January, 2013

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • Big Garden Birdwatch in the Visitor Centre

    This weekend our Wildlife Explorers took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch from the South Essex Marshes Visitor Centre at Wat Tyler Country Park. They had a fantastic time and spotted a total of 36 birds!!

    The list included 2 Blackbirds, 14 Blue Tits, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Great Tit, 1 Greenfinch, 2 House Sparrows, 4 Robins, 2 Jays, 1 Dunnock, 2 Magpies and 1 Pigeon

    Robin by David Lee

    Throughout the weekend we were joined by lots of lovely visitors who helped to add to our count and enjoyed some of the lovely homemade tea and cake on offer.

    A massive THANK YOU to everyone who took part, either with us or at home. The only thing left to do now is submit those results!!


  • A Busy Christmas

    It’s been a busy Christmas for birds on the reserves; the wet weather is great news for wintering waders and wildfowl. Across the reserves, there have been over 2000 Lapwing, as well as good numbers of Curlew, all feeding on the wet grasslands. Wildfowl also benefit; as well as the usual Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Mallard, Vange Marsh has attracted nine Bewick’s Swan and two female Goldeneye in recent weeks. This time of year is when our ducks are in their best plumage, a great time to get out and get some photographs. An elusive Bittern has also been in the area, showing occasionally from the hide overlooking Pitsea Scrape in Wat Tyler Country Park. Visitors to the hide may also be rewarded with sightings of Water Rail dashing across the reeds in front of the hide, and great views of Marsh Harrier, which can often be seen quartering over.

    Bewick Swan by David Lee

    Other highlights have included six Bearded Tit in the reedbed at Vange Marsh, and an adult Mediterranean Gull, which is often sat on the reservoir at West Canvey Marshes. Short-eared Owls have also been seen again on West Canvey Marshes, after not being seen for awhile, up to two birds have been giving great flight views in the last week.

    Male Bearded Tit by David Lee

    Although none have been seen on the reserves yet, many Waxwings have been seen in the area in the last couple of months, so keep a look out for these stunning birds, especially in trees with lots of berries, supermarket car parks are often a favoured place!

    Waxwing by David Lee

  • New Year, New You?

    Do you need a new challenge for the New Year? Do you want to learn something new or meet new people. Volunteering with the RSPB could be just the thing.

    Is your thing being outdoors, getting muddy and working up a sweat? Then our Thursday Work Party could be just the thing. Each Thursday our Wardens take out a group of volunteers onto our nature reserves to help with the practical conservation that needs to be done to keep our reserves in tip top conditions. It's a great opportunity to meet new people, learn about conservation and see some amazing wildlife. You get the added benefit of knowing you made a real difference as well. If you think you might be interested give our assitant warden Michael a call on 01268 498611 or e-mail southessexmarshes@rspb.org.uk

    Photo credit - J Rapley

    Do you live in Stanford-le-hope and enjoy a leisurly stroll? Want to give something back to the community? We need an RSPB Stanford Wharf Trail Walker to have a wander round London Gateway's new nature reserve Stanford Wharf once a week. We'll need you to keep an eye on the reserve, making sure everything is in tip top condition and that all the paths etc are nice and safe for people who use the site, we will aslo need you to do a quick litter pick to keep everything looking nice and to make sure no wildlife gets caught up in something nasty. If you think this might be the opportunity for you then give our assitant warden Michael a call on 01268 498611 or e-mail southessexmarshes@rspb.org.uk

    Do you want to work with kids? Maybe you need some work experience for a change in career or just want to inspire the next generation to get excited about wildlife. We have two youth groups that need leaders. The first is our RSPB South Essex Marshes Phoenix group (ages 11 to 17) and the second is out RSPB Wat Tyler Woodpeckers (ages 4 - 11). You will need to commit a minimum of one Saturday every month to the group, be enthusiastic and willing to get muddy!! If you want to find out more about these opportunities please contact Leila Balin or Maria Spiller on 01268 498624 or se.education@rspb.org.uk

    And if you are really keen we are looking a new RSPB Community Engagement Intern. We are looking for someone enthusiastic with a passion for wildlife and people, to join the team for a six month community engagement internship from 11th March to 11th September. The closing dates for applications is the 4th Feb and interviews will be held on the 11th March. If you are up for the challenge and would like to find out more or would like an application pack please contact Leila Balin on 01268 498624 or SE.Education@rspb.org.uk.