• Inflation at last!

    It had been brooding all day with low, grey cloud, high humidity and an increasing breeze and after several near misses by the thunder and lightening, we were treated to a full on downpour accompanied by a fantastic aerial accompaniment of peels and flashes!

    In the middle of this a very nice couple decided to purchase a sack of seed from the shop but required assistance to get it to the car. Being me, I offered to carry…

    • 29 Jun 2011
  • The Scented Garden

    Some more flowers from the wildlife garden. Our Purple Loosestrife is just starting to bloom and had grown about a foot in the last week! The main two scents in the garden at the moment are from the profusion of Honeysuckle flowers and the Privet that grows around our composting bins. Delightful!

    Purple Loosestrife

    Privet

    • 29 Jun 2011
  • The Purple Wildlife Garden

    Our Hidcot Lavender is now in full bloom and attracting a wealth of insects (although not many bees yet!) Thought we had lost a lot of it with the winter weather but it seems to have come back even stronger.

    And loitering nearby was this little bee which I am pretty sure is a Shrill Carder. A scarce species and the earliest one I have ever found here.

     

    • 28 Jun 2011
  • I'm melting!

    Afternoon all from the Costa del Rainham

    OMG!  It is 32c outside at the moment and despite all the windows and doors being open there is almost no air in the centre.  The promise of thunderstorms later is eagerly anticipated! Even the insects are hiding from the rays today with little moving around and the Emperor moth caterpillars that we found on Friday in the brambles are keeping well out of sight today!

    However, one…

    • 27 Jun 2011
  • Vinny still doing his stuff!

    Brian captured (on film) this very obliging Water Vole as it sat there and noshed its way through some old reedmace seeds. Was puzzled by this at first until I realised that the footage was taken in April before most of the  new growth had emerged!

    Enjoy!

    www.youtube.com/watch

    • 26 Jun 2011
  • More video!

    Seem to have opened some wonderful floodgates on the video front!

    More from Brian Churches...

    This cute LIttle Grebe is quite content to be watched from the trails as she tends to her eggs and nest.

    www.youtube.com/watch

    • 25 Jun 2011
  • Still alive!

    Much to my amazement our three Shelduck ducklings are still alive and are escaping the attentions of the marauding gulls. Hope that their parents continue doing such a good job!

    • 25 Jun 2011
  • Wildlife Garden Blooming

    The Wildlife Garden is about four years old now and you would not believe that the pond has only been there for that long. It is currently a riot of colour and the recent rain has spurred the plants to put on heaps of verdant growth. Amongst the native plants are Hemp Agrimony, Meadow Sweet, Purple Loosestrife  and Meadow Rue and all are fabulous for insects.

    Hemp Agrimony

    Meadow Rue

    • 24 Jun 2011
  • Last Night's Dusk Walk

    Morning all

    All a bit manic here at the moment with the impending visitations of MPs and school children for our involvemnet in Every Child Outdoors, so I thought I would calm us all down with a nice shot from yesterday evening's very successful Dusk Walk.

    The rain held off and even the wind died down a little. Martin, Shaun and Richard did a sterling job and managed to find two singing Grasshopper Warblers and…

    • 24 Jun 2011
  • Reed Warbler snippet!

    Got the hang of this uploading video thing now!

    Brian Churches captured this obliging Reed Warbler in full song last week.

    Enjoy!

    www.youtube.com/watch

    • 24 Jun 2011
  • Every Child Outdoors at RSPB Rainham Marshes on Friday 24 June 2011

    Having access to discover, learn and play outdoors is surely an essential part of childhood. If a child hasn't ever got their hands mucky, climbed a tree, explored the darkness of a cave or felt sand between their toes, how can we expect them to care enough to protect wildlife? We believe that every child should have contact with nature and on Friday 24th June, we, along with the Field Studies Council and the Wildfowl…

    • 23 Jun 2011
  • Mystery Plant Competition!

    Just a little something to give your little grey cells a work out....

    No prizes but can you guess what these three plants are?

    All taken on the reserve

    • 23 Jun 2011
  • Something fishy...

    Being a generally grotty day with little to show from our walk in the cold windy conditions, I was pleased to recieve some shots of some fish!!!! No one normally gets any shots of our fish life so these two from Mark Hart are all the more amazing! The Rudd population in the main ditch is thriving and good sized shoals of this important food chain fish can now be seen, especially down towards the sub-marine lookout. Sticklebacks…

    • 23 Jun 2011
  • Video from RSPB Rainham Marshes

    Just going to try and link in a video of a Grey Heron taken on the marsh in May by Richard Duhrsen.

    Hope this works!

    www.youtube.com/watch

    • 22 Jun 2011
  • more blooms!

    Both Red and White Clover are very important sources of nectar for insects and use these visitors (especially bees) to pollinate them. Some parts of the reserve are now covered in a tapestry of pink and white tufts. Fantastic!

     

    • 21 Jun 2011
  • How plants get their names...

    Earlier today I blogged about Bristly Ox-tongue and its interesting name... time for another one.

    Along the riverside we find clumps of Perforate St John's Wort (a herbal treatment for depression). This pretty wild relative of the Hypericum that you sometimes find in gardens is quite at home on the rougher areas of the reserve. This one gets its specific name because of the leaves.  If you hold one up to the light…

    • 20 Jun 2011
  • Blooming marvellous

    A short walk along the river wall revealed that many flowers have shot up with the recent rain. Shame it was not warmer today as I suspect that the insect life would have been much better.  Did not see a single butterfly!  Anyway, have posted a selection of some of the wonderful blooms.

    Bristly Ox-tongue... does it get its name for the bristly cow tongue shaped leaves or frm the fact that cows do not like it!

    Creeping…

    • 20 Jun 2011
  • Not as easy as they look!

    Now, I thought that I had got my head round the grasshoppers that we get out on the marsh:  Meadow, Lesser Marsh and Field (along with the occasional Common Green)

    I even thought I knew that if they were pink they were inevitably going to be Meadow.  The short wings on this one alos pointed that way but I had been fooled!  This glorious critter is in fact a juvenile (instar) Field Grasshopper with only half grown wings…

    • 20 Jun 2011
  • Oh goody... more flies...

    I could apologise for more lovely fly images but I will not!!!!  It is that time of year when insects seem to outnumber birds!

    One of my favourites... The Noonday Fly or Mesembrina meridiana (by me... needless to say)

    Poecilobothrus nobiliatus ... need I say more.

    • 19 Jun 2011
  • Patient Peregrine

    We have been very fortunate this year to have had a pair of Peregrines remain with us beyond the winter months. They can often be seen perched up on the pylons and the guys on reception will be able to tell you  the best ones to check when you next visit!  In the last couple of months we have seen them catch Black-headed Gulls, Coot, Moorhen and Starlings. The other week we even saw both birds on the same pylon with a different…

    • 19 Jun 2011
  • Hawkmoth heaven

    Dave Morrison was lucky enough to find this huge Privet Hawk-moth the other day up by the entrance to the reserve. It was chucking down with rain at the time so we rescued it and kept it save until the worst of the weather had passed during which time it was enjoyed by those visitors brave enough to come out in such inclement weather.

    As you can see, at rest it is very well camouflaged but when disturbed it would flash…

    • 18 Jun 2011
  • Robin's Pin Cushion

    You may be familiar with the red furry balls that you get on wild roses but did you know that they are formed by the plant in reaction to a tiny parasitic Bedegaur gall wasp setting up home? Inside the 'cushion' there will be many tiny chambers and within each one an egg is laid.

    Amazingly (and a first for me) I managed to find one with a eenie-weenie wasp just emerging! my thumbnail should give you some idea…

    • 18 Jun 2011
  • Vasps!

    When you are wandering around the trails over the course of the summer keep an eye out on the solid oak handrails for wasps (of various species) that are collecting wood to chew into a pulp to make their fantastic papermache nests. Just try scratching the wood with a fingernail... it is almost impossible to make a mark in it yet the wasp manage to chew off little slivers that they then roll into a ball.  The hand rails…

    • 18 Jun 2011
  • This weekend!

    Just a quick plug for the Dragons & Damsels Walk on Sunday at 11am. This will be your opportunity to get up close to these winged predators. All we need now is a break in weather!

    Black-tailed Skimmer (Sue Harvey)

    • 18 Jun 2011