If you’ve indulged over the Christmas period and are now trying to work off the turkey and chocolate, why not take a walk round one of our reserves, the New Year is a great time to get out and see many of our winter birds. There are impressive flocks of Fieldfares on our West Canvey Marsh reserve and at least one of the short-eared owls is still showing well hunting over the fields near the Pantile picnic area. As the grassland starts to get wetter, more and more waders are being attracted to the reserve. There has been increasing numbers of Lapwing and Curlew feeding on the grassland as well as wildfowl such as Wigeon and Teal. Water rails are also starting to become more visible, these elusive birds spend much of the summer hidden away amongst the reeds, so winter is the best time to see them. Vange Marsh and Pitsea Scrape in Wat Tyler Country Park are great places to try and see them, feeding along ditches and reed edges. In Timbermanns Creek at Wat Tyler Country park, alongside redshank, curlew and black-tailed godwits, four spotted redshanks and a greenshank have decided to spend the winter.

Fieldfare and black-tailed godwit images kindly provided by Russ Sheriff.