Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve covers 125 acres with a wide range of habitats: grassland, gorse, heathland, ponds, lakes, plantations of trees including conifers, saltmarsh and a river frontage with inter-tidal mudflats. We confined our visit to the southeast corner, about a fifth of the reserve, but one with a variety of interest. Compared to previous visits it was a very quiet day and other birdwatchers agreed.
50 species of birds are said to nest at Fingringhoe each year including the Nightingale. On a previous visit we heard many of them singing but today they seemed to have lost their voice and just the occasional one was heard. A sighting of one perched in an exposed position was in some way recompense.
As the tide was rising we started by making our way to the hides near the river to see waders on the mudflats. Progress was slow with so much to see and hear on this short stretch through trees, bushes and heath. Although there were 12 of us we lacked our best bird song ‘expert’ but even so, and without sightings, picked out the more obvious ones (Chiffchaff, Wren, Nightingale to name a few) but we couldn’t positively say whether the rasping in the reeds was a Sedge-warbler or not. We also heard, and saw, the Chaffinch the song of and which is said to be able to cure heart palpitations.
Unfortunately the tide had risen quickly so the mudflats were covered and there were no feeding waders. From the shoreline hide some of the group saw Little Egrets and Shelduck. Two other group members, who lingered at a viewpoint elsewhere, spotted a Common Buzzard, Godwits and Greylag Geese, the latter two across the river highlighting the benefits of using a good telescope.
We all stayed for lunch, some in the Visitor Centre and others in the sunshine on the picnic benches. 5 remained after lunch and as we had been told where to see a nesting Kestrel we made our way there. Clearly visible from a hide we saw a female Kestrel sitting, presumably on eggs, in a manmade nest box, and the male perched on a nearby tree.
Before leaving we visited hides by the lake where Coot chicks, displaying their bright, red head feathers, were swimming with the adults and a few Mallards and Tufted Ducks.
Birds Identified: Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Long-tailed & Blue Tits, Whitethroat, Chaffinch, Nightingale, Robin, Blackbird, Crow, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Swallow, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Godwit, Greylag Geese. Both Wren and Cuckoo were heard but not seen.
Wild Flowers Identified: Buttercup, Hawthorn, Gorse, Scarlet Pimpernel, Small-flowered Cranesbill, Briar Rose, Speedwell, Daisy, and White & Red Campion.
Butterflies Identified: Peacock
It has been a busy time with local sightings and group members have reported many interesting birds at Blue House Farm including nesting Lapwings, there have been Cetti’s Warblers in Burnham, Hen & Marsh Harriers in Tillingham and at Wat Tyler CP, Bearded Tits.
11th June Heybridge and Chigborough Lakes. Meet Daisy Meadow Car Park 10.00
9th July Wat Tyler Country Park. Meet 10.00 in Main Visitor Centre
13th August Cudmore Grove, East Mersea – Meet 10.00 in Car Park
We are also arranging an extra outing to Wick Farm, Burnham on the Monday 23rd June, 10.00; it would be helpful if you could let Joy know (I shall be away for a while) if you can or can’t come.