• Spring Greens

    The air is warming and sap is at last rising and previously tight buds are now opening up and verdant leaves are pushing forth. You can almost smell the chlorophyll...

    Dog Rose

    Hawthorn

    Hazel

    304-13

    • 30 Apr 2013
  • Don't forget the water!

    I know that there has been lots of water around this winter and spring but to keep in tip top condition it is imperative that birds have access to fresh clean water for drinking and bathing. If you do not have a bird bath then a shallow turkey tin does just the job.

    James Astley caught these guys during the ablutions in a car park puddle the other day!

    House Sparrow

    Greenfinch

    29-4-13

    • 29 Apr 2013
  • Where do they come from?

    In the last couple of weeks there have been an inordinate number of Coconuts stranded along the foreshore. Strangely enough this seems to happen a couple of times a year. Most are intact and in their husks and having opened one or two, most are perfectly sound and just fine for the birds!

    So here are the theories...

    • That some where along the river some one regularly has a surfeit of coconuts and throws them in...
    • 28 Apr 2013
  • Nettles are good!

    Now, I know that at one time or another we have all got stung but Nettles or perhaps have had the misfortune to fall over in a huge patch when we were kids but they are a fabulous source of life throughout the year as well as having practical human uses such as making soup, wine and string.

    At the moment the plants are just getting going and new growth is popping up all over the place. Soon these small green clumps will…

    • 27 Apr 2013
  • Dawn Chorus Dates 5, 12 and 19 May

    Rainham Marshes is an ideal place to experience a spring Dawn Chorus. We start pre-dawn at 4am as the first Robins, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Wrens arise with Reed and Sedge Warbler chundering and chattering behind us and asthmatic Lapwings and trembling Redshanks display over the marsh and the Cuckoo tries to remember his name.... I suspect Mr P will get in on the act with an enthusiastic crow or two and if it is…

    • 26 Apr 2013
  • Another mega-mouse!

    Another Yellow-necked Mouse has been found in the woodland. This is great news and I suspect that we have a small but very important population of this chunky little rodent living on the reserve. If you are lucky enough to see a gingery mouse whilst out on your walk look out for the robust size (like a Wood Mouse that has been doing weights), very long tail, bright fur with a sharp contrast between the ginger uppers and…

    • 25 Apr 2013
  • Woolly bud, sulphuous flower, silky leaf

    The Sallows and other Willows around the trails seem to all flower at slightly different times and it is possible to find different plants at different stages of growth. Each has its own charm and you can almost feel the sap pulsing through the stems as they gear up for another season.

    Pics by me

    22-4-13

    • 24 Apr 2013
  • Kingfisher update

    The initial nesting stages of Kingfishers are crucial and they are very susceptible to disturbance. Given the proximity of the bank excavations to the main window of the Marshland Discovery Zone it was was deemed prudent to screen the window with some camo netting that would still allow visitors of all ages to peer through and see the birds.

    However, it has quickly become obvious that there is still too much ambient…

    • 23 Apr 2013
  • Pink hands

    The Woodland Rats have been having a great time around the new feeder and the deep water is no barrier to these intelligent rodents. Most of the time they will lurk around the base and wait for the finches, buntings and tits to drop a seed or two but sometimes....

    This one was seen to not get its approach to the feeder quite right and after a leap onto the upright it performed a dive that Tom Daley would have been proud…

    • 22 Apr 2013
  • Wrong day to venture out...

    With not too many warm days so far it was not too surprising that an early basking Lizard was not warmed up enough to escape the talons of Kes. She seemed especially pleased with herself and wolfed it down!

    Cracking shots by Lee Spence...

    21-4-13

    • 21 Apr 2013
  • Looking for love... always...

    Dunnocks are frisky little birds and their pre and post nuptial shenanigans are well known. They are a lot commoner than you might think and although unobtrusive outside of the breeding season they can often be one of the commonest singing birds this time of year. Listen out for thin, reedy but actually quite beautiful little song that is often given full in the open this time of year.

    Grey, brown and understated yet…

    • 20 Apr 2013
  • Patchy Ruff

    While Brenda was on Kingfisher Watch yesterday (yes they are still around) she also saw a few Wheatears and this smart male Ruff. I suspect that he will end up with a fine chestnut ruff in few weeks time when he touches down in his Dutch or even Arctic breeding grounds.

    Another six Wheatears (taking us to ten) and a female Whinchat were also seen along the river wall in the late afternoon.

    19-4-13

    • 19 Apr 2013
  • Lovin' them hills!

    Wheatears love our Yellow Meadow Ant hills. They offer great little vantage points across the marsh and the leeward side is always out of the wind and is a great place to search for sheltering inverts to snack on.

    Expect there to be another few weeks of spring movement yet so keep your eyes open and check the fields especially those with anthills along the Southern Trail.

    (Elaine Crew)

    19-4-13

    • 19 Apr 2013
  • Still learning

    A very large juvenile female Peregrine cruised onto the marsh yesterday morning. It was mobbed by a Kestrel who then very nearly became breakfast for this chunky lady...

    I suspect that she had already eaten as she proceeded to flop down in a meadow and preen herself for nearly an hour on an ant hill. A fine bird that confused me initially with the paleness of the head and general bulk but the wing tips meeting the tail…

    • 18 Apr 2013
  • Willy Wobblers

    With such a big fall of migrants across London this week it was good that the reserve did not get left out and although we did not get any Redstarts, Whinchats or Pied Flycatchers we did get over 20 Wheatear, 30 Willow Warblers and 20 Chiffchaffs on Monday as well as a Tree Pipit and a brief Ring Ouzel. Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats are now in and Blackcaps are bursting into song.

    The trembling song of a Willow Wa…

    • 18 Apr 2013
  • Some Boardwalk Disruptions

    On Thursday 18 April (tomorrow in fact!) we will be doing some work on the boardwalk just past the Marshland Discovery Zone around the Dragonfly Pool and Shooting Butts. You should be able to complete a full circuit if you are fit and able but there will be limited access for people in wheelchairs and with pushchairs which means that you will not be able to make the whole circuit of the reserve.

    You will be able to reach…

    • 18 Apr 2013
  • Those Kingfishers...

    The initial nesting stages of Kingfishers are crucial and they are very susceptible to disturbance. Given the proximity of the bank excavations to the main window of the Marshland Discovery Zone it was was deemed prudent to screen the window with some camo netting that would still allow visitors of all ages to peer through and see the birds.

    However, it has quickly become obvious that there is still too much ambient…

    • 18 Apr 2013
  • Snacking...

    Lots of Water Vole activity at the moment with sightings from many of the bridges as they come out to feast on the first tender green reed shoots that are just below the surface at the moment.

    Got this great shot from Alan Farthing the other day. One from last autumn but still a corker!

    17-4-13

    • 17 Apr 2013
  • Strange hybrid observed...

    On Saturday whilst watching the swans with their orange jewellery I noticed Ian Twine looking the other way and commenting 'Now, that's made my day!' He was gesticulating at the A13 where a curious vehicle was heading west into London.  'It's Supercar!' he said...

    And there it was, a curious hybrid between a red London Double Decker Bus, a Tube Train and and Overhead Train...

    As a Public Transport…

    • 16 Apr 2013
  • Beetle Mania

    Many visitors over the last few days have noticed heaps of small shiny blue beetles in the reeds just of the Northern Trail.  We see them evey year but for the life of me I cannot currently remember the name.  I know what they are not (Blue Mint Beetle) but not what they are! Pretty sure they are one of the flower beetles though!

    Will get back to you when I find out more!

    16-4-13

    • 16 Apr 2013
  • Basking Butts

    Yesteday's warmth prompted some butterfly basking action and some good shots were got as these hardy insects at long last got a chance for a good fly around in search of some nectar!

    Comma (Elaine Crew)

    Peacock (Janet Edmunds)

    15-4-13

    • 15 Apr 2013
  • Fisher update

    A glorious day with an ever increasing wind but at least it felt warm for a change! Some good birds today but I suspect that more went through unnoticed than we actually saw as the clear skies and following southerly wind will have kept much on the move, especially as things are so far behind.

    There were a few newbies intoday with the first three Sedge Warblers and a solitary Greenshank but other waders were scarce with…

    • 15 Apr 2013
  • Croaking at last

    On Wednesday a family reporting seeing a couple of Marsh Frogs. These were the first sightings this year but it took until yesterday for them to start croaking although it was a little half hearted and lacking gusto. They seem to all start out dark brown a 'green up' as the season goes one...

    Pic by me...

    Bit more sun and the cacophony will begin in earnest!

    14-4-13

    • 14 Apr 2013
  • Only blooms...

    With such a dire spring so far they are almost no blooms out on the reserve at the moment. Coltsfoots is flowering in one or two places (especially on the Aveley Pool central bund) and is a welcome splash of yellow but there is only a few timid flowers from the Self Heal around the woodland edges and the two Tortoiseshells and Red Admiral that we saw yesterday will have been struggling to find nectar. We saw one or two…

    • 14 Apr 2013
  • They've been Darvic'd!

    I was surprised to see today that the bomb crater pair of Mute Swans (that are back on their pool by the way) are now each sporting a fine orange Darvic ring with a black code. I would image that they were ringed somewhere locally and will post the let the BTO know so that we can see what they have been up to.!

    The Cob....

    The Pen...

    Intriguing!

    13-4-13

    • 14 Apr 2013