So it's the last day of 2013 and the tide is high, the clouds are scudding and the southerly wind is still buffetting the landscape.
With more rain having fallen and even more on the way, it is still very much a wellies and waterproofs reserve for the time being with the end of the Northern Trail still being inundated and likely to get deeper overnight.
The two White=fronted Geese are still on Purfleet and as I type the rain has just started to fall again....
We are closing a little earlier today at 2pm to give the staff and vols a chance to get home and spruced up to see in 2014.
However, I will be here at 0630 tomorrow to see in the New Year with the early birders after their early birds. And yes, I know it will be dark but winter dawn chorus will be under way with Robins competeing with their winter songs and you should be able to hear the duck and waders out on the marsh and river.
The weather is looking a bit ropey but I still expect to be busy so please can any of you that are coming to visit please park carefully so that we can get in as many cars as possible!
Have a good evening and thank you for your support throughout 2013...
And I will leave you with this Blue Tit shot by Neil Hughes with the daring little blighter looking like it is trying to fly away with the whole feeder!
Hello! How are you all?
Have you had a good Christmas so far? Early best wishes for the New Year everyone!
Just wanted to let you know how fabulous the reserve is looking at the moment!
Although with all the water you can't get all the way round the reserve without wellies. There is a section of the reserve on the northern boardwalk that is only accessible with wellies. You can get to the Shooting Butts Hide, but the puddle is between the Butts Hide and the Ken Barrett...
Lee Spence took this picture of a group trying to get across the puddle... Some interesting techniques - climbing, wading, running, splashing... I'm sure more than one visitor has jumped in the puddle!
Who knows that film? We just showed Nicole, the Warden, a trailer - she's slightly disturbed!
Anyhoo, the reason for the 80's film entitled blog post is due to something that happen yesterday afternoon - Rainham's Duck Tales (ahhooo-oo) Howard became the duck whisperer!
So yesterday, two of our lovely regulars came across this stunning male shelduck, laying on the ground by the anthill. Picture by Tom Bell
The shelduck seemed ok, but not moving so Lee and Tom brought the bird back to the Visitor Centre.
Lee the valiant duck rescuer!
Howard had a look at the stunning duck - he looked healthy, alert, although he wasn't using his legs. He's totally quackers!
Howard is the duck whisperer - as he was checking the duck over for injuries the duck as quite calm...
Count Duckular and the shelduck
The shelduck got taken to South Essex Wildlife Hospital - who will look after him, and hopefully we'll see him back here soon.
So... everyone call Howard "duckie" from now on... see if he notices :)