• Mass emergence

    Lots of odenata on the wing today (hence the five Hobbies!) with the the first flush of Broad Bodies and Four Spotted Chasers along with more Hairy Hawkers and oodles of the three common Damsels (Azure, Blue-tail and Large Red)

    Some nice shots from Mark Vale...

    Female Azure DF

    Broad-bodied Chaser

    Four Spot Chasers

    31-5-12

    • 31 May 2012
  • Amy's Arch

    Our Education Officer, Amy is off to marry Tom on Saturday and so we engaged in a little bit of desk decoration to send her off in style. The first effort looked great and was made from plants in our Wildlife Garden but had seriously wilted by this morning prompting a post-Hawfinch panic to get it looking nice again before she arrived for work!

    Good luck to you both from all the extended Rainham Marshes team!

    Last…

    • 31 May 2012
  • Unexpected gift...

    Early start again this morning to get to work before 0630 to start filling up the pond. Whilst doing this I heard a familiar but unexpected call.  'Sounds like a Hawfinch' I thought but surely not?  Late autumn and it may have been on the cards but late May??  I looked up and there, sure enough, was a Hawfinch flying around the centre in circles at no great height before heading south across the Thames.  Amazing and…

    • 31 May 2012
  • " 'Tis but a scratch! "

    Long-jawed Orb Weaver meets male Azure Damselfly (Brenda Clayton)

    • 31 May 2012
  • Slugs and snails and puppy...

    Actually that should have been fat succulent aphids sucking a rose stem.... not puppy dog tails.....

    'Form an orderly queue please....'

    Garden Snail

    Black-lipped Hedge Snail

    Lots of snail of three species as well as countless Great Black Slugs this morning along the River Wall. Was obviously humid enough last night to allow some after dark perambulations....

    29-5-12

    • 30 May 2012
  • Many thanks....

    Just a HUGE thank you to who ever trespassed over the fence around the centre after hours yesterday evening, climbed the fence around the pond and trampled the vegetation to a pulp in their endeavour to catch and imprison the wildlife therein...

    It would appear that not only did you succeed in flattening everything but you have also seemingly put another hole in the liner!

    Oh and also thanks for pulling up all the onions…

    • 29 May 2012
  • Growth spurt!

    Lots of rain, oodles of sun, buckets of warmth and then some more rain and whoosh! Everything grows like mad!  Flowers everywhere along the river wall early this morning. Not quite carpets yet but getting there!

    Dog Rose

    Elderberry

    Goatsbeard

    Marsh Thistle

    Poppy and friend.... reckon on a Cuckoo Bee but need some help!

    Poppy

    Salsify

    White Campion

    29-5-12

     

    • 29 May 2012
  • Bunnies and Hares

    May sound strange but although we have a lot of Rabbits along the river wall at Rainham Marshes, you have to be up early to catch them in the open.  The same can be said of our Brown Hares which are incredibly elusive and are never seen out in the meadows but usually at the far end of the river wall or on the approach road to the Concrete Barges at the west end of the reserve.

    Rabbit (me)

    Young Brown Hare (Les Harrison…

    • 29 May 2012
  • Jumping Spider Haul!

    On Thursday afternoon I spent twenty minutes out on the exit ramp talking visitors and volunteers alike whilst trying to get as close as I could to the tiny spiders that could be found on one section of hand rail and fence....

    Well, apart from the nest ball of Garden Orbs, several pardosa Wolves and a couple of small Nursery Webs they were four Jumping Spiders. Amazingly each was of a different species. All were very…

    • 28 May 2012
  • Last Dawn for a year...

    Another stupidly early start but due to a lack of vols I had to lead the Dawn Chorus Walk myself! This was the first time an about four years that I have actually got to take people round this early and it was great. With warm, still, dry conditions and a fantastic sunrise the 4am brigade were treated to all the usual fare with the Cuckoo distantly calling to get us off to a good start. Everything showed very well and…

    • 28 May 2012
    • 25 May 2012
    • 24 May 2012
  • The Original Butterfly...

    Continuing the theme of emerging Butterflies in the warm weather, Dave McGough took these stunning shots of a Brimstone in our Wildlife Garden yesterday...

    24-5-12

    • 24 May 2012
  • OMG! Sunshine! Heat!

    We love to moan about the weather. " Oooo...nothing but rain for weeks on end.... cannot get out to cut the grass.... everywhere flooded.... no butterflies anywhere!" and now it's... " Oooo.... butterflies on the wing!... but it's too hot to go outside... risk of getting burnt.... grass all crispy....wish it was cooler!"

    I have a solution!  Wear a wide brimmed hat and get out there and enjoy…

    • 24 May 2012
  • There's Clingons on the Mantlet Wall, Mantlet Wall, Mantlet Wall......

    These tiny baby Wrens ventured forth into the big wide world on Sunday morning with proud parents looking on. The mantlet is so full of spiders and such like that they should have had no problem finding enough food for them despite the inclement weather that day.

    Clinging on for dear life....

    Parent looking on... all images by David Dent

    24-5-12

    • 24 May 2012
  • Any idea?

    Will let you know on Friday!

    Thanks to James Lowen for this great shot...

    • 24 May 2012
  • You're Gorgeous! Baby Birds everywhere!

    Step outside at the moment and you will hear the 'wwwwiiiiiiissshhhhoooo' calls of countless cute baby Starlings. They erupted from their nests en masse late last week and are constantly following around their parents and begging for food. The adults are very diligent but I am sure that any baby Starling that opened its bill and 'wwwwiiiiiiissshhhhoooo'ed at them would receive a belly full of leather jackets!…

    • 24 May 2012
  • Late Night Opening

    Hi all... just a little reminder that tomorrow evening (Thursday 24th) is our first Late Night Opening of the year.  There will also be the first Dusk Walk starting at 7pm should you wish to sign up for a guided tour. Otherwise just come along whenever you like up until dusk. The shop will be closed from the normal time of 5pm but we shall still be serving tea and coffee upstairs in the cafe.

    Hope to see you there.

    • 23 May 2012
  • Swans part deux

    A closer inspection of our two Mute Swan broods revealed that one of the seven Aveley Pool cygnets is in fact a Polish youngster. It is strikingly different from its siblings being off white rather than grey and as it grows up it was stay white with the bill acquiring its pink colouration at an early age. I suspect that the legs will also be pinkish.  It is not an albino, just a colour morph. I have always wondered whether…

    • 23 May 2012
  • A new bird for the reserve!

    Yesterday a Bonaparte's Gull was found by Rich Bonser at Crossness and Barking Bay yesterday.  This is a very rare visitor from North America where it is sort of the Black-headed Gull equivilant. This is the first record for London and Essex and was watched from both sides of the Thames!

    From where I was watching it yesterday evening in Barking Bay you could see Tilda Rice, the landfill site and the Concrete Barges…

    • 20 May 2012
  • Ladybirds Rule!

    A genuinely great day on the reserve yesterday with my KBC club and our first Insect Afternoon grubbing session of the year. Absolutely fabulous stuff with ten ladybird species (including Cream Spot, Water and the rare Bryony), Glow-worm, Agapanthaia villosoviridescens (you need to look this long horn up!), three species of jumping spider including the biggest UK species (Marpissa muscosa) and a cool bug eyed beetle by…

    • 20 May 2012
  • Crack of Dawn ... again

    One week on and another Dawn Chorus beckons. It is 0335 and the birds ar already in full song in preparation for the arrival of those bold enough to get up at this time! It is a little warmer this week and there is a fairly stiff breeze but this does not seem to be putting off the birds. Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Robins, Wrens, Skylark, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Redshank, Lapwing and even the Cuckoo are proclaiming their…

    • 20 May 2012