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  • Blog Post: Wintery Wildlife Tips

    Winter is a beautiful time of year. With all the fallen leaves, muddy puddles, bare trees and holly berries there is so much natural beauty to draw us outside. So what are you waiting for? Wrap up warm and head out for an explore! Busy exploring! – David Tipling (RSPB-images) Below...
  • Blog Post: 'Twelve Coombes wildlife highlights of Christmas'... The Final Countdown!

    The Twelve Coombes wildlife highlights of Christmas! Get ready for our final Christmas countdown blog... ...four holly trees... Holly is a true icon of Christmas. We use it to decorate our homes during winter, but I wonder how many of us actually know why? Well there are loads of superstitious...
  • Blog Post: 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....
  • Blog Post: Twelve Coombes wildlife highlights of Christmas... continued!

    � Ready for the second installment of Twelve Coombes wildlife highlights? Here we go...! ...eight shrews ashrinking... Shrews can’t hibernate. Their small body size, and the fact they need to eat every 2-3 hours, mean they wouldn’t be able to take on big enough fat reserves. So instead...
  • Blog Post: A Winter’s afternoon on Campfield - 13th December 2014

    A Winter’s afternoon on Campfield - 13 th December 2014 On a clear frosty afternoon much of the water on the Reserve was frozen. A walk round the ‘loop’ elicited a small flock of finches over the arable fields and a Buzzard flying beyond. Frozen pool by the 'broken'...
  • Blog Post: Twelve Coombes wildlife highlights of Christmas!

    To celebrate the wintery wonderfulness of Coombes we have wrote a series of Christmassy nature facts to get you in the festive spirit. Nature is amazing and we were hard pressed to condense it down to just 12 facts. But we think we've cracked it and now we’re bringing you the first countdown...
  • Blog Post: A few November Bits and Bobs

    3rd November. Bright and sunny early morning with heavy showers on and off most of the day - producing spectacular rainbows across the estuary. Plenty of wader activity round the high tide about 8.30am. 7 Mute Swans were seen late afternoon on Saltmarsh Pool. Double rainbow. Grey...
  • Forum Thread: Falconry and Conservation

    Hello I am a year 13 student at the Arthur Terry School and am currently writing a report on "Falconry and conservation" for my extended project qualification. I have written a short questionnaire for this project and would be grateful if you could find the time to participate. Link to the...
  • Blog Post: Coming out to play?

    Think back to your childhood; do you picture a long drizzly Sunday, sat bored indoors on the sofa? No of course you don’t! All the best memories and adventures begin with the great outdoors. As a child there is nothing more satisfying than sticking your wellies on and heading out into the big...
  • Blog Post: Barnacles on the Saltmarsh - 25th November

    Through the mist this morning about 150 Barnacles dropped on to the saltmarsh at Scargavel Point. They quickly got down to grazing the plentiful grass - small groups taking off periodically and flying further along the marsh, while other geese were arriving Looking west from the marsh gate, opposite...
  • Blog Post: Photo diary - Early November

    1st November. A fine late Autumn day: sunshine and intermittent showers with a brisk SSW wind. The Whooper Swans of previous days were here in force today. Numbers had risen to 41. Family group with Wigeon in attendance. 2nd November. Another very pleasant day. The Whoopers could...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: What’s on the menu ... if you go down to the woods today???!!

    Our mud kitchen at Coombes Valley has won over some more mud-pie seekers! Have a read of SylvaFaes guest blog about her children’s muddy makings... Muddy hands – SylvaFae Our girls are natural mud magnets, if there’s a puddle to stomp in, a muddy hillside to slide down or mud...
  • Blog Post: Fabulous Fungal Foray

    On Sunday 26 October we ran our annual Fungal Foray walk. Lead by the brilliant Fungal Punk Dave our large group of courageous explorers set out from the yurt in the search of fantastic, funky, flamboyant and frankly fantastic fungi. The fungi crew! – Lucy Hodson With so many sets of eyes...
  • Blog Post: Early winter sightings

    Well, the rain is drumming on the office roof, its 3:30 and its nearly dark, Winter is coming! However, the period between Autumn and Winter is an exciting one on a nature reserve and Middleton is no different. One of the highlights was the presence of a Short-eared owl on the reserve for a few...
  • Blog Post: Red planets and stars on the woodland floor!

    Strange and wondrous things grow in our woods. Some more obvious than others. It is so easy to simply walk past without ever really understanding what something is or how it came to be. Some things are just so well camouflaged we just simply don’t see. And some we get so used to seeing we forget...
  • Blog Post: Autumn Ramblings.

    Gazing forelornly out of my living room window across the Solway Basin at the continuous rain and mist that didn’t look as if it would let up, I began to contemplate that I would change the purpose of the massive bridge I am building at present, to take me and my lawnmower across the stream into...
  • Blog Post: On the Play Trail - looking for secret signs and finding Fairies! Richard Whiting and his family take us on their personal journey

    Waking up to a misty mysterious Sunday Morning we planned our family morning. Having considered (very) briefly about going to do the big shop, I thought that a visit to Coombes was a far more enticing idea. At the mention of “lets get your wellies”, the girls ran around like spaniels waiting...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: The Birdy Bit - November 2014

    November can be one of the busiest months on the reserve as wildfowl gather on the flooded fields. Hundreds of teal, wigeon, pintail and shoveler can be joined in the evening by arriving whooper swans, their distant honks becoming louder before they hone into view in the gathering dusk to settle on the...
  • Blog Post: An early Autumn Miscellany

    2nd September. A flat calm estuary with Shelduck out on the mudflats . Good to see so many Bumblebees amongst the clover planted partly as a green manure and partly as an end of the season seed crop for birds. 4th September. Another warm sunny day brought out the bees. A large...
  • Blog Post: We beheld Nature's Canvas - 18th October.

    I stuck my nose out of the door - to test the air, as it were – and was amazed to find how warm it was! I could see that there was a good rip on the tide and that the trees were definitely rocking. Called to Judith, “You won’t need a heavy anorak on today – but put your wellington...
  • Media: Stonechat on reeds at Bittern Hide

    Stonechat on reeds
  • Media: Golden Plover at Wath Ings

    Lots of Golden Plover at Wath Ings today and lovely to watch them when they all take to the skies together and the sun catches them
  • Blog Post: Mayhem at the Fairy glen; guest blog!

    This week's blog has again been sent by one of our lovely visitors. Sylva Fae and her young family have recently visited Coombes Valley & have adventured around our new Natural Play Trail. For Jan & the girls, the highlight of the visit was the secret fairy village, hidden among the trees...