I hope you are all staying safe and warm in this weather!

Rainham is currently open so come and enjoy a nice walk in a wintery wonderland!

We have had lovely views of big flocks of redwing, and fieldfare taking advantage of the rosehips. The bearded tit, bullfinch, stonechats and cettis warblers have all been seen flying around. The marsh harrier is still patrolling around looking for food, and water rail skating across the ice. There's still a few other waders been seen lapwing, curlew, and snipe.

If you would like to know if the reserve is open over these adverse weather conditions please contact the reserve directly on 01708 899840. The café may be on restricted service, but will still have lots of warming cuppas, cake and some lunch items (we will not be able to make all items - please ask if you would like more details).

  Yesterday's snowy but sunny day - Andrew Gouldstone

 The Purfleet Hide - Andrew Gouldstone

  A snowy river wall - Tony O'Brien

  It's worth looking at the icy ditches - it's possible you may see a water rail walking on the ice! Tony O'Brien

Don't forget your garden wildlife in the weather - the snow makes it difficult for birds and other wildlife to find enough food.

Lots of bird food and feeders are available from our shop.

A bird’s body clock works on daylight hours, so in the winter months there are great opportunities to view the birds feeding at first light, which can become a bit of a feeding frenzy. If you watch your garden birds regularly you’ll notice that they’ll come down to feed again in the late afternoon, before they go and find somewhere to roost overnight.

It’s hard to believe but during cold weather birds can lose up to 40 per cent of their weight overnight just trying to keep warm.

Food that’s high in energy is fantastic for birds in the winter month - peanuts, fat or suet based foods, seed mixes that contain sunflower seeds or hearts, mealworms and fruit will all go down well. You can also make your own fat balls and cake mix using lard and suet – a great rainy day activity with the kids or grandkids!

Place lard and suet at room temperature in a mixing bowl, add in uncooked porridge oats, mild grated cheese, peanuts, sultanas, raisins and bird seed. Mix it all together and roll into balls or use shallow dishes to create bird cake. Put them in the fridge to set, and when they are solid place them outside.

However remember not to feed turkey fat to feed your birds as it’s too soft and can get into their feathers, which can cause problems.