Key: Plain text- Resident/Regular visitor. Green- Likely to be annual. Amber- Less than annual. Red- Rarity. CAPITALS- New bird for site.
1st - A typical winter's day to start the month - Very wet, grey and cold with strong winds. A variation of wind direction from SSE this morning, turning through S to SSW by early afternoon and ending the day as Westerlies. Several visits were made to site but unfortunately "quiet" bird-wise on and around the site, seemed to be very much an under-statement! The only notable birds for the morning were off-shore with 5 Gannets (3ad+2juv) heading N and 15 Brent Geese going S. JBS/GG/MR. Slightly later in the day, a further seawatch provided 4 Velvet Scoter (2drakes) and an Arctic Skua. PL.
2nd - After a dismal day yesterday, today was dry and quite bright with variable strength winds proving W for the duration. An early morning visit provided a fem Hen Harrier, 1 Siskin over and a single Bearded Tit still remained in the reedbeds near the golf course. A Cetti's Warbler was heard. JBS/MR. A 30 minute seawatch late morning, gave 1 Gt C Grebe, 7 Skylark and 7 Brent Geese all headed S, while sitting on the sea was a Med Gull. On and around the scrape area were 8 Blk T Godwits, 4 Cormorants, 205 Wigeon, 202 Teal and 211 Greylag Geese. Also 1 Sparrowhawk and again at the end of the main reedbed were 2 Barn Owls. MR/PRD.
3rd - On/off rain all day - some being heavy downpours - with bright spells that were extremely bright but mostly short lived. Early winds were SSW becoming W again by dusk. Counts for the scrape were similar to yesterday with 4 Cormorants, 204 Wigeon, 200 Teal and 165 Greylag Geese, however Blk T Godwits had increased overnight to 12. Also noted were singles of Barn Owl, Little Grebe and Stonechat. Trees and bushes were once again very sparse of birds. MR.
4th - A dry, bright start with WSW winds, direction of which changed to S by noon, mid-afternoon W and SSW by evening. Morning views from the hide were disappointing with only 8 Cormorants, 206 Teal, 123 Wigeon and 200 Greylag Geese to be seen. Across the grazing marsh and along the reedbeds were 2 Stonechats, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel. MR/BS. Earlier searches around the carpark and approach road trees gave nothing of note, however fly-overs S, included 3 Siskin, flocks of both Goldfinch and Greenfinch and for the second time within the week, Yellowhammers - a flock of 8 - were reported. JBS.
5th - After some heavy rain during the night, a bright but cold morning with W winds. Overcast by mid-afternoon and some rain, after which it remained cloudy but very still. A slight change to the scrape this morning with 10 Blk T Godwits, 5 Curlew and a brief visit by 2 Redshank. Cormorants, Wigeon and Teal were at 6, 141 and 196 respectively. A single Barn Owl was again noted opposite the hide. Searches of both the trees and bushes in the carpark/memorial areas, yielded not a single species of interest. JBS/MR. Slightly later and covering from the farm down to the hide/sluice, a fem Shoveler was on the farm pond and while still in this area, a Grey Wagtail was a fly-over S. 40+ Skylarks, 2 Reed Buntings and 4 Stonechat were along the route, an imm drake Tufted Duck was on the sea and a single Brent Goose went N. Additional on the scrape early afternoon was a single Snipe and Blk T Godwits were up to 11. Wigeon had also increased to 190+. PRD.
6th - A grey but dry morning with WSW light winds, changing late afternoon into evening, to S winds with heavy on/off rain. A two hour late morning visit, mainly spent searching the area opposite the approach road as far as "our Haven boundaries" unfortunately produced very little but of note were 1 Coot, 1 Snipe, 1 Stonechat and a fly-over S was a single Lesser Redpoll. PRD.
7th - Bright and dry but a bit fresh to start this morning with a light WNW breeze. Slightly stronger winds and cloud later in the day, culminating in some rain into the evening. Initially searching across the road, a Grey Wagtail over was noted. Along the approach road 2 Tree Sparrows were seen to perch briefly near the pay machine before they headed NE towards the top carpark but could not be relocated. Along the seawall, a male Black Redstart was moving around the area by the 3rd turret and a Rock Pipit was also in the vicinity. From the reedbeds close to the 2nd turret/slope, Bearded Tit/s were heard but not viewed, 2 Redwings and 3 Stonechat were seen and a single Redpoll flew S. GG.
8th - The day remained dry although overcast throughout, with morning on-shore winds that were variable from SE to NE and then turned back to E. A glance over the scrape today saw 11 Blk T Godwits of note, while along fences and reedbeds were 2 Stonechats and a Bearded Tit. 2 Purple Sandpipers were located along the seawall with one near to each of the 2nd and 3rd turrets. Overhead movement included 7 Lesser Redpoll heading S. Concentration was mainly on seawatching today which yielded singles of Gannet and Red Throated Diver and 8 Sanderling all heading N, while Southbound species were a drake Goldeneye, 3 Oystercatchers and 29 Brent Geese of which 1 of these was Pale Bellied. GG/MR.
9th - Slightly chilly but dry and mostly bright. Wind direction being NW with varying strengths. Early morning and late afternoon visits found little of note on site. A few Reed Buntings were seen along the walk towards Frinton and 2 Purple Sandpipers were on the beach area near to the 1st turret, prior to high tide. Seen from the lower carpark just before dusk, was a dark falcon sp. heading NE, presumed by the observer to be a late Hobby. JBS.
10th - After a very misty night, remnants of which were still clearing c09.00hrs, the morning was cold and dry with some cloud coverage, though quite bright at times, this afternoon brought some drizzle. A Snow Bunting flew over the carpark at lunchtime, other fly-overs being 6 Goldfinch. 1 Grey Wagtail was noted as were 8+ Robin, 1 Barn Owl and 3 Turnstones. An adult White Fronted Goose was among the Greylags and 13 Blk T Godwits and 2 Curlew were on the scrape. PRD. Viewing from the hide this afternoon saw 2 Snow Buntings and a Brent Goose drop into the area, while along by the 2nd turret, a Dartford Warbler (MR) was again located as it moved about the reedbed and brambles with 3+ Stonechat. MR/JBS.
11th - Just a little bit foggy out there this morning! A grey day throughout with misty rain in the air and as at late afternoon, wind direction was at ESE. Early morning visits saw 1 Dartford Warbler, being slightly further along the reedbeds than at yesterday evening, the bird was still amongst the Stonechats. Not confirmed, as the bird/s became very elusive but there is a probability that there may be 2 Dartford Warblers in this vicinity. MR/JBS. A lunchtime visit provided sightings of 2 Snow Buntings feeding near to the 3rd turret and at least 5 Stonechats along the seawall route, also a single Purple Sandpiper towards the Frinton end. The Bittern is still on site - seen in flight c13.30hrs (and also reported as seen by others at 11.15 & 12.45hrs). On all sightings today, this bird was in flight, going into in one direction and subsequently back along, the area to the right of the hide along the ditch line (blue sign). PBr.
12th - A fresh morning, bright and dry. Wind strength varied throughout the day with direction being SSW as at late afternoon. Greatly increased winds late into the evening also brought some heavy rain. A cycle ride/walk along the seawall from Frinton and back c08.40 - 09.20hrs, gave brief views of the Dartford Warbler between the 2nd and 3rd turrets, with a further but even more brief a view, of the bird on the return journey. 2 Stonechats were in the area, while on the seawall a male Snow Bunting was working it's way towards the Frinton huts. PBr. A late afternoon visit saw 11 Blk T Godwits on the scrape amongst good numbers of Wigeon and Teal, with 6 Cormorants on the island. Along the edge of the golf course, counts of Stonechat were up at 4 and on the beach back by the 1st turret, were 4 Turnstones. All to be found of note around the trees and bushes was a L T Tit flock of 17+. KA. Reports were also returned for today of fly-overs including 4+ Goldfinch, 6+ Linnet and a Grey Wagtail. A Water Rail was flushed from reeds near to the seawall, a fem/imm Bearded Tit was noted as were 3+ Reed Buntings and 1 Barn Owl. The White Fronted and a single Brent Goose were still amongst c280 Greylag Geese. PRD.
The contractors are still working at the sluice gates. Also there has been a vast change to the trees and bushes in the area from the top carpark to the memorials and up to the boating club compound. Many bushes have totally gone and the wooded areas have been trimmed?? back and severely thinned out.
13th - Grey, heavy rain and WSW winds to start the morning. Mid-morning through to early afternoon had some breaks in the weather with the "occasional" bit of blue sky. By 15.30hrs the rain was back with a vengeance and continued into the evening, along with very strong SSE winds and also gusts upwards of 30mph. No reports returned.
14th - Occasional bright spells today but as weather sources predicted, mainly heavy rain with substantial winds. Wind direction was changeable from SSW, SW, S to WNW and back early evening to WSW. Winds along the coastline were recorded at speeds of 56+mph and wind gusts during the day, were recorded at 63+mph. No reports returned.
15th - Heavy rain and W winds started the day although it was brightening slightly by 8am. A few light showers did occur but it stayed mainly dry with winds turning to SW then finishing the evening at Southerlies. A 3 hour visit to site to mid-afternoon provided views of an adult White Fronted Goose, 15 Blk T Godwits, c300 Wigeon, 100+ Teal and a drake Shoveler. Heard but not seen, were a Water Rail in the reedbed in front of the hide and a Cetti's Warbler at the corner of Holland Brook. 3 Snow Buntings flew over SW, while also noted were 3 Goldfinch and 2 Stonechat. 40+ Common Gulls were noted heading SW within 1 hour. PRD. Further reports saw that 2 Snow Buntings were also along the seawall by the golf course and the Bittern had been seen in the ditch opposite the hide.
16th - Occasional drizzle but quite a mild day with some light winds. A visit to the hide produced totals of 15 Blk T Godwits, 1 Snipe, 8 Shelduck, 3 Shoveler, 200+ Teal, 276 Wigeon and 235+ Greylag Geese. Cormorants were numbering 10 on the scrape today, while other sightings across this area included a single Sparrowhawk. Other areas searched were quiet and did not give anything of particular note. MR.
17th - Quite a bright start to the day with winds staying mainly WSW throughout, again mild for the time of year. A morning visit included time spent viewing from the hide, where across the scrape were 17 Blk T Godwits, 1 Little Grebe, 10+ Lapwings, 8 Cormorants, 281 Wigeon and 241 Teal. A Peregrine over the scrape, dropped briefly onto the grazing marsh and a Sparrowhawk was also in the vicinity. Of note there were also some 60+ Jackdaws on the marsh. Fly-overs S included 7 Greenfinch and 14 Goldfinch. MR.
18th - Generally overcast, mainly dry with strong winds prevailing and as to be expected, the sea was rather on the rough side! Wind direction varied constantly from SSW through W, with wind gusts reaching in excess of 44mph. A Kingfisher was once again spotted near the scrape this morning and the White Fronted Goose briefly gave an appearance in front of the hide. Alongside 3 Turnstones on the scrape, were 16 Blk T Godwits, 16 Lapwing, 11 Cormorants, 4 Shelduck, 157 Teal and 255 Wigeon. 2 Snow Buntings were on the seawall near to the Frinton end and also noted was 1 Sparrowhawk. MR/BS. With Landguard reporting how little was off-shore from there today, the Haven fared no better, when an afternoon seawatch lasting 90 minutes, produced just 2 birds heading S, being a single Brent Goose and a Gt C Grebe. PRD.
19th - Bright and dry with good strength winds all day, which began W but again varied somewhat down and up through W, SW and S, while wind gusts were recorded locally up to 30+mph. Slightly different numbers on the scrape this morning but very little movement to be seen flying over or indeed elsewhere on the site. Viewed from the hide were 14 Blk T Godwits, 13 Curlew, 1 Common Gull, 10 Lapwing, 11 Cormorants, 1 drake Gadwall, 3 Shelduck, 147 Teal and a increase of Wigeon to 315. Singles of both Little and Barn Owls were noted and 3 Goldfinch over S. MR. 2 Snow Buntings were located as were 3 Purple Sandpipers. BS. Another visit gave additional sightings of an adult Yellow Legged Gull and a fem Shoveler. PRD.
20th - Overcast all day with on/off drizzle throughout. Winds slightly stronger than yesterday moving from SSW to WSW as the day went on. A very brief visit early afternoon saw a good sized L T Tit flock near the sewage farm and another along nearer to the mounds, while 2 Goldfinch flew over S. KA. A late afternoon walk along the seawall provided views of 4 Purple Sandpipers and 1 Turnstone on the associated rocks, a fem Sparrowhawk and a single Barn Owl. The scrape held 14 Blk T Godwits, 2 Shelduck, 19 Lapwing and 97+ Teal. BS.
21st - A mild day but overcast at times. SSE winds that became SSW by the evening. Reports from morning through to early afternoon, saw Southerly movements of 11 Siskin, 11 Linnet, 24 Goldfinch, 5 Greenfinch and 9 Skylarks. 3 Snow Buntings were noted as they flew over S, these appeared to go to the ground but could not be re-located. Along the fence posts and reedbeds a total of 5 Stonechats were seen. The scrape area provided views of 11 Curlew, 14 Blk T Godwits, 410 Wigeon, 158 Teal and the White Fronted Goose is also still in the vicinity. Across the road was a male Marsh Harrier. GG. A late afternoon visit to the hide saw that Blk T Godwits had increased to 19. MR.
22nd - Cooler today with strong winds and a period of heavy rain. S winds turned W by early afternoon, speeds of which were recorded locally at 46+mph and gusts reaching 58mph. "White horses" were the order of the sea with some spectacular views of crashing waves, unfortunately no birds to be seen off-shore. The rain forced a few of us to spend longer than anticipated in the hide, however, apart from the numerous Teal, Wigeon and Greylag Geese, the only notable extras were 12 Blk T Godwits, 11 Cormorants and 2 of each Snipe, Shelduck and Shoveler. Just prior to the rain, 2 Purple Sandpipers had been by the sluice. GG/KA/MR/MC/JB.
23rd - Heavy rain started the day with light SW winds until c08.15hrs. From then on, the weather changed constantly throughout the day with increasing strength winds and on/off rain/bright spells. Wind direction had turned to W by mid-day, this did remain so for the duration. The White Fronted Goose was viewed across the marsh as was a single Barn Owl. The Bittern appeared, flew along the brook past the hide, stopped briefly at the wind pump, then continued to the rear of the sewage farm and obscurity once again. The scrape itself much as yesterday, numerous Teal and Wigeon alongside 13 Blk T Godwits, 24 Lapwing, 8 Cormorants, 2 Shelduck and a drake Shoveler. 2 Stonechats were also seen. PRD/MR. Late afternoon saw 9 Golden Plovers fly over S towards the other side of the road. JBS.
24th - Overcast with SW winds of variable strength through the day. A Lapland Bunting originally located among 3 Snow Buntings on the golf course, viewable from the seawall golf tee at c10.45hrs, was flushed and disappeared for a while before returning to the same spot c11.45hrs, this time with 5 Snow Buntings. A single Bearded Tit was seen near the seawall and 4 Twite had been seen on the ground earlier before heading S. Common finches moving S today included 16 Goldfinch, 11 Greenfinch and 4 Chaffinch, also 1 Brambling, 16 Siskin and 4 Lesser Redpoll. On the arable close to the farm were 110 Brent Geese with amongst these, 19 Curlew. The scrape this morning held 18 Blk T Godwits, 3 Shoveler, 225 Teal and a decrease in Wigeon totals, to 250. The Bittern was again viewed from the hide. Off-shore, only 2, exceptionally close, Common Scoter headed S. PRD/GG/JBS/MR/BS.
25th - A bright morning, variable strength winds during the day, ending as SW tonight. The Lapland Bunting was reported this morning with 3 Snow Buntings on the track by the golf course. A Barn Owl, 30+ Stock Doves, 2 Stonechats, 1 Reed Bunting and 9 Goldfinch were noted, while the scrape area held 1 Green Sandpiper, 14 Blk T Godwits, 164+ Teal and 11 Cormorants amongst numerous Wigeon and Greylag Geese. BS. 2 Purple Sandpipers were on "their" rocks this afternoon. PBr. Searches for the Lapland Bunting were unsuccessful this afternoon but 3 Snow Buntings were still on site. PBr/GR.
26th - Both dry and bright today with very blustery SW winds, that did not let up at all. The Lapland Bunting was located on the golf course track c09.45hrs alongside 2 Snow Buntings, again viewable from the seawall golf tee area/foot bridge. The bird gave very good views today on the ground and could be heard calling regularly when in flight. (Last noted appearance today was 12.15hrs). 6+ Snow Buntings were on/over the site today. JBS/MR/PBr/GR/KA. Directly in front of the hide this morning, the Bittern also showed very well, as did a Kingfisher. A flock of 50 Curlew were seen, 3+ Stonechats were along the reedbeds and fences whilst overhead movement included a 25+ flock of Goldfinch and numerous Starlings in/off. JBS/MR. A Little Grebe was also reported.
27th - Another dry, bright day if somewhat cold this morning, with some W winds. Fly-overs S prior to mid-day included 45 Goldfinch, 14 Lesser Redpoll, 11 Siskin, 2 Linnets and 2 Redwing. 300 Brent Geese went from the grazing marsh to the arable, 5 Stonechats were seen and off-shore a R B Merganser headed S. GG. The White Fronted Goose was seen from the hide, the Bittern made another appearance and 15 Blk T Godwits were noted, while a brief visitor was a single Redshank. PRD/GG. A single Purple Sandpiper was along the seawall during a late afternoon visit. JBS. No sightings of the Lapland nor any Snow Buntings at all today.
28th - Dry with variable strength W through SSW winds during today. Rain into the evening with winds moved round to ESE. An early visit to the hide this morning saw the Bittern briefly in the vicinity. The White Fronted Goose was noted along with 15 Blk T Godwits and 3 Shelduck, whilst 300+ Brent Geese originated on the scrape, then they once again, moved towards the arable. 4 Stonechats were counted along the fence lines and reedbeds and 2 Turnstones were near to the sluice. JBS/GG/PRD/KA/MR.
29th - Cold, grey and on/off heavy rain through the day with some bright moments. Winds began the day SSE, moderate force with gusts recorded locally up to 44+mph. A one hour seawatch this morning 09.00-10.00hrs gave 1 Pomarine Skua, 7 Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck, while views from the hide included those of 11 Blk T Godwits, 6 Shoveler, 2 Shelduck and 8 Cormorant. Also noted was a single Barn Owl. MR.
30th - Rain started the day and was hit and miss throughout, however dry periods prevailed with variable strength N through NW winds. Those at the Haven this morning put in a seawatching session from 09.00-12.30hrs with the following being seen. 1 dark/imm Pomarine Skua, 5 Velvet Scoter, 30+ Common Scoter, 9 Shoveler, 5 Shelduck, 10 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 2 R-T Divers, 2 Gt C Grebes and 15 Brent Geese all heading S, while going N were 6 R-T Divers, 6 Gadwall, 2 Shelduck and 5 Brent Geese. 2 ad Med Gulls were also noted, as were 150+ Starlings in/off and 7 Goldfinch S. PRD/MR/PB. Reports for the scrape gave that of a colour ringed Blk T Godwit - this is a returning bird.(ringed in Suffolk - see field sightings) JK.