Trip reports

Heybridge Basin & Chelmer Navigation - 10 September

Adult black-tailed godwit in summer plummage, at the RSPB Snettisham nature reserve, Norfolk

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Eleven of us undertook the breezy walk around Heybridge Basin, setting off from Daisy Meadow car park in the sunshine - shortly after Richard and I had been surprised to see surely our last swift of 2017 hunting insects above us. The small birds we hoped to see in the bushes along the path by the Chelmer Navigation weren't visible, apart from 1 robin, although the usual crows were in the fields and moorhens were on the water and the banks - more than 1 with a youngster nearby.

Once on the sea wall, with good views over the gravel pit lakes to our left and the mud flats of the River Blackwater to our right (not to mention Maldon across the water!), we saw plenty of gulls - mainly black-headed, with a few lesser black-backed and 1 possible great black-backed. It was nice to see several hundred black-tailed godwits on the gravel pits and all along the edge of the Blackwater.

There were flocks of perhaps 100-strong of greylag and Canada geese, and finally of golden plovers (some still in summer plumage), to keep us in good heart as the sun disappeared into clouds and a blustery wind blew up. We saw smaller groups of dunlin, lapwing, ringed plover and redshank alongside about a dozen cormorants, a few little egrets, avocets and turnstones, plus 3 greenshank and a common sandpiper.

A couple of little grebes did their disappearing act on the lakes, a few meadow pipits and a solitary teal flew overhead, and a pair of mute swans was on the Navigation as we returned to the car park. Including others less notable, a total of 35 species was recorded and a good scenic walk was enjoyed by all.