Friday, 5 August 2022

Walton-on-the-Naze

From the 4th to the 8th of July my mum and I were staying in a caravan park in Walton-on-the-Naze. The main purpose of our stay was to have a nice relaxing break as a reward for me finishing my A Levels on the 24th of June. Of course as birders our interpretation of relaxing is very different from others and we indeed did a bit of birding each day that we were there. Our first day instantly started better than I had imagined. We hadn't long got off the train and started our walk along the promenade towards the caravan park when we decided we needed a short break from the heat and so we sat down and had an ice cream. Whilst enjoying our ice creams I noticed the rather 'flappy' flight of a bird out over the sea. We'd already had plenty of Black-headed Gulls going past but this bird was notably smaller and behaved totally different. It also looked wrong for a tern. Then it hit me... Little Gull! With my ice cream still in one hand I just about managed to grab by binoculars out of my backpack and confirmed that it was indeed a 1st summer Little Gull. I quickly got my mum onto it whilst I also hurried to finish my ice cream and then struggled to get my camera out of my bag. Once I was happy knowing that my mum had spotted it I got a few record shots. This was my mum's first ever Little Gull and only my second.

1st summer Little Gull below:

1st summer Little Gull

1st summer Little Gull flying

1st summer Little Gull flying

1st summer Little Gull flying

1st summer Little Gull flying

Ice Cream

The following day we walked around The Naze EWT NR. A decent number of House Martins were the first notable sight (until this point I had seen less than 5 individuals for the year!). A Rabbit on the cliff face was accompanied by a Green Woodpecker and Common Whitethroats were singing everywhere. A few Oystercatchers screamed past and an immature Mediterranean Gull was spotted in the distance through the scope. Two juvenile Yellow Wagtails (the first juveniles I ever recall seeing) briefly dropped down onto the beach before realising our presence and flying off. As we approached the Backwaters 5 Barnacle Geese flew off heading out to the Walton Channel. A 1st summer Mediterranean Gull (perhaps the one from just a bit earlier) was sat asleep in amongst the Black-headed Gulls and a 3cy individual flew over too. A female Tufted Duck had one chick, which was the first young one I had seen this year. 2 Sandwich Terns flew south up the Walton Channel before U-turning. Several more Oystercatchers were dotted about and 2 Black-tailed Godwits flew around. The vocal Avocets and Redshanks were also enjoyable. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew low and circled for a bit whilst calling loudly. The end of our walk concluded with an energetic group of Swifts.

House Martin below:

House Martin

House Martin

House Martin


Common Whitethroat
Common Whitethroat

Oystercatcher flying

Oystercatchers above and below

Oystercatchers flying


Juvenile Yellow Wagtail
Juvenile Yellow Wagtail

Female Tufted Duck flying
Female Tufted Duck

Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern above and below

Sandwich Tern


Black-tailed Godwits flying
Black-tailed Godwits

Avocet flying
Avocet

Adult Mediterranean Gull flying
Adult Mediterranean Gull

Common Swifts
Common Swifts

Carrion Crow flying
Carrion Crow

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull flying
Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail

On the 6th we walked along the seafront from Walton-on-the-Naze to Frinton-on-Sea and then continued onto Holland Haven Country Park. The only notable new bird for the trip observed on this walk was a very vocal singing Lesser Whitethroat (so much more vocal than I've ever known the Beddington birds to be). More Mediterranean Gulls and Oystercatchers were noted on this walk, along with Swallows and House Martins, a calling Pheasant, Reed Buntings, and some obliging Linnets. Completely contrasting to The Naze, I only recorded 1 Common Whitethroat. On our way back as we approached Walton Pier the 1st summer Little Gull was flying over the promenade (caught me totally by surprise and missed a decent photo opportunity) and a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull flew west. Later on an adult Mediterranean Gull showed very well on the beach.

Singing Lesser Whitethroat below:




Oystercatcher below:

Oystercatcher flying

Oystercatcher flying

Oystercatcher flying


Adult Black-headed Gull below:

Adult Black-headed Gull flying

Adult Black-headed Gull flying

Adult Black-headed Gull flying

Adult Black-headed Gull flying


2nd cycle Herring Gull flying
2nd cycle Herring Gull

Male Blackbird
Male Blackbird

Male Linnet
Male Linnet

1st summer Little Gull flying

1st summer Little Gull above and below

1st summer Little Gull flying


1st summer Mediterranean Gull flying

1st summer Mediterranean Gull above and below

1st summer Mediterranean Gull flying


Adult Mediterranean Gull below:

Adult Mediterranean Gull

Adult Mediterranean Gull

Adult Mediterranean Gull

Adult Mediterranean Gull

Adult Mediterranean Gull

Adult Mediterranean Gull flying

Adult Mediterranean Gull flying

Adult Mediterranean Gull flying

Adult Mediterranean Gull flying

For our final full day on the Thursday, we decided to walk around The Naze EWT NR again. New birds that we hadn't seen on the 5th included: 1 Shoveler, 1 Gadwall, 1 Teal, 5 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Turnstone, 1 Green Sandpiper (heard only), 2 Common Tern, 1 Jay, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, and 1 juvenile Stonechat. However, the ultimate highlight was 'finding' a Spotted Redshank. Despite my best efforts (my mum continued on back towards the caravan and I stayed put) I never saw this bird. So I've still never seen a Spotted Redshank, but at least I've got a sound recording and I know that I can pick them up on call.

Calling Spotted Redshank below:






Barnacle Goose flying

Barnacle Goose above and below

Barnacle Goose flying


Shoveler flying
Shoveler

Female Tufted Duck flying
Female Tufted Duck

Avocets flying

Avocets above and below

Avocets flying

Black-tailed Godwits flying
Black-tailed Godwits

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover

Whimbrel flying

Whimbrel above and below

Whimbrel flying


Turnstone
Turnstone

Little Egret flying
Little Egret

Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler

Nesting Sand Martin
Nesting Sand Martin

Juvenile Stonechat
Juvenile Stonechat

Female House Sparrow
Female House Sparrow

Male Reed Bunting
Male Reed Bunting

Full Ebird Trip Report here.