With so much lovely water on the marsh it is not surprising that we have a splendid number of duck sploshing around. Wigeon have topped the 1000 mark for the first time in several years and there are good flocks of Shoveler and Teal with a smattering of Gadwall, Mallard and elegant Pintail.
A cracking female Wigeon - Peter Woods
male Pintail - you can even see the purple gloss on the head - Alan Reynolds
A few Shelduck are spending time on the marsh rather than the Thames - Peter Woods
Lapwing have been congregating and have been as skittish as ever when the Marsh Harriers (we have six) and Peregrines (at least six of these too!) make a pass but with little in the way of sunshine there has been a paucity of winter shimmering from the masses of black and white.
I wouldn't fancy your chances out there with so many predators around - one of our female Marsh Harriers - Peter Woods
A few of the 450 strong Black-tailed Godwit flock have been feeding out on the flooded meadows with the five wintering Ruff, Snipe and Curlew and Skylark and Linnet flocks can be found is you scan around.
Lapwing in a brief sunny moment - David Everingham
Lapwing - soon be tumbling - Tony O'Brien
Windblown Coot - Bernard Bradshaw
Mr Mute splashdown - Tony O'Brien
Other than countless gulls, the Thames has been disappointing so far this year although singles of Caspian and Med have been seen. The Avocet flock is still to be found most days and Water and Rock Pipits have been foraging on the tide line especially with the super bigs ones we have been having that have covered the Victorian seawall. This has also flooded out rodents and shrews which the Carrion Crows, Magpies, Grey Herons and very adept Kestrel have been picking off and we were able to identify two Harvest Mice, a Short-tailed Vole and a Water Shrew as they met their unfortunate fate.
Kestrel - Tony O'Brien
Great news from our catering team! I will hand you over to Caroline Drewitt our Catering Manager...
Our Café has been awarded a Silver Award from the Soil Association. We have progressed from the Bronze level in the Food For Life scheme by continuing to increase the amount of freshly prepared meals on site to over 75% while moving towards a more environmentally sustainable ethically sourced menu.
We have been further championing our local and UK food producers. Our milk is organic, our eggs are Free Range from Kent and all our meat is Red Tractor sanctioned. All our pork comes from Maldon just up the Essex coast while our seasonal salad is UK sourced and our Brie is from lovely Somerset.
To progress, we also needed to reach the 5% organic spend on food and have currently reached just over 8% which is fantastic. It includes milk. wholemeal pasta and our very own RSPB jam and chutney.
We now make as much from scratch as we can in an effort to reduce salt, eliminate E-numbers, MSG and waste to keep what we serve to you as fresh and healthy as possible.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Art in the Purfleet Hide:
Do you fancy exhibiting your art or photography in the hide for a week this year? There are still plenty of spaces left so ask at reception for more details or email Howard at email@example.com
There is no cost or commission but if you have a good week and would like to make a donation that would be great!
And as for topic... it's up to you... it does not have to be reserve or even wildlife related. It is your space...
Kestrel - Tony O'Brien