Sandwiched in between Clacton-on-Sea to the south and Frinton-on-Sea to the north, this fantastic area of over 100ha offers a variety of habitats such as long and short grassland, pools, scrub, coastal cliffs, reedbed and hedgerows which attract a wide selection of species throughout the year.
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler
Starting from the pay and display carpark, the small wooded area adjacent to the access road is worth a look. Also the nearby tree and hedge lines extending to bushes at the North East corner of the car park can be good in spring and autumn for warblers.
Early mornings are best, especially in August when large numbers of tourists and dog walkers can be distracting. Over the years these areas have held Barred Warblers, Wrynecks, Yellow-browed, Icterine and Pallas’s Leaf Warblers, as well as the commoner migrants such as Redstart and Pied Flycatcher.
A small platform near to the Memorials area is ideal for surveying the small pools beyond the brook and hedgerows. Frequented by waders, gulls and ducks, these pools are just as likely to hold that 'something special' as elsewhere on the site. This platform can be accessed by walking from the carpark part way up the Service Road towards the Cottages/Sewage Farm, then turning left down the grass slope between the two woodland areas and looking towards the main road across the marshes.
The site itself allows viewing across a medium sized scrape along with a pond area, to the right from a large elevated 'container hide'. This can be found by walking approximately 500 yards northeast of the carpark, via the sluice. The scrape can provide good ‘all year round’ birding, although spring and autumn are best for scarce waders such as Temminck's Stint and Pectoral Sandpiper.
There is also a chance of outstanding local rarities, such as Lesser Yellowlegs and Marsh Sandpiper, both of which have been recorded over the years. Cattle Egret, Citrine Wagtail and Marbled Duck have been seen here and in the surrounding fields and grazing marsh in recent years. The rough grassland surrounding the scrape is attractive to owls and raptors.
A second hide is located further along the route towards the Golf Course where species such as Reed Warbler and Bearded Tit have been seen in the various surrounding reed-beds.
For the more adventurous, the 2 mile round trip from the sluice along the seawall and back offers views over Frinton Golf Course. This has held the only site records for Woodchat Shrike, Lapland Bunting and Shorelark and whilst not all have been recorded in recent years, they have all occurred regularly in the past.