How are you?
I wanted to tell you about the RSPB's Wild Challenge - it's a free, fun family activity that you can do outside (a home or at Rainham Marshes!) and get close to nature.
There are loads of different challenges for you and your whole family to take part in - what you choose is up to you! Wild Challenge is your chance to answer that call. Help wildlife, explore nature, and work towards awards by making your way through a heap of wild family activities. What will your wild challenge be?
Children birdwatching picture by Rahul Thanki rspb-images.com
You can do as many challenges as you want, you can work your way from a bronze level all the way to gold.
The challenges are separated into two categories:
1. Help Nature - making our gardens brilliant homes for nature and our outdoor spaces wonderfully wildlife-friendly!
2. Experience Nature - getting up close and personal with wildlife and exploring the world of amazing nature right under our noses!
Rainham Marshes picture by Tony O'Brein
There are lots of opportunities if you wanted to do your experience nature activities here at Rainham Marshes! You could:
* Go birdwatching - did you know we have a monthly Kids Birdwatching Club, we explore the reserve discovering the amazing wildlife at Rainham Marshes! The next clubs are on Saturday 18 November and Saturday 9 December.
* Be a detective and discover tracks and signs
* The woodland area (just past the adventure playground) is a good place to look for trees, leaves and seeds
* In spring and summer we have lots of lovely plants that will be good for your wild flower foray
* From spring you can discover the amazing creatures living under the waters surface with our fabulous pond dipping events - between April-October we run lots of family activities over the school holidays. The favorite activities are definitely pond dipping and minibeasting!
* You can always be a wildlife explorer yourselves, rather than joining us during the holidays, you can explore the reserve on your very own bug-safari! Head out onto the reserve and see if you can discover some of the reserves smaller creatures! You can look all year round, but it's best from spring and summer!
* In July you can join us at a wild sleepout, where you can camp out on the reserve! We camp out on the reserve and have a fun evening looking for night time creatures, going pond dipping and more! Look out for our Big Wild Sleepout which will be at the end of July 2018!
* From July- September we run bat and moth nights! You can discover amazing moths as we set up our special moth traps (they don't hurt the moths, its a clever light box that means we get to see these fascinating creatures)
Child investigating by Eleanor Bentall rspb-images.com
There's lots of fun activities that you can do at home too - like making a hedgehog cafe, or feeding the birds, you could do a wildlife survey or let it grow... it's up to you!
More that 7600 challenges have been completed so far - grab your family, get wild and get closer to nature today!
As you enter the car park tomorrow morning you may be in for a bit of a shock... the view has changed... well in fact you now have a view where there was not one before as the hedgelaying party returned today to complete the last 28 yards of the main strip.
It took all day but the end result is magnificent and will continue to provide an ever improving habitat for our reserve wildlife.
And so like last week we shall run through a little storyboard of how the day went...
The hedge awaiting rejuvenation
and the scraggly curved end that I unearthed from the huge clump of sloe suckers
And so the pleaching begins...
with each team of two taking on its own cant (a notional distance based on the division of larbour - today they were seven yards long - four pairs - 28 yards to work)
There were some tough bits today with lots of interwoven branches and trunks with kinks and bends which made the pleaching 'interesting' at times
Meanwhile at the scraggy end, Martin tackles the final Sloe
... before sharpening enough hazel stakes to battle an army of Vampires
Hello cars on the other side! More stakes for the second wave of the undead...
Dad and Claire lifting in a bushy hawthorn - there was a lot more woody matter to play with this week and it was important to try and incorporate as much as we could into the hedge
With their cant finished first the lads have already banged in their stakes and are now binding with hazel
Lining our stakes up at 18 inch intervals to feed into the hedge
Before weaving in the binders
And just to prove that I was actually helping and not just taking pictures! - cheers Mark!
While Martin feeds in some extra small hazel binders to bulk out the scraggy end with a wattle fence type feel, Dad clubs in the posts fully and tamps down the binders so that they tightly hold the hedge in place
Not so scraggy anymore... I intend to plant some donated Foxgloves in this newly exposed area now and suspect that many other native spring flowers will emerged next year.
Thank you to the team for such a sterling job... just the small one to do now!
The quest to rejuvenate the area around the visitors centre and provide a better vista for you, the visitors to look out onto continued apace today with myself and the crew of volunteers tackling the taller sallows in the dip behind the bird feeder hedge that were blocking out the view of the currently still very dry Purfleet Scrape...
In theory if we have done things properly, what we have actually done today should not really be visible...
This 'haircut' will actually encourage the Sallows that we have semi-pollarded to bush out over the next few seasons rather than reaching for the skies!
Hope you enjoy the view - oh and see if you can spot the difference between the second and third image...
All we need now is a deluge to fill up the scrapes!
Tony O'Brien took some nice shots of myself and Phil S 'hard at work' today...
And this was just the removal of the last willow!
The sunset was quite epic too this evening, aided by the unimpeded view from the other window...
and today's sightings too...
Monday 6th November 2017
• RSPB Rainham Marshes: Hawfinch, 2 Bullfinch, Firecrest, Water Rail, 3 Marsh Harrier, 6 Skylark, Siskin, 3 Avocet