Trip reports

Fingringhoe Wick & Abberton Reservoir, Essex - Saturday, 22nd April, 2017

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Visiting Fingringhoe Wick Reserve first, we began our tour there by checking the flooded former gravel pit outside the visitor centre, then walked back up the entry road as far as the heathland patch where we turned right (north) onto trails that looped back to the northwest through extensive bushy thickets and past more old gravel workings. The trails eventually connected with a track (currently without signage) leading around the edge of an open field to the newly-created and absolutely stunning Intertidal Habitat. The main feature of this development, brought about by EWT in partnership with the Environment Agency (and credibly claimed to be 'of local, national and international importance'), is a huge scrape (measuring approx 750m by 250m) abutting the original retaining bank of the River Colne. A new hide (the 'Margaret Hide') is located out in the scrape itself and offers 360 degree views across it. Needless to say, we spent a considerable amount of time in the hide (which, amazingly, we had to ourselves!) before heading back across the reserve through undulating bushy grassland, with a visit to the river bank at the Kingfisher Hide, to the visitor centre. We ate lunch there at picnic tables that provided great views southwards across Geedon Saltings (a vast riverside salt-marsh).

Leaving Fingringhoe Wick early in the afternoon, we drove about 8km to the recently reconfigured EWT reserve at the very large Abberton Reservoir, where we visited each of three hides on the shoreline of the reservoir beyond the stylish visitor centre. This involved crossing new grassy areas and passing through recently-planted woodland. We left the reserve shortly before 17:00 and drove about 2km over to scan the western end of the reservoir and its locally wooded shorelines from the Layer Breton Causeway. We finally departed for home after an excellent day!

Birds: Little grebe (inc a pair with four tiny young)), Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant (nesting colony at Abberton), Little Egret & Grey Heron (both nesting at Abberton), Glossy Ibis (appeared in leisurely flight over the heronry at 17:10. Over the next ten minutes it made a circuit down to the Layer de la Haye Causeway and back, passing close to our viewpoint on three occasions, before finally disappearing over the L.d.l.H Causeway, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.
(76 bird species for this trip)
Mammals: Grey Squirrel.
Butterflies: Small Copper, Speckled Wood.

Compiled from material supplied by John Parish.