Saturday, 5 May 2012


Today I was meant to go to Hanningfield reservoir but at the last minute the Trip was called off.
So I decided to go to Baddow meads instead to see what I could find. When I arrived I noticed that the meads were flooded due to the heavy rains we have had down in Essex and I thought that this would be a perfect opportunity to see some unusual, rarely seen birds on my local patch, my main target being waders.
The trip started off well, with a few Northern Wheatear being seen around the bridge of the meads with one female 'greenland' Wheatear being seen amongst the flock. which was a new subspecies for me and wheatear was a year list bird.

A average shot of one of the many present Wheatears
I then started to scan the pools created by the flood with my scope. Sadly there seemed to be no waders but there were lots of Gulls to keep me company, five species in all: Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Few more minutes of scanning for waders produced no birds and I decided to move on .
Near the edge of the meads I noticed a lot of corvid activity with three species being noted: 1) The ever present Carrion Crows, 2) A flock of 5 Jackdaw  3) A superbly showing Jay which allowed me to get very close and allowed me to get some reasonable pictures.

An average photo of a jay that allowed me to get very close.
Other highlights from the meads were some Very close Swifts and Swallows a few well showing Pied wagtails and Reed Buntings and finally a wader, not on the meads but flying over were 2 Lapwings.

After the unsuccessful wader hunt, I decided to take a walk along the River Chelmer as I had herd that Kingfishers were showing well. Although my walk yielded no Kingfishers I did see a few good birds. I finally caught up with some Common Whitethroats, this time last year I had seen plenty of Common Whitethroats but this year there has been a noticeable decrease of Spring migrants in the area so it was good to see a Whitethroat. I just hope that it hasn't been a terrible winter for the spring migrants in Africa. Other god birds seen along the river were a Very close Blackcap, A hunting Kestrel that caught a vole and a House Martin.

Finally a Whitethroat!
So all in all the day was a good day although the promising meads failed to yield any Waders.

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