My plan had been to go to Rainham Marshes, specifically to the Cordite store area to experiment with the macro lens I have use of at the moment on a plethora of bum-biters and butterflies but the cold wind and the rain put paid to that. Of course the plan had also been to see if either the Spoonbill and Garganey pair were still there as well as building on the Wildgoose Chasers meagre year list. And with spring sort of here, I first went looking for migrants along the Thames path.
There were no signs of any Wheatears or even Ring Ouzels but I could hear a Sedge Warbler and there were a lot of Cetti’s Warblers singing too. Nothing else to write about really, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Shelduck, masses of Skylarks and a few Reed Buntings made for the birds on land. The Thames had Teal, a few Wigeon still and a couple of Great Crested Grebes; I missed all of the reported Terns, both Common and Arctic...par for the course.
I made it up to the top of the viewing mound and looked across to the Target Pools. The Spoonbill was still here as I watched this white blob scythe it’s huge bill through the maud and water sifting for laval things, small fish, tadpoles and molluscs etc. 'That’s good' I thought, just as the heavens opened.
I got back to the Reserve Centre in time to have enough rain water on me to leave a large puddle for someone to slip on. By now, most of the Thames horizon had disappeared into a grey soup of cloud and rain. A hot mug of coffee and a sausage roll sorted me out and as if by magic, a thin line of blue tore through the grey to reveal the afternoon’s weather.
|This was how I felt|
First stop was the Purfleet hide. There were a few Shoveler and Little Grebe here. A Little Egret fished on the far side and a Kingfisher whizzed past.
Although quite distant, it was great to see. It spent nearly all of it’s time head down and feeding. I just had to take 100 photos or so to get a few good ones.
Next it was round to the Garganey pools which are close to the woodland area. These dabbling ducks are small and prefer to mix it up with the tufts of vegetation and as such make life a little difficult for the birder. These two Garganey however were well out in the open although they preferred to keep their heads under for ages!
Just below him, the rats were out and about with youngsters.
|Quite cute really!|
|Jay. Bloody rare here so another year tick!|
I switched lens and fixed on a macro as I was hoping for some butterfly action now the sun had warmed things up and the wind was blocked from the inner sanctum of the wood.
|Okay, not butterflies but just as much fun to photograph.|
This was probably the best day I have had at Rainham even though the weather did try to wreck it.