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Easter at the Essex Wildlife Trust

PUBLISHED: 11:19 10 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:19 10 April 2017

EXG APR 17 EWT

EXG APR 17 EWT

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Join the EWT this Easter for some fun events across 11 visitor centres. Creative activities range from Easter Flower Arranging at The Naze Centre on Good Friday to craft making at Belfairs Woodland Centre on Easter Monday

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The Beauty of Bluebells

Bluebells will be at their brilliant best soon after Easter and Essex is home to numerous reserves that boast resplendent displays of these beautiful flowers.

The annual Bluebell Day, in Daws Heath, is on Sunday, April 23, there will be Bluebell Walks starting at nearby Belfairs Woodland Centre on both Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30. The EWT will host a Bluebell Walk at Bedfords Park (Romford) on Sunday, April 30, which also sees their annual Bluebell Day at Weeleyhall Wood, in Tendring. The following weekend they also have a Bluebell Walk at Hanningfield Reservoir, near Billericay (on Sunday, May 7).

For full details, visit: www.essexwt.org.uk/whats-on

The dawn of the nightingales

Listening to the symphony of dozens of nightingales singing together at Essex Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Fingringhoe Wick nature reserve is one of our county’s great wildlife events.

Every year, EWT runs evening walks across late April and early May, for visitors to savour the astonishing volume and repertoire of these wonderful birds singing on full throttle. In addition, this year they have Fingringhoe Wick as one of the host sites for folk music star Sam Lee’s Singing With Nightingales events.

The Wick is one of the best places in the country to hear the nightingale’s famous fanfare: around 30-40 males can be heard singing at the same time on the reserve in early spring, at dawn and dusk – and often in broad daylight too.

The song of one nightingale is remarkable: a mix of trills, whistles, beats and gurgles, delivered with astonishing gusto, at full volume and often building to a passionate crescendo.

Essex is a stronghold for the nightingale’s dwindling British population, which is largely confined to the south and east of England. The birds make perilous migrations to Africa and back, returning here in April and then departing again in late summer. Once they find a mate, they fall silent and, due to their skulking habits, can be incredibly difficult to detect – so the time to hear and see them is when they are on song and at their most obtrusive.

Essex Wildlife Trust’s team at Fingringhoe Wick can help you enjoy these fabulous birds. This year, guided Nightingale Walks begin on Sunday, April 23 and continue every day, from 7.30pm to 9pm, until Saturday, May 13. These guided walks are extremely popular, so please do book in advance. A £6 donation per person is recommended. Call 01206 729678 to book.

Sam Lee’s events offer a campfire feast with songs and stories about the nightingale, followed by a unique duet between the birds and stars of the UK’s folk, classical, world and jazz music scenes. The dates at Fingringhoe Wick are April 15, 16, 21, 22, 28 and 29 and May 5, 6, 12 and 13, with the price of one evening ticket £80 per person. Find more information at www.singingwithnightingales.com

Visit: www.essexwt.org.uk/whats-on for full details of the venues, dates and times.

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