Four Exmoor ponies returned from Tollesbury Wick to Tiptree Heath last Thursday. After a few bursts of skittish running around they have settled in well. So far they have been nibbling at the bracken, brambles and gorse as well as finding a few bits of grass, which is their favourite. Nearly all visitors to the heath have behaved very carefully with them, not approaching too close or trying to feed or stroke them.

They all have names and these 4 are called Petrel (the smallest darkest one), Shadow (the more red coloured one), Peregrine (the palest, tallest one) and Plover, who has the whitest marking round his eyes.

The Trustees of the Friends of Tiptree Heath have been on site at times to talk to people and monitor how things are going, and have had some good conversations with lots of interested walkers.

If all goes well, in the next week or so we hope to have the remaining 4 ponies join these ones.

Sightings this week include common lizards, a bullfinch near the car park, and kestrels as well as the usual jackdaws and woodpeckers.

The ling is now blooming well, alongside the vibrant bell heather and the cross leaved heath is just about hanging in there, but most of its petals have turned brown.

Enjoying the shade of the trees
Just a little grass left
Fresh ling, older cross leaved heath