With a brisk southerly breeze the gateway has finally opened to allow a flood of migrants to our shores. Whitethroats now line the Riverwall and severel Lesser Whitethroats have been rattling too. Blackcaps and Sedge Warblers have increased and the first Grasshopper Warblers have been heard.
Cetti's warblers have been particularly showy at the moment which has pleased many usually frustrated visitors.
... as the above trio demonstrate!
Lazy Wheatears have been seen after the sun has warmed things up and three dapper Redstarts have dropped in but as ever do not linger (just like Ring Ouzels and Tree Pipits!)
Redstart - John Murray
The Great White Egret was present at the weekend but not since but the Black-necked Grebe is quite happy on Aveley pool and is showing quite closely at times.
Singleton Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel have been hanging out with one another for a few days now and today posed nicely on the Purfleet Scrape for Andy and Mark...
BarWhim - Andy Reid
Barwit - Mark Vale
Three Iceland Gulls together was very unusual and unseasonal at the Concrete Barges on Saturday morning. I wander how long they will stay for on our bit of the Thames as they have been seen ranging up to the 02.
a montage of all three birds - Jonathan Wasse
and the older 3cy bird - Iceland Gull - Shaun Harvey
oh and guess what? the first Cuckoo was heard today too....
No lengthy wordage from me this evening but just the highlights to tempt you into a weekend visit....
The Black-necked Grebe remained and had moved to Aveley Pool while the Great White Egret was being very mobile today.
Black-necked Grebe - David Lee
Great White - HTV
Quite a few martins moving through this morning and at least five Willow Warblers mainly around the centre and car park area. The Short-eared Owl was out again late afternoon and the Barn Owl was even up and about at seven this morning!
Late rising Wheatears were seen along the foreshore and four Great Crested Grebes and a Sandwich Tern were along the river. Nine whimbrel, three Bar-tailed and seven Black-tailed Godwits headed north west in the morning and 12 of the Curlew headed up the Mardyke later on so some wader passage is obviously still underway.
Wheatear - David Lee
Andy found at least two Ring Ouzels in the Dartford Bushes before they headed to the Cordite and I picked up another at the end of the Northern Trail as it appeared on a bramble while I was showing someone the Black-necked Grebe from inside the visitors centre!
Ring Ouzel - Andy Tweed
RSPB Rainham Marshes: 3 Ring Ouzel, Great White Egret, Black-necked Grebe, Yellow Wagtail, 5 Willow Warbler, 7 Blackcap, 3 Wheatear, 60 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow, 3 Egyptian Geese, 3 Ruff, 26 Curlew, 35 Snipe, 9 Whimbrel, 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, Sandwich Tern, 13 Common Terns, 2ad Med Gulls, 7 Great Crested Grebe, Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, 5 Bearded Tits
Anyway, there is plenty to see so fingers crossed for some warmer, brighter weather in the days ahead...
RSPB #SaveLodgeHill – The battle goes on...
So, Lodge Hill SSSI and its nightingales are still under grave threat.
With the help of thousands of people like you, we have been fighting to #SaveLodgeHill for a number of years. In a long-running saga, we have repeatedly made the case that Medway Council should not be allowed to allocate Lodge Hill for development. Thanks to this pressure, and a huge public outcry, we’ve kept Lodge Hill safe so far.
Now Medway Council has released a new draft of its Local Plan, which still contains an option to build on Lodge Hill. Without your help, this special place is in danger of disappearing under concrete. Development here would also set a dangerous precedent, threatening protected places elsewhere.
Lodge Hill’s nightingales, and wildlife across England, needs your help once again. This is a key moment to tell Medway Council that damaging Lodge Hill SSSI is still totally unacceptable.
Please visit www.rspb.org.uk/savelodgehill and take action before May 11, even if you have spoken out before! We need all our voices to be heard once again.
The National Nightingale Festival, which aims to highlight the decline of UK nightingales, will also be running between 17 April and 31 May.
RSPB reserves hosting events are:
RSPB Pulborough Brooks, W Sussex. (19 Apr, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 18 May)
RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk. (17, 22, 24 Apr, 1, 6, 8, 12, 15, 20, 22 & 29 May)
RSPB Highnam Woods, Glos (01, 09, 14, 17 & 23 May)
RSPB Northward Hill, Kent (12 May)
RSPB Cliffe Pools, Kent (17 May)
We also have one event at Lodge Hill through the Medway Local Group, on 24 April.
Full details will be online at http://bit.ly/SLH18NF
So take a couple of minutes and click www.rspb.org.uk/savelodgehill to ensure that we can all hear Nightingales serenading us on a warm spring evening...