January, 2014

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • Connect with wildlife this winter

    In the busyness of this time of year we all put a lot of effort into celebrating and feasting and then quickly we are sucked back into the daily routines that existed before the holidays. It is, of course, also a time to reflect and think of the needs of others and it is a comforting thought that there are so many good people who include nature in these thoughts, taking the time to feed the birds and set up their gardens to ensure that wildlife has cosy places to shelter.

    This is just what was in the minds of one busy Beaver Scout Group based in Leigh before Christmas. They wanted to make a contribution to the world around them and have some fun on the way, so what better way to combine these two considerations than for each of them to make a simple, effective bird feeder.  How much more meaningful it is to have something made with their own hands, which they could take home to hang up in their own small space for nature and look for the birds that would visit and benefit from their thoughtfulness.

    Making bird feeders by James Porter

    To achieve this and be suitable for small hands all it took was a pine cone, some sunflower seeds, fat and some string. The first job was to take the seeds (sunflower seeds are particularly good for this) and cooking fat and then use your hands to mix it all together (getting sticky was definitely part of the fun!). Then simply smear the mixture into the gaps of the pine cone, tie the string around the top part of the cone and voila! Simple yet so effective, have a go yourself or choose from many more fun ideas and helpful things to help wildlife which can be found on the RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch website: https://www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch/resources.aspx

    It is gets especially interesting when you start to recognise the different bird species that visit the feeder and possibly start to count them. To make this easier there are downloadable pages to help you along: http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/how.aspx ...and if you'd like to give the birds and us at the RSPB a big help then please become part of one of our 'Big Birdwatch' events or take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch at home at the end of January.

    Do let us know what you've made and how you've become involved. You can post your photos to our Facebook and Twitter pages using #birdwatch or email us at southessex@rspb.org.uk

    Family watching a house sparrow by Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)

    *With special thanks to the keen members, leaders, helpers and parents of the Beaver Group.

     Dennis – Community Engagement Assistant.



  • South Essex Reserves; wet, wet, wetter…

    High rainfall, storm surges and high winds have been big news across the country recently and despite some of our other reserves in East Anglia suffering from the weather, (particularly the storm surge) the South Essex reserves have held up well, although there is plenty of water for the kids to go splashing in…

    It is a credit to the reserves we manage here that they can cope with so much water. In many ways they look their most striking when the ditches and pools are brimmed full, providing some of the best Wildlife spectacles around. All that water attracts large numbers of birds that like to graze on the wet grasslands, such as Widgeon, Canada Geese and Graylag Geese.

    Greylag Geese by David Lee

    With so much rainfall recently we have not had to move too much water around the site. Instead, the reserve wardens monitor the levels and keep an eye on the weather reports. Constantly monitoring the water movements on sites such as Bowers Marsh and West Canvey Marsh allows us to manage them accordingly, and with the recent wet weather we will try and hold on to as much of the water as possible for hopefully…the dryer months to come.

    Steven Roach - Warden