Liz here from the South Essex team with a weekend update before you set out to visit us.
The Outdoor Cinema is tonight at West Canvey Marsh! We're excited to be showing a colourful and fun children's film, Rio 2, with the help of The White Bus and sponsorship from DP World London Gateway. The event is open from 7 pm and the film starts at 8 pm. The weather looks dry and warm(ish) so bring something to sit on, an extra layer and as many people as you can to experience the magic of cinema outdoors! Tickets will be available from 7 pm.
Due to the outdoor cinema event the South Essex visitor centre is closed today, Saturday 30 August.
Tomorrow, Sunday 31, we're thrilled to be involved with the second Essex Natural History Show organised by Essex Field Club. There's lots to explore in Wat Tyler Country Park from stalls in the Green Centre to the Wildlife Garden open day. We're also on West Canvey Marsh pond dipping and bug hunting for the last time this summer!
Whatever you decide to do this weekend, we hope you have a good one, and do share your photographs and stories with us on Facebook or Twitter.
Avocet by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Autumn passage is now well under way with plenty to see on the South Essex Reserves. Bowers Marsh and Vange Marsh are the best places to go for migrant waders; species seen recently have included plenty of black-tailed godwit, avocet, lapwing, redshank, greenshank and green sandpiper, along with smaller numbers of common sandpiper, wood sandpiper, spotted redshank, ruff, dunlin and little ringed plover. It's always worth looking closely through any wader flocks, there may be a rarity hiding amongst them, this is one of the best times of year to look out for species such as little stint and curlew sandpiper.
Migrant passerines are also now starting to pass through on their way back south for winter; look out for swallows, swifts and martins catching insects over the lagoons and scrapes at Bowers Marsh, or head over to West Canvey Marshes where whinchats and wheatears can sometimes be seen perching on fence posts, especially in the area near the redhill.
Other recent highlights have included a brief visit from a glossy ibis at Bowers Marsh, and a red-crested pochard amongst the mallards on Pitsea Scrape.
Great green bush-cricket by Ben Andrews (rspb-images.com)
One of the highlights of late summer on the reserves is the sound of grasshoppers and crickets filling the air amongst the grasslands. At Bowers Marsh, see if you can hear the UK’s largest insect, the great green bush-cricket; their loud ‘song’ is best heard on sunny afternoons.
Michael Poole - Assistant Warden