• It's Hawker Time!

    The skies are alive with aerial predators of all sizes ranging from the delicate damseflies through the dashing darters, up to the powerful hawkers and then to the lithe whizzing Hobbies that descend to eat all of them!

    Now is definitely Hawker Time with gangs of Migrant Hawkers in particular patrolling every ditch and field margin, hedge egde and even sheltered canopy.  In gloomy weather they can even be found hanging…

    • 1 Sep 2013
  • Tall Ships coming out tomorrow!

    Earlier in the week the Tall Ships headed up river for a few days before setting out on the Round the World Race.

    (Brenda Clayton)

    (Andy Tweed)

    One or two have already snuck out but apparently the bulk of the vessels will be leaving the City late morning on sunday 1st September and should be at the reserve by early afternoon!  If you know any better or have any more info please can you post a comment on here…

    • 1 Sep 2013
  • Brown's Bug Hotel.... There's rules ya know...

    Since the last post about Brown's Bug Hotel it has temporaily come under new (and if truth be known, less than approriate) management and is currently known as Bugga Hall....

    The new landlords have subsequently installed a roof garden and expensive swimming pool with multi-level diving platforms.

    Unfortunately the current tennants are a little rowdy and need some lessons in decorum...as well as diving ability..…

    • 31 Aug 2013
  • Hunting for cats!

    There is still a good chance of finding a young Cuckoo over the next couple of weeks especially as the Reed Dagger caterpillars start to emerge from their phragmites homes! This scarce moth is actually quite common at Rainham and its offspring provide young Cuckoos with a big energy boost for the long journey ahead.

    Lee Spence was lucky enough to capture this one the other day...

    31-8-13

    • 31 Aug 2013
  • Brown and Blue Dot to Dot...

    Brown Argus and Common Blue butterfly are tricky when they have the wings folded and at that stage it all comes down to spots....

    We have both species at Rainham and Pete Jackson has very kindly made up this very helpful aid for all of us to use!

    Great stuff!

    31-8-13

    • 31 Aug 2013
  • 52 Wildlife Weekends.... get out there!

    It is not often that we plug a book and this is the first of two that I will do over the next couple of weeks....

    James Lowen (and his daughter Maya) are regular Rainhamites and it seemed only right that we should review his fabulous new book: 52 Wildlife Weekends especially as we (along with many other RSPB reserves) get a very good plug!

    James has outdone himself with this very simple and yet inspirational guide…

    • 31 Aug 2013
  • Dirty volunteer!

    Now, as many of you regular visitors will know, when working in the centre during the summer I am regularly to be seen without my sandels, padding round in bare feet. I even wandered back from the Dragonfly Pool the other week without them as it was far too hot and much more comfortable.... however.....

    THEY NEVER LOOK LIKE THIS!

    Jamie, part of our Black Ops volunteer squad was out helping Nicole with some strimming…

    • 31 Aug 2013
  • Late summer skies

    With the wonders of the wet weekend long past we have settled back into some wonderful sunny, warm weather that is great for all you visitors but slows down the migration action somewhat!

    Yellow Wagtails have been a feature of this week with many birds moving through, often invisible at some height as they fly over calling.  It is worth checking the cattle as some birds have been down and trepidatiously running among…

    • 31 Aug 2013
  • Back to sunshiny butterflies

    No, not there again....  heavens above... another day off! From what I hear, three Curlew Sandpipers in Aveley Bay were the avian highlight and Brenda got some good shots of both 'normal' and white 'helice' form of Clouded Yellow.....

    Normal bright yellow one....

    'helice' form with very white upperparts and paler underparts.

    26-8-13

    • 27 Aug 2013
  • More Bad Weather = EVEN BETTER BIRDS!

    Oh dear.... not at work again but as I came through the Dartford Tunnel at 0900 on my way to a sunny Suffolk for the day, with the low murky skies, heavy drizzle and easterly wind I did think....mmmm gonna be another good one today...

    I was not wrong and the Early Birders came up trumps with no leass than 4 Sabine's Gulls , 7 Little Gull , Arctic Skua, 30 Black Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern , 48 Arctic Tern , 32 Common Tern…

    • 26 Aug 2013
  • Bad Weather = Good Birds

    Quite a day out on the reserve in terrible conditions but as expected the poor weather and visibility drew in the birds and those brave enough to stick it out were well rewarded.

    I do not usually do lists but you are going to get one tonight....

    Roseate Tern (RB,PD) 76 Common Tern, 42 Arctic Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern, 8 Black Tern, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 11 Ruff, 2 Greenshank, Dunlin, 2 Oystercatcher, 12 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel…

    • 25 Aug 2013
  • Predators and prey....

    Paul Samuels has once again produced another magic little film of the life on the marsh and so sit back and enjoy two minutes of the daily trials and tribulations of living in our Perimiter Ditch....

    www.youtube.com/watch


    24-8-13

    • 24 Aug 2013
  • And today's new word is.....

    I have had a fun couple of days away from the reserve (yes it is possible) including a great ringing demo and a flock of SEVEN Stone Curlews on the scrape at RSPB Minsmere yesterday and an Osprey and my first Willow Emerald damselflies near Maldon today.  

    With a little time to spare, I popped into the reserve at about 1530 to be greeted by a stranded terrapin (species as yet unknown). I deftly skirted any responsibility…

    • 24 Aug 2013
  • Stunning wood sandpiper

    www.youtube.com/watch

    Yesterday Jerry Hoare managed to get this stunning video of the wood sandpiper.

    Stunning huh?

    For more details about this fabulous wading bird check out the RSPB website.

    • 23 Aug 2013
  • Potion and Pies - for the under 5's

    Good morning,

    How are you all today?

    I just wanted to tell you a little about a brand new event that we ran this summer - Potions and Pies for the under 5's.

     

    One of our fabulous Field Teaching Interns Julie is an expert in the Early Years Learning, so this summer she planned and ran a couple of events for our youngest birders!

    Potions and Pies was some seriously messy fun (and people didn't event need to worry…

    • 23 Aug 2013
  • 'Go on then tough guy! Run me over!'

    I was not technically at work today but was off out to do some butterflying in south Kent and so left the car at Rainham... As we drove out this morning, Bill swerved around something in the road.

    'It's a big beetle' says Bill so out we get to find a female Stag Beetle getting all stroppy in the middle of the road. She allowed me to pick her up and move her to the pavement where she continued with her belligerent…

    • 21 Aug 2013
  • Nectar Bar is open...

    With some lovely sunshine today it was not surprising to find the Rainham Wildlife Garden Nectar Bar in full swing by mid morning.... early drinkers these insects!

    Plenty of flutterby action on the various budlias today with Small Torts in the majority. Some butterflies are now looking a little worse for wear having been got at by the numerouns Migrant and Southern Hawkers patrolling the area!

    Red Admiral

    Small…

    • 19 Aug 2013
  • Thank you for no rain!

    Quite a day! The weather was kind to us and the last minute Mini Rainham Fair was a great success with some great stalls, Splat the Rat and the glorious, fun lovin' Alex and her amazing Caribbean cooking! Those jerk chicken wraps were mind blowing! Wow!


    Oh and there were some birds too... I saw at least two Marsh Harriers and a Buzzard from 'out back' and Yellow Wagtails flew over with some regularity while…

    • 19 Aug 2013
  • Posing again....

    The Bearded Tits were once again posing yesterday although the ever increasing wind kept them out of sight more often than not. Lots of made pinging though!

    I directed Jim and Linda Bailey down their earlier in the week and they both wanted to see this funky reed dweller. Not only did they show very well but Jim got some great shots off too....

    One of the newer juveniles....

    18-8-13

    • 18 Aug 2013
  • What the Rutland Bird Fair means to me

    I was at the Bird Fair at Rutland on Friday, proudly representing the RSPB on our first proper Birder orientated stand. Every colleague had their role and the word ‘birder’ emblazoned on the back of their t-shirts, from Directors and policy makers through site managers, wardens, PR, membership bods and events organisers down to the likes of me who spend our time chatting away and enthusing others about our passion. It…

    • 18 Aug 2013
  • A sad end...

    Shaun Harvey found this immaculate looking dead Harbour Porpoise this morning down at the Ferry Lane end of the reserve.  A real pity but there have apparently been many deaths this year.  I am trying to get a recovery team down there to take it away for post mortum.....

    17-8-13

    • 17 Aug 2013
  • Tripping Tringas

    Tringa Sandpipers are some of the most enigmatic and energetic of our waders and include both Redshanks, Greenshank and the three smaller sandpipers - Green, Common and Wood.  All bar the Spotty can be found out on the marsh at the moment and this delicate little Wood Sand has been attracting a few visitors as it feeds with a Ruff on the pool at the end of the Norhern Trail.

    I hope it is still there this morning as I…

    • 17 Aug 2013
  • .. and continuing the stripy theme...

    My first walk round for some time today (12 minutes on my bike to lock up last night does not count!) and although it was fairly quiet bird wise it was great for inverts with my first crop of well grown Wasp Spiders in the grass before the Ken Barrett Hide, some interesting hoverflies including the Hornet mimic Volucella zonaria and a very good number of both whining Shrill and dull stripy Brown Banded Carder Bees feeding…

    • 15 Aug 2013
  • Watch where you put you hands!

    When you are out and about on the trails just be aware if you are near any of the oak handrails that our local Wasps love chewing then into a pulp to take away to make high quality paper for their wonderfully intricate nests.

    Get down close and watch them at eye level as they uses those powerful jaws to chew off tiny pieces that they then pass backwards and form into a sticky back to carry off back to the camp. Just…

    • 15 Aug 2013
  • Rainham Marshes Mini Fair! Sunday 18th August

    Join us all day on Sunday 18th August for a Mini Summer Fair! There will be stalls around the centre including: wood turned goods, lace making, textiles (bags and more!), cards and jewellery, photography, Caribbean food and more! Come along, browse and enjoy the fair, explore the reserve and visit our cafe for a piece of home-made cake!

    12-8-13

    • 12 Aug 2013