Once again the Bird and Wildlife Group met in 2 groups, one group going to Wick Farm, Burnham and the other to Hanningfield Reservoir.
Wick Farm, Burnham – Monday 7th December 2020
Four members met at Wick Farm on a very cold, overcast and foggy morning. We didn’t really expect to see much but decided to go for a short walk anyway. As it happened, two hours later we arrived back at the cars very pleased that we had come. We all agreed that it was nice to have a bit of normality and to catch up.
We decided to walk to the seawall. On the way we didn’t really see a lot as it was still rather foggy, but once up on the seawall the tide was very low, the fog had cleared a little, and there were a number of waders. They were a long way out but we managed to identify Curlews, a number of Redshanks, Great Black-backed Gull, a pair of Mute Swans and Mallards. A Cormorant flew overhead.
Driving back from the Farm on Wick Road there were about 20/30 Sparrows on the grass beside the road and a number of Bluetits and Goldfinches were flying around.
Birds seen: Sparrow, Goldfinch, Bluetit, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Rook, Blackbird, Grey Partridge, Mute Swans, Cormorant, Redshank, Curlew, Great black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Starling, Mallard.
Visit to Hanningfield Reservoir, Wed. 9th December 2020.
Four of us arrived at the reservoir equipped for a wet morning but as it turned out it was a very pleasant day with a gentle breeze and hints of sunshine.
We had an auspicious start as one of the first birds we saw was a group of Goldeneye close to the viewing window of the Visitors Centre. There were plenty of bluetits and Great tits on the feeders plus the odd grey squirrel attempting to feed – but not much else. There were masses of coot on the water.
We strolled along to the two furthermost hides. The hides are open to the public as long as social distancing is maintained and masks worn where appropriate. Nothing out of the ordinary there then! There were plenty of birds to be seen but not the range of species that we saw last time we visited – many coots, geese (Greylag and Canada), plus 2 white geese and one Egyptian goose. wigeon, mallard, lapwing, some teal, odd grebes (great crested and little) and odd gadwall. What were missing were tufted ducks which are usually plentiful at Hanningfield.
While the other three made their way back to the next hide Sue had spotted something very small flitting through a bramble bush. When it was finally still enough a yellow stripe on its head was evident- a goldcrest, Britain’s smallest bird. The last hide we stopped at revealed a range of ducks including goldeneye plus some cormorants.
It was lovely to be able to enjoy nature in the company of friends – something we have always taken for granted. We will meet again next month, possibly at Heybridge Basin. (Boris willing!).
Wildlife seen: Squirrel; Sulphur Tuft toadstool
Birds: Moorhen; Canada geese; Grey geese; White geese; Cormorant; Goldeneye; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Great Crested Grebe; Mallard; Black-Headed Gull; Crow; Coot; Wigeon; Teal; Pied Wagtail; Gadwall; Lesser Black-backed Gull (yellowlegs); Lapwing; Mute Swan; Goldcrest; Little Grebe; Egyptian Goose.
As Sue says above, yes we hope to meet again in small groups in January, Government restrictions allowing! January is usually the month when we have our ‘late’ Christmas lunch but that will have to be postponed until later in the year, maybe in mid-summer in a pub garden. Last January we arranged a very exciting programme for 2020 including visiting Reserves further afield that we hadn’t visited before, but, alas, it was not to be. Hopefully we will be able to get back to some kind of normality later next year.