The venue for the September U3A Bird and Wildlife Group was Cudmore Grove Country Park, East Mersea. This was a first time visit for our group. On a chilly but bright and dry morning only 6 members met at 10.00 a.m. in the large car park. The first sighting was a Marsh Harrier flying overhead. Cudmore Grove has something for everyone. It is a haven for all kinds of wildlife and thus appeals to wildlife groups and enthusiasts. It has a sandy beach, walks along the sea wall and a large grassy area with picnic tables and plenty of room for games, etc. so also appeals to children and family groups. In the summer months there is also a foot ferry to and from Brightlingsea.
We made our way across the open grassland to the beach and seawall overlooking the Blackwater estuary. The tide was very low and there were a number of waders along the water’s edge. We spotted Ringed Plover, Curlew, Oyster Catcher, Dunlin, Great Black- backed gull, Black-headed gull, Herring Gull, Little Egret, Turnstone, Godwit and Knot. Common Terns and Sand Martins flew overhead.
We then made our way further round the seawall, which overlooks the River Colne and to Brightlingsea on the other side of the river. There we were quite excited to spot a Whimbrel on the mud, which then flew into a nearby field where we were able to get a better look at it. Meadow Pipits and Sparrows were also seen.
Leaving the seawall we walked to the wooded area where there are 2 lakes. On the first lake we spotted a number of Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and 4 Little Egrets. The second lake has a hide where we sat for a while and watched the Coots, Moorhens and Mallards and a further 3 Little Egrets, while Wood Pigeons, Magpies, Crows, Sand Martins and Swallows flew overhead.