Continuing the theme of desperate catchup, here is a quick post about last Thursday's trip to Ingrebourne Valley with the usual birdwatching company. I won't even attempt to list all species, as the count over a bacon sandwich in Rainham cafe afterwards reached a minimum 50 with a few to spare. Having already seen the White Fronts and Red Crested Pochard the previous week, the highlights for me were stunning views of my 2nd ever Bullfinch (and first in Essex), tripping over a Woodcock about 50 metres from the car and the biggest flock of Fieldfare I've ever seen - well over a hundred. Picking up 13 Snipe feeding on one of the fields was also rather cool, while some of my favourite birds - Skylarks - were in full song and, because we flushed them about 20 metres from the car, relatively low in the air.
Ingrebourne itself was a bit difficult to navigate with a lot of the usual paths cut off by floodwater, but we managed. I've been over there a few times now and should go more often. It's a great bit of patch and only about 15/20 minutes drive from me. It also doesn't require a scope and is remote yet civilised enough that carrying the camera round my neck doesn't feel like wearing a big 'mug me' sign.
Of course, it wouldn't be an Essex patch if it was all nice and fluffy.
We thought we'd finish off by going to the Optimist for some food but the wait was about half an hour so we went to Rainham instead where we ate the aforementioned bacon sandwiches and drank cups of tea and were too wussy to go out in the rain and look for Pendulines. They wouldn't have showed anyway. They didn't need to. This was a good day's birding without them.