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.

(The above "Colour Coding" has changed for several species this year 2013 due to some being now a more regular species at the Haven - which has got to be good, whilst others are unfortunately not seen/recorded here as much as they used to be. This coding is purely defined by ourselves for the Haven site). 

Archive:  Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   June   July   Aug   Sept   Oct   Nov  Dec 

Site Year Tick: *

OCTOBER 2013

1st - A cool start to the new month with strong ESE through SE winds of speeds up to 25mph and gusting of c28mph.  The skies were a mixed bag of cloud and sun and although the temperature readings were of +14 degrees, in the strong winds it felt much colder at times.  After surveying areas of the site and carrying out a one hour seawatch, today's report included details of 1 Kingfisher (along the Brook), 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Chaffinches and 3 Blackcaps in and around the 'sheltered' area by the Memorials.  On and around the scrape and immediate vicinity were the Little Stint, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Ruff, 4 Dunlin, 14 Lapwings, 32 Teal, 93 Wigeon, 1 Brent and 138 Greylag Geese.  Of particular note - while viewing from the hide - "disturbed from the arable and flocked around the scrape and hide for a while" were some c1500 Starlings.  The off-shore movement and subsequent counts (08.00 - 09.00hrs) were of 1 juvenile Gannet, 3 Wigeon and 6 Cormorants all heading S down the coast, 3 Swallows that flew N up the coast and a total of 142 Brent Geese (136S+6N). MR

2nd - Alongside some ESE through SE winds of c28mph, plus gusting in excess of 33mph, the chilly and overcast morning brought on/off (mostly on) rain.  It was clearer for the afternoon but definitely an autumn day.  Again a one hour seawatch (from the Greensward shelter) was undertaken for this morning but "was not over productive" - 2 Med Gulls (ad+sub-ad) were noted, as were c100 Brent Geese of which most of the latter were flying S.  The first of 2 Wheatears was atop the railings by the shelter and the second was by the sluice where a Rock Pipit was also seen.  The scrape and surrounding grazing marsh held much the same in species as per yesterday with counts being of 1 Little Stint, 1 Curlew, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Ruff, 8 Dunlin, 14 Lapwings, 1 Shoveler (duck), 1 Pintail (duck), c40 Teal, 1 Brent and c120 Greylag Geese.  Four colour-ringed Gulls were amongst those dispersed from the arable down to the scrape - top field was being ploughed - of which the 3 Herring Gull codes were read by the observers, the LBBG however, appears not to have been as helpful.  On the wildlife side, a Great Green Bush Cricket was seen and photographed on site. PRD/MR/GB.  A Firecrest was located along the access road amongst a Tit flock at 12.18hrs. PRD

3rd - Quite bright and sunny through this morning with some mottled clouds but the darker rain clouds moved in for early to mid-afternoon - the wet stuff was fairly heavy for a while!  Rain returned again during the evening along with some late night thunder and lightning.  Winds remained strong throughout of speeds 21+mph and gusting up to 27mph, direction varying ENE down to ESE.  At least three observers visited the site today and the first noted report gave a male Ring Ouzel* that was located behind the Sewage Farm.  Trees and bushes gave 3 Firecrests (2xApproach Road + 1xCarpark), 3 Chiffchaffs and singles of both Lesser and Common Whitethroat.  A total of 20 Swallows were noted.  The viewing across the scrape yielded 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stints, 2 Ruff, 3 Sandwich Terns and 1 adult White-fronted Goose. RA.  Slightly later viewing from the hide saw an increase of numbers for Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stints and Ruff being up to 2, 3 and 3 respectively with notes that one of the Little Stints was colour-ringed.  Additional counts noted on the second report included 1 Ringed Plover, 2 Snipe, 6 Dunlin, the Pintail (duck), 75 Wigeon, 3 Common Gulls and 2 Med Gulls (ad+2yr).  There was no further sign of the W-F Goose. MR/PB.  The route from the Frinton end of site to the hide and back, provided 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatears and 110 Meadow Pipits along the Golf Course areas, while seen briefly amongst the wind battered reeds, was a presumed Reed Warbler.  Flying through the site individually were 2 Little Gulls (both 1st Year birds), one from a field being ploughed, across the Golf Course and continuing N, the second from inland of the second turret and likewise continued N.  Out to sea, some 15 Brent Geese (2N+13S) were noted. PB.

4th - After a night of on/off rain, it looked for a while this morning that it could be a bright, sunny day!  By 08.30hrs the sky was unfortunately overcast and drizzle was in the air.  Variable SE through ESE winds initially, speeds of up to c22mph and gusting of up to 29mph.  The first report for today was of a Yellow-browed Warbler* located at 10.45hrs in the left-hand hawthorns when walking down to the Memorials. PRD.  During this particular survey, other species located in and around the trees and bushes through to the sluice gave 1 Wheatear, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldfinches, 3 Blackcaps and 3 Firecrests, while noted movement through the site was of 50+ Swallows.  The Kingfisher was once again viewable from the hide, as were singles of Sandwich Tern and Kestrel.  Waders, ducks and geese comprised 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, 3 Little Stints, 3 Ruff, 6 Dunlin, 1 Pintail, c40 Teal, c50 Wigeon and 160 Greylag GeeseIM/PRD.  Early evening visits to site produced a Ring Ouzel (PL) which was over the road for a short time and in the left-hand bushes going down to the Memorials there were 4 Firecrests in one bush - so definitely +1 and possibly +4 to this morning's counts. PL/AD/HE.      

5th - A fairly warm day (+17 degrees) with some light to moderate winds, variable 6mph through 13mph with gusting of up to 15mph - all in a SW direction.  Mostly mottled skies with a hint of sun.  An early morning visit gave notable Southerly movement of 2 Lesser Redpolls*, 2 Brambling, 7 Goldfinches, 12 Linnets, 20 Chaffinches, 77 Siskins, 85 Meadow Pipits and 22 Swallows, also 5 Grey Wagtails.  A further 2 Grey Wagtails were around the Sewage Farm area.  On the sea near to the sluice were 2 Med Gulls - these being a 2W and an adult. GG.  Amongst the Lapwings were a total of 6 Golden Plovers. GG/MC.  Generally around the site were 1 Cetti's Warbler (over the road), 3 Lesser Whitethroats, at least 6 Blackcaps, 8+ Chiffchaffs, a Stonechat was reported as viewed near the hide and 3 Wheatears were 'to and from' the first turret.  The scrape still held 3 Little Stints and now 4 Ruff of note, along with 5 Dunlin, 6 Snipe, c40 Teal, c50 Wigeon and c140 Greylag Geese.  Singles of Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Marsh Harrier were also viewed from this point. GG/MC/IM/MR/BL.  Hopes of trapping and ringing the one remaining Wheatear by the turret this afternoon, were dashed when the Wheatear - which was happily sitting atop the seawall at one point - got taken out by a Sparrowhawk!  Sprawk. 1 :  GG. nil.   At least the earlier Ringing Session yielded a few birds of which the details can be found on Ringing Activities. GG

6th - Mostly blue skies today with morning SW winds of up to 8mph and gusting of c10mph and afternoon winds of a SSE direction and slightly increased speeds of up to 12mph and gusting of 14mph.  Coastline temperature readings of +15 degrees.  Several observers made visits to the site from early morning through until late afternoon.  Early morning Southerly passage was a bit quieter than that of yesterday but still yielded 6 Swallows, 10 Siskin, 20 Chaffinches and 45 Meadow Pipits, whilst viewing off-shore at high tide gave 14 Brent Geese N.  Both a Goldcrest and a Firecrest were in the localised areas of the ringing compounds with a Gt Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Sparrowhawks (male+fem) around here too. GG.  A second Firecrest was located lower down the site as was a Cetti's Warbler (Memorials). PNs.  Further reports added counts of another Goldcrest, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Wheatears, 10+ Robins, 10+ Chiffchaffs, 14 Blackcaps and 2 Kestrels. MR.  Earlier viewing of the scrape located 1 Little Stint, a slightly later viewing located the 3 Little Stints - by late afternoon, all three had disappeared again.  The morning survey also gave counts for the scrape and surrounding area of 3 Snipe, 3 Dunlin, 5 Ruff, c100 Lapwings, 1 Shoveler (fem), 18 Wigeon, c30 Teal and c60 Greylag GeesePNs/IM/MR/GG.  The only noted waders on these areas as at the last viewing of the day were the 5 Ruff and 2 Dunlin.  On the sluice rocks at this time, was a Colour-ringed Herring GullGG/MR.    

7th - A mix of sun and cloud-cover today - early sun then again for mid-afternoon onwards.  Variable S through SSE winds - at times very light but up to 14mph at others, alongside some gusting of up to 15mph.  Another day of coastline temperature readings of +15 degrees.  Early Southerly movement gave 1 Redwing, 7 Swallows, 8 House Martins, 6 Greenfinches, 15+ Chaffinches, 30 Meadow Pipits and 45 Linnets (the latter two species over the Golf Course area).  3 Wheatears were viewed along the seawall and singles of both Goldcrest and Curlew were also noted. GG.  On route from the Farm down to the main hide, 2 Chiffchaffs and 60+ Goldfinches were seen and a Tree Pipit* was heard near the Protected Moth Enclosure. PRD.  The trees and bushes through to the hide proved to be much quieter today and supplied just 3 Chiffchaffs that were in with the Tit flock, 2 Blackcaps and 2 Jays (Memorials), while this particular wander gave an additional Wheatear on the mounds and 4 Siskin over.  A Sandwich Tern was a fly-past (N) seen from the sluice and on the sluice itself, was the colour-ringed Herring Gull from yesterday's report. MR.  The scrape and surrounding grazing marsh held 1 Shoveler (fem), 15 Wigeon, c30 Teal and c60 Greylag Geese, 4 Little Stints, 4 Ruff, 6 Snipe, 19 Dunlin and c100 Lapwings, as well as an adult Yellow-legged Gull.  The reeds, thicket and localised scrub yielded a single Linnet, 3 Stonechats and a further 21 Goldfinches. PRD/IM/MR/GG.   

8th - A general weather mix today with quite a clear early start before a mist closed in for a while, then upon this disappearing, the sun came out to yield a glorious morning and early afternoon.  Considerable cloud-cover moved in by mid-afternoon.  SSW winds were of variable speeds 8mph through to 19mph and gusting varied up to c22mph.  A warm day of at least +17 degrees.  Early morning reports (06.30-12.00hrs) gave that the Southerly over-head bird movement was barely worth the mention with just 2 Siskins and 14 Swallows of any note.  Over on the scrape, the 4 Little Stints were still in-situ (inc. colour-ringed) having been seen flying around the area.  3 Chiffchaffs were located, a Sparrowhawk was in the vicinity and 30 Herring Gulls were referenced.  Of particular note (SC), an adult Herring Gull by the sluice briefly this morning, has "pure white primary tips and looks very odd in flight". GG/SC.  A run through the Haven site from the Frinton end (12.15-13.00hrs) in the then pleasant sunny conditions, supplied counts along the seawall route of 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Wheatears, 16 Meadow Pipits, and a Kestrel, while 2 Linnets flew S and an adult Med Gull was sat upon the sea. PBr/SBr.  Further reports for the scrape gave additional Wader sightings of a single Ruff, 2 Dunlin and 116 Lapwings.  8 Wigeon, c30 Teal and c100 Greylag Geese were also in this vicinity.  With at least 3 Sparrowhawks and 2 Kestrels "patrolling the carpark" during the surveys, the bushes were very quiet indeed and yielded just 2 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaff and a Cetti's Warbler that was heard but not seen. PRD/IM/MR.  A Herring Gull with a colour-ring was noted and proved to be a first sighting of this bird since it was ringed in January 2012. SC.

9th - Cooler temperatures during today - reaching just +15 degrees daytime, dropping considerably for the evening.  WSW winds initially varied 7mph through 14mph with gusting of up to 16mph but increased later to 21mph and 26+mph respectively.  Rain appeared early evening.  Several observers visited the site today with the earlier surveys providing counts (Approach Road through to the hide) of 1 Little Owl, 1 Blackcap, 2 Grey Wagtails (over), 3 Chiffchaffs, 4 Jays and 5 Wheatears.  Additions of a Kingfisher, a Reed Bunting, 4 Stonechats (2prs), 8 Goldfinches, 5 Swallows and 1 Kestrel were as viewed from the main hide.  Little Stint numbers had increased this morning to a total of 5, while the rest of the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh held 1 Ruff, 1 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, 4 Snipe, 174 Lapwings alongside 2 Wigeon and 22 Teal. IM/MR.  The sluice rocks yielded a 'new to site' colour-ringed Herring Gull this morning. MR.  A half-hour early afternoon seawatch from the Sailing Club gave nothing of note off-shore and just a single Wheatear moving along the Greensward fencing. KA.  Surveying from 14.00-16.00hrs gave further species counts for the day, of an adult Yellow-legged Gull on the scrape, a male Sparrowhawk, an adult Med Gull that flew S off-shore, a female Merlin that flew in/off (15.45hrs) and over and above the earlier totals, 5 Wheatears that were new late afternoon arrivals along the coastline. A returning colour-ringed Herring Gull was also viewed. SGw/et.al

10th - After a very cool, blustery and rainy night, there was little difference this morning.  W through NW very strong winds of up to 30mph and plenty of additional gusting of speeds up to 39mph, along with continued lower temperature readings of +10 degrees.  On/off rain through into the afternoon with scarce views of blue sky and the sun until well into the afternoon!  At least two observers were out and about during the morning but generally the site failed to provide too much of any particular note.  The 5 Little Stints were still on the scrape as at this survey, together with 1 Snipe, 2 Dunlin, c20 Wigeon, 42 Teal and c100 Greylag Geese.  A Common Buzzard was also viewable from the main hide, as was a returning colour-ringed Herring Gull with a further of these Gulls (C-R) seen on the sluice.  A Tit flock located slightly later near to the Boating Club compound (top of the Service Road) was found to be harbouring 2 Chiffchaffs.  The wildlife side included an Adder (see Gallery) located near to the mounds. IM/MR.

11th - Following another wind and rain battered night, the conditions continued throughout today.  A few slight breaks in the weather but mostly on/off rain (very heavy at times).  Wind direction varied N though NE and whilst the strength lessened occasionally, speeds were mainly of 32+mph and gusting of 38+mph through into mid-afternoon before becoming stronger still - of respective speeds 39+mph and 46+mph, all assisting in a wind chill factor of +5 degrees.  No reports returned.

12th - Generally quite a pleasant day after the high winds had eased - E through ENE initially in excess of 35mph and gusting of c40mph, calming later to c8+mph and 12mph respectively.  Mixed skies with periods of bright sun.  A superb find today by Peter Newson, was that of an OLIVE BACKED PIPIT* located in the sallows near to the toilet block (i.e. trees in the corner closest to the carpark).  Elusive through the morning, the bird showed well on/off during the afternoon with many local and visiting birders managing to get very good views and photographs.  Around the site were reports of a Ring Ouzel (heard in the carpark and later in the ringing compound), 2 Purple Sandpipers were on the sluice, 2+ Med Gulls were milling around off-shore from the Sailing Club and at this point 3 Common Scoters flew N.  During the OBP observations, Redwings (some heard across the carpark/a few over the Dell) and several Brambling were noted for the lower end of site. PNs/PL/PNt/IM/PRD/AD/KA/GG/MR/CA/SC/PC/et.al.  On/off seawatching during the morning by one observer, gave 1 Red-B Merganser* and 2 juvenile Gannets flying N, an Arctic Skua and 9 Common Scoters that flew S, while at c08.00hrs, totals of 124 Redwing and 14 Fieldfares were seen to head out to sea.  On land, 2 Brambling were feeding along the path by the Sewage Farm and a third Brambling flew over. GG.  A 'new to site' colour-ringed Herring Gull was reported today. RL.  Photos of the OBP have been added to the Gallery

13th - Plenty of rain and strong WNW through NW winds began the day but by late morning, the direction had turned to variable N through NNE and the previous speeds of 22+mph (gusting of 28mph) had calmed down to around 10mph but gusting was still high.  On/off rain continued through the day and wind-chill factors were of +6 degrees.  Viewing off-shore this morning was hampered at times with low visibility but gave a Med Gull still around the green buoy opposite the Sailing Club, Teal and Wigeon moving at distance through the rain and mixed flocks (totalling 500+) of Redwings and Fieldfares. PL/AD.  Reported for 13.30hrs, a Woodcock flew in/off. RH.

14th - Rain again to start the day and while this eased to give a brief period of brighter skies, cloud-cover and on/off rain was back in play by 09.30hrs before easing again to leave a mostly cloud-covered day.  S through SSW winds throughout of speeds up to and exceeding 28mph with gusting of 33mph and very cool.  At least two observers were viewing on, from and through to the Frinton end of the site today.  Southerly overhead movement included counts of 20+ Greenfinches, c130 Goldfinches and c40 Swallows, while the seawall and Golf Course areas provided some 60+ Meadow Pipits.  The reedbeds alongside the Course yielded 2 Reed Buntings and 4 Stonechats with the Golf Course itself at the time, holding 2 Wheatears. IM/PRD.

15th - Some weird colouration in the early morning skies but by 08.30hrs mostly grey skies with some distant rays of sun.  Westerly winds - variable up to 15mph with gusting that reached 21mph - later became NNW of speeds up to 23mph and gusting of up to 27mph.  Maximum coastline temperature readings of +12 degrees and a small amount of drizzle occurred during the day.  Several observers were covering the site today and included surveys of the Farm.  Noted counts of morning Southerly passage was of 1 Brambling, 2 Lesser Redpolls, c40 Linnet, c60 Goldfinches, c20 House Martins and c40 Swallows, while the trees, bushes and hedgerows on the main site provided 2 more Brambling (Approach Road. GB.), 2 Blackcaps, 10+ Chiffchaffs, 4 Song Thrush and 10+ BlackbirdsPRD/GB/MR.  The scrape and surrounding area was somewhat void of variety but held 1 Little Stint, 200+ Lapwings, 2 Shoveler, 9 Pintails, 160 Wigeon, 320 Teal and 185 Greylag Geese. MR.  A survey of the Farm gave one observer brief views of a Great Grey Shrike* (c12.15hrs) before it was flushed by 2 Kestrels.  The G.G. Shrike had been seen by the bend in the path near the farm paddocks on the route down to the Golf Course and whilst searching was undertaken, the bird (most likely to have been the earlier bird in/off at Frinton that promptly headed NW) could not be relocated. IM.  Additions at the Farm were a single Wheatear, a late Whinchat and across the arable, 1 Little Owl. PRD/IM/MR.  Further additions for and from the main site gave 2 Wheatears on the seawall N of the sluice, a Barn Owl that flew E from across the road towards the fields N of the Approach Road (13.32hrs), 1 Snipe, a Golden Plover (heard calling in flight), a Brent Goose (S off-shore) and a Sparrowhawk that flew in/off (15.58hrs).  Wildlife notes gave 1 Red Admiral and also a Migrant Hawker Dragonfly. GB.     

16th - A very cool and grey morning with a wind-chill factor of +5 degrees.  Initial NNE winds turned by late morning to E with an increase from the early very light speeds (breeze to 8mph) up to 12mph and gusting of up to 14mph.  Rain was in play before mid-day and continued on/off for the duration and into the night.  At least four observers on site and reports included details from the WeBS count.  Singles of Little Owl, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were noted prior to reaching the hide, while trees, bushes and hedgerows (Dell to Sluice) supplied 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs and a Song Thrush.  A Stonechat was also viewed and c70 Goldfinches were fly-overs. IM/MR.  The information from the WeBS count which includes for the scrape and surrounding area, gave 4 L B B, 4 G B B, 95 Black-headed and 125 Herring Gulls, along with 4 Pintails, 10 Mallards, 170 Wigeon, 185 Teal, 2 Brent and 130 Greylag Geese.  A single Grey Heron, 9 Cormorants, 2 Snipe, 14 Moorhens and 138 Lapwings were also included in the WeBS, as was a Woodcock that by all accounts, this bird (probably fresh in/off) did an immediate about turn at the sight of an observer! SC/PC.       

17th - A brighter and dry dawn break this morning that saw Easterly winds of up to 12mph and some gusting of up to 14mph.  By 08.30hrs - very sunny, mostly blue skies and some grey-tinged cloud - these conditions pretty much continued for the duration.  A few observers were on and around the site through the day.  Seawatching from 08.00-09.00hrs gave just 32 Brent Geese of note (31S+1N), whilst the slabs beneath the seawall (1st turret) slightly later, provided 6 Turnstones. IM.  A Little Grebe was located on the brook near the Memorials, singles of Little Owl and Sparrowhawk were in the vicinity, 3 Chiffchaffs were amongst the bushes and 10+ Swallows flew over. IM/MR.  The scrape and surrounding grazing marsh held no surprises today with the counts being of 1 Little Stint, 2 Snipe, 6 Pintails, c300 Teal, c300 Wigeon and c200 Greylag Geese.  The Kingfisher was viewable again from the hide, as were singles of Stonechat, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier. MR/IM/TS.  A survey at the Farm yielded a Water Rail that was showing very well as it fed by the pond. HE

18th - A very misty and murky morning that even when the mist deigned to lift, basically left the day very cool and very grey apart from a brief period of sun late afternoon.  The initial winds - barely a breeze at times - were SW of speeds up to 11mph with some gusting of up to 14mph.  Direction turned to SSE by the evening with increased speeds of up to 18mph and 22mph respectively.  Two observers surveyed the route from the carpark, through the area by the Memorials and along to the third turret during the morning.  Off-shore movement included 3 Pintails (2 drakes) that originated from the scrape, flew out to sea then headed S, also noted were 75 Brent Geese (4N+71S).  Singles of Little Owl and Reed Warbler (both these by the Memorials), 3 Stonechats and 4+ Reed Buntings were counts for along the walk, as were c50 Greenfinches (flock flying around the Golf Course) and c60 Redwings (fly-overs). IM/PL.  The scrape and surrounding area was viewed during the afternoon and held 2 Snipe, 2 Golden Plovers and 115 Lapwings, along with c100 Wigeon, c200 Teal and 105 Greylag GeeseKingfisher, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier were again viewable - each in singles from the hide. IM.  

19th - Although there were a few sunny periods, the day remained mostly grey with alot of on/off rain.  Several observers were around various areas of the site today.  Two 20 minute seawatching sessions were undertaken between 08.15hrs and 09.15hrs, another hour's watch 08.45-09.45hrs, whilst a further one hour session took place 12.40-13.40hrs.  The initial two sessions gave 1 Eider (drake) that flew N, 2 Sanderlings and c30 probable Knot that flew S, 175+ Brent Geese (S), 20 Wigeon S and a further c40 of these that sat off-shore, whilst other wildfowl was moving distantly.  Fly-overs of 2 Sparrowhawks (together) were noted. SC.  The middle session added 99 Common Scoter and 203 Brent Geese all moving S - from given notes (SC), there was most likely very little, if any, overlap of the counts so a combined total of 378+ Brents. IM.  The early afternoon seawatch yielded 4 Red-B Mergansers (all ducks) close in and flying S, 8 Gannets - being 6N (mixed juvs+ads) and 2S (2xad) and a Skua sp. possibly a L-T. LD. Reported species as viewed from the hide, included 2 Curlew, 4 Dunlin, 16 Snipe, 75 Lapwings, 2 Pintails, c150 (+/-44 on sea) Wigeon, c250 Teal and c200 Greylag Geese.  Over/through were some 15 Swallows, while a Stonechat and a Common Buzzard were in the vicinity, as were +/- 2 Sparrowhawks (poss. the earlier birds)IM.  In and around the ringing compound (07.00-10.30hrs) were 2 of each Blackcap and Chiffchaff (not trapped/ringed) and a female Black Redstart that is now sporting a Haven ring. SC.

20th - A day of on/off heavy rain and at times very bright sun.  Varied wind speeds and considerable gusting at times.  At least three observers on and visiting the site surveyed the areas through to the third turret, including the Golf Course, seawalls and off-shore movement, scrape, grazing marsh, sluice and the trees and bushes near to the Memorials.  The report gave singles of Purple Sandpiper (seawall S of sluice) and Turnstone (on the sluice), 2 Sanderlings (S off-shore) and 30 Snipe (scrape), 1 Shelduck, 5 Pintails, c200 Wigeon, c300 Teal and c150 Greylag Geese - all ducks & geese being on the scrape areas.  A Little Owl was noted, as were 3 Lesser Redpolls (over), 3 Swallows (over), 4 Stonechats (along route to third turret), a flock of 50+ Greenfinches (again on/around the Golf Course) and 3 Sparrowhawks (behind Memorials).  A Ring-tail Hen Harrier* was viewed over the scrape (10.40hrs) and succeeded in creating havoc amongst all the then residing birdlife.  Whilst most probable, this Harrier may or may not have been the same bird as earlier seen to fly S off the Frinton coast and of further note, a Ring-tail Hen Harrier was also seen by birder/s at the Naze as it flew S very early off of that vicinity. PL/IM/GB.  Additional notes further gave 2 Shoveler (scrape), a Siskin heard calling as it flew over (08.35hrs), c20 Linnet (over at 08.40hrs) and of interest, the Hen Harrier was still hunting across the fields (NE of road) as at 12.20hrs, as viewed from the lay-by. GB

21st - Rain was in play (and then intermittent) for a while before the weather settled to give a mix of blue skies and clouds in various shades, all alongside SSW winds of speeds that at times exceeded 28mph with gusting of up to 33mph.  Coastline temperature readings reached +15 degrees - although the wind-chill factor lowered this at times.  Generally, from late morning it was quite pleasant for the time of year.  A survey across the scrape, grazing marsh and fields as viewed from the hide this morning, gave Wader counts of 2 Curlew, 3 Snipe and 188 Lapwings, alongside Duck totals of 3 Pintails, 172 Wigeon and c340 Teal.  The Greylag Geese - on the scrape area and also "gleaning the potato field" - numbered c200.  A single Reed Bunting, 2 Stonechats and 2 Sparrowhawks were also noted within the vicinity.  A scrape reference of "plenty of water now" - ready for those wintering Duck and Goose rarities? MR

22nd - Some strong SSW through S winds this morning with speeds variable 18mph up to 26mph along with gusting of c29mph.  The very bright sun was by 09.30hrs, vying for space amongst a considerable amount of grey cloud that soon resulted in rain - the conditions continued on/off all day.  Not too cold at +15 degrees.  A little bit blustery around the trees and bushes with the Little Owl being noted as "deep inside his hawthorn out of the wind" and who could blame him!  A Chiffchaff was located behind Tariq, while 20 Goldfinches and c30 Chaffinches were fly-overs. The route to the hide gave 3 Teal (S off-shore), c100 Wigeon drifting and sitting on the sea and 2 Little Grebes were on the brook (by wind-pump).  Of note, a large number of very distant passerines were moving S off-shore at this time.  Views across the scrape and grazing marsh yielded 3 Snipe and 92 Lapwings, 3 Pintails, 4 Shoveler, 162 Wigeon and 459 Teal while the Greylag Geese numbered 150+ as viewed from the hide.  The continued route to the second turret gave additions of 2 Stonechats (Protected Moth area), 4 Meadow Pipits and 6 Skylarks - the latter singing upon the appearance of the sun, also singles of both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. MR.  A "wet and uncomfortable seawatch" from the Greensward shelter (11.30-12.45hrs) provided just four species of note but did include that of a Great Northern Diver* flying N and an adult Kittiwake heading S.  Meadow Pipits were Southbound in a steady stream throughout this time and exceeded 100+ birds, while the fourth species was a male Sparrowhawk that flew in/off. LD.   

23rd - Some very heavy pre-dawn rain was followed by intermittent drizzle throughout the morning.  Occasional patches of blue sky could be found between the grey cloud-cover, as at times could a bit of sun!  W through WNW strong winds of variable speeds 21mph up to 36mph and gusting that reached 44mph.  Reading today's report from one observer, the site and off-shore viewing was anything but interesting.  The highlight of the survey was a single Grey Plover that dropped briefly onto the scrape to add to a count of 4 Snipe, 111 Lapwings, 4 Pintails, 4 Shoveler, 180 Wigeon, c400 Teal and 260 Greylag Geese.  Two 'half-hour' seawatch sessions during the visit yielded absolutely nothing to note from either on or over the vast expanse of sea that is viewable from the Haven coastline.  It could be all change again tomorrow! MR.     

24th - After a very cool but dry start to the day, the dawn gave way to blue skies and an extremely bright, dazzling ball of sun!  Initial winds were of WNW in direction with speeds variable from a breeze up to 13mph along with occasional gusting of up to 17mph.  Surveying today took in the site areas from the Dell through to the Golf Course and second turret where in the reedbed by said turret, 2 Bearded Tits* (pair) were located at c12.32hrs.  A Blackcap (Dell), 4 Stonechats (route to Golf Course), 6 Reed Buntings (2xhide+4x Golf Course), c30 Goldfinches, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk and 2 Common Buzzards (latter four species from hide) were within today's counts.  The scrape and surrounding areas yielded 8 Snipe, 3 Shoveler, c100 Wigeon, c200 Teal and 183 Greylag Geese.  On the wildlife side, a Clouded Yellow Butterfly gave the observer some very good viewing near to the hide. IM.  An additional report found an increase of Blackcaps to 3 (2m+1fem) in the Dell area, while 3 Siskins and 2 Redpoll sp. were fly-overs.  A note was made of 'a good passage of Meadow Pipits'.LD.  Further to several enquiries, it must be noted that the report of a Common Rosefinch at the Haven (09.30hrs), as per seen on pager services during the afternoon, was not put out by any member of the Group and the bird has not been accepted by Holland Haven Birding Group for our site records.  The site visitor concerned with this bird (LD), freely entered a written report that does not prove (to HHB) the species 100% beyond reasonable doubt.  HHB declines to add any species that cannot be proven to this degree.        

25th - Rain from early until c09.30hrs, then a few attempts of drizzle on/off during the day but whilst the skies were mostly grey with intermittent blue, it was relatively warm at c+16 degrees.  At least two observers visited the site and subsequent reports included a 15 minute seawatch just prior to 09.00hrs, viewing from the hide, views along the seawall and the trees and bushes, as well as across the fields from the main road lay-by.  Off-shore counts were of a juvenile Gannet (S), 24 Common Scoter (2N+22S) and 19 Brent Geese (6N+13S), while the Ducks and Geese on the scrape numbered 2 Pintail (pair), 2 Shoveler, c150 Wigeon, c250 Teal and 230 Greylag Geese. There were only two Wader species on the reports - these being 3 Turnstones South of the sluice below the seawall and 77 Lapwings on and around the scrape.  Singles of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were noted from the hide and the Little Owl was near to the Memorials. IM/GB.  Additional sightings (from the lay-by) gave a Common Buzzard atop one of the nest boxes and a notable reference to a count of c45 Stock Doves on the actual fields themselves. GB.

26th - Generally a cool day with a mix of blue and grey skies, some cloud and some intermittent but at times extremely bright sun.  At least three observers were on and around the site today with all three of them reporting a 'very quiet Haven'.  Taking the route along to the third turret and including a survey from the hide, fly-overs South of 2 Lesser Redpolls and c50 Goldfinches were the only notable species away from the scrape during this particular wander.  The scrape held no surprises either with counts of 1 Blk T Godwit, 6 Snipe, 6 Shoveler, c200 Wigeon and c300 Teal on and around this vicinity.  Birds of Prey were singles of Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard as viewed from the hide. IM/PL.  An additional report gave 2 Rock Pipits that were briefly on the rocks by the sluice mid-morning. PNs.

27th - Clocks went back an hour during the night.  Quite a warm day throughout with temperature readings reaching +15 degrees and whilst a bit of a bleak, wet start, the rain had more or less stopped by 09.00hrs.  Initial winds were Westerlies of 39mph and gusting reached 48mph.  At least three observers visited the site this morning and also included a seawatching session by two - again though, the site was quiet of birds.  Nothing of any note reported.

28th - After a night of mostly heavy rain, this did at c06.00hrs, ease considerably but gave way to W through WSW extreme (predicted) winds of 52+mph and gusting of 62mph - these alongside surprisingly warm temperatures of +16 degrees.  By 09.00hrs, the winds had increased in speed to read 58mph with fairly constant gusting of 69mph and were at this time, variable WNW through NW.  Direction continued to fluctuate for the duration but by 22.00hrs the speeds were holding at c16mph and 32mph respectively.  Both afternoon and evening saw on/off rain.  (The south of both England & Wales were hit much harder today by storm 'St. Jude').  Site visits made by two observers found that the numerous Teal and Wigeon were happier to shelter in the grassed areas as opposed to being on the open waters of the scrape, whilst actual counts for this vicinity gave 4 Shoveler, 5 Snipe and 17 Dunlin.  A Peregrine and a Common Buzzard were also viewed from the hide during the survey. IM/MR.     

29th - A bright, dry day with mostly WNW winds that varied 14mph through 22mph and gusting of up to 28mph - so much calmer than yesterday's fall-out from St. Jude!  The temperature ranged up to +12 degrees.  Surveying the site today included a one hour morning seawatching session that gave a steady stream of finches and the like and whilst no actual counts were made, the majority of these were Goldfinches along with fewer numbers of Chaffinches, Lesser Redpolls, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks.  Singles of Swallow and House Martin were noted at this time, as were a Curlew and 2 Brent Geese - the latter two species both heading S off-shore.  Other notes during this session were of a large movement (just slightly inland) of Woodpigeons.  A 'cracking' male Sparrowhawk hunting the vicinity was most likely the reason for some very quiet trees and bushes with just the Little Owl sunning himself on his favourite tree.  The continued route to the hide gave a Turnstone on the sluice while Wader species on the scrape were limited to 10 Snipe and 112 Lapwings.  Ducks and Geese during observations from the hide totalled 4 Pintails, 4 Shoveler, c200 Wigeon, c350 Teal and 196 Greylag Geese.  Viewable near and beyond the scrape were 2 Stonechats, a Kestrel and a Marsh Harrier. MR.  

30th - Another very bright, sunny and dry morning, again with moderate wind speeds (13mph-17mph) and gusting of up to 20mph.  The initial wind direction of NW, fluctuated by late morning to WNW.  Probably the coolest start to the day so far this season with the temperature only at +7 degrees as at 08.00hrs and barely at +10 degrees by 11.00hrs.  By 18.00hrs, winds were at SW of 26mph and 31mph respectively.  The first two reports in for today gave two very good birds.  A COMMON REDPOLL (MEALY)* was a low fly-over at 10.05hrs and this bird being 'beyond reasonable doubt' was a first recorded for the Haven site.  Over the years, several 'Redpoll sp.' have erred towards Mealy but until now, none could be confirmed.  A few years ago, HHB started a 'Haven Regulars Prediction List' and yes, a couple of the speculated species have occurred on site since it began.  One standing prediction (until today) was Mealy Redpoll - so well done Pete and any ideas for your next prediction?  While surveying the carpark areas, counts of other species flying S included 4 Siskin, 12 Skylarks, c50 Goldfinches and 50+ Meadow Pipits. PRD.  The report that followed was of a Glossy Ibis* that dropped (10.25hrs) onto the scrape where the bird stayed for literally 'minutes' before taking flight in a NE direction over Frinton.  Prior to and after the Glossy's brief visit, the scrape, surrounding grazing marsh and viewable skyline yielded 1 Little Egret, 1 Blk T Godwit, 108 Lapwings, 1 Gadwall, 3 Pintails, 4 Shoveler, c200 Wigeon, c350 Teal and c200 Greylag Geese, as well as 2 Stonechats, a Sparrowhawk and 3 Common Buzzards.  In front of the hide was a Little Grebe, whilst a second Little Grebe was on the brook by Tariq.  Of note, a Colour-ringed Herring Gull was on the Sewage Farm, 2 Little Owls (1xhedge by main road+1x normal Blackthorn), a Green Woodpecker and a Reed Bunting were on site and 3 Brent Geese were seen to fly inland. MR.  A wander along the route to the Frinton end of site provided 6 Stonechats, a Purple Sandpiper on their rocks (third turret) and 5 Turnstones on the sluice. IM.  Some wildlife reports for today as well, giving 1 very small Adder, 3 Red Admiral Butterflies and 3 Migrant Hawker Dragonflies. MR.  

31st - What a grey, dismal morning!  Drizzle and total grey cloud-cover along with WNW through WSW winds of variable speeds (14mph-33mph & gusting at times up to 39mph) complete with a misty hue and a temperature of barely +11 degrees......... and by 11.00hrs there had been a bit more than just drizzle!!  Conditions remained much the same through the day.  No reports returned.

As at 31st October, the Haven 2013 Year List stands at 176.   

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