11th August 2015
It has been such a quiet summer and I am looking forward to late autumn and winter when I can get down to the coast and photograph some waders. A bit pointless going to my favourite haunts such as Mersea and Mistley as they will be full of holiday-makers, so Plan B was to go to Fingringhoe Wick at high tide and park myself in one of the two estuary hides.
I started off at Robbies Hide where the water was quite close to the hide with a small muddy margin but no birds in front of it. There were a hundred or so waders roosting on the salt-marsh to the north of the hide, but suddenly these all flew south towards Geedon's Marsh. Luckily two of the party went past peek-peeking advertising their presence as a pair of Whimbrel, so that was a good start.
As all the birds had gone to the south I moved to Geedon's Hide where, although the water was lapping at the hide, Geedon's Marsh was full of roosting waders. Even at high tide there is still a considerable movement of waders, especially when a Marsh Harrier wafts across the marsh, so plenty to look out for and photograph. On Geedon's, although out of view when on the ground, there were at least 500 Curlew and probably a similar number of Black-tailed Godwits. Redshank were also well represented.
The Redshank were the nearest flock of waders on the salt-marsh and had clearly not read the signs. They eventually settled on the bank of the estuary with a single Grey Plover for company, although there were at least a hundred more plovers further up the marsh.
But then the unexpected. A large bird of prey was spotted flying out of the Colne and a quick look through the bins saw it was indeed an Osprey. So was it the Abberton bird having a wander? Notice those four brown markings along the intersection of the body and the wing and remember for later.
The next stop was the scrape, which had been a little disappointing in the past as there was insufficient screening, so as you approached the hide all the birds flew off. I am now pleased to report that there is a substantial screen in place and therefore you can enter the hide without any fear of disturbing the birds on the islands. As I walked down to the hide I could hear a Greenshank calling which turned out to be not too much of a surprise when I opened the flap of the hide. For there in front of me were 40+ waders, the majority of which were Greenshank. What a fabulous sight.
A more detailed search revealed that a number of the waders were in fact Spotted Redshank including this one rather smart specimen in full summer plumage.
Well, that was rather worthwhile for an early wader shoot, so now off to see what is on offer at Abberton.