Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter 2010 - Friday April 9th

Friday, the penultimate day of our holiday and we decided to head into Essex for our first ever birding in the county, and specifically to Fingringhoe, an Essex Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve.

We'd found another really very nice spot and arrived early, luckily enough on an early opening day, otherwise we'd have been parked by the gate for a while.

The volunteer guide talked us through the reserve and the various birds around so we set-off to explore what is quite a small reserve but one including a lot of varied high-quality habitat. On our first walk around we heard lots of summer migrants all singing in the warming Spring morning, including Garden Warbler:



Chiffchaff, this one was gathering nesting material:



Blackcap:



and the object of the male Blackcap's affection, a female was paying close attention:



The star of the show in singing terms though is always the Nightingale, this one was singing from cover:

video

I had to split the recording to get it to load, it's worth playing both parts:

video

Wonderful! We encountered three singing Nightingales and it was still the first week of April!

After high tide we explored the hides overlooking the estuary. We saw loads of birds, an impressive list including Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin and our first sightings of Little Stint in the UK. We knew they were Little Stints as, whilst watching the Dunlin a pair of birds half their size busily waded past, making the Dunlin look heavy and slow.



Fingringhoe was another great find for us and another place we want to visit again. I imagine it will be good all year round in fact with the various movements of birds through the seasons something to watch. It would make a great local patch too, though it's a bit far for us :)

From Fingringhoe we headed to the RSPB reserve overlooking the Stour Estuary, again trying for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. The woodland was beautiful however unfortunately it was also over-run with family groups so was unbelievably noisy, we didn't hang around:



The clouds were rolling back in and the temperature was dropping away so time to head back to the hotel and to pack.

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