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...
The continued murky conditions this week have brought in a few new birds although the conditions and especially the quality ofthe light have made it feel more like November!
A flock of 42 Common Scoter drifted up river on Monday and two Goosander were also seen - the latter is a rare bird here.
Scoter flock - Andy Tweed
Goosanders - Andy Tweed
Wednesday saw proper mist and early rain and there were plenty of waders to be seen albeit in a vaguely ghosted out sort of way! Over 60 Curlew were counted (a record) along with both Godwits and ten Whimbrel while 21 Grey Plover were also unusual. Arctic wader passage does not usually start here for a couple of weeks or so birds must be on the move early this year.
Two male Ring Ouzels were seen including a male that fell out of the sky in front of the centre window and showed briefly but well with that gleaming white gorget. Always a spring treat. Five Wheatears were along the river wall and the Great White Egret is still parading around although it is spending more time on Target Pools and Wennington now.
Wheatear - Ian Plume
Wheatear - Barry Tranfield
Wheatear - Russ Sherriff
Sam Levy's Great White Egret - sums up the general viewing conditions this week! Atmospheric...
The Short-eared Owls are still being seen on and off at the west end of the river wall.
SEOwl - Paul Richardson
SEOwl - Russ Sherriff
Lapwings are madly tumbling still and Skylarks were singing invisibly in the murk.
Lapwings - Steve Young
Skylark in song - Tony O'Brien
Today saw an almost complete lack of passage waders although two Ruff were still around and ten Great Crested Grebes on the Thames was most unsual but the undoubted highlight was a summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe found just in front of the Purfleet Hide. This dapper little punk showed well all afternoon and we left it there asleep as we left work this evening...
Black-necked Grebe - Barry Tranfield
Let's hope it is there tomorrow...