Thursday, 16 October 2014

RSPB Rainham Marshes - A Great Day Out

A great day at Rainham today. Started by watching the river and immediately spotted the two Black Terns opposite the reserves centre. They were feeding along the shore line as the tide receded, well pleased they were still here and even more pleased to see not one but three Great Skuas.

They would sit on the river and let the outgoing tide carry them down river, then fly back up and start all over again! They would have the odd sortie chasing gulls and as one came closer I fired off a few shots.

A small group of Lapwings flew overhead and showed nicely against the blue sky.

 Counted three Wheatears along the foreshore and this one posed nicely

This very pale pipit (two images below) also popped out along the foreshore, and after a bit searching and patience I managed a few shots, pretty sure it is an oddly coloured Meadow Pipit. There were lots of Meadows and a few Rock Pipits all along the foreshore.

I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time for this Clouded Yellow, a kind lady saw it settle and put me on to it. I have seen a number this autumn all flying, and they are pretty quick for a butterfly, so pleased to see this one settled.

Counted five Stonechats around the reserve today, none posed quite close enough for decent images, but they were great to see.

The image below I think captures some of the essence of this reserve. Great wildlife to the backdrop of electricity pylons and a passing hi-speed train, would I have it any other way?  Probably not :-)

The image below, hinted at what might happen next! The Peregrine on it's usual distant pylon was plucking it's prey. I took a shot knowing I would have to crop it heavily, I put my camera away and used my scope to watch it. I then noticed the second bird on the opposite horizontal strut (you can just see the bottom half of it in the image). It was a female Sparrowhawk, and she wanted the Peregrine's catch. She flew across to beside the peregrine, it immediately mantled to protect it's prey, and after a few seconds it flew pursued by the hawk. It soon outpaced her and she gave up the chase, a brilliant, unexpected encounter!

Another this time female Stonechat to finish with.