Tuesday 26 October 2021

Just a quick visit to the park today before going to Rainham Marshes.

A Blackbird turned over dead leaves in the wet grass near the Dell, finding a larva and a worm.

A Long-Tailed Tit perched in a hawthorn tree beside the Long Water where a pair nested last spring.

If you are kind to Carrion Crows they will exploit you mercilessly. I now have two hitting me over the head, despite my efforts to train them not to.

This Robin is everyone's pet at Rainham. It came to take mealworms from Tom's hand.

A Stonechat perched on a small tree.

I had hoped to see the Dartford Warbler, but missed it despite two visits to its territory. However, Tom got an excellent picture of it in a rose bush.

A Pheasant wandered through the grass.

Three Cattle Egrets, attracted by the herd of cattle that graze in the middle of the site. There were five in all today, and the number is likely to increase.

The cows are gradually getting used to them, and occasionally letting them perch on their back to eat parasites.

There were also plenty of Little Egrets, but I didn't see a Great Egret today.

Shore birds included Lapwings ...

... and a Curlew and some Avocets beside the estuary.

A pair of Snipe rested next to a clump of grass.

No visit to Rainham would be complete without a Little Grebe.

There were Teal ...

... and Wigeon.

A passing helicopter panicked a flock of Greylag Geese and some Canadas.

A Weasel ran along the path at the river wall. Tom got a brief video of it.

There was an empty snail shell of a peculiar blue colour. I can't match this with a native species.


  1. I think I've seen snail shells of that colour, and wonder if they fade to that after a while, epsecially if exposed to sunlight?

    1. There is something fairly similar called a Blue Mystery Snail (Pomacea diffusa) but it is a more even blue without the white bands of this shell. It might have developed these white bands after death through exposure to the elements, I suppose.

  2. What an excellent visit! So many different bird species!

    It was a matter of time before Cattle Egrets took possession of Rainham Marshes. They are unstoppable forces. I think they range over all continents except Antarctica.

    So there are now two head-bangers at work. Hm. I'd consider purchasing a helmet.

    Can anything be sweeter that that tame and confident Robin singing softly to itself?

    1. I think that Cattle Egrets have to reach a quorum before they decide to stay in a place. For the small herd of cows at Rainham, five egrets may be enough, but we shall see. Anyway, numbers are going up in the London area, as they are for the other two egret species.

      Now that the weather is getting cold I can wear my fake Russian hat, which protects against the claws of bumptious crows.

  3. Rainham is always a good visit. Shame you didn't get to see the Dartford Warbler. Unless we have a severe winter I'm sure we will get to see even more Cattle Egrets-one of the world's most successful natural avian colonists. They've bred in several English counties for the first time this year including Oxfordshire & Cambridgeshire.

    I think the snail is a form of Brown-lipped snail- a very variable species, though I've never seen one with this bluish shade.

    1. I hasn't realised that Cattle Egrets were so unstoppable till I saw Tinúviel's comment above. But I remember seeing them in Israel sitting on cattle as thickly as the candles on a birthday cake.

      Thanks for the information on the snail. I had wondered about that species when fruitlessly searching on the web. Hadn't realised that snail shell colour was so variable.