It has been a mixed few days on the reserve with the glorious spring-like day of Monday with its unseasonal White-fronted Geese followed by steadily gloomier and wetter weather.
There were some non-avian highlights on Monday too with several Brimstones on the wing along with Small Tortoiseshells and Commas. The Sallows were alive with insects too with many Honey Bees and at least three species of Bumblebee with Buff-tailed, Early and Tree all being seen.
Comma - Ken Bentley
I found one stripy Andrena bee but closer views will be required to identify it to species while we found five species of hoverfly including a new early spring species for the reserve (and me) called Melangyna lasiophthalma.
Hoverfly - Eristalis tenax
Hoverfly - Melangyna lasiophthalma
Coltsfoot is great for early insects - Alan Reynolds
Chiffchaffs were singing in the woodland and the female Blackcap was still visiting the apples by the centre.
Blackcap - Max Hellicar
Chiffchaff - Alan Reynolds
It was all change on Tuesday when Dad and I did the stake and binder fence with heavy rain dissipating mid-morning to leave a fine but overcast day. The Golden Plover were still around and had increased to 39 while two Redwings shared the car park with us.
Purfleet Scrape - Graeme Truby- Surety
Wet Wednesday did not disappoint with Tony Houston finding a Great White Egret in the Ouzel Fields as he opened up in torrential rain. It stayed all day and although it ranged widely it was usually visible somewhere on the marsh!
Great White Egret - Andy Tweed
The stock take was taking longer than we expected and a brief pizza related respite saw us looking out over Purfleet Scrape at 6pm in now early evening sunshine with this stately orange billed heron parading up and down the ditch line while Lapwings twisted and tumbled all around and Redshanks ‘doodled’ amongst them. It felt like spring had finally arrived.
And a little video from me...
Lapwing - Tony O'Brien
Golden Plover had increased to 62 and at one stage they were all feeding with 70 similarly finely plumaged Black-tailed Godwits and four Ruff in the wondrous wetness of Aveley Marsh while Snipe appeared out of nowhere and began dashing around after all the worms encouraged up by the force of the persistent rain.
Redshank - Graeme Truby- Surety
However, Thursday had other plans and it was once again cool and gloomy this morning although the Osprey found by Sam Levy livened up proceeding shortly after 10am as it headed west along the pylon line before turning north towards Romford. Spring birds here are rare and none of us had ever seen a March bird before.
Marsh Harriers were doing their thing and the Peregrines were up on pylon 40 while a Red Kite headed south across the Thames just as the rain set in once again. There are still large numbers of duck out on the marsh. Wouldn’t it be great if they stayed all year?
Red Kite - Andy Tweed
To round off the day the Great White Egret decided to walk out of a ditch on the back of the Target Pools at 4.30pm for Jerry Hoare as he locked up. Always amazes me that you can misplace such a large glowing white bird!
The weather looks very poor for Good Friday and then just gloomy for the weekend but with the wind in the south east anything is possible for things with wings...
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