Another great reserve on the River Thames

Quite by accident last week I learnt of a nature reserve on the Thames Estuary run by Essex Wildlife Trust, so on Friday Sue and I decided to check it out. Thurrock Thameside Nature Park is just a few miles downriver from Tilbury (where Keith and I had been on Wednesday) and is sited on the old Mucking Marshes landfill site. The total site is over 800 acres although only 120 acres is open to the public at present. The Visitor centre contains a café which has a panoramic view across the mudflats and the estuary plus an observation deck which gives a 360 degree view around the reserve.

Visitor Centre (photo by John Everett -

Lunch was our first stop and were able to observe the feeders from the windows. Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Blue and Great Tits and Greater Spotted Woodpecker were all seen plus a very obliging Common Whitethroat which sat on top of bush nearby singing. After this I went up on the observation deck and watched as the tide fell. Shelduck, Mallard, Oystercatcher and various gulls were present on the newly exposed mudflats plus Stonechat, Starling, Kestrel, Linnet and Skylark on the land. A Cuckoo could be heard calling in the distance.

Although this was only a visit to check the reserve out, I am sure it has plenty of potential for good birding, especially during the winter months, when the Geese, Ducks and Wading birds are back on the estuary. So will be back again later in the year.

And did I mention the tasty Sausage baps! What more could you want?

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