Thursday, 4 June 2015

Redshank - Warden of the Electric Fence

26th May 2015

It was a last minute decision today to go to Rainham Marshes in the hope of photographing some of the newly fledged Bearded Tits. I was advised that they had been showing best on the Northern Trail so set off around the circuit in an anticlockwise direction. The first bird to put its head above the parapet was a Sedge Warbler that was singing enthusiastically from the top of a stand of Hemlock. When they first arrive they tend to be more skulking and keep hidden in sedges and reeds, but as the season progresses they become more visible often singing from a vantage point.

As I approached the Bearded Tit area, the usual male Reed Bunting was also singing out loud and as before was fairly confiding allowing an approach to within just 8 yards. Unfortunately there was no sight or sound of any Beardies although eventually a female did appear with food and disappeared into the reeds, only to depart from the same spot minus the food. Later on the male repeated the process and re-appeared with a faecal sac showing that they were indeed feeding young in the nest deep down in the reeds. I therefore left them to it. Unfortunately, still no sign of the reported fledged young.

As I was walking past the Target Pools a Hobby was buzzing around overhead, initially flying away, but then decided to do another circuit purely for my benefit. Don't they always look fantastic against a clear blue sky?

But the star today was the humble Redshank which I encountered as I approached the Purfleet Hide. Clearly a potential predator had spooked the whole marsh, as all the Redshank and Lapwings were in the air giving out alarm calls. Once the danger had passed, this particular Redshank decide to settle on one of the electric fence posts to maintain its vigil. It was obviously more intent on seeing off the danger rather than worrying about me as I was able to approach to within just 8 yards once again. The country name of the Redshank is the "Warden of the Marshes" but this one is obviously the "Warden of the Electric Fence".

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