Saturday, 30 January 2016

Winter Sunshine at Rainham !

The weather forecasters predicted a fine sunny day, and so it was, a short journey through the Dartford tunnel  and I found myself at Rainham RSPB,  unfortunately everyone else had the same idea, I think I'm getting anti-social in my old age.

There was a 'mixed bag' of birds on show today, the walk through the woodlands produced good numbers of Redwings on show again but still quite  camera shy.

The feeding station on the edge of the woodland was still attracting a good variety of birds, I sat quietly on the bench there for a while and watched, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird and a few Reed Buntings. This male has nearly moulted into full breeding plumage.

Male reed Bunting
As I approached the reed beds a Cetti's warbler flew out in front of me, too  quick for the camera, in fact a further two sightings of this elusive bird, my usual encounter with this warbler is a sudden burst of song from deep in the undergrowth.

A Wren decided to perch out in the open and burst into its song allowing me to get a couple of photographs, not so camera shy this one, this is one of my favourite photographs of this bird .

A quick look at the Dartford warbler winter territory revealed a couple of flight views as it flew low across the rough grassland hiding in the scattered bushes there, another rubbish record photograph.

Dartford warbler
A quick look out from the Ken Barrett hide revealed just a few waterfowl, Teal, Shoveller, Wigeon, Coot, and a few Snipe on the edge of the reeds.

The walk along the northern trail did not reveal too much, a distant Marsh Harrier hunting on the far side of the marsh.
Lots of birds out on Wennington Marshes but always distant, another male Marsh Harrier seen quartering the distant reed beds, a Little Egret flew overhead.

Little Egret.
Out on the marshes I could make out huge numbers of Lapwings, a few Golden Plovers, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Heron.

Lapwing, Golden Plover and Starling.
The walk through the Dragonfly pools did not reveal any Bearded Tits or anything else of interest until I reached the shooting butts where one of the Kestrels was resting on a ledge.


A look in the MDZ hide to see if the Kingfishers were around was successful, seeing one very fast fly by, and a second view as  the Kingfisher hovered very close to the hide window with a small stickleback in its beak before disappearing under the hide.

The Counterwall hide provided a short flight view of a Fieldfare, more waterfowl in the form of Shoveller, Wigeon, Teal, Moorhen. and a few Lapwing bathing in front of the hide.

"Bathing Lapwing"

As you can see, a wide variety of birds seen here at Rainham RSPB, coupled with a nice walk through the marshes in glorious sunshine.

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