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.

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Site Year Tick: *

December 2011  

1st - After a night of rain and strong winds, the early morning was again grey and there was some on/off rain.  The sun brightened the skies for a short while but the day in general was overcast and cold.  Initial light winds were of a WSW direction along with some occasional gusting of c20mph - these winds later became NNE and remained fairly light, however local "occasional gusting" reached 46mph.  Heavy rain was again on the agenda for early evening.  Visits took place both this morning and this afternoon, providing counts across the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh of 3 Blk T Godwits, 94 Lapwings, 5 Shelduck, 11 Shoveler, 140 Teal and 250 Wigeon, whilst the Birds of Prey in this vicinity, were those of a Common Buzzard, a Marsh Harrier, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel.  A wander along the seawall to the third turret, surveyed 1 Rock and 5 Meadow Pipits and a single Stonechat, 7 Sanderlings and 1 Oystercatcher.  A return to the site a bit later, gave the additions of the colour-ringed Spoonbill (see Gallery) - again back on the scrape, while in front of the hide was a Little Grebe. MR

2nd - A very bright, sunny morning but it was a cold one!  Some initial light to moderate W through NW winds continued through the morning, along with temperatures of around +6 degrees.  The day throughout, remained very cool and as the day wore on, the winds produced gusting that reached up to c30mph - this continued into the evening by which time the direction was at SSW.  A Great Grey Shrike* was viewable (distantly) from the hide at 10.55hrs but was not viewable as at 12.51hrs.  The colour-ringed Spoonbill flew onto the scrape area at 11.50hrs. PRD

3rd - After a night of rain, this morning dried out with some moderate Westerly winds and local gusting of up to c26mph.  Blue skies were above the early morning grey clouds, as was the sun!  A mix of cloudy and clearer skies ensued and the winds turned slightly during the day to WSW, while the temperature crept up to +9 degrees.  A Grey Heron proved to give a few laughs, as it caught an eel from the newly dug ditch, flew a short distance with it and then proceeded to show how a Heron's neck will contort to devour said prey!  A Turnstone (see Gallery) was also in feeding mode, this was near to the sluice. RW.  An hour spent on site this afternoon gave little of any interest on the route to the hide but both a Black Brant and a Pale Bellied were amongst the c400 Brent Geese that varied their movements between the scrape and the arable. MR.

4th - Another chilly one this morning as the temperatures (barely +6 degrees) are becoming closer to those more accustomed with the UK's normal winter seasons.  Overcast throughout the day with moderate WSW winds and the occasional gusting of c24mph during the morning, becoming stronger Westerly winds and gusts of c30mph for the afternoon and evening.  Some sudden and heavy rain fell at around c19.00hrs, this was followed by some lighter rain.  No reports returned.

5th - A bright but very cold start to the day with very little changing by lunchtime but by late afternoon, it appeared to be colder still!  The Westerly wind speeds varied from 19mph through to c31mph and locally recorded gusting reached 39mph.  Around the trees and bushes, there were 3 Fieldfares, 4 Song Thrushes and still alot of Blackbirds in the area.  On the sluice this morning, were 4 Turnstones while the brook in front of the hide held 1 Little Grebe.  Singles of Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were viewed from the hide, as were 2 Blk T Godwits and a Little Egret.  Across the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh, the duck count was of 2 Shelduck, 15 Shoveler, 120 Teal and 300+ Wigeon, while the Geese at this time, numbered 800+ Brent and 180+ Greylags. MR

6th - Westerly winds again this morning, with speeds of up to 22mph and local gusting of 27mph recorded before 08.00hrs.  It was bright and sunny through until mid-day and although a bit fresh with the low temperatures (+4 degrees) - if warmly wrapped up, it was quite pleasant out there.  Early afternoon saw the winds pick up and the sun disappear, whilst by the time the early evening had arrived, so had the rain!  No reports returned.

7th - Strong WNW winds of c28mph and gusting of c39mph to greet everyone this morning, alongside temperatures of +6 degrees.  The sun duly appeared and it became slightly warmer for the duration.  By mid-day the winds had gained more strength with speeds of c37mph and gusting reached 44mph.  No reports returned. 

8th - Rain for this morning with very overcast skies and although a warmer start, the SSW winds and locally reported gusting, were again of high speeds of 28mph and 31mph respectively.  By nightfall, the winds were Westerlies of c38mph, while gusting throughout the day had reached at least 46mph.  No reports returned.

9th - Cold at barely +4 degrees by 08.00hrs, alongside W winds of c31mph and local gusting of 38mph but the sun, in pretty much clear skies, was very bright by this time and with just a slight increase to the temperature, all was still the same by the early part of the afternoon.  No reports returned. 

10th - Bright and sunny but freezing this morning, with strong (18mph minimum) W winds and gusting of between 13mph and 22mph.  A walk about during "net rounds" produced a juv Shag on the sluice but this was soon flushed by the dog walking brigade.  Seen flying W were 12 Shelduck.  Fly-overs included 1 Redpoll sp, 2 Goldfinches and a single Meadow Pipit.  A midday walk down to the beach huts gave only 3 Turnstones that were noteworthy. GG Not too much in the nets either today - for all updates of these particular birds see Ringing Activities.

11th - Rain for this morning along with some very strong SW winds.  The wind direction changed slightly during the day to that of SSW by mid-afternoon and local gusting was in the region of 36mph.  The temperature was a bit warmer after yesterday's average of +3 degrees, today's was closer to +7.  No reports returned.   

12th - A very bright morning with mainly moderate WSW winds and some stronger local gusting of up to 27mph.  It was icy again to start but the temperature by 08.00hrs was warming up and overall reached +8 degrees.  The winds fluctuated through to SSW and increased up to c29mph, while gusting increased to 35mph.  Three observers at least were on site this morning, providing reports of a Common Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk (male), a Curlew and 400 Brent Geese - all seen across the grazing areas on the other side of the main road, while a Goldcrest was located amongst a Long-T Tit flock along the site's approach road. PRD.  Near to the memorials and in front of the hide, there were 2 + 1 Little Grebes respectively and of note on the scrape - prior to some digging starting on a new pool - was a single Blk T Godwit. IM.  During a session of sea-watching, c100 Wigeon were sat on the sea, 44 Common Scoter flew past (30S+14N) and both Red-T Divers (+/-6) and Cormorants (+/-4) were making many short flights while they were feeding off-shore.  A single Grey Wagtail and a Little Egret were fly-overs. PRD/MR/IM

13th - After a night of gale force winds and very heavy rain, both continued into the morning hours.  Rain finally stopped c08.15hrs but the winds remained variable.  Prior to 09.00hrs, locally recorded speeds gave the fluctuating W through WNW winds as a maximum of 47mph, whilst gusting had at that point reached a maximum of 55mph.  Bright and sunny, blue skies with a hint of grey in the clouds, all alongside temperatures of +10 degrees by shortly after 9am.  Wind direction had turned to SW by the end of the day.  Reports for this morning included details from the monthly WeBS count.  Initially on and around the scrape, prior to the digger starting up, were some 330 Teal, 224 Wigeon and a single Blk T Godwit, whilst the Brent Geese numbered c100 but these re-located to the other side of the road in re-action to the digger. MR.  Slightly later, the WeBS count gave 4 Turnstones, 17 Lapwings, 8 Moorhens, singles of Grey HeronCormorant and Greylag Goose, 5 Shoveler, 160 Teal, 212 Wigeon and including those on the Little Holland Hall pond, some 26 MallardsGull species totalled 1 Common, 1 L.B.B., 70 Herring and 140 Black Headed.  Also noted for on/over the site at this time, were 2 of each Redwing and Song Thrush. SC.

14th - Another blustery start to the day, with very strong winds varying back and forth W through SW and gusting of up to 36mph recorded locally.  These conditions continued much the same throughout the rest of the day but it was at least bright - if just a bit cool.  Surveying around the site today, included viewing from the hide, a short sea-watch and general observations.  Around the bushes and hedgerows were counts of 2 Song Thrushes, 4 Redwings and 10+ Blackbirds, whilst across the scrape and it's surrounding areas provided 1 Blk T Godwit, 5 Shoveler, 60 Teal and 230 Wigeon, also 4 Cormorants and singles of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.  The sea-watch gave 1 Shag that was seen to be fishing off of the sluice, a Common Gull and heading N was a single Gannet (3W).  Beach and seawall areas held singles of both Sanderling and Turnstone.  +/-700 Brent Geese were noted, of which approx. 200 of them stopped on the arable for a while but the majority appeared to take a flight path over Gt. Holland and beyond Frinton before heading back along the seafront. MR/IM.

15th - As promised again by the forecasters, some very strong winds this morning.  Direction varying WSW through NNW and wind speeds of up to 35mph with locally recorded gusting of 46mph.  A bitterly cold day throughout and although there was slight rain on/off from early afternoon, the heavy rain set in for the evening.  Noted as very quiet on and around the site today, viewing across the scrape provided a total of 4 Blk T Godwits alongside 5 Cormorants, 7 Shoveler and 56 Teal.  Wigeon numbers were back to those of earlier in the month, at a total of 334.  For a while, there were c600 Brent Geese having their "wash & brush-up" on the scrape but the majority of these then headed off in a WNW direction - feeding elsewhere??  Singles of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were again in the vicinity. MR.   

16th - After a night of continual heavy rain, it was still raining into the morning ............... and then came snow!  A mix of rain and snow followed, then it was further on/off rain throughout, making for a continual grey, damp and dismal day.  Strong NW winds along with gusting of up to 33mph prevailed through the morning, later these varied back and forth WNW through NNW.  By early evening, heavy rain had set in once again.  No reports returned.

17th - Very icy this morning with early temperatures of barely +2 degrees and a wind-chill factor of -4.8 degrees!  The wind direction, until at least early afternoon, maintained itself at WNW of a c19mph speed with gusting of up to 25mph.  Bright and sunny and as the temperature crept up eventually to +4 degrees, it could actually have been said "to be quite pleasant" out there.  Not too much coverage today but there were a good number of finches around the cottage compound where 20+ Greenfinch and 10+ Chaffinch were noted.  A Goldcrest was vocal in the feeding station and a Grey Wagtail was on the Sewage Farm, while the beach held 4 Turnstones and an Oystercatcher.  The scrape was mostly frozen so the Wigeon flock (300+) were sat on the sea.  Ringing produced a Chiffchaff - this would probably have been missed, had it not been caught (see Ringing Activities).  Raptors were represented by singles of Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard. GG

18th - Prevailing WNW winds again this morning and alongside the very low temperatures, these winds proved to give a wind-chill factor of -6.5 degrees at times.  Generally moderate to strong wind speeds and there was the occasional gusting of c24mph.  The skies were mostly grey and cloudy with a hint of blue beyond but the day did endure some very icy rain and also a brief snowfall too.  No reports returned.

19th - After a night of at least -2 degrees, the morning held no surprises with thick ice and frost covering just about everything.  Moderate WNW winds helping to give an early morning wind-chill factor of -7 degrees, this by 08.30hrs was reduced to just below -1, while the general temperature at this time was at +2 degrees............ with the sun very bright after a colourful break in the clouds........ unfortunately this was short-lived when the rain came down!  Taking cover in a dry but chilly hide, two observers were faced with a completely frozen scrape from which the Wigeon and Mallards had re-located to the brook and the grassy banks - their numbers being c100 and 20+ respectively.  Briefly visiting the scrape were 2 Grey Plovers, whilst 150+ Golden Plovers along with 80+ Lapwings maintained distance upon the arable.  Noted on and around the marsh were 20 Red-L Partridges and a single Grey Heron, with the immediate vicinity also providing views of a Water Rail and a Stonechat.  Both a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk were along the hedgerows.  The beach and seafront areas gave four species of wader, namely 6 Sanderling, 4 Turnstones, a single Oystercatcher and a further Grey Plover. MR/PRD

20th - Not as cold as the last few days with the temperature sitting during the morning at approx +7 degrees.  Mostly bright with a mottled blue/white sky and variable NW through WNW winds, of which these varied moderate to sometimes strong with occasional gusting of c27mph.  No reports returned.

21st - Overnight rain continued into the morning but had eased by c10.00hrs.  Grey, overcast and some NW variable light to moderate winds, were all alongside the milder temperatures of approx. +7 degrees during the morning and although the winds became slightly stronger during the afternoon, the temperature also rose to +11 degrees.  No reports returned.

22nd - Variable W through WNW winds of moderate strength were in evidence this morning, together with some locally recorded gusting of up to 27mph.  Blue skies, some white cloud and a very bright sun but there was quite a chilly feel to the day, even though the temperature was again approx. +10 degrees.  Late afternoon the temperature fell rapidly.  No reports returned.

23rd - The morning gave some reasonably strong SW winds and generally it was fairly mild as far as the temperatures went (+9 degrees), although it was blustery at times.  The afternoon however, saw the wind speed/strength pick up considerably and there was also a change in it's direction.  By the evening, wind direction was at NW and the maximum speeds for the duration had been locally recorded at 34+mph and gusting at 49mph.  No snow, just on/off rain for dusk and into nightfall.  No reports returned.

24th - Generally an overcast and chilly day with wind speeds varying from virtually still at odd times, through to strong c26mph and also some occasional gusting of up to 35mph.  Too warm (around +6 to +7 degrees) on this Christmas Eve for any snow and weather reports give that it should be even milder for tomorrow's Christmas Day conditions.  No reports returned.  Don't forget to put out the cookies and carrots for Santa Claus & Rudolph !!!  

25th - From: hollandhavenbirding.com   We Wish Everyone A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS & GOOD BIRDING If You Are Dodging The Kitchen Duties........    

26th - Boxing Day and temperatures of +11 degrees, some on/off sunshine and generally a very mild, pleasant day.  Winds by late afternoon were fluctuating W through WSW and having been mostly of a moderate strength through the day, they were more "moderate to strong" by the latter part along with occasional gusting of c27mph.  Not quite everybody was too stuffed full of food and/or alcohol from yesterday to head to the Haven site, as one observer took a walk along to the Golf Course and also took in the viewing from both hides.  A Stonechat was seen near to the second hide - this bird was given some grief by 2 Blue Tits and either this or a second Stonechat, was later seen atop bushes adjacent to the first hide.  On and around the scrape area were 3 Blk T Godwits, 200+ Wigeon and 100+ Teal, while a Sparrowhawk was perched on a fence post to the left of the main hide and a Kestrel was around too.  Brent Geese (c400+) were noted as they flew around the site prior to their settling on the arable beyond the Golf Course.  Rounding up today's report, were 2 Turnstones that were within the sewage farm area. IM.   

27th - Some moderate, to at times, strong SW winds with occasional locally recorded gusting of 26mph.  Generally - a very mild day, although there was a fairly constant cloud-cover.  Surveying from the hide today, looking over and across the scrape, it's surrounding grazing marsh and the arable, provided 2 Blk T Godwits and a duck count of 4 Shoveler, 5 Shelduck, 70+ Teal and 200+ Wigeon, while Birds of Prey included a Common Buzzard with singles of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel again in the vicinity and not noted too often these days, there was also a Barn Owl.  The farmer would not have been best pleased to see c600 Brent Geese once again on the arable fields!  Located near to the main hide was a Stonechat and views along the beach/seawall areas gave 5 Turnstones. MR.

28th - A bit of a grey and drizzly start this morning, along with some strong SW winds and gusts of up to 35mph.  By 09.30hrs, the mottled mix of grey clouds and blue skies also included that bright yellow ball.......  Throughout the day, the sun was hit and miss, however, sunset was bright and colourful - after which the temperature fell decidedly fast, giving a very icy-cold evening.  No reports returned.

29th - Overcast with some cracks of sunlight that came through for the morning, along with WNW winds that varied in speed from 17mph through 30+mph and locally recorded gusting was of c38mph.  Temperatures were generally of a cool +6 degrees before diving again by dusk.  Some on/off drizzle/rain appeared prior to mid-morning and came back with a bit more vengeance for late afternoon and into the evening, while the wind strength also increased for the latter part of the day to approx. 33mph and gusting was up to c42mph.  No reports returned.

30th - Another overcast and cool day (+6 deg) with the mostly WNW winds, fluctuating from light to strong (c10mph through c22mph), while locally recorded gusting by the early afternoon had reached a maximum of c31mph.  No reports returned.

31st - The last day of 2011 and the Haven Year List sat at 190 species.  At four short of the 2008 total (194), 2011 did move ahead of the '09 and '10 overall Year Lists.  Weatherwise today, the temperature held at approx +10 degrees with the Westerly winds varying through the morning, light to moderate with the occasional stronger blasts of up to 21mph.  The mostly cloud-covered skies, at times gave way to the sun but the grey clouds were hanging in there as much as possible!!  Very little change through the afternoon and into the evening and even the temperature remained fairly good.  No reports returned. 

As at 31st December, the Haven 2011 Year List stands at 190.

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