• Mega Frog??

    Over the last few years we have seen some truly enormous Marsh Frogs out on the marsh and these brutes tend to 'feel' different to the more usual ones we come across. They are often much broader across the back that the normal ones, with less pointed snouts and a distinctively upright posture as they always seem to sit back on their haunches and not lay flat like a Marsh Frog. We have speculated about whether they could…

    • 30 Sep 2011
  • Snakelet....

    Now I would like to try and kid everyone that I am a fab photographer and managed to creep up on this six inch long baby Grass Snake and using all my extensive fieldcraft got a superb shot as it rested on a conveniently placed rhubarb leave...

    However, the truth will out and I will confess to the fact that it was in fact very recently deceased and therefore became the perfect model for an impromptu shoot....

    • 29 Sep 2011
  • Bumbles on the Iceplants

    Our glorious bank of Sedum outside the visitor centre has been attracting a host of different bumblebees, honeybees, wasps and butterflies.  I always get a headache when trying to sort out bees so have despatched some images to be sorted out for me... more to follow.

    Anyway, as you may be aware the decline of the honeybee has been blamed on a virus carried by the Varroa mite. On this picture of a Buff-tailed Bumblebee…

    • 28 Sep 2011
  • Dozy Darters

    There are still plenty of Ruddy and Common Darters around as well as hunting packs of Migrant Hawkers. With a bit of patience you can get pretty close to the darters as they warm and wait on the handrails and boardwalks. In a good year they sometimes survive even through to the first week in November!

     

    Migrant Hawker (Neil Phillips)

    Common Darters (Matthew Foakes) 

     

     

     

    • 28 Sep 2011
  • Shop Stocktake tomorrow

    Just a quick note to let you know that the Shop will be closed tomorrow (28th) from 1pm for our Stock Take. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

    • 27 Sep 2011
  • I spy with my little eye....

    something beginning with G...

    In this picture is a tiny Slender Groundhopper at less than 1cm long. These tiny relatives of the Grasshoppers are actually quite common but you have to get down on your belly and look real close to be able to find one!

    I promise to tell you where it is soon!

    and here is one close up!

    • 26 Sep 2011
  • Still more Little Grebes!

    Our Little Grebes have had another prolific breeding season and there are still plenty of youngsters to be found. I suspect that they may even be onto third broods by now! This family group were snapped by Neil Phillips from the Marshland Discovery Zone. Interestingly the one at the back appears to be leucistic with a paler body, pink bill and almost grey-white head. We shall have to keep an eye out for it as they all…

    • 25 Sep 2011
  • More about the art exhibition!

    Transforming Rainham Marshes’ opens in the Purfleet hide on Saturday 24 September, with a private viewing for students, family and friends at 11am to 1pm. After this the exhibition will run for four weeks

    We’ve just been looking at the exciting new works of art and design created by Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design students from South Essex College. They are excellent! Do come and have a look…

    • 24 Sep 2011
  • Dull moth but groovy caterpillar

    Reed Dagger is quite a scarce plain brown moth that thrives in the phragmites that fringes the trails. The adults lay their eggs within the stems of the plant and in early September we start to see the caterpillars out on the boardwalks. By this time they are are quite big and seem to think that they are impervious to any threats... however they are a favourite snack of juvenile Cuckoos but I reckon that they should now…

    • 24 Sep 2011
  • Art comes to the marshes: Purfleet Hide Closure tomorrow

    Just a quick heads up to say that the Purfleet Hide will be closed tomorrow (24th) until 1pm for the launch of RSPB / South Essex College design students art display. This represents their artistic inspirations gained from the RSPB. Come along and enjoy!

    • 23 Sep 2011
  • Wags waving goodbye

    Yellow Wagtails have been feeding with our cattle for some weeks now and over the next few days they will be starting to head off back to Africa where they will spend our winter feeding around the feet of Gnus and Elephants. Here they are feeding with swirling flocks of Starlings, Linnets and Goldfinches.

    Yellow Wagtail (Mark Hart)

    Swirly Starling (Me)

     

    • 23 Sep 2011
  • Dancing in the sunlight

    September sees the last push of butterflies with newly emerged Red Admirals feasting on the Ivy, Sedum and anything else in flower with the odd Comma, Painted Lady and Peacock while a second generation of Speckled Woods emerge in eth woodland and dance on warm days in the sunlight. This really is a autumn highlight and inside of the cordite store is probably the best place to get close to these subtle butterflies.  Enjoy…

    • 22 Sep 2011
  • New Beginnings

    While Garden Orb Weavers are growing by eh day at the moment it is the end of the line for this summers Wasp Spiders. The adults do not make it through the winter and to ensure that their offspring hatch while it is still warm enough to forage, they lay early and then protect their eggs in their silken basket until they hatch. The protective mother then passes away haven not eaten during her vigil.

    You can can just make…

    • 21 Sep 2011
  • Orbs a plenty

    It is the time of year when Garden Orb Spiders start to become obvious with females of various sizes and colours strung out across every available gap. If you look atthe body you will see and inverted dotted cross that identifies the species. If you are really lucky you may also find Four Spot Orb Weaver which gets even bigger and is actually the UK's heaviest spider!

    All by me

     

    • 21 Sep 2011
  • Oh dear... windy boy is out of puff... again...

    Our wind turbine is currently not operating on advice from the manufacturers (see below). We hope that the issues will be resolved quickly and that we will be spinning again by the end of the year.

    'Proven Energy has become aware of a potential manufacturing defect in its Proven 35-2 wind turbine. We are investigating this, however, our work to date has now shown that a significant number of shafts may be affected across…

    • 20 Sep 2011
  • Still out hunting

    Lots of Migrant Hawkers around still today and a smart Southern Hawker was found hanging up in the Cordite store allowing Mark Hart a close approach. The two oblong yellow patches on the body behind the head are a key ID feature.

    • 20 Sep 2011
  • The Last Bat Walk

    Just a quick reminder that the there are still places on the last Moth & Bat Night on Friday 23rd September.  If you would like to book your place please give us a call on 01708 899 850.

    Look forward to seeing you there!

    • 20 Sep 2011
  • Sid's out again!

    Sid the Stoat has been seen out patrolling the woodland boardwalks this weekend. Not sure if he was actually stalking Mark & Alex but obviously decided that he could not eat two whole volunteers in one morning...

    Shots by Mark H

     

    • 19 Sep 2011
  • More snakes!

    With froglets everywhere it has been an amazing year for Grass Snakes

     

    • 19 Sep 2011
  • Diggers are back!

    On Friday the diggers arrived and headed out towards the Butts Scrape. Hopefully tomorrow they will begin work on relandscaping the islands in from og the Butts Hide which should reduce them in height and make the edges better for wildfowl and waders.  I look forward to seeing it when I get back from my hols!

    by Brenda because she moaned that I did not credit her!

    • 18 Sep 2011
  • Wheatears on their way

    A bit like the Whinchats (to which they are closely related) Wheatears are on their way south towards Africa and most that we are seeing now are juvenile birds with subtle peach and buff plumage. Like the adults though they still have the bold black and white tail pattern and white rump. Amazing to think that by the start of March they will all be back again!

    All by Dave McGough

     

    • 18 Sep 2011
  • Ouch!

    We have had a Spotted Flycatcher around for a few days and Fred Roll got some shots on Thursday that show that it has a very nasty abscess on the sole of its left foot!  Unfortunately I suspect that although it may not hinder it in feeding it will be an added burden as it tries to head towards Africa for the winter. Let's hope that it clears up before that time arrives.

     

    • 18 Sep 2011
  • HMS Dauntless

    Last week the HMS Dauntless, the new naval stealth destroyer 'crept' upriver. A very uncoventional looking ship with lots of big flat surfaces and a curious landmine / Darlek hybrid for a rader tower!  Most impressive.

    by me

    • 17 Sep 2011
  • Raptors galore again.....

    More lovely weather and more raptors!  The Vagrants have again been skywatching again and Raptor O'clock (between 1.30 and 2.30!) again prooved true with nine Buzzards, 3 Marsh Harriers, a male Goshawk, 3 Sparrowhawk, 3 Hobbies, 4 Kestrels and a juvenile Peregrine trying to catch a Ruff above our heads.  But the best by a long way was the adult male Hen Harrier that cruised in from the north and along the river before…

    • 16 Sep 2011