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Monday, 4 November 2013

RSPB Bowers Marsh

First impressions – November 4th

Lured by the prospect of seeing the 4 Spoonbills, most definitely the same 4 birds I saw on October 24th at Coalhouse Fort and a Glossy Ibis, I made my first visit to the new reserve,not ideal weather at the start but it soon cleared to reveal a sunny day, if a little windy.
To get to the reserve you have to go to Pitsea, drive past Lidl’s and then take Church Lane further up on your right, stay on this road and it takes you right to the Reserve.

A good start as I pulled up in the car park as I recorded 14 Corn Buntings dotted around with just as many Pied Wagtails, presumably a wagtail roost nearby, perhaps Pitsea Town. Had a look at the signboard to get my bearings, hides were present so I was hopeful of some photos, this turned out to be a bit of false dawn as I couldn’t locate one hide, certainly not the ones marked.

Back lit Corn Bunting

The map - hides marked but not present - likely for the future

Nether less it looked a great place and I can see it becoming a firm favourite as through the morning, I stayed there from 9.00am to 12.30pm, it produced some good birds, even though I didn’t catch up with the Spoonbills and the Glossy.

For the first hour I was there on my own, walking round to the Freshwater Lagoon produced a male Marsh Harrier, 2 calling Water Rail and 2 Bearded Tits, Cetti’s Warbler were also very evident. As I moved on 3 Black Tailed Godwit, 2 Green Sandpipers (flushed by female Sparrowhawk) and a Curlew joined the list along with another Marsh Harrier, this time a female.

Wigeon and Teal are seemingly everywhere and constantly flushing due to the Marsh Harriers that were quartering, at one point I was treated to the whole lagoon erupting as a Tiercel Peregrine came in. He latched onto 4 Pochard but was unsuccessful as the ducks lost height and went back onto the Lagoon at a rate of knots, smart ducks.

Peregrine after the 4 Pochard

As I walked on I had a pair of Stonechat on the fence line and then came across a Swallow sitting on the fence, only the 2nd one I have had in November, testament to the relatively mild weather?
It was very healthy as it hawked for insects a number of times, with a northerly I was surprised it was still here.

Moving on I came to the end of the Freshwater Lagoon and it was here that I came across a flock of 9 Bearded Tits, all looking very lively in the sunshine and contact pinging as they flew over the reedbed.Like a lot of elusive birds just don’t get to see these little crackers enough.

You can do a circular walk but I opted to backtrack the way I had come, nothing to add other than a flyover Rock/Water Pipit calling, couldn’t get enough on it to confirm id.

All in all a very good visit made all the better by good weather, it has the makings of a great reserve and I can see it being a regular site for me, hopefully the Spoonbills and the Glossy Ibis will make another appearance.


  1. Brilliant walk out, plenty birds to focus on.

  2. Bob, thanks for the comment, its going to be a good site, you just cant beat blue skies.