Wednesday 6 September 2023

An afternoon at Rainham Marshes

Tuesday's visit to Rainham Marshes was thoroughly successful and plenty of pictures and videos were to be had. The only serious thing we missed was Cattle Egrets, as the cows kept moving to places where we weren't. I was also disappointed when a male Bearded Tit appeared in the reeds but wouldn't come clear of the stems, so I only got this poor shot.

There was a general lack of small birds, as you might expect on a hot day, but a female Wheatear on the edge of the river posed obligingly.

A small flock of Goldfinches settled in a bush ...

... but were scared away by the appearance of a Sparrowhawk which, however, didn't come close enough for a good shot.

However, a young male Kestrel was much more visible, perching on a fence post ...

... and hovering. You can tell he's male in spite of his generally female colouring by a couple of adult grey tail feathers appearing.

A cock Pheasant turned up unexpectedly at a distance.

This Great Egret was one of three that were flying around.

There were lots of  Little Egrets. Here is one wading.

Two Curlews arrived.

One could be seen washing.

Two Snipe were probing the mud.

A closer look at these well camouflaged birds.

There were plenty of Black-Tailed Godwits and Lapwings.

Two Ruff stood in front of them, next to a female Teal.

Several Little Grebes were diving busily.

A Garganey, I think a drake in eclipse rather than a female, was dipping its head frantically, which made a still picture almost impossible but it comes out all right in a video.

Some Shelducks splashed down on the river.

Marsh Frogs were calling in the drainage ditches.


  1. I love how the Kestrels here are so tame and not fazed by the human presence.

  2. Some fine birds there Ralph & love your Marsh Frog shot-such characters!

    1. The Marsh Frogs made quite a racket when they had a bout of calling and answering each other.

      Something I've not mentioned on the blog is that I often go along the edge of the Serpentine at night and always hear a Common Frog calling on the island.

  3. The Snipes and Bearded Tits are awesome. I have never seen them before...

    1. Rainham is easy to get to by train -- see its web site -- and well worth a visit.

  4. Wow, what a day, what an incredible day! It may have been the most fruitful visit to Rainham marshes in the past few years. We are so lucky to be able to see it through your lens and your camera.

    1. It was a very good day in general. No rarities but lots of variety and chances for close shots (or what passes for a close shot when you are carrying a lens the size of a town drain).