Trip reports

Midweek Outing to Rainham Marshes on 18th February 2014

Friday, 28 February 2014

We had a good start to the day with the sun shining and Long-tailed Tits, Great Tits, House Sparrow, Redwing and Pheasant seen from the car park as we donned our wellies and other wet weather gear. We had been alerted beforehand to the fact that one stretch of the circuit was flooded and impassable without Wellingtons.
Once in the reception area we had excellent views over the feeding station where there were good numbers of Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Blue Tits, Collared Doves and a solitary Stock Dove. We stopped at the Purfleet Scrape Viewpoint as it poured with rain and spotted Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Pintail, Shoveler and Gadwall.
As the rain eased off and we entered the woodland area a Cetti's Warbler was seen and heard. We heard several more during the day all round the reserve. A Common Snipe was also disturbed and flew off in a typical zigzag fashion.
Approaching the Ken Barrett hide we had a first glimpse of a pair of Stonechats an experience that was to be repeated on two more occasions on our circuit. From the hide we had superb views over Aveley Flash where we found Lapwings (one of which was leucistic), Redshank, Curlew, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwits, Little Grebes and a Little Egret.
It was between this hide and the Shooting Butts hide where we encountered the flooding and two of the Group had to make their way back as they did not have the appropriate footwear!! We did meet up with them again later in the day.
After lunch we had distant views of a Marsh Harrier as he disturbed a large flock of Dunlin that gave us superb views of their characteristic "now you see me now you don't" wheeling flight. Before we left the reserve to walk along the sea wall back to the reception area we had good views of Skylark and a Meadow Pipit. A possible Rock Pipit was seen flying along the rocky shoreline but it was raining by then and rather overcast for a positive ID.
It is impossible to leave Rainham without enjoying some of their delicious home made cakes with an afternoon drink and for the 13 Members who made the trip this was the way to end a good days birding. 56 species were seen.

Terry Osborn