Saturday, 2 April 2016

A Sunny Day at Rainham Marshes

22nd March 2016

For once the forecast was correct and we arrived in the car park in glorious sunshine. Birding started at the reception desk when we looked through a telescope and saw the Jack Snipe on the Purfleet Scrape. So that was the first point of call only stopping to snap this fly-by heron before getting a couple of record shots of the rather distant Jack.

In the Purfleet Hide the most obvious new arrival was this Avocet although sadly some distance away. Lapwings were also very much in evidence, all looking stunning in their kaleidoscope plumage which changed colours depending on the angle of the sun

Ducks and geese were well represented with quite a few pairs of stunning Pintail, Canada Geese and immaculate Shelduck with much preening and wing-flapping.

But the star of the show here today was one of the many Redshank, which unlike all the others chose to walk round the scrape passing right in front of the hide. There were also some territorial disputes resulting in much chasing around.

Now on to the Marshland Discovery Zone to try our luck with the Kingfishers, which although not breeding yet are fairly active in and around the nest hole. While I was waiting for the Kingfishers to perform, one of the local Little Grebes chugged by right outside the hide. Then the male Kingfisher emerged and sat on the pole allowing some shots to be taken.

On our way to the woodland a Wren was taking advantage of the warm sun, doing a spot of sunbathing and having the odd scratch. Further along at the feeders the resident Robin and Reed Buntings were in attendance, and although the Reed Buntings are usually very confiding, one particular individual was quite flighty.

By the railway a female Kestrel was on lookout, obviously not trusting the CCTV camera mounted on the pole. After a few moments it launched itself into the area and flapped lazily out over the grazing marsh looking for dinner. There was then the sharp explosive burst of a Cetti's Warbler which showed itself for just a few seconds before diving back into the bramble.

And finally on to the river wall looking for pipits at high tide. Sadly, none were on show but there were a number of Teal dabbling close by on the flooded salt-marsh.

But the most intriguing moment today was on our way back to the car. In the distance not far from the visitor centre I could hear what I assumed to be a Starling imitating a Corn Bunting. As I got closer the imitation became even more believable, and it wasn't until I got closer still that I could see that.......IT WAS A CORN BUNTING!!!!!

Where on earth did that come from?

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