Monday, 27 May 2013

A glance at Rainham

I spent a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon at Rainham with Rob - we only had time to get as far as the Tower hide and back but it was good to be out in the sunshine. Not a lot of wildlife seen but I still managed to take more than 400 photos. To be fair, though, a very large proportion of those were of Swifts. I may have an addiction...

Canada Goose family. The parents are teaching their goslings how to stick their heads in the air and look imperious.

Rainham is always good for Collared Doves. I managed a few flight shots from the car park.

Many of the Coots on the reserve have chicks now. We saw a Grey Heron eating one of them. This adult Coot had no babies so plenty of time to attack other Coots.

Cormorant heading river-wards. We are getting into moult season now, when large birds start getting gappy wings as they replace their flight feathers.

This Grey Heron rose majestically out of a ditch next to the path by the Tower hide. A family of non-birders noticed and stopped to watch, clearly impressed, which was nice to see.

Kes the Kestrel was hunting on the riverbank side of the reserve as usual, and eventually hovered quite close to the path.

We saw two Mallard females with small ducklings. The central bit of the reserve has fencing to keep out mammalian predators (ie Foxes), to help nesting birds, though it seems not to be completely successful as a Rainham blog annouced today that the Kingfisher nest by the Marshland Discovery Zone had been dug out and predated.

 An Oystercatcher doing its rounds. There were also a handful of Dunlins and Redshanks around, though wader and wildfowl numbers are both pretty low at this time of year.

I assumed this distant falcon would be a Hobby. I was wrong. It's the first Peregrine I've seen here for quite a while.

This male Pheasant is apparently a regular around the feeding station, but it's the first time I've seen him here.

Here's one of the Redshanks, looking dark and speckly in its breeding plumage.

The warblers are a little less vocal now, as breeding activity becomes a more pressing concern than singing. But this Sedge Warbler was still giving it plenty from a hawthorn by the river bank.

I took a ridiculous number of Swift photos. I think this is one of the better ones but I've not really looked at all of them properly yet.

The last couple of times I've been here, I've seen but not photographed Water Voles. Today, the second vole I saw was crossing a particularly wide ditch so there was time for a flurry of shots as it paddled across.


Greenie said...

Marianne ,
There have been some good birds there this month , keep meaning to pay a visit .
Great Water Vole shot , and would have loved to have seen the Water Shrew family .
400 shots in 2 hours , I think you could be right !
Had the same addiction with the Terns at Bough Beech .

Lou Mary said...

I too have an addiction to photographing swifts and housemartins!! They are such a challenge, flying so quickly! Yours is great though! There are a few photos on my last couple of blog posts so take a look if you get a chance!

Very envious of you seeing a water vole!

Great selection of photos! :)

ShySongbird said...

A couple of hours well spent Marianne. Well done on the Water Vole, I haven't seen one for some years. What a shame about the Kingfishers :-( Love the action packed Coot photo!

Anonymous said...

I like your blog and your photos Marianne, nice work!
Sherie (