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Seasonal highlights

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.


The manic, looping flight of displaying lapwings is the highlight at this time of year. Redshanks and oystercatchers will also be busy displaying. Listen out for the 'yodelling' of redshanks and the loud 'ke-beek' call of oystercatchers. Above them all, hovering high in the sky for ten minutes at a time you can hear the continuous song of skylarks. A morning visit is always the best time to witness this spectacle.

LapwingOystercatcherRedshank - non-breeding plumageSkylark


With a little bit of patience at this time of year, you may see ducklings, goslings and wader chicks. Canada geese and shelducks form creches at this time of year and several adults may herd 50 or more youngsters along the river. Keep an eye on the far side of the river for recently-hatched lapwing chicks. The adult females do most of the childcare and keep a close watch. If danger threatens they will circle low overhead calling frantically.

LapwingMallard - maleOystercatcherShelduck - male


The first wigeons and teals will be gathering along the river having arrived from their northern European breeding grounds. They get used to people walking along the footpath, but it always pays to take a bit of care in order not to spook them unnecessarily and to get the best views possible.

BuzzardShoveler - maleTeal - maleWigeon - male


Wigeons and teals are at their most abundant just after Christmas and will often be joined by flock of over 500 lapwings. They spend much of their time resting on the side of river between the White Bridge and the red barn on the marsh.

FieldfareLapwingTeal - maleWigeon - male

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 51.948590,1.044256
  • Grid reference: TM093321
  • Nearest town: Manningtree, Essex
  • County: Essex
  • Country: England

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