July, 2010

South Essex

South Essex
A landscape of wetlands and marshes nestled along the Thames Estuary.

South Essex

  • A quick wizz around the marshes!

    The Veolia ES scrape beside Wat Tyler Country Park, can be viewed from the two-teir hide located opposite, the former motorboat museum. You can also get stunning close views from within our visitor centre via CCTV, or from the comfort of your own home you can follow the action HERE on our local groups website.

    Yesterday on the scrape it was fascinating watching a pair of little grebes feeding their four chicks, now little grebes as ttheir name would suggest are our smallest grebe, and these stripy necked chicks were tiny. The parents would dive for food, and the chicks would look temporarily lost, then, they would whizz across the water like tiny speed boats to where their parent emerged and beg for food, nature is amazing!

    There are at least two families of pochard on the scrape and with breeding pairs in the UK at probably less than 500 this is a significant, albeit annual occurence. Little egret numbers are now beginning to increase, August is the peak count month, with birds dispersing away from their breeding grounds in Europe and swelling our numbers. Over twenty can be seen roosting with grey herons in the trees behind our camera.

    Wading birds have begun to appear back on the scrape, with five spotted redshank, green and common sandpiper along with the regular oystercatchers and lapwings all seen this week.

    Vange Marsh is looking particularly good and continues to hold good numbers of spotted redshank, green sandpiper and common sandpiper. The black-tailed godwit flock remains, and are superb, with many still in their brick-red breeding plumage. On West Canvey Marsh the muddy edges of the reservoir attracted three each of green and common sandpipers and an adult mediterranean gull was on the water.

    Across the whole of the South Essex Marshes the butterfly numbers are impressive, over 50 marbled whites can be seen on West Canvey with hundreds of both small and essex skippers at Wat Tyler and Vange. This is a great time to take a gentle stroll across the marshes, what are you waiting for?

    Get out there and enjoy it!

  • A mini wader fest at Vange Marsh!

    All the hard work by our reserves team is paying dividends. Recent sightings at Vange Marsh have included up to six spotted redshanks, 19 green sandpipers and four common sandpipers. The moulting male ruff is still present and has just a few straggly feathers of his white ruff left, over 40 black-tailed godwits can be found on the fresh marsh along with up to seven oystercatchers, redshanks and one or two greenshanks. Five little ringed plovers have been frequenting the saline lagoon with two meditteranean gulls amongst the mixed gull flocks on the freshmarsh.

    Two grasshopper warblers continue to 'reel', one on the former county tip, can be heard from the viewing screen while the other is close to the new wooden bridge on the reserve. Three cetti's warblers can be heard singing, while hobbies can be seen hunting overhead. Water voles are showing well in the moat around the freshmarsh.

    Butterflies are now out in force, with good numbers of both essex and small skippers present in good numbers along with meadow browns, ringlet and marbled whites.

    If you would like to find out more about the marshes, come along to 'The History Of The Marshes Talk' this Saturday afternoon, details below.

    Saturday 10th July: A History of the Marshes talk at Wat Tyler Country Park, 2pm.
    An outline of the area’s history from the Norman Conquest to the 19th century. Professor Stephen Rippon, University of Exeter, will show how the landscape has changed dramatically. Cost £3 per person. Booking essential, call 01268 498627