It was a bright and windy morning. 14 group members met outside the Three Horseshoes, Althorne where we were to start our morning’s outing. After ordering our meals, and with some reluctance to leave the warmth of the pub, we set off down a footpath that leads to the River Crouch. Plentiful rain had fallen recently and underfoot the ground was extremely muddy and slippery, which made progress slow. The wind was bitter and on the exposed farmland stretch bothered us and also kept the birds away. Bird song was fairly abundant for this time of year and we could clearly hear Robins and Great & Blue Tits.
Our first sighting of real interest came near to the river where there is a large lake and here about 100 Wigeon grazed on the surrounding grass and as we approached, took to the water. A lone Canada Goose sat low sheltering from the wind and when it did stand up we got a good size comparison between him and the Wigeon. The only other birds here were some Black-headed Gulls and a few Mallard.
With the bright low sun it was hard to pick out the colours of the birds and combined with the strong wind it was hard to hold the binoculars steady. A group of waders poked about in a field, but not one of us could distinguish the shape of their bill to clearly identify them; and because of the wind no one had brought a telescope. The birds took off and landed, once again just too far away to identify. Small flocks of Lapwing flew in their characteristically untidy manner, but little else took to the air.
Although there was a half-tide and we expected more waders just a few Redshanks fed and one Black-tailed Godwit.
It was disappointing to find the small wood had been fenced off and instead of passing through that and back through farmland we had to walk a long stretch of road back to the pub.
Three others joined us for lunch, which was enjoyed by all.
Birds Identified: Great & Blue-Tit, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Black-headed Gull, Wigeon, Mallard, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Lapwing & heard a Chaffinch.
Other: Oak Apple