With what feels like near constant rain (especially of a night time) the marsh is looking particularly wet and lush at the moment and duck numbers have been steadily increasing with perhaps 2000 across the reserve at the moment.  The sounds of whistling Wigeon, plooping Pintail and plipping Teal can be heard even from the visitors centre.

Pintail - HTV

Three Egyptian Geese have been with the Greylags and Canada flock and eight Dark-bellied Brent Geese circled yesterday before sensibly heading back out of the river towards Southend - we have no eel grass!

Dark-bellied Brent Geese - Sam Levy

Lapwing have topped the thousand mark and 500 Black-tailed Godwits join them at high tide along with a couple of Ruff, 600 Dunlin, Curlews and Redshanks. Colder weather will bring more too us.

Fieldfares and Redwings are feasting on the Haws along the river wall with migrant Blackbirds and Song Thrushes for company but finch numbers are still low.

Redwing - Jeff Harrington

Fieldfare - Ian Plume

Stonechats, Bearded Tits, Reed Buntings and Cetti's Warblers are still out on the trail and Water Rails are 'kipping' from many spots but are seldom seen.

Stonechat - Mark Vale

Bearded Tit - John Humble

Bearded Tit - Pete Woods

The Short-eared Owls have made a reappearance and the Barn Owls have been incredibly reliable with some great daytime views.

Short-eared Owl - Ian Plume

Barn Owl - Jim Camball

There have been at least ten different Caspian Gulls seen on the foreshore from Coldharbour Point and the number of big gulls has been steadily increasing with a noticeable arrival of Great Black-backed Gulls which from past ringing recoveries are quite likely to have originated in Norway.

1st winter Caspian Gull - Dante Shepherd

The Firecrests have been seen occasionally and Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps have all been seen with one particular female Blackcap taking a liking to the tiny rosehips that we can see from the centre window.

female Blackcap - Barry Tranfield

The female Sparrowhawk has been occasionally entertaining photographers at the reflection pool from our photographic hide...

Cracking shot by the young and talented Ben Lucas

Let's hope for some clear cold weather from the east over the Christmas period to perk things up and bring us some avian festive presents.

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