Monday 12 September 2016

A young Great Crested Grebe was waving a bit of weed at its sibling. They have all the moves of the adult weed dance programmed into their brain, but later when they get mates and start dancing in earnest they will have to do a lot of practice before they get it right.

Another caught a fish under the willow tree near the bridge. One of its parents was there, and it kept begging to be fed in spite of being able to feed itself now.

These young Feral Pigeons on the roof of one of the small boathouses are at much the same stage, fully grown but still pestering their parents for food.

Two of the three teenage Mute Swans were trying to fly. It will be a while yet before they get off the water.

A young Blackbird on the path near the reed bed at the bridge was not bothered by the passers-by, and stared curiously at the camera.

On the other side of the path, one of the family of foxes came out on the path, not troubled by people either. They foxes have been seen here at dawn and dusk, but this one appeared at 12.30 pm. This excellent picture was taken by Eleanor.

A Feral Pigeon was sunbathing casually on the path, but that is expected behaviour for pigeons, which expect you to walk round them.

Starlings at the Lido restaurant took time off from raiding the tables to have a wash.

A female Red Crested Pochard cruised by, looking quietly elegant as usual.

A Grey Heron was preening a wing on the dead willow tree next to the Italian Garden.

Both the Little Owls near the leaf yard were visible. The male was on his usual branch until he was buzzed by a Magpie and retreated into the nest hole. A few minutes later he came out and had a careful look around before flying back to the branch.

The female owl was in the next tree up the hill, in one of her favourite places where she is usually very hard to photograph. But this time she obligingly stood up and stared down.

Terrapins are surprisingly good at climbing up on branches to bask in the sun.


  1. Enjoyed your Rainham pictures. When I get to London I always try to visit Kensington Gardens and Barnes Elms WWT. If I can squeeze an extra day I visit Rainham as it is always enjoyable and there is always an interesting bird or two. Coming from Northern Ireland woodpeckers, nuthatch and owls are high on my wanted list.

    1. Thanks. I prefer Rainham to the Wetlands Centre -- wilder and less regimented.

  2. Young Blackbirds are notoriously unconcerned, or perhaps foolhardy.

    I've been noticing a curious thing about birds here: even very timid birds will take quite a bit longer to fly away if you look at them with your sunglasses on as opposed to with no sunglasses. I've tried it on magpies, who are notoriously skittish here, and it works: you can get very close to them before they take flight. Have you ever noticed a difference?

    1. I never wear sunglasses. But a lot of birds don't like being looked at by human eyes. So I sidle up to them looking away, or with the camera in front of my face, since they don't see this as an eye. Owls can be scared by binoculars, which look a bit like huge owl eyes staring at them.

  3. Being untroubled by humans is probably not in a fox's long-term interests!