• Today's birds so far....

    Wheatear and Black Redstarts are still at the west end and and adult Med Gull has flown over. Out on the trails a female Bearded Tit put in a brief appearance which is encouraging.  Oh and got this nice shot from Tony Shaw of the male Marsh Harrier from earlier in the week. Curlews are now in and up to 42 I believe and the Ruff are still out on Wennington.



    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Some song at last

    Yesterday afternoon we experienced a huge blizzardy hail storm for ten minutes that swept east across the marsh obliterating the view and enveloping London in a white wall of weather. It passed and amazingly the sun attempted to peak out spurring Reed Buntings and Chaffinches to start singing and for the Skylarks to give it one more go.  Wrens and Robins joined and and for a brief few minutes you could actually believe…

    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Blue Sky!

    The sun is shining! It is still very cold though with temperatures well below freezing first thing. Most of the pools are frozen again and even the foreshore has iced up overnight!

    Lots of bird song this morning including this smart male Reed Bunting just outside the centre.

    Shots by me...

    Our Easter Trail may be a bit more hospitable today and with any luck the sun will hang on in there for us and you!


    • 31 Mar 2013
  • The Frustratingly Fantastic Mr Fox

    So, do you want to know what we were up to today out on the marsh that caused so much disturbance? With breeding season approaching fast we realised that a sneaky Fox had somehow got into the huge fenced off area that is Aveley Marsh.  Not much good having an electric fence to keep the foxes outside when one is on the inside so today we mustered the troops and called in all the volunteers and some folks from DEFRA who…

    • 23 Mar 2013
  • Wash and brush up

    Sue Harvey was helping us out in the hides today and was lucky enough to snap this wonderfully stripy Snipe out infront of the Purfleet Hide.  How do they get to those difficult to reach places with such a long bill?.


    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Chit-chats...

    The seem to be getting on quite well at the west end with quite probably two pairs of Black Redstart flitting between the foreshore and enclosed wasteland. And there were obviously more than one Sea Slater down there as another one has clearly bitten the dust!  And as for the Wheatear!  Still have not seen one down there!  I am probably just being a bit of a tart and not staying out long enough in the freezing conditions…

    • 27 Mar 2013
  • Beginner Birdwatch Walk Cancelled This Week

    Afternoon all... just a quick note to say that due to some essential reserve-wide work on Friday 22 March I have cancelled the Beginners Birdwatch Walk as there will be serious disturbance throughout the day to the whole of  Aveley Marsh within the fenceline.  Sorry for any inconvenience caused.


    • 18 Mar 2013
  • Another cold and wintry day....

    Although migrants were again notable in their absence it was still quite a productive day out on the marsh  in the end with 8 Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, 48 Redshank, 105 Dunlin, 37 Curlew, over the high tide. In addition there were about 60 Lapwing, 57 Golden Plover, 48 Snipe and 5 Ruff on the flashes on Wennington and Aveley. Five Great Crested Grebe bobbed around offshore but there were no seaduck today.

    A Bittern was…

    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Bobbing around

    Pat Hart got some video of the two Scoter yesterday.  Nice that they came in quite close. Very cloudy here today and very cold and windy again.....  a Sand Martin would be nice!



    He has even got the characteristic stretch up, head bob, wing flpa that this species does with some regularity.


    • 30 Mar 2013
  • Let the dance begin...

    A bit of warmth, some sunshine and the Lapwings start to get frisky... If the weather holds the bulk of our winterers will disappear magically one night leaving us with our twenty or so birds to breed on the marsh.

    Some are already achieving high colour with extra glossy plumage, even longer head plumes and vibrant pink legs.  The tumbling and wheezing will surely follow before too long....

    High stepping Lapwing…

    • 6 Mar 2013
  • Another Award!

    On Friday evening Mel (our Visitor Services Manager) attended the annual Thurrock Business Awards.  We were entered into two categories and were up against tough opposition and much to our delight we won the award for Environmental Awareness! 

    I think Mel was equally surprised that she had to go up on stage to collect the huge plaque!


    • 15 Mar 2013
  • Flocks of owls....

    Had to stay after hours today as we had a group of RSPB bods on a course till late.  Gave me the chance in the gorgeous evening light to scan the distant silts and despite the two miles between them and me I managed to scope two Barn Owls and three Short-eared Owls as they quartered the main lagoon bank.  This is the first time I have ever seen two Barn Owls out at the same time and only an hour after I told the delegates…

    • 13 Mar 2013
  • More Snail Headaches

    Whilst topping up the feeders this morning I found loads of smashed snail shells around the base. I presume that our Song Thrushes have been head banging whilst we have not been looking!  David Dent got this nice shot earlier today.  I still reckon that this may be a continental bird as it appears very grey.....



    • 10 Mar 2013
  • How to find the Black Redstart spot!!!

    We have all spent a lot of time in the last two weeks drawing little maps of the west end to help people to find the Black Redstarts.... so here is a map to help you out!

    Thanks to David Dent for the shot!



    • 11 Mar 2013
  • Fat Rat....

    Not sure what Rattus norvegigicus live off of on the foreshore at the end of Ferry Lane but I suspect that it is not just Sea Slaters! There are several in the same area as the Black Redstarts and Wheatears and the chats have been observed by several people to follow the Brown Rats around waiting to see if they unearth anything interesting.

    They are also what might be called 'robust' or 'chunky' but any comparisons to…

    • 30 Mar 2013
  • Carrier bags...

    A very simple message.... please do not throw away your plastic carrier bags.  Reuse and Recycle otherwise this is something that you will encounter from time to time anywhere. It is distressing and potentially fatal for the bird as it causes drag and prevents proper flying, can fill with water when the bird is on the river, cuts off circulation to the legs and makes them an easier predator target.

    (Dave McGough)

    • 24 Mar 2013
  • Flasher

    Mr Tail Flasher is still holding his own at the west end with his  two lady escorts... I am sure that his plumage had actualy improved since he was first found on the 23rd February. Surely one of our smartest little birds?

    (Brenda Clayton)

    (Chris Lowe)

    (Russ Sherriff)

    I do not know if the male Hen Harrier was seen again today but he was certainly around yesterday.


    • 6 Mar 2013
  • Watchout Sandhoppers!

    With all this activity on the foreshore it is interesting to see what the Black Redstarts, Robins, Pipits and Wagtails are eating. It mainly appears to be small sandhoppers that they seem very adept at finding amongst the debris and detritus that washes up with every tide. Two Chiffchaffs have also been seen down there and the Common Sandpiper that is wintering will be after similar prey.

    Black Red...

    Fluffed up…

    • 3 Mar 2013
  • An exciting couple of days...

    I have been on a 4x4 course for work in the delightful Eastwell Park in Kent for the past two days so missed out on the first two proper spring days of the year... however had great fun in the woods albeit a little scary at times!

    Dave Jordan our Lookerer and I with a slightly muddy Defender...

    The big hill... a lot steeper than it looks!

    The views were great and there were some cracking Fallow Deer and plenty…

    • 6 Mar 2013
  • Frantic feeders...

    Jerry got some nice video of the Lesser Redpolls last week.  Such cute little birds...



    • 8 Mar 2013
  • Go quietly...

    If you creep into the Ken Barrett Hide quietly you may be lucky enough to catch up with one of our Water Rails. It seems to have taken to feeding just outside so you may have to look down to see it!

    Steve Swinney got some great shots last week and others have still been seen in the cuttings on the Northern Trail.


    • 21 Mar 2013
  • Shimmying

    It is a pity that the Black Redstarts have been frequenting the far end of the reserve as I am sure many people are just visiting there and going on their way!  Come on folks...  come and have a walk around the trails on a fine spring day.  A Sand Martin has already been seen at Walthamstow Reservoirs (4th) and the first Wheatear was in Wales on the 5th so come and be the first person to find a summer migrant on our wonderful…

    • 7 Mar 2013
  • Probing for pleasure...

    Seldom does a bird look more content than a Snipe when it is happily probing for worms in a nice marshy field.  Try to imagine having a mouth so sensitive that you could put it on the ground and feel a worm wiggling beneath you. There is probably a random element too but they only seem to suffer when the ground freezes.

    It is still pleasing to find that they like the area infront of the Purfleet Hide. The waters have…

    • 9 Mar 2013
  • Frozen worms?

    As you will see in these three little videos from Clive Watts, our Snipe are battling trough the appalling un-spring-like weather and have been managing to feed pretty well. One looks like it was finding some chunky worms deep down in that grass!






    • 27 Mar 2013