Two Tree Island

Foreshore inspectors office, Shoeburyness
Foreshore inspectors office, Shoeburyness

We had a free Saturday so we decided we should take a trip to Southend-on-sea to visit a a dear old auntie who is in a nursing home. We went to see a film called “Playing the Moldovans and Tennis” by Tony Hawks on Friday, which I can thoroughly recommend. It was at The Rex in Berkhamsted and the second showing in the country and Tony Hawks was there to after for a Q&A session with Anatol Durbală one of the stars of the film.

We were up in good time and left the house just after 09:00 the route there was round the M25 then down the Arterial road to Leigh on sea, there are a few pubs in the Arterial Road that feature in those films about East Enders trips to the seaside at Southend-on-sea. There journey was pretty good with no traffic hold ups.

After spending some time at the nursing home, we headed to Southend-on-sea centre and beyond to the beach huts at Shoeburyness, a place I remember from my childhood. We had a coffee in Uncle Toms Cabin, then headed to the beach to get some panorama shots of the beach huts. If you look in the menu at the top of this page yo can see the panoramas, uner Essex Panoramas, or click here.

Leigh on sea vista, over Canvey Island
Leigh on sea vista, over Canvey Island

Next stop in the itinerary was Two Tree Island, back at Leigh on sea, which is an Essex Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve. As we drove back to the Southend sea front we realised that it was carnival day, they were starting to close the roads, and the public address system was blaring out details of what was happening and when. Luckily we got past the front before they completely closed the road.

We found Two Tree Island which your can get to by taking the road next to Leigh on sea railway station that leads to the station car park, but carry on  past, all the car parks, the skateboard park, and over the bridge, until you can go no further. The last car park seems to be the only one that is not pay and display.

It was warm and sunny cloudy, but very windy so there were not may small birds about. We walked west in the direction of Hadleigh, where the mountain bike Olympic events are going to be taking place. We could see the track and grandstands, next to the castle with the help of our binoculars. Towards the west end of the island we cam across a hide which was a pleasant surprise. There was not much to see from the hide, mainly Black headed bulls, a few Oystercatchers, and a Cormorant was about as much as we could spot.

Log on Two Tree Island
Log on Two Tree Island

We moved on a bit disappointed with the lack of bird varieties, with the intention of  finishing the circuit of the island. About another few hundred yards was another hide. which we popped into. There were a lot more in terms of numbers but they all seemed to Black-headed gulls, most of them in breeding pairs. On closer inspection there were Oystercatchers, Terns nesting, and a few Avocet. Then I spotted a Mediterranean Gull, which we were able to observe and compare to the BH Gulls. They are clearly different when you have the chance to look closely. The black hood is bigger, more balaclava than beany, and the beak is much brighter red. In all we counted 6 (possibly 7) of them. It goes to show you should never write a hide off before you have taken the time to observe.

Shoeburyness beach looking west
Shoeburyness beach looking west

In the hide was a sign about a man who had been convicted of robbing Avocet nests of their eggs, he had been jailed for a year, and banned from bird reserves for 10 years, which is justice. There was also a note about there being lots of Adders about, we made a point of looking out for them on the walk back but were not lucky enough to see any.

We saw a few Warblers and a couple of Linnet on the way back to the car, and were soon back on the road. We got stuck in traffic at Leigh on sea as there was events going on there too. Back on the Arterial road we stopped at the Sainbury’s at Raleigh, to get pizza ingredients for dinner. Then we were back home by about 17:30.