As the temperature starts to drop, its time to start looking for winter visitors out on our reserves. Winter thrushes are often one of the first signs that the nights are going to start drawing in, Fieldfares and Redwings will start to pile in over the next few weeks, also keep a look out for late migrants such as Ring Ouzel. Other birds to look out for include Siskin, Redpolls and Brambling, who may all be hiding amongst the many finch flocks. The last of our summer visitors will also be on their way out, watch out for the last few groups of Swallows and Martins as they gather together for the long trip to Africa.

Siskin -  Chris Gomersall ( 

The foggy, murky weather can make a walk out on the reserves a little less appealing, but those who have braved the weather have been rewarded with some great wildlife sightings, so don’t be put off! Recent highlights on our reserves include a stunning male Hen Harrier flying low over West Canvey Marshes, being mobbed by crows as it went. Winter sees large Gull flocks descend on our reserves; it’s worth taking a look through the flocks though, in the last week, two Yellow-legged Gulls were seen from the hide overlooking Pitsea Scrape. The winter wildfowl and wader numbers are also starting to build, at the last count there are over 300 Wigeon and 150 Lapwing across our reserves.


Hen Harrier - Andy Hay (

Blog by Michael Poole - South Essex Marshes Assistant Warden