Friday, 25 April 2014

Rainham Marshes and King George V Reservoir visits

I made a  brief visit to Rainham Marshes on Wednesday morning, taking advantage of the sunshine I headed off on a circuit of the reserve.
Taking the path that runs alongside the Thames, plenty of Sedge and Reed Warblers were heard and seen. Further along the path I stopped to check out the Kingfisher bank, the staff had told us that a pair were breeding here.
Standing behind the mesh curtain that had been put up over the glass windows to screen the public from the birds at the Marshland Discovery Hide I waited for a Kingfisher to appear. Unfortunately none were seen in the time I waited, but I'll visit again and hopefully have more luck.
While walking across a wooden bridge further along the path a Water Vole caught my eye as it swam across the channel and started searching the reeds at the edge of the water.
While standing here watching the Water Vole, the distinctive reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler started up. A very welcome addition to the year list.
Stopping at the Shooting Butts Hide a Sparrowhawk is seen flying across the marsh and heads off over Target Pools. Scanning the pools in front of the hide two Hobbies are seen and one of these decides to land in front of the distant fence line allowing for some great scope views and also giving me another  addition to the year list.
The highlight of the walk back to the reserve centre was two Bearded Tits flying directly overhead and dropping into the nearest reeds.
Marsh frogs were very vocal as were Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. Common Whitethroat was also seen. The only waders seen were Redshank, Lapwing a single very brief view of a Little Ringed Plover.
A very leisurely stroll around the reserve with the added bonus of a couple of year ticks to boot.

I also made two short visits to King George V Reservoir. The first was an early morning visit, climbing the bank to find the water surface calm and flat and seemingly very quiet on the bird front. A stroll along the Eastern side produced a few Common Terns but no Arctic or Black Terns were seen.

Canada x Greylag

Sand Martins were zipping about across the surface picking off any insects that were found, of which there were plenty. Reaching the causeway I decided to carry on round the Eastern side of the Northern basin the scan the fields at the Northern end.
A scan of these fields produced very little, but scanning the reservoir slope did produce another year tick in the form of a single Common Sandpiper and a single Grey Wagtail was also found.

Heading back along the Western side I took the causeway to return to the Eastern side. A good move as my first Yellow Wagtail flew overhead as I was heading back towards the car.

A second visit was made late afternoon on Thursday when again the water surface was very calm. Sand Martins were even more abundant than the previous trip and in among them was a single House Martin  for another year tick.
A House Sparrow was asking to have it's photo taken when it landed on the fence.

The only terns seen were 4-5 Common Terns mostly perched on Buoys or boats. At the Northern end of South basin two Common Sandpipers were found along with a single Little Egret.
On the grass slopes a pair of Wheatear were a nice find and I grabbed a quick photo of the female.


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