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" 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). 

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

Site Year Tick*


1st- A slightly grey look to the early morning but dry with some NNW variable winds.  Mid to late morning saw attempts of drizzle.... from then on in, it was on/off heavy downpours before a brighter evening ensued...... for a little while!  Winds had turned to ENE before 19.00hrs.  A few observers on the site today - covering the area over the road (opp. Approach Road), the Dell and the surrounding carpark areas initially.  Although "it was clear that most of the migrants" from the weekend had moved through, there were still singles of Blackcap and Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers and a few of both Lesser and Common Whitethroats, Greenfinch and Chaffinch around, as well as some 30+ Goldfinches.  By the Boating Club Compound (near to Sluice Cottages) a Garden Warbler was located.  Moving on to the main hide, the observers were presented with views of a Honey Buzzard (11.35hrs) that flew through in an Easterly direction towards Frinton.  This bird was the second of this species over the site within the last four days.  A Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels and 7 Common Buzzards were also noted during this time in the hide.  Across the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh were counts of 1 Avocet, 1 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Snipe and 66 Blk T Godwits with Lapwings being much as in recent days.  A total of 4 Grey Herons were in-situ, as were 4 Wigeon, 4 Shoveler, c100 Teal and 157 Greylag Geese.  It was also noted that a "large number of" Swallows, Sand and House Martins and 4+ Swifts were all on the move, while the return wander to the Sluice, found 4 Wheatears located between the sluice and first turret. PRD/TS/MR.  A break in the afternoon rain gave the chance for a ringing session - within which the species included Whinchat, Sand Martin and Swallow amongst others, one of the Swallows being of particular interest.  Seen in the vicinity generally at the time were at least 2 Whinchats and c100 Swallows, while a Little Grebe was with its 2 chicks. SC/PC.

2nd - A very cool start this morning with variable cloud-cover against blue skies and winds moving NW through N.  A later change of direction took the very brisk winds to ENE and again there was on/off rain today.  Surveying this morning on site, 2 Garden Warblers were the highlights, while 2 Whinchats and a few overhead Siskins also made the notebooks.  The bushes in general held "double figure counts" of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Lesser and Common Whitethroats. PRD/MR.  Of particular note there were 3 S E O's viewed to the right of the main hide at 16.47hrs, which then became a count of 4 when another S E O flew in "from high over Frinton, in front of the shower" at 16.57hrs.  For good measure, a Barn Owl was also visible by 17.19hrs. DP.  A late evening visit (cycling in from the Frinton end with the kids), added singles of Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard to the day's listings, while 2 S E O's and a Barn Owl were still visible (hunting), there were at this time at least 8 Whinchats (second hide/Golf Course edge), a single Wheatear along the Seawall, c100 Swallows feeding over the site, also a single Swift and off-shore, heading N were 4 Cormorants. PBr&Co.

3rd - Grey skies and another cool start which pretty much continued through the day.  There were a few sunnier spells but these were definitely hit 'n' miss with the on/off drizzle and rain.  Variable winds in both strength and direction - WNW through NNW initially, then more N/NNE with sudden gusts coming from W as well.  A visit to the main hide during the morning, observed amongst others 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Ruff (these flew off 10.48hrs), 13 Snipe, 52 Blk T Godwits and 88 Lapwings, 5 Shoveler, 5 Wigeon, 104 Teal and some 222 Greylag Geese.  Also reported were singles of Kingfisher, Cetti's Warbler (heard in front of the hide), Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier and 3 Kestrels.  A wander to the second hide gave 3 Whinchats, 4 Wheatears and views of an adult Little Grebe feeding one chick. MR.  Surveying during a drizzly late afternoon, provided of note, a Spotted Flycatcher by the Golf Course workshops, 2 Whinchats by the Golf Course Dump and on/over the grazing marsh were a single Barn Owl and 3 S E O's. PRD.    (Please be advised that any surveying in the Golf Course areas are carried out from Public Footpaths.  At all times beware of both Golfers on & Golf Balls on/over the Course, especially when crossing the Public Path across the Golf Course itself. Thank you). 

4th - While 'Summer' never really seemed to happen this year, the 'Autumn' chilly mornings are most definitely here!  Early morning wind direction being variable WNW through NNW and some patchy blue skies just after dawn break.  Surveying today found that much was per recent days.  Counts across the main scrape and the surrounding area gave a single Common Sandpiper, 2 Ruff (these being different birds to yesterday), 5 Snipe, c70 Lapwings, a rise in the number of Blk T Godwits to 74, along with 5 Wigeon, 8 Shoveler, c100 Teal and c200 Greylag Geese.  On the cut fields looking towards Frinton, there were 19 Curlew of note.  Located near the first turret were 2 Wheatears, while 2 Whinchats held positions between the main and second hides.  A colour-ringed Herring Gull was seen and noted for the scrape and another was viewed on the Sluice Rocks. MR.  An evening visit for a ringing session proved to view a Swift, 1 Sand and a few House Martins, as well as c50 Swallows.  Also on/over the site were singles of Hobby and S E O, 6 Ruff flew in over the seawall and towards the scrape, while a large flock of c2000 Gulls (predominantly Black-headed) were situated on the field "beyond the scrape and below the main road" which was being ploughed at the time. SC.

5th - A few hours spent this morning on the site by two of the ringing team gave of note a S E O and a Golden Plover, while the ringing session included amongst others, Lesser and Common Whitethroats, Blackcap, Reed Bunting and both Reed and Sedge Warblers. PNt/LW.

6th - A "nice and calm" evening saw singles of S E O and Sparrowhawk in the vicinity during a ringing session but while there were c40 Swallows in the area, only a few made their debut into the Haven log books. SC

NB: For those new to birding, please be aware that the ringing sessions at the Haven are all undertaken under strict guidelines and of most importance is the bird's welfare.  All the records are noted in set and particular procedures and these records not only allow the Haven Ringing Team to monitor the passage of the various species on this site but the records also go towards the 'bigger picture' of where the birds migrate to, from and via which counties and countries, as well as many other factors including those to do with breeding, feeding, plumage and whether particular species are growing in numbers world-wide or in too many cases, where the species is in fact, in danger of becoming extinct.  The ringing of birds must only ever be carried out by those licensed to do so.

7th - A bit grey and overcast this morning with variable N through NE winds but the sun did make appearances during the day.  A few species per those of recent days were located around the bushes and again the scrape holding similar counts and species for that area.  Of particular note, a S E O was in close vicinity. MR.   

8th - A very bright early morning with variable winds NNW through NNE of light to moderate speeds with gusting of up to c18mph.  A survey of the trees and bushes on the wander through to the main hide, yielded similar again to yesterday with a few of each Blackcaps, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warblers and the odd Chiffchaff.  A Wheatear was also seen near to the first turret.  Visible from the hide were counts of 3 Med Gulls, 2 Ruff, 3 Curlew, 9 Snipe, 40 Blk T Godwits and 88 Lapwings, as well as 5 Shoveler, 6 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 25 Canada and 300+ Greylag Geese.  Singles of Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard and 4 Kestrels were in the area. IM/MR

9th - An early survey this morning (06.15-08.45hrs) yielded of particular note, singles of Reed Warbler, Cetti's Warbler (the latter singing in the fleet beyond reed-beds), Whinchat, Common Buzzard, Barn Owl and S E O.  A single Swallow was also on the report. SC.

10th - Of particular note this afternoon (14.15hrs) a Pied Flycatcher was located in the car park bushes. PRD.

11th - Surveying from 06.20 to 09.10hrs yielded from an initial sea watch, a count of just 4 Common Scoter and 7 Brent Geese, while the scrape and surrounding area held singles of Common Sandpiper and Redshank, 2 of each Ruff and Snipe, 46 Blk T Godwits and 81 Lapwings, along with 4 Shoveler, 6 Wigeon, 41 Teal, 2 Canada and 256 Greylag Geese.  Also noted around the site at this time were a Cetti's Warbler that was singing near to the viewing platform and 2 Common Whitethroats by the toilet block/the Dell. SC.  During a late afternoon wander, a single Redstart* (c16.46hrs) SW of the toilet block - was joined by a second Redstart within half an hour. PRD

12th - Day One of the annual Triathlon from/at the Haven site and Paul (PBr) aka Frinton Obs was again taking part in the activities.  Counts and species reported from 06.30 to 16.00hrs included 1 Wheatear on the seawall and a Hobby over the Golf Course on the early ride in from the Frinton end, 7 Yellow and 17 Pied Wagtails on the Greensward, slightly later were 2 Fulmars - individual birds both heading S (PBr/PL), 9 Cormorants (5N+4S) and also 6 Sandwich Terns (S).  Brighter weather saw more Southerly passage that included 3 Gannets - individual birds, all 1cy, 3 Yellow Wagtails and another 4 Sandwich TernsSwallow passage was noted as "picked up, peaking at c200/ hour early p.m".  Swallow totals S during the day were estimated at 600+ while some 14 Sand Martins were counted.  Also viewed throughout the day were singles of S E O and Sparrowhawk, 2 of each Kestrel and Common Buzzard, 2 Redstarts (1x Dell/t-block + 1x RBS bush by Golf Course) and a few adult Med Gulls were seen to fly S then head inland towards a freshly ploughed field just W of the main 'marshes' road.  Very brief views were had of a probable Red Kite over this same field too. PBr. 

13th - Day Two of the Triathlon events which apart from continued participation by family 'Brayshaw', the day saw many of our Haven observers on and around the site from c07.00hrs throughout.  A variety of species today including that of a probable Audouin's Gull seen in flight heading NE by Pete Davis (PRD) from the Haven at c13.30hrs and then further to a very quick phone call to Paul Br. at Frinton - the bird was seen off the Frinton coast (see NB*).  Between 07.00-12.30hrs during triathlon events, counts were of 6 Wheatears along the seawall, a single S E O over the grazing marsh, 144 noisy Greylag Geese that flew onto the scrape, slightly later a Blk T Godwit and some 46 Curlew took flight from the scrape, while a Common Sandpiper was located on the rocks along the front and 2 Mute Swans flew S.  Prior to cloud-cover c10.00hrs, overhead Southbound passage was 'very busy' with totals of 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Swift, 2 Meadow Pipits, 5 Grey Wagtails, 144 Siskin (and many more heard but not seen), 320 House Martins and 921 Swallows.  A Redpoll sp. was 'heard only' during this time.  Noted for the Dell were singles of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and 3 Redstarts (1x male+2fem). PBr.  Further reports from surveying the trees and bushes around the site gave totals of 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrests, 2 Garden Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 6+ Willow Warblers, 7 Blackcaps, 8 Lesser Whitethroats, an increase to 4 Redstarts, a further 2 Yellow Wagtails and also 2 Kingfishers.  There were 2 Hobby viewed over the site, while seen from the main hide was a Common Buzzard.  Of particular note across the scrape area at this time were a Common Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 4 Snipe, 35 Blk T Godwits, 2 Shoveler, 2 Med Gulls and c300 Greylag Geese. IM/PL.  A Spotted Flycatcher was another addition to today's birds - located along the Approach Road. MR.

*NB: Audouin's Gull 2yr - seen by PRD as it flew past the Haven site, Pete's quick call to PBr resulted in PBr picking up this bird and having "very good views of the bird (at c200m range) as it moved North, briefly sitting on the sea, past Frinton. ......I (PBr) am more than happy from the views that I had that this was a 2yr Audouin's Gull and intend to submit as such. Pete (PRD)......came to the same I.D. independently".   Upon acceptance of PBr's submission, this Gull will be added to the HHB site listing.

14th - No reports returned. 

15th - A few observers visited the site today - reporting on two of the site's areas.  Surveying the Approach Road areas gave of particular note, some six species - with counts being is 1 Pied and 1 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Firecrest, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests and 6+ Willow Warblers. PL/IM/MR.  Viewing across the scrape from the main hide, yielded a single Snipe, 2 Dunlin, 7 Ruff, 13 Blk T Godwits, 4 Shoveler, 13 Wigeon, c50 Teal, c100 Greylag Geese and a single Med Gull.  Returning to the Haven site was a colour-ringed Herring Gull (amongst the other Herring Gulls on the scrape today), while seen to be having a look at the scrape before heading NE were 2 Sandwich Terns...... they obviously didn't fancy a Haven stop-over! PL/MR

16th - Surveying during mid-morning, located of note, a single Redstart near to/along by the Sewage Farm. PRD. 

17th - Morning surveys and a Ringing Session took place today.  During the period 07.15 to 11.45hrs, counts of 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrests were included amongst others. SC.  Reported at 11.10hrs was that a Spoonbill was on the scrape. TS. 

18th - A few observers were again on site and a Ringing Session (albeit a quiet one) also took place.  Observations between 06.30 to 08.30hrs did note "quite a strong passage" with approximate totals of c15 Reed Buntings, c50 Linnets, c80 Meadow Pipits, a single Sand Martin, 200+ House Martins and 350+ Swallows.  A Barn Owl was seen to be hunting, a Sparrowhawk was in the vicinity and 2 Ruff flew out to sea (probably from the scrape). SC.  Visits and subsequent surveying from the main hide by two observers, supplied counts and species that included singles of Whinchat, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler (the latter being vocal), S E O and Marsh Harrier, also 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels and 6 Common Buzzards.  Across the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh were of particular note, 3 Ruff, 4 Snipe, 22 Blk T Godwits, 100+ Lapwings, 3 Shoveler, 10 Wigeon and c300 Greylag Geese. IM/MR.  Surveying during mid-afternoon found that the juvenile Spoonbill was once again on the scrape (from 15.20hrs), whilst visible in the area were now 2 S E O's. PRD

19th - Several observers were on the site at various times today with initial reports being of a Pied Flycatcher (IM) circa half way along the Approach Road at 08.59hrs, followed by sightings of a second Pied Flycatcher (MR) in the wooded area North of the Approach Road at c09.14hrs. IM/MR.  Highlights across the scrape this afternoon - as viewed from the main hide - were that the juvenile Spoonbill was in-situ again as at 13.20hrs and as at 13.45hrs, a juvenile Caspian Gull* was also on show. PRD.  Additional sightings for the afternoon included 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Cetti's Warbler and 5 Goldcrests, 1 Stonechat, 5 Wheatear and 6 Whinchats, a Greenshank and 4 Curlew, 1 Hobby, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels, 1 Barn and 2 S E Owls. GG.

20th - Noted Southerly movement during one survey today was of 1 Yellow and 11 Grey Wagtails, 11 Lesser Redpoll*, 35 Meadow Pipits, 70+ Siskin, 60+ House Martins and some 300+ Swallows.  Also in the vicinity was a Great Spotted Woodpecker. GG.  Viewed in/on areas of the Sewage Farm were two colour-ringed Herring Gulls, one ring originating from Pitsea Landfill Site, while the other was ringed at the Port of Felixstowe. MR.  

21st - Surveying around areas of the site today found that the Pied Flycatcher was still in the wooded area to the N of the Approach Road, while a few of each Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were located in the various areas.  A visit to the main hide supplied of particular note 2 Dunlin (PRD), 3 Ruff, 23 Blk T Godwits and c80 Lapwings, along with 2 Shoveler, 10 Wigeon, c60 Teal and c100 Greylag Geese.  Viewable in the rear hedgerows was a S E O. MR/PRD.

22nd - An early morning visit to the reedbed areas prior to the rain (and a shortened visit due to the weather), yielded of particular note a Sedge Warbler, 2 Cetti's Warblers (1x fem + 1 male singing nearby), a Barn Owl that was out hunting and back towards the Sluice was a single Wheatear. SC.  A wander to the main hide - after the rain had stopped - rewarded the observer with views of now 2 Barn Owls and 4+ S E O's that were across the marsh, while 2 Common Buzzards were also in the vicinity.  Counts and species across the actual scrape proved to be much as per recent days with the exception of the Ruff - these had increased to 6+ today.  An additional highlight was that of a Kingfisher when it flew in front of the hide. MR.

23rd - A morning visit by one observer saw a couple of hours spent searching the trees, bushes and hedgerows while a return to site during the afternoon was for observing from the main hide.  Over the road (opp. Approach Road) yielded 3 Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcaps as well as 8 Blackbirds that were feeding on berries in one Hawthorn bush.  Back on the main site, the Pied Fly had disappeared from the wooded area, although a Goldcrest was located amongst the Tit flock.  A very quiet Dell this morning but a few fly-over Siskins and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were noted.  Rounding up the early report was that a Lesser Redpoll landed briefly on the wires before continuing SW.  Across the scrape (afternoon) were totals of 1 Avocet, 1 Dunlin, 3 Ruff, 5 Snipe, 23 Blk T Godwits and 90 Lapwings, 8 Shoveler, 13 Wigeon, 114 Teal and 160 Greylag Geese.  Also viewed from the hide were singles of Hobby and Peregrine, 2 Kestrels and 2 Sparrowhawks. MR.  An additional report was that of a Tree Pipit that was visible near to the hide and as it flew towards the Golf Course. PRD

24th – Of particular note today, a Merlin was viewed as it flew from the Farm and headed towards the scrape. PRD.

25th – Several observers around and about the site throughout the day.  A notable increase of Chiffchaff over the last couple of days and some 15 or so were seen today, as well as 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 7 Blackcaps and a few of each Redpoll sp., Siskin and Meadow Pipit all flying S.  On the scrape and the surrounding grazing marsh, the juvenile Spoonbill flew in at 10.46hrs to join the noted 4 Grey Herons, 4 Snipe, 7 Ruff, 23 Blk T Godwits and 52 Lapwings, 4 Shoveler, 18 Wigeon, c100 Teal and 200+ Greylag Geese that were already in-situ.  Also observed from the main hide during this time were singles of Kingfisher, Hobby and Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrels.  Some lunchtime viewing from the Platform (near to Memorials) located a Stint sp. (poss. Little) on the area across the brook and field from the Platform but no full I.D. could be gained at this time due to the distance of the bird and then at 12.50hrs the bird was lost to view and may have flown to the main scrape. MR/PRD.  Afternoon surveying saw 2 S E O's giving "great views hunting around the hide". SC/PL/DS/MR/JH.     Information relating to the Stint sp.: relocated on the main scrape during the afternoon - still extremely distant, with hopes for better light and closer views if the bird remains on site come the morning, opinions of various observers leaning towards 'juv Little Stint'. 

26th – Several reports in for today and two Ringing Sessions were also undertaken.  At 07.44hrs there were at least 3 Bearded Tits along the edge of the Golf Course - between the raised Golf Tee and the third turret. PBr.  Viewing across the scrape at 10.35hrs, the juvenile Spoonbill was on show again. JH.  During one ringing session, singles of Sparrowhawk and Grey Wagtail were wise to the nets, while Cetti's and Reed Warblers, Chiffchaff and Lesser Redpoll were also noted.  Mobbed by Blackbirds across an area of the site was a Tawny Owl*PNt/LW.  Of particular note during the other ringing session were a Chiffchaff, 8 Reed Buntings, a Peregrine and also 4 Green Woodpeckers. SC.  A returning colour-ringed Herring Gull was seen (photos to follow) on the Sluice. MR.    

27th - The main hide was the first port of call for one observer this morning (before being joined by another) and initially, counts and species were much as in recent days.  After a short time, the juvenile Spoonbill dropped in once more, while 4 Ruff flew in to join the 3 already on the scrape (7 Ruff total).  Other noted species included 5 Snipe, 20+ Blk T Godwits and 4 Med Gulls (3x ad+1x 2w), the latter amongst numerous Gulls in this same area.  The Stint sp. was again in the vicinity and yet again at great distance.  A wander back to the carpark areas - where a Pied Flycatcher (PNs) had been located earlier on route to the hide but gone as at the return - before surveying around and from the Memorials from which point a S E O was viewed across the marsh and a Brambling* landed atop a Willow. PNs/MR.  Observations within the Dell, added 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Chiffchaffs to the report just prior to locating a Yellow-Browed Warbler* (MR) in among a small Tit flock in the bottom hedgerow of the carpark at 11.55hrs. MR/PBr/Matt.

28th - A morning ringing session and observations from 06.30-12.00hrs included notes of 1 Blackcap, at least 2 Lesser Whitethroats in the area and also 4 Goldcrests. SC.  Across the scrape the noted counts were of a single Dunlin and 33 Blk T Godwits, while the Stint sp. was still around and still not being very helpful.  A Hobby was around the site throughout the day. MR.  Also viewed and noted today, was a colour-ringed Herring Gull that was originally ringed at Pitsea, Essex in September 2014. SC.

29th - Of particular note on the scrape today was that the 'semi-resident' juvenile Spoonbill was viewable, while visible but remaining very distant - was the Stint sp. (probable juv. Little Stint). PRD/MR.    Information relating to the Stint sp.:  The strikingly ‘grey’ looking juvenile Stint showing no discernible mantle ‘V’s, split supercillium or extensive chestnut fringes to the upper parts, first noted on Friday 25th September, remains on the scrape today albeit still frustratingly at some distance precluding detailed critical examination of certain identification features.  Over the last few days this birds ’odd’ appearance has generated much debate locally, however, despite offering nothing but mid to long distance viewing opportunities, the majority opinion, based primarily on the birds structure and suggestion that some, if not many, upper part feather edgings may show a hint of something approaching rusty buff, is that the bird is a heavily worn juvenile Little Stint. (PRD).



30th - A seawatch session through the morning for some five hours, yielded very little barring Brent Goose after Brent Goose....... to a total of 743 Brent Geese, all of which were flying South. IM.


As at 30th September 2015 the Haven 2015 Year List stands at: 164.