Saturday, 18 September 2021

Rainham Marshes

 A short break back in Suffolk, mainly family business, but of course an opportunity for a bit of birding on route😀 We were quite lucky on the road with the Insulate Britain protests seizing up the motorways left, right and centre we went straight up the middle and through the tunnel no problem !! We arrived at Rainham Marshes in good time, the reserve doesn't open until 9.30 so our arrival at 9.40 was well timed, unfortunately despite fortress like security with, metal grills and 2 drawbridges the reserve visitor centre had been broken in to😟 Obviously the RSPB will be hurt financially, not least because Margie was planning to buy at least 4 Cheese Scones and with the Café shut for the day, disaster!! 

We started around the reserve, the first pool had several Egrets on it mainly Little Egrets but one Cattle Egret at the back!

Collared Dove in the Car Park

Little Egret showing a nice Yellow Foot

Cattle Egret

Shame it stayed at the back of the pool!

So a good start we carry on around the reserve, the bushes are quiet but spotted a couple of Whitethroats and Margie spotted a couple of Marsh Frogs in one of the ditches.

Marsh Frog



Common Whitethroats
At this point I spot a Kestrel sat on a small mound, it posed lovely then relocated to a small wooden bench where it posed even better, before dropping to the ground behind the mound lost to view!! Only to reappear with a small mammal it had caught, I obviously missed that shot😢 but a couple below of the little poser!!

Kestrel on Mound

Kestrel on post

Obviously if that's not enough Kestrel pics for ya let me know. we have at least 200 more!!😁😂
We carry on along the boardwalk we are in the thick of the reeds now and can hear Bearded Tits all around us but all we get is glimpses, we come to the area where a grit tray has been put out for the Beardies, nothing on it😢. We decide to hang around, I nearly lose an ear drum as a Cetti's Warbler calls explosively from about a foot away, can't see it obviously, probably the most common small bird around the reserve, calling all around the route we took, didn't see one obviously😀 Then a Beardie appeared on the tray, a stonking male, which showed rather well😁

Bearded Tit

Shame the viewing is slight obscured by the reeds but got a few pics!!

We get around to the big hide at the back, the pools off the reserve have loads of Gulls on them and lots of Lapwings, the only other wader seemed to be a Ringed Plover, but everything is distant, the pools in front of the hide have Egrets and a few eclipse ducks, Shovellers and Wigeon.

Little Egret


Rainham views with the bridge in the background

We walk around to the Averley Pool, Little Grebes feeding along the edge, but the main action was watching Black-headed Gulls fishing, then being robbed of their catch by larger Juvenile Gulls on of which, I suspected was a Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull which was confirmed by more knowledgeable friends on Facebook a cracking bird going full skua on the BHG!!

Little Grebe

1st Calendar year Yellow-legged Gull

More Lapwing

YLG in pursuit of BHG

Little Grebe

Grey Heron

The Gull again!

In pursuit
We head around the rest of the reserve, Margie seems to find spiders all around some of her pictures below.

We head up to the path on the Thames, always surprises me how close Rainham is to London! 

London town

What knob built a huge white warehouse in front of that skyline!?

Thames boat by Margie!!
So no Marsh Harriers or Hobbies which considering how many Dragonflies there were was a bit of  a surprise in the case of Hobbies!! More to the point with no café, no cakes 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢!!
Onwards to Suffolk!!

Monday, 13 September 2021

Pec at Pulborough!!

 A week's holiday began with a trip to RSPB Pulborough Brooks, didn't get there to early and no scope which is always a handicap around the Brooks!! The view from the visitor center is definitely a highlight of the reserve!

View by Margie

View by Margie
The area around the Visitor Center and down the zigzags was fairly quiet, a few Finches about, a posy Robin and the first of several Jays seen!

Goldfinch and a couple of Linnets




We soon found ourselves at the first hide, West Mead, few warblers around the hide but no sign of the reported Spot Flys, we had flushed a Greenshank from the path, I know weird right? It had flown over the hide and we were pleased to find it on the pool right in front of the hide!! Couple of Snipe and a Wheatear at the back of the pool the highlights here!! 


Couple of Snipe


We proceeded around to the Winnpenny Hide, a Stonechat high in a tree and a Charm of Goldfinches the highlights of the short walk! From the hide two Hobbies flew around like maniacs so fast Margie struggled to get on em despite my pinpoint instructions such as "in front of them Trees" or the helpful "in the field" or the even more useful "in the sky" !!! Can't believe she struggled to get on em😁😁😁though she glimpsed one in the end, they were distant and moving quick, the pics are appalling but I've put one up as a record shot!! There were also 4 Kestrels knocking about, including a very slim one on a distant post, now no scope means the old imagination can run riot and I tried to turn it into all sorts, from Merlin to Cuckoo via Hobby before arriving back at the obvious Kestrel!!😏😏


Hobby (I know it is a rubbish pic!)

Kestrel on a post!


Closer Kestrel

Kestrel in flight

Greenshank in flight

We headed round to the Hanger, we bumped into a Birder, who said the Pectoral Sandpiper reported yesterday was showing from the viewpoint with a couple of Ruffs, we quickened our step, arriving at the Hanger we observed the 3 waders mentioned, However with no scope they were tiny dots, we hung around in the hope someone with a scope would turn up, no luck, so decided to head to Jupp's view with the hope of a closer look!! On the way Margie did some Landscape pics and I saw another Charm of Goldfinches and a showy Whitethroat!


Common Whitethroat

Margie getting artistic

And again

Landscape by Margie

Margie on the pew with a view!!

Landscape by Margie
From the path above Jupp's View we could see four Waders on view, a guy with a scope turned up, Hurrah and let me look through it, double Hurrah!! We had the Pectoral, 2 Ruff and a Dunlin, although I thought maybe could be a Curlew Sandpiper but was very hard to tell!! Another Wader appeared fairly close this time, a Green Sandpiper!! Some very dodgy, distant pics below!

Pec sand

Ruff and Dunlin/Curlew Sand????

Green Sandpiper
We headed back towards the visitor center at Fattengates Courtyard a Blue Tit showed superbly well reminding me how fantastic some of the commoner birds are when seen close, especially after the dots pretending to be Waders!!


A Lily in the Fattengates Pond

Another Posy Robin

Blue Tit

Rather too many Blue Tit pics perhaps, but you have to fill ya boots when you can!!
We carried on past the feeding station, more Tits, some House Sparrows, more Jays, a Nuthatch with several others heard and nice to see a young Greenfinch being fed by a parent!

Great Tit


House Sparrow

Margie got the only usable shot of a Nuthatch

That was about it, shame the Waders weren't a bit closer, but a very pleasant walk around, Pulborough is always good, but should definitely have taken the Scope!!!