Last Sunday, Father’s day ( without a daughter in sight), Terry and I decided to have a day out nature watching. We thought that it would make a change to travel into Essex, after all it is only a short journey through the tunnel, and we headed for Hanningfield Reservoir.
This is an Essex Wildlife Trust Reserve which, as the leaflet explains, is 100 acre mixed woodland site. There is a very pleasant visitor centre and shop where you can get refreshments and buy such things as bird food etc. There is not a charge to enter but they do ask for a donation as they are a charity.
There are several trails on the reserve passing through woodland, ponds and meadows to four birdwatching hides. From each hide you can view a different part of the reservoir.
By the time we arrived the sun was shining and it was a warm and pleasant day. We picnicked in front of the visitor centre watching baby rabbits scurrying to and fro and Great spotted woodpeckers having a fracas above our heads. After leaving the visitor centre we headed towards the first hide. From here there were plenty of birds to be seen. Rafts of coots, greylag and canada geese, mute swans, mallards, tufted ducks, G.crested grebes and a couple of egyptian geese. Ther were plenty of swifts hawking above the reservoir and some common terns fishing.
Moving on through the wood we heard blackcap, tits, chiffchaff, song thrush black bird, wren and even got to see some occasionally. In the open meadow areas we could see many carrion crow searching for food in the grass, with two young birds being fed by a parent. Futher along the reservoir we spotted a few red crested pochard, which are present here, before returning to the car to head off home after a lovely day out.