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" has changed for several species this year 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: *

DECEMBER 2013

1st - Some mixed skies throughout with occasional bright (and sometimes sunny) periods.  Mostly light to moderate winds with maximum temperature readings of +7 degrees that dropped quickly to +3 degrees by late afternoon.  No reports returned.

2nd - Not overly breezy today with wind speeds of up to 10mph and gusting of up to 12mph and late afternoon saw the wind direction at NE.  Coastline temperature readings gave a maximum +8 degrees.  On and around the scrape today were c220 Lapwings, 4 Shoveler, 4 Shelducks, c200 Wigeon, c200 Teal and 240+/- Greylag Geese.  In front of the hide (drain area) was a Water Rail, while also noted were singles of Little Egret, Common Buzzard and a superb male Marsh Harrier.  A count of 51 Stock Doves were recorded as being on the marsh and back fence at this time. MR.

3rd - Generally a grey but dry day with light winds of up to 6mph which by late afternoon were of a SW direction.  The coastline temperature readings reached +4 degrees.  The scrape and surrounding grazing marsh during today's survey found that the Lapwings, Shoveler, Shelducks, Wigeon, Teal and Greylag Geese were all as per yesterday with a Water Rail and Little Egret also still in-situ.  A Sparrowhawk was in the vicinity and a Common Buzzard was again seen, while 2 Stonechats were located (Moth Sanctuary), 2 Little Grebes were on the brook near Tariq and on the sluice were a Rock Pipit and 4 Turnstones. MR.

4th - Another grey day - well it is December and it is winter - the NW winds were of moderate strength at speeds of up to 13mph with some occasional extra gusting. Temperature readings gave +8 degrees but again, much colder with the wind-chill factor.  The wander through to the hide found that the Little Owl was back in his tree and 1 Little Grebe was on the brook, while singles of Rock Pipit and Sanderling were on the sluice area.  The Sewage Farm hedge today held a single Firecrest of particular note.  Viewing across the scrape and surrounding area again gave that the Lapwings, Shoveler, Shelduck, Teal and Greylag Geese were as per numbers of 2nd and 3rd, whilst the Wigeon count had doubled to c400.  The Water Rail in front of the hide was joined by a Snipe with the comment made "they don't get on very well together!".  Some 230 Brent Geese were viewed and noted as 'feeding on the arable' to the West of the main road (B1032). MR.  

5th - After a heavy frost overnight, the colourful dawn was followed by cloud-cover although the sun was constantly trying to break through.  Predicted high winds began to hit the area from early this morning with wind direction varying SSW through W with initial wind speeds of up to 32mph and fairly constant gusting of up to 40mph - these increased during the early afternoon up to at least 43mph and 62+mph respectively.  A heavy downpour arrived late afternoon along with an exceptional and sudden but short-lived change of wind direction.  Severe flood alerts were in place from Norfolk, through Suffolk, our Essex coastline and down to Kent - due to exceptionally high tides and the added force and direction of the extreme high winds.  Surveying the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh - from the hide - yielded both the Water Rail and Snipe in front of the hide and again c220 Lapwings, 4 Shoveler, 4 Shelducks, c200 Teal, c400 Wigeon and 240+/- Greylag Geese.  Of note, the Brent Geese were again on the arable over the road but had more than doubled in numbers overnight to c500 this morning. MR

6th - The coastline was still under flood alert but the mostly W through WNW winds were much calmer than of yesterday - as was the sea!  Wind speeds were at times as low as 3mph, gusting reached slightly in excess of 33mph, the sky being mostly patchy blue amongst the clouds, some sun and a few occasional attempts of drizzle.  No reports returned.

7th - After some early morning rain, it was mostly a bright day with Westerly winds of up to c19mph.  No reports returned.

8th - Bright sun through the morning with blue skies and some cloud.  Wind direction and speeds varied WSW through W, of up to 18mph and gusting of 25+mph.  Coastline temperature readings of up to +8 degrees although the wind-chill factor dropped this to +4 degrees.  No reports returned.

9th - Mostly WSW winds of speeds similar to yesterday, today's being c18mph with gusting of up to 24mph but the wind-chill factor was lower at just +2 degrees.  A few attempts of drizzle during the latter part of the day.  No reports returned.

10th - A slight move in wind direction this morning - being of SSW through S of up to 17mph and gusting of 18+mph.  The morning coastline temperature of +7 degrees dropped rapidly before mid-afternoon.  No reports returned.

11th - After a very foggy and icy night (below -3 degrees), the very early morning continued in the same vain.  The low temperature readings eventually went above zero and with light Southerly winds and some sun, the morning and in fact the day became quite pleasant.  Latter winds were of SSE with speeds reaching 12mph (gusting c13+mph) and the temperature dropped considerably.  Initial observations gave picturesque views of a Barn Owl quartering the marsh by the Approach Road in the morning sunshine, while the bushes in this area held a Song Thrush and 15+ Blackbirds.  An Oystercatcher and 3 Turnstones were on the sluice and between here and the wind pump, 2 Little Grebes were on the brook.  Viewing across a frozen scrape (early) from the hide saw that just 52 Lapwings and 2 Greylag Geese (roosting) were on it, while 2 Shoveler and a few Wigeon were on the pond with the surrounding marsh holding some 100+/- Teal and 100+/- Wigeon.  The Water Rail was again in the front of the hide (09.00-10.00hrs) and today's Birds of Prey were singles of both Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard.  Walking from the hide through to the second turret gave additions to the survey of 1 Little Egret and 17 Curlew (both these species on the marsh) and another 100+ Wigeon that were sat out on the sea.  Reaching the sluice during the return wander of a quiet and enjoyable morning, c600 Brent Geese were seen to 'lift from the distant arable and drop onto the sea just off the sluice'. MR.

12th - Another pleasant morning with bright conditions and initial winds being mostly light to moderate.  Of a S through SSW direction, overall throughout the day the winds varied from 2mph up to 18mph and gusting was again just a shade higher at c19mph.  The temperature ranged from +2 to +7 degrees including the wind-chill factors.  The grazing marsh that runs alongside the Approach Road again provided a hunting area for the Barn Owl (see Gallery), while the trees and bushes along the roadside still held 15+ Blackbirds, there was an increase today to 2 Song Thrushes and there were additions of 15+ Chaffinches and 20+ Greenfinches.  An Oystercatcher was again on the sluice, accompanied by a Sanderling, while a Gt. Crested Grebe was fishing off-shore, c250 Wigeon were on the sea and for a period of time, c150 Brent Geese dropped onto the sea too.  The Brents were some of the c550 Brent Geese seen again on the arable over the road.  During the time spent seawatching, a Black Redstart decided to 'pop up on the wall in front of the observer before it headed over to the mounds' (see Gallery).  Also noted at this point, was a single Little Grebe fishing in the brook.  Counts made from the hide gave 3 Turnstones, 9 Curlews, 186 Lapwings, 4 Shoveler, c100 Teal and c200 Wigeon across the scrape and surrounding vicinity. MR.

13th - After a pink-hued dawn break, a grey morning ensued with drizzle that turned to rain and subsequently continued on/off all day.  Initial S winds varied through SSW and back through S to SSE and speeds varied 6mph through 24mph with the extra blasts reaching up to 27mph.  Temperature readings of +7 degrees.  Observed by the sluice at 10.45hrs were 8 Snow Buntings. PRD.        

14th - Mostly a very bright day and until late in the evening, a dry one too!  Winds were variable SSW through S with speeds being moderate to strong.  Coastline temperatures reached +9 degrees but dropped rapidly by mid-afternoon.  At least two observers visited the site during today.  A Firecrest was located by the Sewage Farm, while the walk along to the raised tee produced 2 Stonechat and a Rock Pipit of note. GG.  A walk and survey coming in from the Frinton end of site through to the Memorials and back during the early afternoon yielded views of a Barn Owl hunting the fields beyond Tariq and a 'fast moving' Sparrowhawk over the same area.  Of note in the wooded area were 5 Long-T Tits, a Little Grebe was viewed (Fleet), 4 Curlew were over the fields and a Little Egret flew towards the Golf Course.  The scrape held just 2 Shelducks, 7 Shoveler, 20 Wigeon, 80+ Teal and 152+ LapwingsBrent Geese numbering 600+ in the flock were seen to fly up and move out towards the sea with 200+ Wigeon and 15 Teal.  On the beach were 2 Turnstones. BS.     

15th - SE through SSE winds today, that varied greatly in speed up to a maximum of 30mph with gusting at times of 34mph.  Generally grey and dismal - with some rain and temperature readings eventually reaching +9 degrees.  No reports returned.

16th - Rain started the day and after a brief spell of slightly brighter conditions, it returned to being grey, dismal and on/off drizzle.  SSE/SE winds culminating in speeds up to 29mph and gusting of 34mph.  Not too warm along the coast either!  Observations today included those for the WeBS count.  On and around the site were 1 Jay, 13 Stock Doves, singles of Snipe, Oystercatcher and Curlew, 2 Turnstones, 158 Lapwings, 10 Moorhens, 2 Cormorants and 4 Grey Herons.  The Ducks numbered 2 Shelducks, 21 Mallard (including a dodgy one), 215 Teal and 500 Wigeon, while Gulls were noted as 1 Common, 2 L B B, 2 G B B, 130 Blk-Headed and 240 Herring.  The Brent Geese at this time were estimated at a count of 1,200 with notes included regarding an adult and 2 juvenile birds that 'may have some Brant genes in them but not convincing as pure birds'. SC.

17th - Another mixed weather day with on/off periods of drizzle and rain.  Two observers carried out a session of seawatching this morning from 10.00hrs to 11.15hrs and noted counts of 10 Red-T Divers flying N and a flock of 47 Cormorants flying S.  At this time, c300 Wigeon were drifting on the tide and 7 Turnstones were also seen.  Over on the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh were 2 Shelducks, 7 Shoveler, c500 Teal and c70 Wigeon (latter over and above those on the sea), also 1 Blk-T Godwit, 5 Snipe and 1 Little Egret.  In front of the hide, 4 Little Grebes were feeding and a Sparrowhawk was included in the report. IM/MR.

18th - Some early morning rain gave way to blue but cloudy skies with the sun doing its best to stay out.  Heavy rain returned by the evening.  Initial SE winds were of up to 24mph with gusting of up to 27mph - these increased up to 42mph and 46+mph respectively for early evening and continued into the night.  Coastline temperature readings of +8 degrees, as expected, dropped sharply with the high winds.  An early afternoon wander from the Frinton end through to the scrape gave views of a 'beautiful adult male Marsh Harrier gliding over the scrape', the Teal were greatly disturbed from this area until a Crow chased the Harrier off.  The scrape and surrounding vicinity held a single Turnstone, 120+ Lapwings, a Grey Heron, 2 Shelducks, 6 Shoveler, 76+ Teal and 80+ Wigeon at this time.  A total of 3 Little Grebes were noted in front of the hide (brook), 12 Greylag Geese were on site and Brent Geese were viewed as they flew out to sea in large flocks. BS

19th - After some torrential rain during the night, the morning became quite bright and dry.  Wind direction varied through today from SSW to SSE and also varied greatly in strength.  At times speeds as low as 6mph were noted but more so, were the speeds of up to 32mph and the gusting of up to 36mph.  Temperature readings with the wind-chill factor included those of just +2 degrees.  A walk along to the third turret during this morning's survey yielded little of note but included a returning Colour-ringed Herring Gull in the Sewage Farm, 3 Turnstones on the sluice, singles of both Green Woodpecker and Kestrel on the Golf Course and some 100+/- Wigeon sitting on the sea.  There was constant movement by Wigeon and Brent Geese flying back and forth, sea to marsh/arable and out to sea again, all due to the farm gas-guns being set up on the fields (per expected with the winter return of these birds).  Notes regarding these latter two species, recorded that both were c200 down on numbers from earlier in the week.  The stunning male Marsh Harrier was again on show as he patrolled the marsh.  Viewing from the hide itself, supplied a few more species today with a Water Rail and 4 Little Grebes in front of the hide (ditch), while on and around the scrape were singles of Blk-T Godwit and Oystercatcher, 6 Snipe, 6 Curlew and 140 Lapwings.  Also in these areas were 4 Mute Swans, 4 Shelducks, 7 Shoveler, c80 Wigeon, c500 Teal and 22 Greylag Geese.  Of particular note for the site, a flock of Stock Doves were flushed from the farm and upon joining those already at the rear of the scrape, the count totalled 108. MR.

20th - Initial winds (SSW through S) of 16mph and gusting of up to 22mph, changed and increased by the evening to SE of 32mph and 36+mph respectively.  Low temperature readings and a heavy ground frost for the morning of barely zero and mid-morning of +2 degrees with the wind-chill.  A cycle ride from the Frinton end of site through to the beach area by the sluice (11.00 - 12.30hrs) gave the observer views of a Stonechat by the raised Golf Tee and a Rock Pipit along the seawall.  Off-shore movement during this time was of 5 Red-T Divers heading N, while the Southbound birds included 3 Kittiwakes, 2 Wigeon, 3 Cormorants and 14 Brent Geese.  On the beach and subsequently enjoying playtime were at least 1 adult + 2/3 juvenile Brayshaw'. PBr+ 

21st - Variable SE/S/SW winds throughout the day with early speeds of 32mph and gusting of up to 36mph - the speeds increasing to 40+mph and 46mph respectively.  Rain was an all day theme with this being very heavy at times.  The coastline temperature varied +3 degrees up to +10 degrees.  No reports returned.

22nd - Another day of variable direction winds (SW/S/SE) and speeds likewise.  The earlier moderate to strong winds (16mph) and the slightly higher gusting of c17mph, changed considerable for the afternoon, to 34+mph and 40+mph respectively.  Blue skies were apparent but the look was definitely a wintery one with the additional cloud formations and when on show, the low bright sun.  No reports returned. 

23rd - A day of on/off rain that culminated in some very heavy and fairly constant downpours.  The morning SE winds reached 32mph and the gusting reached 36mph..... then as the predicted stormy weather came in, during late afternoon and early evening, our coastline saw gale force winds of 45+mph and gusting of 56+mph, while the latter part of the night saw these increase even more to 50+mph with exceptional gusting in excess of 60mph.  The temperature readings reached +12 just slightly inland this afternoon.  No reports returned.

24th - Following on from the mid-night hour of 50+ and 60+mph winds, the storm carried on for some time before the morning skies gave a calmer, albeit a very grey wintery appearance.  For the majority, the wind direction swung back and forth SE/S/SE with the speed and gusting still strong but at more sensible levels of c22+mph and 27+mph respectively.  Early evening also saw the occasional sharp but short-lived change of direction to North (returning to SSE).  Blustery, on/off rain and temperature readings of +2 degrees up to +10 degrees.  No reports returned. 

HOLLAND HAVEN BIRDING GROUP would like to wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS Good Birding if you manage to escape the kitchen duties over these next few Festive days 

25th - A glorious 'Christmas Day' morning and early afternoon, cool but bright with mostly blue skies (some cloud).  Some on/off drizzle later in the day and variable speed winds (mostly light to moderate) for which the direction had a swing to ESE before returning to a more Southerly direction.  No reports returned. 

26th - Variable skies today with some very dark clouds showing from mid-morning into the afternoon.  Bright sun at times but some low temperature readings through the day from zero to +5 degrees.  Wind direction turned WSW to SSW with speeds variable 9mph through 20+mph and gusting of up to 23mph - late night wind speeds picked up considerably per more predicted stormy weather.  Surveying during today from the hide gave three species of Birds of Prey - those of a Sparrowhawk, the superb male Marsh Harrier and sitting on the arable, 2 Peregrines.  In front of the hide was a Little Grebe and once again a Water Rail, whilst on the scrape and surrounding grazing marsh were 2 Gadwall, 4 Shelducks, 11 Shoveler, 'lots of Wigeon and Teal' and some c300 Brent Geese. MR.

27th - Although the sun tried several times today, the conditions were generally grey with on/off drizzle and then rain.  The winds still Southerly - with variation to SSE/SE and back - began the day as strong and increased quite substantially by mid-afternoon, from 26mph to 46mph and gusting from 29mph up to and exceeding 53mph.  With the wind-chill factor, the coastline temperature varied from +2 degrees to c+5 degrees.  No reports returned.

28th - A chilly day throughout but mostly blue skies amongst the various cloud formations and some sun at times too!  Winds varied S through SW and back, being of moderate to strong (up to 23mph) with gusting of up to 27mph.  A walk through to the hide and the return journey formed today's survey route.  Observations from the hide again yielded a Little Grebe (front of hide), a Sparrowhawk and a Marsh Harrier, while a few waders were also in-situ, namely 1 Blk T Godwit, 4 Snipe, 9 Curlew (left-hand marsh) and 220 Lapwings.  The duck count gave 4 Shelducks, 19 Shoveler, c150 Wigeon and c500 Teal, while 35 Greylag and c500 Brent Geese were also viewable.  The return wander located a further c300 Wigeon (these drifting on the sea), a total of 5 Red-T Divers flying S and in the Sewage Farm there was a single Grey Wagtail. MR

29th - A heavy frost was in place from midnight and the dawn temperatures were still at -2 degrees.  Early WSW moderate winds and gusting gave way, by 09.00hrs, to stronger SSW winds (16mph and 21+ respectively) and by the evening these were at SSE with recorded speeds of 27mph and 32mph respectively.  Generally, bright with mostly blue skies and sun through into the afternoon.  No reports returned.

30th - With yet more stormy weather being predicted (the South Coast still in extreme flooded situations from last week), this morning proved very grey and dismal from the start.  The SE winds being very strong with speeds recorded locally along the coast, of up to and in excess of 40mph and the fairly constant gusting recorded at 45+mph (this all prior to mid-day).  There was heavy rain from noon through until c14.30hrs when the sun did come out for a while.  The wind-chill kept the temperature low at around +3 to +4 degrees maximum.  A visit to the hide today provided counts of 1 Blk T Godwit, 4 Snipe and 4 Turnstones, 214 Lapwings, 3 Shelducks, 11 Shoveler, c150 Teal and c300 Wigeon.  28 Greylag Geese were noted as was a single Sparrowhawk. MR

31st - And to finish this 2013 year..... another typical wintery and grey day (although the sun did try!).  SE through SSE winds for the majority and mostly very strong too.  Speeds of up to 35mph and again some fairly constant gusting of up to and in excess of 40mph.  Earlier drizzle once more turned to heavy rain which then continued on/off all day.  The cooler temperatures of the morning, later increased slightly to give readings of +7 degrees.  Two observers visited the site but due to the weather, decided to stay in the Greensward shelter (09.15-11.45hrs) to carry out a seawatch (see Gallery for the 'waves').  Flying North were counts of 1 Great Skua (Bonxie) , 3 Guillemots, 3 Red-T Divers and 3 Gannets, while the Southbound birds were 1 Oystercatcher, 5 Cormorants and 11 Kittiwakes. IM/MR

 

NB: With not a single addition during December to the 2013 Haven Year List, the total of accepted (by HHB) species for this year equals the count for last year (2012).  Of notable interest, there were 17 species seen on the Haven site in 2012 that were not seen here during 2013.  Of the 17 species recorded in 2013 and not in 2012, a total of 14 were birds already recorded in previous years and 3 were new site records.  What will 2014 hold in store?

As at 31st December, the Haven 2013 Year List stands at 180.    

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