Passage waders

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Passage migrants stop off in Essex on their journeys south in autumn and north to their breeding grounds in spring. Visiting estuaries and reservoirs, greenshank are often heard flying over giving their 3-syllable 'chew chew chew' call, while spotted redshank frequent the muddy margins.

Bar-tailed godwit can be seen on estuaries such as the Blackwater and also inland.

Similar to but smaller than curlew, whimbrel are normally seen in flight or feeding on inland wet meadows.

Common sandpiper and wood sandpiper prefer wet edges to lakes or ponds or flooded grassy areas nearby.

Curlew sandpiper and little stint are seen mainly in autumn. The latter is our smallest common wader: short in bill and legs, it looks like a small mouse as it creeps over the mud picking food from the surface.

Ruff frequent freshwater marshes and reservoirs. Males, one third larger than females, come in a range of colours from white through reddish to black.

© Gerald Downey