On a chilly but sunny morning 16 members met in the Visitors Centre and enjoyed a hot drink while watching the birds on the feeders which included a number of Great Tits, Blue Tits and Chaffinch and a few fortunate members spotted a Bullfinch.
We were hoping to see and hear Nightingales which usually arrive at Fingringhoe around mid-April but the staff in the centre told us that none had yet been seen but one was heard the day before near to the Nightingale Hide. Walking down to the Hide very little bird song was heard and few birds were seen. So we then proceeded to the Intertidal area and Hide and on the way 3 Yellowhammers were spotted, also Shelduck, Skylark and Brent Geese. From the hide we could see a number of Shelducks, Curlews, Magpies and Oyster Catchers. A flock of Brent Geese flew in and some members saw a Buzzard in the far trees and two smaller birds of prey which we thought were Sparrowhawks.
From the Kingfisher Hide we spotted Pochard, Linnet, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Little Egret and a Mute Swan on its nest, and in the woods walking back to the Centre a few members heard a Nightingale, Cetti’s Warbler and Green Woodpecker; and Chiffchaff, Blue Tit and Robin were seen.
Back at the Centre a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen on the feeder.
Driving out of the Reserve three of us stopped at the gravel pits where Sand Martins breed every year and were told that they had been arriving over the past few days; we spotted a few flying above the pits. Sand Martins are summer visitors to Britain and Ireland and they appear in Spring in order to breed. They tunnel into the sand of vertical gravel pit faces to nest between March and September and are fully protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
A very enjoyable day.
Birds: Pheasant, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Coot, Bullfinch, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Greylag, Shelduck, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Curlew, Godwit, Mallard, Brent Geese, Cormorant, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Oyster Catcher, Magpie, Mute Swan, Pochard, Linnet, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Chiffchaff, Swallow, Robin, Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Nightingale (heard), Swallow, Grey Partridge, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker (heard), Jay, Sand Martin, Rook, Carrion Crow, Cetti’s Warbler (heard), Goldfinch, Wren, Teal.
Butterflies: Peacock, Brimstone
Wild Flowers: Alexanders, Blackthorn, Bluebell, Bugle, Cherry Plum, Daffodil, Daisy, Dandelion, Field Horsetail, Germander Speedwell, Goat Willow, Gorse, Greater Stitchwort, Green Alkanet, Lesser Celandine, Red Dead Nettle, Sticky Storksbill
Other: Rabbit, Seven-spot Ladybird, Molehill
Next meeting: Wat Tyler Country Park and Pitsea Marshes – Meet in Wat Tyler Car Park at 10 a.m.