Thursday, 18 May 2017

A Couple of Hours on the River Wall at Rainham Marshes

6th May 2017

High tide was at 10.40am today, so instead on going on to the reserve, I thought I would spend a couple of hours on the river wall to try and see some Whimbrel on the receding tide. There were many Linnets arounds, often feeding on the sward kept short by the Rabbits, but a female was also building a nest in a nearby bramble and was carrying in enormous beakfuls of nesting material.

Whitethroats are also numerous along the wall, enjoying the masses of tangled undergrowth and brambles.

...........and as is often the case, a male Stonechat suddenly appeared in front of the camera, and disappeared just as quickly.

But the star of the show was this cracking male Wheatear which seemed fascinated by the sound of the shutter and kept coming closer to see what was going on.

The tide was now on its way out and mud was beginning to appear, so time to divert my attention to the waders. There was certainly a good selection today with about 20 Grey Plovers, the most I have ever seen here and many in their black breeding plumage, a few very rusty Knot and a flock of 10 Bar-tailed Godwits to replace the usual Black-tailed Godwits.

But the bird that caught my eye was this rather pale brown wader. It was obviously a plover, but what flavour? Luckily at that point it flew showing its black axillaries, confirming that it was an aberrant Grey Plover. If it was just a 1st summer bird then it was the palest Grey Plover I have ever seen. So now to photograph the waders.

Fo no immediately apparent reason every bird on the foreshore was spooked and flew up erratically into the sky. A quick look round soon revealed the culprit............a rather stunning Short-eared Owl. A bit of a surprise as getting a bit late in the season now, but very welcome nevertheless.

I suppose that, in terms of star birds, I had better relegate the male Wheatear to second place.

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