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" changed for several species in 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).
Site Year Tick*
1st - After a very warm and mostly dry September, the first day of October proved to be a very mixed one. From grey and overcast, complete with some on/off drizzle (heavier at times) to signs of blue skies and sun, the day overall was another warm one that reached +19 degrees. Early wind speeds reached highs of 22mph with gusting up to 26mph - by the evening these were varying from barely a breeze up to just 3mph and direction of NW/NNW. A site visit (including a ringing session) from 06.30 to 09.00hrs yielded 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler and 2 Reed Buntings, the former not a usual species still to be here come October, however the site has had one Sedge Warbler recorded as late as 22nd October (2008). During this morning's session, there was 'quite a bit of passage evident' with approximate totals given as 1 Sand Martin and 100+ Swallows, c10 Skylarks, 25+ Goldfinch, 40+ Meadow Pipits and 70+ Linnets. Also seen were 2 Stonechats and rounding up the noted species was a Green Woodpecker. SC.
2nd - A day of fairly light winds that varied in speed up to c10mph with some gusting of slightly higher at 12mph. By the early evening, wind direction was holding at SSE. Still fairly warm at +18 degrees today........ considering that it is October! The first report this morning was of 3 Spoonbills* that were seen to fly in/off (high) and continued over the site, maintaining a NW direction at 08.58hrs. Across the scrape, surrounding grazing marsh and the visible skyline - as viewed from the hide - were counts of 1 Dunlin, 1 Ruff, 2 Curlews, 3 Snipe and c100 Blk T Godwits (the latter being very good numbers for the site), also 2 Stonechats and 2 Kestrels, while a Chiffchaff viewed from this point 'almost became breakfast for a Sparrowhawk'. IM.
3rd - Several observers were on and around the site throughout the day. Prior to surveying the trees and bushes, an early look across the water gave 65 Brent Geese flying SW (45+20) while later views added another 4 heading NE. This particular site wander yielded 1 Gt. Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Song Thrush (Sailing Club compound) and 5 Blackbirds, also 2 Cetti's Warblers - both of which showed very well in their respective locations of over the road (opp. Approach Road) and the other by the Dipping Pond (lower carpark, inside the barrier), 3 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs and 12 Goldfinches. The route to the main hide, supplied 1 Wheatear on the sluice, while across the scrape and grazing marsh were counts of 1 Common Sandpiper (on edge of the pond), 2 Ruff, 5 Snipe and a superb count of 112 Blk T Godwits, alongside 184 Lapwings, 18 Wigeon and c40 Teal. MR. Viewed during a lunchtime run along the seawall - from the Frinton end of site to the Radar Tower and back - were 2 Stonechats (1 x second hide + 1 adjacent to Golf Course), 4 Wheatears, 18 Meadow Pipits and our observer I.M. who was heading in a Southerly direction through the site. PBr/SBr. An early afternoon addition to the day's species was that of a Brambling* on the North side of the Approach Road (in sum.plum). DJ. Rounding up the day's reports, a total of 550+ Brent Geese flew SW between 15.00 and 16.00hrs - the largest flock of which held some 120+ birds. PRD.
4th - No reports returned.
5th - No reports returned.
6th - A pretty dismal weather day across the country that proved wet and very windy throughout. Several observers were again on and around the site with reports received for both the main scrape and its surrounding area and also for a 3 hour seawatching session. From the main hide, the Duck count gave 7 Shoveler, 71 Wigeon and 84 Teal, while Waders consisted of 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin (the latter dropped in, then flew out again), 2 Snipe, 75 Blk T Godwits and 160 Lapwings. Also in the vicinity and viewed from this point, were a single Wheatear, 2 Med Gulls, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels and a colour-ringed Herring Gull of note (JX4T) that was last noted at the Haven back in January this year. Located along the beach were 3 Turnstones. MR. The three hour seawatch yielded a Long-Tailed Skua at 09.40hrs and 6 Gannets - both species flying N, 29 Common Scoters and 40 Wigeon all heading S and 36 Brent Geese (33S+3N). IM/GB/PRD.
7th - Early rain and strong WNW winds today, complete with but not surprisingly, lower temperature readings at +14 degrees at best. Wind speeds reached up to 31mph, while gusting exceeded 36mph. There proved to be more movement of Brent Geese during a two hour morning seawatch session with 642 of these flying South. Southerly flight paths were also the case for 4 Gt. Crested Grebes and 50+ Teal, while a Merlin* flew in/off at 09.20hrs, continued over the Greensward and away in a NW direction. IM.
8th - Another very "breezy" day with the variable SW/SSW winds reaching 35mph and gusting that was in excess of 39mph. The overnight heavy rain continued through the morning........ finally easing and giving a fairly pleasant weather break by the middle of the afternoon. No reports returned.
9th - Given yesterday morning's conditions, this morning whilst breezy at times, proved quite bright and fairly warm. The bird of today was a Yellow-browed Warbler* (IM) located by the Dipping Pond (lower carpark, by the main overhead barrier). With the news out quickly, several local observers visited the site soon afterwards to see this YBW and several more from further afield had afternoon views too (until at least 13.20hrs). The Yellow-browed Warbler proved to be elusive at times, flitting through the trees around the localised area but it also put on a very good show at others. IM/PL/MR/AD/LR/PR/SB/DS.
10th - A bright, quite pleasant morning with variable wind speeds. Mid-afternoon saw the intermittent grey clouds become very dark indeed and the then apparent fine rain, quickly became a torrential downpour - the rain was then on/off until c16.15hrs. Overall wind speeds today reached some 26+mph and gusting at times, exceeded 37mph while the temperature settled at +15 degrees. The Yellow-browed Warbler was still on the site as at 07.30hrs this morning (GG) and was reported again for a late morning visit (11.30-13.30hrs SN). The bird was in the Willows around the lower carpark entrance/Dipping Pond. The late morning survey also noted 5 Swallows. GG/SN. Frinton Obs were out for a lunchtime run along the seawall again today from 13.00 to 13.45hrs and reported for the Haven section of this run, were counts of 1 Wheatear, 2 Stonechats of which one was a female/immature type located by the Golf Course and the other being a male, seen above the hide for the main scrape, also 14 Meadow Pipits. Viewing off-shore gave a 2Yr Med Gull that flew S and of interest, the tide was a very 'high tide'. PBr/SBr. An early evening visit (16.30-17.45hrs) after the rain but with on/off appearances by the evening sun, yielded 1 Cetti's Warbler by the Dipping Pond, a Chiffchaff along the Approach Road and a flock of 40+ Goldfinches that flew over/through in a Southerly direction. On leaving site, a small mixed Tit flock was doing the regular circuit from the dipping pond across to the Dell. There was no sign of the YBW during this visit and per observations prior to 16.30hrs of a visiting birder, there had been no sign for a while before - so possibly already moved through or just in its elusive mode. KA.
11th - Hit 'n' miss with the rain today along with variable winds, while at least two observers surveying across the site. One birder spent time searching the bushes between the downpours and found that the Yellow-browed Warbler was still in the vicinity - this morning giving some good on/off views. Slightly further up the site by the Memorials, a Ring Ouzel was an elusive bird but remained along the river until at least the early part of the afternoon. Also in and around the bushes were counts of 2 Cetti's Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 7 Blackcaps, 3 Song Thrush and 10+ Blackbirds, with some 6 Pied Wagtails in the area. Reported visible migration numbers were of the minimum counts that passed through and these consisted of 12 Reed Buntings, 20 Skylarks, 40 Linnets, 50 Meadow Pipits and 150 Goldfinches, as well as 1 Sand Martin (PNt), 5 House Martins and 60 Swallows. The scrape during this survey, was viewed from the first turret and both duck and wader counts appeared much as in recent days. From this point, Birds of Prey were singles of Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrels. MR. Observations across the scrape during the early afternoon, gave a 1W Caspian Gull that was still on this area as at 13.20hrs when the observer left the hide. PRD.
12th - Mostly a bright but slightly chilly morning with some sun which unfortunately gave way to grey skies and rain later in the day. The temperature along the coast finally reached +15 degrees by mid-afternoon but still felt much colder in the cool winds. The E/ENE winds were until mid-day, up to c14mph with gusting of up to 16mph - these increased for the afternoon into evening up to 21mph and 23mph respectively. No reports returned.
13th - Definitely "good weather for the ducks" today....... or rather for Skuas past the Haven. Initial SE winds turned to become S winds by the early evening with speeds throughout the day reaching 31+mph along with gusting at times in excess of 38mph. The temperature held at mostly +15 degrees. A morning survey in the torrential rain consisted of a seawatch from 09.00 to 11.30hrs (with the drenched observer trying to keep sheltered as much as possible by the Sailing Club). There was not much too actually see out there, although a Bonxie* (Gt. Skua) flying SW was an addition to the Haven 2014 Year List. A juvenile Gannet and 364 Brent Geese also headed SW. MR. An afternoon visit and subsequent observations out to sea, added another 5 Bonxies - these all between 13.00 and 15.00hrs, while at 15.00hrs, a Pomarine Skua flew S past the Haven. PRD. Across the scrape and surrounding vicinities - as viewed from the hide this morning..... while drying out from the rain - were a single Cetti's Warbler singing to the left of the hide, an adult Med Gull flying over the arable with the Blk Headed Gulls, 2 Swallows over the scrape and 6 Cormorants. Waders included 1 Redshank, c10 Snipe and c25 Blk T Godwits, while the Ducks consisted of 1 Shelduck, c20 Mallards, c30 Wigeon and c130 Teal. Alongside a Chiffchaff and a Jay of note along the Approach Road were several Blue and Great Tits. The return to seawatching after the rain (12.45 - 15.15hrs) and besides the aforementioned Skuas, added 3 Med Gulls (2ad+imm), 10 Common Scoters (S) being 7+2+1, some 20+ Gannets (ads+juvs+intermediate plums) and flocks of Brent Geese (S) that numbered c875. GB.
14th - While the rain was again in play today, it was on/off and not nearly as bad as yesterday. The winds (holding at NW by the evening) reached speeds throughout the day of c18mph and gusting up to c21mph. Fairly warm given that its now mid-October, at +16 degrees. At least four observers were on and around the site at various times today. Seawatching from 07.45 to 09.45hrs gave only a few species but the counts for Brent Geese were high and the first hour produced some 5870 of these, while the overall total for the duration was 6640 - all South. Also flying S, were of note 2 Oystercatchers, 3 Cormorants and a flock of c50 Goldfinches. A Curlew and 1 Shelduck were the only Northbound birds during this survey. MR/IM. Searching the main bushes (09.15hrs) on site yielded 1+ Ring Ouzels and before the end of this survey there were some 4+ of these in the area, as well as a Brambling. The walk to the Golf Course supplied 3 Whinchats by the 'dump' (part way along the path by the Course). PRD. A fair amount of time was spent surveying the Memorials area from where the views can be had across the lower fields beyond the carpark and of course the 'New Pool/mini scrape' the other side of the brook. With Thrush and Finch species moving in good numbers, this area added another 3 Song Thrushes, 14 Redwings and 25+ Blackbirds to the day's reports, along with 8 Robins, also 8 Greenfinch, 10 Chaffinch and a further 20 Goldfinches. This busy little area also held 1 Kingfisher, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Reed Buntings and 5 Blackcaps, while one of the 2 Cetti's Warblers was here too (other by Dipping Pond, lower carpark). Fly-overs and through were 3 Swallows and singles of Kestrel and Common Buzzard, with the New Pool yielding 2 Common Gulls amongst the mix of Herring Gulls, Blk Headed Gulls and some 40+ Lapwings. MR. An afternoon cycle/walk from the Frinton end, through the Golf Course (via public footpaths) to the Farm and the return journey - 14.15 to 15.30hrs - added another Ring Ouzel (making 5+ on the site at least today). This bird was along the hedgerows to the rear of the Golf Course/edge of field, a vicinity that also supplied 6 Blackbirds, 8 Song Thrush and 14 Redwings. The Farm Pond and Paddock areas gave 1 Kestrel, 4 Chiffchaffs and an additional 4 Redwings, 6 Blackbirds and 11 Song Thrushes of note, while the bridle path added 1 Wheatear and 8 Linnets. PBr. An additional report gave a Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Goldcrests and a Sparrowhawk for the Approach Road Wood area, also singles of both Green and Gt. Spotted Woodpeckers (latter near the Sluice Cottages), while close off-shore were 2 ad Med Gulls among c6 Blk Headed Gulls. On the Wildlife side, the site held of particular note, 1 Clouded Yellow (14.15hrs past the Cottages), 1 Peacock, 3 Comma and c5 Red Admiral Butterflies as well as several Common Darter and quite a few Migrant Hawker Dragonflies. GB. Of particular interest to some: Kent had 550+ Ring Ouzels reported for Dungeness today on RBA and many more sites around Kent had other high numbers recorded. Up and down the coastline saw many more reports for these birds too but none as high as for Kent.
15th - The initial N winds on a very misty, murky morning turned only a few hours later to NE with overall speeds being from barely a breeze up to 11mph, while some extra blasts came through at up to c14mph. The wind direction turned again by late afternoon - to SSE, of similar speeds for a while, increasing to 16mph and 18mph respectively. The coastline temperature was cool to start but did reach +14 degrees... eventually. A few birders visited the site through the morning and both the trees and hedgerows during this time, yielded 1 Firecrest (PL), 1 Goldcrest and 1 Brambling, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Cetti's Warblers (Over Road+Dipping Pond+Memorials), 1 Ring Ouzel (PL), 5 Song Thrush, 15 Redwings and 4 Swallows. PL/MR/IM. Two of the observers moved on to the main hide and their survey from this point yielded 1 Common Sandpiper, 24 Blk T Godwits, c100 Lapwings, 3 Shoveler, 112 Wigeon and 120 Teal across the main scrape and surrounding marsh, while singles of Little Owl, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were also seen. A site year tick was of 2+ Bearded Tits* that "moved along the reeds in front of the hide". PL/MR. A wander towards the second hide gave 4 Stonechats in the immediate area. PL.
16th - After rain through the night and into early morning, the day progressed to be a mix of on/off blue skies and various shades of cloud with the temperature reaching +16+ degrees along the coast. Changeable winds from W through WNW round to SW by the early evening. Variable speeds from c13mph up to 25mph with gusting variable up to 27mph. An afternoon visit (12.30-15.25hrs) supplied the observer with noted counts for around the site of 1 Kingfisher, 1 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and 2 male Stonechats, also 1 Common Sandpiper (scrape) and a Peregrine. BL. A further report, this from a morning visit, gave 2 Kestrels flying together 08.55hrs by the Radar Mast, while a Common Buzzard (pale individual) was atop a post N of the hide and a Sparrowhawk flew over S (11.20hrs). The field by the Approach Road Wood held 1 Little Owl and the wood itself, 1 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrests and a Green Woodpecker, while a Ring Ouzel was in the hawthorns as viewable from the platform by the memorials. Some 2+ Chiffchaffs were on noted at this time and 2+ Cetti's Warblers were again on site (Dipping Pond+ Memorials + the same or a third bird behind Sluice/below Ringing area). Several Swallows flew S. GB. Additional reports yielded 2 Ruff, 5 Curlew, 9 Snipe, 44 Blk T Godwits, 5 Shoveler, c200 Wigeon and c300 Teal across the scrape, with a count of 2 Common Buzzards at this time and 4 Stonechats from the main hide (the latter possibly including some of the 4 seen by the second hide PL). IM/MR. Also by the second hide were 3 Whinchats (PL) while the site generally added 1 Grey Wagtail, a 'good movement of finches' including 300+ Goldfinches. Noted for off-shore were just a few Brent Geese. IM/MR/PL. Wildlife notes gave 2 Clouded Yellow Butterflies, 2 Adders and 2 Stoats for which the latter were seen as they 'ran across the track' on the way to the mounds. MR.
17th - Initial W/NNW winds turned later in the day to SSW and speeds were variable from at times very light up to some 18+mph throughout with gusting - mostly early morning - reaching in excess of 23mph. The temperature rose by mid-day to +16 degrees (warmer inland) on a generally bright and often sunny day. Surveying just prior to mid-day found a small flock of Bearded Tits (MR) amongst the reeds by the Golf Course 'dump' (circa third of the way along the path adjacent to the golf course). At least 4 birds were in the reeds with the possibility of there being 6, further to two birds seen flying into the reedbed slightly later by another birder. Further surveying and a subsequent report confirmed that there were at least 6 Bearded Tits. MR/PBr. During the rest of a 'run/twitch' in from the Frinton Obs, counts of 2 Whinchat and 4 Stonechats were found to be in the same vicinity as the Beardies, while a single Wheatear was by the Raised Golf Tee (the one on the seawall) and some c12 Meadow Pipits were along the seawall. PBr. The trees and bushes generally on the site appeared quiet of birds, however the route from the main to the second hide (5) and along the Golf Course (4+) gave some 9+ Stonechats (inc. those previously mentioned). The Frinton end of the site definitely proved to yield more during this visit with further counts being of 5 Reed Buntings, 12 Skylarks, 20 Meadow Pipits (+/- the previous 12), c40 Linnets (over), c150 Goldfinches (over) and 2 Common Buzzards that were along the rear hedges of the site. MR.
18th - A little bit breezy at times but otherwise quite a warm, pleasant day with sunny periods until late afternoon when brief showers appeared. Seawatching from 08.15 to 10.15hrs provided one observer with noted counts of a Velvet Scoter* and 14 Common Scoters (S), 15 Wigeon also South, while of 5 Gannets, 3 flew S and 2 went N. IM. Viewed from near to the Memorials at c10.39hrs was a Ring Ouzel. MR. A visit to the Frinton end of site (by the Golf Course) this afternoon, yielded at least 3 Bearded Tits, singles of Wheatear and Stonechat, 3 Whinchats, 3 Skylarks and 20+ Meadow Pipits. LH.
19th - After rain during the night and into the morning until c09.30hrs, the grey clouds gave way to mostly blue skies and sun. Again a fairly warm day (up to +18 degrees) with wind speeds reaching 29mph along with gusting of up to 33mph - by the evening the direction was variable of WSW through W. A joint report from two observers today, included a two hour seawatching session and also surveying across the main scrape, surrounding grazing marsh and skyline per viewing from the main hide. From 08.00 until 10.00hrs the off-shore movement - with the exception of 11 of the Brent Geese (N) - was all in a S direction. The counts gave 1 Pomarine Skua (PL), 1 Pintail (drake), 2 House Martins, 14 Knot, 20 Dunlin and 27 Brent Geese. Noted counts and species from the time spent in the hide consisted of 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 47 Blk T Godwits, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Med Gull (both Gulls: Adult Winter), 7 Canada Geese, also 3 Stonechats, 12 Swallows, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Marsh Harrier (ad male) and some 4 Common Buzzards. IM/PL.
20th - A pleasant dawn break today followed by blue skies and sun through the morning, although intermittent grey clouds factored from mid-day into the early afternoon. The Westerly winds proved strong at up to 25mph with gusting exceeding 30mph and succeeding in making the temperature of +15 degrees feel much colder in reality. At least four observers were on the site at various times during the morning and into the early afternoon. Adding to the Haven 2014 Year List was a Rough-legged Buzzard* that was seen to fly SW over the scrape/along the marsh (as viewed from the main hide) at 12.38hrs. IM/MR. A Peregrine was another noted bird of prey - located on the NW fields. RB. A morning survey from 08.00 to 10.30hrs yielded 1 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 55 Lapwings and 57 Blk T Godwits, 4 Shoveler, 25 Mallards, 150 Wigeon and 175 Teal, along with 7 Canada and 275 Greylag Geese. Totals for the Gull species consisted of 1 G B B, 2 L B B, 140 Herring and 160 Black-headed at this time. Also noted on this report were singles of Cetti's Warbler and Chiffchaff, 3 Stonechats, c20 Meadow Pipits, c30 Linnet and c35 Goldfinch. SC. For those of you who may be new to birdwatching and with reference to the regular 'Waterbird' counts made (usually) on a particular date at vast numbers of various sites each month - opposed to the almost daily reports from observers for the likes of Holland Haven. These 'once a month' counts are known as 'WeBS' (aka the Wetland Bird Survey) and are carried out by volunteer observers who are also those birders that survey the sites on a normal and sometimes daily basis. While we normally include our WeBS data within our Haven monthly sightings, we also have some previous data on our WeBS pages. Should you decide to explore the BTO website, you will find WeBS and many other surveys explained in detail.
21st - On/off rain through the night and through today as well but not quite the constant amount that had been originally predicted for this area. With the tail end of 'Hurricane Gonzalo' still battering the UK, more or worse conditions could of course occur tonight and/or tomorrow. Mostly NW extremely strong winds of some 40+mph with gusting of at least 55mph along the coastline by 20.15hrs (108mph winds recorded elsewhere in UK today). A variation of blue and grey skies, at times the dark rain clouds and a temperature that was definitely cooler than of late! No reports returned.
22nd - After a blustery night, the dawn brought bright skies and sun. Temperatures this morning being more in line with the time of year, a cool +8 degrees, while the NW winds varied c17mph through 25mph with gusting up to 32mph along the coast. An initial visit over the road (Opp. Approach Road) this morning found that the cleared ditches yielded a Grey Heron, 3 Little Egrets and 6 Moorhens while 'a steady stream' of Stock Doves and Wood Pigeons flying over was evident at this time. MR. Together with two other observers, the Greensward shelter was where off-shore viewing took place, providing little of great interest but included a few Brent Geese, 2 Purple Sandpipers and 3 Turnstones (N), along with a small finch movement (S) comprising mostly Goldfinches with some Greenfinch and Chaffinch and also a few of both Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. A Tree Sparrow* was a brief encounter on heading back past the bushes by the Sailing Club Compound - the bird perched just long enough to give good views before taking flight. A Grey Wagtail flew over, a Cetti's Warbler was again by the Dipping Pond (lower carpark), 2 Goldcrests (PL) were amongst the carpark bushes, a Stonechat was located on the mounds (on route to the sluice) and the later return to the carpark from the main hide, added a Fieldfare that was on the wires over the area. A Kingfisher was seen from the hide, as were a Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrels, 1 S E O and a Marsh Harrier - the latter two birds being flushed from the marsh by a 'work party' walking onto this vicinity. Of note for on and across the scrape were a single Dunlin (in/out), 2 Snipe and c30 Blk T Godwits, alongside 6 Shoveler and very many Teal, Wigeon and Greylag Geese. The reported estimate of some 8000+ Wood Pigeon during this morning's survey, also included 'up to 10%' of this number, being Stock Doves. MR/IM/PL. (Of interest: Vast totals of Wood Pigeons were seen and counted right across Essex and further afield today - both along the coastline and inland - from early a.m. throughout).
23rd - Not such a bright morning today with patchy blue and cloudy skies but some on/off sun. Slightly warmer again with coastal temperature readings of +13+ degrees, while the WSW winds still erred on the strong side at up to 22mph and additional gusting being of up to 25mph. By late evening the wind direction was variable SW through SSW. Two observers carried out a seawatching session from 07.45 to 10.15hrs this morning, reporting ten species of note. Singles of Curlew and Whimbrel flew S, as did 2 Grey Plovers, c80 Dunlin, a Red-breasted Merganser, 14 Common Scoter, 22 Shelducks, 80 Brent Geese and 1 Gannet, while a further 29 Brents and 4 Gannets headed N. The tenth species at this time being 2 Swallows (S). MR/IM. An afternoon wander into the site from the Frinton end and some more off-shore viewing, yielded another 4 Swallows, 2 Curlew and 203 Brent Geese that all flew S and another 12 Brents that headed N. Additional species were of 5 Cormorants also flying S, while on the 'Purple Sand' rocks (by the third turret from the Holland end) were in fact, a count of 4 Purple Sandpipers. IM.
24th - Mostly a grey and overcast day (with some rain) but coastline temperatures were around +14+ degrees. Initial SSW winds moved through to being Westerlies by the evening and the variable speeds of 5mph up to 24mph eventually dropped to c4mph for the latter part of the day. Gusting until early afternoon reached strengths of up to 27mph. A seawatching session was held again this morning by three observers, yielding of note 1 Shelduck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Redshank, 20 Dunlin and 232 Brent Geese heading S and a further 16 Brents and a Med Gull that flew N. IM/PL/MR. The Farm and surrounding area - during an afternoon wander and survey - provided 2 Stonechats and c20 Red-legged Partridges, while a S E O was viewed as it hunted the fields between the second hide on the main site and the Golf Course. IM.
25th - A fairly mild and mostly sunny day, although the W/WSW winds at times reached up to 23mph and the additional gusting reached some 28mph. Coastline temperatures of +15 degrees - only slightly warmer inland. An initial wander into the site from the Frinton end gave 3 Stonechats and c200 Goldfinches over/through. Generally quiet at this time. IM. From 10.30 to 12.30hrs, during a survey along the seawall by the Golf Course, there were noted movements of Mipits and Starlings, with further passage of Goldfinches. Some 30+ Meadow Pipits were moving S in 3's and 4's, 320+ Starlings were variable flocks of 20 - 200 flying in/off, while the 50+ Goldfinches were Southbound in small flocks. Also viewed were 13 Linnet, singles of Green Woodpecker, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Purple Sandpiper. Grey Herons in the vicinity numbered 3. LH. An afternoon visit to the Farm and a walk down to the Golf Course (using Public Footpaths) yielded a Cetti's Warbler that was located in the 'bottom right-hand corner' of the Course. IM.
26th - Clocks changed over night - back by one hour. After the brilliant colours of dawn this morning....... the skies definitely went downhill quickly, leaving grey-tinged cloud cover across the local area for the rest of the day. For the most part, the wind direction varied little from SW with speeds up to 27mph and gusting of up to c29mph. A Ring Ouzel was the first report this morning (07.44hrs) and was one of eight different species - that also included 2 Goldcrests - during a full morning's Ringing Session. Whilst the Ring Ouzel is now recorded annually here, the last of this particular species to be trapped and ringed on the Haven site was previous to 2009. Between 06.00 and 12.30hrs, additional sightings were noted of 1 adult Med Gull, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers (S) and also c250 Starlings of which some 200 of these were in a single flock that flew in/off. SC/PC. (Our 'Ringing Activities & corresponding Totals' pages will be updated upon Gary's return from Fair Isle).
27th - Another grey start to the morning with more Southerly winds at SSW - of which speeds prior to 07.00hrs being variable up to 21mph and gusting of up to 25mph but slightly less than this at times inland. Coastline temperature readings at this time were of +14 degrees (later +15+). The sun - as forecast - did appear and the day generally was very bright and pleasant with the winds turning progressively to S. An afternoon cycle ride in from the Frinton end, complete with both daughters and granny in tow, gave nothing out of the ordinary, however gunshots (it is mostly farm land after all) put up all the birds from the vicinity of the scrape and grazing marsh. The counts at this time included 2 Curlew, 6 Redshanks, 6 Snipe, 42 Lapwings, 52 Blk T Godwits, 80+ Wigeon, c100 Brent and c160 Greylag Geese. During this time there were also 4 Stonechats (2x Golf Course+2x Grazing Marsh) and 14 Meadow Pipits noted, along the beach were 2 Turnstones, a Common Buzzard was viewed distantly and finally, a Barn Owl was seen just as all were leaving the site. PBr&co.
28th - A bright and colourful sunrise this morning with some areas affected by variable degrees of fog - with fog hanging between the fields and the tree-tops, ideal for camera shots but no camera to hand! Apart from some grey skies by mid-morning, the sun was on/off throughout while wind direction proved S/SSW and of speeds up to c17mph. A walk and subsequent survey along the route to the third turret gave notable views of 1 Turnstone and a count of 7 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks below the seawall. IM.
15th to 25th: NOT the Haven but an update from some of our team who are currently on Fair Isle. The journey up gave them Booted Warbler and Siberian Stonechat at Torness Point, followed by Blue Throat and Barred Warbler on Shetland. Fair Isle has so far given them sightings that have included Yellow-browed Warbler, Little Bunting, Red-throated Pipit, Firecrest (very rare for Fair Isle) and Olive-backed Pipit. Ringing both a Woodcock and a Great Grey Shrike (GG) were considered a birthday treat for one of our ringing team. Monday night saw the expectation of gale force 8 winds - increasing to storm force 10 for Fair Isle and 'outside birding' looked very doubtful for the Tuesday. Grey Cheeked Thrush - found by Gary (GG) - was a superb addition to the list. "Stormed in" on Saturday (25th), a Grey Phalarope was viewable from the Obs. window. PNt/GG/CJ/PRD.
NB: A reminder to ALL that both the Holland Haven Country Park and the Naze carparks are now on Winter Closing Times until next April/May. Official locking up time is 18.00hrs (6pm).
NB: Whilst it is endeavoured to update this & other associated pages on a daily basis, please bear in mind that work & other commitments may & do at times delay these updates. At all times & wherever you are birding, should you know you are viewing a good bird for the site, area or even country, please try to inform other birders asap by whatever means available - including if the bird takes flight from where you have been observing it. (The latter can save unnecessary journeys for many). If you do not have a contact for any of the area’s local birders then the likes of the Pager services will assist & if deemed, they will release the news.