Tuesday, 24 June 2014

...and now Early Summer at Rainham

31st May 2014

Early summer at Rainham Marshes and what an action-packed day it was. Today I went down with Richard from next door, well he used to live next door 35 years ago, and we decided to take the clockwise route. The stream along the southern fringe didn't turn up anything out of the ordinary but was a photographer's dream with plenty of subjects posing for the camera. And at this time of year any birdsong was drowned out by the "song" of the Marsh Frog. Yes I know I have already got 100s of photos of Marsh Frogs, but..........

Further along the ditch were the tell-tale ripples of a Little Grebe which seemed fairly relaxed about my presence but, nevertheless, kept a watchful eye on what I was up to.

And in the same stretch but on the other side of the path was a Reed Warbler taking advantage of the warm summer sun to combine a spot of sunbathing with a spell of preening.

When we eventually arrived at the Target Pools behind the Butts Hide there was a lot more activity. At least two pairs of Redshank had young quite close to the path and every time a threat appeared such as a crow or a gull the adults rose into the air to see them off. It was on one such sortie that I managed to grab this inflight shot.

On the return loop where the path runs parallel with the railway a male Reed Bunting was giving it its all at the top of a Reedmace stem. Some describe their song as monotonous but I love it. My old mate Jeff Ewing, when studying them for his PhD found that the the first notes say that "I am a Reed Bunting" and the second part of the song is a unique signature for that particular bird. How amazing is that?

We were now crossing the bridge over the stream and a Hairy Dragonfly was whizzing around after insects and eventually came to rest on some vegetation at the side of the stream. I clicked off a few photos and it wasn't until I looked at them later that I realised that it had caught a ladybird and had landed to eat it.

We were now approaching the Cordite Stores and there were quite a number birds in the bushes. First up was this female Linnet which posed at the top of a bush followed by a cracking male Greenfinch singing away at the top of a tree.

By now we were on the boardwalk where there was a family of young Cetti's Warblers flitting around in the bushes and undergrowth, so time for a wait to see if any would show themselves. While we were waiting we noticed a number of Common Lizards sunning themselves on the warm boardwalk, and this particular individual seems to have lost part of its tail at some point. There was also a Whitethroat collecting food for its nearby brood.

But eventually our patience was rewarded when a young Cetti's Warbler popped up from the vegetation and showed itself briefly in one of the Sallow trees. Not my best shot of a Cetti's but rewarding nevertheless and a superb end to the day.

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