Saturday, 22 July 2017

It was a very successful visit to Rainham Marshes. It's not the best time of year for birds, but there was a splendid selection of insects.

Nine Little Egrets could be seen from the Butts hide. Here is one of them fishing. I removed the sound from this video because it was simply of people in the hide talking.

No visit to Rainham would be complete without a Lapwing ...

... and a Little Grebe.

This picture of a Green Sandpiper was taken at a distance in fading light.

And so was this one of a Kestrel.

There was a Collared Dove ...

... and a lot of Goldfinches ...

... on a dead tree near the visitor centre which is hung with feeders.

As it was getting dark, two Barn Owls could be seen flying across the marshes, but too distant and dim for a picture.

Update: But Tom, who was closer to them, did get a picture, remarkable considering how little light there was.

Butterflies included a Peacock ...

... a Ringlet ...

... a Comma ...

... a Gatekeeper ...

... a Large Skipper ...

... and a Holly Blue.

There was a Cinnabar moth caterpillar on a stem.

Dragonflies included a Common Darter ...

... and a Southern Migrant Hawker, looking luminous with the sun behind it.

There were several Wasp spiders in a little patch of grass.


  1. Good stuff. In the second minute of the BBC documentary "Alfred of Wessex", rebroadcast this week, there are two sequences of a barn owl hunting over marsh with the sound of wingbeats dubbed on, inappropriate enough but the sound doesn't even match the wingstrokes at one point. Jim

    1. The BBC can't tolerate silence, even for a second. They are, after all, in the yakking business.

  2. I went to Rainham on Saturday afternoon and bagged the same kestrel and little grebe (but with two chicks); and also some splendid Bearded Tit youngsters, 3 of a reported brood of 8, with one parent. Not an insect to be seen, though - the weather was grey to dark-grey, and the rain, when it came, positively Old Testament.

    1. I was lucky enough to be shown round the place by an insect maven, who knew where the most interesting ones were to be found.

  3. Great picture of the Barn Owls! Lovely to see that they are doing better than in previous years.

    The picture of Southern Migrant Hawker's backlit wings is so wonderful. It looks like something out of a fairy tale.

    One of the things that startled me the most when I first visited England was, how many spiders there were in plain sight. I am something of a rehabbed arachnophobe. The first weeks were tough. Then I realized that a large spider population is a very small price to pay for all the glorious green vegetation everywhere.

    1. Never realised that Britain was a spider haven. I'm always pleased to see them, because you have one spider instead of a hundred flies.