With good numbers of Shelduck on the marsh and river at the moment and some fine springlike weather it is not too surprising that they have been getting frisky. The males seem to outnumber the females about 5:1 and are often seen in hot pursuit of the ladies whistling and grunting!
They will not settle down for some time yet and have weeks of preliminary courtship to go before she choses a mate and finds an old rabbit burrow in which to nest. As you will see in the photo by Mark Hart below, the females are about a third smaller than the males and I was always led to believe that this allowed them to incubate without intrusions from the more robust amourous males! If this is wrong please tell me!
Hopefully a Stonechats will stay and breed again this year. One or two are in traditional spots already and so hopefully they will be producing some extra pebblechats for us to watch! Always entertaining litte birds and definitely an inconic Rainham Marshes bird in the same way that Short-eared Owl and Water Pipit always were in the early days to visiting birders.
Footage by Clive Watts .... again!
Although they not yet in high breeding plumage, our Reed Buntings have been finding their voice in the last few spring like days. Their quirky little simple song is a familiar sound out on the marsh and as they like to sing predominantly from the reed tops they are actualy rather easy to see. Nice video by Clive Watts.