It is getting to that time of year now when wader numbers should be building up, not just in sheer numbers but also in the diversity of species. So off to Fingringhoe Wick several hours before high tide to hopefully get some shots as the waders were getting pushed closer on the incoming tide. We started off in Robbie's Hide where the tide was still some way off and settled down to wait for the birds to appear. Although numbers were generally low there was some movement as the tide encroached like this Grey Heron, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits.
There were a few Cormorant flying in and out of the estuary but my attention was drawn to half a dozen birds that were circling around quite high up with wing beats much slower than a Cormorant. A quick look through the bins revealed that they were indeed six juvenile Gannets, making their way up the River Colne, where the source of the river at Colchester is just three miles way. We waited for half an hour but they didn't return, so where they went after hitting Colchester is anyone's guess.
We then made our way to Geedon's Hide where there was a problem. It would appear that it had been necessary to carry out some piling work on the bank to avoid erosion, which had involved removing the screening to get the machinery in. Unfortunately, a month since our last visit, the screening has still not been replaced so although there were several waders right in front of the hide as we approached, it was impossible to get up the stairs to the hide without flushing the whole lot. We therefore moved on to the scrape.
The scrape is better in the afternoon as the sun has moved round. As for our last visit there was a large flock of waders in the roost, but as the water was higher and had covered the island towards the back of the pool, they were all congregated in the shallows nearer the middle and therefore closer. There was considerable coming and going, but over that time there were 34 Greenshank, five Spotted Redshank and a handful of Common Redshank.
Click on these images to enlarge and see if you can spot the Greenshanks, Spotted Redshanks and Redshanks.
But the best was yet to come. As we were driving out of the reserve and nearing the Fingringhoe Road I noticed a Little Owl sitting on a closely mown lawn. We quickly reversed up to get out of sight to enable us to get our cameras out of the boot, get back in and wind the window down. Then, using the car as a hide we ventured slowly forward and managed to get this shot. Do you think it saw us?