28th February 2016
The weather forecast was good so I set off for Rainham Marshes, although typically as I pulled into the car park it started to rain. Luckily this was just a short blip and as soon as the clouds rolled back the site was bathed in sun. An anticlockwise circuit today so first stop was the woodland feeders. All the usual suspects were present including this rather confiding Dunnock which was getting so close at times that I was struggling to get it all in.
Long-tailed Tits also wanted to get in on the act and have their photos taken as well as the resident Reed Buntings and Robins.
Now on to the Barratt Hide where the scrape has recently been re-profiled and is looking really good. My last visit was fairly soon after the work had been completed so was still fairly devoid of wildlife, but today the birds were moving back in like this Snipe, drake Teal, female Tufted Duck, female Pochard and Coot.
Time now to move on to the Serin Mound to hopefully see the Short-eared Owls. A bit quiet today with only one showing, and that had obviously just eaten as it spend the next half an hour sitting on the distant bank. Not as good as my previous efforts but still nice to see.
But the stars of today were the pipits. Whilst in the Butts Hide a Meadow Pipit flew over calling and as luck would have it landed on a nearby electric fence post. Not the best habitats or views but a Meadow Pipit nevertheless.
Then on the river wall I found a Rock Pipit. The resident subspecies Anthus petrosus is not found in south-east England so this bird is almost certainly the migratory subspecies littoralis. Unfortunately I would not be able to positively identify it as such until it starts colouring up in the Spring.
And then to round off a perfect day, also in the Butts Hide, a Water Pipit was strutting its stuff right in front of the hide, allowing a number of shots to be taken.
So a good variety of birds to photograph culminating in a Short-eared Owl and three species of pipits. How good is that?