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Great Coastal Birdwatch

Advice for staying safe and healthy

You’ll be responsible for your own health and safety while you take part in the Great Coastal Birdwatch, but here’s some information which you might find useful.


It’s very important to check the tide times before heading out. It’s easy to get cut off or stranded in some places along the coast. It’s best to keep to the top of the shore away from the water’s edge: that’ll also mean you’ll disturb the birds less. Plan a sensible return time home to ensure you’ve left the coast before it gets dark.


Choose a spot around the Essex coast that is a public access area, not private land.


Keep a check on weather forecasts and dress appropriately. This might mean warm layers and waterproof clothing with sturdy shoes, or even a pair of gloves, a scarf and a woolly hat. You might think about sunscreen, a sun hat and sunglasses.

Slips, trips and falls

Take care when walking around the shoreline; there are often uneven footholds and rocks can be slippery when wet or covered in seaweed. Be cautious around water. Take extra care when walking on narrow paths or close to steep slopes and precipices.

Watching alone

If you are heading out by yourself, make sure you tell a family member or friend where you are going and when you are expecting to be back home. Make sure you’ve charged up your mobile phone.

Dogs and livestock

Do not approach unknown dogs or other animals such as livestock. Do not remain in an area if there is any kind of animal that makes you uncomfortable.

Personal safety or theft

Take care not to display valuables in your vehicle or about your person. Do not put yourself in a conflict situation. You are not asked to approach members of the public in order to take part in the Great Coastal Birdwatch. If anything or anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or you feel unsafe for any reason, do not continue. Let us know if you have any uncomfortable or negative experience while carrying out your survey.


In the event of an emergency, contact the emergency services on 999.


Follow the current Government guidelines and advice.

Avian Flu

Avian flu is an infectious type of influenza which spreads among birds. During the last few months, multiple species of wild birds across England have tested positive for avian influenza, including within our area. If you find a dead waterfowl or seabird, don’t touch it. Report it to Defra on 03459 335577.

For further information please see the links below:

Government webpage on Avian Influenza (opens in a new window)

RSPB webpage on Avian Influenza (opens in a new window)

Staying safe