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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Essex Birding (3 Viewers)

How does access to Colne Point work? The EWT site mentions a single parking space at the end of the access track but I'm not sure where the track is. Not an area I know well, but one I should visit more.

James - the first thing that should be said about access to Colne Point, is that it is supposed to be access by 'permit' only (not that there's much in the way of gatekeeping or patrolling). What that means is you should be a EWT member. I'll assume that you are.

Your need to pass through St Osyth and travel on (over the causeway/bridge with the boats on your right and the lagoon on your left) down Point Clear Road. Take the 2nd left-hand turn down Lee Wick Rd. This passes through a farm and begins to seem very private until, after a bend, it opens up and you drive down a dirt road with fields on both sides (always worth a scan), pass the sewage works, until you come to some houses. There may be a gate which is shut, but you can open this (and then shut it) and drive over the hump of the sea wall. Now turn right and park up where there's a EWT sign.

You now need to walk down the road past a few houses (most being redeveloped and made high-tide proof) until you come to a gate that marks the boundary of the reserve. Continue over the rickety-rackety footbridge, pass the warden's hut, and walk on until you reach the beach. The location is one of Essex's 'wild places'.

One important point: the reserve and the parking space are on the seaward side of the sea wall, so prone to flooding at high tide. Best to time your visit accordingly and park the other side of the seawall if you're worried.

Enjoy

Stewart
 
On the question of post-flushing views (sorry, that sounds like a look out of the toilet window!), I had an interesting experience at Colne Point, during my mis-directed and abortive search for the Dotterel found earlier in the morning. I was walking to the northern end of the reserve limits, along the top of the shingle edge near where it meets the grasses and scrubby vegetation, when I flushed two birds. They flew off with rapid wingbeats and almost as soon as I was on to them, they were gone. The only feature I noticed was the lack of features: the whole of the wings, back and tail appeared a uniform greyish colour. Oh, and I could just see a pale belly. I had no view of the birds from the front, side or beneath. (And here, I'm very envious of Phil's view of the Corncrake.)

What crossed my mind was, two Dotterel! I couldn't think of anything else that would appear so lacking in markings. But, views were no way long enough or good enough (to pick out things like white leading edge to wing or white tip to tail), and the chance of two of these birds being a few hundred yards away from where a single bird had been found seemed too freaky. So, I'm not even going to start stringing anything out of that momentary sighting - straight into the mystery bird file!

Stewart

Agree flushing usually does result in poor and very frustrating views so I can heartily recommend flushing Corncrakes as they don't seem to fly very well. How they make it to Africa and back is beyond me! 8-P
Did have another look this morning but no luck. At least 1 Whinchat and Spotshank being the only birds of note.
Phil
 
A very interesting sight at Fingringhoe Wick this afternoon. I was sat on the bench overlooking the river when a juvenile Gannet flew past. It came from Alresford Creek direction and headed towards Mersea Island, but not before it circled over the estuary a few times. Subsequently, I heard that this bird was one of six that had headed up river earlier, towards Wivenhoe and The Hythe. They were either misled and 'misoriented' by the very high tide in the Colne estuary, or were taking a short-cut somewhere.

Anyway, if these Gannet did make as far as The Hythe, I hope that Phil was there to notch-up another surprise patch tick!

Stewart

PS: In addition to the usual suspects at Abberton - Gt White Egrets, Black Terns, Arctic Terns - there was a Little Stint in Wigborough Bay late morning, feeding on the sand bar alongside Ringed Plover and Ruff.
 
Whilst on the 'well-dones', congratulations (after, what, 5 years wait) to Steve Arlow for helping get Thayer's Gull as a recognised 'sub-species' on the BOU list.

Stewart
many thanks, now this has been accepted as the first for Britain this allows the taxonomy to be reviewed and if it warrants elevation to species status, in a UK context. At present pretty much everyone else, including the AOU, as well as those countries in Europe in which it has occured, has Thayers as a full species,

Never thought in that during my birding career I would find a first for Britain.
 
Anyway, if these Gannet did make as far as The Hythe, I hope that Phil was there to notch-up another surprise patch tick!

Stewart

Unfortunately not. I did get a call from Andy Field to tell me they'd be seen heading upriver but I was unable to get there for an hour.
Didn't stop me getting a surprise patch tick though as I had a Water Rail running along the path on the Wivenhoe Trail!
Happy days.B :)
Phil
 
A Glossy Ibis was seen and photographed at Wat Tyler yesterday lunchtime, from one of the viewing points / hides on the west side. Apparently it also visited the scrape at some point too, but no sign so far today despite people looking since 7.30am.

Other than an adult Roseate Tern which flew past Canvey Seafront on Wednesday morning, the south east of the county has been pretty quiet recently.
 
Some background in case anyone's wondering:
The Wilson's Phal was reported as a possible on Twitter (via Nick Croft @njcroft) at 12.45 today as being present yesterday. One of the locals got down there within 30 mins and was confronted by a phalarope sp., too distant to confirm with bins. He then commandeered a 'scope from a visiting birder, but the scope apparently wasn't up to much either and it wasn't until just before 2 that the ID was confirmed.
It's favouring the far NE corner, best viewed from the viewing mounds (humps) on the north side.
The A13 has been shut due to a very serious accident and will probably remain closed for a while yet. Best access is along the B1464 (old A13) between Vange and the A13/A132 junction, and then south along Chestnut Road which is just west of the A132 flyover. Go to almost the end of Chestnut Road, and turn right as the road bends round to the left, park behind the flats and follow the track under the A13, over the railway and turn right.
 
Some background in case anyone's wondering:
The Wilson's Phal was reported as a possible on Twitter (via Nick Croft @njcroft) at 12.45 today as being present yesterday. One of the locals got down there within 30 mins and was confronted by a phalarope sp., too distant to confirm with bins. He then commandeered a 'scope from a visiting birder, but the scope apparently wasn't up to much either and it wasn't until just before 2 that the ID was confirmed.
It's favouring the far NE corner, best viewed from the viewing mounds (humps) on the north side.
The A13 has been shut due to a very serious accident and will probably remain closed for a while yet. Best access is along the B1464 (old A13) between Vange and the A13/A132 junction, and then south along Chestnut Road which is just west of the A132 flyover. Go to almost the end of Chestnut Road, and turn right as the road bends round to the left, park behind the flats and follow the track under the A13, over the railway and turn right.

Thanks Neil

I notice that BirdGuides is giving the same directions as you, but (perhaps crucially) they say turn LEFT after crossing over railway line (whereas you say turn RIGHT). Are you correct, and BirdGuides wrong? I took the wrong turn looking for the Dotterel the other day, and I don't want to have to repeat the mistake! (Not that I'll get a chance to get down to Vange today.)

Stewart
 
Thanks Neil

I notice that BirdGuides is giving the same directions as you, but (perhaps crucially) they say turn LEFT after crossing over railway line (whereas you say turn RIGHT). Are you correct, and BirdGuides wrong? I took the wrong turn looking for the Dotterel the other day, and I don't want to have to repeat the mistake! (Not that I'll get a chance to get down to Vange today.)

Stewart

If you walk over the railway backwards, then left, yes.;)

I suspect where they've gotten themselves into a muddle is that most people park up off of the A13 on the verge of the slip road at the entrance to Vange Wharf. Doing this you would indeed then cross the railway and turn left.

After the A13 accident you couldn't actually get to that slip road, hence my message to RBA. Good ol' Birdguides obviously thought they knew best, no change there..:smoke:

The phalarope was there at 5.15pm at least, and the Glossy Ibis even dropped in for 10 mins around 4.30ish!
 
How was the view, a sun facing dot etc?

I saw it on Monday. In the rain. Not overly close, but far from being a dot.

Anyway, it's still there this morning and the Glossy Ibis roosted at Wat Tyler again last night behind the Green Centre. The roost is viewed from the large car park opposite the scrape hide, but I've never actually been there for the roost so unsure as to which way the birds fly in from or where they actually roost. The last two nights the ibis has flown in just after 7pm.
 
I went to The Naze again today. Instead of staring at Sycamores again, I thought I'd stare at the sea. Yes, it was far too fair and sunny to expect much, but there was a strong easterly wind. Not a sausage! Except lines of Brent Geese travelling south. So, I gave up just before noon, only to find out later that a subsequent line of Brents contained a credential-carrying Red-breasted Goose (unlike the two 'barn yard' Red-breasted Geese' that spent the summer hanging around Abberton). If I'd seen it, I reckon I'd have given it an Essex tick for this year, but it has eluded me - unless it decides to stop somewhere handy like Mersea.

Stewart
 
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I am planning to make the most of the easterlies, however light they may be and the clear weather to go early doors to the Naze on Saturday.

Unlucky on the sea watch Stewart, but keep us posted on what you do find. The Dartford warbler would have been nice.

Anyone venturing out anywhere else in the county?
 
Fingringhoe Wick

Fingringhoe Wick has now doubled it's birding interest with the breaching of the seawall, the flooding of previous agricultural land, and the start of the creation of a new salt marsh. I went down to see it today and it looked very impressive (with the very high tide at mid-day, it was totally flooded). There's even a new hide there (no access as yet), which looks like the Queen's summerhouse!

Stewart
 
There's a report this afternoon of a Pallas's Warbler "in willows at Fingringhoe Ranges". Anyone know more about this? I took it to refer to trees near the entrance to the MOD ranges down Lodge Lane (or Road), but I think I was wrong. Somewhere else? The "willows" part is specific, but the rest isn't.

Stewart
 
There's a report this afternoon of a Pallas's Warbler "in willows at Fingringhoe Ranges". Anyone know more about this? I took it to refer to trees near the entrance to the MOD ranges down Lodge Lane (or Road), but I think I was wrong. Somewhere else? The "willows" part is specific, but the rest isn't.

Stewart

All I can find on Twitter is that it was found by 2 birders (who I have not heard of), but would appear to be known as reliable by the other well known birders in that area, and it is on private MOD land unfortunately, (no further details given) so it is highly unlikely to be viewable.
Just have to find one at Naze or Bradwell :t:
Cheeers, Paul.
 
All I can find on Twitter is that it was found by 2 birders (who I have not heard of), but would appear to be known as reliable by the other well known birders in that area, and it is on private MOD land unfortunately, (no further details given) so it is highly unlikely to be viewable.
Just have to find one at Naze or Bradwell :t:
Cheeers, Paul.

Thanks Paul

I've now caught up with the detail: The Pallas's Warbler was found by Richard Brown and Richard Hull, and (as you say) the bird was on MOD property (for which, I presume, these two have permits to wander when the red flag is not flying). FYI, the latter of these Richards is the designer of the EBwS logo!

Although Fingringhoe Ranges covers a wide area, much of it (as you would expect) is devoid of trees that might harbour a warbler such as this. And, some of the edges to the ranges do have trees which, again sometimes, have public footpaths through or nearby. This said, I think the trail on this bird has now gone terribly cold (and wet) anyway!

Stewart
 
Reasonably strong easterlies with a slight northerly element to them forecast all weekend. Where would people go for an in-county seawatch? Considering the Naze, but even then I'm unsure of the best spot to watch from. Maps suggest that the carpark/tower area might work best. (If there's anything to see at all).
 

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