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.

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

Site Year Tick: *


1st - For the second day in a row we were reminded that 'Winter' is definitely here!  Well it is now December!  Ice and deep frost across everything this morning and a temperature gauge that was still struggling to reach +2 degrees even by mid-day.  Initial WSW winds of up to 14mph turned for the afternoon to WNW and were completed with gusting of up to 28mph.  On/off rain during the morning and into the afternoon.........  At least two observers were on and around the site today.  The initial report, from a two hour mid-morning visit, included a short seawatch session that gave nothing of particular note.  A S E Owl was perched atop one of the fence posts left of the hide, 20+ Snipe were seen to fly around the scrape vicinity, whilst the presumed escapee Emperor Goose made a return visit to the Haven - flying in as before, with the Greylag Geese.  The brook behind the sluice held a Pintail and upon the return walk, a Kingfisher in flight was heading from the sluice towards the main hide. IM.  The second observer walked to Frinton and back with little reward, the highlights were 2 Siskin, 5 Chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch and a Greenfinch all heading SW.  2 pairs of Stonechat were seen, one pair at the "Moth" area and the other by the golf course dump.  The frozen scrape had forced all of the 250+ Wigeon onto the sea.  Just 15 Teal were noted.  On the sluice were 2 Turnstone and a flock of 20+ Lapwing were flapping about. GG.

2nd - A bright, dry but freezing cold start to this morning with some WNW winds of up to 12mph along with gusting (occasional) of up to 22mph.  The temperature did actually warm up to +2 degrees later!  Observations today and the subsequent report, included viewing over the road (opposite the Approach Road), across the scrape, a walk towards the Frinton end and a short seawatch.  Singles of Little Egret and Water Rail were the noted species over the road, while singles of Sparrowhawk (rear hedgerows) and a Peregrine (on the stubble field towards Gt. Holland) were the birds still viewable from the hide after a light aircraft had evacuated the marsh and the still frozen scrape.  The Greylag Geese along with the Emperor Goose took flight heading inland and the ducks re-located to the sea - where some 250+ Wigeon remained for the duration.  The walk provided a Little Grebe in front of the second hide, 2 Stonechats were seen near to the second turret and 4 Turnstones were beach side of the seawall.  Landing on the sea (in front of the Gunfleet Boating Club) before taking flight to continue S, a Shag* was the first new "Haven Year List 2012" bird for December.  During the seawatch 21 Brent Geese flew S and a single Red Throated Diver flew N. MR

3rd - A slightly warmer morning (the temperature rising considerably compared with the last few days) but grey and dismal with some drizzle thrown in for good measure - the drizzle became heavy rain for a while during the latter part of the morning!  Initial Westerly winds of up to 13mph turned stronger for the afternoon (c18mph) and the sun decided to make a few appearances.  The report for this morning included sightings of a Kingfisher in the brook area close to the Wind Pump, also a Little Grebe in this same vicinity that may or may not have been the same Little Grebe from near to Tariq slightly earlier.  Surveying from the hide provided 1 Blk T Godwit, 3 Snipe, 27 Curlews and 218 Lapwings for the scrape/grazing marsh Wader count, whilst the Ducks and Geese were 100+ Teal, 200+ Wigeon and 200+ Greylags.  A Common Buzzard was also viewed from the hide and although not seen, a Water Rail was vocal.  The beach near to the sluice hosted 2 of both Sanderlings and Turnstones.  Notable 'other wildlife' this morning was that of an Otter, seen briefly in the brook near to Tariq. MR.  

4th - A mixed morning with some bright spells, occasional blue skies, a brief rain spell and thereafter overcast and grey!  The temperature at circa +5 degrees by mid-day and WNW winds erring more to strong than moderate (up to 18mph) with those extra blasts being of up to 30mph.  Today's visit found very little in/on and around the bushes giving just 2 Stonechats between the two hides, 6 Greenfinches (golf course area) and a Little Owl back in his normal tree.  A Little Grebe was on the brook by the sluice while a single Pied Wagtail was on the seawall.  Singles of Common Buzzard and Kestrel were viewed from the hide, as were 2 Snipe, 2 Blk T Godwits, 60+ Lapwings, 9 Shoveler, c200 Teal, c250 Wigeon and c100 Greylag Geese.  Large flocks of Starlings, Lapwings and Gulls were later seen to be on the field over the road, along with singles of Turnstone and Bar T Godwit also 22 Curlew.  Singles of both Black Throated and Red Throated Divers flew N during a short seawatch from the sluice area, as did 2 Brent Geese.  2 further Red Throated Divers were sat on the sea and c200 Brent Geese came across from beyond Frinton and after circling the marsh, flew back towards Gt. Holland. MR.

5th - The morning started as icy cold and wet but by 07.00hrs the snow was in full force and quickly began to settle!  The snow did ease a bit later and the sun appeared for a while but more snow, rain and another drop in the temperature made for some very icy evening roads.  Wind direction was of NNE and speeds were initially of up to 10mph.  During the sunny spell, a site survey found that the Little Owl had again moved to be behind Tariq as opposed to his normal tree across the way.  On the brook below Tariq were 2 Little Grebes, whilst the beach held 6 Sanderlings and 7 Turnstones.  Singles of S E Owl, Barn Owl and Common Buzzard were viewed from the hide, the SEO being on the fence, the Barn Owl in the box and the Buzzard atop the same box.  The count of 200+ Lapwings included 110 that were already on the area and 90+ that flew in from the arable across the road.  Also noted were 7 Shoveler, 110 Teal, 278 Wigeon and 236 Greylag Geese. MR.

6th - Another bitterly cold day that also saw quite a bit of rain, especially heading into the evening.  At least two observers were on and around the site today and generally the bushes were found to be very quiet, although one particular bird gave good cause for investigation.  The initial report included sightings of 3 Little Grebes on the brook close to Tariq and a further 2 of these behind the sluice.  Continuing the walk through to the Frinton end of site gave counts of c100 Wigeon sat on the sea, a single Turnstone and 3 Sanderlings on the beach, a Song Thrush that was on the Golf Course, 2 Stonechats that were near the second turret and a Siskin was a fly-over heading S. MR.  A joint report for the viewable species from the hide, gave a Common Buzzard, also singles of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk and 4 Pied Wagtails.  The still frozen scrape and it's surrounding area held a further 100+ Wigeon, 40 Teal, 100+ Lapwings and 80+ Greylag Geese.  2 Shoveler had located themselves on the 'defrosted' pond. MR/PRD.  Walking down from the Farm to the main site, the second observer noted a male Marsh Harrier and a female Merlin, whilst the arable along this route held 90 Golden Plover.  A probable Siberian Chiffchaff was the bird of much interest, being heard and eventually located around the Farm pond.  It stopped calling after a couple of minutes and unfortunately disappeared in the company of a couple of Blue Tits.  Time spent at hearing/finding and again later in the afternoon, failed to re-locate the bird - further searching will no doubt be undertaken. (further info to follow asap). PRD

7th - Bitterly cold as expected, also rain, a bit more snow, more rain....... in fact rain pretty much all day!  Initial NW winds of up to 16mph and gusting of up to 28mph.  No reports returned.

8th - A much brighter and definitely a warmer day today with a fair amount of sun, temperature readings of up to +8 degrees and mostly light winds.  Slightly stronger winds later in the afternoon were alongside a very quick drop in the temperature.  No reports returned.

9th - Another mild day considering the cold spell last week.  The temperature readings were in excess of +6 degrees, occasional gusting of up to 33+mph and a variation of speeds for the NW/WNW winds - these c19mph as at early evening.  A joint report from two observers covered the carpark areas, the sluice and viewing from the hide.  Literally as the surveying began this morning, 15 Waxwings flew in to land upon the wires (carpark) but after staying for just a minute, the birds took flight - taking a Southerly route down the coast.  Near the bottom hedgerows (carpark), a single Redwing was with 5 Blackbirds on the grassed area.  2 Blk T Godwits and 5 Snipe were noted on the scrape area and some 22 Curlew were on the grazing marsh, while a Water Rail was once again in front of the hide itself.  Noted as "Covered with Ducks & Geese" the scrape totals for these were 6 Shoveler, 340 Wigeon, 420 Teal and 146 Greylag Geese.  Also in this vicinity were 2 Stonechats and a male Marsh Harrier, while the sluice held 2 Turnstones.  The return to the carpark saw the locating of a Goldcrest in the bushes. MR/IM.

10th - A Common Buzzard across the marsh area was the only species of any note today. MR/IM.

11th - After another icy night the day remained fairly cold but 'fresh' and the sun made for bright skies.  Northerly winds were in play during the morning.  The early evening brought with it a blanket of fog (very thick in some local areas) along with another sharp drop in temperature to below zero.  A Common Buzzard was again the only notable bird on/over the site. MR/IM

12th - A picturesque morning indeed.  Unfortunately this being due to the very low temperature but the ice and deep frost covering every tree, bush, path, vehicle etc. eventually began to defrost in the morning sun.  Wind direction by late afternoon/early evening being of light SW (c5mph) but the temperature was already heading for freezing by 17.00hrs.  The Common Buzzard was still viewable during today's surveys and of further note there was a Rock Pipit by the second turret.  A Blackbird seen to be heading in/off was mobbed by G B B Gulls and unfortunately for the Blackbird "he finally lost the battle a few hundred metres from safety". IM/MR

13th - A dry, bright and sunny morning complete with patchy blue skies and a mix of cloud.  A temperature of just +2 degrees remained throughout today's daylight hours, while the initial wind direction of SE and of light to moderate (c9mph) changed prior to early evening, becoming ENE and had also dropped to c4mph.  Two observers were again on site through the morning and a joint report consisted of species seen from over the road (opposite the Approach Road), across the marsh, out to sea and along the seawall.  A single Water Rail being the bird across the road, the Little Owl was today in the Fir trees, whilst a Little Grebe was located on the brook near Tariq.  18 Snipe were viewed as they flew over before they descended onto the grazing marsh.  Still on site, the Common Buzzard was seen atop the rear hedgerows and an adult male Peregrine was sat on the ploughed field up towards the Farm.  The birds along the seawall were 6 Turnstones and hunting along this area was a Kestrel.  Off-shore movement provided counts of 14 Red Throated Divers (5S+9N), 3 Gt Crested Grebes (S), a drake Goldeneye (S) and 2 Cormorants (N).  Sitting on the sea during this survey were c100 Wigeon. IM/MR.

14th - The predicted overnight 'warm-up' occurred and the temperatures this morning were around the +6 degrees mark (reaching +9 by dusk) but unfortunately, the predicted rain was also happening........... on/off throughout the day and fairly heavy at times!  Initial winds were SSE and of speeds up to 28mph along with gusting of up to 38mph, the latter winds turned to SSW - appearing to be much stronger still, during the early afternoon.  Surveying by one observer during the morning, located 3 Blk T Godwits on the pools beyond the memorials while further along the route, there were 4 Turnstones and 2 Sanderlings on the beach area by the first turret.  Viewing across the scrape and grazing marsh areas gave counts of c250 Teal, c350 Wigeon and 6 Shoveler, also c200 Lapwings, 46 Curlew, 5 Snipe and 3 Ruff.  A Merlin was in the vicinity, as was a single Kestrel. IM.

15th - A fairly pleasant day and away from the coastal chilly winds, the temperature was bearable until the latter part of the afternoon when there was a 'nose-dive' to very cold!  A brief visit to the site this afternoon found that a pair of Gadwall were on the scrape, as was, to the observer's surprise, a Red-B Merganser - this duck was "upsetting all the others, as it raced around only just under-water". MR.

16th - Another bright, sunny and not too cold a day - the rain however, did fall quite heavily for a while during the evening.  During the morning a single Ruff, 9 Snipe and 264 Lapwings were alongside 2 Shelducks, 10 Shoveler, 200+ Teal, 200+ Wigeon and 28 Greylag Geese on and around the scrape and it's immediate vicinity.  A Med Gull was noted as being on the new scrape area.  Singles of Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard were the Birds of Prey during this survey, whilst flying over the hide, continuing South over the sewage farm and then away, were a flock of c30 Waxwings (a search of the carparks took place but the birds had moved through). MR.

17th - A third successive pleasant day, again mostly bright, not overly cold and some SW winds of mainly light to moderate strength.  A Goldeneye (see Gallery) was the surprise species viewed from the hide today - she was happily feeding on the pool to the right of the hide.  6 Shoveler, 300 Wigeon, 375 Teal, 3 Blk T Godwits, 11 Snipe and 170 Lapwings were the rest of the counts for across the scrape area and again a Common Buzzard and a Kestrel were in the viewable area.  The brook near to the Wind Pump held a single Little Grebe, a Water Rail was located over the road and on the flooded area of marsh beside the Approach Road was 1 Little Egret.  Feeding on/around the Carpark grass were 2 Redwings with the Blackbirds. MR.  

18th - A grey and slightly misty morning with drizzle and some heavier rain, alongside light to moderate NW winds and a temperature of +6 degrees.  Conditions became a bit brighter at various times during the day but the on/off drizzle remained in play.  Winds by the evening were at NNW and again there was a mist around.  Viewing from the memorials saw a large number of Gulls on and around the new pools, also 3 Blk T Godwits and 30 Curlew in this vicinity, whilst a S E Owl was seen to fly along the "edge of the marsh".  A single Little Grebe was once more on the brook by the wind pump and a single Turnstone was on the beach.  Along the rear hedgerows of the scrape were both a Kestrel and a Common Buzzard - the scrape itself, holding 2 Ruff, 4 Blk T Godwits (7 on site), 16+ Snipe, 248 Lapwings, 1 Gadwall, 10 Shoveler, 249 Teal and c300 Wigeon. MR

19th - At least two observers were on and around the site today - both starting at the opposite ends of site.  The initial report gave a Little Egret on the flooded area of marshland by the Approach Road, 3 Blk T Godwits again on/near the new pools along with 2 Curlew.  3 Little Grebes were noted (1 by Tariq + 2 brook between sluice/wind pump) and a female Kingfisher was also circulating the area from the sluice to the wind pump.  The walk to the hide located a single Sanderling and 4 Turnstones on the beach.  Surveying from the hide gave the Duck counts of 8 Shoveler, c300 Teal and c300 Wigeon, Wader counts of 3 Blk T Godwits, 20+ Snipe and 204 Lapwings and a total of 255 Brent Geese - these dropped onto the scrape for a 15 minute 'wash and brush-up' before taking flight to head over Frinton.  Singles of Common Buzzard, Barn Owl (box), Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Green Woodpecker were also noted from the hide. MR.  The second observer noted similar species/counts and had the additions of 37 Curlew that took flight near to Tariq and dropped into the field, 3 Stock Doves and of note, at least 160+ of presumably the earlier Brent Geese, had re-located to the fields beyond the Golf Course. BS

20th - Rain, rain and more rain for the majority.......... along with SE winds of up to 23mph and gusting of 35+mph.  The temperature was in the region of +7 degrees.  An afternoon visit to the site located a male Stonechat amongst the Reedbeds, 7 Stock Doves and 6 Red-legged Partridges were around and again the Brent Geese had descended on the farmer's field (beyond the Golf Course) and the count of these was in excess of 250.  Of note on and around the scrape were 1 Little Egret, 13 Snipe, 3 Shoveler and 2 Cormorants. BS.

21st - WSW winds of c10mph initially, not too cold a day and at least it remained dry through the morning!  A walk and survey during the latter part of the morning (beginning at the Frinton end of site) found that the Brent Geese numbers were in the region of c550/600 and were on the field beyond the Golf Course.  A total of 15 Stock Doves were noted, 8 Common Gulls were located on the Golf Course, close to the second hide was a male Stonechat and a Common Buzzard that had perched atop one of the Owl boxes found itself mobbed by a Crow.  Observations from the main hide - viewing across the scrape and grazing marsh - supplied a single Blk T Godwit, 19 Snipe, 3 Cormorants, 6 Shoveler and 5 Greylag Geese, while the Lapwings took flight when a Sparrowhawk flew over the scrape.  In front of the hide were 2 Little Grebes. BS

22nd - The rain was pretty much set in for the whole duration - making for a very grey, dismal day.  Winds varied in strength throughout.  A quick visit gave 84 Lapwings, 1 Blk T Godwit, 15 Snipe and 3 Turnstone that were all airborne after being flushed off the scrape. GG.

23rd - A dry and fairly bright day but whilst the inland winds appeared mostly calm, the coastal 'breeze' was at times very strong.  Wind direction by the evening at SW and of speeds of c10mph.  At least two observers were on the site today.  Vocal Waxwings were a nice sight with 27 South and 1 North, also over the site were a flock of 76 Golden Plovers (SW).  Singles of both Pied and Grey Wagtail were around the Sewage Farm. GG/MR/LW.   Today's viewing from the main hide provided counts of 1 Turnstone, 42+ Snipe and 56 Lapwings, 1 Shelduck, 8 Shoveler, 3 pairs of Gadwall, c200 Wigeon and c300 Teal.  The Geese numbered c30 Greylags, whilst the Brents at c145 flew in and out of the scrape vicinity a couple of times during observations.  The 2 Little Grebes again in front of the hide. MR/GG.   

24th - Rain through the early hours this morning along with an initial mist, both of which had stopped/cleared by c09.30hrs.  The day did however remain grey and very breezy to say the least!  Initial SE winds turned through S to WSW by dusk and although general speeds were at times of c17mph, the gusting was fairly constant and in excess of 31mph.  After taking in the areas opposite the Approach Road, through the Dell, Carparks, past the sluice to the beach huts at the Frinton end, then the return walk that included viewing from the hide - 'dismal' and 'good job it's not 1st January today' were two comments!  A male Marsh Harrier did give some superb viewing though, as he quartered the flooded marsh before going in for a kill.  A single Turnstone flew S along the coastline as did 2 Brent Geese, while a further flock of 8 Turnstones dropped onto the scrape a bit later.  Mid-way along the Golf Course were 2 Stonechats atop bushes, 6 Common Gulls, a Green Woodpecker and 2 Song Thrushes were noted on the Golf Course itself and 3 Pied Wagtails flew over the Course.  The scrape and surrounding marsh held 2 Blk T Godwits, 48+ Snipe, 2 Little Grebes, 3 Gadwall (2 drakes), 6 Shelduck, 6 Red-legged Partridges and 3 Grey HeronsShoveler, Teal and Wigeon in similar numbers as of late.  A Kestrel was also noted. AD/KA.  

Wishing you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS that is full of good cheer (& if you are banned from the kitchen on Christmas Day morning....) Good Birding too!!

25th - A mix of weather for Christmas Day with changeable grey skies to blue with white clouds, drizzle that sometimes became heavy rain, occasionally some sunny periods and also included a rainbow.  Winds mostly SW/WSW and of varying strength - moderate to strong.  No reports returned.

26th - Mostly bright through the morning but turning grey and overcast going into the afternoon, along with temperatures of c+9 degrees.  SW winds again of 22+mph.  One observer took a wander to the hide this 'Boxing Day' morning and provided counts of 1 Turnstone, 1 Blk T Godwit, 10+ Snipe and 30+ Curlew, also 5 Shelduck, c30 Shoveler, 150+ Wigeon and a notable 500+ Teal - all on and around the scrape and immediate grazing marsh/flooded area.  2 Kestrels were also viewed.  The site's current superb male Marsh Harrier, along with a Peregrine 'both on the hunt for a late breakfast' were the reason for the scrape suddenly being very active. IM

27th - A very grey day with at times some very heavy rain and temperatures around the +7 degree mark.  Winds were variable - initially of a SSE direction, these moved by late morning to NNE, to NNW for mid-day and through to NW for pretty much the rest of the afternoon.  Speeds were also variable but at times just c5mph.  No reports returned.

28th - And again a grey, dismal, wintery day.  Rain from the early hours continued through into the morning but did eventually ease up and actually stop for a short time, after which, on/off drizzle and rain remained for the duration.  SW winds of 23+mph along with gusting of up to 30+mph.  No reports returned.

29th - A better day weather-wise with a temperature of around +10 degrees and mostly dry.  It was brighter during the morning, a bit grey for the afternoon and a rain spell for the early evening.  Initial SW winds swung through S and back again, being of up to 28mph in general speed and gusting that reached 45mph.  No reports returned.  

30th - A chilly start this morning but bright and sunny.  The temperature by 09.00hrs being at +6 degrees with wind direction at WSW with speeds of up to 20+mph and gusting up to 35mph.  A slight turn of wind direction later in the day (SW) and rain also appeared.  Observations during a walk along the seawall, located 5 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks between the 'second hide and second turret' while continuing the walk to the third turret, views were had of c500 Brent Geese that were feeding in the field beyond the Golf Course.  Waxwings were again noted for the site when a flock of 12+ flew over the mounds heading inland towards the back of the carpark bushes. IM.  A survey from the hide, gave counts of 2 Blk T Godwits, 4 Turnstones, 12 Curlew, 100+ Lapwings, 1 Shelduck, 5 Gadwall, 19 Shoveler, 250+ Wigeon and 400+ Teal that were all across the scrape and it's surrounding vicinity, also c120 Golden Plovers that flew over this area.  Singles of Common Buzzard and Kestrel were noted. MR/PL.

31st - And the weather to finish 2012: On/off rain, grey skies and strong SSW winds, although the temperature is holding around +10 degrees this morning!!  The wind speeds being up to 26mph along with gusting up to and in excess of 40mph.  The 2012 Haven Year List as at this morning stood at 180, the lowest total of the last six years and despite searching, 180 is where the figure stays.  On and around the Haven site today were 2 Stonechats, 2 Little Grebes (one on the scrape + one in front of the hide), also 4 Purple Sandpipers on the seawall and viewing out from the site, gave 8+ Red Throated Divers feeding off-shore.  2 Turnstones were located on the scrape and surrounding areas, along with 40+ Lapwings, 1 Little Egret, 7 Gadwall, 17 Shoveler, 400+ Wigeon, 600+ Teal and 78 Greylag Geese.  On the arable beyond the Golf Course, there were 450 Brent Geese with the "munchies" - only having a break from feeding to drop in/out of the scrape to wash 'n' brush up. MR.    

A huge THANK YOU to all members of the Holland Haven Birding Group, Supporters and Visitors alike, for the daily reports, photos, site information and other input during this 2012 year - all going towards the publication of this Website and further informing others of our "coastal wildlife Haven".  A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 to ALL  (& the weather is looking promising, so far, for searching out those 1st Jan'13 feathered friends).   


As at 31st December, the Haven 2012 Year List stands at 180.       

NB: Visitors using the Haven Carpark, please be aware that this is a Pay & Display Carpark that is checked regularly by Parking Wardens.  If you are a Tendring Resident with the current 'TDC Free Parking' discs for after 10am THESE DO NOT COVER YOU at neither Holland Haven nor The Naze carparks.  Tendring residents' permits (£20 as at 01-12-12 on TDC Website) are available for both respective places.