• Tuesday Without Power - a reminder

    Just a reminder about Tuesday:

    On Tuesday 15 March we will be without power while some maintenance takes place. The visitor centre and shop will be closed, but the trails will be open. We'll be back to normal on 16 March... hopefullyH;o)
    • 13 Mar 2011
  • mystery photo... Is it alive?

    Any guesses as to what this is a picture of......???

    Post your answers in the comments box and I will let you know what Mark Hart was looking at on Wednesday!

    • 13 Mar 2011
  • some more spring growth...


    The warm spell at the end of this week after the -3c of Tuesday has prompted more flowers to bloom and buds to burst...

    This is Red Dead Nettle.

    I am pretty sure that this tiny white flower is Hoary Bittercress but will welcome any advice.

    Willow 'flowers'

    Willow 'flowers' in a further state of development.  All pictures by me

    Just need some sun now and the bees that were around yesterday…

    • 13 Mar 2011
  • and these just in from yesterday...

    Our five Avocets from yesterday... perhaps they will linger this year (Andy Tweed)

    The first-winter Caspian Gull (Andy Tweed)

    Two of the six Corn Buntings. This little flock is still hanging around. It would be wonderful if we could start hearing the jangling song from the elders along the river wall. (Shaun Harvey)

    Reed Bunting are now singing around the reserve (Shaun Harvey)

    and last but not least, two…

    • 13 Mar 2011
  • Mmmm... might change the event title...

    It was meant to be be one of our free Gull ID days today but they were fairly thin on the ground (although they did eventually find a Caspian Gull) so it very quickly became a Raptor ID Day.  Not often you can say that, but this morning was warm and bright with a light south easterly breeze and as such birds of prey were on the move! By lunchtime we had clocked up three Marsh Harriers, the female Hen Harrier, two Peregrines…

    • 12 Mar 2011
  • Stepping Up For Nature...

    Please read this...
    The RSPB launched the most ambitious campaign in its 122 year history on Wednesday, in an effort to end the continuing threat to wildlife in the UK and across the world.
    In 2010, the world failed to meet a global target to halt the decline in biodiversity. A new target was set by the EU for 2020, and UK governments have signed up to it.
    The RSPB’s Stepping Up for Nature campaign aims to encourage…
    • 12 Mar 2011
  • Another migrant!

    more springyness today with our first LIttle Ringed Plover on Aveley Pools.  Looked like we would have one by the end of the week so nice to be prooved right!

    • 11 Mar 2011
  • Spring is sprung!!

    Our earliest ever Wheatear graced the reserve today with a cracking male being seen along the river wall at lunchtime. All to soon it was gone again with probably still a fair way to go on his epic journey northwards.

    A good hunt around produced a continental White Wagtail amongst our Pieds and a fly over Lapland Bunting hinted of further northbound passage.  The female Hen Harrier was out terrorizing the birds over…

    • 11 Mar 2011
  • A magical moment captured

    Couple of shots from this week that I have had sent through.

    The first is another of Basil Thornton's shots. Our female Stonechat again but this time caught flashing her armpits (axilleries in birding parlance!) at us as she spies prey and drops down onto it.

    The second is of a Little Grebe, just changing into its breeding colours. Les Harrison has captured it freshly arisen from the depths (well about a foot…

    • 10 Mar 2011
  • A river view...

    It was a glorious start to the day and I began it by having a look at the Thames from the west end of the river wall path. You are still not even a third of the way across the reserve at this point but the visitor centre seems very far away from here!

    There have been exceptionally low tides this week and there is not normally this much mud exposed below the Medieval seawall that you can see with old post sticking…

    • 10 Mar 2011
  • Saps rising...

    back again.... not a bad day at all on the reserve although it was not as pleasant and sunny as yesterday. For our troubles we had: f Hen Harrier, Red Kite south 1500, 2 Water Pipit, 3 Rock Pipit, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff, 28 Golden Plover, 9 Pintail, 26 Curlew, 40 Dunlin, 1st yr Med Gull, m Bullfinch, f Blackcap, Chiffchaff, 7m Cetti’s Warblers

    The Red Kite was especially pleasing as Mel (our new Visitors…

    • 10 Mar 2011
  • Sorry... lots to say tonight! Lets look at feathers!

    The image below of a male Reed Bunting was taken yesterday by Basil Thornton and shows that the way that birds get their 'smart' summer plumage is not quite as you may expect. The lovely neat browns of the winter plumage actually wear away to produce the mat black of the summer head on this bird. You can actually see where this has started to happen around the eyes and the plumage now look all flat and one colour.…

    • 9 Mar 2011
  • Very Spring like...

    If we had lambs, they would have been gambolling in the sunshine today (and I do not mean playing Wist or Gin Rummy)

    There were, however, some birds: female Hen Harrier still out over Wennington, Knot, 55 Dunlin, 32 Redshank, two Oystercatchers in Aveley Bay, Water Pipit and two Rock Pipits on the foreshore,  six Little Egret out on the pools, 2ad Yellow-legged Gull and 1st yr Caspian Gull on the landfill site and last…

    • 9 Mar 2011
  • Who's watching who??

    ... and another great shot taken by Mark Hart (one of my Volunteer Trail Walkers) of a meeting of our big dog Fox and a rather plump cock Pheasant down by the woodland a couple of days ago. We have often seen the two species in close proximity and both seem to have mutual respect and do not even seem to contemplate either leaping in or flying away!

    • 9 Mar 2011
  • Watch them yellow feet!

    Hi all

    Some great images from the last couple of days including the Purfleet Hide taken today without scaffolding....!

    George Pettican who is on work experience with us at the moment took this one and the two Little Egrets that follow.

    • 9 Mar 2011
  • Today's sightings...

    Sounds like they had a good day on the reserve today...

    Plenty to see including young male Marsh Harrier, 3m Goldeneye, 5 Corn Bunting, Knot, Ruff, 140 Golden Plover, 60 Redshank, 4pr Pintail, ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 Oystercatcher, Stock Dove, 30 Curlew.
    The three Goldeneye represent the first multiple sighting that I can ever remember.  Hopefully they will still be there on Tuesday for me!
    Also another shot from…
    • 7 Mar 2011
  • another rare sighting...

    Perhaps the rarest sighting yesterday was of Terry our esteemed Office Manager out taking some air with his binoculars on their industrial strength strap...

    And what a big cheery smile he had...

    • 6 Mar 2011
  • Purfleet Hide update

    Work has continued apace with the new Purfleet Hide and I managed to pop inside yesterday for a sneak look round. Definitely taking shape with the roof now complete, water vole watching veranda in place and raised seating area at the back of the hide well under construction. The view is going to be awesome as you are low to the scrape outside and the light should always be good. The middle window will be a solid plate…

    • 6 Mar 2011
  • Hen Harrier shows well!

    Sorry, but litterally just had these come through from Les Harrison for today!  Stunning! She (the Hen Harrier, not Les) is best looked for over Wennington and the Silt Lagoons.

    • 4 Mar 2011
  • Co-ordinated Cattle

    Afternoon all

    The electric fence went live this afternoon and 29 cows have been brought back onto Aveley to graze the meadows down to perfect lapwing breeding level.

    Interestingly, when the cattle were moved off onto Wennington for the winter so that the fence could be put in, they were all shades of brown, chestnut, black, white and cream.

    Now, it would seem that the wardens have found something to keep themselves…

    • 4 Mar 2011
  • Gull ID Day March 12

    Just a quick plug a week in advance for our final FREE Gull ID Day on Saturday 12. Just drop in and wander around to the Shooting Butts Hide and join our gulling volunteers to help improve your gull ID skills.  You never know what may drop in...

    • 4 Mar 2011
  • And some bird stuff from today

    Very cold again this morning being only just above freezing but the Skylarks were in fine fettle and many of the resident woodland birds were giving it large!

    Julie Dent captured this Skylark having a breather along the trail and Chris Lowe's Wren was already collecting nest material.

    The female Hen Harrier was seen patrolling the site today and a Short-eared Owl was up on the Silt Lagoons briefly. The local…

    • 4 Mar 2011
  • toilet troubles...... and still no wind

    Oh dear......... the visitor toilet refit is taking a little longer than expected so they will not be available this coming weekend. The portaloos will still be in place though!  Sorry! 

    Oh and while I am bearing unsurprising news... our wind turbine blades were not put back on on Tuesday as promised.  Still in Scotland I believe!

    You have to laugh really.... ;o)

    • 4 Mar 2011
  • another power cut is imminent... sorry

    Sorry folks but on Tuesday 15th March our power supply will be off between 0800 and 1900. As such the centre, shop and cafe will be closed all day but the trails will be open for visitors. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

    • 3 Mar 2011