Five Oaks Lane is a hidden gem. I love it best for the almost guaranteed Cuckoos and Yellowhammers you will find here at this time. With heavy, leaden skies making it very dark and some seriously waterlogged paths making it foolhardy not to keep looking downat where you walked, looking for these birds was slightly hindered. A pair of Bullfinches made it easy as they barrel-rolled past my head with the unmistakeable white rump flash easing identification.
Then that unique call of the Yellowhammer could be heard. 'A-little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheeeeeeese' is what it sounds like but finding the yellow devil was less simple. Some careful scanning of the hawthorn bushes produced a fine male bird. Normally there are around ten birds at this site but this one was the only one I saw in my hour long stay.
|Yellowhammer playing hide and seek.|
Again, the skies at Rainham Marshes were dark. But not just because of the threatening rain clouds. The sky was full of Common Swifts. They were buzzing just over my head and I have never experienced these birds at such close quarters; I felt sure I could catch one in my hand they were that close.
|Common Swift. The other 100 were caught up in my hair.|
|Whimbrel and Grey Plovers|
Wheatears are predictable. You can’t really creep up on them to get a shot, you have to work out their habits or favourite perching posts are and just wait. Eventually, they will return to allow you decent shooting opportunities like these:
On to the reserve itself. There were at least 15 Yellow Wagtails at the first hide. House Martins, Swallows and Swifts skimmed the water surface while a pair of Lapwings kept a close eye on a single chick that looked ambitiously at the water with a view of stepping on it. Towards the back a pair of Avocets came in to add a bit of event branding for the RSPB reserve here.