Short-eared Owls continue to show well over on West Canvey Marshes, often posing nicely for photographs, they must like the attention! Winter waders and wildfowl are on the up, with around a thousand Lapwing, 50 Curlew, 50 Black-tailed Godwit, 300 Wigeon and 150 Teal across our reserves.
Pitsea Scrape is also attracting lots of birds with over 40 Snipe feeding in the mud, also look out for Water Rail dashing across the recently cut reed in front of the hide overlooking the scrape.
Lapwing by David Lee
Article by Michael Poole, Assistant Warden
This weekend our local RSPB Wildlife Explorer group, the Wat Tyler Woodpeckers, have been out and about enjoying the wet weather. Nothing puts this lot off and the rain became a great excuse for some puddle jumping. In fact the Woodpeckers were learning about Wat Tyler Country Park and all about it’s explosive history. The puddles really helped demonstrate how an explosion happens and the effects they have. Later on they went on to exploding mentos in fizzy cola and popping party poppers, all great fun and all outdoors in the rain.
Clearly being outdoors, getting wet and muddy, breathing in the fresh, cold air and spending time with their friends is a must for these Wildlife Explorers. It gets them excited about nature and helps them make sense of the world in a way being indoors just can’t! The RSPB are passionate about getting kids outdoors and reconnected with nature and we've been working with the University of Essex to develop a brand new approach to find out just how connected to nature children are. The results will help us create a baseline measure for the UK and allow us to develop ways to inspire and connect children with nature right through to adulthood.
If you’re interested in our work or you’re just looking for ideas that will get you and your family outdoors exploring then why not try our survey How connected are you? http://www.rspb.org.uk/getoutdoors/
As the weather gets colder it becomes even more important to help our birds and put out food in your garden. At our Wildlife Garden in Wat Tyler Country Park, our feeders have been bustling with birds, with great views of many garden species including Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker. We’ve even had a Tree Sparrow and Bullfinch drop in for a brief visit, so why not pop down to our Visitor Centre and see what’s about.
Tree Sparrow - David Lee
Elsewhere on our reserves, wader numbers are beginning to increase with decent flocks of Lapwing on Vange Marsh and Curlew on West Canvey Marshes. West Canvey has also recently been attracting flocks of over 100 Stock Dove feeding in the fields near the Pantile. The real stars of the show however, have been the returning Short-eared Owls. Up to four birds have been seen at West Canvey, mainly from the sea wall and in the fields near the Pantile.
Article by Michael Poole - Assistant Warden