• RSPB Art in the Purfleet Hide

     

    (Oystercatchers by Mark Boyd).

    (Kentish Plover by Katie Fuller)

    Vivienne Booth, Jenny Sweet, Katie Fuller, Mark Boyd, Rolf Williams and Ben Andrew are the staff exhibiting.

    More details about what is for sale and that sort of stuff to follow!

     29-6-12

    • 30 Jun 2012
  • Wolves on the prowl

    Down at ground level it is not safe to drop your guard as the Wolves are always out and about. There are countless species of this family of spider and all are excellent hunters. If you stand still and look down at any patch of shortish vegetation you are bound to see them scurrying around. Sometimes you will see what looks like a white ball on the abdomen; which is the egg sack that the female carries around for safe keeping…

    • 29 Jun 2012
  • Aerial Hunters

    After a big surge in May, Swifts have become very scarce over the reserve in recent weeks. No doubt they are all busy nesting elsewhere but there are normally a few feeding over the site regardless. Not sure if the weather has been putting them off but we have ben lucky to see one every few days at the moment....  Are there any screaming colonies near you?

    (Les Harrison)

    28-6-12

    • 29 Jun 2012
  • Try saying this after a few Shandies!

    Agapanthia villosoviridescens .... Definitely one of our most eyecatching invertebrates with its speckled back and amazing pied stripy antennae. This impressive Long-horn Beetle is also known as the Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle and is often to be seen on various umbilfers around the trails. It is quite big being about 2cm long plus the antennae so keep you eyes open and you may be lucky!

    (Mark Hart)

    • 27 Jun 2012
  • Hitching a lift

    This tiny Speckled Bush Cricket was seen on the back of a rather reticent Hedge Snail.  As far as getting there quicker I suspect that the cricket could have chosen a slightly more awake fellow traveller to flag down....

    (Mark Vale)

    • 25 Jun 2012
  • Audrey....?

    Our Deadly Nightshade is now in bloom and the wonderful bell shaped flowers attract bees in particular to pollinate. Not quite sure why but this picture reminded me of Audrey II, the very hungry plant in the Little Shop of Horrors.....

    (DN by Jerry Hoare)

    • 24 Jun 2012
  • Honey's Return

    For the last few years we have been 'graced' by a colony of Honey Bees that like to nest within the outer skin of the building. This tends not to cause us too many problems and we have signs up to let visitors know that they are there.  We have not seen too many this year so far so it was a bit of a surprise when a cloud of Honeys numbering thousands got swept past the building in the strong wind. They stopped…

    • 23 Jun 2012
  • Cat Watching...

     When the sun was briefly shining yesterday evening I managed to crack open the doors and get some shots of the Stock Doves perched on the hand rail waiting for the ginger Tom to finish prowling for helpless small rodents before descending for a late evening snack. Truly beautiful birds close up....

    22-6-12

     

    • 22 Jun 2012
  • Emperor's First Clothes

    They have a long way to go in the world of 'growing up' but these Emperor Moth caterpillars are already being seen on bramble clumps around the reserve. It will take a lot of munching and several changes of skin before they resemble the huge, impressive green sausages with pink orangey-pink spots and black spiky rings that visitors find ambling across the paths in a few weeks time!

    About 3/4 inch long at the…

    • 22 Jun 2012
  • Punkapillar

    Lots of our moths and butterflies have got caterpillars with very groovy hairstyles.  The Vapourer is one of the gaudiest with a collection of fluffy tufts like a Sid Vicious yellow Mohican and massive false eyelashes!

    And who in their right mind would want to eat that!

    Thanks to Lawrence Rogers for the shots!

    The female of the moth is quite weird in that it has no wings and therefore cannot fly.  She give out a pheromone…

    • 22 Jun 2012
  • Mid-summer Night's Dream??

    More like the blooming Tempest!!!!  What an evening for a Dusk Walk. It started bright but breezy but quickly turned nasty... Several brave souls did turn up for a surprisingly enjoyable circuit in what can only be described as gale force winds with scudding clouds and shafts of blazing light that swiftly moved across the marsh like Godly spotlights.

    There were some birds seen including two Common Sandpipers on Aveley…

    • 22 Jun 2012
  • An Ant in a furry coat...

    Keep an eye out at the moment for Velvet Ants on the trails. These colourful relatives of bees and ants are doing quite well at he moment and we seem to be seeing more each year. We were surprised to discover that the species actually can deliver a painful, poisonous bite when threatened! Will be conscious of this next time we handle them!

    Female Velvet Ant (me)

    21-6-12

    • 21 Jun 2012
  • Marshland Discovery Zone....

    As many of you will know, we have an art trolley in the MDZ and we encourage visitors to doodle away and put their pictures up on the wall.  Brenda and I went down for a tidy up the other day and could not resist taking some shots of the 'Wall of Art'.

    You will notice that I did not just say 'kids art'.... looks like some of the parents have been getting in on the act as well!

    Diana aged…

    • 21 Jun 2012
  • Late Night Opening 21st June

    Evening all.... just a reminder that the we have a Dusk Walk tomorrow evening from 7pm and that the reserve will be open to dusk for general visitors as well.  Hope to see some of you there.

    And.... the third pair of Mute Swans with the huge nest on the bomb crater pool have hatched at least three young today.  Fingers crossed.

    (Me)

    and the male Marsh Harrier put on a great show for the Wednesday Walk as well.

    • 20 Jun 2012
  • Sprog Alert!

    It seems at the moment that everyday more baby House Sparrows appear around our feeders.  Proper little production line going on in Purfleet at the moment. It is a very important time of year to be feeding all birds in your garden and if you can put out mealworms (live or dried) it really helps small birds such as sparrows to not only keep their first brood live and well but allows then to have a go at raising another…

    • 20 Jun 2012
  • Sunshine = Butterflies!

    With three days of sunshine it was a relief to at last some Butterflies back on the wing. Hopefully it will now not be too long before the grass is alive with dancing Skippers and Browns.

    Large Skipper (Mark Hart)

    Red Admiral (Mark Hart)

    Common Blue (Brenda Clayton)

    20-6-12

    • 20 Jun 2012
  • Bobbly Bits... real science!

    If you look really closely at a fly or a daddy legs you will see that they only one set of wings unlike bees, wasp and dragonflies for instance which have two pairs. In place of their second pair they have what looks like a little ball on a stick that bounces up and down in flight.  These funny little things are called the halteres and are of vital importance to the fly. They are flapped rapidly and function as gyroscopes…

    • 19 Jun 2012
  • Flourishing

    It would seem that our newly colonising Bryony Ladybirds are doing well and they have been seen regularly on nice days, mainly in the Cordite Woodland but also in the car park area.

    Found one again on Saturday during the rather blustery Insect Afternoon Walk.

    Almost furry (HV)

    White Bryony - the food plant (HV)

    19-6-12

    • 19 Jun 2012
  • Southbound or absent Fathers?

    Nice litle group of Ringed Plovers and a couple of Dunlin this morning in Aveley Bay with an Avocet, three Oystercatchers and two Curlew.  All then graced the Target Pools over high tide.  Wonder if the plovers and Dunlin are failed breeders or deserting males on their way back south again? Would not be surprised to see a Green Sandpiper by the end of next week!

    Our brood of nine Shelduck are also still around.  Hopefully…

    • 19 Jun 2012
  • Tiny Hoppers

    Ever wondered what the foamy like spittal in the grass is this time of year? Commonly known as Cuckoo Spit this froth serves a number of purposes. It hides a tiny Froghopper nymph from the view of predators and parasites, it insulates against heat and cold, thus providing thermal and also moisture control. Without the froth the insect would quickly dry up. The nymphs pierce plants and suck sap causing damage, and much of…

    • 19 Jun 2012
  • Now that's what I call a forked tail!

    We had an immature Red Kite head west low over the reserve on this morning.  A very tatty bird with quite a bit of moult in the wings and nearly all of the central tail feathers missing creating a mega-fork!  Pretty sure that this bird seen further east of hear about ten days ago as I seem to remember someone mentioning missing tail feathers.

    Flew right over Mark Hart's head.....

     

    • 18 Jun 2012
  • Some more pond rescues

    With so much rain I was not surprised to see the that the pond has partly filled back up in the Wildlife Garden but the holes are obviously still in the liner and it has begun to drop again so I am still sticking to my plan to infill the central core with top soil and create a bog garden.  As such there has been some more rescue attempts on what remains in the murk and the Harts re-homed qute a few waifs on Thursday including…

    • 18 Jun 2012
  • Wonder Weevils

    Of the many beetles that we see at Rainham is the humble weevil and they come in many sizes from almost micrscopic ant-sized versions to the the comparatively huge Liparus coronatus. Let us know if you find any different ones.

    Acorn Weevil - what a snout! (Chris Slade)

    Liparus coronatus (Mark Hart)

    Phyllobius pomaceus (Mark Hart)

    Phyllobius pomaceus (me)


    This courting couple were no more than a couple of…

    • 18 Jun 2012
  • Home Building

    As usual our Little Grebes are nesting in interestingly obvious areas and this pair have set up their nest literally just off the boardwalk.

    • 18 Jun 2012
  • Most peculiar

    With a bit of warmth in the air we have seen a lot more lizard activity and as such visitors have been getting some great images.....

    However, this one that was found by Neil Phillips and Susan Baker is just down right weird... I would presume that at some stage this lizard has lost its tail but during the re-grow process things went a little awry and two tails formed....

    (Neil Phillips)

    (Jerry Hoare)

    (me)

    • 18 Jun 2012