It was one of those days, bright sunshine, but bitterly cold, I was wearing so many layers I could hardly move, but a couple of circuits of Rainham Marshes made you feel good to be alive and one with nature.
Winter Thrush sightings for me have up to now been non-existent, today was different the woodland just before you enter the marshes was alive with Redwings, I have never realised how wary they are though, it seemed that as soon as eye contact was made they were off, even when flying above you they would veer away as if some unseen arm was reaching up for them.
I managed to get a couple of distant images to record the sighting though.
No sign for me of any Fieldfare though.
At the Woodland feeding station, the expected birds were on view, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Dunnock were feeding in good numbers.
The Dunnock a surprisingly good looking bird when the light is shining in the right direction and you can see the detail in its plumage.
A few Reed Bunting were feeding under the feeders, you can see how well their plumage camouflages them when feeding in this type of reedbed environment
|Female Reed Bunting|
A preening Moorhen under the feeder was shocked when our eyes met and realised it was being watched, it soon took fright and disappeared into the Reedbed.
There were good numbers of Long Tailed Tits feeding in the willows along the trail, never still though.
|Long Tailed Tit|
A small warbler was seen flitting about the tree in the company of the Long Tailed Tits, a Chiffchaff, I was hoping it might be the Siberian Chiffchaff that has been reported lately, but no, this looks like the European Chiffchaff, albeit a very cold one, all fluffed up.
As I approached the Dartford Warbler site I could see a few people looking for the warbler, as I got closer I was beckoned by one of the observers as the Warbler was showing, but I only saw the tail feathers as it went to ground and disappeared. After a long wait, the observers began to slip away, the bitter cold taking its toll. I gave myself another five minutes before I was going to walk on, luck was with me, the Dartford Warbler flew into view with its two accompanying Stonechats and alighted on a bramble patch, as before, the sun was directly behind it, and the photographs taken were no more than silhouettes, so once again rubbish photographs that you can just about make out that it's a Dartford Warbler.
|Dartford Warbler and Stonechat|
A fine looking Male Marsh Harrier was quartering the marshes putting up the hidden Lapwing and wildfowl every now and then, but the hoped for Short Eared Owls did not show for me.
A single Curlew could be seen out on the marsh probing the grass.
A good excuse to return, before winter turns to spring and the Owls leave us, along with the Dartford Warbler most likely.