Local photographer and regular at Old Hall, Peter Hewitt has been snapping away again: "one shows a Stoat looking through the fence by the stock pens at a Short eared owl - it was quite amusing. Also on the same evening I watched a Stoat chasing/following a young rabbit. It didn't seem bothered about actually catching it. When the rabbit saw me it stopped, turned round, ran and bumped into the Stoat !! They had what looked like a friendly tumble and carried on the chase / game ??"
Ringed plovers and oystercatchers are already nesting on Eastern Quarters Spit, our saltmarsh and shingle point at the eastern end of the reserve.
This means that signs have been put up to advise people not to moor up there and come ashore which causes disturbance to these ground nesting species. A permitted landing area has also been provided, and hopefully we will eventually have some benches/picnic tables on the folding on the landward side of the sea wall for people to use here at Old Hall. Similar signs will soon be going up at all similar important sites around the estuary, in particular Essex Wildlife Trust Tollesbury Wick Marshes and Colne Point. http://www.essexwt.org.uk/visitor_centres__nature_reserves/
We all greatly appreciate the co-operation of the sailing community in helping to protect these birds.
Meanwhile, we eagerly await the return of little terns who also use this shingle spit. They are very particular and do not have many places that they can nest, so it is important that wherever they choose, disturbance is kept to a minimum to give them the best chance of survival. We are seeking more volunteer little tern monitoring and protection assistants to help with this both at Old Hall and other areas in Essex. If you are fancy some birdwatching, rigerous note taking, exploring some of the more remote areas of local reserves, and can spare at least 2 days per month, please see the full volunteer 'job description' here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering/5649-little-tern-monitoring-and-protection-assistant
Intensive moth trapping to look for Sloe Carpet has continued. 7 individuals have been trapped and released so far. Fingers crossed this cold windy weather won't go on for too long!