Signs of spring are all around us


EXG APR 15 RSPB - Credit: Archant

April is a gorgeous time of year to get out and see the best of Essex. Spring flowers are appearing everywhere, trees are coming into leaf and bees and butterflies have started busily buzzing around the place looking for food.

On the RSPB South Essex reserves, April is a very special time indeed as early migrants start to make their way over, with sand martin and wheatear being among the first to arrive. On occasion the odd rarity, such as a spoonbill or Iceland gull, will appear at this time of year too, either on their way somewhere or having been blown off course. Birdlife on the reserves, and elsewhere, are now busy preparing for the breeding season and bearded tits in particular are easy to spot during April on both Vange Marsh and Bowers Marsh. Early butterflies such as the small tortoiseshell and peacock can be spotted feeding on nectar from spring flowers and queen bees will be out and about looking to start a nest. As the sun starts to warm up the ground, reptiles soon emerge with slow worms, common lizards and adders finding rocks and other warm surfaces to soak up the sun’s rays. There is also a chance you will spot a newt or frog heading from their winter homes to their summer residence in our ditches and ponds. Now is the time of year these reserves really start to come to life, and it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Over in the South Essex Wildlife Garden our resident blue tits are now building their nest ready to start their brood. If you pop in during the Easter holidays you can catch a glimpse of them on our CCTV cameras and find out how they are doing. The wildlife garden will also be coming into its own now with some beauties to discover in the woodland walk, while cyclamen will still be in flower and with any luck some bluebells may be popping up to say hello. In fact the Easter holidays provides the perfect chance to get outdoors with all the family and enjoy discovering the wonders of spring. Join us on West Canvey Marsh for our Spring Scavenger Hunt on April 1 and 8 where you will get a chance to explore this lovely reserve and all it has to offer. Build yourself a bird’s nest and get muddy cooking some muddy Easter treats, follow our trail and bag yourself a Spring Surprise Prize. (Booking essential, suitable for ages four to 11). Or you can join us every Thursday during the holidays for some Wild Play, a chance to let off some steam, get mucky and simply spend time playing as a family in the relaxing surrounds of West Canvey Marsh. To find out more or book a place, call 01268 498620 or visit

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