10th August 2016
The wildfowl menagerie at the Layer Breton causeway has been somewhat depleted of late with no Red-breasted Geese on show, but today saw the appearance of five newly arrived Emperor x Barnacle Geese hybrids. The geese have been on the main reservoir for the past few weeks but have now found the main food source so will probably become a permanent feature.
On the other side of the causeway the first task was to scan the banks for Ruff which normally appear at this time of year, and I was not to be disappointed. For there strung along the water's edge were 5 or 6 birds, all looking resplendent in the morning sunshine. Nothing else of note, so time to look around the reserve.
On the track to Hide Bay, a family of young Whitethroats were flitting around the barbed wire fence, but unfortunately were fairly mobile allowing on only shot to be taken. In the hide a young Lapwing was feeding right in front of the hide and was showing off its kaleidoscopic colours in the full sunshine.
Now on to the Island Hide where unfortunately, due to a small drop in the water levels, the water's edge had receded to 20 yards from the hide instead of the usual 10 yards. Nothing in sight initially but then a Common Sandpiper appeared from behind the point to the left and proceeded to walk towards the hide. After about 20 minutes it had come within camera distance and I was able to get some shots.
Now on the the next leg of the journey to Fingringhoe Wick and was greeted by a number of Swallows gathered on the tiled roof of Wick Cottage. Although many of the birds were youngsters, this adult was still present but it won't be long before it starts to return journey to Africa, leaving the young ones to follow on at a later date.
On the scrape 4 Green Sandpipers were feeding on the edges of the many islands, sometimes coming close enough for a photo. But the stars of the show as always at this site were the roost-time gathering of Greenshanks which on this occasion built up to a total of 25. What a fantastic end to the day.