Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Wonders of Rainham

I had gone to Rainham in the hope of seeing the Baillons Crake but, despite sitting in the hide for four hours, I was unsuccessful. So what else did Rainham have to offer?

Well on the way round to the hide there was a party of young Goldfinches feeding on Teasels quite close to the path. Their red blazes were still moulting through and quite orangey in appearance compared with the adults. They also seemed a little tamer.

Little Grebes were also doing well with 35 pairs breeding this year. Being a slightly later breeder, there were still lots of stripey-headed youngsters around, continually giving out a monotonous peeping call to their parents for food.

Rainham is well-known for its large population of Marsh Frogs which are particularly vocal with their laughing call in the Spring. What was surprising today, however, was that although we are now half way through September they were still very vocal and easy to see.

Grey Herons are also fairly common at Rainham as one would expect with the vast amount of wetland there. However, with what appears to be an expanding Marsh Frog population, one might expect there to be a corresponding expansion of the Grey Heron population as, during my stay, I saw two Herons carrying Marsh Frogs.

But pride of place for the day must go to the Water Voles. Rainham has a good population which seems to be doing very well, with some visitors reporting up to 10 sightings on a circuit of the reserve. I was lucky enough to be passing a small pond right next to the path when one decided to make an appearance and scuttled around just a few metres away.

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