• Predator on the prowl

    And just to prove that it is not just birds in the winter, Russ Sherriff took this cool shot of one of our semi-aquatic Stoats out after a morning snack.

    • 29 Jan 2011
  • Who needs Horse Power when you can have Sparrow Power...

    When Terry came into work today we all noticed that his car was running very well and the usual squeaks and rattles had been replaced with a cacophony of cheery little chirps.

    Terry proudly informed us that he had had his car coverted to new state of the art Sparrow Power. The emmisions are neglibible with no nasty pollutants and zero CO2 and the only outcome is the steady repopulation of our depleted House Saprrow population…

    • 28 Jan 2011
  • recent moving images

    Afternoon all

    Have uploaded four new videos by Richard Duhrsen onto You Tube. 

    Click the links that follow to look at Bearded Tits, Black Redstart, Song Thrush smashing a snail and Blackcap

    Oh and if any of you take any Rainham Marshes…
    • 27 Jan 2011
  • At last a picture!

    We have had over 50 Waxwings through the reserve this winter but none have lingered long enough for shot despite being complete posers everywhere else!

    However Sue Harvey just got onto this one from the visitors centre last Sunday before it too, headed off. It is an adult bird as you can see the yellow extending all the way around the tips of the primary wing feathers. 

    The reserve is covered in water now and duck and…

    • 27 Jan 2011
  • The work goes on apace...

    The speed at which the Purfleet Scrape Hide is developing is amazing!  Just compare these picture from today by Mark Vale with the ones on the 21st!

    In the second picture I think you can get some idea as to how it will fit into the landscape.

    • 27 Jan 2011
  • New species of tit discovered on reserve...

    Ok... so slightly tongue in cheek but wait till you see these pictures of our Curlew-billed Long-tailed Tit...

    Seem to remember someone else taking a photo of this bird last month so apologies for not remembering who you are!

    The upper mandible has grown over and down for some reason but the fact that it got through all that snow suggest that it is not suffering as a consequence!
    Images by Paul Sherer
    • 23 Jan 2011
  • Something to keep the rain out...

    It would appear that the new Purfleet Scrape Hide has been growing a roof over the last couple of days with metal joists being put in place.

    Will keep you posted

    thanks Brenda for the images in my absence

    • 23 Jan 2011
  • Gull debate still goes on ...

    Apart from all the fun around whether it was or wasn't seen on Saturday things have calmed down a little on the Slaty Backed Gull front. There are still doubters about the identification of this magnificent gull out there but they are in the minority and the case for it being what Dominic thought it was initially is compelling...

    This is one of Dom's original pictures from the 13th. He had updated his blog with…

    • 19 Jan 2011
  • Sun's out and hide is growing!

    morning all

    After all the fun and excitement of yesterday things have quietened down a wee bit. Gloroius morning, sun shining, clouds scudding but still blowing hard. Very few gulls around today as would be expected but still worth a look for the SBG.

    So far today we have seen two Barnacle Geese and the immature male Marsh Harrier is quartering Wennington.

    Work has moved on substantially with the Purfleet Scrape Hide…

    • 16 Jan 2011
  • Sincere thanks...

    Just a quick note to say thank you to all the birders (there were nearly 1200 of you by the way) who visited RSPB Rainham Marshes today and helped me make car parking nice and easy. Everyone read the signs, parked close together, did not park in the passing places, did not race in, abandon cars and leg it but waited patiently for me to find everyone a space. There were already ten cars there when I arrived at ten…
    • 16 Jan 2011
  • Slartibartfast Gull

    OMG... Got here at 0610 to find ten cars outside the gates. Not surprised at all as I would have been amongst them if I did not work here! Anyway, by 0720  the car park was full and I was starting to park people in all the nooks and crannies. By 0800 they were parked most of the way back down the entrance road on the pavement and by 0930 there was not one space left so I gave up on parking duties and escaped back to the…

    • 15 Jan 2011
  • Slaty Backed Gull - New to Britain

    Now things have moved on somewhat since this morning and several sightings today of this brute of a gull have led to the all important flight shots being taken and at just before 10pm tonight the news went out that the bird was indeed a Slaty Backed Gull! I shall go through some pointers when I get the chance but Dominic's blog link posted earlier is still the most helpful.

    SBG by Adrian Webb

    Tomorrow now looks…

    • 15 Jan 2011

    Yesterday afternoon Dominic Mitchell found and photographed an 'interesting' gull on the landfill site. It was only there a short while before heading off towards Wennington Marsh. However, it is looking very good for an adult Slaty-backed Gull which normally resides in the Pacific North-west. Ths would be a new species to the UK and only the second for Europe (the first being in Latvia a couple of years ago)

    • 14 Jan 2011
  • Merlin weaves Pipit chasing magic

    Evening all. Very little in the way of actual bird news today but Jerry Hoare managed to capture a female Merlin perched up on a briar after an unsuccessful hunting sortie. I can not actually remember anyone ever getting a shot of one of these fast moving little falcons on the reserve before now!

    I was also sent a stunning shot of our immature male Marsh Harrier taken on Sunday by Mark Phillips. You can see that he…

    • 14 Jan 2011
  • Did not get out today...

    but still managed to find a White-fronted Goose, Peregrine, Golden Plover and 64 Ring-necked Parakeets while working on reception!

    The garden team reconstructed the bird feeding station outside the window today as it had taken quite a battering in the last few weeks with all the snow, wind and rain. The new and improved model is even more 'sticky' than the last one, leaving me with even more room for feeders and more…

    • 13 Jan 2011
  • Pipits and Buntings

    Afternoon all

    Wild and windy today with little to report birdwise. However, Les Harrison got some cracking shots of our Corn Buntings and a Meadow Pipit earlier on today.

    You can clearly see the amazingly long claw on the Meadow Pipit above which is one of the ways to distinguish it from the Tree Pipits that come through in the spring.

    • 11 Jan 2011
  • While I was away...

    Sorry folks but escaped for a few days to the Norfolk Broads. Visited our fantastic reserve at Cantley Marshes in the Yare Valley which is the next piece of marsh down river from our reserves at Buckenham and Strumpshaw. Wonderful views of all the geese including Taiga Beans, Pink-feet, Banacles and White fronts. Buzzards and Marsh Harriers all around and a pair of Peregrines surveying the lands.

    Anyway, fairly quiet…

    • 10 Jan 2011
  • Wind and Rain! Good weather for Kites!

    My word what a wet day today! I can imagine that the reserve was a little damp while I entertained myself in Bluewater... and for those of you not in the south-east that is not a local swimming pool...

    The only news was off 11 Lapland Buntings from the Butts Hide and one of the male Marsh Harriers.

    Anyway, I digress. Yesterday was another awesome day on the reserve with a host of good birds seen. It started well with…

    • 7 Jan 2011
  • The last two days

    Would like to say that I have been relaxing at home on my days off but it never quite works out like that...

    Anyway some birdy updates for you all:

    3rd January: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (a real site rarity) 29 Waxwings flew through, Brambling, Marsh Harrier, Song Thrush, Green Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit, 3 Golden Plover, Cettis Warbler, 5 Pintail, Peregrine, Great Crested Grebe, Water Pipit, 2 Ringed Plover, Chiffchaff…

    • 5 Jan 2011
  • Bits and bobs from yesterday

    Morning all

    Not in yesterday but still a good variety of species seen:

    10 Waxwing, Jack Snipe, 2 Water Pipit, imm male Marsh Harrier , 3 Barnacle Geese , 3 Avocet, 2 Water Pipits, Jack Snipe , Water Rail, ad Yellow-legged Gull, 10 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 3 Curlew, 6 Pintail, 8 Golden Plover, Arctic Skua, Green Woodpecker, Stonechat, Peregrine, 800 Dunlin, 12 Grey Plover, 20 Golden Plover, 30 Black-Tailed Godwit…
    • 3 Jan 2011
  • and it's not just about the birds....

    sorry could not resist an 'other wildlife montage'



    • 2 Jan 2011
  • A little reminder of last year

    Have cobbled together a montage of bird images from the reserve in 2010.

    Can you id all 53 species shown (and yes the skein of geese is very tricky...)?

    Answers to my work address at howard.vaughan@rspb.org.uk

    No prizes though although you may get a mention in despatches!

    Thanks to all the photographers who freely supply me with images throughout the year... keep them coming

    I have also attached a downloadable…

    • 2 Jan 2011
  • Who could ask for more?

    To say that 2011 got off to a flying start would not be an exaggeration... I wanted to update during the day but although we were not as busy as January 1st last year we were still on the go all day. The birding early on was exceptional even by our recent standards and started with a Woodcock in the carpark followed by the sounds of the local avifauna waking up including Curlews, Redshanks, all the regular thrushes, Kingfisher…

    • 2 Jan 2011
  • Happy New Year!

    Morning all... Just gone seven and it looks like it could be good day. It is still and calm and the cloud is higher than it has been for days. The visibility is very good and yes it is dark but at least I can see the twinkly lights of Fords, Erith and Docklands today! Robins and Song Thrushes are singing and the Wigeon are whilstling and the Teal 'plipping' out on the scrape. H ;o)

    • 1 Jan 2011