Blogger: Jo Sampson, Project Manager

Calling all visitors and residents of North Kent, South Essex and London; The Big Picture – Greater Thames Photography Competition is open for entries!  With a break in the weather and a wealth of winter waders out on the marshes, what better time to get out and enjoy your local green space? – here to tell you more about it is Stef Lawrence:

The competition is open to anyone and everyone, from 8 year olds to 80 year olds, from avid photographers to those of you who have captured a great moment on your smart phone!  We want to see what nature in the Greater Thames means to you.

Picture: Evie and Annabel at RSPB Northward Hill enjoying the sunshine and taking photos to enter into the Young Photographer category – Good luck girls! Photo by Jodie Randall

Alongside the chance to win some fantastic prizes and a print of your photograph, finalists will be invited to join us and our expert judges aboard the historic Light Vessel 21 for an awards ceremony like no other.  Following the ceremony in May, selected photos will be part of The Big Picture – The Exhibition which will be displayed at locations all over the Greater Thames!

Sunday saw the launch of the competition, with the first of our photography workshops taking place at RSPB Northward Hill - and what a stunning day it was!

With blue skies all around, looking out over the reserve from the viewpoints was breath taking.  The recent floods have provided perfect conditions for our ducks, with thousands of wigeon enjoying the soggy marshland.  Looking over the Thames towards South Essex, marsh harriers patrolled the landscape and lapwings were strung across the skyline.  Nature photographer, Jodie Randall, was on hand to offer her top tips, while Roger Kiddie and his bird ringing team treated visitors to some fantastic photo opportunities.  As well as learning all about the crucial scientific data the team gather when ringing the birds, visitors also had the opportunity to get “hands-on” with nature and help to release the birds back onto the reserve.

Picture: Visitors (young and old!) lend a hand and learn about the science behind bird ringing - Photo by Jodie Randall

Deadline for entries to The Big Picture is midnight on 22nd April – so you still have plenty of time to get out and capture that perfect shot!

If you would like a chance to explore an iconic hotspot for nature in the Thames or would like some expert help with your entry, why not join us at RSPB Rainham Marshes at 1pm this Sunday 23rd February.  We’ll be taking a casual stroll around the reserve with one of Rainham’s expert guides and wildlife photographer James Porter will be joining us to offer advice.  Prices are as follows:

RSPB member - £4.00
Wildlife Explorers member: £1.50
Adult non-member - £5.00
Child non-member - £2.00

For more details on guided walks or how to enter the competition, look out for a link to the competition web page which will be available soon at or email

#JeThames #BigPicture