Friday, 13 September 2013

Don't Overlook the Humble Starling

26th August 2013

Today was a trip to Rainham with Andy Johnson to try our luck with Bearded Tits and Water Voles. We decided to go round the clockwise route as this would bring us quickly to the most likely areas around the Dragonfly Ponds. Indeed the warm weather had brought out many of the late flyers, including this Ruddy Darter and Migrant Hawker.

In the reeds there was the most unusual noise, a sort of laughter, which is the unmistakable call of the Marsh Frog. Marsh Frogs are very common at Rainham and seem to outnumber the Common Frog. They are also much larger, very variable in colour, and will often sit out on suitable platforms to have their photograph taken.

There is a very tame female Kestrel at Rainham called Kes. She is normally seen and photographed around the car park by the visitors centre or on the sea wall, but today was right over on the north side by the railway. I instinctively approached very cautiously until I realised that is was in fact Kes, otherwise I would have never got so close.

But the star birds today were nowhere as charismatic. They used to be regarded as the bully boys of the garden, fighting over the scraps that had been put out. Today, sadly, they are far less common. But as you see the young birds in their dull brown attire moulting through into their adult splendour, especially in light such as this, they are truly under-rated jewels.

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