• 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
  • Beginner Birdwatch Walk Cancelled This Week

    Afternoon all... just a quick note to say that due to some essential reserve-wide work on Friday 22 March I have cancelled the Beginners Birdwatch Walk as there will be serious disturbance throughout the day to the whole of  Aveley Marsh within the fenceline.  Sorry for any inconvenience caused.


    • 18 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
  • Another Award!

    On Friday evening Mel (our Visitor Services Manager) attended the annual Thurrock Business Awards.  We were entered into two categories and were up against tough opposition and much to our delight we won the award for Environmental Awareness! 

    I think Mel was equally surprised that she had to go up on stage to collect the huge plaque!


    • 15 Mar 2013
  • More Snail Headaches

    Whilst topping up the feeders this morning I found loads of smashed snail shells around the base. I presume that our Song Thrushes have been head banging whilst we have not been looking!  David Dent got this nice shot earlier today.  I still reckon that this may be a continental bird as it appears very grey.....



    • 10 Mar 2013
  • Flocks of owls....

    Had to stay after hours today as we had a group of RSPB bods on a course till late.  Gave me the chance in the gorgeous evening light to scan the distant silts and despite the two miles between them and me I managed to scope two Barn Owls and three Short-eared Owls as they quartered the main lagoon bank.  This is the first time I have ever seen two Barn Owls out at the same time and only an hour after I told the delegates…

    • 13 Mar 2013
  • I bet you didn't know....

    It never shows up in the books or paintings but if you get the light just right on a male Pintail then the head is not completely rich chocolate brown. In strong light the area behind the eyes takes on an iridescent purplish hue. Dave McGough must have been sitting  next to Alan yesterday and got some fantastic shots....

    and one from Brenda too...


    • 13 Mar 2013
  • The marsh is alive with the sound of munching...

    In the last few days, and despite the weather, there has been an increase in the number of Water Vole sightings around the trails. If it is calm listen out for the sound of fresh green shoots being merrily munched and for a stem receding into the undergrowth!

    David Howarth took this great shot last week.  I am sure that over the coming weeks there will be more to follow!

    Oh and had a Raven go over early doors so eyes…

    • 18 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • ... 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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