As we left Burnham-on-Crouch in misty weather it didn’t look too promising for viewing birds at Fingringhoe Wick, however when we arrived there at 11.00 the sun was making a show and the day proved to be warm with bright sun and a feeble breeze.
The group met in the Visitor Centre, which has a lot of information, books for sale, hot drinks and homemade cakes for sale and splendid views to the south. On the upper floor there is also an observatory that gives a 360° view. Bird feeders nearby attracted Dunnock, Sparrow, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Chaffinch and a Pheasant. In the bushes were Wood Pigeons, Magpies and Crows.
High tide was predicted for 9.23 and it was expected that by 11.00 some mud would be exposed but as the water hadn’t receded much an Essex Wildlife Trust volunteer offered to guide us around the lake, apparently an area where visitors rarely go, and explained some of the improvements that were going on in the reserve and a little of its history. She was very interesting telling us how in 1961 the reserve had become the Essex Wildlife Trust’s first reserve when it bought Wick Farm, a former gravel extraction area. Reservoirs were dug here to store fresh water for washing the extracted gravel and now these have left the reserve with several pools with fresh or brackish water. Trout Pool, a small but deep pool, apparently becomes a haven in the summer for many varied and colourful dragonflies. We saw the Trust’s new badger hide which will be operational shortly.