Saturday, 26 October 2013

Bowers Marsh is Open!

Bowers Marsh is opening to the public this Saturday, our newest addition to the South Essex reserves. Thanks to funding from Essex County Council, Veolia Ltd, Veolia North Thames Trust, Parklands South Essex and the Homes and Communities Agency, around 260ha of wetland habitats have been created, with saline and freshwater lagoons, scrapes, ditches, reedbed and areas of wet grassland. Several km of new paths have also been laid, to allow easy access around the many new habitats, so why not come down and see what’s about.

 As winter approaches, expect to see increasing numbers of waders and wildfowl, such as lapwing, curlew, black-tailed godwits, teal, wigeon and shoveler. If you’re lucky, you may even see a marsh harrier or short-eared owl silently hunting over the reserve. Remember to check the reedbed areas too, bearded tits can be found here during the winter, as well as elusive water rail scurrying along the reed edges.

There are also areas of arable land and hedgerows on the reserve, perfect for attracting large winter flocks of corn buntings, listen out for them calling, it is said to sound like someone ‘jangling some keys’.

The reserve has been created with all nature in mind, many of the ditches on the reserve have been profiled to attract water voles, so keep a look out for their burrows and listen out for the distinctive ‘plop’ as one jumps in to the ditch. You may even catch a glimpse of one swimming along in the water!

To celebrate the opening of the reserve, we are holding an ‘Autumn Extravaganza’. This is a fantastic opportunity for the whole family to come and experience this reserve for the first time; it will be running on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th October between 10 am and 4pm. Visitors will be able to bring their families along to discover this exciting new nature reserve and the amazing wildlife it is now home to. There will be drop in sessions with a range of activities running throughout the day.

For more information visit the RSPB Visitor Centre in Wat Tyler Country Park, call us on 01268 498620 or visit the Bowers Marsh webpage

Michael Poole - Assistant Warden