It has been a very strange winter at RSPB Rainham Marshes with almost no frost or icy snap and not a single snowflake.  The wind has been stuck in the west for seems like months and the wintering birdlife reflects that.  Duck numbers have been lower than usual as most dabbling species have not needed to escape a hard eastern European winter and head west across the North Sea.  There are still plenty around at he moment and they are looking fantastic.

Pintail - Ben Lucas

Shoveler - Ben Lucas

Teal - Michael Clark

The immature spoonbill from early January is still present and if not sleeping than can sometimes be found swishing around that superb bill. It wont breed this year so can still have one more lazy summer.

Spoonbill - John Humble

Spoonbill - John Humble

Lapwing are now back on their territories and twisting and tumbling across the marsh while there still several hundred flocked together who probably speak a different dialect and will be moving off to more northern breeding grounds in the next couple of weeks.

Lapwing - Jim Campbell

The first sand martin went through on the early date of the 5th March and there are a few chiffchaffs now singing around the trails.  Will the first wheatear be here before the middle of next week?

Marsh harriers are a constant sight from the Centre and the season ahead is looking promising while peregrines, buzzards and our resident tame kestrel are seen most days.

Peregrine - Ben Lucas

Marsh Harrier - Ben Lucas

Kestrel - Ben Lucas

The photography hide is still proving very popular with water rail fans too!

Water rail - John Humble