Cranham Brickfields:
Well Christmas is gone and so has my Turkey, now I have to get over the reserve more and walk off the extra pounds ! The New Year is nearly upon us and I am hopeful Brickfields will provide us with more new sightings of  Wildlife and the wonders of nature.

I have installed a new page on the website, called The Notice Board. I am going to update it with Brickfields information and  events regarding wildlife topics, that will be happening locally.  So much more can be achieved as a group ( see the notice board)!

A quick look around Brickfields at lunchtime today, surprised the fat ball I hang up last week ( near the pond) is only half eaten, I thought that would had been long gone! Still  a Blue tit and a Great tit  were hanging around eyeing it.  A couple of Robins  and Blackbirds heard singing, a few Chaffinches around as well and a couple of Jays.  It’s been a good year for Jays breeding over Brickfields, I had seen a good few juveniles in the summer. Thanks Steve for the information about the Jays that come into your garden. Some people don’t like them, because they are of the Corvidae family of birds, which includes the Crows and Magpies. I think they are great, mainly because of their lovely colours in their plumage. (See pic).

A good few dog walkers today and others taking in the fresh air and even some with their new Christmas presents ! Like Guy with his dad, taking pictures of Birds, great to see, good on yer, the next generation of  Wildlife experts. That’s how people like Chris Packham and Bill Oddie started.... Springwatch.... What about Cranhamwatch.... Phew, now that’s a thought !

Bye for now
Jay  (Garrulus glandarius)

Well today is the shortest day of the year, that means after today the days are getting longer! Soon be Spring. Cor.. Christmas is not here yet!

Yesterday, had a look at the platform. All the non- slip surface boards have been removed and I am led to believe they will be relayed and fixed with screws and a rubberized glue beneath as well, so they will be doubly hard to lift. The lengths we have to go to prevent mindless vandalism. We could spend the money on better things to enhance the reserve!

 On the nature side, the Redwings are still about feeding on the berries and have now been joined by more Blackbirds. Still quiet on the Robin front, I did not see many, only two. The recent rain has lifted the pond level a bit and the most ducks I have seen on the pond, twelve in all, oh and one Moorhen were paddling about. All the ducks were Mallards and they were quite nervous, looking to take off any minute. Managed to take a photograph of a few of them. The light was very poor, so sorry about the quality.
Bye for now.
Eight of the twelve Mallards seen, Males & females
keeping close to the edge.


Need to get out more...Just the book for you... Makes a nice Christmas present!

Walk Wild Essex - By Tony Gunton      Price: £9.75

Wildlife walks in Essex and east London This new book describes 50 different walks in every part of Essex and east London, many easily accessible by train or tube.
Full colour route maps include landscape features such as hedges and woods, to make it easier for you to find your way, and are supported by detailed stage-by-stage directions.The maps are accompanied by summaries, including best time, highlights, drawbacks and the going; information on local transport and parking, and places to eat or picnic; notes on wildlife to look out for en route and colour photographs of landscapes and species you are likely to see.

Tony  lives local to Upminster and is  Hon. Warden of Cranham Marsh ( Essex Wildlife Trust Reserve ).
Available at Swan Book shop in Upminster, R.S.P.B. shop at Rainham Marsh reserve or buy on line,
see Website 

Highly recommended, it has Cranham Marsh, Brickfields and Franks Wood in the book of course.
I've been told at home if I am good, Santa might bring it at Christmas.
Bye for now

Brickfields – A bit of catching up first. On Wednesday 30th November  I gave an illustrated talk about Cranham Brickfields to The Upminster & District Probus Club in the lovely large dining hall at the Cranleigh Hotel, Hornchurch. I think it went down well, that 's the talk, but there again so did the three course lunch! I’m not use to moving about and speaking on a full stomach and with a ‘mike’ attached to my tie I was praying I didn’t burp ! Prayer answered !
A very nice group of people. I hope they had been encouraged to visit Brickfields more often.

Then last week I had a heavy cold...Man Flu, I don't know how I survived, it  kept me in doors for a week.

Yesterday Saturday 12th a nice couple of local residents who use Brickfields regularly, reported to me that some damage had been done to the surface of the Pond dipping platform. After a brief walk around to see the damage ( it could have been worse ) Any damage is a pity really. The non slip material was only installed about a week ago. It was installed to prevent accidents to visitors when on the platform, saves them from slipping in wet conditions and ending up in the pond! It has been reported and hopefully a repair can be made shortly.
Platform damage, the non slip decking, five strips and a smaller strip on the corner have been levered up as the  screws are still in place.

On a happier note I saw the first Redwings ( 6 ) of the winter feeding on berries on the reserve this morning. Although it was grey and a little chilly, there were plenty of birds about. A couple of small mix parties of Great tits, Blue tits moving around the reserve, noisily  going through the trees and shrubs for insects and seeds. Other birds seen Dunnocks (4), Blackbirds (2) both males, Chaffinches (4 ) 1 male, 3 females. One Kestrel hovering over the back field and a pair of Mallards on the pond. A lack of Robins today, only saw one. Heard  a Green Woodpecker and a few Jays.
Redwings feeding on berries.

Looks like some bad weather heading our way this week, gale force wind and rain.....don’t mind the rain..we need it.
Bye for now