• Mighty craft

    HMS Illustrious visited us one final time the other week before heading off to be decomissioned and scrapped. A sad end. Forgot all about it until now (which is pretty difficult given how big she is!). 

    Meanwhile, going the other way was was the Atlantis, a  threemast barkentine, clocking in at a hefty 105 years old! Still looking good!


    • 31 May 2013
  • Plenty to eat!

    With so much verdant reed growth it is not surprising that Water Voles have been seen at many points around the trails including several mini-me babies. If you look carefully you can see feeding platforms of stamped down vegetation with neatly chewed sections of reed about three inches long. A similar area with piles of poos will be nearby!

    (Lawrence Rogers)

    (David Dent)


    • 31 May 2013
  • I have waited a long time....

    It is an old joke about beetles of different sizes but how could I resist after Craig Burnett sent me this image taken in the Cordite Store.....

    Especially for Chris Slade......


    • 30 May 2013
  • Soggy day at Rainham

    Good afternoon all,

    How are you today?

    Yesterday we had a bit of rain... Susannah Peel took some lovely arty pictures that I just had to share!

      Adorable watervole picture!



    All fabulous pictures by Susannah Peel!


    • 29 May 2013
  • Baby lapwings

    Hello again,

    It's me - I've snuck in again! (shuuuuush don't tell anyone)


    Did you spot Howard's post about the lapwings (I firstly wrote lawpings teehee, a slight typo there but I like it!) earlier? If not check it out here...

    He was telling us about the lapwings - the parents are protective of their little babies. You should keep an eye out, you can often see the adults swooping round and trying to…

    • 29 May 2013
  • Sunshine basking

    This smart male Holly Blue was photographed by Lawrence Rogers as it enjoyed some mid-afternoon sunshine. The wildlife garden acts as a little suntrap and is often sheltered, even on the breeziest days! They love to sit with the wings folded tight so this was a good moment to catch.


    • 29 May 2013
  • Independent

    Although their parents try and keep a watchful eye on them, young Lapwings are quite capable of fending for them selves and wander around like tiny fluffy clockwork versions of their elders.

    There are many out across the marsh at the moment and lets hope that many of them evade the clutches of predators to reach fledging.

    Male displaying (Russ Sherriff)


    • 29 May 2013
  • Wonder where they are nesting?

    We have at least four pair of Oystercatchers on our stretch of the Thames between the Centre and Frog Island in the East. They use both sides of the river and I reckon that they are out on a jetty somewhere or perhaps even on the Concrete Barges. One pair has been coming onto the Purfleet Scrape most days and despite being no threat, have been given short shrift by the lapwings and sent on their way. There is a chance…

    • 28 May 2013
  • Sad News - kingfishers

    Afternoon everyone,

    I am sad to have to let you know that our young kingfishers have been predated.

    Over night we think a fox has dug out some of the bank. The male has been seen around quite a bit today.


    It's very sad, but it is part of nature.

      male kingfisher taken last week by Bill Crooks

    • 27 May 2013
  • Probing for leatherjackets....

    If you watch Starlings out feeding on any field, you will see them strutting around and ramming their dagger like bill into the ground with some force. They are after Leatherjackets (the larvae of Craneflies) and probe around until they find one. 

    Step one: Sense a grub...

    Step two: Shove bill into ground as far as possible and open wide to make hole bigger...

    Step three: Extract Leatherjacket and eat the prize…

    • 27 May 2013
  • Are they getting bigger?

    Our Marsh Frogs have always been a little on the large side and Richard Duhrsen captured this battle between a Grey Heron and Frog....

    Click here to view....

    A a fine shot of a Heron eyeing up dinner by Basil Thornton...


    • 27 May 2013
  • Bank Holiday sightings (so far) 25-27 May

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Louise, and I am the Education Officer for Rainham Marshes. Nice to meet y'all!

    Now I'm at Rainham this weekend, and it's such a lovely day and we've seen loads already this weekend I wanted to share with you what's been around... So I've broken into the blog to share it with you (don't tell Howard I broke in, it'll be our secret!)

    So far this glorious bank holiday…

    • 26 May 2013
  • How many can you find?

    Little Grebes are probably one of the commonest breeding waterbirds at Rainham and their 'kips', 'giggles' and 'trills' can be heard on almost every ditch. They are something of breeding machines and will probably try and get three broods in a season if they can.

    They can also be quite obliging, especially of they they are on the nest and are right next to the path... which is often the case. 

    • 26 May 2013
  • Bees and wasps...

    It is still fairly quiet on the insect front but Lawrence Rogers got some great shots the other day of several species of solitary bee and wasp in the wildlife garden.

    I will add more names once I have fathomed them all out!

    Ichneumon wasp

    You can see the ocelli on the head between the true eyes of this little bee.

    Nomada sp wasp (I think)

    Andrena bee sp (again note the ocelli)

    and I think that this one…

    • 25 May 2013
  • Back to see us...

    At least two Harbour Porpoises have been back with us on the Thames today as they fed over the incoming tide. This is good news after the two dead animals we had during April. Preliminary reports suggest starvation due to the unseasonably stormy weather during the early spring led to their demise.

    (Brenda Clayton)


    • 25 May 2013
  • Come and visit...

    We have waited a long time to be able to say 'Come and see our Kingfishers' and I reckon that at the moment you would have to wait no more than half hour to get fabulous views just outside the Marshland Discovery Zone.

    And at long last Ptolomy Elrington's magnificent recycled metal Kingfisher is not alone.

    (Jerry Hoare)


    • 24 May 2013
  • Glorious evening

    Last night was our first Dusk Walk and Late Night Opening for the season. It had been a cold, grey, blustery day with showers but the sun came out for the end of the day and although the temperature actually dropped those on the walk had a great time and got fabulous views of the Kingfishers, Marsh Harrier, various warblers, Cuckoo and the mad Swifts.

    I manned the centre and amused myself by taking pictures of the wonderful…

    • 24 May 2013
  • Love in the sunshine...

    The occasional spells when the sun pokes through seem to spur the local wildlife into action in the love department. Dawn Cowan caught these two Holly Blues at it the other morning!

    The female is the laregr one on the right...


    • 23 May 2013
  • Waders still trickling through

    Last night Shaun Harvey had seven Turnstones out on the reserve (possibly a site record) and today there were three Sanderling in Aveley Bay along with ten Ringed Plover, two Grey Plover and four Dunlin which all came onto the back of Aveley Pool at high tide.

    Turnstones (SHa)

    Lapwings are still doing very well with even more chicks out and about. Tony Houston even had an adult drop a recently emptied eggshell right…

    • 23 May 2013
  • Incy wincy underwater spider...

    We have hoped for many years that we would find a special type of spider out on the marsh and today the visiting school kids did just that for us with a fine Diving Bell Water Spider (Argyroneta aquatica) being caught out near the Reedbed Discovery Zone. Julie Peeling (one of our Field Teachers) is rather keen on this species and I reckon you could hear her whoops of delight from the visitors centre....

    This is underwater…

    • 23 May 2013
  • Waiting for dragons

    With the weather being so grotty, Hobbies have been having a poor time of it in recent days and in such conditions can often be seen just loafing around waiting for things to improve. Mark Phillips got some great shots on Saturday and this is pick of the bunch.


    • 22 May 2013