Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Rainham Marshes

Spent this morning on the reserve, beautiful and sunny until I met Lawrence at midday and the heavens opened for 20 minutes. We arrived back at the visitor centre looking like drowned rodents! Talking of rodents, watched this Short-eared Owl hunting along the seawall. The warning sign should be for the voles!
Warning sign should be for the voles!

This Short-eared Owl was hunting along the seawall at 09.30 this morning

Kestrel again along the seawall

Blue Tit near the reedbed feeding area

Monday, 28 December 2015

Central Park, Degenham

Central Park this morning and the daffodils were almost all in flower as were a few crocus. The sun was shining and after walking Coco around the park, the cars thermometer was reading 17c! That is just unreal for December 28th and to think there are still people that don't accept global warming!

Central Park


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Looking back - Spring

At Rainham the landfill had sprung in to life. Wheatears were passing through and Sklarks and Meadow pipts entertained with their song flights.

Wheatear on the landfill

Skylark bouts out it's song
On the reserve bees and butterflies were taking advantage of the flowering plants and a Little Grebe was already sitting on eggs right beside the boardwalk!

Brown-banded Carder Bee getting stuck in

Little Grebe sits tight!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

2015 Highlights January - March


The Slavonian Grebe showed well at Wanstead Park

An extremely obliging Water Rail at Rainham Marshes

A trip to RSPB Dungeness produced Kingfisher & Smew among others

 Visiting family in Princes Risborough and the Red Kites


 Blackcaps at Rainham around the visitor centre and a Blue Tit

 Serins in Gunners Park + showy Goldgrest and confiding Stonechat

 A day out at Welney in Norfolk


Displaying Lapwings at Rainham Marshes

 A great day at Rainham Marshes Little Egrets, Little Grebe, 

 A day trip to Strumpshaw Fen included Marsh Tit & Treecreeper

 You gotta just love Rainham Marshes, Goat Willow bursting in to life, Robin & Water Vole

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Rainham Marshes

Spent a few hours on the reserve today. And the main difference to yesterday was the afternoon Short-Eared Owl show, after counting five yesterday today I only saw one! The weather was very similar with a sunny end to the day, although the wind was a little stronger and colder. So, I took a few common bird pics.
Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail

male Marsh Harrier

drake Teal

drake Teal


Monday, 7 December 2015

Shorties & sunset at Rainham

Popped down to the serin mound late afternoon, my first visit this winter to look at the Short-eared Owls! There were at least five near the serin mound. My closest views however came late on as the sun was disappearing, so I was shooting with a high iso to try and keep them sharp! Sadly what I gained in sharpness I lost in graininess! Cracking 90 minutes though with these wonderfully enigmatic birds!

part of the large Starling flock gathering on Wennington Marsh

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Support BTO research to conserve our Curlew

The long, down curved bill, reminiscent of a crescent moon, and its evocative bubbling call are distinctive characteristics that make the Curlew so easily identifiable.  Yet it is in real danger of becoming a thing of the past as it has just become one of the newest additions to the British Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern, and deemed to be of the highest conservation priority.

The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) shows a 46% decline across the UK in the last two decades, with this figure exceeding 50% in Wales and Scotland. Critically, the UK holds 28% of Europe’s breeding Curlew, meaning that declines here represent the loss of a substantial portion of Europe’s total breeding Curlew population.         
The UK’s population of wintering Curlew is also of global importance, representing nearly one-fifth of the world population. Resident breeding Curlew are joined in winter by birds from the Continent and Scandinavia. However, the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) estimates about a 20% decline in Curlew numbers over the last 15 years.

The BTO are planning a programme of ground-breaking research to better understand the curlews decline and the conservation actions required for the curlew to recover. Find out more HERE and help this research by donating HERE