December, 2011

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • Sightings update

    This morning on Vange Marsh a single waxwing was seen in the tree tops to the NW. At Wat Tyler Country Park a peregrine falcon was on one of the scrape islands with its prey, probably a coot, before flying off towards Benfleet Creek with it's prey securely in it's talons. While in Timbermanns Creek four spotted redshanks were seen alongside common redshank and curlew. From the scrape hide a marsh harrier was quartering the reedbed on Bowers Marsh, while at least three water rails were seen in the reeds in front of the hide.

    Our visitor centre at Wat Tyler will be closed on New Year's Day, otherwise we are open as normal 10 am - 4 pm.

  • Arctic Explorers

    As the colder weather settles in we decided that the Little Owls could learn all about winter and the Arctic. They started off by making their own unique snowflakes then we set off outdoors to explore in our wellies and woolly hats. Hidden around our wildlife garden were pictures of various different animals found in arctic conditions for them to search for. We also decorated our willow dome as an igloo and the group were visited by a polar bear!! (me in fancy dress). Through games they learnt about the polar ice melting and there being less space for the penguins and polar bears and they learnt about squirrels collecting their cache for winter. As always we finished off with stories and songs making sure the whole of the park got to hear the Little Owls’ song.


    For more information contact us on 01268 498629 or email

  • Geese galore at West Canvey Marsh

    West Canvey Marsh has been the place to be in the last couple of weeks! Stealing the headlines, a juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper was seen on the reservoir on the 18th November. This small North American wader was blown off course across the Atlantic on its migration down the Eastern USA to arrive here in the UK. Other highlights have included small groups of Pink-footed, White-fronted, and Barnacle Geese, all uncommon visitors to the area. Visitors have also been rewarded with great views of Short-eared Owls, with up to three birds seen hunting over the reserve.

    Numbers of winter visitors across all our reserves have been on the increase, with spectacular flocks of over 500 Lapwing seen on Vange Marsh, along with peaks of over 300 each of Wigeon and Teal.

    White-rumped Sandpiper with Green Sandpiper on West Canvey reservoir

    Barnacle Geese over West Canvey

    Thanks to Russ Sherriff for the picture of the Barnacle Geese. If you take any photographs on our reserves that you’d like to share with us, we would love to see them. The Gallery already has some fantastic pictures, so why not take a look, or upload some of your own.