2016 has been another good year for the Bird and Wildlife Group. We now have a total of 30 members. We had 32 members at the start of 2016, 4 left during the year and a further 2 joined. Average attendance throughout the year was 10. The highest attendance was 21 in January (at Mayland and lunch) and 20 (at Fingringhoe in April). The lowest was 1 (at Blue House Farm in March owing to very bad weather).
During the year the Group identified 100 different species of birds, 97 wild flowers, 14 butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies and 15 other. None of us are experts but we are fortunate to have in the group members with differing degrees of expertise and we are all learning from each other.
We visited 10 different venues during the year, having visited Fingringhoe Wick 3 times.
The only new venue in 2016 was our January outing to Mayland when we had a walk along the seawall followed by lunch in the Blackwater Bistro.
The visit to Fingringhoe in April was one of the highlights of the year (when 20 members attended) as we were fortunate to see and listen to Nightingales. Fingringhoe is one of the places in the UK where you are virtually certain to see and hear Nightingales at this time of year. Also this year Fingringhoe opened their new Intertidal area which has nearly doubled the size of the reserve, and it is a really lovely place to spend a day.
We are so lucky in this area to have so many beautiful places to visit, not only Essex Wildlife Trust and RSPB reserves but places like Cudmore Grove Country Park at East Mersey, Heybridge Basin, Tollesbury to name but a few.
In addition to our monthly outing some of our members participate in ‘Our Patch’. This involves the area around Creeksea and the Marina where members meet once a month, doing the same walk every month, and recording all the wildlife they see each month.
We are now looking forward to 2017. We will obviously be visiting some of our favourite places and will maybe try out a few new ones.