Holland Haven Birding

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Recent Sightings

Key:Plain Text- Resident/Regular Visitor.Green -Likely to be Annual. Amber -Less than Annual. Red -Rarity. CAPITALS -New bird for site.

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December 2010

1st - After the snowy end to November, overnight sleet into the new month, left just a dusting of extra snow for the immediate local area, although the majority of this was crunchy ice this morning.  With temperatures still below freezing point by mid-day and indeed still the same at nightfall, the strong ENE winds and the on/off sleet (complete with hailstones), the ground stands no chance at all of defrosting!  Reported for this grey and freezing December 1st was another Haven Year Tick in the form of 5 Bewick Swans - viewed from the hide, they were located up on the top fields.  9 Brent Geese were also on the field areas.  On the scrape and immediate vicinity were singles of Blk T Godwit, Dunlin and Snipe, along with 2 Wigeon and 180+ Lapwing.  Seen to drop in on the scrape but also seen to leave very quickly were an additional 9 Dunlin and 6 Snipe.  Along the seafront were 3 Turnstones and a Redshank. MR.

2nd - The promised heavier fall of snow did appear overnight and it continued to snow all day and through the night.  The road across the marshes was reported as "virtually sheet ice and absolutely lethal".  Wind direction continued to favour NE through ENE.  A site visit was made during the day and resulted in a Lapland Bunting being located near to the sluice and also the viewing of a WoodcockJBS.  

3rd - Most of the main roads returned to some sort of normality (locally) even though the snow was still covering the majority of gardens and the fields.  Temperatures moved to just above freezing for the daylight duration but dropped rapidly as at nightfall to minus 3 degrees!   Several observers covered the site today giving the overall highlights (including 2 new Haven Year Ticks) of 10 Tundra Bean Geese that flew in/off and landed in front of the hide, also 1 Tufted Duck on the sea among the Wigeon earlier in the day and a Pochard on the sea late this afternoon. PRD/IM/JBS.  A Lapland Bunting was reported (RBA Pager) as being on the footpath across the golf course this morning.

4th - After an overnight rise in temperature and some heavy rain, a majority of the snow and ice was washed away and the morning saw some slightly warmer weather with very light SW winds.  Quite a pleasant morning going on into the afternoon, although the afternoon skies became very grey and these subsequently resulted in more rain this evening.  An early morning visit found that the 10 Tundra Bean Geese were still on site but "farming thunderflashes" c08.00hrs put everything up in the air and the Geese unfortunately flew N towards the church and did not return.  Birds of prey this morning were a Common Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawks (m+fem) and a single Kestrel (fem).  Across the site were c100 Golden Plover, 3 Curlew, 1 Snipe, 5 Grey Plovers, c25 Brent Geese and 2 Redwings, while a Bar T Godwit was noted as it rested on the golf course, 15 Linnet were nearby, a Rock Pipit was along the seawall and 2 Turnstones were on the sluice. MC.  The Lapland Bunting was still on the main footpath, going across the golf course, as at 14.45hrs.  2 of each Purple Sandpiper and Grey Plover were along the front, while up on the top fields, Brent Geese were up to a count of 46 sitting alongside numerous Greylag Geese. AD.

5th - Although the temperature was once more slightly above freezing, the day was fresh but still bitterly cold with some light WNW winds.  By nightfall, back below freezing and everywhere was ice covered.  Viewing from the hide this morning, took in a survey of the scrape, fields and general marsh areas.  Singles of S E Owl, Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk (fem) were noted on/over the site, also 1 Little Egret, while 200+ Golden Plover, 140+ Lapwing and 26 Brent Geese were across the fields.  2 Wigeon, 200+ Teal and 238 Greylag Geese were on the scrape and seen just in front of the hide, was a Little Grebe. MR.

6th - As per weather report predictions, it was still very icy this morning and the day started out and basically remained at 2 degrees below freezing throughout (by dark it was -3).  Fog was also promised and this was very much in evidence for the duration and still evident going into the evening.  The winds were light NNW.  Considering the visibility, today's visits returned probably more, than the two observers expected.  Coverage was from the carpark through to the Frinton end and included good views of the Lapland Bunting (11.45hrs), which was still on the bridle path across the golf course, also 1 of each Purple Sandpiper and Redshank, 5 Sanderling and 4 Turnstones, 6 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush and 30+ BlackbirdsMR/PRD.  Additional noted species were 1 adW Med Gull and 5 Shelduck, all of which were in close range to the shore, sitting on the sea. PRD.    

7th - Temperatures mostly just on or below freezing with wind direction fluctuating NNW through N.  A fairly bright day throughout and dry.  A quick viewing this morning, across the golf course end of the site, found that a Lapland Bunting was again around the path area, 3 Redshank, 1 Snipe, 1 Lapwing and a Sanderling were feeding on the Greens, while 175 Golden Plover and 225 Skylarks were counted - these all being in the field just beyond the golf course.  17 Lapwing were noted as they flew in/off, 260 Greylag and 18 Brent Geese were further afield and both a single Common Buzzard and Kestrel were in the vicinity. PBr.  Further coverage of the rest of the Haven, added 1 Little Egret, 1 Little Owl, 5 Little Grebes, 2 drake Gadwall, 2 Turnstones, +/- 4 Sanderling and 11 Curlew, while on the sea were 16 Brent Geese and 62 Wigeon.  Numbers from observations of the trees, bushes, hedgerows and fly-overs were 10 of each Song Thrush and Redwing, 30+ Blackbirds, 2 Goldcrests, 4 Siskin and a single Goldfinch.  From the hide, counts gave Brent Geese on the fields, up from earlier to 180+, 80+ Lapwing, a single Sparrowhawk and at this time, there were 2 Common Buzzards on show. MR/PRD.  

8th - Although quite a grey, gloomy start, the sun tried all morning and eventually did break through the cloud and in fact it was exceptionally bright at times this afternoon.  Wind direction once more was variable NNW through NW and it's strength was a little bit more lively today.  The temperature began and finished the day at minus 1, however, it did get slightly warmer in the middle.  Site coverage this morning, provided counts of 25+ Blackbirds, 3 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare and a Goldcrest around the tree and bush habitats, while the fields and grazing marsh held 80+ Golden Plover, 60+ Lapwing, 140 Brent and 260+ Greylag Geese.  2 Common Buzzards were again on/over the site, as were a single Barn Owl and 2 Kestrels.  A walk along the front, supplied totals of 1 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Grey Plovers, 5 Sanderling and 4 Turnstones. MR.

9th - A bright, dry day with some moderate WNW winds and 3 degrees above!  Coverage of the site was both morning and afternoon today.  2+ Snow Buntings were on and over site this morning, as was a single Little Egret, 2 Little Owls and a fem Sparrowhawk.  A Grey Plover was on the golf course and 65 Golden Plover were noted on the fields, along with 90+ Brent and 120+ Greylag Geese.  Other morning species were singles of Blk T Godwit and Turnstone, 3 Purple Sandpipers and 5 Sanderling. PRD.  Additions for the afternoon, were a fem Marsh Harrier, a Chiffchaff (carpark), 4 Redwing, singles of S E Owl, Barn Owl and Kestrel, 2 Common Buzzards and 2 WoodcockGreylag Geese were up to 200+ and numerous Lapwing were spread over the fields amongst the Golden PloversMR.

10th - A very grey and overcast day throughout but probably the warmest day, locally, since 20th/21st November, as the temperatures actually reached +7 today.  Winds were mostly moderate Westerlies, although gusts were up to 30+mph.  No reports returned. 

11th - A bright morning which continued into mid-afternoon and as per yesterday, temperatures reached +7.  There was some cloud alongside light to moderate winds, which were variable NW through W during this time.  Going into late afternoon, there was a slight change in the weather (briefly raining) and as to be expected, the temperature chilled again into the evening.  Seen while the ringing team were on site, were a total of 12 Waxwings that flew overhead in a NE direction towards Frinton at 12.45hrs. PRD/PNt/TP.  While the ringing team were in action, another visit to site this morning was to carry out the December WeBS count.  This particular visit gave totals of 1 of each Purple Sandpiper, Blk T Godwit, Oystercatcher and Grey Plover, 7 Sanderling, 211 Lapwing and 55 Golden Plover.  A large flock of Brent Geese were on show and the total of these were 555 Dark Bellied and also amongst them was a single Pale Bellied. SC.  The first of two afternoon reports, added a Grey Wagtail that was with 2 Pied Wagtails on the sluice area. MR.  From 15.00hrs to 16.00hrs and along with two junior observers, a cycle ride coming in from Frinton along to the grazing marsh, noted that there were 105 Wigeon on the sea (on a very high tide), also that viewable Lapwing numbers were at this time, 165 and that Golden Plovers were up to 97 from this morning's 55.  The Golden Plovers were seen to fly over the fields towards Hamford, while some 275 Brents began to head along the coast route, presumably to roost).  220+ Greylag Geese were noted, as were 2 of each Barn Owl and Grey Heron, 4 Redshank and 1 Snipe, while a Purple Sandpiper was still along the seawall/rocks.  There was also an increase in afternoon numbers of Sanderling and Grey Plovers, to 18 and 3+ respectively. PBr+2.  

12th - Dry and bright again this morning, although the afternoon turned very grey and cold.  Wind direction began NW and turned through to N later in the day, with wind strength mainly staying quite light.  A pleasant walk this morning gave views of Waxwings on site and a total of 4 of them. MR/JBS.  Also noted for the trees and bush areas, were singles of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, while along the beach were 2 of each Turnstone and Sanderling, 1 Grey Plover and an Oystercatcher.  Viewing from the hide supplied 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Little Egret, 1 Blk T Godwit, 300+ Golden Plover, 100+ Lapwing, 4 Shoveler, 12 Wigeon, 36 Teal and 260+ Greylag Geese.  Once more on the fields, the Brent Geese had accumulated to a flock of 400/500 birds, of which 3+ were Pale Bellied.MR.  

13th - Fog was around some of the local areas this morning and to add to this, some very fine sleet appeared as well but not for too long.  Later in the day, the sleet tried once more and was again, fairly short lived.   Generally, quite a cold, grey, overcast day with some NW through N, light to moderate winds (gusts were c30mph though).  The Brent Geese were in good numbers again today with 500+ counted and many more were just over the brow of the top fields.  Across these fields and the grazing marsh, were also some 300+ Greylag Geese, 150+ Golden Plover, 100+ Lapwings and a notable excess of Wood Pigeon.  Along the seawall, beach and rock areas, totals of 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Redshank, 5 Grey Plovers, 5 Turnstones, 7 Sanderling and an Oystercatcher were seen, while on the sea were 62 Wigeon.  On and over the site during this visit, were also noted 2 S E Owls, 1 Little Owl, 1 Common Buzzard, a fem Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrels, 2 Fieldfare, a single Redwing and 2 Little Grebes. MR.

14th - A bitterly cold, icy morning with some bright sun and light to moderate NNE winds.  The temperature rose slightly during the day and it remained fairly bright.  No reports returned.

15th - Again a bitterly cold and icy start that also included fog and some moderate strength, chilly NW winds.  By afternoon it had definitely NOT got any warmer!  A mid-afternoon visit noted a Black Brant amongst c1000 Brent Geese and these were alternating their territory from sea to fields.  A single Redwing was showing and feeding very well, near to Tariq, while also on site, was a Water RailJBS.  A morning visit included sightings of 5 Waxwings flying over/through.

16th - A bit damp and gloomy to start the morning, although the temperature was slightly warmer at +5 degrees.  The day failed to improve, giving us rain and sleet and the latter part of the day gave us a severe drop in temperature again.  Winds were moderate to strong WSW, with gusts during the day reaching c38mph.  No reports returned.

17th - Did the temperature gauge actually get to +1 at all today???  Minus 3 degrees this morning and at -3 this evening, with the threat of a further drop overnight.  Winds today were mainly moderate Westerlies with gusts on/off throughout.  A visit to site today, gave sightings c12.00hrs, of a flock of 6 Snow Buntings showing along the seawall areas from the sluice towards the golf course/club. LJ.  

18th - A bitterly cold day from start to finish and the afternoon brought with it............ some very dark grey skies, then SNOW, SLEET and yet even more SNOW!  Most of the local area being covered with snow at least 4" deep, some areas slightly deeper.  Going into the evening, many roads were already sheets of ice with temperatures of minus 4 and still dropping.  No reports returned.

19th - No more snow overnight but no thaw either!  Temperatures remained below freezing and winds were generally of light to moderate strength.  No reports returned.

20th - Fairly bright throughout the morning and going into the afternoon.  Although the temperature was still varying between -1 and -2 degrees, the sun helped to start a "slight" thaw - good for the wildlife, trees and hedgerows but was not so great for the early evening road conditions.  However, there were promises for our local area, that the temperature may actually get up to zero or even +2 overnight!  Winds moved SSW through SE today and these were mainly light to moderate.  A superb walk this morning and good coverage of the site, supplied views of 1 of each Sparrowhawk and Little Owl, 2 Kestrels, 2 Snipe, a single Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush and numerous Blackbirds.  Surveying along the seawall areas and off-shore, gave 1 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Grey Plovers, 4 Sanderling, 5 Turnstones and an Oystercatcher.  1000+ Wigeon were sitting on the sea, as were c100 Brent Geese, while also on the sea but close to shore, was a drake Gadwall.  Viewing from the hide, taking in the scrape and grazing marsh areas, provided counts of 1 Common Buzzard, 12 Golden Plovers, 100 Lapwing, 150+ Greylag Geese, 14 Common Gulls (amongst an excessive amount of mixed Gulls on the scrape) and also a single Reed Bunting. MR.

21st - The "Shortest Day of the Year" started at +2 degrees (a bonus after the last week or so), winds were initially a moderate strength NE, although these turned to ENE later in the day.  There was still alot of cloud cover through the day - in various shades of grey but the snow and ice was thawing quite well locally.  Site coverage today was from morning through to early afternoon and included sightings of 12 White Fronted Geese that flew in at 11.42hrs and promptly joined the already in-situ Greylag Geese.  By 12.40hrs, the White Fronts were up to 16 and a single Brent Goose had also been noted.  Other species of note during this visit were 4 of each Gt. C Grebe and Gadwall (3drakes +1fem), a Water Rail, 1 Woodcock and 12+ Common Gulls.   Distant views of two wild swans, took the two observers to the hide and at c13.15hrs, both an adult and a juv Whooper Swan were confirmed to be (slightly elusive)on the arable, looking across from the hide, towards Gt. Holland Hall. MR/PRD.

22nd - A slightly brighter morning, well the cloud cover was a much paler shade of grey than yesterday morning.   After a night of on/off heavy rain showers, which at least reduced the remaining snow somewhat (ready for the next fall of white stuff???), it was still just above freezing.  Wind direction was as at 09.00hrs, NNW and the strength was quite light.  Direction turned during the day to NE.  The first of two morning reports, gave a Firecrest at c100yds (carpark side) of the Sluice Cottages, while along the beach were a Grey Plover and 6 Sanderling. SC.  The second report added 3 Turnstones and an Oystercatcher for the beach areas.  Visiting the hide, provided views of 100+ Greylag Geese and a single Brent Goose on the grazing marsh, numerous Gulls including 32 Common Gulls, just a few Wigeon and Teal, while alternating between the brook and the scrape, were 22+ Gadwall.  100+ Lapwing and 80+ Golden Plover were resident across the fields and the hedgerows completed today's reports, with singles of Kestrel and Common Buzzard. MR.

23rd - Again a very grey and cloudy morning, still above freezing and local snow very much reduced.  As the day progressed, rain, sleet and snow were experienced although as at 15.30hrs, no further snow had settled.  Wind direction remained NNE and was very strong, with gusts being recorded locally in excess of 41mph.  Reported in at 10.20hrs, viewing from the hide across the scrape, gave 2 Whooper Swans, 2 White Fronted and 2 Egyptian Geese, in amongst numerous Greylag Geese.  Other Greylags flew to the grazing/arable towards Gt. Holland Hall and included 1+ probable White Fronts amongst them also.  (The 2 Whoopers were also seen a bit later on the other side of the marshes road - B1032). MR/PN.  A further visit and report, gave a Ring Tailed Hen Harrier over the arable during the early afternoon, a Common Buzzard, 5+ Grey Plovers, 14+ Common Gulls, a 2W Med Gull that was heading N off-shore) and a Gt. C Grebe that was close inshore drifting NE, a Rock Pipit and 25+ Gadwall. PRD.  A count of the Brent Geese came to a total of 485 and the flock once more included a Pale Bellied. SC.  A lucky encounter at 14.20hrs, saw 7 Whooper Swans (5ad + 2juv) fly in-off and over the roundabout, they then flew along the line of Holland Brook, going NW towards Sladbury's/Gorse Lane area.  Also noted across the Haven, were c170 Skylarks. PBr.

24th - A bright but very cold day for this Christmas Eve.  Morning winds were N through NW and of moderate strength, changing to light winds for early evening into dark.  No reports returned.

                         WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

25th - A foggy start to Christmas Day and exceptionally frosty.  Winds were light to moderate.  Temperatures varied throughout from -1 to -3 degrees and the remaining snow from earlier in the week, now being just very solid and extremely slippery ice.  No reports returned.

26th - Another very frosty morning but the bright sun (in a pretty much blue sky), had melted much of what was on the cars by mid-morning.  Some light WSW winds, alongside temperatures that were still sitting between zero and -2 from morning til night.  No reports returned.

27th - Behind the mostly white clouds, there was some blue sky and it was quite bright through the morning and going into the afternoon.  Mid-afternoon suddenly changed to being very grey and very cold.  Moderate winds were S and temperatures until mid-afternoon, were around +3degrees.  Coverage today, gave sightings of 3 Purple Sandpipers, 9 Sanderling, 2 Grey Plovers and 4 Turnstones all along the beach/seawall areas, while the fields held 800+ Brent Geese.  Over the site was a single Common Buzzard. AD/JK.  A Merlin was viewed as it perched to the left of the scrape area, whilst other noted species were singles of Rock Pipit, Curlew, Redshank, Common Gull, Little Egret, Gadwall and a Fieldfare. AD.

28th - After a night of fairly heavy rain, a bright start was short-lived this morning, as the sky soon became just a grey mass and along with this, came a misty rain.  Although it felt much warmer for a while, the temperature once again, was sitting at just +3 degrees.  Wind direction, this again was S and was of moderate strength.  No reports returned.

29th - Some very light ESE winds during today, grey and a touch on the foggy side throughout the morning.  Although the fog lifted slightly as morning went into afternoon, by nightfall the fog was once again fairly thick in places.  No reports returned.

30th - Another foggy morning, again with some light winds, although the direction this morning was ENE and the temperature was definitely warmer (at +5 degrees today).  The fog remained throughout the day.  No reports returned.       

31st - To bring this 2010 Year to a close, the day started and finished with grey overcast skies and the very light morning NNW breeze, turned to a Westerly one by the evening.  The temperature held at around +5 degrees.  With no fog to obscure the site today, coverage gave a total of 18 noted species and also 150+ mixed Gulls.  Along the beach and seawall areas were 3 Purple Sandpipers (on the sluice rocks), 5 Grey Plovers and a Rock Pipit, while 200+ Wigeon were off-shore and c300 Brent Geese alternated from the sea to the arable. MR.  Viewing from the hide supplied 2 more Grey Plovers and another 80 Wigeon and also added 2 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 350+ Teal, 8 Gadwall, 20+ Mallards and a single Mute Swan.  Surveying the fields/grazing marsh, provided both 100+ Lapwing and 100+ Golden Plover, with singles of Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel being on/over this same area.  A Mistle Thrush was located on the mounds. MR/AEC.  In the bushes along the approach road was a Firecrest. AEC.

The Haven 2010 Year List ends on a Site Total of 183.

WISHING A "HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011" TO ALL & Good Birding for the coming year.          

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