Trip reports

Visit to Rainham Marshes

Visit to Rainham Marshes
Rainham Marshes - Target Pools (Photo: Peter Berrill)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The M1 is not a very inspiring motorway, unlike the M40 with the prospect of red kites on the outskirts of London but nevertheless, the lack of traffic eased our passage through the 'Average Speed' restrictions.

A broken flask of coffee crisis at South Mimms Services was easily brushed aside as we soon entered Rainham's car park. A nice young lady greeted us on arrival, directing us to our parking slot and coming onboard to introduce us to the reserve; she handed out passes and trail guides.

With our passage through the Visitor Centre eased the photographers again led the charge and immediately bagged a pair of bearded tit!

Goldfinch, reed bunting and house sparrow frequented the feeding station as we passed and a water vole was spotted in the nearby water course. Passing the Marshland Discovery Zone we encountered a couple of stonechat while the many skylark fluttered across the grassland. Others climbed high into the blue sky, their song filling the air.

Lunch was taken by the Shooting Butt where both water rail and marsh frog were heard. Layers were removed due to the increasing temperature and a small flock of linnet landed in a nearby bush. A couple of peregrine perched on the distant electricity pylons, occasionally taking to the air and putting up the large lapwing and golden plover flocks.

Lunch taken, we proceeded to the Shooting Butts Hide, a new construction since our last visit in January 2010. From this impressive hide we observed little egret, curlew, dunlin, wigeon, gadwall, teal, pintail and shelduck on both Target Pools and Aveley Flash.

We retraced our steps, using the Riverside Path Link to return to the Visitor Centre alongside the Thames. Here we encountered small flocks of redshank being flushed up stream by the incoming tide. Some of the group were lucky enough to see a curlew sandpiper.

Just before departure the remainder of the group finally caught up with one of the bearded tit.

Peter and Lesley Berrill