September, 2014

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • How are you playing in nature this Autumn?

    Autumn is the perfect time to get outdoors and play, whether you are 2 or 200. The wealth of materials that nature provides as an alternative to toys is plentiful at this time of year and provided you don your waterproofs and warm jackets the colder weather shouldn’t put you off. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    Make some muddy potions – Grab yourself a pot and a stick, then head on out collecting anything smelly you can find. Stir it all together and have a smell off contest with your friends. Who has managed to make the smelliest concoction? Whatever you do though, don’t drink it!

    Find some minibeasts – Autumn is a great time of year to go hunting for mini monsters. Spiders, slugs and snails are plentiful this time of year as are wonderful worms. Leaf litter is a fabulous place to look and you never know what you might unearth. It could be a sweet little weevil or a long legged harvestman.

    Kid with slug by Eleanor Bentall (

    Have a leaf fight – Find a huge pile of leaves and throw leaf piles at each other. Jump in it, kick it, throw it in the air. Enjoy a mad half hour just mucking around.

    Create some natural art – This time of year there is all sorts lying about on the ground from leaves, to pine cones, from conkers to twigs. Make something beautiful and leave it for someone else to discover. You could even make your own Vote for Bob picture!

    We would really love to hear about how you play in nature. Share your ideas with us on our Facebook page RSPB Essex, we can’t wait to share them with everyone else.

  • The busy summer of two South Essex Interns!

    As the summer draws to a close, the South Essex interns have finally got a chance to let you all know what they’ve been up to over the last couple of months.

    So here goes...

    We began our RSPB adventure this June when we joined the South Essex team ahead of an action packed summer season. As the holidays kicked off we were busy engaging with visitors in the wildlife garden & visitor centre; developing our knowledge of British wildlife from day one thanks to experienced staff and volunteers.

    We were soon off to the reserves where you might have spotted us drawing nets from the ditch on the dipping platform; bug hunting amongst the grasses on Canvey’s Creepy Crawley Fun Days; or wandering around Bowers Marsh on the look out for exciting wildlife.

     If you couldn’t find us out and about, we were busy in our office helping to plan events being held over the summer. We have both enjoyed working as part of a team of staff and volunteers bringing visitors onto our reserves and closer to nature (even if thunderstorms at One Wild Day at Wallasea resulted in the evacuation of the event and a very wet and muddy set down!).

    We brought the rainforest to West Canvey Marsh this summer showing Rio 2 on a 50 ft outdoor cinema screen. Quite a challenge you might say but the weather pulled through and everyone had a great time – perhaps it was worth posting those 4000 leaflets through doors! No no, our job has been very varied. One day we are up to our elbows mud dipping and the next we are designing new trails for families to enjoy.  The weekend of the cinema was incredibly busy as the South Essex Wildlife Garden Open Day was held on the Sunday, giving us the opportunity to work with the awesome garden team (plus lots of tea and cake!). All in all it was a brilliant weekend.

    Ending our time at South Essex we’ve had the opportunity to be part of the opening of a brand new reserve, Canvey Wick, a designated SSSI for endangered invertebrates in Essex. We even get to do some moth trapping with Steve Backshall (the highlight of Dale’s summer)!

    Looking back we’ve each perhaps had the most productive summer a student has ever had - and it was enjoyable too!  

    We would like to thank South Essex for an awesome summer,

    Katherine and Dale :) 

  • Win a Bug Hunt with Steve Backshall

    Araneus quadratus by Les Steward

    Get your creative juices flowing and you could be the lucky winner of a torch light moth trapping night with Steve Backshall from TV’s Deadly 60. Simply paint, draw or make a collage picture of your favourite bug and tell us why it’s your favourite, to win this exciting experience and other signed Deadly 60 merchandise.  

    To celebrate the grand opening of Canvey Wick SSSI- Britain’s first Bug Reserve, Buglife, the RSPB and The Land Trust are running an art competition called “My Favourite Bug” to celebrate the wonderful diversity of bugs that call Canvey Wick their home.  The site is home to over 1400 different types of bug including some very rare and endangered bugs such as the Shrill carder bee and Canvey Island ground beetle.

    All you have to do is create picture of your favourite bug and say why it is your favourite.  You may already have a favourite bug, if not and you need some inspiration go outdoors in the garden, park or local nature reserve and go bug spotting. Bugs are everywhere from pretty butterflies and buzzing bees to wiggly worms and crazy centipede’s – there’s a bug for everyone!  There are two age categories aged 5-9 years old and 10-14 years old.

    Please post your entries to: Bug Art Competition, Buglife, Bug House, Ham Lane, Peterborough, PE2 5UU.

    Closing date 10th September

    Please see for competition rules.

    First Prize for each age category

    Moth trapping with Steve Backshall and Buglife at Canvey Wick SSSI Bug Reserve, Canvey Island Essex on Wednesday 17th September at 7.30-9pm.

    Signed copy of Steve Backshall’s Deadly 60 hardback book

    12 month junior membership to Buglife which includes 2 copies of The Buzz  membership magazine per year

    Second Prize for each age category

    Signed copy of Steve Backshall’s Deadly 60 hardback book

    Deadly 60 Top Trumps cards 

    Dr Sarah Henshall - Lead Ecologist for Buglife