First proper trip out of 2020 and we chose Abberton. We missed Black-Throated Diver, Black Necked Grebe, Hen Harrier, Merlin, White Fronted Goose, and Green-Winged Teal, but nevertheless were happy with our haul.
Started in the murk at West Mersea where a prolonged scouring of the sea was about to draw to a miserable close with just Red-Breasted Merganser of note, when a Great Northern Diver popped into view. We observed it occasionally surfacing between lengthy dives, explaining why it had taken us so long to see it.
Then Abberton Church, where poor light and some rain restricted our viewing to a few Goosander and a small party of Pintail amongst the many Teal and Wigeon.
A coffee at the centre then the hides. From island hides two distant Long-Tailed Ducks became close-up long-tailed ducks when they flew in our direction. Very dainty nicely marked females. A couple of Marsh Harriers appeared distantly. Then round to Hide Bay and just a Peregrine in a tree. And Great-White Egrets everywhere. Must have had at least 5 before I connected with any other heron species.
Layer-De-La-Haye causeway. A Swallow! And then a few more Goosander, and a Scaup. Round to Billet's Farm. We just missed the Hen Harrier which was a bit frustrating as we had been scanning keenly for the bird as it had been seen recently, but managed 2 Bewick's Swans, a tricky year-bird now, some Golden Plover and another Marsh Harrier. Layer Breton Causeway gave us good views of sleeping Ring-Necked Duck, and another Scaup, but not Smew. We went back to Abberton Church for some of the afore-mentioned goodies, passing some people parked by the side of the road for what must have been the White-Fronts, drew a blank again at the Church apart from 56 Corn Buntings on a wire then two close up in a bush which was very decent - won't good as good as views as those again this year I should think - then win our way past Layer Breton causeway where two Redhead Smews had appeared and swam close.
So overall pleased with a decent start to the year. No-one sees everything at Abberton as its a huge area. And its good to leave some birds for the next visit. Wouldn't want to have all the good stuff on the first visit. That would be greedy.