Thursday, 13 October 2016

Flora, Insects and Birds at Rainham Marshes

30th September 2016

A fine and sunny day so time for a visit to Rainham Marshes armed with both the long lens and the macro just in case the birding was a bit quiet, and what a good decision that turned out to be. For, as half expected, the birding was indeed a bit on the quiet side, but despite the time of year there were still a few plants in flower and some lovely berries and hips. From the top these are Bristly Ox-tongue, Chicory, Goat's Rue, Hawthorn berries and Rose hips. Contrary to popular belief, the good crop of Hawthorn berries is an indicator of the wet Spring and sunny Summer that has gone rather an indicator of a harsh Winter to come.

There were also a number of insects taking advantage of the late summer sun including these hoverflies.

Syrphus ribesii
Syrphus ribesii
Eristalis tenax
Eristalis tenax
Eristalis tenax
Helophilus sp

And I could not finish off the hoverflies without taking a shot of the hoverfly to beat all hoverflies, the majestic hornet mimic Volucella zonaria nectaring on a Buddleia bloom.

And nearby Ivy Bees were enjoying the forest of Ivy flowers

Only three species of dragonflies are still flying at this late stage of the season and this male Migrant Hawker was having a well earned rest at the side of the track. They are normally quite approachable and this one was no exception allowing me to get so close with the macro that I could only get its head and thorax in.

Whilst I was taking shelter from a shower in the Butts Hide a female Stonechat came and sat on the electric fence outside but unfortunately insisted on turning her back on me.

Further along by the MDZ a small flock of Goldfinches were doing what they are famous for, feeding on the thistles. One particular individual was so engrossed in what it was doing that I was able to approach to within just 8 yards allowing some nice close-ups to be taken.

But the star of the show today was this young Whitethroat which insisted on posing in a Wild Rose bush with a few rose hips in the background to aid the composition of the shot. Just how good is that?

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