• South Essex Sightings up to 18 July

    West Canvey Marsh

    Although there isn't a lot going on on the marsh the Avocets continue to look after their chicks although they are becoming more independent now. The Black-tailed Godwits are still showing off their summer plumage. A Peregrine has been seen looking for prey. There are plenty of butterflies mostly Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Peacock.

    Bowers Marsh

    Bowers is the busiest reserve. The Swallows are charging…

    • 18 Jul 2019
  • Sightings on the South Essex Marshes up to 11 July

    Bowers Marsh

    The Black-necked Grebes and chicks continue to be see, Sand Martins and Swallows are catching their aerial prey. Also seen in the air are Swifts and a Buzzard. On the water have been Little Ringed Plover and an Egyptian Goose. In the bushes both Yellowhammer and Yellow Wagtail have been dazzling while the duller Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler have been singing.

    West Canvey Marsh

    All three hirundines…

    • 11 Jul 2019
  • Sightings June into July

    Bowers Marsh

    The sky has been filled with Swift, Swallow and House Martin hawking for prey. On the fresh water lagoon there have been over 100 Avocet with Shelduck and Oystercatcher among them while the Black-necked Grebe continue to be seen on occasions.

    Vange Marsh

    Although the water levels are low Marsh Harrier have been searching for prey. A Spotted Redshank has been seen in all its glory of summer plumage with the…

    • 4 Jul 2019
  • Sightings up to 25 June

    The reserves are now host to numerous butterflies. On Bowers Marsh there are Small Skipper. Essex Skipper, Large Skipper, Painted Lady Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell and Marbled White.

    Marbled White by David Lee


     Small Skipper by David Lee                                                     

    Small Tortoise by David Lee

    The dragonflies have started to emerge with Black-tailed Skimmer, Emperor and Broad-bodied Chaser flying vigorously.


    • 27 Jun 2019
  • Bowers Marsh up to 20 June

    There are still plenty of birds around the reserve. Chicks have been seen for Avocet, Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Whitethroat. Swallows and House Martins have been catching insects on the wing. Both Great Crested and Little Grebes have been cruising round the fresh water lagoon while Little Ringed Plovers were probing round the water's edge. Birds recognised by their song were Cuckoo and Cetti's Warbler.

    • 20 Jun 2019
  • Sightings on the South Essex Marshes for the week up to 12 June

    Bowers Marsh continues to home one Black-necked Grebe. Hirundines have been represented by both Barn Swallows and House Martins. The male Cuckoos are still calling but can be difficult to see. On the water the Avocets and Lapwings have chicks independently walking around while the Little Ringed Plovers are still searching around on the water edges for food.

    On West Canvey some Stoats were seen unsuccessfully hunting Water…

    • 13 Jun 2019
  • Sightings in South Essex for the first week in June

    The birds have been busy looking after their young as they start their new lives.

    On West Canvey the Coot chicks have been seen with their parents. The Reed Warblers have bee singing in the reed beds while the Skylarks have been making their presence known in the air. On the water the ducks have been represented by Shovelers, Shelducks, Tufted ducks and Pochards. There have also been large number of Mute Swans reaching…

    • 6 Jun 2019
  • What's on Bowers Marsh?

    Don't forget that the RSPB volunteers run a monthly walk around Bowers Marsh to see what wildlife is about. It happens on the second Sunday of each month at 10:00, except May when there are special Dawn Chorus walks instead. To book ring the RSBP Visitor Centre on 01268 498620.

    • 30 May 2019
  • May Sightings on the Marshes

    It has been a time of new life and some special visitors this month.  Bowers Marsh has been visited by a Whooper Swan, a male Ring-necked Duck and several Black-necked Grebes. This borought a flurry of birders in at the beginning of the month. The Ring-necked Duck was elusive at times either on the far side of the fresh water lagoon or fast asleep with its head tucked in making identification tricky. However it did come…

    • 30 May 2019
  • South Essex Visitor Centre Closing

    We are very sad to announce that at the end of May the RSPB South Essex Visitor Centre based in Wat Tyler Country Park will be closing. Our last day will be the 25 and 26 May 2019.

    In recent years, we have seen a drop in the number of people visiting the centre and after giving this much consideration, we feel that closing the Visitor Centre is the right thing to do. As we continue on our mission to save nature with partners…

    • 13 May 2019
  • Recycled sculpture celebrates transformation of former industrial site

    Explaining the recently installed Dragonfly sculpture, installed to celebrate the partnership working together on Canvey Wick and the changing landscape the site has experienced over the past few decades.
    • 16 Dec 2018
  • Reed Gone Mad!

    So… water levels should be at their lowest point this time of year, perfect to make life a walk in the park (or should that be walk on the reserve), for our wardens and volunteers to cut back all that annoying encroaching reed that can spoil those beautiful sightlines across the South Essex reserves lagoons, which has become particularly bad at Vange Marsh this year.

    Not so though! What should have been a pleasant…

    • 1 Nov 2018
  • An explosion of Orchids at Canvey Wick

    Canvey Wick Nature reserve may be more known for its importance to invertebrate life and its brownfield oil refinery roots, but what is special about the reserve does not end there. This brownfield reserve is special for other types of wildlife too, from whitethroats singing in the scrub, the distinctive sound of warblers in the reeds, to the occasional sighting of a green or great-spotted woodpecker, the reserve comes…

    • 8 Sep 2018
  • Water Voles on the South Essex Reserves

    Assistant Warden Susy Jones talks about her work with water voles across the South Essex Reserves:

    As Summer approaches its end, my mind turns to getting the last water vole surveys of the year done. Our reserves in South Essex are a stronghold for this rare and endangered mammal, so we carry out dedicated surveys to monitor their presence and number, in April and September. It’s been a dramatic year so far in nature…

    • 23 Aug 2018
  • Wild Wednesdays on West Canvey Marsh this Summer!

    Once again this year we will be running our Wild Wednesdays with the chance for your Wild Things to explore the ditches and grassy areas of West Canvey Marsh in search for creepy crawlies.  Last year despite the rain, each Wednesday we ran the event turned up something new including water scorpion,  dragonfly nymph and a smooth newt as well great views of wasp spiders along the ditch edge.


    The activities you are able…

    • 11 Jul 2018
  • Photography Competition time for Canvey Island Wildlife day 2018

    Excited to announce that once again, the RSPB and Canvey Town Council are running Canvey Island Wildlife day on the 26 May 2018.  

    Along with the Wildlife day we will be running the Essex Wildlife Photography Competition which is, as always, free to enter. 

    Have you got what it takes to enter a winning shot?



    We had some fantastic entries last year…

    • 12 Apr 2018
  • A thank you and goodbye to Steph

    Here at South Essex we want to start celebrating the people that make the South Essex Reserves such a special place ranging from the staff and volunteers who go out every week to improve the habitat on Bowers Marsh to our brilliant Welcome Hosts found in the visitor centre at the South Essex Wildlife Garden in Wat Tyler Country Park. We start this series off with a big thank you to Stephanie King, One of our Assistant…

    • 6 Oct 2017
  • The Geese have returned

    Essex is home to some fantastic wildlife spectacles and none more impressive than the migration of the brent geese.  

    They arrive from their breeding ground  in northern Russia and  Siberia to feed on the eel grass found along the coastline and recently have moved onto cultivated fields to feed on crops such as wheat, oilseed rape and barley.  The Thames Estuary is one of the best places in the country to see the UK`s smallest…

    • 29 Sep 2017
  • Susy`s love of water voles

    No animal I have ever known of is as rotund, plump, and squidgy looking, as our water vole. They have deep brown eyes, set in rich chestnut fur, with a gentle creamy eye ring, which can make them look almost spectacled. And no animal species has ever baffled me in its way of being sometimes incredibly obliging, and then so elusive, as the water vole. Sometimes I go weeks without seeing any in the course of my job, yet…

    • 6 Sep 2017
  • Canvey Island Wildlife Day Photography competition 2017

    We are coming round for another Canvey Island Wildlife day, this year on the 27 May.

    Means its time for another Essex Wildlife competition, run by RSPB and Canvey Town Council and completely free to enter!

    Have you got what it takes to show off the fantastic wildlife of Essex?

    Categories this year are:

    • Under 12 years old
    • 12-18 years old
    • over 18 years old

    Once again we have some great prizes for all categories…

    • 26 Apr 2017
  • Sightings South Essex Marshes w/c 25th May

    With the breeding season well underway the birds a starting to quieten down a little bit, but good performances still being put on at all of the reserves. At Bowers Marsh corn buntings are in full voice and the skylarks are still flying high.  Other visitors to Bowers this week have included 2 black winged stilts, seen on Monday and Tuesday but haven’t been seen since. Large numbers of (110+) black-tailed godwit…

    • 2 Jun 2015
  • Essex Wildlife Photography Competition 2015

    It's only a few months until the annual Canvey Island Wildlife Day and in celebration we are again running the Essex Wildlife Photography Competition. 

    The Essex Wildlife Photography Competition is being hosted by the RSPB and Canvey Town Council and is now open for entry

    There are three age categories: 

    under 12 years old
    12 – 18 years old
    over 18 years old

    and there are some great prizes to be won!


    • 4 Mar 2015
  • What to spot and Christmas opening times

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Across the reserves wintering bird numbers are really starting to rise with plenty of waders and wildfowl. Over 1000 each of lapwing and wigeon have been feeding amongst the scrapes and wet grasslands, Bowers Marsh and West Canvey Marshes are the best places to see them. Snipe numbers have also built up with over 100 recently across the reserves, including a group of 60 feeding on the edge of…

    • 17 Dec 2014
  • Pump it Up! ...or down in our case!

    The autumn period on the South Essex Reserves has been unusually mild and dry compared to recent years. This as it happens, has been somewhat of a bonus to the South Essex Reserves team as we have been recovering from some of the effects of last years very wet winter.

    Visitors who enjoy the sights from the Bird Hide in Wat Tyler Country Park overlooking Pitsea Scrape will notice the appearance of islands for the first…

    • 13 Nov 2014
  • Lots of bearded tits

    Bearded tit (by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    Bearded tits have been particularly active recently; now is a great time of year to see them as young birds flock up in preparation to disperse and find new homes. Vange Marsh is the best place to see them at the moment, with flocks of 10 to 20 birds regularly seen along the reedbed path. Vange Marsh has been especially busy recently, with reserve staff starting the reedbed…

    • 25 Oct 2014