Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Rainham Marshes 22 August

Walked anti-clockwise around the reserve today, pretty quite bird wise but, there is always something to photograph and admire at Rainham. Plenty of fruits and berries around the reserve a sure sign that autumn almost has us in it's grip! Lots of Common Lizards today including plenty of young ones, I counted 24 around the reserve and all but three were on the wooden boardwalks. Two hobbies and 14 Yellow Wagtails which flew east over targets were the birding highlights, although six Avocets were good to see on Wennington.

Green-veined White

Guelder Rose Viburnum opulus

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Wasp Spider

Meadow Brown

Common Lizard

Common Lizard

Common Carder Bee

Migrant Hawker

Marsh Frog

Fungi, not sure which one?

Ruddy Darter female

Common Darter male

Willow Warbler

Migrant Hawker

Friday, 18 August 2017

Along the river at Rainham Marshes

Yesterday I caught the C2C to Purfleet and walked along the north shore of the River Thames to Rainham. Early morning rain and south-easterlies probably paid a part in bringing 120+ Arctic Terns, 50+ Common Terns and a single Roseate Tern up river. Howard sums up the tern movement comprehensively "The main group of Arctic Terns (83) headed up river at c0840 with 18 then dropping in from up high at 1100, bathing and heading out of the river. Odd singles and small groups were seen thereafter. All were adults bar two stunning youngsters that circulated around for most of the day. The Roseate (there may have been two initially) headed into the Bay and I picked up the same bird heading back out about an hour later. All of my list were seen from inside the RSPB visitors centre."

I missed the main movement but did catch-up with the two juvenile Arctics and a number of Common Terns. The weather was overcast so while viewing the river was good it was rubbish for photographs and most of the birds were nearer to the Kent side. It brightened up around midday and became a warm and bright afternoon although the south-easterly persisted. Apart from the terns it was quite bird wise along the river with a couple of Stonechats and a female Wheatear up on the landfill.
 The Princess Pocahontas came up the river she runs pleasure cruises between Gravesend and Greenwich.

immature gull cruises past

a small yacht heads out of the river

one of two Stonechats along the tideline

4 of 16 Black-tailed Godwits feeding along the receding river's edge 

Wheatear on top of the landfill always kept her distance

view from landfill looking towards QE2 bridge

Aveley Bay viewed from the landfill

The grass has recently been cut on the walk to the summit

but the last part of the walk to the top has been left wild :-)

and the butterflies are thankful for that like this Brown Argus

Brown Argus

Slightly strange to see colourfully pink patches of sweet pea!

Brown Argus

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Friday, 11 August 2017

RSPB Bowers Marsh

It's been at least two years since I last visited this reserve and I know that because this is my first visit since the access road was made good! The weather wasn't great being dull and overcast with a cool breeze, but at least is stayed dry!

I had hoped to connect with the family group of Black-winged Stilts but alas no luck there despite spending five hours on the reserve. I did however see a distant Wood Sandpiper and thirty odd Black-tailed Godwits along with a couple of Green Sandpipers, single Curlew and Oystercatcher. There were however lots of hirundines mainly Swallows and House martins with fewer Sand Martins and a handful of Swifts. Thoroughly enjoyed my stroll around the reserve but my highlight had to be bumping in to Clive & Richard two of the fantastic team of RSPB South Essex Marshes volunteers, it was so good to catch-up, even if it did cost me a tenner Clive!

A distant and heavily cropped Wood Sandpiper

Poor attempt at a flight shot of a House Martin

Black-tailed Godwit incoming!

Black-tailed Godwit they were forever squabbling!

Black-tailed Godwits

Swallow such a shame as I couldn't get a clear view through the vegetation, hence the odd colouration!

He wasn't happy when another tried to land on the small piece of branch!

See, he looks really upset now!