• Today, the weather and tomorrow

    So it's the last day of 2013 and the tide is high, the clouds are scudding and the southerly wind is still buffetting the landscape.

    With more rain having fallen and even more on the way, it is still very much a wellies and waterproofs reserve for the time being with the end of the Northern Trail still being inundated and likely to get deeper overnight.

    The two White=fronted Geese are still on Purfleet and as I…

    • 31 Dec 2013
  • Bring your wellies!

    Hello! How are you all?

    Have you had a good Christmas so far? Early best wishes for the New Year everyone!

    Just wanted to let you know how fabulous the reserve is looking at the moment!

    Although with all the water you can't get all the way round the reserve without wellies. There is a section of the reserve on the northern boardwalk that is only accessible with wellies. You can get to the Shooting Butts Hide…

    • 31 Dec 2013
  • Howard the Duck...

    Who knows that film? We just showed Nicole, the Warden, a trailer - she's slightly disturbed!


    Anyhoo, the reason for the 80's film entitled blog post is due to something that happen yesterday afternoon - Rainham's Duck Tales (ahhooo-oo) Howard became the duck whisperer!

    So yesterday, two of our lovely regulars came across this stunning male shelduck, laying on the ground by the anthill. 
      Picture by Tom …

    • 31 Dec 2013
  • Some things that you might not see as well as this today....

    So, what do we have once again? Lashing rain, howling southerly winds, kamikazi birds and not many visitors. I quipped earlier on our Facebook page that you should bring your wellies, waterproofs and place two housebricks in each pocket to ensure safe passage! The worse seems to now be over with the rain moving off for the time being and some ethereal beams of sun squinting through the grey. Still can't stand up out there…

    • 30 Dec 2013
  • We have a frost!

    Woooohooo!  It actually feels wintry out there at the moment. The sun is shining, there is a light breeze and a good heavy ground frost to make things sparkle a little.

    There are new birds too, with three floks of Redwing totalling 64 birds going west and seven Fieldfare chacking not far behind. There seems to be a few more Blackbirds around the centre this morning as well so perhaps the lessening of that predominate…

    • 29 Dec 2013
  • Stonechats in the sunshine

    Amazing what a little sunshine will do... not much wind and some rays and out come the little birds. A Chiffchaff has been seen in the woodland today and Cetti's Warblers have been seen flitting across the reedy channels. No sign of the Bearded Tits despite the favourable conditions but the Stonechats have been perching up nicely.

    A pair of Stonechats by Jean Dixon

    and one of the female by David Dent


    • 28 Dec 2013
  • Lost glasses...

    Morning all... just a quick message. Did one of you lose a pair of reading glasses in an old Boots case on the trail yesterday? If so then I have it on reception.

    H ;o)


    • 28 Dec 2013
  • Can't touch this.... Harrier Time...

    Anyway.. enough of vaugue tenuous '80s musical links and on with the show!

    Both our adult and immature male Marsh Harriers have been performing very well over the marsh, especially when the weather has been actually good enough to allow you to either stand upright and/or not require a ten-gallon hat to keep the rain off your optics!

    David Dent got a lovely series of shots the other morning of the first year bird hunting…

    • 28 Dec 2013
  • The morning after the day after Christmas

    Well... that was Christmas.... and what a difference a couple of days makes.... water levels have risen sharply and the marsh has become more water than grassland now with the myriad of pools bleeding together to form larger bodies...
    The wind is still in the south west and it is currently blowing another houlie outside with flocks of Wigeon reaching mach II... backwards.
    The male Marsh Harrier has been out quartering Wennington…

    • 27 Dec 2013
  • Seasons Greetings and an early Christmas present....

    As for today.... an ok day weather wise (until the lunchtime deluge) and the marsh is incredibly (but nicely) flooded after the tempest of yesterday with lots of new water around. Plenty of duck and Lapwing activity but still those pesky westerlies. As such it was quite a surprise when Phil and Vic picked up 11 White-fronted Geese heading fairly low but purposefully west. Why they did not stop I just do not know.


    • 24 Dec 2013
  • Hip hunters

    There are almost no berries left on the reserve now so if we ever do get any proper numbers of winter thrushes or Waxwings, they will be left with the huge numbers of rose hips that adorn every briar.

    Greenfinches love the big fat rosa rugosa hips in the car park while I have seen Song Thrushes and Blackbirds tackling the Dog Roses.

    Tom Bell took this lovely shot earlier this week in one of the few Hawthorns with any…

    • 24 Dec 2013
  • Chillychaff

    Probably not much chance of seeing one today but we still have one or two Chiffchaffs wintering on the reserve. The Cordite woodland and river wall are god bets to see this little wintering warbler. Most are olivey green in colour my do let us know if you see any really pale ones as these may be the much rarer Siberian Chiffchaff.

    Image by Russ Sherriff.

    I reckon they will be hanging on for grim death today!


    • 23 Dec 2013
  • A tad breezy....

    Merry Christmas! Evil outside... wind now constantly howling... rain pummelling windows... birds once again getting blown in all directions...

    Hold on tight... going to be a wild day and night! Birds are still hungry though so bravely venture out and top your feeders up! A couple of volunteers have just done ours and the birds are already grateful.


    • 23 Dec 2013
  • A change in the weather...

    Amazingly enough after driving through a tempest this morning on the way in, the sun has come out and we have blue skies! The duck are looking especially smart and the juvenile male Marsh Harrier has been out harassing everything.... wish I was outside today!

    • 22 Dec 2013
  • Blinged Black Red

     John Daly saw a Black Redstart somewhere on the river wall yesterday. not sure where yet as I have only just seen his picture... Most interesting thing is that it is blinged up with a nice shiny leg adornment... I wonder where it acquired that piece of seasonal jewellery?

    Perhaps an early present from her other half?

    If I get any more details I shall let you know.


    • 21 Dec 2013
  • The Shortest Day

    Will it ever get light? The rain is currently lashing down, the trees and reeds are whipping back and forth, the light cones on the centre roof are thrumming and a Magpie has just gone backwards past the window....

    Yesterday was glorious up until late afternoon and the sun on the shimmering Lapwing flocks was excellent. Peregrines were active and the male Marsh Harrier was seen throughout the day. There was a good selection…

    • 21 Dec 2013
  • Rainham Christmas Opening Hours

    Hi everyone,

    I thought I would let you know our opening hours over the Christmas period...

    The reserve will be open as usual (9.30 am-4.30 pm) every day except:

    • 24 December Christmas Eve - the reserve will be closing at 2pm.
    • 25 December Christmas Day - the reserve will be closed.
    • 26 December Boxing Day - the reserve will be closed.
    • 31 December New Years Eve - the reserve will be closing at 2pm.
    • 1 January New…
    • 19 Dec 2013
  • Great bit of kit.... bringing you closer to nature...

    Unusual for me to plug a product but this one came out of the blue in our delivery last week.... There have been smartphone adaptors that allow iphone users to take pictures through their telescopes for some time but nothing was available to allow Android users to do the same... until now.

    Viking have produced just such a device that will allow almost any phone (and some smaller tablets to be attached to your scope.…

    • 19 Dec 2013
    • 18 Dec 2013
    • 17 Dec 2013
  • Nelson on carpark duty

    Nelson spent quite a lot of time yesterday around the visitors centre and carpark picking up worms that had been encouraged out with the rain. He is completely unpeturbed by our approach and actually ran along the path towards Tom Bell allowing him and Marianne Taylor to get some great shots...




    • 16 Dec 2013
  • Unusual Office Visitors

     Now, without starting an unnecessary panic, I have found to female False Widows setting up home in our office... one very near confirmed arachnophobe, Nicole's desk and the other above Louise's...

    They are no threat to any of us but I suspect that some judicious re-homing may take place before too long...


    • 15 Dec 2013
  • It's a hard life...

    All the squabbling over feeders is a tiring business and a quick nap between sessions is sometimes required.  Just hope that one of his buddies was keeping an eye out for Nelson or one of his siblings or the dashing power of Mrs Sprawk....

    (Les Harrison)



    • 15 Dec 2013
  • Book Signing today... now only seven left!

    Just a very quick reminder that Marianne Taylor will be in from ten today to sign her wonderful book Dragonflight.  We do not have too many copies left so get here quick to avoid disappointment.!


    • 15 Dec 2013