Thursday, 7 July 2016

Sedgies and Reedies at Rainham Marshes

6th June 2016

Back from my summer break so time for a visit to Rainham Marshes to try my luck with the newly-fledged Bearded Tits. As you would expect at this time of year it was fairly quiet on the bird front so as I made my way round to the dragonfly pools there were plenty of opportunities for shots of the wide range of flowers, starting with Hedge Bindweed and Bird's Foot Trefoil.

Does anyone remember the 1960s pop group Chicory Tip? Well this staggering pale blue flower is where they got their name from.

Also on show was the highly invasive Goat's Rue which is currently present in manageable proportions alongside the humble Sow-thistle and showy Tufted Vetch.

Insects were also thin on the ground, presumably as a result of the recent heavy rains, with just a few Buff-tailed Bumblebees and Honey Bees nectaring on the Brambles.

Despite getting a bit late in the season the Marsh Frogs were still very vocal and this particularly green individual was basking in the sun atop one of the piles of cut reeds. On the mollusc front Brown-lipped Snails were numerous.

Only saw a handful of butterflies all day, but the grassy area by the Ken Barrett Hide was holding a few skippers.

Now on to the birds. The commonest birds by far were Reed Warblers with the parents feeding their young deep down in the reeds. However, occasionally one of the youngsters would venture out for a quick peek around before disappearing once again into cover.

Sadly the Bearded Tits were not as cooperative. Many were seen with flocks up to six, but they were very elusive and flighty. Only once did a young male and female sit up on a Phrag head, but too far away for any decent photos so that will have to wait for another day. I'll be back.

But the star of the show today was the Sedge Warbler by the MDZ which insisted on posing on top of a Reed-mace head, singing his heart out for everyone to hear. What a lovely way to end the day.

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