After a prolonged dry spell it rained in the early morning of the day of our visit to Cudmore Grove that, together with it being a holiday period, may have accounted for the group’s turnout being the lowest I can recall. The birds also seemed to be holidaying elsewhere and sightings were low.
Leaving the almost deserted car park we made our way across the open ground to the foreshore and although the top of the tide was a few hours away the water almost covered the mud. It was interesting walking on the beach and looking at the holes in the cliffs wondering if sand martins had made them and nested there. On the banks nearby grew, what we believe to be, Golden Samphire; quite an exciting find. This native perennial is found on salt marsh, sea cliffs and rocks and is rare, except in the Thames Estuary, Essex and four other UK locations. I am waiting for confirmation of the identification from the experts at East Mersea.
We headed along the bank and grazing in an adjacent field saw there a large flock of black-tailed godwits and many lapwings. Three interesting waders flew over but they were gone before we could identify them. The usual array of ducks and swans swam in the dyke. In this area we have previously seen many butterflies but on this visit we saw just two species, the skipper and the gatekeeper.
From the hide we counted 22 egrets sitting in the trees and two grey herons but the kingfisher that we admired last time was not to be seen.
By lunch time the car park had filled and families had arrived so we left and went to Abbotts Hall Farm and ate our picnic in the quiet of their garden enjoying the views across the pond.
Birds: Starling, Skylark, Swallow, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Crow, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Egret, Grey Heron, Mallard, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Coot, Swan, Black-headed Gull,
Flowers: Yarrow, Bristly Ox-tongue, Marsh Thistle, Sea Lavender, Ragwort, Bramble, Bellbine, Bindweed, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Golden Samphire
Butterflies: Gatekeeper, Skipper.
Other: White-tailed Bumblebee