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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Rainham RSPB

July 8th

After an early morning Black Redstart survey I decided on a visit to the Reserve, given the time of year I was not expecting too much in the way of migrants but ended up having a good morning.

A quick scan of the New Scrape produced 2 summer plumaged Black Tailed Godwits, 3 Redshank and about 12 Little Egrets, a good start so I headed down to the sea wall.
Meeting Dave Smith we picked up no less than 6 Bearded Tits in the corner reed bed adjacent to the Mardyke, every now and then they would do the ‘ towering flight’ , think better of it and then drop back to the reed bed.

I know its distant but the 'dot' is one of the Bearded Tits

Always good to see so we then checked the river, this produced an Oystercatcher, 8 Dunlin on the Kent side and a Grey Seal, possibly a Bull.

Big old boy - very likely a Bull probably around 5 foot in length

Common Tern fishing

We also picked up 3 juvenile Yellow Wagtails; it’s a little bit early for any movement so we wondered if these could have been locally bred – possibly on the Reserve.

Dave continued around the Reserve and I went back along the board walk in the hope of getting some photos of the Blackwits, when I arrived there were now 8.Prior to arriving I had also seen a Marsh Harrier highish with very clean feathering, it looked a little dark so could well have been a juvenile.
Entering the hide I found the Godwits rather distant for photos but stunning in their summer plumage, only 2 were showing signs of winter wear.

Distant summer plumed Black Tailed Godwits

On the point of going everything then stood up alert and sure enough a Marsh Harrier came through, a different bird to the one seen earlier, this was a 2nd year male.
It also has a damaged leg and is no doubt the same bird that Paul saw over the weekend, pleased to say though it did not impair it as it was actively hunting, it also flushed a Green Sandpiper which I needed for the year.

The leg hanging down - seems ok hunting though

A very good couple of hours which pushed the year list up to 119 by adding Grey Wagtail, House Martin and as above, Green Sandpiper.

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