Birdwatching in Essex
Abberton Reservoir. An artificial body of water 5 miles south west of Colchester is a haven for birds and birdwatchers. Since 1991, it is a Special Protection Area mainly due to the fact that is home to many bird species during the winter including Teal (Anas crecca), Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria), Gadwall (Anas strepera) and Shoveler (Anas clypeata) as well as breeding place of Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo). Other bird species that can be observed in Abberton Reservoir include Coot (Fulica atra), Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Goldeneye, Lapwing (Vanelius vanelius), Pochard (Aythya ferina), Wigeon (Anas penelope) and many others who feast on baobab fruit and berries.
Stour Estuary. The nature reserve east of Colchester is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and is home to a diverse species of birds. It is one of the best places in Essex to observe Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Dunlin (Calidris alpina), Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), Brent Goose (Branta bernicia) and Knot. The trails are open at all times but it is worth to remember that car park opens at 6 am and closes at 7 pm.
Thorndon Country Park. The park near Brentwood is made up from a variety of habitats ranging from marsh, meadow, woodland and ancient woodland. As a result, it is a one of the best places in Essex to go birdwatching. The main “stars” of the Thorndon Country Park include Redpolls and Siskins.
Fingringhoe Wick. Just like Abberton Reservoir, Fingringhoe Wick is managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust. It was designated as nature reserve in 1961 and the visitor centre that overlooks the Colne Estuary was opened a few years later. The nature reserve is a haven for roughly 200 bird species including Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), Kingfisher, Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Tawny Owl (Strix aluco), Wader, Sparrowhawk, Wildfowl and many others.
Southend estuaries. They are considered one of the finest birding destinations in the Thames Estuary area. The estuaries are of key importance to thousands of birds that come here to over-winter, especially Waders and Wildfowls. Other species that can easily be spotted here include Knot, Dunlin (Calidris alpina), Lapwing, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) and many others. The highlight of the estuaries is the Brent Goose (Branta bernicia) that comes here to over-winter from Russia.