Thursday, 28 January 2016

Heybridge

Wow what a place and why haven't I been here before! Heybridge Basin is the start of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation to which it owes its existence. It was here that the Colliers' barges unloaded for the journey inland. Construction of the 13 mile canal to Chelmsford commenced in 1793 under the general direction of John Rennie.

First thanks to my good mate Denis for these directions. Park in the Daisy Meadow Car Park which is on Basib Road at CM9 4RP. This is a large Free car park, walk out of the back of the car park and up on to the canal bank, turn left this takes you to the lock gates on the Blackwater. Cross the gates and go up on to the seawall, you can now walk right round to Maldon. On your right will be the gravel pits, while across the Blackwater is Northey Island. If you go left before crossing the lock gate you will see two fantastic pubs and a café all serve food!

It was a gloriously sunny and almost windless day today, and even at the end of January the place was busy, I can imagine a fine day during the summer the place would be heaving.
The tide was out on arrival at 8am and the birds on the Blackwater were magic, about 400 Avocets, 2,000+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 200+ Black-tailed Godwits, loads of Dunlin, Knot and Redshank. Plus the odd Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Oystercatchers and the evocative calls of Curlew it really was magic.

Managed to find the Great Grey Shrike around the gravel pits, it showed well at times but never very close.
Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike

Grey Plover

Black-tailed Godwits

Black-tailed Godwit

Redshank

Black-tailed Godwit

If like me you have never been to Heybridge Basin, you really must it is a wonderful place.