Shipping in of Crossrail spoil has currently ceased until February as the contractors are busy working on large water control structures in preparation for the sea wall breaching in the summer. This momentous occasion will be a huge milestone for the project and we hope to celebrate this in July of this year.Crossrail have now imported nearly 3 million cubic tonnes of spoil from the tunneling under London and the reserve is slowly starting to look more like a nature reserve than farmland.
Water vole by Dave GonningThe wardening team are currently working on our new water vole habitat on the southern part of the reserve, planting club rush in the recently dug ditch system. A huge thank you is due to our amazingvolunteers for their sterling efforts in the porridge like conditions!
On the wildlife front wader numbers are good, with impressive flocks of golden plover and lapwing gathered on the wet grassland scrapes, footdrains and saline lagoon. The reserve is attracting lots of raptors and we currently have a rough legged buzzard, at least eight short eared owls, marsh harriers, ring tailed hen harriers, buzzard, kestrel, peregrine, merlin and barn owl displaying proudly across the reserve. Also, the “jangling keys” chorus of corn bunting is evidence of good numbers across the site. Large flocks of stock dove can be seen wheeling over the reserve and we have small groups of fieldfare feeding on the farmland pastures.Brown hares are a regular and welcome site throughout the reserve and weasel sightings have also been on the increase recently.
Have you been to Wallasea recently? What have you spotted whilst you have been out and about?
We’ve had an increase in visitors the last few weeks, both human and avian...
Short-eared owl by Russell Sherriff
Many visitors to the reserve have come to catch some great views of the hen harriers, marsh harriers and short-eared owls that are hunting across the reserve daily. Some have taken some great images of these birds hunting across the rough grassland and wild bird cover. I wish I was as good a photographer!
We have also seen our annual increase in wader and waterfowl numbers on the lagoons and mud flats. A large flock of over 300 black-tailed godwits along with a few hundred lapwing can be seen on the lagoons, along with smaller numbers of golden plover and ringed plover.
Crossrail are continuing their work as best they can now the ground conditions have become so wet. They have imported over 90% of the material they are bringing in and once you have crossed the footbridge, you can now see the work up close to the sea wall. Channels have been created to spread the incoming sea water across the area, and you can see lagoons which will stay wet even on a low tide and islands which the birds will be able to use for roosting and nesting.
Believe it or not at this time of year it is well worth a visit!
Rachel Fancy - Wallasea Island and Foulness Warden
There is only a week now until the One Wild Day at Wallasea and we can't wait!
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 a magical intertidal coastal marshland of over 600 hectares. This event will give you a unique chance to explore the island and find out more about how the RSPB are working with others such as Crossrail to make it happen.
It will be a fabulous family day out with the chance to get up close and personal with the bugs and beasties that live on the island, discover what lurks in the mud and find out how you can take action to help the wildlife of the island as well as the wildlife in your own back garden.
With cracking entertainment from local band Illicit and the amazing Jakob Deist alongside local beers, yummy cake and scrumptious ice cream the day is set to be an excellent one.
We hope to see you there!
Please note the London to Southend Bike Ride will be happening on the same day. The below map shows the route they will be travelling and a suggested alternative route to get to the event.