At 2.30 this afternoon our first blue tit egg hatched. Come along to the RSPB Visitor Centre at Wat Tyler Country Park and see live footage on our TV screens. This is an unmissable opportunity to witness the secrets of new life arriving inside a blue tit's nestbox.
New arrival photo by David Lee
A wet weekend with strongs winds particularly on the Sunday, didn't stop some people from getting out, and there was plenty to see!
Common terns were seen fishing along the fleet at Wat Tyler Country Park and two turtle doves were 'purring' away near the motorboat museum hide. From the perimeter path a nightingale could be heard singing on the former county tip. Whitethroats and blackcaps have increased in number and provided a constant musical backdrop to Mondays dawn chorus walk. The male cuckoo continues to sing near holly cottage. While out on our Vange Marsh reserve the drake garganey reappeared and is still present today. Swift numbers have increased and as the wet overcast conditions kept their food source, flying insects low. This provided a spectacular aerial display often at head height.. West Canvey Marsh saw the pair of black-necked grebes return today to the reservoir, while the delightful song of skylarks appears to follow you around the reserve. A cuckoo can be heard singing near the seawall and both whitethroat and lesser whitethroat can be heard singing from the hedgerows. All in all despite the weather not a badv weekend!
Our blue tit chicks are now 18 days old, they now look just like their parents. Blue tits tend to fledge and leave their nestbox between 18-21 days after hatching. Our blue tit parents have worked so hard raising eleven, I'll repeat that ELEVEN hungry chicks!
Come along to the RSPB visitor centre at Wat Tyler Country Park, the centre is open daily 10 am - 5 pm and see the growing family live on our TV screens. Who knows you may even witness them leaving the box!
Blue tit chicks at Wat Tyler - images by David Lee
With glorious sunshine and temperatures in the high twenties this weekend, sky-watching came up trumps!
Late morning on Sunday a red kite was picked up heading west over RSPB West Canvey Marsh. While 15 minutes later at Wat Tyler Country Park, while looking for the kite a honey buzzard flew in from Holehaven Creek, Canvey direction and headed straight out across RSPB Vange Wick in a north westerly direction. This more than compensated for not seeing the red kite! Also a large peregrine falcon almost certainly a female was seen hunting over Vange Wick, watched from Wat Tyler Country Park. A common buzzard, hobby and sparrowhawk were also seen, and it didn't end there as a second honey buzzard drifted over Wat Tyler Country Park mid afternoon having been seen 10 minutes earlier over Hadleigh Downs. A real red letter raptor day with seven different species seen including kestrel.
Also seen at Wat Tyler were two cetti's warblers, turtle doves and a mediterranean gull. At West Canvey Marsh the warm sunshine tempted many butterflies to the wing, the highlights were, 2 wall, 4 small heath and a small copper.
Both blue-tailed and large red damselflies were seen at Wat Tyler Country Park yesterday, along with orange-tip, speckled wood, peacock and brimstone butterflies. The male cuckoo and two or three turtle doves can be heard around the park and a hobby flew over heading west early afternoon. From the marina overlooking the creek and Vange Wick a cracking male yellowhammer was seen this morning and our first whimbrel this spring was in the creek.
Vange Marsh hosted five greenshank along with single green sandpiper, redshank and ten avocets. Overhead a hobby was seen chasing swallows and house martins without success, while four little grebes were 'giggling' in the reedbeds. While on our newly opened West Canvey Marsh reserve good numbers of whiethroat along with two or three blackcaps and similar numbers of lesser whitethroats continue to sing from the hedgerows and at least four reed warblers are now present in the reedbeds. A pair of great crested grebes have appeared on the reservoir and our fingers are crossed that they may stay to breed. Small numbers of Adela reaumurella have emerged and should be looked for in the hedgerow. This striking moth, is a member of the longhorn family and has distinctive, very long antennae. They are common throughout England, and with metallic green and bronze wings, coupled with the fact that they they fly by day, makes them worth looking for during May and June.
Our last dawn chorus walk takes place next Thursday 13 May at 5 am, if you would like to book a place call 01268 498620.