Trip reports

Weekend outing to Fingringhoe Wick & Abberton Reservoir, Essex on Saturday, 2nd May 2015

Thursday, 6 August 2015

A morning stroll around the bushy slopes at Fingringhoe Wick gave a fine opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the bird-songs of spring. It may have been well past dawn but two or three dozen recently-arrived Nightingales, backed up by melodious fellow incomers such as Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and Common and Lesser Whitethroats, and further assisted by the no less tuneful resident Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Robins, Wrens and Cetti's Warblers were producing a mighty chorus for us to untangle...or just enjoy! Full tide in the adjacent River Colne had driven out most of the waders but we did score with Whimbrel and Golden Plover on the salt marsh while Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Hobby and, most welcome of all, a Turtle Dove were seen in flight overhead.

Passing a large and busy Sand Martin colony en route, we drove a few miles for an afternoon at the newly-enlarged Abberton Reservoir with its magnificent new EWT visitor centre. Masses of ducks, grebes and gulls out on the water took a lot of enjoyable checking through without yielding anything particularly scarce. A single Greenshank among newly-arrived Common Terns resting on the shoreline conveniently close to a hide and then a smart male Wheatear on the short grass nearby were good to see, as was a wave of 30 or so Swifts (our first of the year) that suddenly appeared among the dozen Skylarks singing overhead in the sunshine. More new birds for the year followed when we moved on a short distance to visit the Layer Breton Causeway at the western end of the reservoir : at least twenty Yellow Wagtails were constantly flitting back and forth along the causeway shoulders here and a noisy melee of feeding hirundines overhead included both Swallows and House Martins, as well as more Sand Martins. A heavy whitewash of guano on trees on the reservoir bank hereabouts marks out a big Cormorant colony (historically the first regular inland breeding site for the species in UK) and we noted that the more recent heronry west of the road is now studded with Little Egret nests as well as those of Grey Heron. An excellent day's birding ended here, with more Nightingales singing nearby. The variety of habitats visited had produced a bird list of 80 species for our party of seven members.
John Parish