• and some other stuff from today...

    Amazingly we have had a few Swallows and House Martins around this week and today was no exception with nine Swallows and a very late Sand Martin seen zipping south into the wind. Quite amazing when you come to think that above them flocks of Redwings were dropping in along with the odd Blackbird and Song Thrush. Pintail increased to 12 today and amongst the waders there were still two Ruff and a single Greenshank to…

    • 1 Nov 2012
  • Spooky Trail still driving you bats!

    There may only be two hours left of Halloween but just because the majority of the creepy nighttime denizens have gone back to where they belong does not mean that the spooky trail out on the marsh is all closed down.... No!!!!  We still have four days left so come along and join in! Further details can be found on our events page!!!

    31-10-12

    • 1 Nov 2012
  • Orange Finch!

    We still had two Bramblings around today and one of the males showed very well up till mid morning with the growing Greenfinch flock. Such vibrant colours and always an unmistakable moment when that flash of orange and a glowing white rump appears in front of you!

    (Brenda Clayton)

    (Basil Thornton)

    and we do not want to leave out the Greenfinches!

    Cracking shot Basil!

    31-10-12

    • 1 Nov 2012
  • Last blooms!

    A walk round to open up yesterday morning not only allowed me to get close to four Bramblings, Stonechat, lots of geese and Goldfiches but a chance to see what flowers are still in bloom to support some of those late insects. Not a great deal of variety but still a few enticing  yellows and blues.

    Bristly Ox Tongue

    Slender Leaved Ragwort

    Chicory

    Still plenty of berries other than Rosehips and Haws with White…

    • 31 Oct 2012
  • Charmin'

    Lots of small flocks of Goldfinches around the trails at the moment in addition to the birds around the feeders. They seem to have three main seed bearing favourites out on the marsh, Teasels, Burdock and Fat Hen. They are very sociable and communicative and are quite tolerant of a quiet approach before taking flight in a jingling charm, only to land a little further away and start the important job of feeding once again…

    • 31 Oct 2012
  • "Warm enough to hold an Insect Afternoon!"

    Well that is what Chris Slade said yesterday after a wander around the reserve with the motley Monday Crew....

    And well he might! Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters had got through the cold weekend and were back on the wing after the numerous small flies and Comma, Small Copper and Red Admiral butterflies were all seen.

    Comma

    Dark Bush Crickets still buzzed from the nettles in the Cordite and the smart parasitic…

    • 30 Oct 2012
  • Feeder Showcase

    Russ Sherriff was photographically on fire yesterday when he captured that wonderful Brambling shot. He also managed some great pics of other finches, sparrows and starligs coming to the feeders.

    Great stuff...

    Male Chaffinch

    Goldfinch

    Male Greenfinch

    Female Greenfinch

    Some of the Greenies seem to have growths on their legs but are otherwise wealthy

    Female Greenfinch

    Female Greenfinch

    Male House…

    • 30 Oct 2012
  • New predator strikes fear!

    The skies were already pretty dark but were soon even darker as every single bird across the marsh took to the wing. Even the geese and swans went mad in an attempt to escape the oncoming doom.... but was was the cause of all their mad panic?

    The Peregrine?   no, took extreme even for our big female and nothing bigger than a Gadwall would even move

    A White-tailed Eagle?  Now that would have the desired affect and much…

    • 30 Oct 2012
  • Falling out the sky

    First thing this morning there were literally birds falling out the sky. Not huge numbers but in the space of ten minutes outside the centre 14 Fieldfare, three Redwing, three Blackbird and three Brambling came out of nowhere and plunged into the big dogwood by the bird feeders. The Fieldfares were quickly on the move again but the male Brambling showed very well on and off for about an hour.

    Brambling (Russ Sherriff…

    • 29 Oct 2012
  • Moorhens watchout!

    Quartering for business.....

    Some great footage of one of the three Marsh Harriers that we have at the moment out on the marsh.  At one point a second bird briefly appears in the view...

    Many thanks to Jerry Hoare

    www.youtube.com/watch

    27-10-12

    • 27 Oct 2012
  • Business as usual this weekend and geese on the move!

    Almost back to normal.... Difficult day today with limited power (could not even make a cup of tea or use the loo!) but happy to say that we are basically up and running again for the weekend although we shall be restricting what power we are utilising and therefore the cafe will not be making any hot food hot chocolate or lattes and the like.  Tea, filter coffee, cake, snacks and cold drinks will be available though.

    • 26 Oct 2012
  • Power problems again

    Sorry folks but we are having serious power issues again and are running limited service and have no cafe. Trails open as normal. Will post when service back to normal. Grotty weather again but 12 White Fronted Geese on the marsh are new.

    25-10-12

    • 26 Oct 2012
  • ....and to end the day

    I was hoping to be able to add more to the days tally but other than there now being three juvenile Marsh Harriers out hunting, it remained quiet with no more movement as the weather improved with the increasing wind. Mind you, the temperature dropped few degrees too!

    And finished up nearly locking two cars and the amorous occupants of one of them in the car park this evening... if not for some stray movement  (uh...hmmmm…

    • 26 Oct 2012
  • Heading out...

    Just some quick bird news.... 27 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, two male Common Scoter and nine Little Gulls heading out of the Thames this morning.  Not as murky as the rest of the week but still an easterly and low cloud and drizzle bringing things down. The Spotted Redshank and a Knot were with the Redshanks and Dunlin roosting out on the pools and 19 Golden Plover were flying circuits!. Both Marsh Harriers still around.

    • 25 Oct 2012
  • Plenty to see

    Well there was once the mizzle abated enough to allow you to have a look!

    Both the Spotted Redshank and Little Ringed Plover were on Purfleet Scrape this morning with the Redshank, Dunlin, Curlews, Lapwings and a few Black-tailed Godwits while 30 Golden Plover headed up river. The two Marsh Harriers once again entertained for most of the day and the Sparrowhawk made several sorties into the feeders. A single Dark-bellied…

    • 25 Oct 2012
  • Christmas Offers #1

    Some great offers on cards and calenders at the moment....

    24-10-12

    • 24 Oct 2012
  • What do we do when the frogs run out?

    Young Grey Herons have it easy in their first few months out on the marsh with huge juicy Marsh Frogs and their tadpoles to feast on as well as the odd slow Moorhen and Coot chick. Now, things start to get tough.  It is the time of year when we see more Heron attacks on Water Voles as they become more obvious as the vegetation dies back and there is more foraging on the foreshore at high tide for Brown Rats and smaller…

    • 24 Oct 2012
  • Funny accent?

    Not every Robin that you see over the coming months will be a local bird.  Many immigrants are to be found this time of year and out on the marsh we suddenly see the arrival of 'Marsh Robins' at this time of year. They seem to be more shyer and more secretive and skulky than our own birds and have a more orangey breast.

    There is a good chance that they have come from northern Europe where they are in fact a summer…

    • 23 Oct 2012
  • More murk... more birds...

    With continuing poor visibility and mizzle this morning it was not surprising to find Blackbirds popping out of bushes and Robins giving their high pitched autumn call from every corner. We ended up with three Firecrests yesterday (with another at nearby Purfleet Station) and one was heard by Dave Smith this morning in the woodland. He even got a recording of it. A few more Skylarks and Chafinches on the move as well…

    • 23 Oct 2012
  • Dragons still on the menu

    The Hobbies may be well on their way to Africa now but with slightly sluggish dragonflies still on the wing, our Kestrel is going to make the most of this aerial buffet.

    Unlike the Hobby though, our Kes likes to sit down to eat... (Pete Jackson)

    (Chris Lowe)

    23-10-12

    • 23 Oct 2012
  • Ears-R-Us....

    "Lefts and rights available Sir....

    Many different styles....

    Old age cauliflower design a speciality....

    Near perfect, immature ears will grow over time....

    BOGOF......"

    Had a mooch around this afternoon and took some pics of some of the fungi to be found around the centre. Pride of place went to the Jew's Ear that  found growing on the dead elder branches that make up the bird feeding station.

    I had…

    • 23 Oct 2012
  • Hanging around...

    Sheltered spots and sunny patches are the places to look for some of our late insects and yes, I do know that I keep telling you about the same ones but it is getting late and there is still enjoyment to be had from the remaining predatory Darters and Migrant Hawkers and the last Commas and Red Admirals that are looking for ivy nectar before settling down to hibernate. Even on a dank and disaml day like today it is still…

    • 22 Oct 2012
  • Poor visibility but good birding

    It is a very damp, grey morning with low blowing mizzle reducing the view to about 100m. Perfect! I got on site in the gloom just after seven to the sound of flocks of still migrating Redwings calling overhead and Robins contact calling from the scrub. A Firecrest called a stridently from the carpark and several Goldcrests did likewise from the Mardyke where i could also hear two Chiffchaffs and the Kingfisher. Despite…

    • 22 Oct 2012
  • Upstaged...

    Not wanting our young talented Kestrel to continue hogging all the limelight, a juvenile female Sparrowhawk took up the karaoke challenge and gave it her best shot...

    Thanks to Fred Roll for capturing the moment....

    22-10-12

    • 22 Oct 2012
  • Fattening up!

    From what seemed like a poor start to the season we have seen a great upsurge in Water Vole sightings this autumn and they are still out and about collecting reed and munching merrily!  Unlike some species such as the Dormouse, Water Voles do not actually hibernate but retreat to their burrow and bed chamber system for the worst of the weather where they live off stored food. on milder days they will still venture forth…

    • 22 Oct 2012