Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Water Pipits at Rainham Marshes

9th November 2015

The programme today was to photograph my first ever Water Pipit. It was a dark and overcast day, but with the weather forecast saying that breaks in the cloud might be possible, it was well worth a visit. My first port of call was the Ken Barrett Hide which has always been dead. The main problem here is that, although it was cleared about 4 years ago, the front of the scrape right outside the window of the hide has been taken over by Flowering Rush which, although being a very attractive aquatic plant, is also very invasive.

However, the scrape has now been re-profiled and to my mind a little more aggressively than before, so hopefully it will last a little longer this time before the whole exercise has to be repeated. As a result there is now open water lapping up to the hide and birds queuing up for their photograph to be taken, like this pair of Gadwall.

By the Dragonfly Pools a rather tame Kestrel was sitting on top of one of the target signs, probably not such a good idea. I suspect from the greyish hue on its cheeks that this is a young male.

Now on to the Butts Hide for some lunch and a cup of tea, and just outside the hide was a Grey Heron. Unfortunately with my camera set-up it was so close that I couldn't get it all in, so had to be content with just a head shot.

But then the star of the show arrived, a Water Pipit. Even as it flew in it was noticeably pale underneath and the call was a clincher. It strutted around on the bare mud (because this scrape has also been cleared of vegetation) and offered a number of photographic opportunities over the next 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the light was poor and I had to resort to an ISO of 1600-2000, but I hope you will agree that the Canon 7D Mk2 acquitted itself very well.

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