South Essex

South Essex

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

South Essex

  • Photography Competition time for Canvey Island Wildlife day 2018

    Excited to announce that once again, the RSPB and Canvey Town Council are running Canvey Island Wildlife day on the 26 May 2018.  

    Along with the Wildlife day we will be running the Essex Wildlife Photography Competition which is, as always, free to enter. 

    Have you got what it takes to enter a winning shot?



    We had some fantastic entries last year so hoping for another good year and another great opportunity to show off the great wildlife that Essex has to offer.

    Categories this year are:

    • Under 18
    • Over 18

    Deadline for submissions will be Sunday 20 May and the winner will be chosen on the 26 May by Mike Dilger from the BBC`s One Show.

    You can download the entry form with terms and conditions below.

    For more information contact:

    RSPB South Essex - 01268 498620 or

    Certainly looking forward to seeing all the entries and best of luck in your submissions!

  • A thank you and goodbye to Steph

    Here at South Essex we want to start celebrating the people that make the South Essex Reserves such a special place ranging from the staff and volunteers who go out every week to improve the habitat on Bowers Marsh to our brilliant Welcome Hosts found in the visitor centre at the South Essex Wildlife Garden in Wat Tyler Country Park. We start this series off with a big thank you to Stephanie King, One of our Assistant Wardens who is sadly leaving us today.  Steph has been an incredible asset to the team over the past 6 months and has applied herself to all areas of managing a reserve ranging from getting stuck in with the work party to helping write reports.       

    Below are just a few words from Steph herself.

    "I always knew I wanted a career that needed my full attention, hard work and one that was full of adventure. However what surprises most people who ask me is that, even though I have always had a love for nature, when I was an imaginative young girl I never realised I’d end up wanting a career in wildlife conservation, let alone being in one. However all that changed when I found myself, after searching online for a way to get out of a barstaff job, as a work party volunteer at a local nature reserve. I knew from then on that this was what I truly wanted to do.

    From that point I worked incredibly hard by volunteering, and becoming an intern for the next few years until finally, starting in April 2017, I became an Assistant Warden for RSPB South Essex. I finally got my career that required my full attention, I had to work hard and it was definitely full of adventure.

    Since being here I have had major projects that include organising putting a viewing screen in West Canvey Marsh, done Breeding Bird Surveys, brushcutting, hide repairs and many other things.

    Unfortunately my time at South Essex is coming to a close but I have learnt so much, I have enjoyed myself and this is down to some amazing staff and volunteers we have at here at South Essex Marshes, who have welcomed me with open arms and has made me feel like I was part of a family. South Essex has been so valuable to enhancing my knowledge of working in wildlife conservation and that knowledge and experience with certainly come with me on my next adventure."

    So a big thank you for all your hard work and we wish you all the best in the future!

  • The Geese have returned

    Essex is home to some fantastic wildlife spectacles and none more impressive than the migration of the brent geese.  

    They arrive from their breeding ground  in northern Russia and  Siberia to feed on the eel grass found along the coastline and recently have moved onto cultivated fields to feed on crops such as wheat, oilseed rape and barley.  The Thames Estuary is one of the best places in the country to see the UK`s smallest goose in large numbers, attracting 10,000 geese from a population of roughly 100,000.  There is already over 2000 geese that have arrived off the coast around Leigh - on -Sea and there are some great views from Two Tree Island nature reserve 

    There are three races of goose that visits the UK and Ireland, one race of dark- bellied and two races of pale- bellied.  It is the dark-bellied that travels from Russia and Siberia to the Essex coast, the other two races being  from Greenland and Spitsbergen and can be found mainly in Ireland.

    The brent goose doesn't breed in the UK and only has about 100 days in the Arctic in order to rear a family meaning bad weather or an early winter can have an impact on numbers.  Families migrate together and remain together until the following breeding season.  The geese have one of the most energetically costly migrations of any waterfowl species, travelling the 8000km between breeding and wintering grounds with some flights involving 3000km of nonstop flying.

    Image: David Lee

    The RSPB will be at The Peterboat in Leigh on sea to welcome the arrival of these fantastic geese and take the opportunity to enjoy some of the other wildlife that can be viewed from the comfort of a pub garden.  Leigh on sea provides great views of wintering waders including dunlin, little egrets and redshanks but don’t just focus on the birds as there is also a chance to catch a view of common seals.  

    Come and join us at The Peterboat on the weekend of the 13th-15th October, 11am-4pm and find out more about incredible journey of such an impressive bird!