Sunday, 4 September 2016

Rainham and not enough waders

Rainham's been raking in the waders lately, with both stints and Wood Sandpiper all seen in the last week or so. When I went there on Wednesday with Graham and Shane, we didn't have a lot of luck wader-wise but the usual late-summer Hobby-and-Migrant-Hawker-fest was in full swing, on a mostly sunny day.

We did the walk clockwise. Pretty much the first bird was this Stock Dove obligingly zooming past at close range.

There was little to see from Purfleet hide - vegetation in front of the windows was very tall and lush. We hung around long enough to unearth a couple of Snipes. On leaving the hide we just about got a look at a Kingfisher as it sped by.

There were a few Migrant Hawkers over the ditches, and an unseen Bearded Tit pinged from the reeds around the dragonfly pools. We spotted our first Hobby round here, and the Tower Butts hide provided good views of at least five Hobbies hawking over the marshes.

A male Migrant Hawker taking a rest from chasing and being chased.

The viewpoints over the pools on the return loop produced some waders - a couple of Ruffs and a few Black-tailed Godwits. Also more Little Egrets than I've ever seen here before, including a group of about a dozen all perched together.

A fine Wasp Spider near the Ken Barratt hide. As is usual with these spiders, her position low in the grass made it very difficult to photograph her properly.

The Willow Emeralds are out but when we reached their spot it had become a bit cool and overcast, and we couldn't see any. We continued into the Cordite store and found insects aplenty here.

Female Common Darter, Green-veined White, and a Common Carder Bee having a spot of bother getting out of a Greater Bindweed flower.

On the way out of the Cordite store, Shane spotted this Hobby perched on a happily leafless side branch of a big Horse Chestnut tree, and it put up with us staring at it for some time before lifting off to get back to slaying dragons.

A nice male Holly Blue on the last bit of path... just before we found...

... this glorious male Southern Hawker, which was really mellow and let us approach closely for photos. What a stunner.

Ridiculous close-up of his lovely eyes.

We didn't go back to the visitor centre but on to the Purfleet hide to begin another mini-loop, pausing on the bridge to take bad photos of this Small Red-eyed Damselfly. 

The customary walk back along the riverbank didn't produce a lot, but we did add a couple more butterflies to the day list.

A Common Blue and a Small Heath. The sun was back out by this point, and shone on us all the way home.

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