Friday, 20 March 2015

Rainham Marshes

Spent the morning on the reserve. I got there early for the solar eclipse but the cloud was 100% and a little murky, I did notice that it got a little gloomier and the temperature dropped a few degrees, but that was it sadly!

Great views of a Water Vole and my first Sand Martin and Little Ringed Plover this year were the wildlife highlights.

Water Vole

A Little Egret takes off

high flying Sparrowhawk goes over

Spring is bursting. Goat Willow Salix caprea

Apparently there are over 266 insect species associated with our native willows (the second most hospitable after oak), making them a vitally important species for wildlife.

Goat willow (Salix caprea)
Traditionally used as fodder for goats, this is one of our most recognisable willows, with its eye-catching fluffy yellow catkins in spring and silk grey buds in autumn. Although often found along streams, riverbanks and in reedbeds, it is also more tolerant of drier conditions than other native willows.