Hi everyone,

Just a quick blog to let you know that we had lovely views of a spoonbill yesterday (Saturday 19 June)!

 It was in the middle of Aveley Marsh (the bit you can see from the Purfleet hide) yesterday!

A spoonbill, a tall white bird, is wading though the water. It's long dark legs can be seen as it wades gently through the water, and it's all white body is facing the camera so you can see it's extremely long spoon shaped bill clearly

Spoonbill by Howard Vaughan - taken at Rainham, but this photo was taken earlier this year




Spoonbills are tall white waterbirds with long spatulate black bills and long black legs.

Their wingspan is about 120-135cm and can weigh 1.3-2kg.

In flight they fly with necks and legs extended, in the water they feed with elegant sideward sweeps of their bill. They mainly aquatic invertebrates and small fish.

A painting of a spoonbill in the water, pointing it's spoon shaped bill under the water and moving it's beak

Artwork by Mike Langman (rspb-images.com)

In the breeding season adults show some yellow on their breast and bill tip. The species is of European conservation concern and a very rare breeding bird in the UK. They are listed are listed on Schedule 1 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act. Most birds migrate south in the winter, but numerous individuals remain and winter in Western Europe.

There are only 0-4 breeding pairs in the UK, but up to 80 birds will winter here. We see them occasionally at Rainham.

For more details, including videos, about spoonbill you can go to this section of the RSPB website (it's a great place to find details about lots of birds, and even an online bird identifier).