Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Autumn Expectations in Essex

In the latter half of September a foray into Essex is always worthwhile in the hope of a little Autumn action. The plan today was a stop-off at Abberton to see what was on show from the causeway and then on to East Mersea for some passerines around the bushes and hopefully some waders along the sea wall.

After the recent spell of warm weather the causeway at Abberton was a bit of a shock, demanding not only a sweat-shirt but also the trusty Barbour. A quick sandwich and a cup of tea and then it was on to the business at hand. At first all seemed a little quiet and I once again succumbed to photographing the posing feral Egyptian Geese. I am sure you must be able to get counselling for this.

I crossed the road to avoid further temptation and this time was confronted with an equally photogenic and approachable Lapwing. The problem is that all Lapwings are. But how can you ignore that iridescent plumage that changes from green through blue to purple depending on the angle of the light. This bird is a young one with only a small wispy crest and buff edges to its wing coverts.

A quick scan through the bins along the waters edge revealed an interesting profile of a wader half way along. A stealthy approach soon revealed that this was a Ruff, one of many around at Abberton at this time of year, but much closer than normal. I was able to loose off a couple of shots before it lost its nerve and flew to a distant beach. The young ones and adults in winter plumage are nothing like the gaudy males in their summer plumage that you see in illustrations and so I suspect that many are overlooked by the casual observer, normally being passed of as Redshank.

But I always like to award a medal to the bird of the day and today's gong must go to the small flock of Yellow Wagtails that were feeding along the shoreline. Unfortunately, they were a little flighty but with patience and following them slowly up and down the causeway for half an hour, I did manage to get some reasonable shots.

Well, that wasn't a bad morning, so now on to East Mersea. Watch this space.

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