• Further afield... somewhere else to go

    Sorry but I have been away from the reserve again... another Busman's trip, this time to RSPB Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire. Spent a lovely day there in glorious sunshine walking the length of the levee and having a good look from all the hides. Acres of water and flooded grassland and more birds than you could shake the proverbial stick at! Wigeon were present in huge flocks each bigger than all we have at Rainham…

    • 31 Jan 2012
  • Remains of the day...

    In the heart of winter it is sometimes possible to discover signs of the long gone summer in the form of otherwise hidden nests deep in the now dying vegetation. Nests of songbirds and even Harvest Mice are now easier to find and with a bit of thought it is possoble to identify the previous owner. Mark Hart found this delightful Reed Warbler nest woven unusually into the stems of a thistle and it is still intact despite…

    • 31 Jan 2012
  • Hope you are not bored yet?

    I would apologise for yet more Bearded Tit imagegs but today's showing was even better than last weeks and Brenda got some great images as they came down to water level to search through the reedmace fluff that they had already disturbed... PLEASE come and see them!

    • 31 Jan 2012
  • Catching some rays...

    No chance today for any sun bathing but last week Mark caught this Wren having a good warm up before the weather turned again.

    Not a crash landing...... (Mark Hart)

    • 30 Jan 2012
  • Reedmace Pullers

    It is not just the Penduline Tits that we now associate with our stands of Greater and Lesser Reedmace but as you will have seen iin countless images, the Bearded Tits have taken to it big time this year in search of the tiny moth caterpillars that live within the fabric of the seedhead. we often see Blue tits, Stonechats, Wrens and Reed Bunting attacking the heads and on Wednesday we even caught a Magpie exhibiting the…

    • 29 Jan 2012
  • Stark raving bonkers....

    This is our regular cock Pheasant that feeds around the bottom of the feeding station by the visitors centre. His harem ws not far away, out of sight in the grass and what quite prompted this bout of temporary insanity I do not know.  He then freezes almost like he was playing musical statues and the music just stopped! This is not the first time that he has had a special moment but definitely the first time on film!

    • 28 Jan 2012
  • Comma, Exclamation Mark!

    Blooming cold today but still and calm with sunshime all day encouarged a foolish Comma butterfly to emerge and sun itself on some brambles. Just hope it was able to find shelter and shut down again before night fell.

    (Chris Norwood)

    • 28 Jan 2012
  • Buntings like the feeders.... how about yours?

    The revamped woodland feeding station is starting to draw in more and despite the attention of about 50 greedy Collared Doves, the Reed Buntings have taken a particular delight to all the smaller seed holders that have been sculpted into the logs down there. This stump will eventually become a water bath but they like the niger provided at the moment!

    (Chris Norwood)

    and do not forget that this weekend is Big Garden…

    • 28 Jan 2012
  • Rumaging Wren

    Wrens have been very active of late and the mild weather is probably going to help them get through the winter even if we now do get a cold snap. Mark Hart has got some good shots recently.

    Just waiting for the one Mark today of a bird sunbathing!

    • 28 Jan 2012
  • Beardies Performing Again!

    The last three days have seen a another special series of performances from our Bearded friends!  Enjoy!

    (Jerry Hoare)

    (Jerry Hoare)

    (Brenda Clayton)

    ... and just to show how close they were!

    • 27 Jan 2012
  • Storm Front...

    A huge rain cloud pushed east along the Kent side of the Thames this afternoon.... Reckon my garden will be a bit damp when I get home!

    and some more showers have just gone over the west end and as usual we have been left out!  Visitors are happy though! Please note all the water out on Purfleet Scrape (along with about 20 Wigeon!)

    • 26 Jan 2012
  • Art Exhibition Starting on the 28th January!

    Our latest Art Exhibition opens on Saturday 28th and features paintings by local artist Dawn Cowan. The show will last until Sunday 19th February and all pieces are for sale!

      

    • 26 Jan 2012
  • Giving them grief!

    Our Peregrines have been super active again with both Marsh Harriers joining in in the general harrassment of the Lapwings, Golden Plovers and duck! Some great swirly whirly pictures from this morning.

    Also had awesome views of the Bearded Tits today.

    • 25 Jan 2012
  • Waders on Purfleet Scrape!!! Whooohooo!

    In the last week small numbers of Lapwings have joined the ever growing duck numbers on the pool and this afternoon they were joined by 166 Dunlin over the high tide for the first time. And before you ask... I did count them all! A juv Iceland Gull was seen early this morning by Paul Hawkins down at the Stone Barges but it never made it as far as the centre!

    Brenda Clayton

    Mark Hart

     

    • 25 Jan 2012
  • 'Where's my scope?'

    Not a bad haul for the day really and with the grotty drizzle and claggy visability doing its best to hamper things: juv Iceland Gull at the Stone Barges, 620 Black Tailed Godwit (a new site record), 120 Golden Plover, 3 Avocet, 3 Curlew, Great Crested Grebe, m Goosander, Grey Wagtail, f & imm m Marsh Harrier, pr Peregrine, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 166 Dunlin (more to come on this one!) 2 Bearded Tits, pr Stonechat…

    • 25 Jan 2012
  • Our Peregrine is ringed!

    Les Harrison took some great shots of the male Peregrine on Sunday and we have now discovered that he is ringed! The metal band can clearly be seen on his left leg. David Morrison is our top man when it comes to Peregrines in London and you can find out more about London's thriving Peregrine population on his blog. Hopefully David may be able to trace our bird but we will need some better images to try and read the…

    • 24 Jan 2012
  • This weekend is Big Garden Birdwatch time!

    Big Garden Birdwatch is fun, free, really easy, and only takes an hour. You can do your birdwatch wherever you like - at home, in your local park, or do it as part of a group at one of our events near you. You can also chat about the world's biggest bird survey in our friendly community group.

    We have lots of forms at Rainham should you wish to pop in and pick one up.... this weekend is the one time when we actually…

    • 24 Jan 2012
  • Want to do something different this winter?

    Every now and then I give a little plug for another one of our fabulous reserves. A couple of weeks ago I visited our Yare Valley Reserves in Norfolk. Strumpshaw Fen, Cantley and Buckenham were on the to do list and we managed to see eight species of geese including the only Taiga Bean Geese in England and the one and only Lesser White-fronted Goose! Thousands of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Wigeon filled the sky and Pe…

    • 23 Jan 2012
  • Quartering for lunch

    Our semi-resident immature male Marsh Harrier is starting to moult into his adult plumage now. He would have been born in the summer of 2009 somewhere and is the male of the pair that bred locally in 2010. Of late he has got quite good at catching Teal although not so good at keeping the crows from pinching it!

    • 22 Jan 2012
  • Bet you didn't know!

    Now, in the bird books it tells you that the crown colour of Goldcrests helps with identification but in the field it is very difficult most of the time to tell the difference between the sexes.

    Females have a wholly yellow central crown and male have yellow with firey orange in the middle. However, as you will see in these two shots from Brenda it does not always show up unless the male bird is exceptionally excited…

    • 19 Jan 2012
  • Rafts of whistling Wigeon

    Yesterday, it became quite obvious that the numbers of Wigeon had increased somewhat and when they were all spooked by a passing Grey Heron I was able to count 620 on the flash in front of the Shooting Butts Hide. I suspect that we have in the region of 800 on site at the moment which is a good sign.  it was fun to watch them all grazing in unison along the grassy shore of the pool like little avian sheep!

    Some of the…

    • 19 Jan 2012
  • Gold is Great

    The Goldfinches around the visitors centre have been slowly building in numbers and with a little patience it is possible to photograph them at the feeding station. Matthew Foakes took this nicely lit shot on the 12th.

    • 19 Jan 2012
  • Getting cosy...

    Our male Peregrine showed exceptionally well to the drizzled upon Wednesday Walkers today but yesterday the happy coupld put on a fine display for Mark Hart who took these great shots...

    • 19 Jan 2012
  • Frozen duckweed!

    With some freezing conditions at last several species were able to demonstrate their ability to walk on water none less than this fine Water Rail seen on Monday by Chris Lowe. Expect more action like this in the coming weeks!

    • 19 Jan 2012