Sorry but I have been away from the reserve again... another Busman's trip, this time to RSPB Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire. Spent a lovely day there in glorious sunshine walking the length of the levee and having a good look from all the hides. Acres of water and flooded grassland and more birds than you could shake the proverbial stick at! Wigeon were present in huge flocks each bigger than all we have at Rainham with many Teal, Pintail, Shoveler and mallard amongst them. Well over 1000 Black-tailed Godwits swirled around and even more Lapwing and Godel Plover performed similar aerobatics. Peregrine, Marsh Harriers and Buzzards spooked everybird in sight and a vast swan flock held all three species with 330 Whoopers, two Bewick's and 21 Mutes! Back at the visitors centre we had lunch with loads of fluffed up House Sparrows and a few chipper Tree Sparrows. Magic...!
In the heart of winter it is sometimes possible to discover signs of the long gone summer in the form of otherwise hidden nests deep in the now dying vegetation. Nests of songbirds and even Harvest Mice are now easier to find and with a bit of thought it is possoble to identify the previous owner. Mark Hart found this delightful Reed Warbler nest woven unusually into the stems of a thistle and it is still intact despite the amazingly windy season that we had so far.
I would apologise for yet more Bearded Tit imagegs but today's showing was even better than last weeks and Brenda got some great images as they came down to water level to search through the reedmace fluff that they had already disturbed... PLEASE come and see them!
No chance today for any sun bathing but last week Mark caught this Wren having a good warm up before the weather turned again.
Not a crash landing...... (Mark Hart)
It is not just the Penduline Tits that we now associate with our stands of Greater and Lesser Reedmace but as you will have seen iin countless images, the Bearded Tits have taken to it big time this year in search of the tiny moth caterpillars that live within the fabric of the seedhead. we often see Blue tits, Stonechats, Wrens and Reed Bunting attacking the heads and on Wednesday we even caught a Magpie exhibiting the the same behaviour! As for the Penduline Tits; there is still time for a return! It was mid February last year!