• Today's birds so far....

    Wheatear and Black Redstarts are still at the west end and and adult Med Gull has flown over. Out on the trails a female Bearded Tit put in a brief appearance which is encouraging.  Oh and got this nice shot from Tony Shaw of the male Marsh Harrier from earlier in the week. Curlews are now in and up to 42 I believe and the Ruff are still out on Wennington.



    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Some song at last

    Yesterday afternoon we experienced a huge blizzardy hail storm for ten minutes that swept east across the marsh obliterating the view and enveloping London in a white wall of weather. It passed and amazingly the sun attempted to peak out spurring Reed Buntings and Chaffinches to start singing and for the Skylarks to give it one more go.  Wrens and Robins joined and and for a brief few minutes you could actually believe…

    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Blue Sky!

    The sun is shining! It is still very cold though with temperatures well below freezing first thing. Most of the pools are frozen again and even the foreshore has iced up overnight!

    Lots of bird song this morning including this smart male Reed Bunting just outside the centre.

    Shots by me...

    Our Easter Trail may be a bit more hospitable today and with any luck the sun will hang on in there for us and you!


    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Another cold and wintry day....

    Although migrants were again notable in their absence it was still quite a productive day out on the marsh  in the end with 8 Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, 48 Redshank, 105 Dunlin, 37 Curlew, over the high tide. In addition there were about 60 Lapwing, 57 Golden Plover, 48 Snipe and 5 Ruff on the flashes on Wennington and Aveley. Five Great Crested Grebe bobbed around offshore but there were no seaduck today.

    A Bittern was…

    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Wash and brush up

    Sue Harvey was helping us out in the hides today and was lucky enough to snap this wonderfully stripy Snipe out infront of the Purfleet Hide.  How do they get to those difficult to reach places with such a long bill?.


    • 31 Mar 2013
  • Bobbing around

    Pat Hart got some video of the two Scoter yesterday.  Nice that they came in quite close. Very cloudy here today and very cold and windy again.....  a Sand Martin would be nice!



    He has even got the characteristic stretch up, head bob, wing flpa that this species does with some regularity.


    • 30 Mar 2013
  • Fat Rat....

    Not sure what Rattus norvegigicus live off of on the foreshore at the end of Ferry Lane but I suspect that it is not just Sea Slaters! There are several in the same area as the Black Redstarts and Wheatears and the chats have been observed by several people to follow the Brown Rats around waiting to see if they unearth anything interesting.

    They are also what might be called 'robust' or 'chunky' but any comparisons to…

    • 30 Mar 2013
  • And it started so well...

    And by that I mean that the sun came up, I saw it clear the horizon and illuminate the marsh in an amber early morning glow. There was no wind, the Skylarks were arising, Lapwings were displaying and for a short while it almost felt vaguely springlike (albeit still on the very chilly side).

    Just to prove that there was some sun.... there is even my shadow!

    I even found a posing Daf....

    ... and then the sun decided…

    • 30 Mar 2013
  • Foottastic Easter Trail for families

    Foottastic Easter Trail for families

    Friday 29 March to Sunday 14 April 0930 - 1700

    Price: Wildlife Explorer members £1.50, Child non-members: £2.00 per sheet

    Fun for all the family! Can you crack our brand new Easter treasure hunt? Pick up a trail sheet from reception and head out onto the reserve – can you find the clues, solve the puzzle and collect your reward? Everyone gets a prize! Wildlife Explorer…

    • 29 Mar 2013
  • A real seagull....

    A quieter day today with just the usual Wheatear with his Black Redstart friends to be found. Not one Golden Plover or Ruff today but three Grey Plover that were just starting to come into breeding plumage with black faces and a few belly feathers.

    Highlight for me was the 1st summer Kittiwake that careened up river behind a Cobelfret Ferry.  Any Kitties that we get, inevitably tailgate a large boat and are usually the…

    • 29 Mar 2013
  • Looking for a cold dinner

    The Water Rails on the Northern Trail showed very well today and both Trevor and Mark got some good shots as one of them fed unconcerned just in front in one of the reed cuttings....

    (Mark Vale)

    (Trevor Oakley)


    • 28 Mar 2013
  • Blooming cold but a Wheatear warmed me up

    ... and at last!

    Saw the same bird that Russ photographed yesterday this morning along with two smart male Black Redstarts. In total eight Wheatears were seen today along with three Scandinavian Rock Pipits, Corn Bunting, the first White Wagtail, nine Ruff, five Curlew, three Ringed Plover, 50 or so Snipe, 250 Golden Plover (new in or returned?), showy Water Rail and two female and the juvenile male Marsh Harrier…

    • 28 Mar 2013
  • Frozen worms?

    As you will see in these three little videos from Clive Watts, our Snipe are battling trough the appalling un-spring-like weather and have been managing to feed pretty well. One looks like it was finding some chunky worms deep down in that grass!






    • 27 Mar 2013
  • Chit-chats...

    The seem to be getting on quite well at the west end with quite probably two pairs of Black Redstart flitting between the foreshore and enclosed wasteland. And there were obviously more than one Sea Slater down there as another one has clearly bitten the dust!  And as for the Wheatear!  Still have not seen one down there!  I am probably just being a bit of a tart and not staying out long enough in the freezing conditions…

    • 27 Mar 2013
  • Courting at sea

    In recent days we have seen an unusual gathering of Great Crested Grebes in the mouth of the Mardyke with up to 17 being seen.  Most have been in pairs and there had been quite a lot of dancing going on between couples although there have not resorted to seaweeed to cement the dance!

    with an appreciative Black Headed Gull (Brenda Clayton)


    • 27 Mar 2013
  • Dipping for dinner

    The adult Little Gull that was seen on the Thames yesterday was still around this morning and put on quite a show with the Black-headed Gulls as it dipped down to the surface after floating grub. although it did not have a black hood it did have the making of a nice pink flush on the front.  Cute bird.

    Shots by Brenda Clayton.. note the solid black underwings with a white border and tips.

    A single Wheatear was again…

    • 26 Mar 2013
  • ... and some more from today

    Shaun Harvey also got a shot of one pair of Scoter today along with both Black Redstarts.  I do not know if the Wheatears have been seen today though.


    • 25 Mar 2013
  • A cold, grey Thames...

    Just some quick bird news for today... Four Common Scoter and the male Goosander (first seen yesterday) werer on the Thames this morning. Tony Orwell even managed some shots...

    Two pair of Scoter


    ... and thanks Tony, for letting me pinch them off the RSPB Rainham Marshes Facebook page


    • 24 Mar 2013
  • Carrier bags...

    A very simple message.... please do not throw away your plastic carrier bags.  Reuse and Recycle otherwise this is something that you will encounter from time to time anywhere. It is distressing and potentially fatal for the bird as it causes drag and prevents proper flying, can fill with water when the bird is on the river, cuts off circulation to the legs and makes them an easier predator target.

    (Dave McGough)

    • 24 Mar 2013
  • Sea Slaters

    I have only seen Sea Slaters a couple of times on the foreshore at Rainham. These huge coastal relatives of the Woodlouse are positively prehistoric when you get up close, with beady eyes, waving antenna and articulated armour. 

    The latest record came this morning in a photo from Dave McGough of the Wheatear (which was still around yesterday). I would imagine that it would have taken a bit of bashing before it was able…

    • 23 Mar 2013
  • Winter returns...

    Not sure what it is like north of the Thames this morning but we are suffering persistent driving sleety snow at the moment. I pity any migrants that have made it in so far. Brenda has sent me some shots of the Fox Drive yesterday.  I think you will get some idea of just how cold it was...

    and last but not least a wonderful foxy fella created by the school that was in yesterday in honour of the teams efforts or…

    • 23 Mar 2013
  • The Frustratingly Fantastic Mr Fox

    So, do you want to know what we were up to today out on the marsh that caused so much disturbance? With breeding season approaching fast we realised that a sneaky Fox had somehow got into the huge fenced off area that is Aveley Marsh.  Not much good having an electric fence to keep the foxes outside when one is on the inside so today we mustered the troops and called in all the volunteers and some folks from DEFRA who…

    • 23 Mar 2013
  • Off soon...

    It is not just the traditional wintering species such as waders and wildfowl that will soon be off.  Most of our Redwings and Fieldfares have already gone with only singles on the marsh in recent weeks and the number of ticking reedbed Robins had suddenly dropped as they too head off towards northern Europe for the summer. Russ Sherriff caught this nicely orange breasted bird on the foreshore earlier in the week. Such…

    • 22 Mar 2013
  • Kes back on form

    After a quiet spell photographically with our Kestrels, Bob Cooper got these stunning shot recently as she almost hovered over his head. 


    • 22 Mar 2013
  • A rare moment

    We see our female Sparrowhawk on a regular basis as she is very adept at taking prey from around the centre feeding station but the male is little more furtive in his hunting technique and is often just seen dashing through. This makes this beautiful shot of him, taken today by Jerry Hoare even better.  What a beautiful bird!

    Two Black Redstarts and the male Wheatear seen again today while there are now 341 Golden …

    • 22 Mar 2013