The benefit of free car parking is that, people use it (all councils should take note of this), and so the town or village benefit. Today Daisy Meadow Car Park in Heybridge Basin was thriving with walking groups, our wild life group and other day visitors. We almost lost some of our members to the walking group but equally, almost gained a few of theirs. Anyway, we sorted ourselves out and each group went their separate ways. With the car park toilets now removed, and both pubs shut (and in any event not particularly keen on ‘outsiders’ using their facilities), one of our member’s enquired at the tea rooms who were most helpful in this regard so at the end of the day we visited them for refreshments, and they were amply rewarded by our patronage.
The mud on the River Blackwater estuary is an excellent source of food for numerous birds and always there are many feeding there. Birds from the vast area of northern Europe and Asia rely on such estuaries from autumn right through to late spring. During that time swimmers, divers, waders exploit the food in the mud and in the water.
On the mud close to us we identified redshank, curlew and black-tailed godwits; in a water-filled rill there were shelducks, 10 egrets, avocets and gulls, and flying close over the water, a large group of cormorants. On the further mud bank, almost totally camouflaged were many golden plover (it is difficult to agree on numbers when they are so huge and our estimates varied between 300-700!). If only the sun had been shining on them and they had taken off, perhaps counting would have been easier, but it wasn’t, and with the strong wind they were sitting huddled together and still. Further up river there was a large group of dunlin, more avocets, some wigeon and we believe some teal among them but not one of us could see the identifying yellow triangle under the tail. There were the evocative calls of the curlew, the ‘ronking’ of brent geese, now arriving from their breeding grounds on the Arctic tundra, and the sharper calls of the redshank.
The gravel pit yielded little except a kingfisher, mallard, coots and a group of lapwings resting on a sandbank. It was a beautiful day to be out but the café was a welcome respite from the autumnal wind.
Birds: Blackbird, House Sparrow, Starling, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Kingfisher, Wood Pigeon, Avocet, Curlew, Golden Plover (300-700), Dunlin, Redshank, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Brent & Canada Geese, Shelduck, Mallard, Wigeon, Coot, Cormorant, Black-headed & Lesser-black Backed Gulls.
Wild Flowers: Bristly Ox Tongue, Ribwort Plantain, Marsh Thistle, Ragwort, Dandelion, Daisy, Red & White Clover, Yarrow, Gorse, Mallow, Black Medick.
Next Meeting: Blue House Farm – 8th November meet in the Car Park at 10 a.m.
Our Patch – 26th October 2.00 pm meet at the marina car park.