Red-necked phalarope by Chris Gormesall (

The highlight of the last few of weeks has been a female red-necked phalarope, which was seen on the fresh lagoon at Bowers Marsh. Unfortunately it only stayed around for a few hours, but gave visitors great views as it fed, building up its strength to carry on its migration north. Phalaropes are unlike most other birds in that it’s the females which are bigger and more brightly coloured than the males. The females also don’t do any parenting, with the males incubating the eggs and rearing chicks.

Speaking of chicks, our wader chicks are growing up fast, head down to Bowers Marsh to see some young avocet, lapwing, redshank and oystercatcher, the fresh lagoon islands are the best place to spot them.

The warm weather makes it a great time to get out and enjoy the reserves; we’ve cut a trail through one of our meadows on West Canvey Marsh to allow visitors closer to the action, see how many types of butterfly you can spot amongst the colourful wild flowers.

Michael Poole - RSPB South Essex Assistant Warden