A beautiful day on the reserve but quiet bird wise although eight Hobbies, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and a Red Kite (west at 11am) were seen. The Great Crested Grebes seem to have another nest and Lapwings are displaying again. Highlight for me was a fine male Emperor Moth, the first adult we have ever seen here despite years of finding the groovy caterpillars. Also seven ladybird species today and a new Jumping Spider species for the the reserve!
Hopefully this is Evacaha arcuata but it could well be Bianor aurocinctus ... honest guv!
Emperor Moth by me! simply stunning!
Tomorrow sees another early start for the dawn chorus at 4am but the reserve will be open from that time should any one wish to have an early amble round by themselves.
Another glorious day on the reserve. At least seven Hobbies have kept us entertained all day along with a couple of Buzzards and the female Marsh Harrier. Lots of insects on the wing today as well. Oh and the Raven was seen again yesterday!
There are still a few places left on the Insect Afternoon walk tomorrow from 1pm!
Another fine start to the day which gradually warmed itself to respectability. Lots of insect life today with 11 species of butterfly including only the second ever Green Hairstreak for the reserve. Hairy Hawkers started to emerge and the first Blur-tailed Damsels joined the Large Reds.
Green Hairstreak by Brenda Clayton
Hairy Hawker by Peter Warne
The wildlife garden pond now looks fabulous and Ragged Robin and Water Forget-me-nots are in flower around the edges.
Ragged Robin by me
On the bird front four Sanderling were the first new passage waders for a few days but the star of the day was a Raven the flew past the centre at 1130 heading northeast up the Mar Dyke Valley. This species has increased somewhat in the south east in the last few years and it was only a matter of time till one paid us a visit.
Having seemingly avoided the coldest, windiest start to May in many years, it was rather nice to have prolonged spells of sunshine this afternoon across the reserve with occasional showers that generally gave us enough warning to be able to scuttle back inside!
Anyway still fairly quiet with two Whimbrel being the only passage waders at all, even over the high tide. Lots of hirundines and Swifts on the move though.
Mid afternoon seems to be raptor o'clock at Rainham and today did not disappoint with two Buzzards, female Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawks, four each of Hobby and Kestrel, Peregrine and a Red Kite that flopped westwards. Not bad at all if you ask me for my first proper day back.
Lots of noisy Reed and Sedge Warblers on site and the first Shoveler and Gadwall broods have been found.
Reed Warbler by Jono Lethbridge check out Jono's blog at http://wansteadbirder.blogspot.com
First Hairy Hawkers and Four Spot Chasers on the wing today and with warmer weather on the way things should now start to emerge.
We shall see what tomorrow holds!
Sorry for the lack of posts but I have been away on a well deserved break in Lesvos. Ok, so a bit of a Busmans Holiday but the birding, weather, food, scenery and other wildlife was amazing.
Been back two days and on the reserve from 0300 this morning for our first of two Dawn chorus events. Everyone is still out with the the walk leaders at the moment but despite the forecast, the day has started clear, bright, sunny, calm and actually quite warm. Not sure what they have seen and heard so far but from my position in the centre all the warblers can be heard in full song along with Skylark, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Song Thrushes, Blackbird, Cuckoo, Lapwings, Shelduck and of course the Marsh Frogs.
Skylark by Tony Coombs
Sedge Warbler by Tony Coombs
While I was away things were pretty quiet with strong northerly winds, cool temperatures and rain. As such new migrants were a little thin on the ground but Whimbrel continued to pass through and three Black Terns dropped in on the 2nd.
Whimbrel by Les Harrison
Black Terns by Paul Hawkins
Other wildlife out on the site at the moment includes some groovy spiders
Zebra Jumping Spider by me
and (don't laugh!) even some charismatic hoverflies such as this long snouted one which goes by the colloquial name of the Heineken Fly as it reaches the parts other flies can not reach!
Rhingia campestris by me as well!
That's all for now, got to go and make sure the sausages and bacon are ready for the return of the walkers! The next Dawn Chorus will be on Sunday May 23 at 4am and the reserve will also be open for general access at this time.