Marsh Harriers by Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)
Marsh harriers have been showing well recently with several birds in the area, both males and females being spotted. Bowers Marsh is a great place to see them, as is the hide in Wat Tyler Country Park overlooking Pitsea Scrape, where fly-bys are regularly seen. A single scaup is still using the reserves, mainly moving between Pitsea Scrape and the reservoir at West Canvey Marshes. The high water levels on Pitsea Scrape are providing great conditions for other diving ducks too, with up to 170 pochard using the site.
Wader numbers are also on the up, the saline lagoon at Bowers Marsh is especially good at the moment, and the mud is providing birds with lots of food, over 350 dunlin being a highlight. The saline lagoon is also an important roost site for a wide variety of waders, so timing your visit with high tide should provide views of more birds and a bigger spectacle. Issues such as rising tides due to climate change, and events such as the recent tidal surges, mean places like these will become even more important in the future as safe refuges for roosting birds.
Michael Poole - Assistant Warden