May, 2013

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • VOTE to save the Turtle Dove

    The Essex Birdwatching Society has been nominated for a ‘HEART of ESSEX 2013’ award for their conservation work with Turtle Doves If they get enough votes they could be in for a share of the £8000 prize money on offer!

    Turtle Doves are a beautiful little bird, just about the size of a blackbird. They are Britain’s only migratory dove, arriving on their Essex breeding grounds in late April/early May from the Sahel area in Africa. On arrival Turtle Doves contact each other by ‘purring’ from large thickets and dense hedges. They have suffered serious declines in the past 25 years with a massive 90% disappearing between 1980 and 2005 and numbers are still falling! This extreme drop in numbers is due to the tremendous loss of breeding and feeding habitats across the UK including Essex. Essex is fortunate to still have some Turtle Doves, but if positive conservation action is not maintained it is predicted that they will be extinct by 2020, in just seven years time! We cannot allow this to happen to a species that has been around for over 2000 years.

    With limited resources the Essex Birdwatching Society commenced a Conservation Programme in 2012 and has already engaged with landowners to restore, develop and enhance two sites where Turtle Doves are known to frequent during the summer and previously breed. These sites are currently being managed and have been prepared for the autumn sowing of a ‘special’ selection of expensive seed mix with fumitory and clover. Turtle Dove subsequently feed on this in summer and use the mix to produce ‘crop milk’, a secretion from the crop of the parent birds, which they then feed to their chicks. With the continued reduction of these seeds and other natural food from the environment, brood numbers have dwindled to an un-sustainable level of only one or less per year. 

    However, through the Society’s continued efforts and hard work with landowners to create, enhance and manage suitable habitats we are confident that Turtle Doves will return and increase their breeding in Essex. The sites will be checked regularly and monitored by competent members to record the sightings, breeding results and publish them on the Society’s website WWW.EBWS.ORG.UK and in the annual ‘Essex Bird Report’. A ‘2013 Heart of Essex’ prize will help fund even more suitable sites in the County.

    Through education and this essential conservation work Essex Birdwatching Society's aim is to increase local awareness of the Turtle Dove plight, to engage communities, farmers and other landowners to get involved and help. With additional recourses the Essex Birdwatching Society are determined to do everything possible to save this exquisite, dainty dove from extinction. Please make your vote count for the survival of this species in Essex.

    Voting is very straight forward, all you need to do is simply text, EC HOE 3002, plus your name and post code to 65100 (e.g. EC HOE 3002 Gerry Johnson CM2 8XR) Don’t forget the spaces! Text cost just 50p plus your standard network rate. You can vote as many times as you like so get voting!

    Essex Birdwatching Society are up against strong competition, so urgently need all the votes they can get! Your vote could make the difference, so have a “Heart” and vote, vote, vote today.

    Also anything that you are able to do to ‘spread the word’ via e-mail, etc. and get people to vote would be very much appreciated.

    Voting closes at midnight on Sunday 2nd June 2013.

    Many thanks for all your support for TURTLE DOVE conservation, you are an important part of helping save this precious bird from extinction!

    For further information about ‘Heart of Essex 2013’ see

  • Canvey Island Wildlife Fair is nearly here!

    Canvey Island Wildlife Fair is nearly hear and we can't wait!!

    Come and join us and Canvey Town Council this Saturday on our reserve West Canvey Marsh for a fantastic fun filled day full of wildlife. With exhibitors from Buglife to Southend Dormouse Group to Essex Wildlife Trust, minibeast hunting for all the family and wildlife walks run by Wildlife celebrity guest Mike Dilger from the BBC TV’s The One Show there will be loads to see and enjoy. And the best part is, its FREE!!!

    We open at 11am and can't wait to see you there!

    For more details about the event please visit 

  • NEWSFLASH - THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED!!! - Wildlife of Canvey Island Photography Competition


    We have had some wonderful entries into this years photographic competition and as a result have decided to extend the deadline to Wednesday 22nd May so even more of you can join in. So send us your photos!! We can't wait to see them!

    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 22nd and judging for the finalists will happen on the 23rd 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

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