Saturday, 1 November 2014


Spent most of yesterday at Walton-on-the-Naze. A glorious end to October with warm sunshine and just a light southerly breeze. Our car's thermometer reached 24c and it was officially the warmest Halloween on record!

There were lots of dark-bellied Brent Geese, most keeping close to the shoreline. Image below shows a family with three juveniles (left-hand birds). The family groups stay together throughout the journey from their breeding grounds and whilst here in Essex. Juveniles have pale tips to their median and greater covert feathers, giving them the pale lines running across their back. They also have little to no collar patch.

I've been to The Naze on a number of occasions but this was the first time I've explored the EWT John Weston Nature Reserve. It is quite a large area of dense scrubland and rough grassland with a few hidden ponds and clumps of sycamore. Lots of thrushes, mostly Blackbirds 30+ with a few Redwings and Song Thrushes seen. I stayed a while watching the sycamores where at least five Chiffchaffs were present along with Goldcrests and a small mixed tit flock. Probably my best bird of the day was a Brambling which flew inland over the lagoon at the far end of the reserve and disappeared in to the scrub. also seen were three Stonechats, two Sparrowhawks which gave the crows something to mob, two late Swallows and a good selection of waders. All in all a very enjoyable end to October!