This was one of our lowest turnouts with just 6 members attending (although one did make the effort but got the location wrong) – the poor turnout was not due to the lack of interest but caused by Storm Gareth that brought strong westerly winds with gusts of up to 50 mph. At times we feared being blown off the seawall (in fact occasionally we did have to hold onto each other to prevent this happening); the wind also meant our binoculars were buffeted and the use of telescopes would have been quite impossible
Meeting in the tearoom some enjoyed coffee and toasted teacakes and then we headed to the lakes so as to avoid a headwind on the seawall. The water in the canal was rough with some of the waves having white crests; the lake likewise. Sensibly the bird life was keeping protected from the blasts by sheltering in the lee of the islands and banks. When we reached the point where we climbed onto the seawall we had become a split group. Three had gone to look for a lone soul who had wandered off with his camera and two had hunkered down to try to identify the myriad of birds on the exposed mud that had, for the most part, also hunkered down. In spite of these it was a surprisingly long list of sightings.
One bird we heard and briefly saw we later identified as a Cetti’s Warbler. We are used to hearing sudden, explosive outburst but today it was slightly different. Later, at home, a member went onto the BTO’s website and listened to many recordings of this warbler and she and I both agreed it was most likely a Cetti’s Warbler. Some interesting facts on the website say of this little bird ‘that it is unique amongst British birds in having only 10 tail feathers’ (I can’t find out how many is normal but I am sure someone reading this will let me know) and unusual also in ‘laying bright red eggs’ – there is always something new to learn.
We had planned to go on to Chigborough Lakes but we had tired of the wind and dark clouds threatened, so we cut the outing short. Despite the poor conditions we all enjoyed the day.
Birds: Robin, Cetti’s Warbler, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, Golden Plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Moorhen, Coot, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Brent Geese, Little Egret, Cormorant, Black-headed & Lesser Black-backed Gulls
Flowers: Gorse, Wild Violet, Cherry Plum, Blackthorn.
Next Meeting: Wednesday April 10th – Fingringhoe Wick Reserve meet 10.00 in the Visitor Centre