Serin,Isla's middle name...

Serin,Isla's middle name...

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Hawfinch Heaven

Got up a bit late this morning,not too late though as i had a job up to Colchester at 9am.Dropped the lovely ladies from a local hospice off around 10am and made my way back down the A12 to Braxted,a well known site for Hawfinch,practically the only regular site for the birds in Essex.We have had some snow overnight,albeit a very light dusting and Mid to North Essex seemed to have pretty much the same,it threatened to get heavier for a while,while driving back down to Braxted but it seemed to pass pretty quickly.I stopped at Rivenhall Lake (think thats the name!),where there were large numbers of Great Crested Grebes,a few little Grebes and the usual Wildfowl.I was only using my Bins and it was quite misty so i couldn't see too far.As i was not sure if i was supposed to be parked where i was,i thought i should move on.Arriving at Braxted i paid attention for the first time to the No Parking sign and drove up the track a bit to try to find somewhere to park,after about 3/4 of a mile i realised this was probably a wrong move and couldn't find anywhere to turn round,i finally managed to turn at a sort of junction but even this took me a few turns,poor darts!The watching 3 pheasants were clearly laughing at me,shits!!
I decided to ignore the No parking sign,or at least plead ignorance by parking as far away from it as i could,if anyone said anything i was prepared to lie to my back teeth and say the sign was blocked.
I walked up the path and while there,i met an old friend Bill,who actually put me onto the birds,there were 2 high up on the left in the trees,we watched them for a few minutes before they flew off and into Braxted Park itself.There was very little else around,2 Greenfinches and a Blue tit and those piss taking Pheasants!!!
Bill was going to Abberton to bird of the Causeway and as i had a couple of hours i decided to join him,we went via Salcott,where a Great Grey Shrike has been for the last 3/4 weeks but after a while we gave up and went to Abberton,briefly stopping for a Chocolate & Orange flapjack,breakfast at its finest.
We arrived at Abberton in our mini convoy with a few other birders braving the weather,which had deteriorated into a small sleety snow storm,thankfully after half hour or so it abeited but i was frozen stiff
We scanned the Western end of Abberton Reservoir,first up was a lovely Drake Smew,a scan around also revealed many Pochard,all huddled up against the far bank.Around 300 Shoveler were huddled up in the middle of the reservoir in a big ball with smaller numbers huddled up elsewhere.There were the usual geese,Greylags & canada,with Snow goose of the ornimental/escaped variety and a couple of Egyptian geese running around like nutters on the Causeway.A Marsh Harrier glided across the water,not on it but over it,just in case you had thoughts that they can Waterski!
Next up was a Common Buzzard sitting in a tree the other side of the water,brief views before it took off and landed a few hundred yards away.There were plenty of Cormorants around,Great Crested Grebes,a couple of Little Grebes,Tufted Ducks,coots,moorhens and a Grey Wagtail.
We then had 8 Dunlin flashing across in front of us,but by now the cold had got the better of us and Bill departed,off for a cup of tea and a scone on the reserve shop.I stayed on the causeway for another 15 minutes or so in the hope of seeing a Bittern inb the reeds in front of me but no such luch,just a Little Egret and a Heron to round the day off.A good couple of hours birding but it took me that amount of time to get the feeling back in my toes and fingers!!!!!!


  1. Lol that Egret was sitting there the last time I went. I still haven't got that Smew!

  2. It was there for a while yesterday,looked cold lol