• 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
  • Piff-paffs are warming up!

    At least one Chiffchaff is now singing in the Cordite woodland despite the dreary weather and I reckon that there are about eight others on site with up to five at the west end and a couple on the foreshore. Russ caught this one in a buddhlia near the centre while Basil Thornton had one facing onto the wind on the river wall!





    • 21 Mar 2013
  • Black Reds have a friend

    Those rubble mounds are perfect for Black Redstarts and today they drew in another chat in the form of a fine first-summer male Wheatear (brown worn wings age it in case you were wondering!).

    Unfortunately, no more were seen out on the trails in appalling murk, rain, drizzle, hail, mist and increasing wind and cold... The Grey Plover was still with the Golden crowd but over 300 Lapwing have gone overnight. A male Me…

    • 21 Mar 2013
  • Shop Closed Today For Stocktake

    Just a quick reminder that the shop will be closed all day today for Stocktake...


    • 20 Mar 2013
  • Blast from the past #2 & fond rememberances

    Today is the 19th March and on this date in 2006 we were lucky enough to have a White Stork on the marsh. It should have been a great evening on the reserve but many of us remember it as the evening that Ken Barrett suffered a fatal heart attack whilst attempting to see the bird. Despite our best efforts he could not be saved.

    Ken was a integral part of the initial movement to save the marshes long before the RSPB became…

    • 19 Mar 2013
  • Unprecedented

    The early evening hunting by the Wennington Barn Owls is amazing and completely against the grain. Shaun is still trying for that killer shot and is getting there!


    • 19 Mar 2013
  • Not boring you yet I hope?

    Still showing very well today....

    Black Redstart (Basil Thornton)


    • 19 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
  • The marsh is alive with the sound of munching...

    In the last few days, and despite the weather, there has been an increase in the number of Water Vole sightings around the trails. If it is calm listen out for the sound of fresh green shoots being merrily munched and for a stem receding into the undergrowth!

    David Howarth took this great shot last week.  I am sure that over the coming weeks there will be more to follow!

    Oh and had a Raven go over early doors so eyes…

    • 18 Mar 2013
  • The West End

    The Black Redstarts continue to be seen on a daily basis at the southern end of Ferry Lane and there seem to be seven pairs of Oystercatcher on our stretch of the river at the moment. Grey Wagtail and Common Sandpiper also continue to be seen on the foreshore there with up to five Chiffchaffs in the surrounding bushes (where they have probably been all winter but we just never looked!)

    Mrs B Red (Basil Thornton)

    • 18 Mar 2013
  • Migrant News...

    I have no other news from the reserve today other to say that  a fine male Wheatear was seen out on the trails this afternoon.....  woooo! hooooo!


    • 17 Mar 2013
  • Weenie worms...

    On Friday Clive Watts spent most of the day in the Purfleet Hide and had a splendid Lapwing outside throughout. The iridescence in the sunlight was splendid. Every petrol colour you can imagine! Being so close even allowed him to capture the moment that this one caught a tiny thin worm and teased it from the mud delicately so that it did not break... need a lot of these to fill a belly!


    • 17 Mar 2013
  • Sheer elegance

    The pair of Mute Swans that have been residing in front of the Purfleet Hide have been getting more and more amorous in recent days with much synchronised preening, bathing and neck entwining... oh and a little bit of how's ya father....

    (Chris Lowe)

    The Cob did eventually let her up for air..... (Clive Watts)

    I am not sure which pair this is from the site but suspect that that it is the same couple who attempted…

    • 16 Mar 2013
  • Not warm enough for Shorties...

    Shaun Harvey got some shots of the Short-eared Owls last night.  I suspect that they were in the same area as I saw them on Tuesday night so I reckon viewing from the tarmac cycle path just before the point where the south-west corner of the Silt Lagoons meets the open expanse of Wennington Marsh. The Barn Owls were in the same area.  Good luck...

    Thanks Shaun!


    • 15 Mar 2013
  • Breaking buds

    The first Pussy Willow buds are out and looking for all the world like the tips of cotton wool buds at the moment but with a bit of warmth (if we ever get it back!) they will bust out into vibrant  pom-poms of yellow laden with pollen like giant mascara brushes!  Bees and butterflies be ready!

    (Tony Houston)


    • 15 Mar 2013
  • High tide gatherings

    At high tide today there were about 400 Dunlin out on the pools along with about 300 each of Lapwing and Golden Plover. Plenty of Lapwing song and tumbling in the sunshine first thing too! Only two Curlew seem to be left now but Snipe are everywhere and the four Ruff were out on Wennington again. A few Redshank came in too along with four dozing Grey Plovers.  I had high hopes of a Wheatear today and spent the day scanning…

    • 15 Mar 2013
  • Mr P still on the scene

    Mr P is still a welcome sight in the mornings and he now has three ladies around the feeders (and the two in the shop!) to look after on his morning rounds. The other day he walked almost up to the counter and clucked until he was taken notice of and some breakfast provided.

    Dawn Cowan encountered him today out in et woodland where he trotted towards her on the boardwalk in the hope that she was carrying food! do not…

    • 15 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
  • I bet you didn't know....

    It never shows up in the books or paintings but if you get the light just right on a male Pintail then the head is not completely rich chocolate brown. In strong light the area behind the eyes takes on an iridescent purplish hue. Dave McGough must have been sitting  next to Alan yesterday and got some fantastic shots....

    and one from Brenda too...


    • 13 Mar 2013
  • Chocolate Redstart

    At last someone has got a good shot of one of the two female Black Redstarts at the end of Ferry Lane. Basil Thornton took these in the glorious sunshine yesterday afternoon. A lot more subtle than the striking male but still with that fiery red shimmering tail.



    • 13 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
  • Antarctica to East Anglia & Waders in Wood

    We have a double exhibition starting this Saturday in the Purfleet Hide featuring superb paintings by David James and wooden bird carvings by Maureen Gibson. David will be in attendance most days and will quick likely be wielding a brush or two!


    • 12 Mar 2013
  • A little bit of science....

    Morning all...  Having a few problems getting into today as North Kent seems to be experiencing it own little wintry micro-climate and I currently have driving snow billowing horizontally past my window. I did try and drive in but the A2 and side roads seem to have been missed by the gritters....

    Anyway, enough of my griping... found this request that has been circulating amongst various birding email groups and thought…

    • 12 Mar 2013
  • Heading back south...

    The adult Spoonbill lasted until 3pm before it decided that enough was enough and headed south across the Thames. Hope Kev got it! In the strong winds there were a few bits on the river including 4 Kittiwakes, Little and Med Gulls... just hope the blizzard lets up here in North Kent and I can get in tomorrow!

    And some slightly better shots from Brenda from this afternoon!


    • 12 Mar 2013