Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Rainham - lots of rain, not so much ham

James, Imi and I went to Rainham on Monday, just for a couple of hours in the afternoon, with the objective of fluffing up our yearlists a bit. We had sunshine and showers... but mostly showers. Apologies for the dingy photos which follow... however, there are not many of them.

From the visitor centre, a really smart male Marsh Harrier was cruising about upsetting the crows. It was already drizzling so we dived straight into the Purfleet hide and enjoyed watching the Wigeons milling about on the shallow waters.

It rained on and off as we continued around towards the Tower Butts hide. James picked up a distant Short-eared Owl over the firing range numbers and a Kestrel hovered briefly nearby. There was little else around, though. A few Lapwings commuting between here and the riverside, a few gulls and Cormorants going over.

From the Tower Butts hide, I mostly stuck to the back looking out at Aveley Marshes and hoping that the Shortie would reappear (it didn't). There were masses of Teals on the water on both sides and the odd sparkly-white Little Egret.

A flock of eight or so Black-tailed Godwits came over from Aveley to the main reserve and I just managed to nab a (dire) shot of them. Then we packed up and carried on round towards the Ken Barratt hide. On this stretch the rain really started to come down and we saw more or less nothing. It was a relief to get into the hide and we stayed til the rain stopped. The rest of the walk was dry and the sun came out a little.

Approaching the woodland, we scanned along the line of trees to find the Barn Owl box, and it was occupied - a sleepy little face was just about visible through binoculars and on this very heavily cropped photo.

The feeding station on the edge of the woodland was busy with tits and Reed Buntings. Nearby, this Chiffchaff was bouncing around in the alders and providing occasional photographic micro-opportunities.

From the last bit of path we added Curlew and Pintail. Then it was time for a cuppa, and we had a quick walk along the first bit of the riverside before heading home.

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