October, 2012

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • RSPB Wildlife Garden hosts plant sale

    The Friends of Wat Tyler Wildlife Garden are hosting a plant sale to encourage more people to make their gardens wildlife friendly and to raise money for future projects in the garden. The plant sale will take place on Sunday 4th November from 10am-4pm at the RSPB Visitor Centre in Wat Tyler Country Park.

    The South Essex Wildlife garden is now a space where people and wildlife can flourish. It is managed by volunteers and seeing the overall project come together has enthused everyone involved to keep going and to widen the overall concept of community engagement for the future.

    If you visit you can follow our newly widened paths as they meander between flowers, trees, herbs and past our newly refurbished wildlife ponds. Wheelchair and pushchair friendly, the whole family can enjoy picking out a spot to run, roll or picnic. 

    As you wonder round, look out for garden favourites including gold finches, spotted woodpeckers and fiches. If you’re lucky you might even spot a visiting sparrow hawk, hovering above the tree lines or a slow worm curled up enjoying the sun.

    Our nectar rich flowers also encourage bees, butterflies and bats to visit, with the ponds offering a place for darting dragonflies and great underwater beasties.

    Whatever the time of year, join us in the garden to relax, play and see how wildlife and people can live side by side.

    Plants for sale include Phlomis (Jerusalem Sage), Teasel, Lemon Balm, Sempervivium, Rose Campion, and Umbrella Bamboo.

    Teasel, Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    For more information call 01268 498620

  • Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project official launch

    With our project officially launched by the Secretary of State Owen Paterson, with the ensuing media coverage and razzmatazz , life on Wallasea Island now settles into its natural rhythm once more. The public footpath will remain open along our northern seawall, allowing visitors to take a look at the construction process taking place, but also to experience the vast open space and natural beauty of the marshlands.

    This time of year brings autumnal colour to the saline tolerant plants on upper levels, and as the migrant birds arrive for their winter stay the air is full of the cry of brent geese, widgeon and lapwing amongst others. Thousands of birds will overwinter on our shores and can be seen best as the high tide drops and they follow its ebb across the mudflats to feed.

    Our early stages mean that facilities on site are limited, but we do offer guided walks over the autumn/winter period. Our Wallasea Wanders are led by an experienced local birder and RSPB volunteers, explaining the work going on as well as talking of the wildlife which may be seen on Wallasea. They last approximately 2 hours and are timed according to the tide of the day to make the most of the bird spectacle on the day.

    Details are available on our website www.rspb.org.uk/Wallasea or on 01702 257179– Booking is essential.

    Blog by Hilary Hunter, Wallasea Island Public Engagement Officer

  • What's hiding in the flock of finches?

    As the temperature starts to drop, its time to start looking for winter visitors out on our reserves. Winter thrushes are often one of the first signs that the nights are going to start drawing in, Fieldfares and Redwings will start to pile in over the next few weeks, also keep a look out for late migrants such as Ring Ouzel. Other birds to look out for include Siskin, Redpolls and Brambling, who may all be hiding amongst the many finch flocks. The last of our summer visitors will also be on their way out, watch out for the last few groups of Swallows and Martins as they gather together for the long trip to Africa.

    Siskin -  Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com) 

    The foggy, murky weather can make a walk out on the reserves a little less appealing, but those who have braved the weather have been rewarded with some great wildlife sightings, so don’t be put off! Recent highlights on our reserves include a stunning male Hen Harrier flying low over West Canvey Marshes, being mobbed by crows as it went. Winter sees large Gull flocks descend on our reserves; it’s worth taking a look through the flocks though, in the last week, two Yellow-legged Gulls were seen from the hide overlooking Pitsea Scrape. The winter wildfowl and wader numbers are also starting to build, at the last count there are over 300 Wigeon and 150 Lapwing across our reserves.


    Hen Harrier - Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    Blog by Michael Poole - South Essex Marshes Assistant Warden