Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rainham Marshes

When the fog eventually lifted, it turned out to be a stunning day with clear skies.  Despite the promises of the forecasted 20C temperatures today, I could feel an attenuated nip to the wind.  It did feel agreeably pleasant in the sun.

So starting at the visitor centre, a reminder that winter was still visible in the rear view with twenty or so Wigeon, and eight Pintail in various areas of the reserve.  Three Common Snipe roosted on Purfleet, and the Common Redshank and Lapwing were energetically protecting their territories.

Cetti's Warbler appeared to be calling from every thicket and reedbed, but the first real quality was a drake Garganey feeding at the northern end of Purfleet scrape.  It was close into the edge of the reed making it difficult to get really good views but such a smart duck nevertheless.

There were plenty of Reed Bunting, and the distant 'mewing' call were of three high flying Common Buzzard drifting north-west.  A distant Peregrine was seen perched on one of the pylons.  A Sedge Warbler trilled from the reeds but refused to emerge from the depths.

Making tracks further round the reserve where the juvenile Spoonbill roosted on the Target Pools occasionally preening, but content with a snooze in the now warming temperatures.  This my first for London.

On the opposite side of the Shooting Butts hide, two Little Ringed Plover fed along the muddy islands.  A pair of Marsh Harrier quartered Wennington, the male bird looking fantastic.  Another bird flew high over.

Stopping by the Dragonfly pools, a female Bearded Tit appeared, 'pinging' as it flew across the main path before disappearing into the reeds.  It did call again but was not subsequently seen.

The rest was pretty routine, no hirundines or migrant waders, but there is still plenty of time for that.

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