April, 2013

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • Spring has Sprung across the South Essex Marshes

    Spring has well and truly sprung across our reserves with lots of wildlife to see and hear. As the summer migrants arrive, the reedbed at Vange Marsh is starting to come alive with Reed warblers, while Swallows, Sand martins and House martins all swoop over the main lagoon catching insects.

    Reed Warbler by David Lee

    Visitors to West Canvey Marshes have been greeted by singing Skylarks marking their territories. Butterflies are also starting to appear with Peacock, Small tortoiseshell and Comma all seen on the reserve. As the weather heats up, the reptiles are starting to make an appearance, West Canvey is a great place to see Adders, Slow worms and Common lizards, or if you’re really lucky maybe even an elusive Grass snake. Also keep a look out for large bumblebees in the grasslands, at this time of year the queen bees are out picking new nest sites for the summer ahead.

    Common Lizard by David Lee

    Highlight of the spring so far however, has to be the two Black-necked grebes which stayed for a couple of days on Pitsea Scrape, they gave some fabulous views in their full summer plumage.

    Black-necked Grebe by Steve Arlow

    The signs of spring can also be seen in our Visitor Centre in Wat Tyler Country Park, our aquarium is currently full of tadpoles, and our nest cam is giving live footage of our Blue tits as they build their nest, why not come down and see how they’re getting on.

  • NEWSFLASH - Wildlife of Canvey Island Photography Competition

    In the lead up to Canvey Wildlife Day on 25th May, we are organising a free entry photography competition with the theme of ‘Wildlife of Canvey Island’.  The competition is divided into 3 categories, for under 12yrs, 12 - 18yrs and over 18yrs and there are lots of lovely prizes up for grabs. The deadline for the entries is May 18th and judging for the finalists will happen the week of the 20th May, All finalists will get a chance to see their photo's on display at Canvey Wildlife Day and the winners will be picked on the day by Mr Mike Dilger himself!

    For an entry form and to find out more about the competition please contact Vicky Chambers at SE.Education@rspb.org.uk

    We can't wait to see all your lovely entries and to find out what wildlife you've been snapping on Canvey Island!!


  • We thought the Winter was never going to end!

    We thought the Winter was never going to end!...However, we are a ‘glass half full’ type of team at the South Essex Marshes and there has been an upside to all the cold wet weather this winter; it has allowed us for the first time to achieve maximum water levels across much of the Marshes. This attracted thousands of overwintering Lapwing and Widgeon to the reserves during this period. Our aim now is to start lowering the water levels slightly using a combination of pumps, sluices and water control structures such as tilting weirs that we have installed across the sites. We will be doing this to leave exposed mud on the waters edge of the network of lagoons and channels we have created across much of the Marshes which will provide vital feeding areas for birds such as Redshanks, Lapwing and Avocets and (hopefully) plenty of their chicks!

    Redshank by Andy Hay