shelduck, 1pr Gadwall and a drake Teal.  The current pair of residing Common Terns saw off a third bird that appeared overhead.  2 Marsh Harriers were viewable (1xad fem type), 5 Sedge Warblers were in various areas across the Haven and an evident steady stream of 50+ Swallows and 6+ House Martins went S through and over the site during this particular visit. PRD.  Viewing from next/near to the Clacton Sailing Club for c45minutes this afternoon, gave singles of both Hobby and Kestrel and 2 of both Swift and House Martin, while heading S "overhead and just off-shore" were 600+ Swallows (when leaving the site, many more hirundines were flying S over the grazing marsh/approach road - definitely some major movement).  In and around the Dell were 4+ Lesser Whitethroats of note and heading out along the approach road, were 3+ Chiffchaff. KA

11th - Bright sun to begin with, temperatures of +14 degrees and some light SW winds.  Overcast by 10.30hrs and a few spots of rain but patchy blue sky again by 11.00hrs.  Some very dark cloud at times during the afternoon and cooler.  No reports returned.

12th - Winds light and predominantly Westerly throughout the day.  Clouds were this morning, as per yesterday - a bit hit and miss with the dark ones and a couple of very short lived attempts of rain, otherwise bright.  The afternoon remained sunny and continued into the evening as such.  Most definitely the highlight of today's visits, was the viewing from the hide of a Common Crane* (PRD/JK).  The bird was seen distantly at 12.50hrs, by two observers, as it flew SW over Holland-on-Sea.  This is only the third record of Common Crane (see gallery) viewed on/from the site and this being after a nine year gap - the first and second records were in February and April of 2002.   Combined reports of species on the scrape, prior to and just after the above excitement, gave 15 Blk T Godwits, 2 Common Sandpipers, 9 Redshank, 2 of each Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher, the Avocets (+3+3), a single Dunlin that later flew towards the sea then headed N, 2 Gadwall, 1 Shoveler, 2 Teal and 21 Shelduck.  Also viewable, were a Common Tern, a Cuckoo and over the grazing marsh/arable there was a Common Buzzard.  A second Common Buzzard was seen to head SW along the seawall before soaring over the carpark and onward over the Holland area.  Along the seawall a male Wheatear was located, while over on the other side of the site (across B1032) there were 1pr Tufted Duck on the brook.  Swallow movement was noted with at least 65 flying S in less than a 30minute time span. PRD/JK/PBr.

13th - Warm, bright and dry along with light S winds and the occasional stronger gusts for most of the day.  Late afternoon saw the wind direction change through to WSW.  Surveying the site from 10.15 to 14.15hrs and including the area across the B1032, provided views of a Yellow Wagtail going over/through the site, a White Wagtail on the scrape, an adult S Med Gull, 4 Oystercatchers, an imm Marsh Harrier and over the road, a singing Willow Warbler.  A pair of Gadwall were once again on the scrape, as were the 2 Common Terns while a single Common Sandpiper was noted alongside the resident Avocets, 36 of these on view with 3 broods so far (+/-7).  An impressive number of Dunlin, some 60+ birds, were seen as they flew in and landed on the breakwater, immediately South of the sluice. PRD.

14th - A very intermittent day weatherwise - quite bright at times, some very dark clouds at times, mainly Westerly moderate to strong winds that would suddenly drop altogether to less than a breeze and the odd attempt at drizzle!  A Cuckoo was around on the site today, as were the pair of Common Terns and singles of both Common Sandpiper and Wheatear. PRD.

15th - Much cooler temperatures today, again cloud varying from "white fluffy" to very dark and at times the whole sky appeared very black, as if it was going to drench just about everything but this only resulted, as per yesterday, in attempted light drizzle.  Otherwise, fairly bright and wind direction and strength being W, moderate to sometimes strong.  Initial reports in for this morning, gave 2 Barnacle Geese* on the scrape at c09.20hrs. Additional to these were 2+ Common Sandpipers, 1 Blk T Godwit, 1 Dunlin and 3 Bar T Godwits dropped in.  A single Barn Owl was noted and 2 Swift flew over. IM/PRD.  Early afternoon, a single Swift flew across the B1032. KA/AD

16th - Westerly winds again today being of mainly moderate strength with temperatures up to +18 degrees.  On/off rain throughout the morning and generally overcast skies, however this changed for the afternoon, becoming bright and at times, very sunny.  A morning visit to the hide and the 2 Barnacle Geese were still there, a rarity in itself, as these tend to move through from the Haven pretty quickly, normally only staying for minutes opposed to hours, let alone appearing to stay overnight/return.  Also on the scrape during this survey, were 1 Wood and 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Blk T Godwit, 1 Ringed Plover, 24 Avocets (+7+), 2 Common Terns and 2 Greylag Geese.  Although no counts were made, the report stated "a good number of Gulls" on site. MR.  The Wood Sandpiper was still on the scrape as at mid-afternoon. PRD.         

17th - A sunny start to the day complete with a mainly blue sky and some patchy white cloud.  Late morning had become very overcast and the afternoon alternated between bright and grey.  Temperatures were warm throughout, while wind direction was mainly W and of light to moderate strength.  No reports returned.   

18th - Another warm one today.  Overcast skies but fairly bright during the morning, alongwith some SW light to moderate winds, while the afternoon saw mainly blue skies and sun until the evening, when drizzle was intermittent.  Wind direction turned slightly to WSW.  Located on the scrape at 16.20hrs (by a visiting birder) was a Temminck's Stint*. PRD+1.  Also noted during this time were singles of Common Sandpiper, Blk T Godwit and Dunlin, alongside 7 Greenshank. PRD.   During another morning visit, 2 Barnacle Geese were again located - these had left the viewable site prior to mid-afternoon. MR.  A family cycle ride from the Frinton end of site down to the hide c18.30hrs, gave additions of 3 Whimbrel that headed N and on the return ride back, 2 Oystercatchers headed S.  The Temminck's Stint was still on the scrape at this time. PBr.

19th - A glorious morning with bright sun and light ESE winds, although some grey clouds were creeping around the sky!  The afternoon became overcast a few times but basically remained warm and bright.  During continuous observations across the scrape from 08.00hrs to at least 12.00hrs, there was no sign at all of the Stint today, however, other species noted were 24 of the resident Avocets (+13), a single Blk T Godwit, 1pr Shoveler and 19 Shelduck.  Mid-morning saw the arrival of 40 Dunlin along with a single "non-breeding" plumaged Knot.  Around the rest of the site, an adult S Med Gull was on the Golf Course, 1 Wheatear was along the seawall, 4 summer plumaged Sanderlings were on the beach, a Common Tern was feeding in the brook and 4 House Martins were seen, while over the arable were c10 Swifts.  A Corn Bunting was located and 2 Cuckoo were on site. PRD.

20th - Some very light W winds during the morning, extremely bright and it was once again, fairly warm.  Stronger winds for the afternoon but the temperatures were higher too.  The only report in for today, saw that either the same or a "new in" Temminck's Stint was on the scrape, located at 09.00hrs. The bird was viewable for c15mins but could not be re-located later in the day. MR.   

21st - Very bright and sunny today along with some moderate to strong S winds.  The site was disappointing today and birds were few and far between.  2 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard, 3 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plovers, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Blk T Godwit and an adult Med Gull were the highlights. GG.

22nd - After an extremely blustery night, the morning began very bright with blue skies.  Clouds were moving across at quite a rate of knots by late morning with the winds still mostly strong and of WSW direction.  Gusts locally were of up to 35mph.  Conditions remained much the same through and into the evening.  Surveys of the site this morning, once again proved the area to be very quiet of birds.  The species of note were just a single Little Egret, 2 Tufted Ducks, Redshank (+1) and a Barn Owl. MR/IM.

23rd - Warm and mainly bright through the morning, although the cloud cover increased late morning to leave just patches of blue sky by mid-day.  Wind speed and direction being 26mph and SSW.  Local gusts being much higher.  No reports returned.

24th - A very warm, dry and bright day, although just a touch windy throughout the morning - this eased later in the day with wind direction ending as Westerlies and at a strength of barely a breeze.  Going into the site for a morning visit, gave views of a Common Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harriers, then while walking from the carpark to the hide, Willow Warbler, ChiffchaffLesser Whitethroat and Blackcap were all heard from within the surrounding shrubbery.  The scrape was a bit depleted, apart from a single L R P, a Dunlin and a total of 44 Avocets (+20).  A brief early visit was made by a Bar T GodwitMR/PRD.

25th - A glorious morning to start the day - extremely bright, dry, very blue skies and light SSE winds.  The day continued as such throughout.  No reports returned.

26th - A bit of a change this morning - plenty of grey cloud around that by early afternoon, had become very black and resulted in various, be they shortlived, heavy downpours.  Very strong Westerly winds throughout and gusts locally were recorded at 32mph prior to 09.00hrs and reached a maximum of c39mph before dusk.  A two hour survey of the site from 10.00-12.00hrs, produced a few species of note, including a Little Tern which was seen off-shore and then also flew over/onto the scrape.  A Common Tern and a 1S Med Gull were both viewed, as were 20+ House Martins, 30+ Swallows,  and a single Marsh Harrier.  The Avocet count was at 30 (+numerous chicks) and Shelduck at this time, numbered 11. PRD.  Viewing this evening, from the B1032 at c18.25hrs, gave sightings of a Hobby heading over the fields towards Gt. Holland, 2 Common Terns over the scrape and +/- 25 Swifts over/through the area. PBr.

27th - Some strong NW winds from early in the morning, were alongside a fair amount of cloud cover, although it was very bright when the sun did manage to appear from behind the cloud mass.  The afternoon saw little change in the conditions apart from a brief amount of rain.  By dusk the winds were Westerlies.  No reports returned.

28th - Strong winds again today, along with mainly overcast skies, helped to keep the temperatures quite cool for the duration.  A few bright spells but also a couple of light showers.  The initial WSW winds were at W by nightfall - still very strong and gusts recorded locally had reached c34mph.  No reports returned.

29th - A dry day for the area, overcast at times but mainly bright.  Extremely windy throughout with wind speeds up to c33mph and locally recorded gusts reaching 38mph.  Wind direction varied from SSW to SW, WSW and back again.  Viewing across the scrape from the hide today, gave counts of a single Common Sandpiper, 2 of each Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher, 28 Avocets (+18), 16 Shelduck and 2 Cormorants. JK.

30th - It was slightly overcast to begin the morning but it had brightened nicely before mid-day.  Winds for most of the day, were much as per yesterday in direction - variable SSW through WSW - strength was a touch milder and was more a case of moderate to strong with the occasional drop to light winds.  By dusk, wind direction had become NW.  Surveying the site found that it was very quiet of birds - and as it would appear from checks on the RBA pager, the whole of Essex has been very quiet of birds this Bank Holiday weekend (28,29&30th)!  Of note however, the Haven held a singing Chiffchaff along the approach road, a Lesser Whitethroat near to the Sluice Cottages, 3 Blackcaps and a single Cuckoo.  Feeding off the sluice area were 3 Little Terns, while on and around the scrape, surrounding grazing marsh and reedbeds, were the sum total of 34 Avocets (+24+), 10 Shelduck, 1 Sedge and 2 Reed Warblers.  Also from the hide, there were counts of 10+ Swifts, 8 Swallows and 1 House Martin. MR

31st - Another end of the month and what didn't the weather chuck at our local area today???  After a night of torrential rain, the morning was fairly bright and dry, but slightly chilly with winds once again quite strong.  Heavy cloud crept in by late morning, by lunchtime there had been a very good c15minute downpour, then through the afternoon to early evening, there were many more extremely dark clouds, several more drenching episodes, including hailstones - between all of which, was a very bright, hot sun!  Winds were strong and ESE by dusk.  Visits today, again proved the site to be very quiet of birds.  Viewing and reports gave 2 Cuckoo(JK) and a Barn Owl, 2 drake Shoveler, 3 Blk T Godwits, 2 Oystercatchers and a Cormorant. JK/MR.  

As at 31st May, the Haven 2011 Year List stands at 153.         

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