• Conservation management continues

    One key management task underway at the moment, is the use of pumps to maintain water levels. despite the run of warm weather during April and into May, water levels had held up well. But they have started to drop away now, so using pumps to move water around has been necessary this last two weeks or so. Keeping parts of the marsh wet, with lots of insect life in the damp mud, is vital to help breeding lapwing and redshank…

    • 27 May 2020
  • Big Wild Sleep Out - but not as we know it. This weekend.

    The #BigWildSleepOut is coming but not as we know it...this is the ‘Lockdown Edition!’ You’ve been loving your daytime wildlife and now is your chance to discover what comes out after dark. Join in from home on Sat 23 May - https://bit.ly/2zAww7l

    • 22 May 2020
  • Redshank landing

    One of our trail cameras caught this picture of a redshank.

    It looks very much like it is about to land on the gatepost. This is always a sure sign they have young nearby, as landing on a post gives them a good vantage point from which to watch over the young in the grass below.

    Wading birds on posts often look... unexpected, as we are more used to seeing them wading in water and poking their bills into the mud. But several…

    • 19 May 2020
  • Reserve not open yet.

    Following announcements this week from the government regarding the lifting of some of the lockdown restrictions, I wanted to provide you with the following update regarding the reserve. 

    • The Rainham Marshes reserve trails and visitor centre will continue to be kept closed to the public for now. We will only re-open when we have everything in place to keep our visitors, volunteers and employees safe.
    • We will not be opening…
    • 14 May 2020
  • Archive birding no2

    Penduline tits..

    Back in late December 2004 three penduline tits were found along the northern haul road (before there was even a northern trail boardwalk). They did not linger and were seen to fly off to the west. The record was met with some incredulity at a local level. This occurred twelve months before the December 2005 sociable plover was found on the reserve. Whilst the sociable plover was present, many birders came…

    • 11 May 2020
  • Reserve still closed

    With a #BankHoliday approaching, we would like to remind everyone that in line with clear instructions from the Government for us all to remain at home (apart from a limited number of allowed activities), the reserve remains closed to visitors until further notice and our events are postponed. It is with great sadness that we ask people to continue to refrain from visiting us, but we must play our part to help restrict…

    • 7 May 2020
  • Our ground nesting birds

    Its a really important time of year for our ground nesting birds, please see the message below.

    https://www.facebook.com/RSPBEngland/videos/253417999357499/

    This message applies to birds on the coast, and also birds in grassland and the undergrowth. Staying on established paths is a good way to help.

    Thank-you.

    The picture above is an archive one from 2014. Its a lapwing nest on an anthill, and lapwing, like all ground…

    • 6 May 2020
  • International Dawn Chorus Day - Sunday 3rd May.

    This Sunday is #DawnChorusDay, a celebration of beautiful bird song. What have you heard where you are? #IDCD https://bit.ly/RSPBBirdSong

    Normally, we’d be holding early morning events on the reserve to get out and hear the wonder of bird song around the marshes. This would typically include the metallic zinging of reed warblers, the scratchy song flights of both sedge warbler and whitethroat, the slightly sorrowful…

    • 1 May 2020
  • Plenty of starlings

    Another picture from one of our remote trail cameras.

    This time, a flock of starlings, that had been feeding on the grassland in front of the camera, caught taking flight.

    During the current lockdown, starlings have been keeping us amused in the garden at home. Several pairs, obviously nesting nearby, have been coming to mealworm that we've been putting out. They've been really bold, coming down whilst we've been sat…

    • 30 Apr 2020
  • On the trail....

    With the reserve still closed to the public, wildlife is still out on the marsh and busy going about its daily life.

    Trail cameras picked up these two over the weekend...

    Yesterday whilst on site, there were 4 hobby hawking high over Aveley Marsh, looking like huge swifts and clearly catching plenty of food - probably including the early emerging hairy dragonflies which are now on the wing.

    Several fields contained plenty…

    • 28 Apr 2020
  • Archive birding

    Howard prepared this story a few weeks ago, a tale of some birding from 2005...

    Way back in 2005 on the 4th December, Mike Dent and I were out on the reserve conducting the monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). It was a cold, still and overcast day I seem to recall and we had not seen anything of great note but there were very good numbers of Lapwing with about 2000 across the site.

    The marsh was not yet open to the public…

    • 24 Apr 2020
  • Cattle turn out

    Working with our farmer, cattle were turned out on to Aveley Marsh yesterday.

    Cattle grazing is an important way to manage the marshes, benefitting the habitats and species that are found on the reserve. It's especially important for key breeding birds like lapwing, redshank and skylark. Mid April is the typical time that we undertake turnout most years.

    This year, enabling this on the reserve takes on extra significance…

    • 21 Apr 2020
  • Update from the reserve.

    Although the reserve is still closed to visitors, we want to help bring the site and its wonderful wildlife into your homes.

    I was lucky enough to be on the reserve earlier today, undertaking essential work in line with government guidance. Raptors were very in much in evidence, with a pair of peregrine over Aveley Marsh, marsh harriers were very active, a single of both buzzard and kestrel, and then a red kite over the…

    • 17 Apr 2020
  • Guest blog: Leonora's Homeschooling Experiences so far...

    Leonora is part of our Learning Team at Rainham Marshes. She is part of the team that take out school groups when they visit on curriculum linked educational visits - that is until the country went into lockdown due to Covid19.

    She is now busy at home with her family - like many parents doing some homeschooling for the first time. She wanted to share some of her experience - which of course includes outdoor learning as…

    • 8 Apr 2020
  • From the ornithological archives...

    Where does the time go?

    Way back in 2005 on the 4th December, myself and Mike Dent were out on the reserve conducting the monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). It was a cold, still and overcast day I seem to recall and we had not seen anything of great note but there were very good numbers of Lapwing with about 2000 across the site.

    The marsh was not yet open to the public (that was another 11 months away) and we had the…

    • 8 Apr 2020
  • New Lapwing resturant opening times...

    On my once a week site security checks I have noticed that our breeding Lapwings have been settling down nicely and it looks like it could be another bumper year.

    There was lots of chasing of Crows and Marsh Harriers going on and even the ducks were getting grief if they dabbled too close!

    Giving a Crow some grief

    The lack of visitors is also allowing the birds to behave differently and on several occasions I have…

    • 7 Apr 2020
  • Mindful Monday - mindful walking

    In these unusual times it can be easy to get swept away with the situation – but it is important to take a moment for yourself. Make sure you are doing something that you enjoy – take a moment to be mindful.


    Paying more attention to the present, giving notice to our own thoughts and feelings as well as our surroundings can improve mental wellbeing. This awareness is sometimes called mindfulness.


    Mindfulness…

    • 6 Apr 2020
  • Security Check Circuit - 5 April 2020

    Today was my turn to visit the reserve as part of the ongoing rota between myself, Andrew and Jamie to check on the security of the visitor centre, hides and such and to make sure that our electric fence is working properly  - which thankfully it is!

    The marsh was alive with birds as I did my circuit. With a much warmer day than my visit on the 30th it was not surprising that the Lapwing and Redshank activity was more…

    • 5 Apr 2020
  • Waste not want not...

    How your pet can help the birds...

    By a rather circuitous route I have three cats. I love my cats and I love my birds therefore my cats have a Catio the full length of the side of my house which gives them access outside and keeps my garden birds out of their way. One of the three siblings is gloriously long haired and required frequent brushing but what a perfect time of year to be doing that job!

    Peanut actually enjoys…

    • 5 Apr 2020
  • I love Nettles - and so should you!

    Stinging Nettles are a bit of a double edged sword in a garden.  They can take over and once you have them then, well, you have them but in the right spot they are a great boon for wildlife of all sorts as well as having culinary, dye and even string making uses.

    When I dug up my little plot on Wednesday to plant my Broad Beans and Beetroot in I had to remove a good tangle of tuberous Nettle roots most of which I put in…

    • 4 Apr 2020
  • Security check walk - 3 April 2020 - Andrew Gouldstone

    So I was on site briefly today, undertaking some essential site and building checks.
     
    It still feels very strange being on the reserve with no one else around, and only a few people to be seen on the riverwall.
     
    But the reserve was alive with birds. My first blackcap of the year was singing near the adventure playground. There were plenty of lapwing and redshank calling out on the marshes, and a quick check of several…
    • 3 Apr 2020
  • Homes for our smaller wildlife... some stay at home ideas

    Homes for wildlife come in all matter of shapes and sizes from garden ponds, bug houses, nest boxes, wood piles and flower beds.

    However, it is also worth creating some nooks and crannies, some safe places for ground dwellers to hide away.

    Frogs, Toads, Slow-worms, Snails, Slugs, Spiders, Woodlice and Centipedes all need somewhere to get out of sight – some during the day and some at night.

    Temporarily disturbed…

    • 3 Apr 2020
  • Big Garden Birdwatch Results Day 2020

    Its  Big Garden Birdwatch Results Day and the top ten have been announced...

    And so in reverse order... drum roll please...

    10th: Magpie: Up 199% since 1979

    9th: Long-tailed Tit: Up 37% since 2010

    8th: Robin: Down 32% since 1979

    7th: Great Tit: Up 72% since 1979

    6th: Goldfinch: Up 50% since 2010

    5th: Blackbird: Down 40% since 1979

    4th: Woodpigeon: Up 1035% since 1979

    3rd: Blue Ti:t Up 20% since 1979

    2nd: Starling:…

    • 2 Apr 2020
  • More Garden Time... some things to do

    So, over the last few days I have pushed on with jobs in the garden.  One of the problems that many of us have at the moment is the fact that all the garden centres have had to close their door so it may well be case of grow your own flowers and veg this year!

    Now, I was lucky enough to have a tin with a load of different packets of flowers seeds as well as a few veg ones.  Unfortunately I keep it at work so it was one…

    • 1 Apr 2020
  • The RSPB Online Shop is still available!

    A message from Annie - our Retail Manager

    Looking after the birds in your garden has possibly never been more important from a mental wellbeing point of view especially with so many of us sensibly house bound.  We keep being asked where do we now get our bird food from now that the RSPB reserve shops, garden centres and big hardware stores are closed?

    Well, that’s nice and easy. The RSPB online shop is still operating…

    • 31 Mar 2020