10 members met in the Wallasea Marina Cafe. Once again we were very lucky with the weather as, although it was very windy, the sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold.
We drove from the cafe to the RSPB Wallasea Island Nature Reserve car park. Work on this reserve begun in 2012 to transform Wallasea Island from farmland into a 1,500-acre wetland, using 3-4 million tonnes of earth excavated from the Crossrail project, and is not expected to be fully finished until 2025. It is Europe’s largest man-made nature reserve and is now a wildlife-rich habitat with newly created saltmarsh, mudflats and lagoons and is a great place to visit.
From the car park we walked up onto the seawall – it was very windy and we found it hard to focus binoculars and telescope so decided to walk inland where it was more sheltered from the wind. The Island at the moment is noted for Short-eared Owls and Hen Harriers. One lucky member spotted a male Hen Harrier and another member queries seeing a Short-eared Owl although it was too far away to be certain.
Out on one of the lagoons we spotted 30 – 40 Mute Swans, Little Egret, Lapwing, Brent Geese, Pintail, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Herring Gull, Oyster Catcher and several quite large flocks of Wigeons. A Buzzard and Cormorants flew overhead. On the way back we watched a Kestrel hovering. While eating our lunch back at the car park we watched several Skylarks on the grass in front of us. A Reed Bunting and Reed Warbler were also seen.
We knew it was going to be a high tide that day and the road out of the Island might be flooded but thought we were leaving in good time. But, although four members, who left a bit earlier, managed to get away in time, the remaining six of us didn’t. So it was back to the Marina Cafe where we spent a very enjoyable hour or so.
Birds seen: Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Little Egret, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Moorhen, Coot, Wigeon, Pintail, Oyster Catcher, Reed Warbler, Pied Wagtail, Short-eared Owl(?), Brent Geese, Magpie, Sparrow, Canada Geese, Kestrel, Hen Harrier (male), Great Black-backed Gull.
Wild Flowers: Speedwell, Daisy, Marigold.
Next meeting: Due to the Coronavirus our visit to Rainham Marshes RSPB in April has been cancelled.