• Gull ID Days

    It is definitely that time of year again with gulls arriving now in big numbers. We have two Gull ID Days coming up: Saturday November 13 and Saturday December 11. These are free to attend drop in events. We will be hosting them from within the new Shooting Butts Hide from about 10am-3pm. Simply turn up and the gull-loving volunteers present will guide you through whatever you wish to know and at your level on interest…

    • 31 Oct 2010
  • Orange Reed Dwellers still delight

    Afternoon all.

    Sounds like the Bearded Tits have been showing very well all weekend with up to 20 seen around the reserve but mostly near the Dragonfly Pool by the Shooting Butts. Pretty vocal so you should hear all that pinging!

    Male Bearded Tit (Les Harrison)

    Female Bearded Tit (Paul Hawkins)

    The immature male Marsh Harrier has been seen most days but on Thursday two adult males moved through along with two…

    • 31 Oct 2010
  • Windy again!

    Back to blustery again but with lots of bird activity today including  two adult male Marsh Harriers and two female (ringtail) Hen Harriers seen. The latter are notable for the site and both headed south. Redwings and several Fieldfares were noted and small flocks of Starlings were seen heading east all day.  No Waxwings as yet.

    Quite a few finches on the move with Lesser Redpoll, two Siskins and a Brambling amongst the…

    • 30 Oct 2010
  • and some bird news

    At least 11 Bearded Tits still around for the last couple of days and a Short-eared Owl put on a fine performance from the visitor centre today. The remaining three Pink-footed Geese are still to be seen out on the Target Pools and a very late Wheatear was seen yesterday. 

    Wheatear (Russ Sherriff)

    Bearded Tit (Russ Sherriff)

    Probably the bird of the week so far was a noisy female Bullfinch that was seen and heard…

    • 29 Oct 2010
  • Cafe: an good update

    and more news....

    The cafe resumed something like a normal service today after several weeks of technical difficulties. We still have no Cappuccino maker but at least we are back to making our own cakes again!


    • 29 Oct 2010
  • Day 5 Purfleet Scrape Hide & other work

    It is amazing how quickly the contractors have shifted the soil that made up the bank! In fact it looks quite weird from across the reserve as you can now see people of the boardwalk while the view from the river wall is even more telling and you can actually envisage the new sparkly hide sitting in the gap.

    The new hide will be to the right of the digger facing the same way that you are looking at the photo


    • 29 Oct 2010
  • smart bunting

    And could not resist this shot taken by Basil Thornton today of a Reed Bunting out on the reserve...

    May use this one to point out head pattern features... watch this space...

    Ok, you have watched this space long enough... there should now be a link to a pdf on the bottom. If I find a photo that shows more features I will re-do it but you will get the general idea!

    • 26 Oct 2010
  • Purfleet hide project Day 4

    With nice weather the contractors have been making short work of the old bank....

    I expect that by tomorrow they will be through the bank and it look like it was never there!

    No sign of the Pendulines today but ten Bearded Tits still on site.

    • 26 Oct 2010
  • What do penduline tits eat?

    And just in case you were wondering the Penduline Tits were seen yesterday and today although they have been pretty elusive and keep disappearing off as per the norm.

    Many people think that they are after the reedmace seeds but in fact they are looking for the tiny caterpillars of a micro moth (whose name escapes me at the moment). This picture by Brenda Clayton captures the moment!

    oh, and the Pink-footed Geese

    • 24 Oct 2010
  • The new Purfleet hide project is underway...

    Evening all

    Yesterday (22nd October) saw the start of the work to build the new ground level Purfleet Hide in the bank viewable from the visitors centre. It will look out over a re-landscaped Purfleet Scrape and afford excellent views.

    To start with the diggers are removing the top soil. The reedy bit will be kept in one pile and the grassy bit in another to be replaced once works have finished to allow the area to…

    • 24 Oct 2010
  • more gratuitous images of ...

    sorry could not resist some more shots...

    Another shot of the female by Jono

    and one by David Preston

    Oh and do not forget that it is Feed The Birds Weekend at Rainham Marshes where we shall be making fat logs and apples feeders as well as giving good advice about looking after wildlife in your gardens.




    • 22 Oct 2010
  • Penduline Tits are back!

    With a huge crop of reedmace across the reserve, we have been talking up the return of our favorite reedbed denizens for weeks now but still not really expect them until the start of December as per the norm.

    I first found Penduline Tits on the reserve on 28th December 2004 when three danced into view. At least six came back in the 2005-2006 winter (anyone remember the Sociable Plover?) and we have had one or two in…

    • 22 Oct 2010
  • Time to celebrate!

    A great day on the marshes with our 200th bird species of 2010 being a real belter when Les Harrison found a first-winter male Bluethroat along the Northern Trail at 0820 this morning. It was incredibly elusive and showed only occasionally from the reeds and sedges and as many people went away disappointed as happy. Although it had no real blue on it it was heard singing quietly to itself this afternoon confirming it…

    • 17 Oct 2010
  • More on Godwits

    I know I promised this earlier in the week but I have now cobbled together a little aid for on the ground Godwit id.  I hope it is of some use. Just click on the attachment below to open the pdf. 

    mmm... now this is weird. I can see the attachment and open it in the post but when I go to the main blog it had disappeared....very strange

    May have to ask some questions with IT about this one. In the meantime, if you can…

    • 16 Oct 2010
  • Slimey seal

    oh and nearly forgot that the Common Seal had the decency to haul up on the mud on our side this week. Still much rarer up the Thames this far for us that Grey Seal although it is the far commoner species in the estuary.


    Common Seal - Andy Tweed

    • 16 Oct 2010
  • Tree Sparrow steals limelight

    evening all

    Not been at work much this week but there have still been a few goodies to tell you about. Wednesday saw a flurry of activity on the Thames with a female Common Scoter and four Brent Geese seen along with our second Common Redstart of the week that was feeding in the foreshore amongst the flotsum. Wheatears, Whinchats and even Yellow Wagtails were all seen Swallows and House Martins were still on the move…

    • 16 Oct 2010
  • Grunting Geese, finches and Heavenly humour

    All quiet yesterday but quite a bit of small bird movement today with two Goldcrest, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and upwards of 100 Redwing reported. Seventeen Dark-bellied Brent Geese were seen on the Thames and the three Bar-tailed Godwits were with the three Black-tailed Godwits (almost slipped into 'birder speak' then and called them Barwits and Blackwits!) were in Aveley Bay. I will put together a little winter plumage…

    • 9 Oct 2010
  • still waiting...

    Funny weather again this week from blowing drizzle to glorious sunshine in the course of a few hours and despite lots of hard looking we have yet to find number 200! Plenty on the move though with an Osprey south on Monday morning at 0900 low across the reserve and then over the river and into Kent. Fortunately my bellowing around the centre alerted everyone in time and most people got out for a look including several…

    • 7 Oct 2010
  • Can you count?

    Amazingly another Manx Shearwater was seen at Rainham Marshes yesterday. It did not look as well as the one on the 15th September and was being harried by the local gulls. And have checked and we are only one away from 200 species for the year! Wonder what it will be?

    On an lighter note, how many Starlings do you reckon are in this photo taken by Mark Webb of some birds on a pylon? I have roughly counted so have a go…

    • 3 Oct 2010
  • Raptorous Day!

    Morning all!

    Bit of a raptor day although I missed most of it due to a meeting!

    Amongst the usuals were 4 Buzzards north, a ringtail Hen Harrier and female Merlin south at lunchtime. Best of all (and the one I actually saw!) was a very high female Red-footed Falcon that cruised across the river and even circled a few time to catch a few dragonflies. This is our 14th species of raptor here this year!

    Two Wheatear and two…

    • 1 Oct 2010