Trip reports

Rainham Marshes (Leader Karen Snow)

Rainham Marshes (Leader Karen Snow)
Grey heron [Karen Snow]

Sunday, 24 September 2017

I was asked to lead this walk in the absence of Robin Smith who had a prior commitment, and 15 of us made it over the river to Rainham Marshes. This reserve is situated on the bank of the Thames within sight of the Queen Elizabeth II bridge and relatively straight forward to find (although one or two took wrong turns).

Once the reserve opened we set off and our first birds were house sparrows on the feeders, closely followed by a little egret, mallard, teal, kestrel and a marsh harrier. A couple of us saw a Cettis warbler. There were flocks of goldfinches around and a small group of blue tits and long-tailed tits in the cordite store area.

Several butterflies were about, small white and red admiral along with several dragonflies - mainly ruddy darters.

We continued around the track where we heard a robin calling, before witnessing a wing walker on a bi-plane!

From the hide, we saw a grey heron, moorhen, coot and a couple of us saw a little grebe. In the distance there was a flock of corvids mobbing a buzzard and a flock of greylag geese took flight.

Moving on round the boardwalk, there were mallards, teals and lapwings, more little grebes and a great- crested grebe. We also had brief views of a pintail in eclipse and there were shovellers, tufted and pochard ducks. Canada geese were everywhere and plenty of crows, magpies, pigeons, gulls and coots.

We had a lovely view of a hobby flying across the pools. A couple of cormorants were among the geese along with a couple of mute swans.

In front of the lovely large hide, we had a beautiful kingfisher which perched out in the open on a post and stayed long enough for everyone to have a view. We looked at the owl box for ages but it turned out to be empty. There was a flock of waders, mainly lapwings and a couple of others, possibly ruff, but they all took off before we could get a positive ID.

We carried on and had some good views of a stonechat and a whinchat before having a flypast bearded tit before making our way back to the visitor centre for a well-earned cup of tea.

Karen Snow