February, 2014

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • Ready........Steady.........SNAP!

    Blogger: Jo Sampson, Project Manager

    Calling all visitors and residents of North Kent, South Essex and London; The Big Picture – Greater Thames Photography Competition is open for entries!  With a break in the weather and a wealth of winter waders out on the marshes, what better time to get out and enjoy your local green space? – here to tell you more about it is Stef Lawrence:

    The competition is open to anyone and everyone, from 8 year olds to 80 year olds, from avid photographers to those of you who have captured a great moment on your smart phone!  We want to see what nature in the Greater Thames means to you.

    Picture: Evie and Annabel at RSPB Northward Hill enjoying the sunshine and taking photos to enter into the Young Photographer category – Good luck girls! Photo by Jodie Randall

    Alongside the chance to win some fantastic prizes and a print of your photograph, finalists will be invited to join us and our expert judges aboard the historic Light Vessel 21 for an awards ceremony like no other.  Following the ceremony in May, selected photos will be part of The Big Picture – The Exhibition which will be displayed at locations all over the Greater Thames!

    Sunday saw the launch of the competition, with the first of our photography workshops taking place at RSPB Northward Hill - and what a stunning day it was!

    With blue skies all around, looking out over the reserve from the viewpoints was breath taking.  The recent floods have provided perfect conditions for our ducks, with thousands of wigeon enjoying the soggy marshland.  Looking over the Thames towards South Essex, marsh harriers patrolled the landscape and lapwings were strung across the skyline.  Nature photographer, Jodie Randall, was on hand to offer her top tips, while Roger Kiddie and his bird ringing team treated visitors to some fantastic photo opportunities.  As well as learning all about the crucial scientific data the team gather when ringing the birds, visitors also had the opportunity to get “hands-on” with nature and help to release the birds back onto the reserve.

    Picture: Visitors (young and old!) lend a hand and learn about the science behind bird ringing - Photo by Jodie Randall

    Deadline for entries to The Big Picture is midnight on 22nd April – so you still have plenty of time to get out and capture that perfect shot!

    If you would like a chance to explore an iconic hotspot for nature in the Thames or would like some expert help with your entry, why not join us at RSPB Rainham Marshes at 1pm this Sunday 23rd February.  We’ll be taking a casual stroll around the reserve with one of Rainham’s expert guides and wildlife photographer James Porter will be joining us to offer advice.  Prices are as follows:

    RSPB member - £4.00
    Wildlife Explorers member: £1.50
    Adult non-member - £5.00
    Child non-member - £2.00

    For more details on guided walks or how to enter the competition, look out for a link to the competition web page which will be available soon at www.rspb.org.uk/greaterthames or email stephanie.lawrence@rspb.org.uk.

    #JeThames #BigPicture

  • Valentine’s Day – 6 ideas for nature lovers

    Valentine’s Day is nearly here and us nature lovers often look for something slighty different to share on this special day. In fact one year I received a bat detector and I have to admit it is still my favourite present to date! So here are some ideas for that special nature lover in your life. Hope you like them

    1. Go for a romantic walk around your favourite nature reserve. There are several options in South Essex all with something different to offer. If you are looking for something with the wow factor why not try our newest nature reserve Bowers Marsh. With guaranteed views of wonderful waders and some peaceful spots to stop and rest this could make for the perfect romantic day out. Let’s hope it’s not pouring with rain!
    2. Fill up the bird feeders and snuggle up on the sofa to drink tea and watch the birds. This might not be the most glamorous option but it is definitely up there in my top things to do!
    3. If you haven’t already, then buy them an RSPB membership. This is the gift that keeps on giving all year what with free access to reserves across the country including your local Rainham Marshes , a regular magazine to read throughout the year and a free book when you sign up. How can you go wrong? Even better, why not sign up on the day at the South Essex Wildlife Garden, that way your loved when gets their gift there and then and doesn’t have to wait for the post.

      Gannets courting by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    4. If they are already a member then why not buy them an RSPB gift card to spend at the RSPB shop at Rainham or online? That way your special nature lover can feed their addiction with whatever they choose. 
    5. Stuck finding the perfect Valentine’s card. Then check out these two lovelies from the RSPB Shop. They are gorgeous, I especially love the owls, they are soo cute! - http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/gifts-home/living-home/little-owls-greeting-cards.html  / http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/gifts-home/living-home/mute-swans-greeting-card.html
    6. If you really want to splash out then the ultimate gift (for me at least!) would be a wildlife and bird feeder camera. That way your partner can catch up on all the action that they missed while they were out. You might never get the TV back though!

    Hmmm, I wonder if my husband is reading this? Hint hint ;-)

    Leila Balin – South Essex Campaigns and Communications Officer