What with limited time and the rising cost of petrol, I decided to make Vange Marsh my local patch for 2013. It helps that I can get from home to on site in ten minutes and that includes putting my boots on in the carpark! I've been sending my records to myself on Twitter and to the South East Essex RSPB list but thought that this forum is perhaps a more relevant place to put them.
Now that the horse situation looks to be finally resolved and the levels of water have gone down on the paths, the reserve is looking good. I might be able to use alternative footwear instead of wellington boots next time! Migrants are now landing on site and resting so it's about time I shared my sightings.
So far I have seen 85 species on site, this year, not counting the Siberian Chiffchaff which the BOU regard as a sub-species of the Common Chiffchaff. This morning I was on site early and had my best visit so far this year. Highlights were Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Cuckoo (displaying on the other side of Pitsea Creek), Bearded Tit, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Bunting and finally, Jay.
Each time I visit the site, I'll post a report on my sighting and report on those species that other birders have spotted. Watch this space!
Birds seen at Vange Marsh this year but not by me ;-(( - Common Redstart, Common Sandpiper, Goldcrest, Greenshank, Linnet, Mistle Thrush, Ring-necked Parakeet, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Water Pipit, Water Rail, Willow Warbler, Yellow-legged Gull. So that's 99 species so far this year. Any more to add? If it will help, I'll list my sightings.
According to Howard Vaughan's report for March in the Bird Watching magazine, there was a Short-eared Owl seen at Vange Marsh. I can't see it reported anywhere else, anyone hear about the sighting? I think it's a typo. I'd love to see any species of Owl over there!
Excellent stuff Terry. I can't help you with SEO, but I'm sure your updates will prove useful and informative. 85 species so far is excellent.
Thanks Alan, I've still got some way to go to see all the species that you have over at Vange Marsh. I've been doing some research and the number of species seen on site sits at 162 (according to me!) but this includes Black Swan and Ruddy Shelduck.
Great post Terry, really looking forward to seeing what else you spot
Another early start this morning, starting with the unwelcome view of a pony on the eastern boundary part of the reserve! Starting off at the scrape, there were good views of Avocet, Shelduck, Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Oystercatcher. All around could be heard the calling Cetti's, Sedge, Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and over Pitsea Creek. a Cuckoo. Over the other side of the creek could be seen a number of displaying and calling Common Whitethroats. Also seen by the boundary fence near the creek were three decoy ducks that were not there on Sunday.
Making my way back to the five bar wooden gate, the Reed Warblers and Buntings, started displaying. Resting for a while, scanning the eastern reedbed, I had my best views ever of Bearded Tit, well worth the early start!
Setting up a position by the abstraction ditch to scan over the brackish lagoon, a Sedge Warbler was spotted along with more displaying Common Whitethroat, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. All the waders went up in alarm across the lagoon as a female Marsh Harrier started quartering the western reedbed. Thirty odd Teal and five Greenshank were spotted as a result.
Continuing the walk around the borrowdyke and the railway hedges, three Black-tailed Godwit, Sand Martin and a calling Green Woodpecker were added to the day's tally of 37 species.
What a fantastic morning! Wish mine had been as good.
After a chat with Marc this morning, I am going to try to expand my reports to cover other flora and fauna. I'll have to brush up on my entomology especially lepidoptera! I heard today that I have been accepted for a volunteer Trail Walker post over on Vange Marshes so will probably have to get out of the habit of getting there at the crack of dawn!
Yesterday evening Marc Outten saw a Wood Sandpiper, which was flushed by a Sparrowhawk and flew off south calling with some Greenshank.
I spent a pleasant couple of hours on site this afternoon. A bit cool despite the sunshine and with the creek approaching high tide, there was plenty to see. On the scrape were 12 Avocet, 14 Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Snipe and 2 Green Sandpiper. Highlights on the lagoon were 3 Snipe, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, Shoveler, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe.
Around the perimeter were Reed Warbler, Red Bunting, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Cetti's Warbler, 2 Sand Martin, 10+ House Martin, 10+ Swallow, 2 Grey Heron. Also noted were various bumblebees and on the butterfly front, a Peacock and a Small White.
I note from a report on the SOG site, that a later visitor spotted a Sparrowhawk, which would have been nice! Roll on next time!
That's great news! Welcome to the team :-)
The opportunity arose to pop down to Vange Marsh this evening, so I took it. It was just after high tide and the scrape held 9 Avocet, 6 Greenshank, 6 Shelduck and 2 Common Sandpiper. On the brackish lagoon were Mute Swan, Little Egret and 14 Pied Wagtails, and around the perimeter were Pheasant, Whitethroat, Bearded Tit, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Sparrowhawk
I popped over the marsh on Thursday afternoon for a quick visit catching my first Swifts of the year and finally caught up with a Water Rail in the abstraction ditch. It was a bit blowy over there and all the small birds were hunkered down in the reeds chattering to each other. I heard Cetti's, Reed and Sedge Warblers and saw two brave male Reed Buntings.
Another early start today resulted in seeing two families of Canada Goose, one with 6 goslings on the scrape, and the other with 8 goslings on the lagoon. From the scrape screen, I saw 28 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Avocet, Common Sandpiper, a pair of Cuckoos, 10 Swift, Green Woodpecker, Great Crested Grebe and a Little Egret.
A walk over to the brackish lagoon resulted in the first Common Tern of the year for me, 3 Swallow, Sparrowhawk, chattering Warblers and a pair of Gadwall.