first visit to Rainham Marshes

I went to Rainham Marshes yesterday afternoon, and it was paradise. A mild breeze was blowing in from the direction of the sea, reeds swaying, surrounded by songs of Reed Warblers and White Throats as soon as I entered the reserve, lifting joyously into the air, and taking my spirit up with them. In the first hide, I had a lovely view of 2 Curlews bathing and preening in the bright sunlight. As I walked along, I and another visitor got a lucky close view of a Reed Bunting, several Swifts reeled overhead, and Lapwings performed rolling dives in the air with their large rounded wings extended wide, the air full of their comical sweet calls. Little Grebes could be seen at nearly every turn, diving for small fish, and the raucous calls of Marsh Frogs burst forth now and then from hidden places amongst the reedy waters’ edge. Skylarks rose up into the sky with their delightful lilting song, and small groups of Linnets dashed between perches on shrub branches and fence posts. Talk about a delight for the senses: sights, sounds, and air like tonic for the lungs and skin. I had a grin on my face from the moment I entered the reserve to when I left. A real treat was spotting several Lapwing chicks foraging on their own in the short turf; little balls of fluff with black bibs and gangly legs, moving with the same purposeful but measured gait of the adults; a few quick steps, then stop ( a bit like us bird watchers!). A friendly warden on the rounds of locking up the hides at closing time was answering my queries about the different warbler songs, when a Cetti’s warbler suddenly appeared in front of us on a wooden railing, giving a quick burst of song. Lucky us, a rare bird to spot so close, apparently. Thank you RSPB for looking after these wonderful natural habitats. I will be back.