Trip reports

Visit to EWT Fingringhoe Wick

Avocet wading in water

Sunday, 24 February 2013

After missing the turn to the nature reserve, Dave, our driver somehow managed to turn around his forty-nine seater coach in the narrowest of lanes before we arrived at Fingringhoe Wick.

From the visitor centre window we saw chaffinch, brambling, blue tit, great tit and long-tailed tit on the feeders and a couple of female pheasant.. In the meadow beyond were green woodpecker and jay.

From the Tony Shorter seat on a high grassy knoll overlooking the Colne Estuary we looked down onto the saltmarsh where oystercatcher, redshank, grey plover and wigeon were roosting above the high tide. On the water were two pairs of red- breasted merganser, goldeneye (two drakes), many shelduck and a small flock of brent geese. Further out a large dark bird skimmed low across the estuary, a juvenile/female marsh harrier. On the estuary's north bank was a roost of several hundred avocet.

Dropping down to water level and into the Geedon Bay hide, we found a lone turnstone on the beach and little egret occasionally popped up and flew across the saltmarsh. A distant raptor was spotted and telescopes followed a male hen harrier along the distant creek until disappearing from sight. A sparrowhawk caused excitement as that too skimmed low over the estuary and into bushes adjacent to the hide.

After lunch we made our way to the Ballast Jetty and from the metal gate close views were obtained of redshank, grey plover and a single ringed plover.

From Robbie's hide the tide was now retreating and the waders were beginning to build on the foreshore, small flocks of knot were joined by dunlin a couple of bar-tailed godwit, and small flocks of avocet and black-tailed godwit from the large roost on the opposite shoreline eventually joined them.

Whilst standing on the promontory beyond Kit's pond watching a marsh harrier float on the wind, another raptor suddenly swept underneath it and sped low across the grassland to the north. The peregrine put up a small flock of lapwing and an even larger flock of brent geese before returning to circle slowly above our heads.

This reserve reconfirmed its position as a firm favourite of the group.

On our return journey the Cambridge services held the usual pied wagtail roost and on the Northamptonshire border an owl species passed over the coach.

Peter and Lesley Berrill