Sunday, 19 March 2017

Awakening Marshlands !

As I walked down the trail from the visitor center at Rainham RSPB, and out towards the woodlands, there was a noticeable change in the air, it was as if the marshlands were wakening from there long winter sleep, the Goat Willow catkins were in full bloom, Buff Tailed Bumblebees and Honey Bees were busy collecting pollen and nectar, the high number of Bees around them demonstrating there importance as an early food source,

Goat Willow catkins

Buff tailed Bumblebee

It wasn't long before i heard my first spring migrant the ChiffChaff, although  I could not locate it as I walked along the trail. As I entered the 'Cordite store' area, I could hear the call again, and It wasn't long before it showed itself.


The Woodland feeding station was quiet with just the now usual  Brown Rats feeding on the spilt grain.

Brown Rat
Found myself duck watching again at the Shooting Butts Hide, this time it was the Pochard that caught my eye, and for a change they were quite active, a group of five drakes had cornered two females in the reed fringes, the interesting part was the courtship display, something I have not witnessed with this species, the drakes approaching the females, lowering there neck and head flat to the water surface and then quickly swim away, 

Drake Pochard ( courtship display )

It was soon after watching the Pochard courtship that I saw a small plover working its way around the muddy fringes of the islands in front of the hide , a quick look and I mentally identified it as a Ringed plover, a closer look revealed a lovely Little Ringed Plover, my second spring migrant of the day.

Little Ringed Plover

Other birds noted around the marshes included  Reed Bunting, GreyLag and Canada Geese, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing , Redshank, Shoveller no sign of any Pintail this time, A Little Egret did a flyby.

Little Egret
The only Butterfly seen was a Small Tortoiseshell.

A few Marsh Frogs beginning to show, but none heard calling.

Marsh Frog
A hunting male Kestrel tempted me in trying to get a photograph but remained distant.

Interesting couple of hours with a good variety of wildlife sightings.

1 comment:

  1. I find chiff chaffs impossible to locate from their calls, they seem to throw their voices very well!