A trip to Essex on and around the River Blackwater.

Last week we went for a short break to Maldon in Essex for a trip along the Blackwater on an old Thames Sailing Barge (built in 1915).

We had a quick look at Abberton Reservoir on the way down and saw.


Great Crested Grebes.

Lots of Brent Geese.

And Cormorants.

The trip on the Barge started early meeting at 6.30am.

Cloud on the horizon put paid to a classic sunrise but the clouds did thin as the sun came up.

First birds of the day, there were about 20 Little Egrets dotted about with the Cormorants in that area.

One unusual sighting, a Guillemot.

One of many Great Black-backed Gulls hanging out with the Cormorants.

A fly past of Brent Geese.

The GBG hanging out with Blacked-Tailed Godwits.

Black-Tailed and at least one Bar-Tailed Godwit.

Another old barge, this one with sail only power.

Common Seals, I think.

Red Breasted Mergansers.

Black-Headed Gulls with a shoal of fish to attack.

Heading back into sunset.

As in the morning, cloud on the horizon put paid to a spectacular sunset.

Maldon at dusk.

Then the skies cleared for a view on the Moon.

All in all a great day out on the Thames Barge with plenty of food and tea throughout the 12 hour day which seemed much shorter. As I expected, although there were plenty of birds the views were quite distant, but identifying them was easy as we were accompanied on the trip by two bird experts as part of the package .Other birds seen but too far away for the camera were Grey and Golden Plovers and some others I can't recall now.

The next day we went to Bradwell-on-sea and walked along the river there.

Little Egret having great success fishing

Rock Pipits or Water Pipits? I have asked Robbo and he's not sure, only that they're not Meadow Pipits. Anybody else any ideas?

One of many Linnets.

Our first ever Clouded Yellow.

Another Water/Rock Pipit

And finally, a photo friendly Dunnock

Then it was back home to Suffolk.

Best Wishes,


  • Wow - stunning photos. Thanks for posting them. Love the scenery as well as the animals.
  • Those I was confident were rock pipits, but happy to be corrected (in either thread).
  • In reply to Robbo:

    I'm happy with them as Rock Pipits.
    Thanks Robbo.
  • Seymour appears to have stopped posting, but would be ideal person to talk through the pipit collection, esp as he is from SE coast. “Confident” for me is just under 100% so I wouldn’t take my I.d. As confirmation for all of them. At least the last pipit is rock though.

  • Great set of photos Trevor that sailing barge must have been a great sight to see. I would go for Roc k Pipits but one is showing a rather prominent eye stripe so like Robbo def less than 100% on them. The GBB Gull among the Godwits is a fantastic size comparison shot, some people often do not realise just how big they are.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • That was some shot of the moon Trevor, I was looking the other night and it was so bright I couldn't actually do more than a quick glance. Love the sunrise pics too and the close up shots of the L Egret, Dunnock and all of them really:-)

    Lot to learn

  • I think that sunset with the sun just peaking through, with the rays is a "spectacular" pic, Trevor! Also the egret with brekkie, and the beautiful clouded yellow, and I alos love the grebes...always my goal with them is to show the red "devil" eyes, and you've achieved that fabulously lol
  • What a stunning set of photos, Trevor. Thoroughly enjoyed looking through them all!

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • What a gorgeous and fruitful day! You did so well and thanks for sharing these beautiful photos with us. True inspiration.
  • That looked a fabulous day and barge trip Trevor, with a brilliant collection of photos to show for it. I'm tempted to agree common seals, going by the mottled faces, their bodies were too mud covered to even try any ID....

    The first pic of the little egret with breakie, looked like a small eel, but I could very easily be wrong....

    Many thanks for sharing,


    Flickr Peak Rambler