• Recent sightings (April 2014)

    Here's a wildlife update for April!

    Cuckoo, barn owl (in the box), song thrush, blackbird, robin, long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, goldfinch, greenfinch, dunnock, wren, reed bunting, chiffchaff, blackcap, lesser white throat, cettis warbler, grass hopper warbler, willow warbler, green woodpecker, magpie, crow, raven, ladybirds, shieldbugs (mainly dock, hawthorn and green shieldbugs), hairy dragonfly, azure…

    • 30 Apr 2014
  • Sunshine lovers

    Lizards need sunshine and the trails provide plenty of 'solar filling stations' for these versatile reptiles to soak up some rays.

    They seem particularly fond of the boardwalk areas where there is a raised kick board to give them something to scurry under should danger approach so walk quietly and look down as well as up!

    This female has even spread her rib cage to create a wider surface area for sun catching…

    • 30 Apr 2014
  • Kingfisher update (29 April 2014)

    Good afternoon everyone,

    How are you today?

    Just wanted to give you all a quick update on the kingfishers so you knew what is going on.

    They are currently feeding young!

      This amazing picture is by Perry Andrews - it's not three kingfishers but one very clever sticthing together of three flight shots! 

    The young are hidden away in the bank and will be keeping the adults busy catching fish to feed them. By about…

    • 29 Apr 2014
  • Beautiful beardies...


    No - I'm not talking about Howard (although he is a bearded beauty!)...


    The bearded tits have been showing off nicely, and I know Howard has done a recent blog post all about these fabulous birds... but they are fabulous so I'm doing another one!

    Check out these stunning pictures by Cliff Watkinson!

    The bearded tits (click on the word for more details about the bearded tit) have been seen over on…

    • 29 Apr 2014
  • Sneaky

    Grass Snakes have been doing incredibly well on the reserve in recent years and are seemingly tied in with the success of the Marsh Frogs on which they prey.  Check the ditches as you walk the trails and if you find a group of basking frogs (that are not too big!) watch our for a slinky snake worming its way through the water with just its head showing and its tongue flicking in and out. 

    If you are real lucky you may…

    • 29 Apr 2014
  • Sing it out for Spring!

    With spring in full flow lots of the wildlife is busy doing springy-stuff!


    From incubating, or feeding young...
      All together - "awwwwww"! Adorable lapwing chick by John Daly.

    Fingers crossed that the lapwings do well this year! So far there is a number of birds incubating and some have hatched already!

      This amazing kingfisher merge is by Perry Andrews who has done a clever thing by stitching together three…

    • 28 Apr 2014
  • Swarming all over...

    Hello everyone,

    How are you?

    During the week we had a bee swarm appear...

    On Thursday of last week a bee swarm appeared - it started as a big black swirling ball arriving at the top of the driveway, within minutes had whirled their way down the entrance raod and maid themselves comfortable by the gates of the car park.

      In the bushes next to the car park gate (Jamie Smith)

    After a debate about what to do, and closely…

    • 28 Apr 2014
  • 1...2...3... pounce

    John Daly has got to know this vixen quite well over the last few months and she behaves very naturally around him. 

    Here she has heard a rustling snack to take back to her cubs and makes a high pounce into the long grass.

    On this occasion she was unlucky...


    • 28 Apr 2014
  • Bring on the butterflies....

    Warmer days means more butterflies on the wing looking for a nectar bar....  Will not be long before this lot are joined by the summer browns, skippers and blues......

    Peacock (Ellie Payne)

    Small Tortoiseshell (Nicole Bergum)

    Speckled Wood (Cliff Watkinson)

    male Green-veined White (Cliff Watkinson)


    • 27 Apr 2014
  • I need a change of scenery

    David Dent caught this little Wolf Spider in the act of getting ready to fire a silk strand into the unknown to take it off to pastres new....

    The wind catches the silk and off it goes.....

    mmm... where shall I go today??

    I know.... let's stick my bum up in the air and see where the wind takes me.... if you pardon the expression.....


    • 26 Apr 2014
  • Pausing for Reflection...

    Two of our younger visitors have got a good eye for not just the wildlife of the marshes. Our metal dragonfly sculptures (modelled on Black-tailed Skimmers in case you were wondering) have been out there for about six or so years now and are part of the living landscape.

    Sedge Warblers, Wrens and even the Kingfishers uses them as perches, a pair of Little Grebes are even nesting on one and dragonflies utilise them for…

    • 25 Apr 2014
  • Miners are out...

    Mining Bees that is..... there are many species of these smaller relatives of the humble Bumbles and most are quite tricky to identify.

    Early spring is often a good time for some of the easier species and in recent weeks we have had several types photographed and a couple more that we are working on...  Check out the Hawthorn and Apple blossom as these gingery ones are quite distinctive...

    Andrena nitida (Lawrence…

    • 24 Apr 2014
  • More battling birds

    This time it is the Little Egrets that have been going at it...  lots of squabbling out on the pools over the best spots to look for tiddlers and frogs but they do not last long and they soon go back to that all important snacking!


    'Get off my patch!'

    Much posturing!

    Friends again.....

    A great series of images by Clive Watts...


    • 23 Apr 2014
  • Orange delight....

    Orange Tip is probably one of our most striking early spring butterflies. That magic combination of pearly white and glowing orange combined with a gauzy green underwings is a true spring joy....

    Sitting with the wings open for long enough to catch is shot is a real treat and Dawn Cowan got a cracker last week.


    • 22 Apr 2014
  • More than we think

    Bearded Tits were very un-cooperative this winter and traditionally they go quiet in the spring and summer until a couple of broods mysteriously appear. We thought that we had a single pair in the Dragonfly Pool area but there may be a further two pairs using the Northern Trail as we seem to be getting almost daily sightings from that area too.

    They may well be feeding young by now so please let us know if you see any…

    • 21 Apr 2014
  • Easter Weekend wildlife highlights (so far)

    Happy Easter everyone!

    Hope you are all well.

    Other the last couple of days we've had some lovely wildlife sightings that I wanted to share with you.

    We've had some lovely views of waders such as: redshank, greenshank, oystercatcher, little ringed plover, curlew, and lapwing! We had our first lapwing chick hatch on Theusday 17 April! It's looking like this will be a good year for lapwings!

    * * * * * *

    • 20 Apr 2014
  • Kingfisher Breaking News (20 April 2014)

    Kingfisher news: this morning the adult bird has been spotted removing an egg shell! It looks like our first kingfisher has hatched!
      picture by Tom Bell
    If the young successfully fledge it will be the first time EVER that we've had breeding kingfishers! Eep! We're excited!
    If you want to see kingfisher a good time is when the young have hatched - once they hatch the parents are in and our…
    • 20 Apr 2014
  • It's all about the lips don't ya know

    So, there you are on a damp spring or summer morning, out for a stroll along the river wall at the reserve and you find yourself tiptoeing around hundreds of variously coloured small snails heading in every which direction as they make the most of the moistness to explore further afield.

    Some are dark or pink and plain, some are yellow with dark stripes, others a mixture of all three colours. At first glance they may…

    • 20 Apr 2014
  • We now sell our own RSPB grown Coffee!

    Cafe or shop....  both now have a very own fresh ground coffee so you can quite literally try before you buy!

    £5.99 for 250g.... Bargain!


    • 19 Apr 2014
  • Fiesty little fellas!

    Little Grebes are stroppy at the best of times and they get very territorial over their little patch of water be it in ditch, pool or lake. They will defend it against any other intruding Little Grebes and a full on fight is not usual.

    Tony Orwell was in the right place capture this battle in all its splashing glory.... meanwhile a Coot was probably trampling both of their nests into muddy puddles as is their want..…

    • 19 Apr 2014
  • A very Good Friday

    Evening all... and a Good Friday it was too.... Paul Hawkins found a Red Kite over Purfleet Scrape at about 1040..... I managed to get everyone onto it and then picked up an Osprey even higher on the same thermal along with two Cormorants..... With Buzzard, Marsh  Harrier, peregrine, Kesrel and Sparrowhawk it was a good raptor day! There were lots of hirundines whizzing through all day and a Yellow Wagtail was on Wennington…

    • 19 Apr 2014
  • Early morning serenade

    I still rate Blackcap as one of the best songsters in this country.

    We have at least 13 males on territory at the east end of the reserve and if you listen closely you will notice that there is actually quite a lot of variation in the indiviual songs.

    This one came to see what Jerry Hoare was up to....


    • 18 Apr 2014
  • Will Good Friday be as good?

    Given the fact that I have not really been out on the reserve today, I have managed to catch up with quite a few good birds.... A shout from Andrew G for Spoonbill over the car park was eagerly greeted as this black tipped immature bird spiralled fast and east with the wind behind it at 1140. Five minutes earlier Andrew and Lynn Osborne has seen the same bird going west.... just a shame that it did not come down to the…

    • 17 Apr 2014