Saturday 14th September 2019

Our first destination for the day was Holland Haven Country Park near Clacton where it didn’t take long to have superb views of the long-staying 1st winter RED-BACKED SHRIKE as it fed constantly from perches surrounding the area known as The Dell.

Whilst perched up, a juvenile EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK made an attempt to catch the Shrike but luckily the Shrike was wise to the game and avoided capture.

Other species of note included lots of EURASIAN DUNNOCKS plus COMMON WHITETHROATS, MISTLE THRUSH, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and a first-winter NORTHERN WHEATEAR which perched for us all to see. .

After getting our fill of the Shrike we stopped off for a spot of breakfast and a hot drink on the esplanade where scanning of the sea yielded an adult NORTHERN GANNET plus a SANDWICH TERN heading north.

With the pager reporting a Pectoral Sandpiper up at Minsmere RSPB reserve, that was our next port of call.

On arrival we received information on where to locate the bird and immediately made our way down to the Konik field. Once again we quickly found the superb juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPER as it fed amongst grass and weeds at the back of the scrape.

Other species of note included BEARDED REEDLING, COMMON SNIPE, four EURASIAN HOBBY hunting insects high above the reserve, WESTERN MARSH HARRIER and a superb WATER RAIL that fed in the open.

A stop off at South hide revealed an adult and juvenile CURLEW SANDPIPER plus RED KNOT, SANDERLING and a 1st calendar year EURASIAN HOBBY which powered through sending the waders careering off!

On our way back to the carpark for lunch, we made a brief stop in the Wildlife Lookout where the best bird was a COMMON GREENSHANK.

It wasn’t just birds though as the warm weather encouraged insects on the wing and we enjoyed close views of lots of WILLOW EMERALDS plus COMMON & RUDDY DARTERS, MIGRANT HAWKERS and a brief PAINTED LADY BUTTERFLY.

By now lunch was very welcome and afterwards we made our way across the north wall and noted two lovely WHINCHATS plus EURASIAN BLACKCAP, LESSER WHITETHROAT and three EUROPEAN STONECHATS.

Along the beach we had good views of a pair of DARTFORD WARBLERS as they flitted amongst the scrub and from East Hide we located a juvenile LITTLE STINT amongst DUNLIN plus CURLEW SANDPIPERS, GREEN & COMMON SANDPIPERS, RUFF, REDSHANK, COMMON SNIPE, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and PIED AVOCET amongst others.

Several BEARDED REEDLINGS showed well plus we watched a EUROPEAN REED WARBLER flitting at the base of the reeds before flying off.

With time slipping away we wandered back to the carpark and headed off, but made a stop on the way home to see a fine EUROPEAN STONE-CURLEW which gave good views in the evening sunshine whilst we tucked into some fruit cake.

We had recorded over 80 species, had great views of all our targets, with lovely weather and a great group of clients.