Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Birds at Rainham? Goodbye summer, it's official

In the last 3 Rainham trips I haven't managed to get past the North Boardwalk. This Monday's was no exception. HOWEVER, for the first time in 3 trips this has been due to an excess of birds, not a lack. The uber-camera also made its Rainham debut since Mr Parus had thoughtfully knocked over his tripod 2 days previous, thoroughly breaking the head. The tripod then finished the job on Monday morning in the reserve's cafe by shearing off something inside one of the legs. He was therefore using mine. Our party was happily completed by the Missus.

The walk started, like all the best Rainham walks, with a Bacon Sandwich and a cup of tea. Allow me to also recommend 'Claire's home made blueberry cake'. Yum.

Interesting birds included a well behaved Whimbrel from the bus stop and a stunning Green Sandpiper posing shamelessly in front of the Ken Barrett hide. I got a short tutorial in how to tell them from Common Sandpipers, and some lovely views. Birds that interested me and no one else included a bold little Wren flitting around the boardwalk near the Cordite store and a Reed Warbler who stayed still for more than 2 seconds on the Northern boardwalk (this is exceptional for Reed Warblers, who seem to have some 6th sense for feeling the camera lens on them just at the point before it's fully focused). Birds doing interesting things included a Weegret slapping a fish about a bit before finally swallowing it and more Chiffchaffs that I've ever seen in one place, all pretending to be Willow Warblers.

Extra proud of this one, because I spotted and ID'd it myself with no assistance. Norfolk has done wonders for my 1337 w4d3r sk1llz

Parus's spot. Nice one.

Tricksy little Wren

Invertrbrates were also well represented - Saw what I believe to be Male and Female Ruddy Darters, and loads of Small White butterflies. Also some kind of Pale Blue butterfly which we decided has to be a Holly Blue because it's not going to be a Chalkhill Blue, and the Common Blue has brown underwings while this one was definitely pale blue underneath. Didn't settle long enough for a picture unfortunately (they hardly settled at all!), despite repeated attempts. Also got my first decent picture of a Gatekeeper with wings open. They're elusive little things, almost skipper sized.

The male I'm pretty certain of

The female, not so much. The tail shape doesn't seem quite right, though the markings are. I'm 80% on this one.

Definitely a case of 'familiarity breeds contempt' with this one. I hardly even notice them usually, but they're great

Hopefully this is a precursor of better things to come in the next few weeks. Autumn seems to have started early this year.

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