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Old Sunday 3rd August 2014, 20:52   #3501
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What's the parking situation at Old Hall these days? Got chatting to the old boy in one of the cottages by the gate and he said that there's a new site manager who keeps the gate locked from 5pm through to 9am. If this is the case, then that would make the site effectively worthless to people who work weekdays and can't often go birding on weekends. Sure, I could walk on from Salcott but I never have more than a couple of hours at a time these days so can't really afford to spend that much time in transit, especially in an evening.
What they say and what they do are two different things. However I have never disrespected what has been set by others.

I can however (if you want) give you a lift and drop the car off at the house of a friend in the area.

On the good news, I think Tom (birdpics) and I will be scoping the area for about 7 hours on Tuesday if anyone fancies joining.
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Old Monday 4th August 2014, 07:28   #3502
Viv Connett
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What's the parking situation at Old Hall these days? Got chatting to the old boy in one of the cottages by the gate and he said that there's a new site manager who keeps the gate locked from 5pm through to 9am. If this is the case, then that would make the site effectively worthless to people who work weekdays and can't often go birding on weekends. Sure, I could walk on from Salcott but I never have more than a couple of hours at a time these days so can't really afford to spend that much time in transit, especially in an evening.
The gate was padlocked about 8.30 yesterday morning.
As events coordinator and point of contact for the local RSPB group I am annoyed that I wasn't officially told about this - I didn't know anything about it and I have the usual evening walk planned for a couple of Saturday's time - the old site manager said it was never a problem.
I have left a message on their phone and am waiting for a call back - we shall see!!!
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Old Monday 4th August 2014, 08:38   #3503
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The man I spoke to was working by the gate as I pulled up just gone four and warned me that they'd be locking at 5. Essex Tern, if that was you, thanks for the warning - I can only imagine how annoyed my wife would have been to get a call late on Sunday evening to say I'm stuck at Old Hall for the night and that she won't be getting to work on Monday... :)

There was no real point in parking at four, rushing to the scrapes for 20 minutes of panicky watch-watching then running back, so I went elsewhere (read: home). As Viv said, it's apparently due to a new site manager: gates will open 9-5 weekdays, and a generous 8-5 on weekends. This would basically preclude most people from birding the site at dawn or dusk - by far the best times to go anyway - and if you work weekdays or far enough away that you get home at 6.45 like I do, you can forget it as a summer evening option.

In terms of other nearby parking, as I understand it Salcott looks like the next closest alternative. But that's not fair on Salcott residents (it looks really tight there as it is) and it's much further from the site, so useless if you're time or light-limited. So the best alternative seems to be park at Tollesbury and bird there instead...

Hopefully it will be cleared up one way or another. While I appreciate that nobody is under any obligation to tell anyone else anything at all, if this is what's happening from now on, I'd be interested to hear the reasoning behind it.
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Old Monday 4th August 2014, 10:01   #3504
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There was no real point in parking at four, rushing to the scrapes for 20 minutes of panicky watch-watching then running back,

Hopefully it will be cleared up one way or another. While I appreciate that nobody is under any obligation to tell anyone else anything at all, if this is what's happening from now on, I'd be interested to hear the reasoning behind it.
I'm glad I got the message from RBA about the Glossy being retracted, I was on my way so it would have been a wasted journey, no glossy and lack of access.

If it transpires that access is now on a 9-5 basis I will, along with most people on this thread be very disappointed I have often been over there at first light on a Saturday morning for a couple of hours. Most birders prefer an early start for obvious reasons.
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Old Monday 4th August 2014, 12:08   #3505
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The gate was padlocked about 8.30 yesterday morning.
As events coordinator and point of contact for the local RSPB group I am annoyed that I wasn't officially told about this - I didn't know anything about it and I have the usual evening walk planned for a couple of Saturday's time - the old site manager said it was never a problem.
I have left a message on their phone and am waiting for a call back - we shall see!!!
A 9am - 5pm restriction is very much in line with RSPB policy across many of their reserves unfortunately, I would suggest it has little to do with the new Site Manager. The local reserves at West Canvey marshes and Bowers Marshes both have gates that are locked at this time.
It is very frustrating, but it is possible to walk around outside of these hours but I appreciate that isn't going to be easy at Old Hall. I think I'm right in saying even Rainham is a 9am - 5pm reserve.
My understanding is that RSPB like to secure their reserves overnight for obvious reasons and ultimately it is down to an employee or volunteer to have to come and open up and lock up so it's only fair on them too.
Traditionally, if a good local bird was found then the RSPB would often open up early and stay open later but this was only down to the goodwill of the staff, (Marc Outten at South Essex, and Howard Vaughan at Rainham) many of which are volunteers.
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Old Monday 4th August 2014, 13:43   #3506
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I don't think it was anything to do with this, I heard it was to do with alleged inconsiderate behaviour from birders when the Stilts were there - in other words the residents didn't like having their peace disturbed by people driving up and down the road in the evenings. (Bit like me buying a house near a pub and then complaining about the noise)
However I have just spoken to the site manager and my walk will be going ahead
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Old Monday 4th August 2014, 14:32   #3507
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I don't think it was anything to do with this, I heard it was to do with alleged inconsiderate behaviour from birders when the Stilts were there - in other words the residents didn't like having their peace disturbed by people driving up and down the road in the evenings. (Bit like me buying a house near a pub and then complaining about the noise)
However I have just spoken to the site manager and my walk will be going ahead
Surely traffic would never be high along that road, even with a twitch on? Was there anything else took place that might be considered inconsiderate? And was the site manager able to confirm that gates will now shut every night at 5pm?
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Old Monday 4th August 2014, 17:52   #3508
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The man I spoke to was working by the gate as I pulled up just gone four and warned me that they'd be locking at 5. Essex Tern, if that was you, thanks for the warning - I can only imagine how annoyed my wife would have been to get a call late on Sunday evening to say I'm stuck at Old Hall for the night and that she won't be getting to work on Monday... :)
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Surely traffic would never be high along that road, even with a twitch on? Was there anything else took place that might be considered inconsiderate? And was the site manager able to confirm that gates will now shut every night at 5pm?
Hi JamesA, sorry it wasn't me, your original post fitted in with a conversation I had with a bloke who spoke to the same man by the gates - I however arrived in the morning, so that rules us out as having spoken.

The attached is a copy of a flyer that was put under windscreen wipers on May 26, being the first I knew of the new rules (I was there the weekend prior and I didn't see anything then to suggest the new times), there was a copy on the notice board for a few weeks, although didn't spot it at the weekend. The flyers were again dished out for the next few weeks or so. I think this confirms the times, although the reserve didn't open up until after 9 yesterday, so I don't know how strict the 5pm time is either to be honest, but I probably wouldn't risk it!
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Old Monday 4th August 2014, 18:04   #3509
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Oh well, that's annoying. Still, only so much "securing" you can do when the site is circled and crossed by public rights of way...

Looks like I'll be spending more time at Tollesbury this autumn.
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Old Tuesday 5th August 2014, 07:30   #3510
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Surely traffic would never be high along that road, even with a twitch on? Was there anything else took place that might be considered inconsiderate? And was the site manager able to confirm that gates will now shut every night at 5pm?
Yes he did confirm the new opening times.

The road has now been tarmacked so is in much better condition.
I don't know how true it is but I did hear that a resident stopped a birder doing about 30mph and complained that he was driving too fast as her children were playing in the road.........
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Old Wednesday 6th August 2014, 08:21   #3511
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Yesterdays trip with Steve (BB) turned out to be a hot one, Old Hall was fairly quiet because the water levels were pretty high, we only managed a Ruff, some distant Sandpipers, 3 Marsh Harriers, Kestrel and a group of female and young Bearded Tits which was nice. Abberton was also quiet bird wise although the Egret was performing well by the weir and there were a large amount of other Egrets in the trees at the far end of LBC. Was nice to see Clouded Yellow Butterflies by the centre and our first Wasp Spider.


Taken on my phone
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Old Wednesday 6th August 2014, 21:12   #3512
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Agree with the comments above about Old Hall Marshes. Took a trip up there on Sunday and was glad we didn't leave it any later or it would have been a very short trip indeed.

No sign of the Glossy Ibis but would like help with confirming the ID of the first two below please!

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Also managed a Wheatear and a Clouded Yellow.

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We have also been entertained over the garden in Maldon the last few evenings by a Hobby. It has been showing in the Fambridge Road/ Cross Road area.

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Thanks in advance for help with the ID's.

Andy
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Old Wednesday 6th August 2014, 21:19   #3513
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Ruff and juv yellow wag.

Though I don't remember seeing that clump of spots on the breast before with yellow wags...
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Old Thursday 7th August 2014, 08:33   #3514
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Ruff and juv yellow wag.

Though I don't remember seeing that clump of spots on the breast before with yellow wags...
Many thanks - confirmed my initial thoughts but wasn't quite sure - still lots to learn!

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Old Thursday 7th August 2014, 13:54   #3515
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Yes he did confirm the new opening times.

The road has now been tarmacked so is in much better condition.
I don't know how true it is but I did hear that a resident stopped a birder doing about 30mph and complained that he was driving too fast as her children were playing in the road.........
When the road was in it's previous state I know one bloke said he had got a puncture driving down it, which made me think at the time that he must have been going some! So I can quite believe there are a few that maybe drive faster than they should - kind of a shame the new road didn't come with speed bumps!

Had a walk round the short walk this morning, highlights being a couple of Wheatear, a Whimbrel and I caught up with the Glossy Ibis - it was by the wind pump and flew away a couple of times, the first eventually returning to the same spot, and the second time it came to rest on the corner the other side of the short walk, just out of view - since reported seen flying off towards Abberton this afternoon however. Managed to capture a pretty rubbish digiscoped record shot....
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Old Sunday 10th August 2014, 01:09   #3516
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The residents around old hall have always been a bit of a pain,I think they are the reason that the reserve remained so underwatched for so long,as the permit issue meant it wasn't really a place you would just turn up to.
It took me a few years to finally go and when I did I was annoyed at the fact I hadn't been before.
These reserves in the middle if nowhere should basically have a Dawn to dusk opening all year round.
It's pointless 9am-5pm in March-October,about time the RSPB woke up to what it's members want and that's not to have 8-9 hours a day of birding lost because a site has to shut.
Saying all that,some birders need to wake up and realise their actions can have an effect on decisions and other birders need to grow some and grass up those who don't behave appropriately as it spoils it for those of us who can behave
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Old Sunday 10th August 2014, 01:15   #3517
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Maybe the RSPB should start trusting it's members and at sites where they feel there is a risk of anti social behaviour,to have a gated entry system where a member obtains a code to enter a gated entrance outside of normal hours.
Just a thought,but I hate the fact that on many sites, I have to leave at 5pm when it don't get dark till 8/9/10/11pm.
I remember going to one site in Northern Scotland that shut at 5pm in mid June and it pretty much stayed light all night lol
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Old Sunday 10th August 2014, 11:39   #3518
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I was at OHM at 0715 yesterday. The gate was locked so I parked at the far end of Old Hall Lane on the grass verge. Ten mins walk down the road and I was in. Came out at 0850 and a car was in the car park but the gate was still padlocked so someone has the code to the padlock. Perhaps all local RSPB members should have the code! ;-)

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Old Tuesday 12th August 2014, 19:05   #3519
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I was at OHM at 0715 yesterday. The gate was locked so I parked at the far end of Old Hall Lane on the grass verge. Ten mins walk down the road and I was in. Came out at 0850 and a car was in the car park but the gate was still padlocked so someone has the code to the padlock. Perhaps all local RSPB members should have the code! ;-)

... if the RSPB were do something for members or volunteers to access sites they'd probably find their membership/volunteer base increases.

Fly tipping is very apparent at Bowers Marsh - with a 9-5 policy. More eyes with optics around reserves early n late has to be a deterrent and beneficial; if only to report 1 pile of crap before the RSPB find 10 a week later.

.... but did you tick the ibis????
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Old Wednesday 13th August 2014, 07:23   #3520
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... if the RSPB were do something for members or volunteers to access sites they'd probably find their membership/volunteer base increases.

Fly tipping is very apparent at Bowers Marsh - with a 9-5 policy. More eyes with optics around reserves early n late has to be a deterrent and beneficial; if only to report 1 pile of crap before the RSPB find 10 a week later.

.... but did you tick the ibis????
I have raised the matter with RSPB Regional Office - but no reply as yet, not sure if they are ignoring me....
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Old Wednesday 13th August 2014, 15:31   #3521
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Glossy Ibis apparently at Wig Bay now, according to RBA, viewable from School Lane.
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Old Wednesday 13th August 2014, 18:01   #3522
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Glossy Ibis apparently at Wig Bay now, according to RBA, viewable from School Lane.
Great! I tramped around Old Hall Marshes today on the off chance of finding it. This fellow is giving me the run around. Still, it was a glorious day for walking, rather than a twitch requiring a few steps from the car - well, that's my consolation view.

On a different matter, does it strike others that this has been a great year for Whimbrel? I seem to have seen loads on spring migration, and now they are appearing in good numbers on return migration. At OHM today, there were seven mixed in with around 25 Curlew in the field near the car park, and at least ten others were seen elsewhere or in flight.

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Old Wednesday 13th August 2014, 18:22   #3523
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Great! I tramped around Old Hall Marshes today on the off chance of finding it. This fellow is giving me the run around.
I've declared myself a Glossy Ibis free zone, I always dip out when chasing them
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Old Thursday 14th August 2014, 10:21   #3524
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Presumably, this pattern of the Glossy Ibis - often turning up in the late afternoon/evening in Wigborough Bay - is connected to the bird's roosting routine. (Though where it roosts is, I believe, currently unknown.) The fact that sometimes it is not seen, and sometimes seen rather earlier, may be connected to the tides - influencing the time when the bird thinks about leaving the high tide water-filled channels on nearby salt marshes. Certainly there was a high tide yesterday in the time before the bird was seen at Abberton.

If only all of this made the bird's appearance predictable!

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Old Tuesday 19th August 2014, 07:35   #3525
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Anybody know anything about a Grey Phalarope at Holland Haven yesterday?
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