It was chucking it down at 5am this morning and when I texted Dave at 6 it had stopped but as it was raining there we decided to postpone.
So I went to Essex Wildlife Trusts Hanningfield Reservoir. Water levels were high but I still managed to FINALLY see my first Common Sandpiper of the year and then a second!! Also 2 Red Crested Pochard.
No Ruddy Ducks, which was unusual since it was a stronghold. I later learnt that unfortunately they've been shot. Whereas the RSPB and the WWT support the cull EWT don't agree with the policy but unfortunately it's the law where you have an invasive non native species that threatens a globally endangered species like the White Headed Duck. I think EWT take the view that the Ruddies are not migrating from the UK to Spain in any numbers (Ruddies are fairly sedantry in the states I believe) and that if there were Ruddies in Spain they would ignore the White Heads anyway in preference for other Ruddies.
On David Dimbley's series the other week he visited Cressing Temple Barns and you know? I've never been and they are close to me. The site was built by the Knights Templar.
There are two Barns the Wheat and Barley Barns. The Wheat Barn was built from timbers felled between 1257 and 1290. The Barley Barn was built of 480 oak trees felled between 1205 and 1235.
Today the site is owned by Essex County Council and is rather well displayed.
The well house.
There is a walled garden restored to how it would have been in Tudor times.
A Merlin being "hunted"
So on to Hedingfield Castle
The current owners house I guess. The grounds are quite attractive.
Some painted houses for Oceans.
In the area is one of only 5 round medieval Round Churches in the country. St John the Baptist is the youngest and was by the Knights Hospitallers in 1335. It was heavily victorianised but was said to be originally modelled on the church of the Holy Sephulcre in Jerusalem.