Spring has arrived and its now a great time to get out and look for migrant birds. Early migrants are already starting to arrive with sand martin and wheatear being seen on the reserves.

small tortoiseshell by David Lee

Spring is when our reserves really come alive with wildlife, look out for early butterflies such as small tortoiseshell and peacock, and keep an eye out for queen bees looking for somewhere to start a nest. Reptiles are also starting to emerge, look for slow worms, common lizards and adders basking and soaking up the sunshine; West Canvey Marsh is especially good for spotting them.

Some of our birdlife is now getting busy preparing for the breeding season; bearded tits are showing really well at the moment on Vange Marsh, with up to six birds seen. Why not come along to the Visitor Centre in Wat Tyler Country Park too, and see how our blue tits are getting on; we have a live video feed to a nest box where a pair is currently building a nest. Also in our Visitor Centre the frogspawn in the aquarium has now mostly hatched and we have lots of tadpoles ready to start the journey to becoming frogs!

Tadpoles by David Lee

Recent sighting highlights include a jack snipe seen in the cut reed in front of the hide overlooking Pitsea Scrape, a first winter Iceland gull amongst the gull flocks on Bowers Marsh, and a juvenile spoonbill, which has been seen on Vange Marsh, Bowers Marsh, and at the marina in Wat Tyler Country Park.

Michael Poole - RSPB South Essex Assistant Warden

What have you seen out and about on our reserves? Share your sightings with us at RSPB Essex on facebook and twitter