The hoopoe above was found on our West Canvey Marsh reserve yesterday. It proved to be a very showy individual, and delighted many visitors throughout the day. Hoopoes turn up annually in the UK, usually in spring, as they migrate from Africa, some overshoot their European breeding grounds. Thank you to the lady who phoned the news in to our visitor centre at Wat Tyler Country Park, and thanks to local photographer Steve Arlow for this image. More pictures of this bird can be found on Steve's website by clicking here.
This brilliant picture was sent to use by 9-year-old Natasha King.
She says; "My dad took this photo of a blue tit in the nest box I made when I visited the South Essex RSPB centre in the half term holidays.
Nestboxes are essential for many garden birds as we move into breeding season. They act as an alternative to natural nesting grounds such as holes found in old trees and can make a great spring home to raise a brood.
Natasha adds; "I have now joined the RSPB. It’s great fun and I recommend everyone to join and we might even help some birds survive!"
Fancy peeping into a nestbox like this blue tit? Join us at the RSPB Visitor Centre in Wat Tyler Country Park where we have a 24-live feed into our great tit nestbox. She's currently sitting on 4 eggs which could hatch at any day!
I love this time of the year, everytime you go outside, there is something new to see or hear. I stopped briefly at a local wood on the way home from Wat Tyler, and the woodland flowers are looking great with wood anemone and bluebells now starting to appear. At Wat Tyler this week I heard my first cuckoo, a sure sign summer is just around the corner! Blackcaps are singing all around the park, while the whitethroat's scratchy song can now be heard from many of the scrubby areas. Many more butterflies are now on the wing and yesterday at Wat Tyler 10 green-veined whites and 15 orange-tips were counted. On our Vange Marsh reserve yesterday at least five sedge warblers were singing, their song sounds similar to that of the reed warbler, which is also common on the reserve. But the sedge has a little display flight which the reed doesn't. The male will fly straight up, about six foot above his patch of vegetation, continually singing with lots of exagerrated wing flapping and then drop back down. It's almost as if he's saying 'look at me, look what I can do' and of course he is, but not for our sake, it's his way of attracting a female sedge warbler! Also on the reserve yesterday, were two common terns, three yellow wagtails and a female wheatear.
We have two Dawn Chorus walks arranged for next month, details below. These are always popular and I would advise an early booking, to avoid disappointment.
Saturday 14th May: Dawn Chorus walk at Wat Tyler Country Park 05.30am – 07.30amYou know spring is here when the pleasures of bird song begin! Rise early to experience this wonderful delight in the park, including the melodious sound of the blackcap, the loud burst of the cetti’s warbler and the quiet purring of the turtle dove. Follow it up with a hot drink in the visitor centre. Booking essential call 01268 498620. Cost: Walk £3 adults, £1.50 children, RSPB members receive a £1 discount. Location: RSPB Visitor Centre, Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Basildon SS16 4UH.
Tuesday 17th May: Dawn Chorus Walk at Wat Tyler Country Park 05.30am – 07.30amYou know spring is here when the pleasures of bird song begin! Rise early to experience this wonderful delight in the park, including the melodious sound of the blackcap, the loud burst of the cetti’s warbler and the quiet purring of the turtle dove. Follow it up with a hot drink in the visitor centre.! Booking essential call 01268 498620. Cost: Walk only £3 adults, £1.50 children, RSPB members receive a £1 discount. Location: RSPB Visitor Centre, Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Basildon SS16 4UH.