Thursday, 6 March 2014

Rainham Revisited - Part 2

February 13th 2014

So now, after the success on the foreshore, a walk clockwise round the reserve. Very quiet everywhere including the magnificent Pyefleet Hide which always shows so much potential but, unfortunately is often very quiet. I therefore continued on my way and went into the Butts Hide. Well, we know that the RSPB is very Health and Safety conscious, but I think a specially-made sign telling you to open the door before you walk through it is a little over-the-top. You can see No2 son Stuart taking a photo of it in total disbelief!!

Well, once safely ensconced inside I had a quick look round and found that the main area of interest was large flocks of waders on the various spits in front of the hide. I didn't have my telescope with me and therefore the quickest way to find out what they were was to take a photo and enlarge it.


It was soon apparent that this was a massive flock of Golden Plovers and Dunlin. And then, something disturbed them, either a Peregrine or a Marsh Harrier, as the whole flock took to the sky simultaneously. However do they manage not to collide with each other?

Continuing my journey I left the hide and walked along the path by the butts themselves. There were a few pools between the path and the butts due to the flooding, and feeding on these pools were a couple of Meadow Pipits. As I walked along they flew up and sat obligingly on the rail, posing nicely in the sunshine. This was a great opportunity as pipits are normally quite hard to get close to. Note the warmer colouring, finer striations and pale legs compared to the Rock Pipit earlier.


I am now approaching the feeding station by the cordite stores. It is quite common here to see Reed Buntings foraging under the feeders, picking up seed dropped by birds on the feeders. Not today though as the ground under the feeders was flooded. However, that didn't discourage one particular Reed Bunting which could see some black sunflower hearts floating on the water.

He first approached the reeds at the edge of the pool and then found a horizontal reed stem which would support his weight as he edged out over the water. Then for the final stretch he used his wings to balance. What ingenuity!!

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