• 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
  • How are you playing in nature this Autumn?

    Autumn is the perfect time to get outdoors and play, whether you are 2 or 200. The wealth of materials that nature provides as an alternative to toys is plentiful at this time of year and provided you don your waterproofs and warm jackets the colder weather shouldn’t put you off. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    Make some muddy potions – Grab yourself a pot and a stick, then head on out collecting anything…

    • 23 Sep 2014
  • The busy summer of two South Essex Interns!

    As the summer draws to a close, the South Essex interns have finally got a chance to let you all know what they’ve been up to over the last couple of months.

    So here goes...

    We began our RSPB adventure this June when we joined the South Essex team ahead of an action packed summer season. As the holidays kicked off we were busy engaging with visitors in the wildlife garden & visitor centre; developing our knowledge…

    • 18 Sep 2014
  • Win a Bug Hunt with Steve Backshall

    Araneus quadratus by Les Steward

    Get your creative juices flowing and you could be the lucky winner of a torch light moth trapping night with Steve Backshall from TV’s Deadly 60. Simply paint, draw or make a collage picture of your favourite bug and tell us why it’s your favourite, to win this exciting experience and other signed Deadly 60 merchandise.  

    To celebrate the grand opening of Canvey Wick SSSI…

    • 4 Sep 2014
  • A good year for turtle doves

    With the end of the summer holidays in sight it’s perhaps time for a bit of reflection on how the great British summer has panned out. I hope that for many, if not all of you, the warm sunny weather gave you the impetuous to get out and about in the local countryside and once there that you got to see or hear one of our most striking summer migrants – the turtle dove.

    Whilst turtle dove numbers are in freefall…

    • 2 Sep 2014
  • A busy weekend ahead!


    Liz here from the South Essex team with a weekend update before you set out to visit us.

    The Outdoor Cinema is tonight at West Canvey Marsh! We're excited to be showing a colourful and fun children's film, Rio 2, with the help of The White Bus and sponsorship from DP World London Gateway. The event is open from 7 pm and the film starts at 8 pm. The weather looks dry and warm(ish) so bring something to sit…

    • 30 Aug 2014
  • Autumn passage is now well under way...

    Avocet by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    Autumn passage is now well under way with plenty to see on the South Essex Reserves. Bowers Marsh and Vange Marsh are the best places to go for migrant waders; species seen recently have included plenty of black-tailed godwit, avocet, lapwing, redshank, greenshank and green sandpiper, along with smaller numbers of common sandpiper, wood sandpiper, spotted redshank, ruff, dunlin…

    • 20 Aug 2014
  • One Wild Day at Wallasea is coming! The South Essex Visitor Centre will be closed on Sunday 20 July

    One Wild Day at Wallasea is nearly here!

    Due to this event the South Essex visitor centre will be closed. The Wildlife Garden will still be open for you to enjoy.

    This event is an amazing opportunity to come along and discover the incredible work for wildlife that is happening right here in Essex. The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is an exceptionally ambitious project aiming to transform this island back into…

    • 15 Jul 2014
  • Red-necked phalarope seen on Bowers Marsh

    Red-necked phalarope by Chris Gormesall (rspb-images.com)

    The highlight of the last few of weeks has been a female red-necked phalarope, which was seen on the fresh lagoon at Bowers Marsh. Unfortunately it only stayed around for a few hours, but gave visitors great views as it fed, building up its strength to carry on its migration north. Phalaropes are unlike most other birds in that it’s the females which are bigger…

    • 17 Jun 2014
  • Watch out, chicks about!

    Wet, muddy ground conditions have attracted good numbers of migrant waders to the South Essex reserves. The undoubted highlight was the pair of black-winged stilts which stopped off at Bowers Marsh, the first of these birds recorded in the UK this spring. They were joined on Bowers Marsh by 110 black-tailed godwits, along with smaller numbers of ruff and spotted redshank. Vange Marsh also attracted good numbers of birds…

    • 14 May 2014
  • Let's get pumping!

    Surface water on the South Essex reserves has begun to evaporate over the last few months. The sheer amount of rainfall over the winter has meant that the pools and logoon’s on West Canvey, Vange and Bowers Marshes will stay at favorable levels throughout the coming breeding bird season and a few lapwing and, in greater numbers, avocets are being seen pairing up across the reserves. However, such was the extent of the…

    • 1 May 2014
  • Essex Wildlife Photography Competition

    Essex Wildlife Photography Competition being hosted by the RSPB and Canvey Town Council in now open

    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!

    Entry is free and the deadline for entries is 18 May 2014. The competition will be judged at Canvey Wildlife Day by Mike Dilger on Saturday 31 May 2014

    You can download the entry form…

    • 30 Apr 2014
  • Spring has sprung in South Essex

    Spring has arrived and its now a great time to get out and look for migrant birds. Early migrants are already starting to arrive with sand martin and wheatear being seen on the reserves.

    small tortoiseshell by David Lee

    Spring is when our reserves really come alive with wildlife, look out for early butterflies such as small tortoiseshell and peacock, and keep an eye out for queen bees looking for somewhere to start…

    • 5 Apr 2014
  • Groundhog Day!

    The Thames Estuary is an incredible place for wildlife and it has some of the rarest bugs and beasties in the UK as well as being one of the most important migration routes in the country for hundreds of thousands of birds. It is a highly developed area with some great examples of sustainable development such as DP World’s London Gateway port development. Sadly, there are also plenty of potential threats to the wildlife…

    • 8 Mar 2014
  • Ready........Steady.........SNAP!

    Blogger: Jo Sampson, Project Manager

    Calling all visitors and residents of North Kent, South Essex and London; The Big Picture – Greater Thames Photography Competition is open for entries!  With a break in the weather and a wealth of winter waders out on the marshes, what better time to get out and enjoy your local green space? – here to tell you more about it is Stef Lawrence:

    The competition is open to anyone…

    • 20 Feb 2014
  • Valentine’s Day – 6 ideas for nature lovers

    Valentine’s Day is nearly here and us nature lovers often look for something slighty different to share on this special day. In fact one year I received a bat detector and I have to admit it is still my favourite present to date! So here are some ideas for that special nature lover in your life. Hope you like them

    1. Go for a romantic walk around your favourite nature reserve. There are several options in South…
    • 1 Feb 2014
  • Connect with wildlife this winter

    In the busyness of this time of year we all put a lot of effort into celebrating and feasting and then quickly we are sucked back into the daily routines that existed before the holidays. It is, of course, also a time to reflect and think of the needs of others and it is a comforting thought that there are so many good people who include nature in these thoughts, taking the time to feed the birds and set up their gardens…

    • 8 Jan 2014