• Dragon time!

    Quite a few dragons and damsels on the wing now...

    Azure Damselfly (Jerry Hoare)

    Blue-tail (Howard Vaughan)

    Large Reds (Chris Lowe)

    Broad-bodied Chaser (Pete Jackson)

    Four Spot Chaser and Hairy Hawker are also on the wing so look out as you wander round!


    • 29 Apr 2011
  • and some Hobbies!

    Two cracking Hobby shots by Brenda.

    The Grasshopper Warblers continues to show well and we now have at least five along the perimeter of the marsh.

    Grasshopper Warbler (Les Harrison) How do they make that amazing noise?!


    • 29 Apr 2011
  • and some birds

    Some waders are moving at last with up to five Gonzo-billed Whimbrels and the first ruddy Bar-tailed Godwits wending their way northwards to their Arctic breeding grounds. One was seen on Wednesday and today there are 38. It is still murky here today and I suspect that we may get Sanderling, Knot or Grey Plover today as well.

    Whimbrel (Barry Jackson)

    A couple of Greenshank have been on the pools and Wheatears and…

    • 29 Apr 2011
  • Wonderous Whitethroats

    Whitethroats are everywhere this year and nearly every bramble clump and briar seems to have a dapper little male with his scratchy song. One of the birds around the visitor centre is particularly obliging as can be seen by these excellent shots by Barry Jackson.

    • 29 Apr 2011
  • Purfleet Hide is open...

    Sorry, meant to say that as of Good Friday the new all singing all dancing Purfleet Hide was opened for the first time. Feel free to come in for a look around but just remember that the lanscape out front is due for a makeover in the late summer that will bring the water and the wildlife right up to the window....

    In the meantime sit back and enjoy the view and the tumbling of Lapwings and watch the Grey Herons stalk…

    • 25 Apr 2011
  • more bugs....

    Still very warm today and chock full of people who have been entertained by nine dashing Hobbies and obliging Water Voles all day. Red Kite, two Marsh Harriers and a Buzzard have kept eyes skywards while the Ring Ouzel and Grasshopper warblers have remained present but elusive.

    A Whinchat and two Wheatears were see first thing and a couple of Swifts passed over.

    Even more insect life today with lots of Large Red and…

    • 25 Apr 2011
  • that beetle again!

    We seem to have sussed out yesterdays carrion beetle as being a native species after all and reckon that it is infact Thanaptophilus sinuatus! Still new for reserve though and glad to know that someone is clearing up around the reserve.

    • 24 Apr 2011
  • more beetles...

    and no this one was not investigating any part of my anatomy....

    A lunchtime walk in the sweltering 32c temperatures produced many different insects but the highlight was a carrion beetle hard at work trying to undermine the tiny corpse of a Shrew (seems to be a lot of deceased overheated shrews this week). It would appear to resemble Oiceoptoma inequale but this seems to be a North Eastern American species so some…

    • 24 Apr 2011
  • Getting closer to nature...

    Now, I love nature in all it myriad of forms from birds, flowers, spiders and insects of all sorts. However when a small denizen of the wildlife garden chose this morning to make a new home in my inner ear I was not overly amused.

    I felt 'it' crawl inside and then realise that I was not some exotic flower (despite my 'interesting' Hibiscus covered red shirt today) and try to turn round and get out. To say that this was…

    • 23 Apr 2011
  • Yet another Kite and the Ouzel gives in!

    Another glorious day on the reserve with all of yesterdays waders still showing and the female Ring Ouzel at long last giving up and showing well early on in the day. This mountain living relative of the Blackbird only passes through here on its way north to its craggy moorland breeding grounds but we usually get one or two each spring.

    Images by Les Harrison

    Brenda managed to find a Red Kite over her house today…

    • 22 Apr 2011
  • Birdy stuff...

    Another good spring day with the Ring Ouzel still giving visitors the run around along the river wall and a couple of Greenland Wheatears (see below) promenading on the greensward at the west end. Three Whimbrel, Wood & Common Sandpipers, Greenshank were seen on the pools and the Raven was seen again by a couple of lucky observers. The Hobby seen yesterday was still hawking for insects over the Target Pools during…

    • 21 Apr 2011
  • Whose baby??

    Eggs are hatching! Must be Easter or something! 

    Mark Hart took these shots but who are their parents?

    Answers on a postcard....

    An no comments about 'must have fallen out of the Ugly Tree and hit every branch on the way down' please! Sure that their parents love them!

    Will let you know over Easter!

    • 21 Apr 2011
  • April showers....?? No hope!

    Another blistering day on the marsh. Was my day off today but the lure of clear skies and an easterly wind dragged me back to the river wall for a few hours from 1030. Managed to avoid doing any 'proper' work and enjoyed a good array of migrants whilst loafing around in the glorious sunshine!

    Fifteen huge, upright, brightly coloured Wheatears suggested strongly that they were of the race that heads beyond our…

    • 20 Apr 2011
  • Be careful if you're sunbathing!

    I bet this Common Lizard wishes he had not dozed off while catching some zzzzs in the sun today! Our Kestrels seem to be quite adept at pouncing on unsuspecting reptiles!

    Freddie Roll also captured this hunting Grass Snake and a fine male Linnet who is already sporting his red bikini top for the summer...

    .... all part of life's rich pageant! Modern Society and all that!

    • 20 Apr 2011
  • Wonderful Warblers

    With so many warblers around it seemed an opportune moment to post some more shots of out tree key reedbed species...

    Reed Warbler

    Sedge Warbler

    Grasshopper Warbler

    All images by Les Harrison

    I will do a crib sheet asap to help with songs and all that!

    • 20 Apr 2011
  • Speedy bird not the only star today...

    Quite a list of birds in the end today. Once the seven minutes of Alpine Swift excitement had abated we sat down to work out what else we had seen during the day: Two male Grasshopper Warblers continued to reel and there were Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers and  Whitethroats around the circuit. A male Lesser Whitethroat was new for the year and Sand Martins moved through all day. Also seen were: 2 Swallows, pr Garganey…

    • 17 Apr 2011
  • Alpine visitor steals the show

    More to follow later but just to say that a huge swooping Alpine Swift graced the resrve this afternoon for a few minutes before climbing high into the clouds!  Amazing!

    The very happy (and very lucky) Alpine Swift team! Includes a vagrant seen on a previous visit to the site...

    Jonathan Wasse also saw it and took the photo... he was also happy!

    Note the new Purfleet Hide in the background.... Fingers crossed but…

    • 17 Apr 2011
  • Snug as a bug in a rug... or something similar

    Another one of those special Rainham Marshes moments (and this one does not include the demise of one of our cuter residents!)

    Mark Hart came across this Common Lizard snuggled up in the seedy down of last years reedmace. She seemed quite at home and was reluctant to leave her cosy bed!

    • 16 Apr 2011
  • Nature raw in tooth and claw... or in this case a big pointy bill!

    Evening all,

    Have just got this shot through of one of our Water Voles biting the dust at the end of the dagger like bill of an adult Grey Heron. I have seen this before on the marshes and Grey Heron is probably one of the vole's greatest enemies. A quick couple of stabs and then down in one gulp although it is normally the youngsters that get caught and not a big adult like this one!

    I doubt very much that this…

    • 16 Apr 2011
  • Wheatears galore!

    It seemed like we were knee deep in Wheatears today with a fantastic 22 out on the marsh. However the star bird was a Grasshopper Warbler that was seen reeling madly from along side the trails on and off during the day. Andy Tweed even managed to get a shot of this elusive summer visitor.

    • 15 Apr 2011
  • Another kite...

    Not sure how many it is now but reckon that today's Red Kite may have been the tenth this year!  Amazing how the fortunes of a bird can change so much!

    Anyway, Brenda managed to grab a shot of this tatty immature as it headed over the marsh before following the Thames into London.

    For a full list of today's sightings go to www.elbf.co.uk


    • 13 Apr 2011
  • Easter Stuff...

    Lots going on over Easter with our Easter Eggtravaganza already two days old!  Just come along and take part in our annual Easter treasure hunt. Find the clues, solve the puzzle and collect your reward. Price: Wildlife Explorer members £1.50, Child non-members: £2.50 per sheet

    Hopefully there will be some more ad hoc family events over the holidays so watch this blog or ask at reception for more details.

    • 12 Apr 2011
  • Horray for post codes!

    Had a parcel through today... could not resist posting the address label...

    • 12 Apr 2011
  • Don't look if you do not like spiders!

    Just found this on my work pc... took this last year of an adult Fishing Spider in Ashdown Forest in Sussex. This one was huge and is eating a Giant Pond Skater ! There are some more images of the ones at Arne on their blog

    Don't get them at Rainham ... pity really!  This images is about life size...

    • 12 Apr 2011