• Norfolk visits Rainham

    We were graced with the presence of most of the Norfolk and Lincs Wash reserves teams today with guys and gals from Frieston Shore, Frampton Marsh, Snettisham and Titchwell. Had a great day taking them all around along with Colin and Brona and the wildlife performed a treat with Marsh Frogs, four Water Vole sightings, a fine male Marsh Harrier east, a little flock of 12 spangling Golden Plover that headed north, a suprise…

    • 30 Mar 2011
  • Mad as a Wren

    Sorry could not resist posting these shots by Les... This Wren certainly has got a complete strop on!  Not sure what had got him so riled!

    • 29 Mar 2011
  • A busy bird weekend...

    Been off for the weekend and sounds like it was pretty good with 18 Little Gulls on Saturday and Red Kite seen going through on both days along with a few other migrants including the first Swallow and Willow Warbler.  Check out www.elbf.co.uk for more details

    Thought I would brighten things up with some images from recent days:  Enjoy!

    Blue Tit (Alex Blackman)

    Linnet (Me!)

    Grey Heron (Basil Thornton)


    • 29 Mar 2011
  • Garganey still performing

    Much to our delight the Garganey are still around and the spare drake found himself a lady friend. The phrase 'they were performing well!' is probably not appropriate!

    Anyway, a few Sand Martins trickled through today but it was far quieter than in recent days and with a northerly air stream forecast for the weekend I suspect things will slow right down again. Still lots of Waxwings locally though!


    • 26 Mar 2011
  • And I would just like to thank...

    ... and here I am in the Thurrock Gazette with our sponsers...

    • 26 Mar 2011
  • Drifting migrants

    Whooo hoo! First Sand Martins at last!  Another wonderful spring day although a little fresher in the east wind. A pair of the Garganey were still showing very well and the 'usual' selection of good raptors kept out eyes to the skies with both Hen and Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and almost constant Peregrines keeping the skywatchers on their toes... Just want an Osprey now...

    There are now three Little Ringed Plov…

    • 25 Mar 2011
  • And the nominees are...

    On Friday 18 March, I got suited and booted to attend the annual glitzy Thurrock Business Awards in Grays. Last year we won the Environmental Business Award and this year entered the same category and tried our hand at a new one.
    We didn’t manage to defend our title, but we did come away with the Business Innovation Award!
    It took a lot of scrubbing to get me looking like this... (note the impressive…
    • 25 Mar 2011
  • Matchbox rattlers show well...

    Another good day with our 5th Red Kite so far this year and a wonderful performance by the three Garganey.Be great to hear that weird rattling call that they make when they get a bit frisky! Sounds like two matches being shaken in an otherwise empty matchbox!

    Great shot by Pete Jackson

    Several pairs of Lapwings are now tumbling over the pools and the Little Ringed Plover was still prospecting. Took some film of a…

    • 23 Mar 2011
  • Hanging Hares

    No, this is not punishment metered out on itinerant rodents for severe misbehavior. It just seems to be the simple 'state of being' exhibited in every shot that I took of one of the reserves elusive Brown Hares this morning. At no stage do I have an image with a single foot touching the ground. I know that they are not great but I think you will see what I mean. This was the first one that I have seen here this…

    • 23 Mar 2011
  • Big Tide; Huge Ship!

    It was also a very big tide today with no wind to ruffle it leaving it like the proverbial mill pond. I wandered out to check for any rodents or shrews caught out by the rapidly rising water but there were no Harvest Mice this year although I did find several Brown Rats looking for higher ground. They are actually quite tricky to find at Rainham Marshes and it is not every day that you get one in the open. Fine creatures…

    • 22 Mar 2011
  • Things are on the move

    Plenty of birds to keep us on our toes today with 30 Waxwings and ten Redwings in the woodland reminding us of cold winters days and a Little Ringed Plover (LRP) and three superb Garganey telling of northward migration from sub-Saharan Africa.  A couple of Buzzard drifted over and the female Hen Harrier was seen once again. A dashing male Merlin over the centre rounded up a very good day. Great stuff.



    • 22 Mar 2011
  • Not always so elusive...

    Another fine day on the marsh with a good selection of birds including both summer and winter visitors: Sparrowhawk, Avocet, f Hen Harrier ,150 Redshank, Black-Tailed Godwit, 2 Little Ringed Plover, Curlew, 60 Dunlin, 5 Redwing, Snipe, 5 Yellow-Legged Gull, Cafe-Latte Pintail, 5 Chiffchaff. The Cetti's Warblers were particularly showy today and David Bradnum captured this one in the open for a while.


    • 21 Mar 2011
  • Stoatally different...

    and just to compare with the shots of Ron Weasel that I posted earlier in the week, Dave Morrison has sent me this engaging image of a Stoat (no name given) seen out hunting on the 15th. Clearly a bigger beastie with a longer black tipped tail.

    • 20 Mar 2011
  • Blasted yellow ring!

    Les Harrison found a Red-breasted Goose on the reserve yesterday morning. Now, this would normally have been a show stopper but the yellow plastic ring on its left leg told a different story. This bird (and originally its partner) have been touring the south east for several years with sojourns at WWT Barnes, Abberton Reservoir and just last week, for some better class of shopping at Bluewater shopping centre... Where…

    • 20 Mar 2011
  • Super Moon

    I know I was not at Rainham when I took these this evening but hey-ho, it's the same moon so here we go anyway...

    If you get the chance either tomorrow morning when it sets or in the evening (about 1830) when it rises, go and have a look at the moon. From what I can remember from the news this morning, this 'super-sized' moon, which appears 14% bigger and brighter, is a once in 20 year event.

    It was magnificent…

    • 20 Mar 2011
  • The Holy Grail...

    Today was the first really splendid day of this spring and the undoubted highlight was not a bird at all but a new species of butterfly for the reserve. David Preston managed to get a shot of this magnificent Camberwell Beauty on the fence by the Butts Hide before it powered off over Wennington Marsh. This species is a very rare visitor nowadays to the UK with most records in the late summer so finding one that has overwintered…

    • 20 Mar 2011
  • Some new events

    Sorry me again.  Please check out the Events page as I have posted all the dates for Dawn Chorus, Dusk Walks and  the now split Digital SLR and Bridge/Compact Camera Walks.

    Hope it all makes sense!

    Please note that some of the new events are pre-pay as well as pre-book.


    H ;o)

    • 18 Mar 2011
  • And a site tick on the river...

    Is it a bird, is it a boat, no it's a special forces mini hovercraft! Now how cool would that be for getting round the reserve to do the duck count!

    • 18 Mar 2011
  • The rain in Spain...

    What an 'orrid day!  Admittedly the rain is most welcome from a reserve point of view but it makes visitor operations somewhat uncomfortable at times! Pat led the Friday walk and I do not think anyone drowned today but they all came back happy haveing seen a cracking male Wheatear out on the Ouzel Fields. Meanwhile my all weather volunteer gardening duo of Margaret and Jim Dalgano had managed to get in over 60 plants…

    • 18 Mar 2011
  • All done...

    Evening all... just to say that our 'work' out on Aveley Marsh today was successful and everything will be back to normal tomorrow.

    Extra highlights today were the Hen Harrier again over Wennington and a LIttle Ringed Plover on the Purfleet Scrape.

    • 17 Mar 2011
  • Boats in the mist

    Was down at the Stone Barges early this morning. Blooming freezing again. Black-headed Gull numbers have rocketed again with at least 3500 birds along the foreshore along with 350 smart British race Lesser Black-backed Gulls. THe LBBG's are back to breed in this country whilst the Black-heads are probably heading back to the east to distant breeding grounds.

    • 17 Mar 2011
  • A little disturbed...

    Sorry folks but just to let you know that there will be some disturbance to all of Aveley Marsh this morning as we perform some vital management work today....

    Will report more later!

    • 17 Mar 2011
  • Tall Ship glides by

    Not sure how we got on on the reserve today with lingering fog and no power but thought that I would post a shot of the huge four masted barque that graced us on Saturday. Strangely no name could be made out and a pity it was not under sail... now that would have been something!

    Image by Mark Hart

    • 15 Mar 2011
  • 'Wot I did today...' by Ron Weasel

    So I get up this morning and I think, I know I shall pop down on the foreshore to see what is on the menu for breakfast... you never know!

    A quick check around to see if anyone is looking...

    ... and then attack that yellow, fluffy chick-looking thing and shake it by the back of the neck till it is dead!

    mmm... not very palatable; did not even put up much of a fight! Exhausted now, (and have indigestion) need…

    • 15 Mar 2011
  • Would you like a Cappaccino or a Skinny Latte Sir??

    This 'funny' (not ha! ha!) female Pintail has been with us all winter and certainly stands out from the crowd! She is leucistic which is a pigment deficiency that results in the plumage taking on a pale brown hue.

    Wildfowl and gulls seem to be the most frequently affected and I have seen similarly plumaged Pink-footed and Brent Geese, Mallard, various big gulls, Lapwing and a few small birds such as House Sparrow…

    • 14 Mar 2011