South East Essex RSPB Field Walk and Coach Trip Reports 2017

Best species count so far - 104 at RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk on the 14/05/06
Best birds - Black-winged Pratincole, Stodmarsh NNR, Kent 17/05/09
Red-footed Falcon, RSPB Lakenheath Fen, 19/05/13
Glossy Ibis, Wat Tyler Country Park, 11/09/15

Field Walk

Holehaven Creek and Canvey Wick - Wednesday 26th April 2017

cool, scattered clouds

Brent Geese, Shelduck, Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Green Woodpecker (heard), Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear, Blackbird, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (heard), Whitethroat, Chiffchaff (heard), Blue Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Linnet, Goldfinch. Wall butterfly.

Wall Brown
Wall Butterfly. Photo by John Long.

Species count: 28



Group Long Weekend

Portland Bill and Surrounding Areas - Friday 31st March to Sunday 2nd April 2017

With grateful thanks to Bob Ford our excellent guide, Portland Heights
Birdwatching Breaks - see: http://www.heightshotel.com/bedrooms/themed-breaks/

sunny, warm

Saturday April 1st Weather: mostly warm and sunny in a light south-westerly

Weston, 0900
We started our weekend with a attempt to see the extremely rare Hume's warbler that has spent the winter in an overgrown quarry at Weston, half way between the hotel and Portland Bill. The annoying little nuisance once again defied us but we did see a number of blackcaps which, along with a chiffchaff or two were giving regular bursts of song.

Portland Bill, 1000
This was planned to be an exciting sea watch but with the wind dropping right off there was very little passing the Bill. We did have plenty to see though with the resident guillemots, razorbills and fulmars present in good numbers. The highlight was an outstanding black-throated diver in full breeding plumage that flew east passing us at relatively close quarters.

Walking along the Eastcliffs to the Bird Observatory we had the chance to compare meadow and rock pipits with wheatear and Raven also showing well. At the Observatory the nets were not catching any birds at all but the Observatory Quarry did show us good views of the resident little owl. Meanwhile, back at the Bill, Graham and Kris were watching scoters and a great skua!

Rock Pipit Portland Bill
Rock Pipit, Portland Bill. Photo by Graham Mee.

Ferrybridge, 1200
Once the tide had dropped a bit, the mud-flats here added little egret and oystercatcher to the day's list. In the distance out on the waters of the Fleet five sandwich terns could be seen sat on the posts of the mussel farm. Across the road Portland Harbour held a good-sized flock of twenty or thirty red-breasted mergansers. Whilst we were searching for anything else out there we were delighted to see a pair of swallows skimming past heading north along the shoreline.

Lodmoor RSPB Reserve, 1400
This excellent reserve added a host of birds to our list with the close telescope views of snipe particularly pleasing. No less than three marsh harriers were seen with our resident 'Rusty' and 'Blondie' being joined by an unknown young male bird. A speckled wood was for most of the group the first seen in 2017.

Radipole RSPB Reserve, 1500
In what was now a very pleasant calm and warm afternoon we enjoyed walking out to the new "hide" even though birds were few and far between. Several Cetti's warblers were heard and seen with at least one of the group also hearing bearded tits. The hide showed us three more marsh harriers, two males and a female again. A small tortoiseshell seen here was the second butterfly of the day.

Sunday April 2nd Weather: sunny all day in calm conditions

Ferrybridge, 0900
Our second visit to this normally very productive site allowed us to add ringed plover to the list and also better views of dunlin, including a very smart summer-plumaged bird. Out on the Fleet red-breasted mergansers and sandwich terns were seen again.

Arne RSPB Reserve, 1100
Arriving at one of the RSPB’s most popular reserves we were met with balmy conditions and quickly found a singing male Dartford warbler which gave us very good views through the telescopes. The Shipstall Point hide held an unusually close pair of pintail as well as a wide range of other wildfowl and waders. Our return route through the woods revealed a small group of sika, including an outstanding white stag.

Lunch was had next to the bird feeders and added a number of new birds including siskin and nuthatch and, for one or two lucky ones, a brief view of a firecrest.

After lunch we walked out to Midlebere Lake where there were many hundreds of black-tailed godwits, some in their very smart reddish summer plumage. Having heard Mediterranean gulls all day, we finally managed to find a few very distant birds through the telescopes. In the same direction, a peregrine perched out on the far shore looked not quite right, possibly a falconer’s hybrid with a lanner falcon.

With the weather now positively balmy the birds all seemed to disappear so we called it a day and went back to Portland for our cream tea.

Bird List:

Black-throated Diver Portland Bill
Great Crested Grebe Arne
Little Grebe Lodmoor
Fulmar Portland Bill
Cormorant Portland, Radipole, Arne
Shag Portland Bill
Gannet Portland Bill
Little Egret Ferrybridge, Lodmoor, Arne
Grey Heron Lodmoor, Radipole
Mute Swan Radipole
Canada Goose Lodmoor, Arne
Dark-bellied Brent Goose Arne
Greylag Goose Arne
Shelduck Radipole, Lodmoor, Arne
Wigeon Arne
Teal Radipole, Lodmoor, Arne
Gadwall Radipole, Lodmoor, Arne
Mallard Radipole, Lodmoor, Arne
Shoveler Radipole, Arne
Pintail Arne
Tufted Duck Radipole
Pochard Lodmoor
Red-breasted Merganser Portland Harbour, Ferrybridge
Hooded Merganser Radipole
Common Scoter Portland Bill
Kestrel various sites
Peregrine Arne
Marsh Harrier Radipole, Lodmoor
Sparrowhawk Arne
Buzzard Portland, Radipole, Arne
Pheasant Portland, Arne
Coot Radipole, Lodmoor
Moorhen Radipole, Lodmoor
Oystercatcher Ferrybridge, Lodmoor, Arne
Avocet Arne
Curlew Arne
Redshank Arne
Black-tailed Godwit Arne
Ringed Plover Ferrybridge
Dunlin Ferrybridge, Lodmoor
Snipe Lodmoor, Radipole
Great Skua Portland Bill
Common Gull Arne
Black-headed Gull various sites
Mediterranean Gull Arne
Herring Gull various sites
Lesser Black-backed Gull Portland
Great Black-backed Gull various sites
Kittiwake Portland Bill
Sandwich Tern Ferrybridge
Razorbill Portland Bill
Guillemot Portland Bill
Stock Dove Portland
Wood Pigeon various sites
Feral Pigeon Radipole
Collared Dove Arne
Little Owl Portland Bill
Great Spotted Woodpecker Portland Heights, Arne
Green Woodpecker Arne
Skylark Portland Bill, Ferrybridge
Swallow Arne, Ferrybridge
Meadow Pipit Portland Bill, Ferrybridge, Arne
Rock Pipit Portland Bill
Pied Wagtail Portland Heights, Ferrybridge
Wren various sites
Dunnock Radipole
Robin various sites
Wheatear Portland Bill, Ferrybridge
Song Thrush Radipole, Arne
Blackbird various sites
Cetti’s Warbler Radipole, Lodmoor, Graham’s phone!
Blackcap Portland
Dartford Warbler Arne
Chiffchaff Radipole, Lodmoor, Arne
Willow Warbler Arne
Firecrest Arne
Bearded Tit Radipole (heard)
Long-tailed Tit Radipole
Coal Tit Arne
Blue Tit various sites
Great Tit various sites
Nuthatch Arne
Treecreeper Arne (heard)
Magpie various sites
Raven Portland
Jackdaw various sites
Rook Ferrybridge
Carrion Crow various sites
Starling various sites
House Sparrow Portland, Arne
Linnet Portland, Arne
Goldfinch various sites
Siskin Arne
Chaffinch Radipole, Arne
Greenfinch Portland, Arne
Reed Bunting Radipole

Mammals
Brown Rat Portland Bill
Sika Arne
Grey Squirrel Arne
Rabbit Lodmoor

Butterflies
Brimstone Arne
Speckled Wood Lodmoor, Arne
Small Tortoiseshell Radipole
Peacock Portland
Red Admiral Arne

Dartford Warbler at RSPB Arne
Dartford Warbler at RSPB Arne. Photo by Graham Mee.



Field Walk

Wakering Stairs - Sunday 26th March 2017

sunny, windy

Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Little Egret, Kestrel, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Snipe, Curlew, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Green Woodpecker, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Mallard, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Dunnock, Rook, Jackdaw.

Species count: 39

Canada Geese, Wakering Stairs
Canada Geese, Wakering Stairs



Field Walk

Abberton Reservoir - Monday 13th March 2017

warm, sunny

Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Smew (2 drake, 2 female), Goosander, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Ruff, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Skylark, Chiffchaff, Starling, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Great Black-backed Gull, Jay, Dunnock, Common Gull, Stock Dove, Meadow Pipit, Shelduck, Egyptian Goose, Wren, Long-tailed Tit. From Abberton Church EWT viewpoint: Black-necked Grebe, Scaup, Yellowhammer (x3), 100+ Corn Bunting.

Species count: 60

RSPB group at Abberton Reservoir.



Field Walk

RSPB Cliffe Pools, Kent - Monday 20th February 2017

warm, sunny

Greylag Goose, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Skylark, Starling, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Magpie, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Common Gull, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Rook, Pheasant, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Stonechat (pair), Stock Dove, Linnet, Collared Dove, Wigeon, Golden Plover. Stoat.

Species count: 50

RSPB Group at Cliffe Pools



Field Walk

EWT Hanningfield Reservoir - Sunday 12th February 2017

cold, overcast

Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Pochard, Shoveler, Shelduck, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Ruff, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Jay, Robin, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Linnet.

Also seen: Red Fox, Muntjac.

Species count: 51

Coal Tit
Coal Tit, Hanningfield Reservoir



Field Walk

RSPB Wallasea Island - Tuesday 31st January 2017

cold, drizzle

Skylark, Teal, Stonechat, Carrion Crow, Great Black-backed Gull, Starling, Lapwing, Mallard, Linnet, Black-headed Gull, Grey Heron, Curlew, Redshank, Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting, Cormorant, Twite (4), Brent Goose, Dunlin, Kestrel, Shelduck, Grey Plover, Stock Dove, Hen Harrier (2 ringtails/1 male), Oystercatcher, Meadow Pipit, Shoveler, Herring Gull, Wigeon, Common Gull, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Moorhen.

Species count: 40



Field Walk

Southend Pier - Sunday 15th January 2017

cold, rain and drizzle

Great Northern Diver, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull (included white rings 3E72 and 3KRY), Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Carrion Crow, Song Thrush singing in tree in Royal Terrace. 4 Grey Seal.

Species count: 17

Grey Seal
Grey Seal from Southend Pier.